THE POPCORN REEL EDITOR'S DESK - a weekly word about the movies                      

Monday, July 31, 2006


So if you had to choose, would you rather sit through 10 minutes of ads before the feature film presentation at your local theater, or would you restrain yourself from leaving the theater and watch the end credits of a film in their entirety?

Chances are you would probably choose neither option.  At least one person in the Chicago area however, did choose.  About three and a half years ago a politician named Miriam Fisch, of Cook County, Illinois, sued a Loews Theaters chain of cinemas for showing an "excessive" amount of commercials prior to the showing of the movie she paid to see.

In the complaint, Fisch had described as "commercial creep" the showing of ads that the audience did not want to see, ads that would normally be shown on television.  The suit has yet to be resolved, but in the mean time it would appear that Fisch has a good point rather than a frivolous lawsuit.  After all, why should one pay good money for a movie ticket and then be subjected to at least four consecutive television ads on the big screen in a movie theater before the actual film?  Fisch had stated that Loews (which is now out of the movie theater chain business) engaged in deceptive business practices by not accurately communicating the exact starting times of the films that their theater was showing.  The ads had allegedly eaten into the starting time of the movie.  (Incidentally, the movie in question was "The Quiet American" -- Ms. Fisch was anything but where this ad issue was concerned.)

Ms. Fisch speaks for more than a few people regarding the issue of excessive ads before films.  On the other hand, had the Loews Theater shown six or seven movie preview trailers in succession, the politician wouldn't have had a leg to stand on. 

The other issue is this: if Ms. Fisch can sue Loews for showing television ads and demand that the theater post accurate starting times of the movies they show, then why can't someone be bold (or bone-headed) enough to pass a law requiring people to stay and watch the entire roll of end credits before leaving the theater? 

After all, isn't it frustrating for those who want to see the credits at the end of a film to have to keep maneuvering around while people are getting up and standing in front of the screen while the end credits are running?  Would it be difficult for people to just move to one side while others are still watching the screen? 

The Oscar-winning film "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King" had nine-plus minutes of end credits (and I stayed to watch all nine minutes.  Hey, after a three-hour 20 minute film, what's another nine minutes?  Besides, I also got to enjoy Annie Lennox's Oscar-winning song to boot.)

The compelling of patrons to watch the end credits may be an absurd idea, but it is something that a lawmaker or a politician, should contemplate. 

Then again, such actions may not play well in Peoria, Illinois (or anywhere else, for that matter.) 


Omar P.L. Moore
The Popcorn Reel