There will be complete coverage of the weekend competition between "MoHotShit" and myself in tomorrow's post. I wanted to write a little something about the new J.J. Abrams film that Megan and I took in over the weekend while the viewing was still fresh in my mind. Delaying coverage from the weekend's events will also give me a chance to recover from utter humiliation.
Megan and I decided to give the new monster destroys New York City flick, Cloverfield, a chance. Both of us are fans of the Abrams created television series "Lost", and we were curious to see the latest project attached to his name. Before the movie began there were the standard crappy commercials that are now commonplace at theaters. When the movie should have started, we noticed that the commercials had gone into a loop, repeating a series of shitty trivia questions in a time frame so short that even a patient with a severe case of advanced Alzheimer's wouldn't have difficulty recalling the answers.
Shortly after making this realization, a theater employee entered and gathered the attention of the attendees by saying, "Excuse me everyone, but there is a problem with the projector and the start of the movie will be delayed by just a few minutes. Someone is working on it and it should only take another minute. It's just the projector and it's being fixed. It should only take a minute as the attendant is working to repair it. The projector should be repaired shortly and the movie will begin as soon as the projector is fixed which is being done as we speak. With any luck the movie will begin soon as in about one minute."
I inquired in reply, "So you're saying there's a problem with the projector?"
Shortly there after, the theater employee returned and approached each person in the audience saying, "Can I offer you a free small drink because of the delay?" Thinking about this for a few seconds, I realized how easy it is to keep the inconvenienced theater-goers (sheep) happy. If all it takes is a free small drink to calm a theater full of people, then they have the right idea. Chances are, this "problem" will actually generate more revenue for them than if the "problem" never even occurred.
Please allow me to diverge slightly with some quick mathematics. First, I will assume that there are 50 occupants in the theater. The approximate actual cost to theater in "giving away" a free small drink to the audience, would be about $5.00, or 10 cents per coupon (including the cost of the cup and drink). Now assume that every audience member gets up and redeems their coupon at that moment while the projector is being repaired and returns with only the "complimentary" drink. In this scenario, the theater would lose $195 in profit (assuming $4/drink less the $5 cost). However, the odds of this happening are infinitesimal, especially since the "projector will be fixed in about a minute and the movie will begin shortly," not even providing enough time to redeem the coupon before the movie will inevitably (supposedly) begin. More likely scenarios would include the - discarding of the coupon by the audience members (cost to theater - value of the printed coupon - i.e. nothing) - OR - people will get the "free" small drink and other concessions that they would not normally get because of the "free" compensation for the two minutes of inconvenience - OR - the audience will remember that the theater wanted to make things right after something abnormal occurred, keep the coupon (or not) and become regular patrons of this particular theater whether or not it is their regular theater.
Chances are, the the actual usage of the coupon will fall into a mix of the above scenarios with most people (like myself) cramming the coupon into my wallet, never to be seen again (or at least until the wallet is cleaned out in 3-5 years). With little doubt in my mind, I believe that the projector "problem" will likely not cost the theater anything at all, and potentially could be profitable. Which brings me to the point - was there really a problem with the projector, or was the theater just trying to drum up some more business?
That was quite a long tangent. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Cloverfield. Once you can get accustomed to the bouncy camera work, the film was amazingly entertaining. The special effects were fantastic and the story was well scripted. Megan and her intensely analytical mind drew parallels to the 9/11 attacks and the imagery of terror in New York City during the entire film while I was pondering things like - "did that girl just explode?" My suggestion: Grab your significant other, take a Dramamine, go see Cloverfield and just enjoy the film for the sake of being entertained - then discuss it with the more intelligent half of the relationship and have them explain to you what the movie meant in simple terms that you can understand.