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Tino

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Valentino
One memorable experience was when I went to see Green Card starting Andie McDowell and Gerard Depardieu in the 90’s.

At one point during a funny scene I was laughing along with the rest of the audience when a little old lady in front of me got up, pointed a finger at me and yelled “You’re ruining the movie for me!” I said Ma’am it’s a comedy.

She then proceeded to move to another seat at the opposite side of the theater. A few moments later during another funny scene, I heard her yell the same thing to another unfortunate audience member.
 

garypleace

Auditioning
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Jun 11, 2006
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7
Real Name
telecineman
!980 and "The Shining" at a theater in NY. After the unbearable tension and build-up to the "Here's Johnny!" moment some guy stood up and shouted "Somebody oughtta shoot that mother ******!!" and sat right back down. I laughed out loud - alone(!) and shrank in my seat until the theater emptied!
 

B-ROLL

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May 26, 2016
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3,612
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Bryan
Blazing Saddles in 1974 showing to a somewhat unprepared audience. After the notorious first 10 minutes a black couple got up and left. I so wish i could have persuaded them to stay and witness one of THE best antidotes to racism.
Same film, similar experience, except in my case, it was a white guy dressed in full cowboy attire: Hat, Chaps and Spurs - After telling this story to someone who knew about such things, I was advised he couldn't have been a "real cowboy" as they wouldn't wear spurs on cement :cool:!
 

RBailey

Supporting Actor
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Jun 30, 2009
Messages
532
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John Hall
I can remember a Saturday afternoon matinee at the Auditorium Theatre in Newark, Ohio in 1963. KING KONG VS. GODZILLA was showing and the theatre was packed. So packed that the balcony was open and that didn't happen often. The theatre's policy was to always show the second feature first and usually a sci-fi/horror movie was paired up with something similar or at least a western with a lot of action. That day, a black and white British crime drama was the co-feature. It was very talky and no one in the audience of pre-teens and kids were remotely interested. The noise was loud and constant. Kids were booing and screaming and throwing candy everywhere. About a half-hour in, the projector stopped and the house lights came up. Mr. Cannon, the normally reserved manager of the theatre came out in front of the screen with a microphone and basically told us to sit down and shut up. Otherwise, he'd throw us all out. If that had happened, I think a riot might have broken out. Mr. Cannon said some people were trying to watch the British film. (I saw no one older than 15-16 around me). Anyway, after admonishing us again, the film started up again. The noise level diminished a little and the candy throwing stopped. Finally, the British film ended. They skipped the coming attractions and went right into the main feature. It was still noisy but everyone was now at least paying attention to the movie they came to see. KING KONG VS. GODZILLA was a great film to see with a packed house of crazed kids but I've always wondered about that British film. I bet if I could remember the name and it was available, I would probably like it more today than I would the monster flick.
 

Steve Y

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 1, 2000
Messages
889
We had friends visiting from England who wanted to see Return of the Jedi. I'd already seen it, but was happy to go back for another viewing.

Under the hot afternoon sun, we stood for hours in a line that went all the way around the building. The theater's interior was very large, with a 85 by 32 foot curved Dimension 150 screen. The lights went down and everyone cheered...

The trailer before the feature was for The Star Chamber. And it was LOUD. Someone had cranked up the volume to unconscionable levels. I had to put my fingers over my ears. I still remember Yaphet Kotto's voice (may he rest in peace), beaming into the inside of our skulls like the voice of God, and the clatter as Michael Douglas crashed through a building.

Finally, the movie started. The sound levels were a little more reasonable than in the trailer, but it was still too loud. As C-3P0 and R2-D2 walked along the desert path to Jabba's palace, the soundtrack squealed, the characters froze, and the film melted gloriously in front of us.

We were all ushered out into the sunlight and granted refunds. Our friends didn't get to see the movie.
 

noel aguirre

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Nov 28, 2011
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889
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noel
NYC July 1986, Broadway and 47th St, opening of Aliens, after work, theatre packed, tension everywhere & scream-filled to the rafters. Once it ended I grabbed and flung my suit jacket and got the hell out of there as fast as I could! Got home and my wallet was missing- cards, ID , money - everything.
Next morning at work I get a call from a nurse at Bellevue saying my wallet flew and landed on her lap at the end of the movie from god knows where! Went up to Bellevue at lunchtime and had a good laugh with her about that and the movie itself.
 

harync

Grip
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
19
Real Name
Harrison
Several memorable moments, some good, some not-so-good.

Schindler' List: After the lights go down, the guy sitting in front of me proceeds to pull out a six-pack of malt liquor and proceeds to consume all 6 over the next three hours. He was never a problem, but that is the first and only time I have seen that and what a film for it!

There will be Blood: Saw this in a 2nd run theater filled with elderly people. One couple was constantly asking each other what was going on, so that was unpleasant. The best reaction, however, was at the end when the older man in front of me stood up and gave two middle fingers to the screen and walked out if a huff.

V for Vendetta: Saw this opening weekend in Leicester Square Odeon in London. Being very familiar with the graphic novel, I was not surprised at the ending. Most of the audience seemed to be shocked when they blew up the Houses of Parliament except the one guy who stood up and applauded.

Rabbit Proof Fence: Another first... I walked into the theater and a large propane heater is loudly struggling to heat the auditorium. Not a good sign. Right before the film starts, an usher announces that the heat has gone out and that it might get cold once they shut off the heater. I could see my breath half-way through the movie.

Lawrence of Arabia: Saw a 70mm print at Ebertfest in 2004 with special guest Robert Harris. One of the best movie theater experiences ever and unfortunately indicative of some of the things that can't be captured on a home theater system unless you happen to have a massive screen.

Star Wars Special Edition 1997: This is not for the film, whose changes were mostly unnecessary, but for the audience whose excitement was palpable. Everyone there was over-the-moon excited to see the original film in theaters for the first time in ~15 years. When the tinny, worn 20th Century Fox fanfare/logo played, there was some concern, but then John Williams re-mastered score blared and a perfect looking open crawl appeared and all was well.
 

Midnighter

Auditioning
Joined
Aug 10, 2007
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11
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Kevin Gillease
The audience vibe has certainly changed over the decades, but maybe that's because I've been avoiding the opening night crowds as I've gotten older? My memories of the experience in the 1980s are of something that was more vivid and alive, more energized.

BATMAN (1989): Got tickets to the sneak preview night before opening day. Totally packed theater full of people hyped up from months of omnipresent marketing, a lack of superhero movies (can you believe it?!), and that special summer movie energy that used to build up in us back then. I felt like I'd won a golden ticket getting to be there that night. We were all keyed up and perfectly synced for what was the most thrilling experience I ever had with an audience.

TRON: Was excited to see a proper 70mm presentation of one of my all-time favorites at the majestic Castro Theatre. I've been able to see several great old flicks thanks to the Castro (Lawrence of Arabia, Taxi Driver, Get Crazy, Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains, etc.), but the smug, smart-ass audience members really ruined the experience by laughing at whatever felt vaguely cheezy or silly to them. Has happened a few times since (laughing at old phones, dated dialogue, or David Bowie's tight pants in Labyrinth).

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Special Edition (1997): I stood in line a long time with my USC film school buddies to get tickets to all 3 special editions being shown a day early at the then Mann Chinese Theatre. Seeing Star Wars the month before had been fantastic, another hyped up audience in a great theater, but Empire was special because there was a delay. We were all wondering what the hold up was, when out walks Mark Hamill with a microphone. Needless to say, we gave him a standing ovation. After a couple minutes, he told us to sit down and we all did. My buddy 'Minnesota' Dave leaned to me and said, "He used the Jedi mind trick on us!" Mr. Hamill said he was there to see the movies on the big screen again, and that they'd asked him to let us know because the releases were doing well, they were going to delay releasing Return of the Jedi by a couple weeks. Still the best delivery of news of a delay I've ever had.

Also, my first time watching Grease was at the Mann Chinese, and it was the sing-along version. Talk about surround sound! I love musicals and I wish more were sing-alongs.

I think the last time I felt the collective energy was in Pixar's Up. The first section of that film got so many people sniffling and crying. I was not immune to it either.
 

John Dirk

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There's just something about the cinematic experience that cannot be duplicated in your living room (or home theater if you prefer).
It is by no means my intent to "crap" on this thread and I fully admit the above statement has merit. That said, I would argue that the demise of the commercial theatrical experience began long before COVID-19. There have been reports on this very forum of people being physically threatened at commercial theaters for no good reason. Add to that the cost [and dubious nutritional value] of refreshments, the commute time and the rude people and it's simply a non-starter for me. Like @John Sparks I built my Home Theater [in my case circa 2009] and haven't looked back. There is admittedly a tradeoff but, for me, it's well worth it.

1615931229688.png
 

Mysto

Screenwriter
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Feb 15, 2018
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1,595
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Florida
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marv long
I don't know how many of you are old enough to remember the spook shows. They would run a scary movie and then a "spook" magic show. I got a chance to see a lecture by Silkini one of the guys that used to run the shows. He had many movie stories but the best... They checked everyone entering the theater to keep out contraband. But at one show during the dark out sequence someone threw a 50 pound manhole cover on the stage. He told us that when the first started the shows they were fun but by the 50's people would try to hit or trip the performers in costume going up and down the aisles in the dark.
50394985692_631723c335_b.jpg

The last one of these I went to 1960 - the kids were so loud the show ended in about 5 minutes and no refunds.
 

cinemiracle

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May 1, 2015
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Peter
No home theater however extravagant can compare with a properly exhibited film in a theater. None in my opinion.

So very true but there are many reasons why I have not been to a cinema for a couple of years. It's just a pity that it is rarely possible today to have the cinema experience of yesteryear. There are many reasons that drive people away from the cinema experience today: brain-dead people on the mobiles ,talkers, noisy popcorn eaters ,15 minutes of commercials, patrons being served food and drinks at their seat .You come to see a film not have a banquet-eat before or after the movie. 70mm films projected onto cinemascope size screens, woeful digital projection quality (at least in the few cinemas that I saw a digital film.) There is absolutely no way that LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in 70mm and projected onto a 60 foot wide screen can ever hope to be replicated in a home cinema. I have seen 70mm projection in a home cinema and that was not good. My most woeful cinema experience was in NYC in 1967 when a commercial came up on the screen with John Wayne asking patrons to donate money to a charity and then having someone walking around the auditorium collecting donations.
 

titch

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Nov 7, 2012
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1,060
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Kevin Oppegaard
Watching Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls at the Kitale Golf Club in Kenya, with my two younger brothers at the tender age of seven. Parents were drunk in the bar. I could never figure out why the woman in the beginning was sucking on a gun barrel.
 

Guardyan

Agent
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Mar 3, 2021
Messages
41
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Mattie
So many great memories on here. I certainly have mine as well.

But what I miss though is an age of "going to the movies" (or cinema as my grandmother says) that I never really got to experience. See, I never really saw an uniformed usher with a flashlight guiding people that arrived late to their seats or - more importantly - that maintained order during projection. You might ask me "why is that important?" Well, I tell you: I've noticed that going to the movies nowadays is nothing like going to the movies back when I was a kid. People don't seem to be properly educated these days - they speak during the movie, chew with their mouths open (I hate and despise the sound of people chewing popcorn with their mouths open), and - one of my biggest annoyances - people check or just use their smartphones during/throughout the movie, and that annoying blue glare disrupts the experience (it's much worse when it's someone sitting by my side or on the row right in front of me). I effing hate that and I can't understand why anyone would text during a movie. No usher ever told those people to behave. No one really cares. I've seen staff at Regal and AMC Theaters opening doors and sweeping floors after a session but I've never seen them doing much else. Last time I went to the theater was to see Parisite and the AC made trepidation noises - now besides people that don't know how to behave in a theater, there's also places in serious need of repairs. My friend told me that he had watched Iron Man 3 (!!!) in the same theater and the AC made that same noise. Unkept theaters... ugh.

While I agree that no home theater could ever replace the actual movie theater experience, I certainly don't appreciate impolite people spoiling my experience. Movie theaters need to get a grip, rethink their business model, go the extra mile to make "going to the movies" an experience again. And parents need to educate their kids as to how to behave in public spaces... especially movie theaters. I noticed that this "trend" of people misbehaving started in the early 2000s. I wonder if that's a result of the big blockbuster wave that has swept cinemas ever since. I love a superhero movie and all, but even a big budget movie allows you the chance to reflect and just admire what's on the screen. But people seem to be there just to be entertained and talk out loud when they're in a big group. Ugh. I certainly don't miss that. But my home theater won't ever be an IMAX so...
 

Erik_H

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Apr 11, 2004
Messages
190
Two favorite movie theater memories--- (1) the first evening public screening of "Heaven's Gate" at Cinema I in NYC in November 1980. The film was shown on a reserved seat basis with two shows per day. The brutal reviews had appeared in that day's papers. I was seated in the upper level of Cinema I, near a cordoned-off section that was presumably reserved for United Artists executives. At the end of the nearly four hour screening, many members of the audience loudly booed, while the folks in the cordoned-off section looked shell shocked. The film was pulled from Cinema I after one week and replaced with "Apocalypse Now." (2) an opening weekend screening of "Eyes Wide Shut" at the Astor Plaza in Times Square. Many members of the audience appeared to be anticipating some sort of erotic romp with Cruise and Kidman, and while the film was being shown they did not exactly hold back in expressing their disappointment in hilariously colorful language.
 

70MM Ultra pana

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Nov 23, 2020
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GaryWilliamWhitley
When we saw the two people pull out glass pipe, and lighter my friend and I just quietly chuckled...I said "are they, is that...?" my friend was like "yeah, crazy".
I remember seeing the exorcist first run downtown during Christmas break I was with my sister and her friend stood in in line for over two hours in the freezing cold people driving by looked at everyone standing in line shaking there heads like you must be nuts ,once inside as we started to thaw out some one in the theater was smoking pot whether this added to the screaming out loud I do not now ,but what an experience.
 

70MM Ultra pana

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GaryWilliamWhitley

So very true but there are many reasons why I have not been to a cinema for a couple of years. It's just a pity that it is rarely possible today to have the cinema experience of yesteryear. There are many reasons that drive people away from the cinema experience today: brain-dead people on the mobiles ,talkers, noisy popcorn eaters ,15 minutes of commercials, patrons being served food and drinks at their seat .You come to see a film not have a banquet-eat before or after the movie. 70mm films projected onto cinemascope size screens, woeful digital projection quality (at least in the few cinemas that I saw a digital film.) There is absolutely no way that LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in 70mm and projected onto a 60 foot wide screen can ever hope to be replicated in a home cinema. I have seen 70mm projection in a home cinema and that was not good. My most woeful cinema experience was in NYC in 1967 when a commercial came up on the screen with John Wayne asking patrons to donate money to a charity and then having someone walking around the auditorium collecting donations.
 

70MM Ultra pana

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Nov 23, 2020
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GaryWilliamWhitley
I agree seeing Lawrence in 70mm 6track digital sound is the supreme experience.I was extremely lucky to see Lawrence in 70mm 6track at a 70mm festival in the summer at a theater that was built with one huge large screen and seated about 1,500 people before it closed.I saw Lawrence 3 times when in second run In my neighborhood theater in 35mm,I thought that was awe inspiring but to see it years later in 70mm was no comparison.The theater I saw it in 70mm festival later that month.,I saw AROUND THE WORLD IN 80DAYS IN 70mm and WEST SIDE STORY in 70mm with original overture before film began as it was shown in its original engagement. I think this is what is missing today no first runs in70mm,caring projection a thing of the past,I stopped complaining about poor projection and sound they look at you like so what are you finished bye.I stopped going years ago to see movies at the movies I watch films at home on my 55in Sony yes I know it is not like seeing it at the movies but there are so few films that need a big screen experience today,all they care about is taking your money and the audiences today please who needs it.,
 

cinemiracle

Screenwriter
Joined
May 1, 2015
Messages
1,375
Real Name
Peter
Two favorite movie theater memories--- (1) the first evening public screening of "Heaven's Gate" at Cinema I in NYC in November 1980. The film was shown on a reserved seat basis with two shows per day. The brutal reviews had appeared in that day's papers. I was seated in the upper level of Cinema I, near a cordoned-off section that was presumably reserved for United Artists executives. At the end of the nearly four hour screening, many members of the audience loudly booed, while the folks in the cordoned-off section looked shell shocked. The film was pulled from Cinema I after one week and replaced with "Apocalypse Now." (2) an opening weekend screening of "Eyes Wide Shut" at the Astor Plaza in Times Square. Many members of the audience appeared to be anticipating some sort of erotic romp with Cruise and Kidman, and while the film was being shown they did not exactly hold back in expressing their disappointment in hilariously colorful language.

Nice to hear from someone else who managed to see this uncut version in 70mm on the same day .There were actually 3 sessions a day (not two as you state). I still have the full page ad from the NY Sunday Times.I saw it in the morning session at 11-45am on the opening day. There was less than a dozen patrons upstairs at the screening. I also managed to be outside the night before and watched the celebrities arrive for the World Premiere before rushing off to see Christopher Reeve in THE FIFTH OF JULY on stage.. Two people in the audience were talking about the scathing review in the paper that day.
 

cinemiracle

Screenwriter
Joined
May 1, 2015
Messages
1,375
Real Name
Peter
I agree seeing Lawrence in 70mm 6track digital sound is the supreme experience.I was extremely lucky to see Lawrence in 70mm 6track at a 70mm festival in the summer at a theater that was built with one huge large screen and seated about 1,500 people before it closed.I saw Lawrence 3 times when in second run In my neighborhood theater in 35mm,I thought that was awe inspiring but to see it years later in 70mm was no comparison.The theater I saw it in 70mm festival later that month.,I saw AROUND THE WORLD IN 80DAYS IN 70mm and WEST SIDE STORY in 70mm with original overture before film began as it was shown in its original engagement. I think this is what is missing today no first runs in70mm,caring projection a thing of the past,I stopped complaining about poor projection and sound they look at you like so what are you finished bye.I stopped going years ago to see movies at the movies I watch films at home on my 55in Sony yes I know it is not like seeing it at the movies but there are so few films that need a big screen experience today,all they care about is taking your money and the audiences today please who needs it.,
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS revival in 70mm was superb when I saw it on a a huge curved screen (75 ft wide approx) Such a shame that future revivals were only in 35mm and were the shorter version which Elizabeth Taylor had sadly approved of. WEST SIDE STORY in 70mm originally did not have an intermission when I saw it (as per the Director's ruling.
 

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