Saturday, 10 January 2004


On multiplexes

More than one person has asked me in the past month how I could possibly find myself watching the wrong film at a cinema. Today's visit to the multiplex provided an opportunity for me to present the evidence.

[Which door?]

So now tell me: is Screen Five the door to the left or the door to the right? (I would at this point like to assert that although Screen Five is clearly showing Brother Bear, the photograph is for illustrative purposes only. I did not see Brother Bear today.)

Of course it's the door to the right. To the left is Screen Four. See what I mean?

While we're here, let's have some other reasons why I dislike multiplex cinemas.

  • It's all about profit.

    This was made clear to me one day after chatting with the manager of my local multiplex. When the film I'd come to see started (forgive me), it was projected at the floor rather than at the screen. No-one from the cinema staff noticed.

    "We only have one projectionist," she said. "He can't be expected to check every film is showing properly."

    Silly me, I forgot the films are only an ancillary part of the cinema-going experience.

  • Bored teenagers.

    (This one will sound particularly arrogant. Sorry. I have no evidence to back my theory up. I may be wrong.)

    You know those 'unlimited' passes you can get for about £10/month? I've noticed that at multiplexes you get more bored teenagers who, half-way through a film, realise there'll be no sex or violence so start throwing things at each other. I blame the unlimited pass.

    My reasoning goes like this: if you've got such a pass, wouldn't you just go see anything? Who cares if it's no good; at least you've wasted no money on it. And it's raining outside so you may as well have fun here with your mates rather than kick about in puddles.

  • Limited choice.

    Now we get onto the classic multiplex problems. More screens doesn't mean more choice. It means more opportunities to show the latest A-list flicks. Admittedly some multiplexes are getting better at having a rep programme, but all sorts of gems are denied you if you limit yourself to multiplexes.

I'll stop before this rant becomes any stronger.

I love going to the cinema, and I go to multiplexes regularly. I love the fact they have films starting every quarter hour all day long, I love that there's one in every town and they tend to be easy to find.

But deep down I know multiplexes are fast-food, when I'd really prefer something lovingly prepared.

My three favourite cinemas then are:

I hope to never live more than an hour's drive from a cinema that's equal to one of these three.

Posted by pab at 18:16