Why Commercials Before Movies Is Worse Than Piracy

Being subjected to advertising is just something we’ve come to expect in our daily routines, and for most of us, we’ve become so conditioned to various advertising methods that we don’t even think twice about it. There is nothing wrong with advertising in and of itself. It’s how we learn about products, services and entertainment. Advertising is also the big main source of revenue for things we hold dear like television and The Movie Blog (which is 100% funded by advertising), so I’m certainly never going to rail on the evils of advertising.

However, advertising in movie theaters is a topic that has been brought up here on The Movie Blog more than a few times, and a recent report by the Cinema Advertising Council in the New York Post begs us to once again revisit the issue. We’ve all figured that commercials playing in movie theaters was worth a lot of money… but did you realize its worth almost HALF A BILLION DOLLARS? The IMDB gives us this:

Revenue from in-theater advertising rose more than 15 percent to $456 million from $395 million a year ago… The Post quoted CAC Chairman Cliff Marks as expressing the belief that moviegoers are becoming “more accepting” of screen advertising. A recent Arbitron poll indicated that two-thirds of moviegoers “don’t mind” the ads.

Don’t mind the ads? DON’T MIND THE ADS???

First, I should mention here that I don’t mind the idea of movie theaters making money. It’s a business. They exist to make money, and if they can find new creative ways to generate money then I say more power to them. If they can come up with new ways to get my money while providing me with some new service or product that I’m willing to pay for… then good for them.

Second, there are types of advertising in movie theaters I “don’t mind”. For example, if the movie is supposed to start at 7pm and I get into my seat at 6:45pm, I really don’t mind commercials and ads being shown on the screen until showtime. I’m just sitting there anyway, it’s not taking away from my time since the show isn’t advertised to start for another 15 minutes… so really… showing ads in that vacuum is no skin off my nose, it gives me something to look at while I wait, and it generates some income for the theaters. GREAT! It’s a win/win for everyone.

But you don’t have to have a degree in advertising to know that the bulk of that $456 million in ad money doesn’t come from those “pre-show” commercials. Oh no no no no… most of that money comes from the ads I LOATHE. The commercials (not trailers… I like those) that they start playing at the time they advertised the MOVIE was supposed to start.

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating.

– When you take my money for popcorn, at least I’m getting a tasty treat

– When you take my cash at the box office, I’m getting to come in to watch the movie

– When you take my time for commercials on TV, I’m getting a “free” TV show out of it

But what are we getting for our time with commercials in movie theaters? When the ad says “Movie starts at 7pm” and I’m in my seat (that I paid admission for) at 7pm, it’s time for you to start giving me what I paid you for… the movie. If you want to show me commercials, fine… give me the movie for free then.

The theater industry is pulling in RECORD amounts of income from those commercials, and unlike TV (where we get a free show), WE GET NOTHING IN RETURN FOR OUR TIME SITTING THERE WHEN THE MOVIE IS SUPPOSED TO START.

Movie theaters have in essence found the PERFECT advertising. Ads that take to audiences time, without giving them anything in return.

I don’t mind theaters making money off me when I get a product, service or entertainment in return… but commercials playing at 7pm when you told me the movie would be starting is doing nothing but STEALING my time. You are taking from me without giving anything in return. HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM ONLINE MOVIE PIRACY!?!?

When we download a movie without giving the movie industry anything in return, they call that a crime (and it is). But when the industry takes our time (sometimes up to 15 or 20 minutes) without giving us anything for that time in return they call it “smart marketing”.

How about I start calling pirating movies “Smart Shopping”. Will piracy be considered ok then?

Remember, YOU ARE GOING TO DIE SOME DAY. That means time has value, and when anything else in life takes your time, you get compensated in one form or another. Let’s think of it this way.


I see approximately 8 films in theater each month. At about 15 minutes of commercials per film (remember, these are ads that begin to play at the movie advertised start time), I end up spending about 2 hours per month watching ads in theaters uncompensated. That’s 24 hours, or a full day of uncompensated ad watching in a year.


I’m not a doctor or lawyer, so let’s say my time is worth a measly $20/hour. Since I spent about 24 hours watching uncompensated ads in theaters last year, I figure the movie industry owes me about $480 out of that Half Billion they made last year off my time. Seems fair.

The principle for piracy and time theft is the same. Taking an asset (a movie, or your time) without providing the due compensation for taking that asset. So where do we start the class action lawsuit?

If you tell me the movie starts at 7pm, then when I PAY YOU to get into the movies, there is an implied contract that you give me what I paid for… a movie at 7pm. When you instead put up 15-20 minutes of commercials at 7pm you are stealing my time, and also stealing MY SHARE OF THAT $456 MILLION you made off my time.

So the next time you’re pirating a movie (which is neither something I do nor endorse), let that ease your conscience, because although you’re stealing the $10 you would have paid in admission… they probably owe you about $150 for stolen ad time anyway.

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324 thoughts on “Why Commercials Before Movies Is Worse Than Piracy

  1. Show me all the trailers and movie related stuff you want – but the second a car commercial or some other non movie related shit comes on, I wince, I moan, I try to get talkie, and I want to play on my phone… (and I hate those people) But it’s like my personal protest against ads.
    I honestly can’t even remember the last movie I saw in theaters – It’s not worth it to go anymore, my movie experience (the way I knew it) it over.
    Too much talking, and phone lights, etc… there used to be unwritten rules when you go to the movie, you know, sit down, shut up, and watch it… I can’t handle it anymore, maybe I’m just old..

  2. $20 is not measly. It’s more than what I earn when I actually WORK, not when I watch ads. It’s not like any time saved on not watching ads can be spent working and earning money. Every day I waste 5 hours browsing the internet. Does that mean that I waste $100 a day or $3000 a month browsing random websites? It’s not like I could call my work and work from home for those 5 hours.

  3. I agree with you 100%, but…

    I threw the same TV argument at the regional manager of a BIG NAME theater chain, and his reply was most enlightening.

    “Then, perhaps, what we should do is show the opening scene of a movie, then roll the credits for the movie, cut to 4 to 6 minutes of advertising before we return to the feature. Unlike tv advertising, we know the consumer isn’t going to get up and go to the refreshment stand, the way they might go to the refrigerator, so we will be able to charge a higher rate than the tv industry gets; for the patron, they’ll get use to it, the same way they’ve gotten use to the 2 to 3 minutes of credits text that shows up while they are trying to watch the beginning of the episode. You know, in the old days, all those front-end credits played BEFORE the episode began.

    “Or maybe the multiplex that has a feature playing on two screens might adapt the Netflix model: pay $10.50 a ticket for the theater that is showing the movie with commercials, while charging $15.00 a ticket for the screen that is ad-free.”

    I’m 59. These comments disturb me. It like I’m 11 again and I’m walking around my neighborhood with a petition to stop cable companies and “Save Free TV!” When asked why I should PAY for something I could get over the airways for free, the response was, “Well, we have a great number of tv channels that run no advertising, and the company lets you watch those stations for a nominal surcharge.”

    Today? We’ve become so merchandising oriented, we pay a cable fee to watch four or five channels that are nothing but commercials. I’m waiting for the day a theater chain starts charging $4.95 a ticket for a ninty-minute ‘program’ of nothing but exclusive, behind-the-scenes in production footage of next years films that “…you can see here see here, and no where else.” Sorta take all the stuff they bring to the SDCC each year and turn it into a theater event.

  4. I am officially done with going to the theater because of this. Great article. I wonder how much money they are losing from people like myself. I hope a lot.

  5. I feel your pain with the commercials. In fact I intentionally show up late to avoid them.
    However, to say that you get nothing in return might be going too far. Please correct me if I’m wrong as you probably have more knowledge on the subject than I. But it seems that what we get in return is a ticket that cost $9 instead of something like $18. Would it be fair/accurate to say that without those ads before the movie ticket prices would be higher? Like you said before, the theater has to make money somewhere. And if it’s not on the movies themselves and they can only raise concession prices so high, it seems the next logical price hike would be ticket prices. If that’s the case, then no, I don’t mind watching a few lame local ads if it helps subsidize the price of admission.

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  7. im just going to repost “duck on the run”s comment because it really sums up out i think about the whole thing.

    “I don’t understand people who actually support the commercial during movies. would you like a 2 minute advertisement before your dinner at a restaurant? how about a page of ad before you get your menu? And before your spleen surgery your nurse can read you a page of info on the new coffee maker that sharper image just put out. restaurants and hospitals need money too. And these movie commercials are forced upon the consumers without choice. think about it. if this is ok with you, then how many other advertisement opportunities are you saying yes to? how about a short message at the stop light before it changes. Surely you don’t mind a couple of seconds of extra waiting, you are stopped at the light anyway. how about every time you turn on your computer there is a short 2 min advertisement for the sponsors or affiliates of dell or hp whatever brand your comp is. Just because it is accepted doesn’t mean its ok.”

    or what about no petrol coming out of the pump until youve finished watching a few short ads. it really stupid that we put up with it

  8. Hi John,
    Early in the article you stated it’s “no skin off your nose” if you are subjected to 15 min of commercials before the movie starts. But then you take a different tack, and complain about the 15 min. Is your main gripe that these 15 min cause the movie to start later than it says?  Personally, I am disgusted by theaters showing ANY commercials to me after I paid $11 to watch a MOVIE.  Paying money should actually EXEMPT us from watching commercials, but the corporations are so slimy they find a way to subject a “captive audience” to a vulgar parade of advertising.  Even cable “on-demand” selections include commercials; it’s unbelievable how powerful these advertisers are, that they can even convince TiVo to make it harder for their customers to simply “skip” the commercials, forcing them to fast-forward through them, even though the technology exists to skip them.

  9. You know there are going to be 20 mins of commercials, turn up 20 mins later. If everyone did this then they would not generate as much revenue for the ads as provider would be willing to pay less. Therefore the cinema would stop showing them as it would be more profitable for them to get an extra showing in each day that pack it full of ads. If you are that bothered by something do something about it, explain to people who are about to go in that if they stand outside now then you will be saving their time in the future. Start a movement. Create a solution.
    Personally I enjoy the commercials!

  10. I remember actually enjoying the previews of upcoming movies before the actual movie starts. But when I saw 20 minutes of regular TV type commercials, it got sickening. They make 1000% on their food sales and the cost of going to the movies has grown over the years and I am OK with that. But like you John, I find the ads before the movies a bad move and actually sets a negative mood before the movie starts. Thanks for the article!!! good read and good to know I’m not alone!

  11. I am personally boycotting all movie theaters that play commercials. This is just another reason why Netflix will continue to make money. The old model of advertising is dead. Hollywood and the big guys need to get the younger generation involved in determining the direction to go with smart advertising. It really doesnt amaze me that all the sheep will watch what is put in front of them, but forcing someone who paid to see a movie to watch commercials is unacceptable. And they know this. Their hope is that the movie gower is made up of either young or poor who think that by letting the Cinemas show commercials to them, that this will stem the cost of tickets. The real issue is the one caused by the FREE generation. When you torrent or watch “free” online, 80% of your movies and then only go to that movie that you feel is worth the $!5 movie ticket, you really arent playing it smart. As attendance goes down, ticket prices must go up. I will say that recently Hollywood has produced more film then quality and that doesnt help the matter.

    This is just the beginning of a more pressing issue. In a downed economy how far will we allow advertisers to go so that we can falsely believe that we still have the same quality of life?

    Now airlines have followed the movie industry and soon enough we ALL will have to be subject to the unacceptable commercials. On a TV I have the choice of turning it off and not watching it. But in a movie theater it is impossible to turn off the “super surround sound” so the only action I have is to leave and demand my money back from the manager.

    In an airplane… I cannot leave. And in fact if I made a scene I would probably have to talk to TSA or be arrested.

    If showing commercials in a theater is piracy, then showing commercials before the captains message on an airline is criminal….

    When will we stand up for what is decent? Ask your grandparents if they think these things are acceptable since most of you are probably to young to know better…

  12. Thank you for some other informative website. The place else may just I get that type of information written in such a perfect way? I have a undertaking that I am simply now working on, and I’ve been at the glance out for such information.

  13. I hate “TV Ads” at the theater too, but it is not the same thing as piracy. Your time that you paid to watch the movie is real and measurable. Piracy deals with 1’s and 0’s, it is a victim-less crime. Piracy really shows the inconsistency between Capitalism and reality. “Intellectual property” is an invented term to allow copyrights to become ridiculous. Read the short story “The right to read” by Richard Stallman.

  14. Dear John … haha … my first ever “Dear John” letter. You are much too soft on this issue. Showing commercials in movie theatres (at any time) should be illegal. I stopped going to theatres … let’s see … 14 years ago when I knew this was a “losing battle” with, not just my local theatre, but with, movie theatres everywhere. I am not a mindless, passive, low IQ, money punching bag zombie … I just refuse to be a “victim” of this money grab. I can even tolerate product placement and movie ads within the movie, if the movie is entertaining, but I recommend to anyone and everyone who reads your blog – stop going to movie theatres completely. We can become the majority, one day. What? Stop laughing …. it could happen!

  15. I have found worst then ads in theater … ads in DVD or worst BlueRay. I have recently moved from dvd to BD and most movies ( that I bought ) have ads and you can’t skip them. So why is it that every time that I want to see a movie that I have bought I have to watch the same ads. This is why people rip their DVD and Bd to get rid of those ‘features’.

  16. hey, great article.. can you please help me find more info about the cost of commercials in movie theatres , im doing some research for my sociology class about ads. :)
    from Norway.

  17. whats even worse
    is my wife refuses to call a preview a commercial for movies
    ho well if that’s all we got to fight about we’re having a good time

  18. I don’t support online movie piracy because it takes away from the amount of money the filmmakers make. I like supporting the people who created the film so they can continue to make more great movies.
    I hope that you’re exaggerating the point that movie piracy and pre-movie advertisements are the same thing only to emphasize your frustration with Cineplex, AMC, or whoever it may be that’s ‘wasting your time’.
    You bring up an interesting point, but quite frankly, I just don’t care. I’ll allow 15 minutes extra for previews if it means I’m supporting the filmmakers.
    I think they should maybe use the money they make from those ads to enforce no cellphones in theatres though. I didn’t pay good money and wait 2 hours to see inception in IMAX for a texter to sit next to me and flash her cellphone in my face.

  19. Okay, you rush like mad to get to theatre. stand in line. buy the ickets aridiculous pries to begin with. take a mortg on your house to scarf down buttered or what appears o be poltically correct butter. do a balance act, pirouette towards the ticket guy. He tears your ticket hands it back to you and you begin that long ponderous trek to your seat a semi-darkened room. You find it. settle don. check your watch. great seats. fiftennminutes to and then it begins. the commercials begin slowly tantalizing you with inane quizes about one hit wonders, a new ar? an old car? is it sfae. you feellike Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man. Sir Laurence is smiliong at you “is it safe” one more commercial for the sensuality fo movie going. No I lied. five or six or seven even. Then the room grows darker. ther is a reprieve. Here comes the real trick. The trailers. making the worst written, directed fiolms look so marvelous that you want to repet the agony again and ahain. Like sheep we are drawn back and why? Either we really love the whole ritual of movie going or we are just too stupid or lazy to put up with all of tyhe ommercials we get on cable. Someone wrote but thje actor salaries push up the price so we bnneed commerials. tell me what ctor is worth 20 million? now becof commercials, if the movie does not start on time i ask fo a discount. if the movie bores the hll out me i ask for money back. I did that in dustrict nine, the manger was very nice, gave me a pass for the net film an ilently said. “Ge I’m glad more people do not follow your eample. But guess what. I love the movies and i aways go back for more. Excuse my typing. it’s anj age thing. I feel like Harry Brown.

  20. Though I agree with the basic sentiment of your post, I disagree with some of your reasoning.

    Basically, it’s Hume,

    Much of what you are saying is merely an expression of your own subjective preferences, but you treat them as moral standards. You cannot derive an ought from an is.

    “Pirating” films is not a “crime”. There is no such thing as a crime, “crime” is merely an intellectual construct. Crime is defined individually. It’s only your preference that piracy is a crime.

    In fact, the issue is more complex than that. Law is likewise a subjective intellectual construct. In the case of piracy, we have two conflicting definitions of property law.

    The popular definition, “media is free if I want it to be”, and the media producers opinion,”the media I produce is my property and I only license viewing rights”.

    Computer technology and the internet have seriously undermined the value of media. Because media can now be cheaply duplicated and distributed the value has been reduced. This goes the same for anything, if we invented transportation and replication devices the economy as we know it would cease to exist. It would be outmoded by technology.

    Because there is no reasonable way to enforce the media producers definition of property right it is essentially outdated.

    So what the media producers are doing, is seeking further protection from the state. This means that they get the state to set up death threats to enforce the media producers “property rights”. This will artificially enforce the profits of the media producers, thus upsetting the equilibrium of social order. It is an institutional protection racket. This is why I object to your statements, because you are inadvertently advocating death threats, and institutional death threats destabilize society.

    It works the other way too. Though I personally loathe ads in theaters, if enough people are willing to endure them for the theater to profit (without institutional coercion) then that activity could be considered “legitimate”.

    I hate the ads, I haven’t been to the theater all year, their course of actions has diminished their potential profit. This motivates them to better serve my interests. Meanwhile I’m hitting up alternative sources to entertain myself.

    I agree with your basic sentiment, that advertising in theaters is hypocritical on the part of the theaters, but know you Hume and watch your is’s and oughts.

  21. I love the trailers but hate the commercials, but it is now expected…..the thing I hate even more is when you BUY the DVD to view at home and you have to watch commercials and trailers.

    If you try to skip it you are not allowed (I had to fast forward about 20 minutes worth of adverts to watch a DVD the other day). I mean, come on, if you are going to include advertising in a DVD purchase then give the consumer (you know, the person who pays your salary) the option to watch or not to watch them. Some DVDs allow this, but I was really pissed when I tried to skip the DVD adverts and was told that was not an option.

    That is just rude and in all truthfulness hurting your consumer.

  22. This is why we only ever arrive at the theatre AT the listed showing time (sometimes a few minutes after). We know that, after paying our $14/seat, we’ve got until movie time +20 to get into our seats and not miss anything.

    We live a five minute drive from our closest multiplex. If the movie’s stated starting time is 19:00, we leave the house no sooner than 19:00. We’ve yet to miss any film time by taking this scheduling. So, yeah, the theatre gets money for delaying the film, but the advertisers get little in return for the time spent in front of a nearly empty screening room. Makes me wonder if the theatres charge more, per minute, the closer to the movie it’s displayed. They probably should.

  23. Kudos to the editor! I had never thought of this, but it does aggravate me seeing commercials, when I simply came to watch a movie. I do like trailers, but hate commercials! I usually don’t show up anymore until 10 or 15 minutes after start time, so I decrease the time I spend watching those commercials, but I totally agree with this article!

  24. I hate commercials as much as the next person, but please be reminded that you wouldn’t be able to see the movie at the price you are watching them for if it weren’t for advertising (*bull detected here). The costs of bringing the movie to the viewer are reduced by the inane commercials advertising things you likely already buy. If it wasn’t for Coca-cola, or BMW, or SONY, for example, how many of you would have enjoyed all the movies you have seen? Don’t forget: getting this many of the general public into one room at the same time is a marketer’s dream come true. Let Apple tell you that your life now has meaning; let coke tell you that a polar bear will suck off your lid and pour you down his throat; let VW tell you that they have a funny marketing department. All of it is meant to shape your experience. Why question it? It’s not like the government is forcing you to watch these by gunpoint (snerk).

  25. You have no idea how much I hate commercials! I feel like I’m being cheated on what could possibly be better than the movie itself…the trailers! More trailers less advertising.

    The worst part of the commercials…they are the same every time and in every movie. They can’t even give us a little diversity!

  26. Not sure if the owner of this site will read this but someone I believe is ‘posing’ as me, posted the statement above:

    “Seriously? Commercials is about money (someone getting some)…piracy is about money (someone taking some)….

    How is one worse than the other……really?”

    I do not endorse or condone piracy – period. If you would kindly email me the IP of the person that posted I’d be very interested to track that down.

    Thanks in advance.

  27. I agree with you, the advertising before the movies has become a chore for moviegoers. By the time I’m done being barraged with commercials for products that I probably won’t buy, my popcorn is gone and my patience is wearing thin. The worst is when I’m forced to watch advertisements for selling advertisements on the screen.

    The Arbitron poll said that moviegoers “don’t mind” the ads, but who’s to say whether they mind or not, or if they simply understand that this is to be expected when frequenting the theater?

    These advertising tactics must be working for the industry, since they’ve increased their advertising revenue to $456 million, but I feel that at some point, moviegoers as a whole will “mind” when they’re forced to watch 20 minutes of commercials each time they go see a movie. I wouldn’t watch 20 minutes of commercials at home, why would I want to do it in the theater?

  28. Great points you make there John, although I don’t really agree.

    First off, whenever I go see a film I highly doubt I have ever spent more than 5 minutes watching commercials after the film has started. I honestly haven’t timed it, but I’m sure I’m being generous even with that amount.

    I also find it funny that no one minds the trailers, after all they are just commercials for other movies – designed to do the exact same thing a commercial does right?

    As I see it, the commercials are a subsidy in a way. Prices for movies haven’t gone up in my area in easily 5-6 years, while my movie rentals and cable bill both have. So I’ll happily sit through a few commercials with that in mind.

    And lastly, monetizing your leisure time was, for me, a weak point in an otherwise great article. I mean really, do you expect them to give you a free pop to compensate your time because you drove all the way to the theatre?

    You do always have the choice to enter the movie 5-15 minutes late. Now doing this on the opening night or week of a movie is something I would never do, but if I hated commercials that much it might be an option.

  29. Near my house I have a multiplex where they charge $12.50 for an evening screening – they show no ads and go straight into trailers when the show starts. A buddy of mine lives right across from a different multiplex and when I go to a movie there, it costs $9.95, but they show a good 3-4 lengthy (not like 30 sec TV ads) commercials.

    In effect they pay me $2.50 to sit through 10 minutes or so of advertising. Personally it doesn’t effect which theater I’d rather go to because I don’t mind paying more to miss those crappy ads, but on the other hand, spread that $2.50 discount over several people and it’s sometimes worth the torture.

  30. I know! It’s almost as annoying as getting cut off in traffic or getting a splinter off a piece of wood! I think I’ll take the time to write a blog about that myself, but to be honest, doing something like that would WASTE A LOT OF MY TIME. Not that I don’t understand your reason for typing up this complaint, I just don’t like WASTING MY TIME.

  31. I went to see Crank 2, a couple days ago. I saw a Sobe ad….the exact same sobe ad I saw at mall cop, friday 13th, and taken. Only this time…it looped. 4 times. The exact same ad, looped 4 times. I almost walked out right then and asked for a refund.

  32. Yeah, i hate the fact that the movie starts at least a half hour after the scheduled time because of ads and previews.

    Makes me want to show up 20 minutes late, but then I can’t see to find a seat.

  33. Thank God or evolution I live in Holland where there are movietheaters without commercials and they’re asking only 1 dollar or so more then the commercialised theaters. Besides they have better movies there. Not the block (mind) busters….

  34. I work at a movie theater. I have for five years now. We never play commercials past the start time. first we play slides and background music. (paid ads) Than twenty minuets before show time the “pre show countdown” begins. (paid aids). But once it’s show time we only show trailers. And a funny little “be quiet” snippet which is usually sponsered by some company, but its a necessary messege. Everyone loves trailers, their some peoples favortie part. I dont know what your complaining about.

  35. All I know is that If I am going to pay $15 to watch a movie and, lets say, another $10 for popcorn and a drink, I sure do NOT want to waste my time on mindless commercials that bore you to sleep. (Although, on one aspect, I did recently see a cute commercial in the theatre that made me laugh). But all that aside..I agree with your observations, commercials should stop at showtime.

  36. Here’s a slightly different perspective on this, from someone who used to work as a manager in a movie theater and still has several friends in the biz.

    Movie theaters are not making more money than before. In fact, most movie theaters right now are making less money than they have in past years and are struggling to stay alive. The sagging economy, widespread piracy, and cheaper and higher quality home theater systems are all factors. For many theaters, the new revenue that this sort of advertising provides is the only thing keeping them afloat.

    Of course this doesn’t undermine your basic argument – I agree that advertising after the scheduled showtime is irritating. But maybe it will alleviate your anger a little bit to realize that nobody is getting rich off of your having to sit through a few extra commercials.

  37. i can see your are ranting a bit but u still make an excellent point.And can u justify downloading movies for free if the cinemas are making more money than before?

  38. I agree in part. I feel that with all the additional income from the commercials that our ticket prices should be subsidized. I used to get pissed about commercials on cable and satellite TV. After all I’m paying to get these channels as opposed to the channels I get for free with an antenna.
    Then I realized how much more these channels would cost without said advertising. They would cost as much each month as the Premium channels of HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Showtime, etc.
    So I’m okay with the ads in cable and satellite.

    I’ll be okay with ads in the movie theaters if they can really show me that my ticket price is less because of it, but when I can clearly remember buying a movie ticket only 10 years ago for $3.50 in the same theater that I now have to pay $9 there is no way I can be convinced of that.

    The insane greed of these movie companies is what pushes people toward piracy especially when you consider that the rise in movie prices (on a percentage scale) has gone up much faster than the rate of inflation or even gasoline prices over the same 10 year span of time.

    Let’s not get into how imbalanced the prices are in other countries such as the Philippines and China (mothers of all Piracy) where the average ticket price is more than a family spends in groceries for a week but a pirated DVD with 20 films is about half or one third that same price.

    It’s a no-brainer.

    Theater owners: Subsidize the ticket prices with all that extra money that you are raking in with the advertising and you’ll see more packed theater houses again. Guaranteed.

  39. It took me an hour to read the complaints to this ever growing alternitive advertising. I own one of those company’s! Madison Ave. is looking for alternitive advertising, TV doesn’t work anymore with DVR’s. I created a digital pre-show that is automated to the movie projector and to the P.O.S. Point of sale system. That is the Box Office screen that you look at and it tells you what time the movie starts.

    So, I created this cost effective program that the small mom and pop business can afford to advertise on the silver screen like the big boys do all the time. The only difference is I agree with most of what you are complaining about. My program automatically starts and automatically stops at exactly the advertised start time on the board where you bought your ticket.

    Who knows about how the movie industry works? Raise those hands now. How many of you understand where the theatre owner makes their money? Come on now!

    Exhibitors are theatre owners, distributors are the studios that pick up a movie for a song and spend the $2,500 per print to send it to every theatre and now 2 to 4 prints are sent.

    Well the Exhibitors don’t make what you think on a movie, that is why you pay 20 bucks for a popcorn,soda, candy and a movie ticket.

    Now the Distributors want to change the industry to Digital movies, 3-D movies, everyone wants a better movie going experience but these digital projectors are very and I mean very expencive. The Exhibitors can’t afford $100,000.00 per projector but the distribitors don’t want to spend the money either but they are saving big time on each print they don’t have to make, ship, ship back and store. A digital movie cost is a dollar.

    How many of you know that advertising at the movies was the second form of advertising? Really, Print was 1st then the movies! They had a nickelodean and painted the local butcher, painter, brothel on the side of the glass where the flame showed it on screen during the movie for two bits a month.

    This is a very interesting story but for those who want to sue, it has been done! In China first then the US of A! There are still a few around. The Exhibitors love the business, they don’t want to offend you, they do need the cash flow. Why do you think they are raising the price?

    Google On Screen Movie Advertising lawsuits and read about it. It really is sad, those people that decided not to go to the movies just because they show advertising are missing out on the new golden movie experience! In 3-D Journey to the center of the earth was increadable, now the distributors have at least one 3-D movie a month coming out.

    Just the digital experience is something you have to go see. Quit complaining about theatre owners playing advertising 15 minutes past the advertised start time. I guarantee it does not happen anymore! Those lawsuits put a stop to it!

    Go see a movie just to get out and see something that has changed. It will either make you smile or it might make you cry, either way it is a new experience.

    Thank you for reading this! No Spell Check, sorry

  40. In puerto rico we had to see an average of 25 minutes of ads BEFORE the trailers that runs for like 15 min. The lovely touch is when they repeat the ads, for “Yes, Man” I saw the same ad three times before the movie started.

  41. Coming from someone in the advertising business, all I can say is this: the only way we’ll ever NOT see advertising in theaters AFTER the start time is if people stop going to theaters for a while … and I mean a lot of people. It sucks, but there’s just too much money in it.

    I own a magazine about beer, wines, spirits, bars and restaurants in Milwaukee, WI. My readers don’t mind seeing advertising for beers, wines, spirits, bars or restaurants in my magazine. In fact, they expect it. On some level, I believe, they want it. When people have an interest in a niche, not only does it make sense to advertise a product or service that fits into that niche to those people, it actually helps to grow the end consumers awareness within their interest. That’s a good thing.

    Likewise, we don’t mind advertisements for other movies (trailers) at our shows because those advertisements fit our niche – movie-goers. The problem with general ads being run at movies is that they are general interest, not catered to the movie-goer niche. Most people don’t give a damn about what is being advertised at the theaters and, because of that, become irritated by the advertisement.

    I think this is problem world wide and why most television and radio advertisements are not only becoming more and more irritating, but also less and less effective.

  42. Great Article!

    I couldn’t agree more. I pay for a big screen, big sound to see the movie as it was meant to be seen.

    One could argue that trailers are ads. Maybe, but I am ready to watch a movie on a big screen so that is no problem at all. In fact, that is on of the reasons I go see a movie premier night. To see the best new trailers.

    I DO NOT pay to go see ads. Why should I PAY to see something that was intended to make me want to spend my money?

    At home watching TV, I already pay to get cable so I don’t think I should have to see the commercials. However I can always mute the TV and not pay attention (what I usally do). I can change the channel and watch something else. I can even get up and do something else while the commercials play. No big deal.

    Why am I forced to watch commercials?

  43. I think this article is made of win. Sharing information and media over the internet is the future. If big media giants like VIACOM want to continue to line their pockets with jumbo jets and mega yachts they need to find ways to go with the flow of civilization. The internet will always be free. Even if net neutrality fails the will of intelligent computer scientists will always beat the clout of businessmen.

  44. I don’t go to many movies any more but Christ why do I need to know about a movie coming out 2 years from the release of the movie I paid to watch?

    As far as the bad seating fear, I just don’t go to a movie until its been out for a week or two,so I plan on the ads being in my face. if its a big release I go early just to stay on top of current topics of interest and avoid spoilers by being capable of posting them before others.

    But I like pirating more. Better popcorn, Better drinks, and Better Environment, at the cost of maybe a bit of quality and screen size. Then again I am a “typical” consumer, not a critic.

  45. I’m clearly coming late to this one (having found it in the little list on the right of the screen) and it is likely that one of the 258 comments prior has addressed or mentioned this already but I’ll trot my 10c out anyway. :o)

    Did anyone else experience the giant ad-fest that preceded “Quantum of Solace” here in Adelaide (South Australia)? My mum and I went to see the movie one afternoon and were disgusted by the nearly 25 minutes of ADVERTS that we were subjected to before the previews of “coming attractions” ran. It was ridiculous. And even worse was that at least two of the ads were basically for the movie we were waiting to see and another ad was actually repeated within 30 seconds of its initial run. So I’m totally in agreement with the suggestion that it is getting out of hand. Here in Australia people actually count on the fact that you can be 15 minutes “late” to a movie and not miss a thing because the ads are likely to only just be finishing.

    Isn’t it enough that they charge us such over-blown prices for the heated grain and sugar water? Why do they have to steal our time away too?

  46. Enjoyed reading all the posts. I have no problem with the commercials before the movie as long as they are on before schduiled showtime for the most part. Have you been to a baseball or other sporting event, billboards everywhere and ads on the Jumbotron.

    To the person who calculated that it adds 7-cents to a ticket, your formula seems to be missing many peices. We call that a fallacy of composition. Since studio contracts take a percentage of the ticket price (90%) a 7-cent increase would only deliver about a penny to the theater. But I don’t know where you got your figures for the whole caluculation. 2007 1 biilion tickets were sold in theater with advertising. The industry made about a billion on the advertising. Hence it is a dollar a ticket. In order for the theater to make that up in higher ticket price, they would have to charge $10 dollars more.

    Also when you see ads for soda and other snacks sold at the theater, they are ads, many times the same commercial as on TV and guess what, they actually pay for those ads just like any other advertiser. Think about it, you see an ad for coke before the movie, do you really think anyone gets up and then goes and buys one, or did they have it before they saw the ad.

  47. Are you ready for this? The French go early to make sure they don’t miss the ads. I lived there for a year and could NEVER convince my friends to go 20 minutes late to miss the ads. Go figure.

  48. I’ve honestly never had a problem with the trailers before a movie. They give me a nice look ahead to see what’s coming out in more detail than a 30 second commercial on TV. They also give something for me and my friends to whisper about before the movie starts, “that looks awesome,” or “that looks like crap” and such, and after the movie is over.

  49. This is how you stop this practice. Get movie bloggers to help create a boycott of the products advertised at movies. Put a button on movie blogs so that people can click it to support the boycott. Then send the results of the campaign to the theatre owners AND the advertisers. When the advertisers realize they’re alienating potential consumers they’ll stop the practice.

  50. they are making your tickets for the movie just a little bit cheaper. If they didn’t get that advertising money, your popcorn and movie would be that much more expensive. Stop being a puss.

  51. In my theater it’s only about 5 to 7 minutes of ads and trailers so it’s all good, and I always arrive like 5 minutes late so perfect for me. I say, if you don’t like the service that is been delivered to you then don’t take it, go to another theatre if possible if not, well there’s not much you can do.

  52. I am a projectionist at a theater that is independently owned and we show ads before the movies. All the ads that run before the movies take up a total of 2 mins. I hate to show the ads but after 2 mins of torture you get at least 12 – 15 mins of trailers and then the feature presentation and we never get complaints but i guess when you can get a first – run movie for $ 4.00 who can complain!

  53. I agree with your comments and don’t like the ads in the theater. I don´t go to much to theater instead if I like the movie because the theme, actor/actress, or because I collect some of them, I do prefer to wait for the dvd. And the ads is one of the reason I use with my wife to not assist.
    Good article.

  54. Makes me feel a little better about all those movies I snuck into for free when I was a kid.

    I despise most forms of advertising, and I don’t watch tv, at all, zero. I don’t listen to commercial radio, at all. I feel like throwing objects at the theater screen when this situation arises. Recently I couldn’t convince myself to buy a ticket for any of them knowing I was early, and would have to suffer through that shit. I boycotted. There wasn’t anything that seemed worth the effort.

    I also despise the new National Guard recruiting propaganda (and the old, less sophisticated recruiting propaganda). They are currently using a redneck music video about “they call me a warrior.”

    The lyrics, from Rumfeld Records, include direct Herman Goering inspired motifs: “if you’re not going to fight then get out of the way.”

    “Denounce the pacifists as unpatriotic for exposing the nation to danger.” –Nazi war criminal Herman Goering, Lutwaffe commander

  55. A couple of years ago, here on the Darkest Continent, they changed the format of the pre-movie ads, from 15 minutes of trailers to one or two movie trailers in the middle of half an hour of the same stupid ads shown on TV. And then they played the same ads for YEARS without changing them.

    First, people complained. Then, people started arriving late. Then, the cinemas themselves cottoned on to people arriving late, and started printing the length of the ads on a poster so that people would know exactly how late to be.

    Then, the companies themselves cottoned on that their oh-so-desirable target market were groaning and cursing audibly at the sight of their brands. When the audience is going “Oh, effin’ Panarotti’s again,” your brand is going down the toilet, fast. I swear, nobody I know still eats at Panarotti’s.

    KFC, for one, stopped advertising in cinemas altogether. Other companies haven’t figured this out yet.

    Moral of the story is, don’t boycott the cinema – boycott the products. Play them at their own game.

  56. Loved the article. I read it to all of my family members and friends to make them aware and not mindless.
    Advertising as increased so much, and the sad thing is that there is no limit to it if nothing is done. Pretty soon they’ll be advertising at the bottom or in the corner of the screen during the movie.

  57. Here is another point. Why isw it that when I buy a DVD, I get a really annoying advert at the start of it telling me not to download or buy pirate movies? Makes me want to download films instead. At least I won’t have to put up with it then!

  58. (Type your comment here. Make sure you’ve read the commenting rules before doing so)You know why I don’t care about the commercials? Because I stopped going to the movies when the price went up to $8, and that was YEARS ago.
    They’re just too expensive, period.

  59. I understand there is a substantial amount of money to be made from movie theater advertising. However, in my opinion, it syphens a great portion of enjoyment out of the movie going experience. One of the things I have always looked forward to, along with many, is the preview portion of the show before the feature. This way, I can process my thoughts and opinions on upcoming films and better decide what to be excited about, plus, ITS FUN! But now, this experience is tainted by ads from the National Guard, the local jewelry store and “your neighborhood real estate agent”. Its not going to prevent me from paying my hard earned money to see a film, but its unfortunate that one of my personal favorite activities is being further raped by the industry for more money. The ultimate loser? The moviegoer. just too bad.

  60. Preach on the mountain, brother! I hate seeing commercials on the big screen. (Especially if they suck.) And while most people like trailers, they’re still commercials for other movies, and it dosen’t help matters if they stick in trailers for movies you know might suck. (like ‘High School Musical 3’, or ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua’.) Usually, i stand outside the door before the movie starts just so i can avoid this crap, and while some people say i won’t be able to find a good seat, or the theater room is too dark, then that’s a risk worth taking. I also agree that if the marquee sates that the movie starts at 7:00, they they should run this advertising crap before 7:00. ‘Truth in advertising’, is that so hard to do? (I guess it is, these days.) Personally, i’d rather see a cartoon short than a commercial, but people actually like that crap, then i’m a man without a country.

  61. I agree with Francesca! John, it’s a free market economy and businesses will do and charge what the market will bear and consumers will spend. If this upsets you that much, don’t go to movies. Just boycott them. Wait until it hits cable and you won’t be robbed of your time.

  62. Josh-I think your writing is a clear declaration of who is truly stupid. ( I could add to that immature and an @$$hole too.) When you point one finger at others (ie calliing them stupid) , you point three or more back at yourself.

  63. So how do you feel about commercials on cable TV? I know they piss me off.

    I know at my theatres in SD the commercials only start before the movie is supposed to start. And the trailers start when the movie is supposed to start. As for going late, as one of your detractors recommended, if you do that at a new release, you probably won’t get a seat-or one sandwiched between a screaming baby and someone with B.O.

  64. I livein Brazil and there are no commercials in the theatres I go to, only 2-5 movie trailers. Sometimes I pay less than $3 for a seat. I particularly never pay more than $6, unless it’s a 3D movie, but you can pay more depending on the theatre you go to. I paid $15 to watch ‘Jorney to the Center of the Earth’ in 3D. Popcorn+cola costs about $6-7. Although we don’t have IMAX here, I guess we are lucky.

  65. I personally despise advertising, I know some people who actually like commercials and I say to each his own, however I rarely watch television because I feel like some advertisor is trying to brainwash me to buy their product and I don’t like it. I don’t like AMC theaters and will not see a film there unless I don’t have a wholelot of choice in the matter, I never knew why until reading youre article, I thought there was just some subconcious reason that I just didn’t like AMC theaters maybe because of the atmosphere or whatever but now it just dawned on me that I don’t go because of the commercials, WHY SHOULD I BE FORCED TO SIT THROUGH COMMERCIALS I DON”T WANT TO WATCH WHEN I PAYED 10 DOLLARS TO SEE A MOVIE? Luckily I have another theater nearby with stadium seating and no commercials once the movies supposed to start. I think people should boycott the theaters that play commercials after the trailers should have already started.

  66. “We pay for cable TV and still get ads when we watch shows on cable channels.”

    That’s exactly why I dumped cable. On the other hand, I will watch pre-roll commercials for webcast TV shows.

    If I buy a hot pretzel, I want to eat my pretzel while I’m watching the movie, and while it’s still hot. So timing is important. By the time the commercials are over, my pretzel is cold. We used to boo the commercials, but we’ve been beaten into submission.

    Trailers are fine because they’re targeted to the audience. You won’t see a trailer for ‘Mamma Mia’ before a screening for ‘Mortal Kombat’, because they figure no one who likes Mortal Kombat would see Mamma Mia anyway.

    Advertisers, if I see your ad in the movies, it just makes me hate your product.

  67. i couldn’t agree more. i go to amc theatres and sometimes the movie won’t start for 20 minutes after the commercials. and this is the time its supposted to be starting. it is a total waste of time. i go to the movies alot too and tickets are expensive enough without my time being wasted. this seems like something that just started in the 90’s. when i was a kid in the 80’s we didn’t have to sit thru a shitload of commericials.

  68. I only ever go to the multiplex to see films i’m desperate to see as soon as they come out such as TDK, so maybe, 4 times a year. And that’s only really because the huge blockbuster movies never last long on movie streaming sites.
    I absolutely detest the modern cinema experience.
    The uncomfortable seats, ridiculously overpriced snacks, a theatre full of ignorant twats intent on talking through the whole picture, and yes HALF A FUCKING HOUR OF PEOPLE SELLING YOU SHIT BEFORE THE MOVIE EVEN STARTS!


    I do go see smaller indie movies at a lovely independent(ish) cinema we have where i live.
    Usually no adverts, nicer seats, reasonable prices for snacks and no fucking chavvy pricks talking all the way through.

  69. What happened to the days where we got to watch Looney Tunes and the only “commercials” we saw were for Jordan Almonds and a soda from the theater’s snack bar?

    But…in most cases courts say that our time is worth NOTHING. Just try and add “time” onto the judgement in a lawsuit and you’ll get shut down almost every time.

    However, my time is valuable to ME and given the trash that’s gracing the silver screen these days, commercials or not, it’s simply not worth my time to go. I figure that a movie’s merits are inversely proportional to it’s opening day’s income. Moo!

  70. @ Josh – If you’re going to call people “stupid” I’d suggest doing some math. Taking out ads before a movie would add about $0.07 per ticket.

    So, who is stupid now?


  72. I totally agree with you. When they first started showing commericials before movies I was so ticked off about it. It is bad enought that I have to put up with them on TV. And for those people saying if it wasn’t for the commercials I would have to pay for that show. I already do. I pay an horrendous amount of money to Direct TV every month for my measly tv service that in the summer time is about worthless because it is nothing but reruns. Getting back to the movie commercials. My husband and I have quit going to the movies not because of the price but also because we can wait about 2 months and rent it on DVD and not have to suffer through more commercials. Great article. Keep up the good work.

  73. My husband and I went to see “Wanted” last night. Movie was to start at 1:40. Actual movie started at 2:05. So many ads I lost count. I am 53 and remember the days of NO ads. Because of the length of ads and trailers, I prefer to stay home and rent movies. If we all did that, maybe the theater people get a clue…but I doubt it.

  74. Here here. Ads (commercials) have no place in movie theaters. I remember the time when it was 15 minutes, they’ve reigned it back a little, from the 80s.

    I’m a little curious as to the general feeling of Product Placement in films. My take is that if done right it can ad realism, but like everything else it can be overdone.

  75. (Type your comment here. Make sure you’ve read the commenting rules before doing so)….as to the ads on dvd, some advice. after you press “play” go get your snacks; clean up the dishes; tidy the mail… when you heaqr the soundtrack begin, walk in the tv room and have a seat.

  76. (Type your comment here. Make sure you’ve read the commenting rules before doing so)
    i completely agree with you. you’ve made me angrier than i already was. who do i sue? the local theatre, the advertisers or the studios?

  77. 15 minutes?? When I go to the Odeon (this is in the UK) it’s half an hour after screening time that they start showing TRAILERS. Not so bad when you have assigned seating, but f*ing irritating when you don’t. Especially having paid 5-7 quid (10-14 dollars) for a ticket in the first place. And to think they try to stop you filling up a cup with ice instead of getting even further ripped off for snacks.

  78. I can somehow only smile about this :-)
    Your point is absolutley right, pre-movie ads steal our time, but nag about 15 minutes?
    Here in germany, I went to see one of the pirates flicks and ended up waiting 45 minutes for the movie to start. About 30 Minutes of commercials/trailers are standard even for mediocre (selling) movies.Go see Transformers or any blockbuster and it might add up even more.
    Does this lower the ticket prices?
    Not really, there are special prices on one day a week (mostly tue. or thu.) in most cinemas when the ticket costs about 6€ (9,42$ June ’08), but on any other day (and beware you go on sunday!) ist 8€ or even more (12,57$). AND I have to sit through half an hour of bloody commercials, pay 3,50€ for a smallsize bag of popcorn.

    The good thing is:
    With the emerge of multiplex cinemas, pre-assigned seating became compulsive. You know the movie is said to start at 20, come at 20:30 and be fine… And nobody will blame you for ruining their commercial-experience because you block their sight while tacking you seat.

  79. I moved to europe for college and movie prices here are maybe 6$ (in big theatres as well). 10+ $ a ticket in the US is a lot of money as it is and the added commercials is just another small step for them to make money as the where the consumer has to learn to get used to it.
    Piracy or not, movie theatres are just getting out of fashion. People like to watch movies at home, sure a theatre is a different experience but id be happy with my own home theatre setup.

  80. My knee-jerk inclination is to agree with all the points made in this article, but after collecting myself and looking at the numbers, I realize it’s not just the movie industry and their over-paid actors that benefit, but the small-town movie houses, which have financially struggled since the advent of movie rentals.

    Though I agree the commercials are annoying and eat away at my time, we visit our local movie theater maybe twice a month and usually the commercials have already started playing by the time we start looking for a seat.

    What annoys me MORE than commercials at a movie theater are the commercials on a DVD I purchased. They disable the “skip” or “fast-forward” feature on the remote so I have no choice but to suffer through them (and yes, a few of them contain a “piracy is bad” lecture).

  81. We seem to have forgotten also that previews, though entertaining, are also ads. So we sit through shitty ads and then we sit through entertaining ads before the feature we paid to see actually starts. My theory: it’s not just to make money. I think movies have gotten so bad that they’re actually trying to distract us with the ads. It’s working too: on more than one occasion, a preview or ad has been the topic of discussion, not the film.

  82. Only there type of ads should be seen before a movie.
    Per Show only:
    1. Concession ad’s like COKE
    2. Movie relate things like FANDANGO
    On the film before the feature presentation
    3. Trailers with one of the following:
    a. Same ACTOR is in the film.
    b. Made by the same FILMMAKERS.
    c. From the same STUDIO.
    d. Same GENRE as the film.
    Nothing else should be an ad.

  83. Not sure if this has been covered already because I can’t be bothered to read all 209 comments, but in Los Angeles we have THE ARCLIGHT, which is assigned seating and no commercials, but you pay a slightly higher ticket price. So, this business model is “pay us more and we won’t show you any commercials”

  84. Just a follow up to my little rant up there…..

    There were exactly 4 trailers during the 40 minutes I waited for the movie to start. At about 2 to 3 minutes. Each.
    Half an hour of product placement, about 12 minutes to get an idea of something I might want to see in future.
    3 of which I don’t.

  85. I am in COMPLETE AGREEMENT with you man. I went to see AVP 2 on Christmas day. Got to the cinema HALF AN HOUR LATE because I had to pick up my girlfriend before we could get to the cinema. I wasn’t too worried about it, because I had already seen the first 5 minutes and could put up with missing, say another 10. (At this point I figured, 15 minutes for ads, the first 15 minutes gone and the movie into the introduction of the characters and the heating up of the movie)


    THEN there were another 5 minutes of ADS FOR THE CANDY BAR AND SOME OTHER CRAP (I tuned them out at that stage)


    Thats FORTY MINUTES of advertising. I wasn’t too pissed off at that stage, because it meant I got to see the entire movie from start to finish. So no biggie there.

    Then, last week I went to see I Am Legend when it was released here in Australia. There was a MASSIVE crowd waiting in line to see it. I had only gone to the cinema because my girlie had family stuff she had to do that night, so I had a night to myself. And it was a completly last minute desicion to go.

    I ended up having to sit in the FRONT FRIGGING ROW of the cinema and was subjected to the FULL 40 MINUTES OF ADVERTISING from there. I’m 6″3 by the way. Can you imaging being that tall and having to sit for 140 minutes (40 of which was FRIGGING ADVERTISEMENTS) in the VERY FRONT ROW OF A STADIUM CINEMA!?!?! CRANING YOUR NECK TO SEE WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON??!! I tried closing my eyes for 40 minutes but nearly fell asleep in the end, so after splashing Sprite on my face to wake up ( never a good idea when the ads have not even finished yet and I still had 100 minutes of Will Smith to deal with :-/ but lucky for him I enjoyed the story of the movie. The creatures sucked, but that wasn’t really a detractor for me in the end)
    I was lucky to get a damn seat full stop! So if I HAD ( and I thought about it) turned up 30 minutes later to skip the advertising, I wouldn’t even have been granted admission!!!
    In short……


    Sorry about all the caps. This is something I really feel passionate about. Because I hadn’t been to the movies for nearly a year before AVP 2. I was shocked at how long those things run for now.

  86. Let me preface by saying I don’t like ads before movies either, for the reasons beaten to death above. However, I don’t think the theaters owe anyone for lost time, money, or whatever else you think you’re entitled to.
    1) If you go to see a movie, you will watch ads. There is no deception. No one promised that your movie would start at a certain time, but rather that if you wished to see the movie, be in your seat by a posted time. If you don’t want to see ads, don’t go to movies. Blockbuster is cheaper and lets you stop the movie if you have to pee anyway.

    2) Stealing a movie through “smart shopping” is entirely different from subjecting someone to something unpleasant that they voluntarily submit themselves to. For one, piracy is illegal. Anyone will tell you that. The movies you rent tell you that, and clearly explain what it is and what the penalty is. Commercials, last I checked, are not illegal. I don’t like them in movies. I don’t like them on TV. I don’t like them on billboards. But I don’t sue Denny’s because of the 2 seconds I spent looking at their advertisement when I’m trying to find a rest stop. I don’t sue my neighbor because he shows boring family pictures at a party. If I don’t want to see family slideshows, I’ll leave. If I don’t want to see pre-movie ads, I won’t go to the theater. I don’t steal a car because I’m too cheap to pay for one. I don’t steal movies either.

    3) Even if pirating doesn’t cause “harm” in the same sense that stealing a car deprives someone of a car, it deprives the movie industry of revenue. You’re taking someone else’s work and using it for free against their wishes. If I patent something, and you break the law and make something identical, even though you didn’t steal from me, you deprived me of revenue.

    4) No one is forcing you to watch movies. Movies are entertainment, something enjoyed in one’s free time. If you’re catching a midnight showing after a week of poor sleep and have to be at work at 6, you’re an idiot. Your bad time management is not the movie industry’s fault and it certainly isn’t their problem. While debatable, I think it’s acceptable to say a car can be necessary to function in life. Some areas have poor public transportation, and some situations prevent people from subsisting without their own way to get places quickly. Movies are utterly unnecessary to life. If you don’t enjoy going to the theater, then don’t! I swear it’s not going to kill you.

    5)Finally, keep in mind you are a guest of the theater’s, in the same sense that hotels refer to their clients as guests. Yes you paid to be there, but that’s because you’re receiving a service. And you receive on their terms. Because if their terms are unacceptable, you don’t pay them. If you want a no-smoking room, and the hotel can’t provide you with one, you don’t book them. You don’t book a room, KNOWING it will be smoking, then sue the hotel because your idea of how a business should be run is different than reality dictates. Nor do unpack your luggage in the lobby and go to sleep because you don’t feel like paying for a room, even though you aren’t physically depriving someone else of one. Fraud is one thing, a crime. By all means, sue away. Complaining for receiving something exactly as promised is another thing entirely, greed or stupidity.

  87. I am so f**king SICK of them shoving ads in our damn faces. There is no excuse, reasons like this are why I understand why people pirate movies. It’s because going to the theater sucks these days. To increase profits they need to increase the quality of the services they offer, end of story. There is absolutely NO excuse for adding full length commercials for god’ sake!

    And to those of you saying you don’t have a problem with the commercials… I mean this from the bottum of my heart – f**k you, and burn in hell. It is people like you that are destroying society. Watch the movie Idiocracy, it’s a hilarious and terrifying insight into where our society is headed – and, in many ways, where we already are.

  88. Well, if you’re lucky, you’ll get somebody like me who only puts on 1 commercial, and 1 or 2 good trailers that I happen to think is cool.

    Obviously this whole post comes out of frustration, but there are a few factors and reasons of why commercials don’t start before the movie (pre show slide revenue! gotta have that trivia, right?) There are other factors too, like shortening of the time between a shows end and the next start (gotta have somebody in there to clean that crap you guys leave behind) to fit an extra show in there somehow.

    If you don’t like the stuff that goes on now, there are more things in the works that will probably make you cringe.

  89. The problem is that movie theatres are not showing adds to keep the ticket prices low. Ticket prices continue to rise every year and so do the amount of commercials before a show.
    The truth is that movie theatres have to not only raise ticket prices, but also sell ad time in order to make up for the loss in revenue from declining ticket sales.
    People simply are not going to the movies as much and much of that can be contributed to the increase in ad.

    It is an endless vicious cycle. They raise their price because they aren’t selling enough tickets. Then they sell even less so they sell ad time. Then they sell even less because of ads and they have to raise their ticket prices. They do everything they can to drive people away.

    If you look at the cost of tickets against the value of inflation, you see that tickets are way more than what they should be.

    I guarantee that if you opened a theatre with no post show time ads and lower ticket prices, you would have more customers and make more money than any other theatre.

  90. I just don’t go to the cinema anymore (much to my gf’s annoyance). There are several reasons: the commercials, parents bringing babies, teens with cellphone screens lit up with txt, forced to buy tickets at the candy counter (fume!)… And so on. The theater-going experience is no joy. I much prefer watching DVDs at home with all the associated benefits. (And although you can’t skip a lot of those anti-piracy ads on DVDs, you can fast-forward most of them ;)

  91. Well, I have stopped going to movies, A – They are expensive, B – Most movies are crap (to much over dramatisation), C – Product placements, D – Movie Stars get paid too much (there are other actors out there that can act just as good if not better and get paid less), E – What we see is controlled by the big shots (companies like Warner Bros, Paramount etc). So now I have turned to downloading the movie instead, no fee, no adverts and no supporting the usless hollywood trash… I do go and pay for arthouse movies made by independant companies and watch that instead…

  92. Dude – absolutely agree with you – well done, but seriously – you want some time back? DON’T GO TO TWO MOVIES EVERYWEEK! There must be a lot of crap movies for you there!

  93. Cable TV is doing the same double dipping as movie theaters. Why are there commercials on cable television if the consumers are paying $50+ per month for cable programming?

  94. This is the #1 reason why I have stopped going to see movies in the theater. Movies used to be a time that I could catch up with friends in the 15-20 minutes before the movie. Now not only am I force fed videos, coke commercials and tv show commercials, more times than not blasted so loud that I can’t even hear myself talk. I have continually looked for theaters that do not advertise this way and now there are none. As a result I watch 99% of my movies at home on a theater that I’ve invested quite a bit of money in. AMC used to be my movie theater of choice. It was an A list experience. They instantly became the worst offender. Next up Century although not as bad as AMC they’re not far behind and my wife and I have stopped going there. Now we only go to movies at independent theaters. It’s a real shame because movies used to be a central part of my free time. Now I hardly miss them. The advertising industry has really corrupted the theater industry and ruined the moving going experience.

  95. Everything y’all said above, plus… ticket prices are just unreasonable considering
    (a) waiter, there 15-20 minutes of advertisement in my movie
    (b) there is product placement in the movie itself
    (c) the prices for food and drinks are as bad as the airport
    (d) movies these days are about as deep and original as a shot glass

  96. I think some of you are missing the key point. They haven’t always shown those commercials before the movie. At 7pm when the movie is supposed to start, that is when the trailers would start …. still ads, i know, but at least they’re fun ….. so, the main argument here is that the advertisers are now adding another 10-15 minutes of wasted time at the beginning of the movie. Time that the consumer has paid for …. time that there is no compensation for. I don’t mind the commercials before the scheduled show time either because they don’t affect me. I like to get there early so I can get a good seat. But big, loud, theatrical coca-cola and car commercials … i could really do without. I groan until the trailers start generally.
    Bottom line …. it’s really annoying to spend your money to see a feature film and still have to watch commercials. I hate watching movies on TV for that very reason. It’s really pointless to complain though … it will never change. People won’t stop going to theatres because of the commercials. We’re all just wasting our breath. The advertisers will continue to do what they are doing. Maybe they’ll even put in and intermission in longer films so they can show you some more products that you don’t need to buy. Lame.

  97. I just don’t go to the movies any more because these commercials really piss me off! Sure wait until they are done before going in and you won’t find the seat you went early to get.

    I keep my TV on HBO, Showtime and Cinemax and never watch any other channels that I used to love anymore. The Sci-Fi channels and Discovery channels are virtually unwatchable. The commercials have become too much and too many.
    Sheeple put up with commercials gladly, are afraid to complain or can’t bothered to complain so the rest of us suffer. Look at the content of commercials these days. They are getting dumber and dumber by the day. Anyone remember what was always playing on any TV you saw in the movie “Robocop”? “I’d buy that for a dollar” and 6000 SUX commercials. Mass consumerism is making us stupid. I think that movie “Idiocracy” is more prophecy than entertainment. We’re turning F-tard.

  98. You want to talk or make a statement. Call the press, publish the websites, run the banners and protest. Simple solution and THEY WILL LISTEN. DON’T GO…

    For one month (preferably a really busy month) everyone, everywhere… DON’T GO.

  99. Oh, and I might add: When we live in LA, we were going to an average of a movie a week at least – sometimes more when they had special screenings. Since we’ve moved (and no longer have a theater like Arclight to go to) we have averaged about a movie every 4 months. Really. Every trip to the movie theater leaves us exasperated and annoyed, so we’ve begun to just wait for the DVD and enjoy it at home. (Though the prevalence of ads on DVDs is starting to get annoying too.)

  100. This is one of the reasons I miss living in Los Angeles – The Arclight theater is the moviegoing experience done right. Unless they’ve changed in the years since I moved, here’s what you can expect:

    1. No commercials – not even the pre-time ads on the projector type things or “MovieTunes” music (which is just advertising for pop music). Before the movie you have a lovely little logo of the theater projected on the screen while actual movie scores play over the audio system. When movie time comes, it’s trailers, then movie. Simple.

    2. Reserved seating: No jockeying for a seat, having to get there and hour before show time, or asking people to please move down so your party of 4 can sit together. You’ve got a seat number.

    3. Comfortable (for real) and well thought-out seating. One of the selling points I remember from when they first opened – the front row of seats is far enough back that if the screen fell, it wouldn’t hit them. And honestly, all of the seats are comfy, and there’s enough room between the rows of seats for people to walk through without you have to stand up.

    4. REAL butter on popcorn. Really real butter. And that’s without mentioning the locally daily made caramel popcorn and the gourmet sausage in place of hot dogs.

    Of course, you pay a premium for this – the last time I went (which was more than 4 years ago) ticket prices were around $13 or $14. I never balked once at paying that though – given that most of the other theaters in LA were already about $9 a ticket, $5 extra wasn’t much to ask for all that luxury and comfort. Besides, an admission fee like that seemed to automatically filter out what is *really* the number one annoyance at movie theaters: Other patrons who cannot shut the hell up during the movie.

  101. It’s amazing that so many people continue to go to the movies with this heresy going on. Complain to the theater, organize a public protest, sue the theater.

    Maybe just not going will suffice. I agree that piracy is not an accurate parallel, driving down a toll road and seeing a billboard might be closer- I just expect it and can choose an alternate route if I wish.

  102. It is unfortunate the movie industry feels the need to extract every bit of financial gain at the expense of the audience’s movie experience. I can see this sort of advertising being offered in free online movie rental systems, but not when the audience has paid full price and expect to enjoy themselves and not be solicited. This just leaves a bad taste in their mouths before the movie has even started.

  103. As much as i hate the commercials pre-movie. (in Canada at least) The increased number of commercials coincided with a drop in ticket prices. A few years ago I was paying 15 for a movie, now its just over 10 dollars….

  104. wow, lotsa comments..

    john, just listening to the live TMB regarding this topic.

    having worked in theaters back in the early nineties, i was mortified to see commercials start making their way into the larger urban centers (like toronto and london). i felt this was blasphemous then as the audience was basically paying captives to these ads. but, i understood that the theater chains were really struggling back then and this was a way for the theaters to make money as their take on the box office is minuscule. but things have now gone too far.

    you are absolutely correct with regards to the start time of the movie. this is what you pay for. to force the audience to watch commercials (not trailers, it’s part of the tradition) is unethical in every sense.
    the industry will continue to take advantage of its patrons until we protest loud enough and long enough.

    i hope this post continues to garner attention, especially to the movie going public. good call, john.

  105. “milander” what are you talking about, just because you have some big movie setup doesnt mean everyone else does…you act like someone is trying to force you to go to the movies.
    youre seriously stupid.
    this movie is targeted at everyone, not just people with home theatre systems.

  106. You’re worried about the time adding up from all the commercials at the beginning of a movie.

    If you are seeing 8 movies a month in a theater, you have no shortage of free time… suck it up

  107. Just show up late. (til after the commercials are done) If the movie is good and you are worried about a seat, show up early/ontime. If you show up early to get a good seat, you can either watch the commercials or listen to your iPod or talk to your friend.

    Is there a problem here?

  108. I say screw the ads where they have no place. For those of you that enjoy ads and are so damn susceptible to this bullshit mass marketing, by all means. I buy something if I need it and not because it was thrown in my face 10 times in one day. We can live without ads and so can the industry if they were actually more creative. A cinema is a cinema, not a stereophonic joy ride to the Shopping Channel or Dealership.

    This is not acceptable and people who remain complacent to this trivial mainstream attitude to mass consumerism only encourage the scheme. It’s not solely a question of wasted time or a question of money but bottom line a question of principle, period!

  109. My home cinema is larger than most multiplex screens, my souns system is 10.5 and I have the most comfortable seats you can imagine (check out what you can get, we are not talking barker loungers here)…

    Why should I even have to endure the agony of going to the cinema and trying to tolerate the pricks, shits, jerk offs and other dross of humanity ruining my evenings entertainment with their burps, farts, stomach rumbles, mobile phones, inane giggling, snogging, chewing etc etc etc… man I need tot get that off my chest I fucking HATE the cinema.

    1. larger than most multiplex screens?

      please tell me what components make up your home cinema – I want to watch movies on a huge screen at home :)

      mostly since a lot of my favorites (Lawrence of Arabia, The Godfather, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.) came out before I was born, so I never got a chance to see them in the theaters.

  110. Only shortsighted people say these ads are no big deal. Put up with ads before the film and before long there will be ads scrolling along the bottom of the screen during the film or a popup saying what film is on next like on tv.

  111. Previews today are now a “Cliff Notes” version of the film. I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would want to go and see a film after they have already seen the preview.

  112. quote
    Ultimately pirating is killing creativity. Without a money stream, the music and film industries will degenerate into endless Britney Spears and rap crap; mass marketed rubbish that drowns truly talented performers in a sea of slop.

    the money stream is what CREATED mass market rubbish, you fool.
    true talent is not motivated by the money stream, it is motivated by the desire to innovate for innovation’s sake.

    Here’s an analogy: by parking somewhere and leaving your car, there is a possibility that your car will be stolen. But you are obviously NOT implicitly agreeing to your car being stolen because you’re locking your car.

    this is a false analogy. first, digital piracy does not deprive an owner of use of the original product. second, the film and music industries have not “locked the car”, they left the key in the ignition and the door ajar. there is no implicit agreement, but there should be an expectation that an unlocked car with the key in the ignition is likely to be stolen (unless you’re insane).

    the movie and music industries f*cked themselves by using the same storage formats as the computer industry. if they had used a proprietary format that was not licensed to the pc component manufacturers, piracy would be much less easy and ubiquitous.

  113. I don’t think the issue is that the movie has to start at 7pm. Generally, movies don’t start at that time, the previews do. The issue is that they’re profiting and not giving us anything in return, which you’ve said in your post.

  114. It would take a brave distributor/cinema chain but a possible route could be to offer free tickets for turning up 30 minutes before showtime, you then get a free ticket and a pick of the seats but you have to sit through half an hour of solid marketing. Come in any time in the 30 minutes before the movie starts and you have to pay. At least that would be more honest and would give the consumer some choice.

  115. @Andy

    What a flawed sense of logic you have. Not only are movie ticket prices being gouged like gasoline but to think that arriving later to a showtime is an acceptable fix is ridiculous. I think there are plenty of people with a seating preference inside theatres and plenty know that arriving as late as 15 to 20min to a showing is severely limiting factor.

  116. I don’t find anything wrong with it. Commercials in movies theaters also serve the purpose of giving us a small break once in a while. I normally try to make myself comfortable before watching a movie and the commercials give me some time to do it.

  117. Generally, I go to the movie theater once in a few months. (Yes I have no life). When I do go, I find the advertisements worth watching because they are fresh and interesting. They are either extended versions of TV commercials or extra cool editions. This, in my opinion, is part of the entire experience of watching a movie – getting a chance to see these great commercials. We never do have time to sit down to watch such long commercials and they are usually interesting. However, I’d have to agree with you if they don’t change the commercials that often. Doesn’t really affect me though. I go once in a few months. =p

  118. Is this not just one more reason not to go to a movie theater to view a movie? This is in addition to the crappiest, fatteningest food possible at 98% of the theaters in our country.

  119. The gist of this article is that the author’s 15 minutes of time has value … and that value is being stolen. What about the thousands of man-hours of work by artists, actors, cameramen, etc, etc who make the films being pirated? Does their time not have value as well? Isn’t piracy stealing?

    Ultimately pirating is killing creativity. Without a money stream, the music and film industries will degenerate into endless Britney Spears and rap crap; mass marketed rubbish that drowns truly talented performers in a sea of slop.

  120. How is “stealing your time” different than piracy? The difference is consent (also known as choice.) Though it may not be your preference, you do willingly choose to be in the theater. The owners of film/DVD/CD copyrights do not have any choice about illegal pirating.

  121. I would second the notion that these advertisements are truly annoying. I would skip them if possible, but showing up to a movie late means you most likely are sitting in the first row because all the decent seats are gone.

    With movies being 10 bucks a pop where I live it’s becoming cost prohibitive to go see a first run movie in a theater. Netflix all the way…

  122. Not sure whether it has been mentioned, but after scanning most of the entries, I think it’s worth mentioning: I owned and ran a couple of film theatres over the years, small ones with mostly arthouse programme. The simple fact is: with half an hour of pre-show commercials, you have a chance of surviving without losses. Without them, these days chances are slim. You may hate them, but they pay some of the bills, either by cutting your losses, or by allowing you to be competitive at ticket prices. (I don’t hate them, actually – as a general rule, movie ads are much better than tv ads in Europe, check out the Cannes Lions. Plus adverstising is still less annoying on tv, so the general attitude may be better). Those 5 minutes of stupid little still slides by local restaurants or car dealers alone keep thousands of small cinemas in business. And: Any civilized theatre should offer pre-assigned seating. Apart from being a convenient service to keep audience happy, it allows those who want to come at 8:22 instead of 7:55 to do so.

  123. I agree with the article. What I do though, if the movie is supposed to start at 7 PM, I get the kids in the car and leave for the theater right around 7 PM. Seriously. I still have enough time to buy the tickets, popcorn and sodas, and just about when we put our rears in the seats the movie starts. That’s worked the past 3 or 4 times. We only go to the movies now about once a month, as it’s too expensive to go more than that (about $60 for 4 people for 75-90 minutes entertainment is too damned expensive!).

  124. Agree agree! Now how can we do a mass mailing to all cinemas in the US & Australia in protest? Publish a list of email addresses & I’ll do it.
    Shall we take on the big oil companies next?

  125. If your movie starts at 7:30 and they run commercials before 7:30 then you are sitting in that chair for free and it’s your own fault for being subject to the commercials.

    On the other hand if they run commercials after 7:30 then they are total hosers and your are totally right. The Marcus theater by my house usually starts the movie right at the printed show time and all trailers and commercials are run before that.


  126. It depends on the theatre, naturally. When I go see classics at the local indie cinema, they jump right into it – it’s amazing.

    I haven’t gone to a big multiplex in years, and I only remember that it was an awful experience.

    I’d love to see short films before the movie – sweet idea, Darren.

  127. The movies themselves are commercials anyway, loaded with logos and product placements. Anyone seen Fantastic Four? That was one long commercial. It was so obvious, they even wrote corporate sponsorship into the script.

  128. The most pathetic commercials that appear in movie theaters and in most DVD’s people buy, at least in Europe, are those annoying Anti-piracy ads, why do people who buy DVD movies or pay to watch a movie have to watch Anti-piracy ads??. And of course ripped DVD’s and pirated movies don’t have those ads. Just pathetic the way large companies treat people who help them by buying or paying the movies they make.

  129. Well this thread seems to have struck a chord with a lot of people.

    I still think my initial suggestion solves everything:

    103. jon says: requiring the ads to be strictly before the movie will also raise ticket prices. The exhibitors get paid for the ads based upon how many patrons actually SEE the ad.

    Show student/independently made short films of 6mins or under, of suitable quality and similar genre to the movie being shown after the obligatory cinema chain ads (candy bar etc). Get people in the seats to watch something new & interesting by a local upcoming, then you can charge a shite load for a big company to have an advertising spot between that and the trailers/movie.

    I’m 100% certain there would be enough films submitted to make it viable (If any of my shorts were shown on the silver screen I would die a happy man), it would provide sponsorship opportunity for a company to support the program etc etc

    It makes sense to me at least

  130. I agree, that movie commercials are outrageous. They are also quite often lamer than the commercials that I get on cable TV, and it’s nearly impossible to walk away during them. Captive audience, indeed. Definitely another reason to wait for a movie to go to DVD.

  131. At 144 comments, I’m convinced now.

    It’s time for some studios to bring back short films, and/or short animated films, play them before the feature.

    Or at least PSAs.

    All I know is that my lemon drops and watered down cola is gone by the opening credits…

  132. Your article was passionate and well-written but I think a little misguided. In the free market, people vote with their dollars, so it does not matter how much you complain, the distribution and theater outlets will still count your 8 ticket/ dollars at the end of the month. Many cinephiles have believed that film as a medium (along with TV, the crassest of media) has been tainted since the new guard of Hollywood overtook classic cinema of the 50’s and the revolutionary 70’s. Product placement and revenue trumps film art these days, which is why studios, not artists or writers own their creative work. It is sad, but at the same time, an environment we consumers have created. As a undergraduate film/media student at UCSB, I was encouraged to investigate the business practices of the Hollywood machine, and it is disheartening. Now as a business student, I fully agree with Tommy that businesses will do anything to increase revenue, or increase stockholder equity. Until movie-going audiences demand a better product (i.e. better quality films, less ads, fewer trailers, etc.) the business will continue the same practices. The film industry is very disheartening in many aspects, which is part of the reason I left the industry in the first place. Just count yourself lucky that you are not in India watching Bengali DVD’s that will give you 30 min- 1 hr worth of ads that you cannot fast-forward.

  133. hey John, you said this earlier
    Considering that last year Hollywood broke it’s own boxoffice record and broke it’s record for number of tickets sold, I’d say you’re vastly over estimating the effect piracy has on things.

    well, I have to point this out, but Hollywood did NOT break its record for number of tickets sold. You ought to get your facts straight.2002 is still the record holder for attendance, since then it has been dropping. 2006 was an improvement over a dismal 2005, but in no way a record. It is unclear whether it will be broken this year. It all depends on the holiday season movie quality.
    And you can check with Nielsen entertainment or Rentrack (the only two companies that would actually know for sure) to verify that I am correct abut the tickets sold, and you are 100% wrong on that.

    Also, AMC, REGAL, and CINEMARK all advertise their starting times as when the previews start, so obviously you missed checking the facts on that issue too, and they make up for over 50% of the market share. If you don’t want to see the previews, then show up late, but know that when the start time is listed, it is for the previews. So, your real beef on this issue is with the smaller chains and the mom and pop theatres.

  134. Hey Joe Felice,

    You said:

    “(I just searched for “later”, and apparently no one else has offered this advice? Pretend the movie starts later. It does.)”

    Many people in this thread have suggested that. But as I’ve said a few times. Showing up later creates more potential problems:

    1) You risk missing the start of the movie
    2) You risk the show being sold out
    3) You risk geting a neck breaker seat
    4) You risk not getting seats for you and your friends together

    The better idea is just for the theater to start the movie when they advertised the start of the movie. :)


  135. There aren’t any commercials in Beckett, Proust, Joyce, Updike, Milton, Dante, Byron, Miller, Dahl…. The fact is, as long as society is dependent on the mainstream Hollywood studios to be placated, commercials are here to stay. Put up the eleven fifty and shut up or go read a book until the independents think of more innovative ways to distribute their features; forcing Hollywood to follow suit. If Coca-Cola stealing a few hours or days from your life is indeed such a great inconvenience to you, consider yourself lucky.

  136. Have to throw in the obligatory ‘parent comment’. I have a 2 year old daughter so for my wife and I to go to a movie requires hiring a baby-sitter. We live in NYC so the ticket is already expensive but figure that the extra time needed to get to the theater and the ‘ad viewing time’ costs us at least 10 to 15 dollars for the babysitter … not to mention the value of our time or the fact that we’re already over paying for the ticket.

    Actually cannot remember the last time that we went to a movie.

    Thanks for justifying my monthly Blockbuster-Online charge.

  137. Here’s what it all comes down to. Business’ will do any AND everything they can to make money. They will continue this practice until money starts going away. You can complain about the commercials before a movie but guess what? You still paid to be there. Why then would they stop showing commercials? Writing negative article has no effect on their bank accounts. If you want them to stop, don’t pay them. Vote with your money because that’s the only language they speak.

  138. 15 minutes? Here in Puerto Rico the commercials last over 30 minutes…at least the tickets are only 5.50, I’ve heard in the US tickets can even go over 8 dollars each.

  139. “Your paying for the PRODUCT/SERVICE, and if anything else delays the time till you get that product/service, yes, its the companies fault but they are still not taking your money. You still got what you paid for.

    Of course, the airline situation is a little bit different… they’ll refund you after extreme delays. But the basic theory is the same.”

    That’s ridiculous. So you’re saying you would wait, how long for your movie / plane flight to begin? 1 hour? 2 hours? 8 hours? You’re paying for a SERVICE. Part of that service entails an agreement that you will get what you paid for in a reasonable amount of time. If you’re content with sitting there waiting 20 minutes for your movie to start while watching ads for Coke that’s your business. I paid for that service / product, I want it now. A plane is different than a movie.

    Not to mention there are numerous factors involved when a flight is delayed…and in many cases an airline will make it up to you if your flight is canceled or delayed…there’s nothing that should keep a movie from starting. You press a switch, it goes. I totally agree it’s a waste of my time and money to have to watch advertisements before the movie.

  140. Between the ever increasing cost of tickets and concessions I don’t feel that my local theaters are providing an experience that can justify the additional time sink of advertisements. As such I’ve simply stopped going to the theater and only get my movies from NetFlix. The experience in my own home is much more enjoyable to that of the theater. In addition to taking control of my time and refusing to give it away to the theater I’ve also gotten a player that will allow me to skip the commercials and fbi warnings on DVD’s. I consider that as much theft of my time as the ads at theaters.

  141. <P class=ajax-edit id=ajax-edit101069.<SPAN class=ajax-timer id=timeajax-edit101069>  ( 5 minutes and 10 seconds)</SPAN></P><P class=ajax-edit id=ajax-edit101069>You may click on -timer ></P>Movie Marketer says:

    Hey there,
    Valid points. I work in the industry, and can hopefully provide a little insight.. A large part of my job entails going to theatres just to watch the trailers, and to be honest, i rarely every see advertisements at the start of a showtime.

    I think one solution to your time/money problem, which I can understand, might be to start supporting smaller theatre chains or independents (who nowadays provide you with the same amenities and quality of picture/service), instead of the huge chains that are purely out to make as big a profit as possible (partially because they have to share that with their home office operating costs that subsidize multi-million dollar megaplexes). I’ve learned that the smaller guy will almost always care more about your movie-going experience than turning a profit. Not to say that you shouldn’t go to the big chains – but if the ads bother you This much, switching up your venue might relieve some of your angst :-)

  142. I’ve had this. I went to see the Bourne Ultimatum about a month ago (whenever it was at the cinemas), and the film was scheduled to start at 4, but didnt start till 4.25 – it was ridiculous.

  143. You pay movie theaters for the movie. Lets say a movie is scheduled to run at 7pm, and is 2 hours 15 minutes long. So, even if there are 15 minutes of commercials, you still get what you paid for, the 2 hours 15 minutes of movie time. They’re taking your TIME and NOT your MONEY.

    Your theory:
    A high paid doctor boards a plane. The plane is scheduled to leave at 6:30, but due to delays leaves at 7:30. The doctor gets paid $100 an hour. So, the airline now owes him $100?

    Is that correct?


    Your paying for the PRODUCT/SERVICE, and if anything else delays the time till you get that product/service, yes, its the companies fault but they are still not taking your money. You still got what you paid for.

    Of course, the airline situation is a little bit different… they’ll refund you after extreme delays. But the basic theory is the same.

  144. I remember when cable TV first hit…it was “commercial free” because we had to pay for the service, unlike broadcast TV. As a business owner, I can’t get on the do-not-call list, so I get lots of telemarketers. I look at them as shoplifters, as my time is worth money and they think they can just take my time for free and stick it in their pocket. Yes, time is worth money.

  145. There are a couple reasons why this is a pretty ridiculous argument

    First, we implicitly accept that there is going to be advertising before movies – even if it’s at the time stated that the movie will start. When the exchange of money occurs (you paying for the movie), you know this will occur and therefore implicitly accept it

    Second, John states that he’s ok with advertising on TV because he’s getting a “free” show out of it. But really the only difference between TV and going to the movies is that the payment is indirect – you’re paying for cable rather than the individual show you’re watching. They’re still “stealing” your time – there is no significant difference between advertising on TV and advertising at the movies

    Third, this is INCREDIBLY different from online movie piracy because of the implicit contract i mentioned before. When you go to the movies, you pay with the understanding that there is going to be advertising – advertising is a part of the theater format. Conversely, piracy is not part of the format for releasing movies – you have to go out of your way to rip the dvd or tape the theater release, put it on your computer, and upload it to bittorrent, etc.

    Finally, someone is probably going to respond to me saying that piracy happens often and is therefore implicitly accepted by those who produce and release movies. Here’s why this is not true: they’re not accepting that there is going to be piracy because they’re clearly doing everything they can to prevent piracy. Here’s an analogy: by parking somewhere and leaving your car, there is a possibility that your car will be stolen. But you are obviously NOT implicitly agreeing to your car being stolen because you’re locking your car.

    That said, I don’t like advertising either when the movie is said to start but I don’t think this argument is sufficient enough to show why there shouldn’t be any.

  146. This was a good read. I think my overall problem with the theater industry is not only the commercials played before the film, but also the outrageous costs involved with the entire theater going experience. The film makers want you to feel bad for screwing them out of their money…but they don’t care the theaters are screwing us.

    $10 for a ticket? $10 for popcorn and a coke? C’mon! That money isn’t paying for the movie…it’s paying for the giant flat screen televisions in the theater lobby that’s running *gasp*, more commercials!

    What’s more, I hate hate HATE having to watch anti-piracy commercials before the actual movie. If I’m sitting there, in the theater, I’ve obviously PAID to get there and am NOT pirating movies…and yet I still have to watch Bruce Willis or whom ever else tell me I’m going to hell if I download his movie. I’m in the theater paying for it already!! Give me a break!

  147. @Brian-
    it is virtually impossible to measure that, but to counter, note the contrapositive (is that the right word? my vocab is not the greatest) of that argument

    there is no proof that people who download pirated versions of the movies aren’t doing so in lieu of seeing them in the movies.

    and I would just like to point out my personal views on the subject:
    1) I don’t like the advertising before movies either
    2) I don’t care if people download pirated movies.
    But I do recognize the difference between downloading movies NOT released on DVD’s that are still in the theatres and downloading movies that are out on dvd’s. The first hurts exhibitors too. The latter only hurts distributors. Only the first one has an effect on my financial well being

  148. Previews are not the same as a commercial for Nissan or some other product! I have no problems with previews or even a brief commercial advertising the popcorn at the theater snack counter. However, these Nissan commercials need to stop! See my previous post #109 for the ultimate solution…

  149. oh, nat, i forgot

    oh, John, how you are wrong again.

    Your argument is predicated on the idea that since there is piracy, the industry has been hurt and therefore NEEDS to have commercials after the advertised start time of the movie.
    Since ticket sales and boxoffice money are at their highest points in movie history (higher than before there were commercials), your argument is null and void.

    the piracy, which causes distributors to lose money in the theatres and on dvd sales, causes distributors to want higher ticket prices, regardless if overall ticket sales are higher or not.
    On the other hand, even though ticket sales are up, exhibitors are still on the decline. Few, if any, have posted operating profits for quite some time. Many have had to file bankruptcy protection. The revenue from ticket sales alone does not even come close to covering their operational expenses.
    The exhibitors do NEED to have the advertising revenue to operate. Just like they also NEED to have extremely high concession prices to be able to even come close to turning a profit. Otherwise, you wouldn’t ever have the chance to see a movie in a theater anymore.

    Oh, and about the concessions, many people don’t know this, but at AMC, you CAN BRING IN YOUR OWN CONCESSIONS. NOBODY FORCES YOU TO BUY IT THERE. As long as it is not an open container and will not create any more of a mess than their food, they will not stop you. And if they do, then they are not awawre of their own companies policies

  150. @John:

    Yes, ticket sales were record highs last year, but, THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN HIGHER WITHOUT THE PIRACY

    Specious argument with no factual backup. You can’t prove that people who pirate movies are doing so in lieu of seeing them in the theater. They could be doing it in lieu of renting them. Or they could simply be doing it because they can, even if they never intended to visit a theater to see the movie. Maybe some people even see the movie in the theater, like it enough to want a copy, and so pirate it instead of paying for a DVD.

    You offer no evidence that a movie downloaded directly correlates to a theater ticket not sold.

  151. @John:

    Fair enough. What you said was:

    So the next time you’re pirating a movie (which is neither something I do nor endorse), let that ease your conscience, because although you’re stealing the $10 you would have paid in admission… they probably owe you about $150 for stolen ad time anyway.

    So, a la Monty Python (“A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bat”), you do a little song and dance that says “I don’t condone stealing, but if you do steal, here’s why you shouldn’t feel so bad.” Morally this is hardly distinguishable from advocating theft.


    I agree it’s poor service but the fact is, it is still a theft of your time.

    No, no it’s not. You can always walk out and demand a refund, and I’d be surprised if you didn’t get it. Also, showing you commercials is not even remotely comparable to assault. Further to that, there’s more than one way to get a movie. Blockbuster and Netflix are going gangbusters, last I checked. I see no reason to compound John’s lame argument with lame examples to back it up.


    Bottom line: You paid for a seat in the theater and the right to view a movie. The best argument you might get is if, in fact, an advertisement states “Movie starts at” (as John says). But looking at my local daily and the local weekly altrag, I see only times listed, no “Movie starts at,” no promise of content, etc. etc. etc. The closest you’ll find is “Showtime,” and who’s to say the commercials aren’t part of “the show.” But you cannot accuse of theft someone to whom you voluntarily give your time — no one forced you to buy a ticket, after all.

    In any event, the argument is still stupid. You know going in that you’re going to get commercials. If you don’t like it, don’t see the movie. Don’t fool yourself with the idea that outright theft of a film is somehow justified, or its moral questionability reduced, because the theater makes you sit through a few minutes of ads. If you don’t see why, then there’s really nothing more to discuss. I’m not here to convince you, just to point out that I think you’re wrong.

    In sum, find me a legal expert who supports this ridiculous opinion, and I’ll eat my hat. The old one, not my nice one.

  152. Nat- good questions-I’ll answer the best I can
    (and note, I also don’t like the commercials…but I can’t avoid the part of my job that says i have to do this work)
    1) Are you somehow able to track “conversion” – that is, what percentage of people who view these ads actually turn around and buy something being advertised?
    No, we are not. But, we don’t get paid to do that, nor do the companies that plan the advertising necessarily care about that as much. I will add more to this with the response to question 2

    2)2) Has it ever been tested to see if a smaller number of people viewing the same ad before the movie results in fewer sales (or whatever the goal of the ad is)?

    I am not sure if it has been tested or not. Part of what I do is figure out how many people are seeing the ads, and that is all these companies pay for. I also do a lot of other things with box offices too (they are irrelevant to this topic though).

    One thing about how these people make money, is, that the costs for the ads are based upon how many people were there for it, which right now, is mainly based on patron counts. But, it takes around a month after the time periods for the companies that run the advertisements to find out the patron counts from me (two companies essentially cover every exhibitor). Essentially, they set up a price tier that says if x amount of people see the ad, it costs y, and if z amount see the ad, it costs YY, and so forth

    Now, back to that conversion- I don’t get the data for how many people buy the product, so I can’t calculate it. I only have the patron info, box office info, and market research. It is also hard to track that because many of these products have extensive advertising outside of the theatres (coke and pepsi).

    I sort of rambled here. If you need anything cleared up more, I will be happy to answer until I stop checking later today

  153. Hey Jon,

    Your argument is predicated on the idea that since there is piracy, the industry has been hurt and therefore NEEDS to have commercials after the advertised start time of the movie.

    Since ticket sales and boxoffice money are at their highest points in movie history (higher than before there were commercials), your argument is null and void.

  154. That argument is not shattered in the least. Movie piracy DOES cause fewer people to see the movie in the theater. Yes, ticket sales were record highs last year, but, THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN HIGHER WITHOUT THE PIRACY

  155. @Jon

    You said:
    “If there are fewer people in the theater when the ads are shown, if for some reason it was required that they are only shown before, then I would take that into consideration when telling the companies how many people viewed the ads.”

    A couple of questions on this…

    1) Are you somehow able to track “conversion” – that is, what percentage of people who view these ads actually turn around and buy something being advertised?

    2) Has it ever been tested to see if a smaller number of people viewing the same ad before the movie results in fewer sales (or whatever the goal of the ad is)?

    Personally, these ads aggravate the hell out of me and I’m more likely to NOT buy something that’s advertised because it leaves such a bad taste in my mouth.

    The ads that run before the official start time of the movies are a different story, however. These don’t bother me at all since it’s not abusing my time and I have actually gone out and bought several CD’s after hearing music being advertised.

  156. Hey Jon,

    You said:

    “you were incorrectly correlating the increase of advertisements with the rise in movie ticket prices, which is absolute crap”

    Nonsense. I never correlated the two as a cause and effect at all. I merely pointed out the fact that the advent of commercials in theaters hasn’t slowed down the rise of ticket prices one little bit. That’s a fact. Interpret it how you will.

    You also said:

    “movie piracy causes fewer people to see the movie in the theater”

    As I already pointed out, your argument is shattered by that fact that last year Hollywood broke all boxoffice records and ticket sale records.

  157. At no time in my life has the time printed in the paper or the time on the marquis meant that was when the movie was supposed to start. Never! It’s the time the lights go down. Followed by previews, followed by the movie.

    Now, do movie previews bother you? Or just traditional commercials?

  158. @Brian

    You said:

    “Making you sit through commercials is not a theft of your time, particularly if you know in advance that your $8 ticket includes 15 minutes of commercials (which you obviously do). It’s just poor service.”

    I agree it’s poor service but the fact is, it is still a theft of your time.

    Let’s say you know there’s a mugger waiting around the corner, but that’s the only way to get to where you need to go. If he robs you when you turn the corner, it’s still theft. Knowing it’s probably going to happen doesn’t absolve him of any responsibility.

    I for one would go to more movies if it wasn’t for the incessantly stupid ads that precede them.

  159. no, John, earlier, you were incorrectly correlating the increase of advertisements with the rise in movie ticket prices, which is absolute crap. The only way advertisements in movies have anything to do with ticket prices is keeping them down, because without the advertisements, the exhibitors have to make up the money somewhere else, and if they do it in the ticket price, then it goes up even more since the don’t keep 100% of the ticket price.

    Contrary, movie piracy causes fewer people to see the movie in the theater. The exact effect of how many people that this dropoff causes is unknown, but it is a much greater factor of ticket price increases (as is inflation) than advertisements in the movies are, which was my point.

  160. When one of these time stealing commercials comes on I boo very loudly so that the entire theater can hear me. I then throw in a couple comments like “I didn’t pay for this” or “show the movie” or “take that Nissan/Coke/ Evil Corporation”. Funny comments are the best…

    The response from other people in the theater is always great! They will very quickly join in with booing, laughing and smart ass comments of their own. Try it some time. It’s fun. Plus if we can start a trend then the advertisers will get the message fast!

  161. Heh. You think advertising doesn’t hurt you? Guess where your materialism comes from. You’re exposed to thousands of hours of advertising, designed by people who spend billions of dollars researching how to convince you that you want crap, that you need crap, and that, indeed, your self worth is tied to how much crap you have. If you think this isn’t hurting you, think twice.

  162. Lawsuit? against who? let’s be serious… why don’t you sue rockstar games for putting cingular, pepsi, and other billboards in their videogames? what needs to be done is a demand for lower prices, a shun to the industry. Look at the music industry… In Rainbows?!?! … Piracy is power.

  163. I don’t know who conducts those surveys that say moviegoers don’t mind the commercials but I am certain they haven’t polled anyone I know. I also know that my movie attendance has dropped significantly since in theater advertising became the norm. Between the ads, the annoying movie goers, the overpriced snacks, and the other annoyances that movie going involves, it has ceased to offer a good value for my entertainment dollar. I don’t mind waiting to see a movie in the comfort of my home, with a big screen tv, bose surround sound, and the abiity to pause it anytime i want/need an intermission.

  164. Hey Jon,

    You said:

    “well, obviously you failed to note that movie piracy has also gone up rapidly over the same time period. Movie piracy is a much bigger factor in ticket price increases than what you stated”

    Considering that last year Hollywood broke it’s own boxoffice record and broke it’s record for number of tickets sold, I’d say you’re vastly over estimating the effect piracy has on things.

  165. hey John, you said earlier
    “In other words, the rate of increase of movie theater ticket prices have GONE UP since they stated showing commercials.”

    well, obviously you failed to note that movie piracy has also gone up rapidly over the same time period. Movie piracy is a much bigger factor in ticket price increases than what you stated

  166. 1) nobody whom has posted here really has any actual idea of who gets the money and how that money is determined from the advertisements. How do I know this? Because I am the person who actually calculates that data for the companies that run the advertisements in theatres. I also know the execs at AMC who run this stuff for their circuit too.

    2) you know there are going to be commercials. If you don’t like them, find a theatre that doesn’t show them. I don’t like them, but I sit through them without complaint

    3) if you want assigned seating, you are asking to pay a higher ticket price to cover the costs of setting that up and enforcing it. But, you will actually be paying around DOUBLE the actual cost in your ticket prices, because the ticket revenue is split between exhibitor and distributor.
    It is cheaper for you to sit through the ads than to have the exhibitor make up for the lost revenue from the ads by raising ticket prices. If you don’t like the $8-12 ticket prices now, just wait until they are $15-20 to cover the assigned seats.

    4) requiring the ads to be strictly before the movie will also raise ticket prices. The exhibitors get paid for the ads based upon how many patrons actually SEE the ad. If there are fewer people in the theater when the ads are shown, if for some reason it was required that they are only shown before, then I would take that into consideration when telling the companies how many people viewed the ads. Then, the exhibitors make less money from the ads, and to compensate, raise ticket prices.

  167. Hey Brian,

    You said:

    “This is an exceptionally lame argument. Essentially, you’re saying that poor customer service is an excuse for theft.”

    Did you even read the article? Where did I ever say such a thing? I didn’t say that at all. What were you reading?

  168. This is an exceptionally lame argument. Essentially, you’re saying that poor customer service is an excuse for theft. It’s like arguing that because a doctor keeps you waiting an extra half hour, you should feel justified in walking out with his stethoscope and scale. It’s patently silly, and it’s exactly the sort of thing that made your parents tell you that two wrongs don’t make a right.

    The solution is to complain to the theater manager, tell him you won’t come back, and then don’t. Making you sit through commercials is not a theft of your time, particularly if you know in advance that your $8 ticket includes 15 minutes of commercials (which you obviously do). It’s just poor service. The proper response to poor service is a failure to continue custom.

    Don’t be a jerk. Just stop patronizing the vendor.

  169. Great article… i totally and completely agree with you and i think it is the sort of deal people should be burning down theaters for…

    It is the people who show this much concern over the little things that will keep the world a fair place…

  170. When you take my time for commercials on TV, I’m getting a “free” TV show out of it

    Nitpick : We pay for cable TV and still get ads when we watch shows on cable channels. This is just as much of a scam as ads in the movie theatre.

  171. 24 hours of wasted. stop going to the damn movies so often. use that time to be more productive in society. stop whining, you couldve done something more productive in the time it took you to write this blog, which I would estimate is as much time as it takes to watch an Ad before a movie.

  172. Just another example of disregard for common curtesy. Easy solution though – I don’t visit theaters at all anymore. I last saw Pan’s Labyrinth and before that it was Lord of the Rings. Until something of that caliber is being shown, I won’t step foot in a theater until they have the courtesy to give me a true start time.

    Even worse is a gas station down the street that blares commercials at me from a screen at the pump while I am pumping gas. i only realized how much I enjoy pulling of the road and relaxing while filling up, after I had this taken away. Obviously I wrote a letter to Shell and avoid this station like a plague.

  173. Commercials should start before the Show time, its only fair. WHat are we waiting for in that time? The people who are always late for everything? No, thanks.
    On the other hand.. I think studios are making way too much money out of AMerican Theaters anyway. In my country we pay $3.50 (yes, dollars are our currency) and $1.75 on Wednesdays for a movie ticket
    I think you have bigger things to complain about

  174. You people seem lucky. Over here in Germany most of the Multiplexes show around 40min of commercials and previews before a movie. Unfortunatly this varies +- 10min so you never can say: “I hang out in the lobby till the movie starts, because chances are, you will miss the beginning. And because I like the previews and the are mixed into the commercials I have to sit through all of it. The only positiv thing is, that it is mostly enough light to read a newspaper or magazin.
    In the smaller cinemas, they show less commercials but these often do not have THX so they are only an option for other movies than the typical Hollywood blockbuster

  175. Good article, but your lawsuit-math is off. When they sue pirates, they sue because the pirate uploaded a movie to an unknown number of people. If you see the huge amounts they sue people for, one could assume they expect you uploaded any single movie or MP3 to at least 100 different people.

    As such, it’s no more than fair to say that, because you watched that illegal advertisement, you might have influenced a 100 different people.

    So at $20 per hour, 24 hours, a 100 people plus yourself, it’s a grand total of $48,480.00 they owe you.

  176. Easy solution — I just haven’t gone to watch a movie in ages. I’d rather rent it at a fraction of the price and watch it in the comfort of my own home on a projector, with the sound system of my choice, without idiots on cell phones, without a 10 minute smoke break in the middle (many European theaters do this), I always get the seating I want, and best of all, I can watch it while drinking a beer (an issue in US theaters) and in my underpants…

  177. Commercials cutting into movie time is quite frustrating. their is no good excuse for it, it benefits no one except those collecting the money. I mean, before commercials played at the beginning of a movie, I still knew about Pepsi, Coke, and Ford. I don’t get what their trying to accomplish, possible making sure we don’t forget about them in the 2 hours we are secluded from their ads.

    Pretty soon were gonna have to watch a Maytag commercial before you can use the john to ‘Help fund the maintenance of the urinals and toilettes’

  178. I don’t remember if it was in Korea or in Japan, but movie goers made a class action suit against theaters for this very reason. They argued breach of contract. The movie ticket constitutes a contract and the time says, for example, 7h00 PM and because of all the ads, the movie starts a good 25 minutes later. I never followed up on it. But the article made me think of this.

  179. In the early ’80s around where I live, movies used to cost about $8. Now they cost up to $12. According to The Inflation Calculator:

    “What cost $8 in 1980 would cost $21.42 in 2006.”

    Seems to me you’re being compensated.

  180. The theaters and movie industry can do whatever they want as long as people are willing to put up with it. They could charge you $100 per ticket and force you to wear a purple party hat and say “I’m an idiot” into a special camera before you go in. As long as people are willing, then it’s a viable business model, no matter how it may impact your common sense.

    I vote with my dollars and stay home. I can go to the RedBox, and for ONE DOLLAR, I can enjoy a movie with my whole family with no incessantly crying babies, no sitting next to some sweaty fat guy with the amazingly productive cough, no sitting in a squeaky seat where the cushioning has gone flat, no listening to people yakking throughout the movie, and to top it off I don’t have to pay $15 for a soda and a popcorn.

    My 65″ hi-def setup has virtually paid for itself, in financial terms as well as my sanity. So I wait a few weeks longer to see something – it’s well worth it. Theaters these days are where teens go for dates because there’s nowhere else. That’s all they’re good for any more. The movie – watching “experience” is a dinosaur long extinct.

  181. I don’t go to the movies anymore because:

    1. I think they cost too much.
    2. Because they cost too much, I think it’s a ripoff that I have to sit through ads at the beginning.

    Seriously — remove the non-movie preview ads (for soda, army reserves, movie ticket sites…) and I will reconsider.

  182. I actually like the 15 minutes of ads at the theater. It lets me know what movies are coming out. I dislike the ads on the TV.

    But the one place where I actively despise ads being placed is on the DVD’s that I buy. And I think it’s vile when some companies won’t let you skip straight to the menu.

    That is the true waste of time, especially when the ads go out of date. It’s 2007 now, and I bristle when I hear “Coming to theaters in Fall, 2005!”

  183. “so why don’t be smart and instead of going at 7PM to the cinema, go at 7:15pm?”

    oh, you’re one of those a-holes that walks in and trips over shit trying to find a seat……… damn you!!

  184. Trouble with this logic is that it assumes the movie theaters and the movie studios are one entity. They aren’t, not since the late 1940’s, anyway. The theaters have nothing to do with creating the content they show and have no copyright on it. The studios themselves no longer own theater chains, so they are not the ones making the money off the ads. Sadly, the theater chains show the ads to get revenue, to stay afloat financially. Theaters split about 50% of the box office sales with the studio. The rest of their income comes from popcorn, soda, and yes, ads. Far, far fewer people go to movies now than 50 years ago, because there are more reasons to stay home. Theaters aren’t where the studios make their money now, anyway. The real revenue comes from licensing content and DVD sales, which is why they are freaked about pirating. Read Edward Jay Epstein’s book “The Big Picture” for some insight into how the business really works.

  185. 72. Alex
    Yeah Alex When i was student i worked at a UCI that paid £50k a month rent and for the 3 yrs i worked there they made Profit in just 5 Months I think that that was with LOTR and Harry Potter films.. When is insane really!

    Also that Fact They charge £2.50 for a large Coke Which Cost Less that 10p including cup/lid/straw.. Even With This Kind of Profit Margins They are still Struggling… But it Still Doesnt Mean Iwanna Pay to Sit Thro 15 mins of Ads…

  186. See, this is exactly why my S.O. and I have more or less quit going to the movie theater altogether and instead invested the money in building our own. No commercials, more comfortable seats, free snacks, “pause” button if you need to go to the bathroom, no obstreperous drunks almost puking on you after yelling at the screen…the benefits are endless. Plus we get to watch things like “House” and “Rome” on a 62″ DLP screen.

    On the downside, piracy pretty much doesn’t work for us anymore, since a compressed DivX file blown up that big doesn’t look too pretty. But we’re more than willing to stick to DVD, especially thanks to 99-cent rentals at Blockbuster. Now if only the darn high-def war would quit already so we could invest in an HD player…

    Also, your rant reminded me a bit of this amusing video: http://www.loadingreadyrun.com/videos/view/114/Who+Watches+Movies

  187. Don’t forget, most of the cost of that ticket goes to pay off middlemen like the MPAA. If the theater didn’t have to pay such ludicrous royalties on every movie they showed, they wouldn’t have such a desperate need to show ads.

    Most movie theaters are barely breaking even. You know why? Because greedy businessmen, the parasites of the industry, force them to jack up ticket prices to $10 a head, and show commercials, just so they make enough to get people in, and people don’t want to come in, because movies are made for the lowest common denominator, and home theaters are easier and easier to afford, so nobody wants to come to the theater anyway.

    The industry is diseased. Don’t blame the theater. Blame the scumbags at the MPAA who take all of that money and use it to sue students.

  188. I agree whole-heartedly. I’m sure everyone has a story, but one time in particular I went to see an 11:55 of “The Bourne Supremacy,” against my better judgment (I had to be at work at 6 in the morning). Anyways, I raced to the theatre to be on time, got into my seat at 11:54 and resolved to leave as soon as the credits hit because I had been sleep deprived all week… there were commercials and 3 movie trailers. The actual movie didn’t start until 12:33. That was 38 minutes of my time… That’s a true story, and one that I believe supports the authors point.

  189. This has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time, and you pretty much hit it on the head.

    As long as we’re getting something for the price of watching an ad, I don’t care. I personally don’t like 99% of the commercials I see, but I understand their purpose. However, this “captive marketing” garbage is generating a backlash of dissatisfaction with the whole moviegoing experience.

    I have to be honest and say that, while I don’t practice it myself, I understand why so many people are “shopping smart.” With home theater setups and the ability to edit the raw data to remove trailers and ads if you so choose, it doesn’t make any sense to pay up to $50 to see a movie.

    This is another example of an industry abusing their law-abiding customers while the people they’re trying to reach remain unaffected by these brutal strategies.

  190. One thing I don’t understand: the ads that are played before the movie start time are ads by the theater chain correct? The movie trailers and ad’s that are played after the movie start time are intermingled usually aren’t they or am I wrong. Doesn’t that imply that those ad’s are put in by the Movie industry and that they are the one’s making the profit for those ads?

  191. Great post but needs a call to action. After providing us with this information, what can we do about it?

    Provide links or email addresses of people we can contact, create a petition we can sign.

    Made this more than just an “all talk” post.

  192. Hey, how about just going to less movies and doing something else, like checking out some live theatre? There’s plenty of great entertainment out there that isn’t plastered with advertising. Just tell yourself that some of those plays might be made into movies some day.

  193. I am in the UK. I pay around £6-7 at peak times per ticket. Here the movie advertising is so bad, that if a movie is billed to play at 8pm, it will not actually start until 8.20pm at minimum, sometimes not until a full half hour after.

  194. I just don’t go to the theater very much at all. Perhaps once or twice a year to see something in iMax which is worth seeing on the big screen (e.g.: Matrix, LOTR). We went the other night to see something – and got there a bit early… Sat thru some damned ad loop of about 4 different ads for some Discovery channel crap… THEN when the movie was to start – they repeated a shortened version of that ad AGAIN *arrrrrgh*. Then they had so many damned ads that I actually forgot what movie we went to see…

    While watching the movie – there was some incessant beeping in the background – from a door alarm or something I don’t know…

    In short – the whole experience sucked… Cost too much, and was too inconvenient and uncomfortable. We stay at home – watch some PPV or DVD’s on our home system – we can do what we want when we want to do it – pause, take a piss – whatever… without any BS like at the theater…

    And as for the ads on the DVD’s – just get a player that you can chip… then you can skip the “prohibited” items…

    To the MPAA I say “feh!”

  195. I posted a reply to your blog post on my blog. Basically I think if the movie industry compensated people for this lost time, the amount would be so small as to be insulting or so large as to bankrupt the movie companies. I then suggest advertising the real time and just increasing the ticket price to make up the lost revenue and I demonstrate that the increase would be in the ballpark of 34 cents per ticket.

  196. Damn straight! Theaters are seeming less and less attractive all the time. I already watch the movie previews (which are also commercials, but ones that I don’t mind either). What justification do they have for actual commercials? I might as well watch TV at home.

  197. I used to go to about 5-10 movies every month (despite the dozens I download), but now between the long commercials, and the endless stream of idiots who like to text or talk on their cell phone during the movie, I watch at most one a month, and the rest I download and watch in the comfort and privacy of my home on my widescreen monitor.

    If the MPAA wants my money back, instead of attempting to sue people like me, they’ll get rid of ads, and work on the cell phone problem. Promoting good movies instead of Spiderman 3 would also probably help.

  198. they show 15 minz of ad before a movie …
    thought i dont watch as many movies as you each month, i’ve never seen a theater showing 15 mins of ad …
    that sucks … eh ?
    well too bad … and i dont think its gonna stop soon either …

  199. Vote with your dollar. I went to the theater twice this year. I’ve bought 8 DVDs and rented about 25. Once a month I invite 20 friends over to watch movies on my 60″ screen and 7 speaker setup. We have food, alcohol, and a 5 minute intermission to let everyone go to the bathroom. It’s far far more fun than going to the movies.

  200. How about I start calling pirating movies “Smart Shopping”. Will piracy be considered ok then?

    You mean Piracy wasn’t ok to begin with..man do I feel dumb….from now on i’m “Smart Shopping”

  201. 15 minutes of ads is nothing … Jesus, in Germany they always used to show a full HALF HOUR of ads, and then get to the 5-10mins of trailers before the film started. At least, they always did this in the cinemas that showed the films in the original, non-dubbed versions that I always go to. That said, in the last few years, I’ve noticed far less ads in front of films, to the point where it will actually start at the time advertised. The fact that this is considered a very good thing, or even a bonus, is bad – this should be the norm!

  202. I enjoy cinema advertising. It’s often more entertaining and creative than television advertising. In fact, I generally make sure I arrive in time to catch the ads before a movie – in the same way that people arrive in time to watch the trailers.

    And, when you think about it, trailers are really just ads. Ads for movies. So what’s the big deal? If you don’t want to watch the ads, arrive late or look away.

  203. The same thing happened to cable TV! That’s why I don’t have cable, don’t go to the movies very often anymore and rip all my DVD’s to main feature only. I’m not playing their game anymore and unless you want it to get worse, you won’t either.

    I am sick of all this out of control advertising! By the way, I adblock everything on the web!

  204. All of these people saying “Simple! Just show up AFTER all of the ads have ended.” Ummmm… is that listed anywhere that i dont know about? The exact amount and time of the ads? So, what if i show up 10 minutes after 7pm for a 7pm show AND there were only 6 minutes of ads? I just missed the first 4 minutes of the film!

    And Paul talka about 50 bux a month for cable… well, you dont HAVE to have cable (for now) and you can usually still get your ‘basic’ network TV shows via the ‘old fashioned’ antenna…

    Or, if you cant afford it, simply commit a crime in the U.S. and go to prison… you get three square meals a day and “FREE” cable! (And all of the man on man lovin you can handle…) Hmmmm… Food, Sex, and TV. Why isnt every man in prison?!?!

  205. <P class=ajax-edit id=ajax-edit100836>You may click on your name and/or comment to edit.<SPAN class=ajax-timer id=timeajax-edit100836>  ( 14 minutes and 35 seconds)</SPAN></P>lasvegasgirl6 says:

    people still go to movie’s ?….huh! good to know….I havent been to a movie since the 90’s .I rent them, watch them in the comfort of my home, when I want fast forward the trailers and boring stuff and I live a happy life …COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN ;)

  206. I am the projectionist at Sundance Cinemas Madison. Proud to say that we do not show ads AT ALL we have a ‘preshow’ with clips from the Sundance channel, and at Show time the Trailers start. All of the movie’s begin with three trailers for upcoming movie’s that will be presented at Sundance Cinemas Madison. By the way I’m also proud that our entire building (the very first Sundance Cinema) is “green” in every way that we can possibly make it.

  207. Hey Jamie,

    As was already mentioned in this thread, showing up after teh commercials can often mean either getting no seat, getting a horrible seat, or not being able to get seats together with groups of friends. Not really an option in many cases.

  208. 44. Jim – Their job is to maximize their profits, and as long as we keep showing up, nothing will change.

    and here lie the problem its catch 22? we have no other choice! either see the movie or dont? and for me the Dont isnt an option.

  209. My thought is this:

    Commercials before movies = brilliant. We’re all sitting there, We all can’t help but look at the giant pictures in front of us. So you have a captive audience that can’t change the channel, and can’t look away, unless you put up the Fantana girls again. Actually, we keep looking but we stop listening (and, honestly, we stop buying Fanta, if we ever started). This is not going away.

    So movie theaters are making more money, and charging more for our tickets. In a dream world, they’d pass the savings onto us. Say, we’d pay $10 without commercials, $6 with ’em. Would be nice, right? Who wouldn’t take a price cut just to sit through a few ads? But that’s about as likely as baseball owners dropping ticket prices at the ballpark because they covered the outfield walls with ads. Their job is to maximize their profits, and as long as we keep showing up, nothing will change.

  210. Here in Australia they have unashamedly jacked the ad time up significantly in the last few years.

    It now goes something like:
    local businss ads for 5 minutes
    some cinema advertising (candy bar etc)
    some higher profile ads
    a couple of previews
    THEN MORE FREAKIN ADS – and ads from free to air televion might i add.!!
    then more previews.

    This comes out to about 20 to 30+ mins when it used to be only 15 including previews

    MY SOLUTION: Throw back to the good old days and have a something for people to watch before the movie, then hit us with ONE and i mean ONE ad for some major company who will pay through the nose for the spot then previews then the feature. What will people watch before the movie? How about promoting local film in the suburb/state by screening short films of student/independent film makers. Have people submit their work to whatever cinema chain it may be and they get screened for quality and the good ones get a spot before a movie of similar genre. And for kids movies play a roadrunner cartoon like when i was a kid. That sh!t was awesome.

    My argument is that this gives us a little extra value (I would certainly get there early to see the short before the movie), it shows the cinema is actively involved in helping the community and it’s a marketing tool to help get the punters in the seats early.

    Vacuum filled.

    My two cents.

  211. I must add that I also hate commercial (or product placement) IN a movie like Transformers for example. I pay to see a movie and not ads!! Now I’m gonna download a movie for free to get my revenge on the movie industry! :P

  212. I totally agreee with you, John!! Well written!!
    I actually guessed that the industri made this
    kind of money from the damn annoying ads! I have
    shared your opinions on ads for several years now
    without knowing that we shared opinions about
    the ads. That is up until now.

  213. I don’t care for the ads at all, but since the majority of movie-goers don’t complain about them to anyone except other movie-goers, nothing much is going to change.

    The one ad that really makes me want to stand up and yell FCUK YOU! at the screen is the one that tells you not to pirate movies.

    Um, WTF? I’m in the theatre! I paid my 10 bucks to get in…I just spent 12 bucks on popcorn, drinks and a chocolate bar, essentially doing everything I did prior to the internet coming into existence, and they have the fcuking gall to fcuking lecture me about piracy!

    To paraphrase Eric Cartman: “How would you like to scuk my balls, Mr. Movie Industry?”

    I feel much better now. Thanks for letting me get that off of my chest.

  214. Hey Paul,

    Yes, that’s why i put the quotes around the word “free”.

    Still though… at the movies you’re paying $10 for 90 minutes of programing. With TV you’re paying $40 a MONTH for unlimited programing.

    1. Your $50 per month is supposed to pay for the infrastructure of cable/satellite. The cable company doesn’t produce the shows, they maintain the wires and try to make sure you have uninterrupted access. At least that’s the theory. Networks that produce the shows you watch make their money with ad revenues.

  215. I think with the amount of money that we pay for concessions and the high ticket prices, we’re at about $10.50 American at theaters in my area, it is rediculous to make us dip that deep into our wallets, and then make us sit through the previews. I’m dishing out about 35 dollars everytime I attend a movie with my girlfriend, and they have the gall to make us wait. Well many of you might say “they have to make the money some how” But honestly, it’s absurd. If I want commercials at any point to ruin my movie experience I’ll sit at home and watch something on TBS. I’m at the Movies for a completely different experience than anything I could encounter at home. I don’t mind the coke ads, because they’re some times pretty fun to watch, but to shove a trailer for the latest ‘hit’ show Cavemen, in my face I think it’s taking away what the movie experience is really about, showing the commercial before, or after the trailer, it really doesn’t matter. You’re there for a certain kind of experience, and that’s to be sucked into some different reality, and I think when you’re in the theater, and the lights dim you’re all ready, and the commercials dull the experience. Commercials, no thanks? I’ll wait for the dvd’s if they begin to show more and more.

  216. nice article.

    when i was little i loved the ads they showed in theaters – they were almost exclusively big-money ads for cigarettes and booze – and the production firms made sure that they would be in top notch quality. heck, most of the time they were cinematically more pleasing than the movie itself. after those ads were over, trailers for new movies would start, getting you warmed up for the reason you went to the theater: seeing a movie. you see: what a nice buildup.

    nowadays, “smart marketing” resulted in trailers and cheapo ads being all jumbled up, to make sure no one comes in late to avoid the ads and just go for the trailers. after that the lights come back on, retina and atmosphere damage and all, so they can pull yet another genius marketing ploy: sell you ice cream and candy. i friendlily detest everyone who buys their sweets at that moment, because if it weren’t for them, surely the candyman wouldn’t be there in the first place.

    do i sound bitter? i just turned 32, so im allowed to over-romanticize the good old days. (which are happening right now, in case you’re young) i still love going to the movies, but some things are out of control.

  217. This may make me a grammar nazi, but:

    – It’s “loathe”, not “lothe”, and
    – I’m guessing you meant “conscience”, not “conciseness”

    Other than that, yeah, I agree with the point. But it’s institutionalised now, everyone’s used to it. Nothing’s going to change, because noone gives enough of a crap. To be honest I don’t mind too much either, because I’m usually late, and get in just as the trailers are starting.

  218. I actually started a thread in Hometheaterforum in August to see if i could find allies in stopping this seemingly out-of-control plague.


    Please go read it.You will see that i have a plan to end this once and for all.
    That is,if EVERYONE chips in.By that,i mean the film lovers.The movie fans.
    We are quite a bunch aren’t we ?

    You will see i provide links to places on the net which started as good ideas but have lost speed due to way too much complaining and not enough action.

    It seems to me,my plan is pretty clear,but the people
    i spoke with in that thread seemed clueless to what it was.
    Try to see what it is,and tell me if you cant see it.

    A lot see this as a David and Goliath thing where Goliath is winning.

    He’s winning because WE ARE LETTING HIM WIN.

  219. Hey Matteo,

    Partly answer the question? Ok, how about this. The Alliance of Canadian Cinema says that theater ticket prices have grown more rapidly since the inception of in theater commercials. In other words, the rate of increase of movie theater ticket prices hace GONE UP since they stated showing commercials.

    That mean, before commercials, price increase happened more slowly. There has NEVER been a definitive link shown between ticket prices and in theater commercials.

    You can call that a “partial” answer all you want, but basically it’s just clear as day an common sense. Just because you don’t like the answer doesn’t mean it’s not correct or valid.

  220. Andy over there said:

    Umm.. you aren’t serious, are?
    What you get for your money although you have to watch the commercials? Um, the price you paid… That’s what you get. If you wouldn’t see commercials you would pay another 5 $ more…

    Answers like “theathers didn’t drop prices after starting to show commercials” are futile arguments because pre-movie commercials existed since from the first late-Nineties theathre crisis. 2+2…

    It’s good when you only partly answer questions because you don’t have any more smart answer to give out. And look, you don’t answer to the only question around here that makes sense and opposes your viewpoint! Original way of action, isn’t it?

    I obviously thumbed this down at SU.

  221. just thought i could add my experience to this

    When i went to see transformers the movie was advertised to start at 8. There happened to be some mishap (they never told us what) but we ending up in the out seats at 8:40! oh yeah and then it came half an hour of ads (of which only 5 were movie trailers ~10mins worth)! the movie that was advertised to start at 8 ending up being shown at 9:06.
    So that’s probably been my worst experience with pre-movie ads ^^

    P.S. it was in Feltham Cineworld in the UK >.>

  222. I think we should look at this the same way as advertising online, we get paid for clicking on a site, we get paid to read email, but in a theater, we get nothing. The ticket prices are not adjusted by the infomercials they show at the beginning, prices have gone up for ..well since the beginning of time, and if their making more money now than back in the day, shouldn’t it realistically be lowering prices?

  223. This has been my biggest gripe with movies recently. You brought up all the most perfect reasons for hating this kind of advertising. When I get a product for free, I expect to see advertising, that’s how they can afford to offer their product for free in 99% of cases. However, once I’ve paid you for a service, there is no valid reason for advertising to exist in it.

    I also love your analogy of “smart shopping”. Priceless :)

  224. I agree. I’ve alway hated that I’m having to sit through commercials, yet ticket prices are going UP!

    It does seem however, that commercial time has been going down lately. It was really bad for a while, but the trailers do seem to be starting sooner now.

  225. I don’t mind commercials- as long as they’re entertaining. The Sun Chips commercials running in my local theaters make me sad.

    In all, I’ve never been to a theater showing 15 minutes worth of commercials.

  226. Since they started doing the premovie commercials I only see a movie in the theater maybe once or twice a year.

    It used to be they would play some nice soundtrack music before the trailers, whcih was nice. Then they started the silent slideshows, which wasnt that bad. Now it’s full audio and video TV commericals in your face. And the worst thing is that they repeat the same ads on a loop, over and over again. It’s bad enough I have to pay 10 bucks to see a movie and leave 30 minutes early to get a decent seat, but now they have to torture my senses with badly produced commercials!

    Maybe if they used some of the money to upgrade my local theatres with Digital projectors, maybe then I’d see more movies in the theater. But since AMC has a monopoly on the theatres in New Orleans they don’t have to upgrade. Until they do, my High Def Home Theater beats the movie theater experience in quality, convienience, and cost.

  227. John, do you think we could ask for a refund when we exit the movie theater? or how about a partial refund? Say the movie is 10 bucks. When you exit ask for $1.25-1.50 in return?

  228. Firstly, I would be interested to know if the people polled were polled SPECIFICALLY about the commercials and SPECIFICALLY NOT about the trailers and if it was a positive vs. negative or multiple choice.

    SECONDLY those fucking ass-chugging-monkeynuts have begun to put their advertising on the DVDs that we purchase. SO guess what? We are now PURCHASING their commercials AS WELL as purchasing the movie. I have seen the following:

    A Honda Commercial (many DVDs)
    A Commercial for Heroes on GlobalTV (On my Knocked up 2 disc)
    A Commerical for a Toyota car before the trailers on my 1408 Special Edition, and then THE EXACT SAME FUCKING COMMERCIAL RIGHT AFTER THOSE FUCKING TRAILERS.

    So, now what?

    1. Relentless unskippable advertisements on DVDs only adds an incentive to pirate movies. Why should I be forced to watch all of your ads, if I already purchased your movie legally? Again, like the ticket price, if you force me to watch ads, then you should lower the price.

      Incidentally, many websites already use that model. “Free” sites are plastered with ads, but many sites have a “Premium” membership where for a small fee, you can have essetially the same site, ad free.

  229. i think the number of folks that ‘enjoy’ the commercials are not accurate. I think it is much lower. “Tolerance” is a better word, or it may just be an excuse for one to hold a seat while person B goes to the concession stands. (where most theatres make money). I do know that I haven’t drank Mountain Dew in six months (I don’t use products I see on the film commerical screens for six months to a year)

    incedentally, the extra ad revenue didn’t spare the local theatre from shutting down; now I have to drive anoother 25 miles instead of five.

  230. Good Article John (espically “Smart Shopping)
    I hate this also, when i worked for a cinema as a Student on the major blockbuster films sometime it would be up to 25 mins before the movie would start and in that time you would only see 2 trailers.

    This annoys the hell out of me, i have counted as much 14 adverts. I listen to another movie podcast i wont mention there name but they brought this topic up about a yr or so ago they may have had a poll (unsure) about having free movies funded solely by adverts. They suggested having 30mins of nothing but adverts closing the door so noone can enter after the ads start time! I thought this was interesting and thought that this might be worth a try. I dont think it would work for major blockbusters but maybe just maybe it might be a way of getting smaller films see and maybe film in there later weeks in the cinema. But my point is in ST. Albans its £8 a ticket (approx $16) and a large drink and popcorn is another £7 thats Thats £15 and because i have to wait 20 mins for the movie to start drink and pop corn are half gone!!! They ARE charging me to watch Adverts!!! but there is nothing i can do about it!!

    5. Jarred
    “That cool that you like trailers John, but they’re still commercials”

    I for one!! part of going to cinema is to catch the trailers, infact i know noone who doesnt like to catch trailers as it gives they a glimps of whats coming up.

  231. Hey MrSleep

    You said:

    “The only problem with your argument is that when you steal the movie, you aren’t stealing from the theater that ‘stole’ your time.”

    It’s a systemic problem. Studios keep more and more of box office takes, and thus theaters look to more and more places to get more money out of us. It is an industry problem on whole.

  232. I pay for HBO; I get no commercials.
    I pay for movies; I expect no commercials.

    Commercials before movies are a parasite industry. I don’t buy for one moment that they are needed to keep the ticket price low; that’s a lame excuse.

    Too bad there are so many people who don’t mind the commercials; they are used to commercials being everywhere so they find the abuse normal.

  233. I don’t understand people who actually support the commercial during movies. would you like a 2 minute advertisement before your dinner at a restaurant? how about a page of ad before you get your menu? And before your spleen surgery your nurse can read you a page of info on the new coffee maker that sharper image just put out. restaurants and hospitals need money too. And these movie commercials are forced upon the consumers without choice. think about it. if this is ok with you, then how many other advertisement opportunities are you saying yes to? how about a short message at the stop light before it changes. Surely you don’t mind a couple of seconds of extra waiting, you are stopped at the light anyway. how about every time you turn on your computer there is a short 2 min advertisement for the sponsors or affiliates of dell or hp whatever brand your comp is. Just because it is accepted doesn’t mean its ok.

  234. I don’t want freakin commercails at a movie, at the ballgame or at the hockey rink. i use tivo at home to fast forward whenver possible. The problem at the theater is that I can’t change the channel or shut it off, I am held captive to the mindless Dr. pepper commercial or worse, the local realtor selling me properties. The world is so commercialized with ads everywhere you look, can’t we have a respit in a dark theater? The movie trailers are commercials enough promoting upcoming films. The world has become marketing whores and some of the sheep seem to be throwing their collective hooves in the air and saying there is nothing we can do about it… bologona! Studies saying 2/3 of the people don’t care are fabricated results paid for by theater people who want to justify the intrusion.

  235. The only problem with your argument is that when you steal the movie, you aren’t stealing from the theater that ‘stole’ your time. Why should a film company have to pay for time you felt was robbed from you by a theater?
    Wouldn’t it make more sense to go rip off some candy from the snack bar?

  236. “What you get for your money although you have to watch the commercials? Um, the price you paid… That’s what you get. If you wouldn’t see commercials you would pay another 5 $ more…”

    Oh, so the theater you go to DROPPED ticket prices when they started showing commercials? If they didn’t, then your argument is useless.

  237. “…so why don’t be smart and instead of going at 7PM to the cinema, go at 7:15pm.”

    Yeah, good luck getting a seat at a movie opening night showing up at, or after the posted start times. Opening day, you are lucky to get a decent seat arriving 15 minutes early…

    I don’t mind the pre-start time commercials, especially when they wrapper them inside of some sort of pre-show like at AMC and Rave Cinemas. However, if a movie is scheduled at 7pm, trailers should start at 7pm, not an additional 10 minutes of soda, video game, auto, and movietickets.com commercials…

  238. Hey Andy,

    You said:

    “so why don’t be smart and instead of going at 7PM to the cinema, go at 7:15pm?”

    Because in North America (at least in most places) we don’t have pre-assigned seating, which means if you show up 5 minutes late, you run the risk of the show being sold out, or getting a neck breaker seat, or not getting anough seats together for you and your date or friends.

    1. Absolutely not, and I keep track of which companies are doing this. Since when are people “okay” with paying to be brain washed?

      You paid for your movie ticket. Then the whole industry is adding advertisements on top of that. You pay your $9 to sit there, and then a car company comes on and tries to sell you a car that is speeding on a public highway? Are you telling me people are okay with paying for a movie seat so that companies can try to brain wash them into buying something by any means necessary?

      I am not okay with it. That is my time. I paid for it. Their job is to entertain me – period. For 120 minutes that is my chair and that is my brain.


  239. Yeah, I hate these commercials, too. I usally just yell “boo!” and make fun of them.

    “…so why don’t be smart and instead of going at 7PM to the cinema, go at 7:15pm.”

    Because then it will be dark and you won’t find a seat, nar!

  240. That cool that you like trailers John, but they’re still commercials, so as far as I’m concerned, you can bump that 15 minutes up to 25. Still stealing my time.

    @Andy Theaters are bumping up ticket prices every year, so I don’t accept that argument about us paying more if there were no commercials, because we’re paying more every year already.

  241. This is one of my biggest pet peeves about going to the theaters, and I don’t enjoy plopping down my money to see a freaking car commercial when a trailer should be running to promote another movie I might want to see.

  242. Everyone is looking for the next big way to make money right? It’s only fair that 15 minutes before the movie starts we can watch some silly commercials. It’s not really hurting us right? I liked the points you had to make…

  243. Umm.. you aren’t serious, are?
    What you get for your money although you have to watch the commercials? Um, the price you paid… That’s what you get. If you wouldn’t see commercials you would pay another 5 $ more… So I don’t really get this. Besides that everyone knows how long the commercials are at the beginning, so why don’t be smart and instead of going at 7PM to the cinema, go at 7:15pm? Boom, you don’t have to watch the commercials anymore. Good stuff, hu?
    Ah, well, but everyone else is gonna praising this post anyway.

    1. douche. the man was just trying to make a point, one you obviously didn’t pick up in your overly simplified capitalistic mind. the theater industry is making a killing by selling the time that we PAID for. We pay them money to sit down at their theater then the advertisers pay them money to show their advertisements. The movie theaters are selling the time that we paid for. The time that we paid to sit down and actually see the film. We are stealing their movies (not wrong as many of us a flat broke while I can’t imagine a single big movie business being flat broke unless caused by our recent recession) and they are STEALING our time.

    2. If there was a >15% increase in ad revenue due to increased ad time in the last year then shouldn’t that reflect in the price? By your logic shouldn’t that cause a decrease in the ticket price?

      In my local cinema the ticket price has gone up by about 20% in the last year!

    3. that’s bullshit. they CAN’T raise prices $5 more. and THEY FUCKING KNOW IT.

      they CAN’T.

      but you know what they could have done, DROP PRICES by subsidizing with commercials. but they didn’t fucking do that did they?

      commercials in front of movies that i pay to see have always been fucking outrageous and always will be and the person who dreamt that shit up needs to be pelted with eggs wherever he goes.


    4. Well play Connor, I can see your argument is carefully thought out (the leading douche was a nice touch). What you have failed to realise is that the movie industry is, get this, allowed to seek multiple sources of revenue from the same product. By selling tickets and commercials they make more money which shockingly is in there interest. So, in effect, that money you paid was to see their commercials and their film. Much like the original film itself, you can easily avoid such situations by just not going to the theatre. Overly simplified capitalism or common sense? You be the judge.

      Clever bringing the recession into the picture to justify pirating films from the Internet. The first problem with that is you probably did it before the recession and, assuming it ends, you’ll do it after. The second is that you are not entitled to the viewing of their product. There is no “right to entertainment” in the Constitution, so when you pirate their copyrighted material from the Internet all you’re doing is greedily breaking the law for your own purposes. Whether or not you agree with that law is another debate, what matters is that the recession has nothing to do with it. They aren’t stealing your time they are entertaining it by charging money and commercial time for the films they created.

  244. 15 minutes of ads seem like a lot. The 15 minute delay at my theatres usually include trailers, the AMC theatres here in the suburbs of Los Angeles will run two 30sec Coca-Cola and movietickets.com ads then run about 5 trailers.

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