A few years ago, we bought a spiffy home theater system, complete with the surround sound and the HDTV and the comfy chairs. I'm sure it's a coincidence that this matches up almost exactly with when we stopped going out to the movies except for extremely special events.
I know this is different for everyone, but for me, going to the movies has been only slightly less annoying than going to the DMV, thanks to outrageous ticket prices, mega-multiplexes that leave stains on their screens and never enforce the "Hey, shut the hell up" rule beyond an entirely ineffective announcement at the beginning of the film, parents who think it's entirely appropriate to bring small children into R-rated movies, and the latest joy: teenagers who leave their goddamn cellphones on and when they're not talking to each other light up the theater with hundreds of tiny screens while they send and read text messages.
Yeah, I'm really glad I have this home theater system, because going to the Arclight isn't always an option, and there's a good chance I'm going to snap one day and force feed some fucking idiot his goddamn cell phone.
Well, as if all this isn't bad enough, now you can enjoy being filmed by a studio thug while you attempt to view the film you paid out the ass to watch:
"[I]mmediately I notice an older gentleman who looked to be about 60 standing in the corner of the theater. Sporting a black suit and a black briefcase, he began to film the audience during the movie. Every 5-10 minutes he would sweep the audience with his video camera, then turn it off and just watch us, then turn the camera back on and sweep again."
Isn't that great? I know that I can't *wait* to have my privacy violated by some studio douchebag when I'm just trying to watch their fucking movie.
All furious indignation aside, can the theaters get away with this? I've never seen a notice that by entering a theater I'm giving my consent to be filmed (other than at special screenings, and certainly never at a regularly-scheduled screening.)
If theaters are going to be complicit in this sort of thing, they should:
- be forced to disclose to their customers that they will be filmed in the theater,
- offer refunds to customers who don't wish to be filmed, or
- give audiences a choice of sitting in a surveillance theater or a non-surveillance theater.
It's annoying enough already to go out to the movies these days, and I while I understand why a studio would want to use this sort of intimidation tactic to stop people from making shitty camcorder videos of movies, I also understand why some potential customers would choose a shitty camcorder version of a film over sitting in a theater to watch it.