23 thoughts on “Movie Theaters”

  1. Just paid $14 to stream the new anti-communist movie “Mr. Jones”. It was easy to do. Because it bashes the left, I have no doubt that there wouldn’t be a movie theater within 100 miles from where I live that would feature the movie. That was the case with “The Death of Stalin”. Nevertheless, I intend to purchase the movie on disk when it comes out because streaming content can disappear in the event that the content of a movie offends the woke scolds.

    1. Instead of the single speaker that you hung on your window, drive in theaters could provide audio via Bluetooth into the car’s entertainment system. That would give you much better sound quality and let you keep your windows closed to keep out the mosquitoes and keep in the A/C. Where I live, it’s often too hot and humid to sit in a parked car for a couple hours, even in the evening. That, plus the fact that they can only show movies well after dark (no matinees) put a lot of limits on drive ins.

        1. Local FM would probably be cheaper and would work with older cars, but I guess the audio quality wouldn’t be as good as with Bluetooth.

          1. Could be, could be. Then again there are probably lots of cars that don’t have Bluetooth. My current car is the first one I’ve ever had with it, and my last car (a 2008) even had an aftermarket radio.

        2. I guess I’m “them”.

          In Ennis Texas, just down the road, the GALAXY DRIVE-IN has window speakers only for the nostalgia value. FM radio is the preferred audio medium. Better even than car speakers, a radio with earbuds can let you adjust the level to suit the individual. And some cell-phones include FM tuners, so…

          The GALAXY has been adding screens over the years. Not a very profitable small family-run business, but not an awful value-sink, either.

  2. I also thought of the audience reaction in “Alien” when I saw it. At that point in the movie, where they are searching the sickbay for the “thing” that was no longer there, the tension was maxed out. Then a lone woman in the audience let out a primal scream in the totally silent, fully packed theater at which point everyone in the theater screamed. This was immediately followed by the “thing” in the movie dropping from the ceiling, which caused another scream from the audience followed by laughter as everyone realized what happened. It was pretty much like a roller-coaster. My guess is that the woman’s date, or soon to be ex-boyfriend, at that moment probably placed his hand over her face. That would have done it!

    The problem with the movie theaters failing is not the virus. It is the actors who foolishly alienate (no pun intended) half their potential paying audience by advocating their political beliefs, usually in an insulting, hate-filled manner. One by one I have checked off these actors and avoid paying theater prices for their movies. That being the case, we hardly go to the theater anymore.

  3. One of the last movies I saw in a theater (made exceptions for Atlas Shrugged and Interstellar) was Titanic. True story: When the iceberg hit the ship they blew their speakers out (We could kind of tell beforehand they had the volume up a bit too high). But they didn’t go out all at once, and not right at impact, so the whole theater got a few seconds of very high volume, so everyone’s ears were ringing. So it took a while for everyone to realize it wasn’t their ears ringing that was wrong, the dialog really was badly muddy. We were probably among the first 10 or so to leave, I’m sure the placed emptied out within a half hour. Contemplated demanding a refund as we left but figured for certain the refund would be in the form or a free pass to a future movie, and decided to skip it.

  4. Some movies are best on the big screen. 2001: A Space Odyssey was made for Cinerama. Youngsters on this blog many not have heard of it. A Cinerama screen was slightly curved, and consisted of three full Panavision screens side by side. The first time I saw it was in the St. Louis Cinerama, and I sat in the balcony. The opening title sequence, with the Moon, Earth, and Sun in line, was so overwhelming that I got a severe attack of vertigo. The scenes of the Discovery in full-length profile didn’t have to look miniaturized to fit a current TV screen. They were, in fact, gigantic.

    My wife and I saw Apollo 11 on the big screen (not IMAX, unfortunately), and it blew us away – especially the theater sound. It’s good on the small screen, but not as stunning.

    My older son and I saw 1917 in a theater, and it was so overpowering emotionally that I didn’t know if I could watch it again. But my wife and I watched it later on our big-screen TV. She liked it, but it had lost all of its original power for me. I don’t think I could see it again in a theater, though.

    As you wrote, Rand, we didn’t go much before the Chinese Wuhan Red Death. That alone proves that theaters should not have been shut down. Every theater movie audience I’ve seen in the past decade has had “social distancing” built in. People rarely sat within 20 feet of one another, in my experience. Put some germicidal lamps in the HVAC ducting, and there would be no problem.

    1. 2001 was 70mm ultra widescreen, but not Cinerama. The last true Cinerama film was “How the West Was Won”. The original Cinerama used 3 cameras to film and 3 projectors to show.

      1. Sorry, you’ve responded to the wrong blog. Nerdly doesn’t even begin to describe this readership. Rocket Scientist (technically closer to Rocket Engineer) is a closer description.

        You are not correct. The initial premiers were done in specific “roadshow” cities and were presented in Cinerama. I believe New York City was one of those venues, and possibly Washington DC was another? I remember reading about the premiere in Newsweek I think. I dunno, for a kid living in the midwest at the time might as well have shown on the moon. (One year later, live TV WAS shown from the moon) About 6 months later I saw it in glorious 35mm at a local theater. Glad I got to see it when I did. It wasn’t exactly a Western and didn’t run long in that medium sized mid-western town. Saw it a few times in college tho. It was very popular there, sometimes with a blue haze arising from the audience….

        The premiere roadshows were on a curved wide Cinerama screen using Super Panvision 70 projector and spherical lenses. Stanley Kubrick was already a big deal by the time 2001 began production. Stanley got what he wanted from the studios.

        From Wikipedia:


        “The film was announced in 1965 as a “Cinerama”[52] film and was photographed in Super Panavision 70 (which uses a 65 mm negative combined with spherical lenses to create an aspect ratio of 2.20:1). It would eventually be released in a limited “roadshow” Cinerama version, then in 70 mm and 35 mm versions.[53][54] Colour processing and 35 mm release prints were done using Technicolor’s dye transfer process. The 70 mm prints were made by MGM Laboratories, Inc. on Metrocolor. The production was $4.5 million over the initial $6 million budget and 16 months behind schedule.[55]”<



        Some of the films made in Super Panavision 70 were presented in 70 mm Cinerama in select theaters. Special optics were used to project the 70 mm prints onto a deeply curved screen to mimic the effect of the original three-strip Cinerama process.

        Further reference links here:


        The original movie featured a 5 minute overture before it started and a 15-minute intermission right after the sequence when all is revealed to Astronaut Bowman in a pre-recorded briefing begun by Dr. Heywood Floyd right after HAL is disconnected but before the final Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite sequence.

        About two year ago I was lucky enough to attend a re-screening (in 35mm alas) of the movie where Keir Dullea was present and gave a 30 minute talk about the making of the movie, the subsequent market flop and the resurrection among the college age crowd because of the psychedelic final 3rd on its way to becoming an SF movie classic.

        At the beginning of his talk he was having trouble with his microphone and kept asking the audience if we could hear him. I resisted the temptation to shout out:

        “Yes Dave, we read you.”

        1. If you want to say the 70mm Ultrawide Screen and Cinerama are not technically the same. 3 projectors vs one etc. Okay I’ll grant you that. But they both used the same curved screen and I never saw it one one regrettably.

  5. Talking in theaters seems to have become more common, with people carrying on long, loud conversations that have nothing to do with the movie. When I went to the theater I preferred a morning showing on a weekday so I could pay attention to the movie.

  6. My biggest moving going period was when I was stationed in Germany from 1978 to 1980. We got one American channel on RV and one radio station (AFTRS, pronounced A-Farts), so our cheap entertainment options were limited. Back in the day, the networks would buy a 13 week block of shows for a series. Sometimes, the series would be canceled before it ran the whole 13 weeks. Ever wonder what they did with those canceled shows? A-Farts! We had a lot of bad TV on our one channel.

    All was not lost, though. This was the days before movie rentals (VCRs existed but they were still about $1000) and decades before streaming, but we had three movie theaters on Ramstein. A movie would first appear at the Base Theater and, after a day or two, would shift over to the Sabre Theater which was just outside my barracks (I refused to call them dorms). Most movies were $1 while most new releases were $1.50. The one exception I remember was when Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out. It was $2. After a day or two at the Sabre Theater, it would be shown at the 3rd theater on base whose name I can’t recall. Since I was working rotating shift work, this schedule made it easy for me to see a lot of movies, most forgettable. I did see “The Outlaw Josie Wales” there (one of my all time favorites because Chief Dan George cracks me up to this day) and the all time worst movie I ever saw, “Quintet”. There were only about a dozen of us in the theater when the movie started which should have been a warning. Despite starring Paul Newman, the movie was horrible. I mean worse than Army training films horrible. I sat through it thinking it had to get better, but it never did. By the end, there were only about 5 of us still in the theater. Last year, one of the premium channels had a free movie weekend and “Quintet” was shown. I decided to give it another chance. Maybe, in the 40 years since I first saw it, my tastes had changed. Nope. I couldn’t make it past the first 30 minutes.

    In the past 10 years or so, I’ve only gone to a few movies in the theaters. I took my grandkids to a few. There were some that I wanted to see on the big screen, such as “Hacksaw Ridge”, “12 Strong”, and “Act of Valor”. Those movies are the kind I like and they’re pretty rare these days.

    1. Ditto on 12 Strong, and yeah we did make an exception for that one too. Well worth it, highly recommended.

    2. I saw “Red Dawn” at the US Army base theater in Germany with an audience of other 20-somethings.

      O Cuba, O Russia; you have no idea how pumped up the 400 or so of us were for “revenge” over an invasion that hadn’t happened. GRR!

      1. Hm showing this on an Army base in Germany? Like pouring gasoline on a raging fire! Red Dawn is well practiced at audience manipulation. From the opening Leni Riefenstahl inspired traveling through clouds scene right through to the “Ambush Bay”* inspired booby trap, which I called way ahead of it actually happening much to the amusement of my friend who watched it with me. Mickey Rooney’s “hot potatoes” as I recall. Definitely a movie you’d want to see in boots, cammo and a beret… 🙂 This movie made me respect Powers Boothe all the more as an actor. “Cmon you pukes, shoot straight!”… You gotta feel a “little” bit for the young barely 20 y/o captured Russian? And the six shooter scene at the end… Wolverines!

        [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambush_Bay

  7. The administration is seeking to set aside the Paramount decision, which would allow studios to own theaters again. Expect Disney to consider buying some of the theaters and adding Disney/Marvel experiences/stores to them.

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