Sunday, April 29, 2012

Seventh week, still first run

I can't remember the last time I saw a film in the theater when it was as deep into its theatrical run as 21 Jump Street was when I saw it yesterday.

Even at a second-run theater. And the second-run theater nearest to me closed down, so it's been awhile since I've seen one of those anyway.

21 Jump Street was released on March 16th. Yesterday was April 27th. That means it was beginning its seventh week in the theaters. A pretty impressive feat these days to be sure.

And I'm glad I went. As you recall from yesterday's post, I was choosing between this and The Raven. But after the stressful day I had, barely ever getting a chance to even stop and collect my thoughts, a comedy that was absolutely dynamite for its first two acts was a much better fit than a dour period piece about a serial killer.

But as I touched on yesterday, there's something funny about seeing a movie in the theater when it's already been out for so long. Especially when you're paying $12.50, which seemed entirely too much for a movie playing on its seventh Friday at 2:50 in the afternoon.

Namely, there's a moment that passes when you feel like you're closer to the film's video release than to the beginning of its theatrical run. To be sure, it's very possible that 21 Jump Street will be out on DVD sooner than seven weeks from now. That would put its DVD release in mid-June. Mid-July seems like a better guess, but the point is, that moment seems to have passed in my mind, even if it has not passed literally.

And I'm trying to examine the psychology of it. I mean, if you've determined that a film is worth seeing in the theater, does it really matter if it's the first day it's out, or the 42nd? Either way you are seeing it on the big screen. It seems like it should be a simple choice: Is it worthy of seeing on the big screen, or isn't it?

So then I come to the idea that the main goal may not be seeing it on the big screen, but rather, seeing it sooner rather than later. If it's already been in the theater for seven weeks, you start to reason "Might as well wait until video at this point."

And if that's really the mentality, it suggests that the studios might really be on to something if they're talking about making movies available sooner at home. Maybe people really don't care if they see it on a big screen, that's just their only option if they want to see it sooner rather than later.

Of course, sometimes the decision just comes down to what's playing at a convenient time so you can watch it after an early release from work and still pick up your son from daycare on time.

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