Last year for my birthday I had a movie marathon. I saw Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Brave and The Avengers in the theater in one day. Yes I paid for a ticket for every film. I decided to do it partially because it just seemed like a fun idea, but also because I wanted to break my previous record of 3 films in a day in the theater. I picked the day in advance, knowing which films would be available for viewing and waited for the showtimes to be posted. It all worked out, I was able to schedule everything in what I anticipated to be an ascending level of quality (I had already seen The Avengers by this point). Everything went smoothly and I had a great time and some friends even joined me for Brave.
So, naturally, I decided to repeat the event this year, making it an annual birthday tradition. I decided on having it this Saturday at the newly refurbished theater that is the closest to my house (a different theater than the one I went to last year). I chose a range of movies that would give me a variety of styles and hopefully a good scattering of showtimes. I knew I wanted, if possible, to end with Much Ado About Nothing. I’d love it if he came out with a new film every year around my birthday, and I set my heart on including it even if it wasn’t the final film of the four. I had assumed I would see Man of Steel last weekend, but kept it as a possibility in case I wanted to see it again or if (as actually happened) I missed it opening weekend. I read the book World War Z is (not even closely) based on and enjoyed it, and I felt like as an author working on a zombie-based novel I owe it to myself to see the film, if only to learn from any mistakes it makes. Pixar always releases a new film around my birthday, and I love all Pixar movies except for Cars 2, so Monster’s University was a given. I’m a big Sofia Coppola fan (and an Emma Watson fan), so I added The Bling Ring to the list. I also added This is the End, which isn’t generally my type of movie, but which got good reviews, features Emma Watson, and was favorably compared to Shaun of the Dead, one of my favorites.
That all sounds good, but it all ended up being more difficult than I figured. First, I cut out This is the End after reading more about it (rape jokes are never funny), which was no big loss. Then the showtimes were released, and it all fell apart. The newly refurbished theater, closest to my house (a Harkins), is not showing Much Ado About Nothing or The Bling Ring this weekend (WHY?!?). I thought to myself, ok, well maybe the AMC theater that I went to last year will have it. NO! (Though they are showing The Bling Ring.) The only theater in town that’s showing Much Ado is the Century theater on the north side of town. That wouldn’t be a problem (other than being too far out of town for any of my friends to be likely to come), except that their showtimes make it impossible to see 4 films in a day. I ended up making a color coded spreadsheet to try to sort it all out.
So in the end I’m going to have to see three films at the Harkins (Man of Steel, World War Z, and Monster’s University) and then drive 25 minutes to the Century to see Much Ado About Nothing. I’ve never understood why/how individual theaters choose what to show and when to show it. I realize corporate deals between theater chains and studios are involved, but it’s still something of a mystery. And I know it’s a business and that they probably feel that a black and white Shakespeare adaptation starring no big-name stars and directed by a guy famous to most people for a superhero movie isn’t going to make as much money as 4 screens showing Man of Steel, but it’s hard to vote with my wallet when my choices are limited. But what I most want to know is:
What’s the most number of movies you’ve seen in the theater in one day (vote below!)? If it’s more than 2, did you plan it in advance or just play it by ear? Should theaters release their showtimes further in advance? (The only correct answer is yes.) Am I crazy for doing this? Let me know in the comments!