Film Thought: Walking Out of a Movie

Previously I had written about the conundrum of when to turn off a film. However, if there is one mark of delineation I drew there it’s that Netflix has somewhat changed my approach to that whole question. With Netflix, or any other service that gives you movies at the touch of a button, the tendency is to just push play with less consideration than in the past, unless you’re paying just for that film. With films that are included with a subscription we tend to treat them like they’re free, or at the very least we’re more inclined to click just to try and get the most out of our subscription.

However, the way I approach movies at the auditorium is a bit different. Whereas home viewing can be far more impulsive there is still a shrine-like, quasi-religious reverence granted to a movie being screened as it was intended. This is why I have no tolerance for disruptive, completely unnecessary, loud talking; cell phone use and other breaches of etiquette. While I’m at it it’d also be great if the glow stick brigade at my local theater, which is part of a large chain of multiplexes, would stop traipsing through the theater at the beginning and end of a film, when focus is more critical.

Due to the elevated status that I give seeing a movie in an auditorium (Though I see a much larger number at home than ever before), I am far more hesitant to abandon a screening that I’ve gone to see in person. There are a few reasons this is so: firstly, there is the time invested. Whether or not I’m close to the theater I still like to show up early, there are a significant number of trailers playing before the film so the time invested is more than the running time. Secondly, the financial investment is invariably greater. I’ve mentioned it on a few occasions, and the numbers are easy to figure out, if you’re viewing a film on demand you are renting it so it’ll play on your TV. They don’t verify how many people you have sitting in front of that TV so the savings are obvious especially if you snack at your home theater and at the multiplex. Lastly, it just seems like a much bigger move to get up and walk out. Yes, there is the complication of if you’re with a group of people, but hitting a stop button and walking out of an auditorium are two massively different things.

The last time I felt the twinge to want to leave a film was when I saw Creature. However, it was ultimately too much train wreck to ignore so that leaves Jumanji as the only film I voluntarily walked out of because I just couldn’t take it anymore. I could count Big Fish also, but the decision was aided by a fire alarm that allowed me to realize “Hey, I don’t care if I finish watching this movie now. Thanks!”

So there’s my take. How about you? What have you walked out on and do you find it’s easier to shut off a film at home than to walk out?

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