If there is one thing that has reared its ugly head in American cinema in the past year that just sticks in my craw are movie theatres showing commercials. Don’t get me wrong, I love commercials and dearly miss AdCritic and wish it would come back to its “Internet Bubble” heyday. But I don’t mind commercials on TV because they are subsidizing what I’m watching. I don’t pay for network TV so I understand the role that commercials play. However when I go to a movie and pay $8.50 a person the last thing that I expect to see is a freakin’ commercial. I paid a fee to watch commercials? I don’t think so. Yet with each movie that I go to see, more and more commercials are appearing prior to the previews. I saw the Italian Job today and was subjected to no less than 7 commercials.
Some people might argue that previews are really just commercials for movies. Well, that’s true, but its part of the movie experience, ads for Degree antiperspirant are not. Or you might argue that commercials are defraying the cost of movies. Bollocks. When was the last time you saw a movie theatre go out of business? Besides, movie attendance is higher than ever and when the Matrix Reloaded can pull in over 200 million in one weekend I don’t think theatres are hurting. Also, don’t forget that the gross movie sales do not include the cost of popcorn and other snacks. By my own rough estimation, I’d say that for every two tickets at $8.50 there’s at least $8.50 spent at the concession stand. So, when a movie pulls in $200 million, there’s roughly $100 million that goes straight to the movie theatre. That’s not counting the money made from the Coca-Cola ads, etc.