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Bring Back the Intermission

Hollywood, stop disrespecting our bladders.

by
Hannah Sternberg

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February 25, 2014 - 8:33 am
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Ben_hur_1959_poster

Movies are getting longer and longer, especially in two categories: epic sci-fi/fantasy, and Big Serious Films. At the very least, audiences can start to feel like they’re getting their $18′s worth, at least in volume, if not always quality, of material.

This isn’t the first wave of super-long movies, though. The epics of the ’50s and ’60s could put our super-long movies to shame. But there’s a big difference between Avatar and Ben Hur: the latter had an intermission.

I was watching Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) this weekend, and as usual, TCM charmingly played the intermission and entr’acte music with the original title screens, demonstrating their commitment to showing films as close to whole as possible. As I used the intermission for the same purpose that decades of theater goers before me have — to make a quick pit stop — I realized that the intermission wasn’t such a silly anachronism after all. In fact, it was a sign of respect.

People just aren’t comfortable sitting for three or more hours straight (at least, I hope not). We need to get up, stretch our legs, hit the restroom, get another glass of water. Movie intermissions are a win-win: audiences get to take a quick break without missing anything, and theater-owners have an extra opportunity to push more popcorn and soda on them.

All Comments   (2)
All Comments   (2)
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I think any movie over 2:15 needs to be increasingly good to justify the discomfort of sitting that long. Something like LOTR, which has a lot of story to pack in, is acceptable. But so often it's just boring Oscar bait and, like you, I wonder about self indulgent directors that couldn't find another 15 minutes to cut.

I actually buy fewer concessions for a long movie because I know I'll need a break. If I knew there was an intermission they'd make a lot more $ off me, especially if they had a special intermission refill price.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Meanwhile, televisions get bigger and better resolution, and on demand movies from the internet can be paused whenever, wherever, and forever, all in the comfort of your own home, with a clean restroom, and food that doesn't cost more than the "ticket".

Maybe Hollyweird just hates the thought of profit sharing with movie theaters.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
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