Moviegoing Abroad

Posted on May 24, 2012


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I actually watched Battleship a few days before it came out here in the US, as I was in Mexico in time. This wasn’t the first time I saw a movie there. I went last year also, and while it’s not something I’d recommend everyone, but if you’re a movie freak going to a foreign movie house is definitely something to do.

Part of the reason I decided to write about it this time was with more and more conversation about the filmgoing experience in the US it’s more valuable perspective now more than ever.

So here are some benefits to checking out a flick abroad.

1. Check The Listings, You Might Get Lucky

Part of the motivation to see Battleship was that I knew it came out abroad before it came out in the US. This is a the case more and more now, so if you time it right you could see something before all your friends. Maybe it’ll even be good.

2. The Price is Right

Granted this all depends on your exchange rate and how favorable it is. Going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was not really any cheaper Brazil than it was here (However, art houses in Brazil may be cheaper I haven’t been to one recently). This is especially true when you factor in the fact that soft drinks and candies are sold in normal sizes but still up-charged. However, the USD equivalents in Mexico were akin to when I’d take the bus to a multiplex for matinees in the mid-90s, meaning: ticket $5 USD, $2.50 Soda and under $2 for Candy.

3. Concession Variety

Now, clearly when you’re abroad you’ll find things that are ubiquitous like Coca-Cola but also things that are rather indigenous like this year’s find Freskas, which are Nestle’s answer to Whoppers with ice cream-like flavors.

At this particular Cinemark there was also a coffee/liquor bar in the back with other snacks, which is usually only an arthouse thing here, dine-in locations being a rare exception.

4. Etiquette

OK, I can only gauge this based on my limited experience and will qualify that my experiences in Mexico have been during/towards the end of the work day and the theaters weren’t that full but they were quiet. Conversely, my Potter screening in Brazil was late and rather full but for the most part filled with quiet reverence that film deserved.

5. Experience

My two trips to this Cinemark in Mexico and another mall-attached multiplex in Brazil have been clean theaters, where seats could be chosen ahead of time (get this, no extra charge! Take that Cinema de Lux!), seats that are comfortable, lights that go down on time, good projection with no significant degradation of quality even in 3D and based on my interaction courteous professional staff (for the most part).

Not to generalize for clearly the more you frequent and inadequately run movie house the more warts you find but it’s a game of chance when you happen upon a house that doesn’t do things right, when they do odds are you’ll have a great time.

As I mentioned above, it takes a certain odd egg to see a movie on vacation abroad. However, if you think you’re one it’s definitely worth doing.

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Posted in: Commentary