What Attracts You to A Movie in Theatres?

When I was in high school, I went to the movies all the time. Every couple of weeks I’d be in the movie theatre. Any money I could spare would go towards more tickets. In college, I went to even more movies. A college schedule that had mornings free and certain days off entirely, I would go to $5 movies at least once a week and that would build up to get me rewards and free movies. Movies were my thing. I was a film studies major after all. Movies are my life.

That hasn’t changed since I left school. In fact, it has gotten worse. Now that I have a job I can’t go watch movies whenever like I used to, but I watch frequently. Last year I saw somewhere around 30 movies in theatres. This year, I’m on track to a similar number, though I think it will be lower. I just keep going and going. Part of the reason is the fact that aside from a few basic living bills, I have no other responsibilities or concerns so I go to movies.

My entire point of this post is to talk about what draws me in to a movie. With so many movies competing for my attention, I can only go to so many movies a year. And that’s even more than most people. Thus, how a movie is marketed to appeal to viewers is vital. Ads need to bring people in. It needs to intrigue them.  Yet, it can’t tell too much or it will disappoint the viewer. There’s nothing worse than going to a movie and finding out that all the best parts were actually in the trailer. So when there are trailers that look like they show you the whole movie, it’s a problem.

More importantly in an age of social media, movies live and die by the social imprint that they leave in their wake. If a movie is good, word of mouth can spread like wildfire. It’s now easier than ever to be held. While it’s also easy to get lost in the drone, it can also become amplified. This can be both positive and negative for movies. In the case of good movies, that positive word of mouth can spread. The social media imprint lasts for longer as more people continue to see movies and extend a tail. Whereas a mediocre movie may have a high initial push and then burn out after that. While a bad movie can also remain a topic of ridicule for longer than a movie may want. However, the biggest curse for movies in a social media age is fading too fast. A movie with no hype before, critical or public, is unlikely to have a good open. Unfortunately, the way the box office is front loaded. Not having a good open could be a curse, especially if the movie doesn’t fall squarely into the good category.

Personally, I’m not a trailer person, but a synopsis person. If a synopsis has me interested I’ll go check a trailer or listen to interviews. I like to dig into some movies that I feel I have a personal investment in. Not all movies I want to see, I will actually watch the trailers for. Often the quick TV spot is enough to confirm or scare me away.

What draws you to a movie?

2 thoughts on “What Attracts You to A Movie in Theatres?

  1. There are a few types of movies I like to see in theaters. Some movies are amplified by communal experience, such as comedies and horror films which benefit from the combined emotion of the audience. Others, like blockbusters and epics benefit from the larger than life screen size and audio – for these I prefer IMAX. Finally, I sometimes like to vote with my money and see a smaller film I am excited about on opening weekend – Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing” comes to mind as an example.

    For drama, or anything more pensive and intimate, I prefer the home theater experience. I don’t want to be distracted by people and the immense scale doesn’t add to the experience for me.

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