Theaters: Now and Then

In the past few weeks the sun has shown us it’s power here in the sometimes polar state of Minnesota. I’m not going to explain why, but I hate this. I’m not a hot weather fan. Though, as I hear so often, the problem here, “…ain’t the heat, it’s the humidity.” There’s many ways to get cold when it’s egg frying on the street weather. I like to go to CVS, the drug store, and loiter by the perfume. That is the coldest area of the store and I sometimes wonder if the perfume there freezes solid. I can hide in my fridge, as I did last year. Then I have to empty it out and I don’t feel much like eating a ton in this weather.

My favorite thing to do is go to the movies, like I did today. Me and The Max have a ritual that we go through when we visit the theater. He gets a kid pack and covers the popcorn with too much salt. After which he asks for some of my popcorn that I embellish with a box of Jr Mints. Today we saw Kung Fu Panda. It was blah. But during the film my mind wandered to the many ways that a movie going experience is far different from what it was when I was Max’s age.

First off, and least important is the cost. Yes. It costs more. I have no idea with inflation if it is more than it was 25 years ago. I now pay ten dollars for a full price ticket. It feels like a lot.


Also, there’s the snacks. When I was a kid, we went to the Anoka Cinema, which is now a community theater with live acting. They offered popcorn, soda, and maybe five different kinds of candy. Now I can get my popcorn in seven different sizes. There are twenty different types of candy. Also: nachos, dipping dots, hot dogs, and of all things bottled water. And all these treats are whisked off the floor in a timely manner after each show. I distinctly remember my velcro sneakers sticking to the floor at the theater from the lack of clean-up in the past.


The seats are the improvement that I enjoy the most. Being short used to mean that you needed to worry about that lady with the aqua net hair-do sitting in front of you and ruining your view. Now, all theaters seem to have stadium seating. The person in front of you is going to have to be seven feet tall or better to block your shot of the screen. The seats are typically more comfortable, as they are made of squishy foam and cloth and not hard butt-bone-bruising wood. The arm rests with cup holders are an appreciated bonus.


Multi-plexes are what we have now as well. There are still the old theaters in the funky neighborhoods with only a screen or two, but it’s rare to see a new theater that has less than 10 movies showing at a time. I suppose choice is a good thing.

The only real gripe I have about the changes in theaters is the ads. I don’t want to go to the theater and see ads for anything other than movies. Previews are great. I seldom sit and watch TV. (not because I am a TV hater, I love the television with all my heart) But not watching television means that I do not really ever see commercials for what is going to be coming soon to the movies. I like previews for this reason. I don’t like watching ads for ketchup before the feature presentation.

So, though I am a sucker for nostalgic things, I am definitely happier with the improvements made to theaters. Most importantly, they are cold.

About kristiane

killing spiders with my laser eyes.
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9 Responses to Theaters: Now and Then

  1. dohopoki says:

    It’s not just standard inflation, particulary since this is an entertainment medium. It’s just another industry that lost its grip on economics. I’m lucky myself, I’ve got two theaters I can go to that are 5.50 and 3 dollars a ticket. These aren’t old shacks either, the 5.50 one has the largest non-Imax screens of any other theater and a sound system that drawfs those same Imax theaters. Of course, the Hot Dogs are like 7 dollars, so eat before you go in.

    The real problem is getting to these places is like a 15 to 20 dollar trip now. I’m seeing The Dark Knight this year and that may be it.

  2. kittymao says:

    You know, once they started imporving the theatres, I kind of stopped going to see movies. And it’s not because I boycott the big theatres- I just started realizing that the movies the Industry puts out are not quite the kind of monies I wanna drop a $20 on.
    And well, theres something totally awesome about sitting on your own sofa, being able to pause the flick and pee in your own toilet, and knowing you didn’t miss a damn thing.

  3. kristiane says:

    Yes, the cost is a pain. But if I were smart I would buy the 5 dollar matinée ticket and bring my own soda and jr mints, cutting it in about half. It’s just that I usually decide to do the movies at the last minute. I may have to work on that 🙂

  4. Amy says:

    i like movies at home now too. there are few that i deem potentially good enough to see at the actual theater. and we are cheap cheap cheap.

    at home, yes, you can PAUSE for peeing and smoke breaks, and you can also use closed captioning. i am not even remotely deaf but i am weird in that i like reading the dialogue during movies. it keeps me from missing something.

    when i was little we lived two blocks from the local one screen theater. the 7:00 would be a kids movie and the 9:00 would be a blockbuster from the month before. friday nights were $1 to get in. the line would stretch almost to our house. inside you could have popcorn, red licorice ropes and cherry syrup added to any soda you wanted. cherry dew. it was glorious.

    i’ve been wondering. when you and max were in the fridge, how did you get out? i thought you couldnt open the door from the inside…

  5. Thom says:

    Omak has a multiplex (of sorts) now… and I think it costs 7 or 8 dollars. I still feel uncomfortable in most theaters (because I am nearly 7 feet tall, so I feel I need to scrunch) but as long as I have a buffer (empty) seat in between me and anyone else. But, I am still the person who has to see anything worth seeing in the theater. I watch the B-flicks (or indies that don’t hit spokane) at home…

  6. kristiane says:

    Omak has a multiplex? This is odd. I was there and I saw Starbucks as well. Remember the old lady that used to walk through the isles during the show and make us put our feet off the seats in front of us? Those were the most uncomfortable seats ever produced.

  7. Billy says:

    I went to the movies last year and took my folks. Only cost me $60! Seriously, $60! That is insane.

  8. mklasing says:

    I grew up in El Campo, Texas–yes it is a place. We had one theater–with one screen. The building was so old that they had to keep the sound down or plaster would fall from the ceiling. I went there in 1977 at the age of 9 to see Star Wars. I had to sit on the front row and turn my head to hear the soundtrack.

    When I was 11 I moved to Houston–first time I saw a movie here I thought my head would explode from the sound. I saw Empire Strikes Back here and man I was really impressed with that John Williams–his music is pretty cool. 🙂

  9. DJ D says:

    I do like the stadium seating and comfortable seats we have now, but I agree with you on your complaints. The prices are outrageous and the ads are just obnoxious. I don’t want to see that crap when I go to the movies.

    There’s a small theater here that I try to go to when I can. It’s got one screen and specializes in indie movies and stuff that gets small release runs. It’s really small and only seats like 100 people or less. The last thing I saw there was Control, the Joy Division movie. I try to go there as much as I can to support that kind of thing.

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