Truth in (Avoiding) Advertising
Kevin Salwen on Life
If you're like me, you've become resigned to sitting through ads at the beginning of your movie. First comes 'The Twenty,' a string of mildly cloaked ads; then come the real commercials -- for video games, the Army and, of course, every Coca-Cola product ever invented. Only then do you get to see the 'previews,' which of course are a series of promotions for coming movies.
But some folks aren't nearly as resigned as I am. Websites have popped up to fume about this bombardment -- such as www.captiveaudience.org, and my personal fave, www.didntialreadypayforthismovie.com. Lawmakers in 4 states and New York City are pondering a system of fines if theaters don't tell you when the movie actually starts.
Recently, Loews Cineplex said it would take a step to quell the annoyance: In newspapers and on websites, it plans to tell viewers that movies begin 10 to 15 minutes after the listed time. But the fact is, this isn't enough: In this age of TiVo, VCRs, pop-up blockers, satellite radio and other means for leap-frogging ads, showing up late to avoid commercials seems like an unsatisfactory solution, especially when it means that your seats are likely to be worse.
I rarely think there is only one solution to a problem. Of course, theaters could stop showing ads, but then we may face higher ticket prices. They could offer reserved seating, so I could show up when I want to -- and charge me a small premium for the privilege. Any smart thinkers out there want to take this one on?