Police At The Movie Theater, Good or Bad?

Obviously, it was a bad time at the Rock Hill Movie theater Saturday night. A fight broke out, but when you watch the video it doesn’t really look as bad as the article makes it sound:

Police shut down an entire movie theater on a busy Saturday night after a huge fight broke out in the lobby. Some of the people involved ran for the doors, others ran into theaters, forcing the shutdown for safety purposes.  

This news article reminded me that something else noteworthy happened when we went to see the IT: Chapter Two showing last Friday night that I thought was a bit unusual. We don’t normally go to movie theaters on Friday nights, so maybe when it’s busy this is normal procedure at the theater: there was a noticeable police presence both outside and inside the movie theater.

Inside the theater a uniformed officer stood by where the tickets are torn and watched us as we entered toward the theater. I wondered, fleetingly, if this was normal? What was the police officer watching for? There were a decent amount of teenagers and younger people in the theater. Does the theater have issues with people running into movies without paying or causing other sorts of unruly and disruptive behavior?

The movie theater audience was large but everybody was well-mannered. Nobody was talking loud or on their phones during the movie or being disruptive. What is the deal with the police presence?

Obviously there are problems in present day with all sorts of craziness in public places (one doesn’t have to look at much news to see that, unfortunately) and that is one thing that does concern me about going to the movies. It’s one reason I tend to avoid going when there are larger crowds (like weekend nights). I prefer to go during matinees or the really late showing when it’s quieter and the theaters are less packed.

Part of me likes the police presence and part of me does not. Guess I’m torn on this one. Skating rinks were big when I was a kid and the police were never there unless a fight broke out. I don’t know if police need to be camped out at movie theaters essentially at the ready for trouble, but maybe they do? I don’t have an answer on this one. Maybe some others reading someday might comment and let me know their thoughts or link me to other articles or blog posts on this subject.

788% Profit on Movie Theater Popcorn

$15.51 for large popcorn and large soda after 10% discount on 9/8/2019

Only 1 of the 12 movies I attended at the theater in August 2019 did I not buy popcorn and soda. I just love eating that crunchy, buttery goodness and enjoy the soda to wash it down. My wife and I prefer to get two straws and share a large Sprite when we attend together, but I will alternate between Coca Cola and Sprite. Sometimes I’ll spring for Cherry Coca Cola. It really isn’t an option for us not buying it, even if it cost more.

Most everybody realizes that concessions are the business model that keep the theaters operating. This excellent article: Why Is Movie Theater Popcorn So Outrageously Expensive? delves far deeper into the analytics of concession stand pricing and profitability. That article is also the source of the headline of this post.

Most of the movies we saw last month were in mostly empty theaters. IT: Chapter Two, seen on a Friday night — one of the busiest times — was about 75% full. Yesterday, I went and saw The Art of Racing In the Rain at the opening 11 am showing. There were two other people in the theater besides me. Yes, they also bought popcorn and soda.

It isn’t the concessions pricing that have kept me away from watching more movies at the theater, it is the price of the movies. Last year, paying full movie pricing, I still watched over 30 movies for the year. That is way more than the average movie theater attendee, per the article:

“Less than 10% of the US population goes to the movies, compared to 65% in 1930. And those who do go are attending less. In 2018, the average moviegoer paid for only 3.5 tickets, down from 4.9 tickets in 2002.”

Thank goodness for unlimited movie programs like the Regal Unlimited, because this, depending on my other life schedule, will enable me to see just about everything new that comes out every month. I would only have seen 3 or 4 of the 12 movies I saw last month if I didn’t have the Regal Unlimited movie plan.

If I have to pay full price, I will only go and see the movies that I’m looking forward to seeing (like Terminator: Dark Fate). I pay much more attention to the movie info, trailers and reviews from others before reaching for my debit card. This means I would be less likely to take a chance on outstanding movies like The Peanut Butter Falcon, our favorite movie last month and yesterday’s movie, The Art of Racing In The Rain which so far is my favorite movie I’ve seen this month (yes, it’s way early still). I’m looking forward to seeing several more movies this month, including Rambo: Last Blood, the Judy Garland biopic Judy staring Renee Zellweger and several more.

Bottom line: I am OK with the expensive concession prices. Yes, there is likely a pricing limit of which would discourage me from buying concessions at the movies. It’s not much more than what is currently being charged, but feel like with the unlimited movie plan, I’m able to spend on more concessions. From the picture above, the only money I spent yesterday at the theater was on the concessions (technically, I did pay something for the ticket price, as it was a fraction of the $22/month for the Regal Unlimited Plan).

Later this month, we’re going to be in Las Vegas staying at a hotel casino with a Regal theater on site. I think they have the dinner concession option. We’ll likely partake in that. I’m certain the prices will be more than eating at the midnight buffet. We’re OK with that.