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Match-Flicking With Fewer Commercial Interruptions
by Christopher Stone

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Old School Snack Bar Advertising

Old School Snack Bar Advertising
I love television but I hate commercials. I love Match-Flicking, but I'm bored, overwhelmed by the barrage of advertising that greets me after the box-office and before the Feature Presentation.

My aversion to commercial advertising is simple. For the most part, commercials spotlight products and services that I don't need or want while devouring the precious time I have left in this world.

I remember fondly the days, not all that long ago, when the only advertising you saw at the movies was Previews of Coming Attractions and the campy plugs, often featuring gymnastic hot dogs and marching cups of Coca-Cola, for the over-priced treats available at the snack bar. Those were the days, my friends. Too bad they had to end. That was a gentler, kindler, if not distant, time for Match-Flicking. Today, seated in the multiplex auditorium, I'm likely to be pitched everything from Mother's Day Flowers, the National Guard and my city's one surviving daily newspaper, to a Bowling
Movie Previews Are Appropriate for the Match-Flicking experience.

Movie Previews Are Appropriate for the Match-Flicking experience.
Alley, caterers, and a store that sells Polynesian Wear.

The only commercial-free Match-Flicking I've found is at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. But Beverly Hills, or, The Golden Triangle, as it is often called by its trust-funded, elitist citizenry, is 25 miles from my coastal Los Angeles County home, whereas that proverbial "theater near me" is a scant four miles.

I understand why I must endure endless advertising when I watch UGLY BETTY or BROTHERS AND SISTERS. It comes into my home free, via ABC, a Broadcast Television Network. When I'm paying good money to see STAR TREK or ANGELS & DEMONS, I'm less inclined to tolerate a sales pitch. I have a similar problem with the DVD ads that box my discs from Netflix like book-ends.

What's a dyed-in-the-wool Match-Flicker to do?

I've noted that the actual start-times for the Feature Presentation at my local multiplexes are almost always fifteen to twenty minutes later than the time posted at the box-office, on
National Guard Ads Are Inappropriate, Intrusive.

National Guard Ads Are Inappropriate, Intrusive.
Yahoo, and in the newspapers. I've also observed that few, if any, of the fresh releases are sold-out or even mostly sold-out on Saturday mornings when I attend. That goes for WOLVERINE last Saturday morning. A healthy number of Match-Flickers attended, but there were plenty of choice seats remained empty.

I suggest you monitor the actual Feature Presentation start times at your favorite theater. If, like mine, your box-office of choice screens the feature later than the time posted, then you may want to consider arriving later, thereby avoiding the 20-minutes of ads that the theater tries to pass off as pre-movie "entertainment." This imitation of entertainment is really nothing more than a 20-minute long commercial for the networks and studios that supply the so-called "First Look" footage of the movies and series that comprise them.

Whenever possible, I prefer to arrive just in time to see the Coming Soon Previews. I'm fully aware that movie trailers are advertising,
Then comes the ad for Marie's Curl Up & Dye.

Then comes the ad for Marie's Curl Up & Dye.
too, but they do seem appropriate to the Match-Flicking experience. To me, inappropriate are the National Guard, florists, Bowling Alley, Catering and Los Angeles Times ads.

I suspect that if movie-makers kept their budgets in line, exhibitors wouldn't be compelled to load their screens with commercials. For example, if Tom Hanks could have paid his mortgage and filled his gas tank with $10 million for ANGELS & DEMONS, instead of the $30-$40 million he was reportedly paid, then we might not be sitting through an ad for Millie's Curl Up & Dye Beauty Salon in Pacoima before we see STAR TREK or UP.

Box-Office Watch: How about that WOLVERINE clawing his way to the top of the box-office heap last weekend as I predicted? No one in the Hollywood film community was disappointed with the X-MEN ORIGINS' almost $80 million gross, kicking off in grand style the Summer of the Great Recession. This weekend's STAR TREK launch should be one for this 45-year-old sci-fi franchise's record book.

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The Business of Show
Every other Friday

Does advertising, public taste, or overindulged stars determine a movie's box office fate? Christoper Stone explores what's going on behind the box office.

Other Columns
Other columns by Christopher Stone:

The Cautionary Box-Office

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up. Part Two

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up, Part 1

Quality Is Independent

Oh, the Horror!

All Columns

Christopher Stone
Christopher Stone is the author of the international best seller Re-Creating Your Self. With Mary Sheldon, he co-authored three highly successful hardcover books of guided meditations.

He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Christopher Stone by clicking here.

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