Thursday, December 25, 2008
A Little Honesty in Movie Advertising S'il Vous Plait
They call it "pre-feature content" and it's taking over the world. The movie world, anyway.
We just went to the 1:30 showing of "Valkyrie" and showed up 15 minutes early, thinking there might be a line on Christmas day. There wasn't, so we got to wait in the theater while commercials played on the screen. Canned stuff, though not really a loop. Annoying, but not to the level of fingernails on a blackboard. Not quite.
Then came 1:30. We'd been there 15 minutes and were ready to see Tom Cruise with an eyepatch. Not yet. More pre-feature content. We'd just seen a long ad for a television show and were treated to some Wal-Mart and Coca-Cola ads, a few previews and something about an "Assistant Manager Man" action figure ("Boring homelife sold separately"). It wasn't as exciting as it sounds, although the action figure had some distraction appeal.
By the time the "Flight of the Valkyrie" hit its first few strains and we'd seen Tom Cruise bleeding in the sand, it was 2 o'clock and I felt like the movie boys had just stolen 45 minutes of my life. And charged me for it. Senior matinee rate, but hey, it's still 5 bucks and the potential for me giving this movie five stars was significantly diminished by those who would steal my life right out from under me.
I want some honesty in advertising from the movie theaters: Don't say the movie starts at 1:30 when it starts at 2. Give me a choice. Let me skip Wal-Mart and Coke on my own (and I won't be forced to boycott both; I can do it because they suck, instead).
(This from Lori White: "I am SO in agreement with you on this one, Dan! It's killing me! And if you call and ask what time the movie actually starts, they tell you the listed time, not the time with all of the advertisements. Most of the crap is commercials that we're 'missing' as we fast-forward with Tivo and DVR. Umm ... hello we don't want to see you?")