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It's Disruptive to Have Ads Before Movies

March 19, 1994

Regarding "Cable Trailers on Big Screen Drawing Fire" (March 5), I have news for Showtime Senior Vice President of Marketing Mark Greenburg (the only individual quoted who mentioned the "moviegoing audience"): What you are doing is deleterious to the experience of a regular patron.

Perhaps people who only venture into theaters to see blockbusters, having been sucked in by hype and advertising to begin with, don't mind the constant seat-jostling and talking that goes on for the first 10 to 20 minutes after the house lights go down. Maybe they enjoy that aspect of the communal experience.

But others who attend movies on a weekly basis are so tired of late-arriving patrons, of thinking that we're seated in an ideal location only to have our sight line obliterated as the opening scenes of the film roll by, of the wayward person looking for his/her group by roaming the aisles shouting their names, of the inability of people coming into a darkened house to see and audibly complaining as if they expected a tunnel of light to guide them, of the lack of ushers or other personnel to quell these moments.

What is happening is the forced change from arriving at or before show time into a gradual creeping into the blackened theater, lips sealed, within a perfectly timed millisecond of the start of the film.

Going to the movies should not have to require combat training--that is, the plotting and scheming and timing involved in avoiding all that comes before a film (including Los Angeles Times commercials). And it's all a shame because we really used to enjoy the trailers.

I suppose that is what we have E! for now.


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