This evening, thanks to the generosity of grandparents offering babysitting services, Erin and I went out to see a movie. The movie was Pixar’s Brave (highly recommended), but I’d like to focus a bit on the theatre.
We went to a twelve-theatre cinema in the south end of Des Moines, located by an aging mall which is currently undergoing redevelopment. The movie theatre is tucked in behind the mall, rather out of sight of traffic from the nearby arterials. The mall itself is surrounded by a sea of asphalt.
It’s Monday, but it’s also summer. It’s hot, but the theatre is air conditioned. There were no blockbusters debuting this weekend, but the latest instalment of the Dark Knight sequence was showing, and the theatre was far from decrepit.
However, we were one of only five cars in the parking lot, and the only two attendees for this particular showing of Brave. Indeed, other than us, I counted only one other person making his way to the concession stand.
This may have more to do with the theatre and the weather than the industry in general. We saw The Avengers in a downtown Vancouver theatre, and there was a line-up. But how can any theatre survive when it plays its movies to an almost empty house? The Des Moines theatre did not look like it was on the verge of abandonment. Was this an unusual day? Or are movie theatres trying to spruce themselves up to avoid the inevitable fall in the face of competition from Netflix, iTunes, and the comfy living room couch?
For me, I enjoy the movie theatre experience, expensive popcorn and all, particularly now that the kids are old enough to spend evenings with their grandparents. I look forward to the joys of bringing Vivian and Nora to the theatre. I could have waited for Brave to go to download, but there is something about making an evening around a movie event. Will that last? Or will this gradually slip to the realm of specialty theatres?
Anyway, Brave: a wonderful movie that I’d be happy to show the kids, except for the bits with the terrifying demon monster bear. Merida joins the pantheon of Disney Princesses and stands out, in her Pixar way, as the fierce young woman who decides she doesn’t need a prince to make her happy. This is also one of the first Disney animated films where the mother is not a monster, and not wholly wrong, just human. There’s lots of laughs, and a lot of heart. Definitely a film I recommend you see.