Canadian cinema fined $10,000 for privacy invasion over bag-search

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77 Responses to “Canadian cinema fined $10,000 for privacy invasion over bag-search”

  1. Padraig says:

    I find this whole discussion weird.

    I’ve not been searched at any cinema (don’t know if they can in Australia) and certainly have taken food in.

    If a cinema won’t let me take in my own chocolate or water etc then I wouldn’t go. Then again, if they were all like that you’d just have to stop going and/or lobby the cinema in your local area/s.

    Strange things going on in the USA.

    Anyone able to comment about the UK, Ireland or other European countries?

  2. alisong76 says:

    Ian McCloud at 17: An 3 litre orange juice bottle filled with cheap cask wine when I and a friend were 16 or 17. My friend and I were seeing Last of the Mohicans in a cinema that was completely empty except for us two. We got trashed, lol. To this day, it remains the funniest movie I’ve ever seen.

  3. alisong76 says:

    #9 – The fact that the small, indie cinema I used to go to that showed “smaller” movies sold tickets more cheaply than the big cinemas and also sold candy at a reasonable price would seem to support this.

    They were forced to close when, after fifteen years of trading, a council inspection found that one of their firewalls didn’t make the grade. I’m sure the fact that a Westfield was talking about wanting to open in the area and they wanted to put in their own multiplex had NOTHING to do with it at all.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is why fewer people go to the actual movie theaters. When are they going to start with the body cavity searches?

  5. Ian_McLoud says:

    I guess this is why all the drive-in theaters are gone. Folks won’t submit to a comprehensive vehicle search and, as a result, no concessions profit.

  6. Mitch says:

    Are they allowing laptops in the theatre? I was just
    thinking about how small the working part of my
    usb web cam is and how easy it would be to conceal
    in a hat. Then again you could probably hide a
    regular video camera inside a prosthetic potbelly.
    Or you could conceal a decent recording system in a
    wheelchair, and if you locked the wheels the chair
    could be as steady as a tripod.

    I love how reading about this theatre searching
    people for cameras has sparked my creativity to
    come up with ways to sneak a camera in.

  7. arkizzle says:

    Padraig,

    Irish and UK cinemas certainly restrict what you can bring in. They occasionally do a casual bag search (as in, “lift the flap, thanks”) but are absolutely within their rights to prevent food and cameras from entering the theatre.

    We sneak stuff in.

  8. dove says:

    @21 – the drive in by my house doesn’t search- at all, actually. it’s business as usual to sneak in anyone over 2 people (no one believes you’d come by yourself), and they don’t look for food or care if you’ve got more people. they also don’t care if you switch screens after the first movie. and if you know the right people, you can even get in free. the logical part of my brain says that it’ll be closed soon, but i certainly hope not.

  9. adamnvillani says:

    I guess this is why all the drive-in theaters are gone. Folks won’t submit to a comprehensive vehicle search and, as a result, no concessions profit.

    You’re joking, right? Drive-ins have been on decline since VCRs became popular in the mid-1980s.

  10. frogmarch says:

    @Padraig–

    I’ve never been searched at a cinema in France. Of course, many cinemas here don’t have concessions at all. I presume this is because the French take both eating and film so seriously that one would not attempt to do both at the same time, lest it lessen one’s appreciation of each. You could certainly sneak food in, but doing so would be considered tacky, which to a Frenchman is greater deterrent than fine or imprisonment.

    I’ve also never been “searched” at a cinema in the US. Everyone on this thread referring to sneaking in food simply means sticking it in a pocket or under your jacket where the ticket-taker doesn’t see it. At worst you face an “I’m sorry, sir, no outside food allowed” if you were to accidentally drop your drink bottle in front of cinema staff.

    Sporting events are an entirely different matter, however, both in Europe and the US.

  11. Anonymous says:

    We just plan our movie outings for the show immediately after lunch (for a weekend matinée) or immediately after dinner. Then the whole overpriced snack issue is moot because we aren’t hungry anyway.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The reason concessions are so high priced is that’s the main way the theater itself makes money. The movie companies get 90% of ticket sales when a movie first opens, and it’s a gradual sliding scale after that. 80-20, 70-30 etc. If the split was more even to begin with the concessions could go down as well.

  13. Anonymous says:

    #13, I respectfully disagree. Girls are getting their first periods earlier and earlier, and I wouldn’t want to put my 8-year-old on the pill for no medical reason.

    But I do see where you’re coming from. When I was 12 or so and needed sinus surgery, I had to give urine for a pregnancy test- hospital policy for every female over the age of 10. Very sad. I also do some fundraising for a pregnancy center in a bad part of town, and the director said the youngest client they’ve had was 13.

  14. Anonymous says:

    @17
    I remember going to see Spawn with my oldest brother. We had two bags of burritos from Taco Bell and just walked in without any hassle. We bought theatre soda though.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I used to work at the front door of a movie theater in the states, and it was rather hilarious how brazen some folks were trying to sneak food and drinks in. One fellow just brought in a straight up paper lunch bag, immediately informing me we were not allowed to search his bag(even though i never asked to) when I told him no outside food or drink was allowed. What this individual failed to realize is his fresh from the fridge coke was condensating and essentially was falling out the bottom of his bag and I could see the label and everything. lawls

  16. failix says:

    I’ve never been searched at a cinema in Germany, but the food here is very expensive too, and I know they don’t allow any other food than theirs.

  17. ral8158 says:

    Um, since when does taking birth control mean that one is sexually active? Some girls have really heavy periods and need birth control pills to regulate them.

  18. gentle_her says:

    I am very diturbed about what happened to me last week. After my school day I decided to go to No Frills to pu a few specials they had advertised. I got to the check out and after putting my purchases about $80.00 worth the cashier TOLD me to put my bag on the belt. This was my personal bag which was a recycled bag from Winners which I carry my school things in. I was surprised however I put the bag behind my last purchase. Without my consent she just went ahead and started to search my bag!!! She saw 2 apples in it which I had brought from home for my lunch at school and my school books. She then asked me if they were MY apples .. I was shocked!!!! I said YES!! and I told her I was not happy with this and I left my groceries and walked out. I was stunned and after a few minutes went back in and asked for the Manager. Well according to her it is their right in that store to do random bag checks on whoever they want. She did say the cashier was a nice girl and that maybe she didnt go about it right. She continued to try to calm me down because I was furiuos, embarrased and disgusted. Even tho I continued to tell her it was wrong what was done she just said well there is a lot of theft and this is their policy. I could understand if someone saw me attempt to steal something but this was not the case. I contacted Loblaws and they also said because No Frills is a Franchise they can do what they want.I am still in disagreement with this!!!! Does anyone know if this was actually illegal? I did tell them I was going to contact a Laywer. Am I wasting my time?

  19. Takuan says:

    @22
    give the underpaid projectionist a few bucks and just get a copy.

  20. Phrosty says:

    “What’s the most absurd food you’ve ever snuck into a theater?”

    A couple years ago, a few friends and I were bored out of our minds on Thanksgiving afternoon, so we went to see a horror movie (Can’t remember which. Apparently, like most horror movies, the horror wasn’t the content, but the film itself.). I ended up sneaking in a 2-liter Dr. Pepper, a couple Tupperware bowls and some Ziploc bags of hot leftover Thanksgiving food, and miscellaneous utensils inside my hoodie. I immediately regretted my decision when I realized that, once the movie started, I couldn’t see what I was eating. It got a little messy.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Am I the only one who thinks this is the perfect opportunity for an impromptu contest to see who can put the most outrageous thing in a bag and then go to the movies to be deliberately searched?

  22. Anonymous says:

    “Strange things going on in the USA.”

    No, this story took place in Canada. They’re their own sovereign nation, honestly. At least the USA hasn’t annexed them to my knowledge, and surely it’d be in the news.

    I’ve never had a bag searched at a theater in the US.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I was asked to be searched yesterday in Washington D.C. at a movie theater I frequent almost weekly. I refused, returned my ticket, and vowed never to go back.

    Saying that I’m pissed beyond belief is an understatement.

  24. dd528 says:

    I worked at a large, city centre Odeon cinema in the UK until last year. Odeon policy (at least where I worked, and they’re all pretty much the same) is to let people bring in their own food, as long as it’s not something hot like pizza or a kebab or whatever. A lot of people find this surprising because rival chains such as Cineworld, Showcase or AMC don’t let customers bring in their own food. The rationale at Odeon though, is that the vast majority of people still buy their food in the cinema anyway. Which they do.

    It’s actually very easy to tell where the cinema is going to make money on food and drinks. I generally found that when I went to clean out a screen on a weekday early afternoon, or for an arthouse film, then there would be mostly empty juice bottles, crisp bags, or sandwich wrappers from food that people had bought themselves in shops nearby. For basically all other showings (i.e. blockbusters, kids’ films, Bollywood films, the many crappy romantic comedies and action films that don’t even do that much business) 99% of the rubbish would be from stuff people had bought on site. You also find that in these kinds of films, a far greater percentage of the audience will choose to eat during the film (not eating for two hours whilst you’re in the cinema is an option people!)

    So people buy food from the cinema anyway. I think this is for two reasons. One is convenience. The other is that people like the cinema food experience. Sure, you can bring your own crisps, but you can’t bring your own hot popcorn, or nachos. Now, when you work at a cinema, and see the quality of the food, it takes you a while to realise that a lot of people really, genuinely think the food is delicious. In fact, where I worked we often had to disappoint people who came in off the street just to buy a hot dog or some nachos. You need a ticket to get through to the concession stands, so we had to turn them away. The mind boggles.

    I’ve also worked in a small independent cinema, where I was involved in admin, so I have some appreciation of the economics. It is very true that, especially with first run films, the cinema makes very little money on ticket sales. It’s something of a catch-22; new films attract big audiences, but the cinema only gets a tiny share of the profits. Old films offer a much larger share of the ticket price, but without the benefit of massive, nationwide promotional campaigns, it is a constant struggle to get people to actually come and see the films, even if they’re established classics like The Godfather or Blade Runner.

    So yeah, the markup on food and drink is high, and that’s where the cinema makes their money (although adverts help somewhat). To give you some idea, we used to get an industrial size bag of sweet popcorn (we didn’t pop on site) that was probably enough for about 20 large size popcorns that would be sold to customers. That large bag cost the cinema about £2.50. Each large popcorn we sold to the customer was £4.50. If you buy a bucket of popcorn in a multiplex cinema, I can almost guarantee that the cinema will have paid more for the bucket that for the popcorn that goes in it.

    The same is true of drinks. The cost to the cinema of the syrup that goes in a large drink (which retails for about £3.15) is probably between 10 and 15p. Each one is worth so little that if you order the wrong drink by mistake, it just gets poured down a sink round the back of the concession stand. Staff are not allowed to eat or drink any orders that turn out to be mistakes, so a huge amount of perfectly good food and drink gets thrown away every day.

    Obviously, cinemas have huge overheads. The machinery is extremely expensive. To run a 15 or 20 screen facility requires a huge number of staff and massive amounts of energy. In a city centre location, the sheer scale of modern cinemas mean that rent is going to be very high. Something else that people don’t realise is how low attendances are for most screenings. A good 50% of my time on a typical weekday shift would be spent literally standing around doing nothing. Perhaps as much as 75% if it was a Tuesday or Thursday (the quietest days, due to no promotions running), or if the weather was good outside. Whilst we might easily have 2 or 3000 customers in the cinema on a Friday or Saturday night, on a Tuesday lunchtime, there would typically be fewer than 20 customers in the building. We wouldn’t even bother showing films on over half the screens until the evening. For the first three or four hours that the cinema was open, it was typical for there to be more staff than customers in the building.

    But make no mistake, large cinema chains do far better than just breaking even. If memory serves, in 2007 Odeon made something like £30 million in profits. For independents it’s a different story. The same is true for old cinemas in major chains that were built when 3 or 4 screens was the norm. They are often closed down and replaced with 15 screen out of towners.

    On the security issue, the law in the UK as was explained to me is that cinema staff have a right to seize any equipment that they see being used to make illegal video or audio recordings anywhere in the cinema, but if this happens, the police must be called immediately, and they take over when they arrive. They can request to see inside someone’s bag or jacket, if they suspect equipment (or a weapon or a bomb) is being hidden in there, but if the customer says no, all that can then be done is to ask them to leave. They absolutely do not have the right to search customers against their will, even if a disclaimer were to be on display at the point of ticket purchase.

    People filming cinema showings is a decreasing problem though, because most pirated copies are now made from pre-screener DVDs, or from the digital media that are sent out to cinemas that digitally project films. Still, in the time I worked at the Odeon, a couple of people were caught in the act, and there were a couple of other suspicious incidents. Although most customers don’t notice, in most showings, a member of staff will come into the screen at least once every 30 minutes and stand at the side. This is partly to check that the picture and sound and general atmosphere are ok, but also to cast an eye over the audience and check for any troublemakers. This is rarely people attempting to film though. Maybe 25% of the time it’s kids making noise or throwing stuff about. Less than 1% it’s pirates, and the rest of the time it’s people getting a bit too friendly with each other on the back rows. I won’t tell you the number of used condoms I found in my spell working there, but suffice to say that it was well into double figures.

  25. belldl says:

    #17: A six pack of Mickey’s Big Mouth, in pockets and coat sleeves, Star Trek VI. A damned fine movie. Only problem was when I accidentally kicked an empty and it rolled down about 10 rows. Other people looked around, but that was all.

  26. Anonymous says:

    @17 Acid

  27. Anonymous says:

    Sooo, I actually work at Guzzo, and know what the rules and everything are. So, for people getting searched, it’s not technically a breach of somebody’s privacy because the security guard asks the client, themselves, to open their bags (not purses, just overly large bags) and if there happens to be food that was bought elsewhere, we tell them to either leave it in the car, or leave it at the cash to be picked up later. There are some security guards who, in my opinion, are idiots and actually put their hands in the customer’s bags, but, they don’t last long, at all. But them checking for food is just a secondary priorty, their main priority to check for cameras, trust me, I know, I watch them do it. But anyways, the main business is to sell tickets AND food, so it would totally defeat the purpose if we let in people who bought food elsewhere. Or at least, it would defeat half the purpose.

  28. orangebag says:

    #54 +1 informative!! thx dd5528!!

  29. Tzctlp says:

    I would refuse to go to a cinema were I was searched.

    Enough is enough, it is a shame that people in other places put up with this nonsense.

  30. GeekDadCanada says:

    Got our bags searched at a Toronto Bluejays game today, including my laptop.

    “Please just turn it on, so we know it’s not a bomb.” Asked security.

    “And if it WAS a bomb, would you know how to diffuse it?” I asked.

    “No, I’d just be the first person blown up.” He replied.

    Searching has zero to do with security, it’s 100% about profit. These are the same people that won’t let a can of pop in the ball park because it’s a projectile, but then will sell you a bat and ball at the souvenir store.

  31. Anonymous says:

    You are no longer allowed to feed yourself, or, Your dietary intake is now regulated to the cinema’s junky selection.

  32. zuzu says:

    In my younger days, I brought two 40oz malt beverage bottles in my two front (big) pockets of my pants, to a screening of the Cowboy Bebop Movie.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Why would anyone want to watch a cam recorded video of a movie? Someone once gave me a DIVIX format AVI of “Enemy at the Gates” recorded at a theater. My impression was that it sucked – seriously, I’d have rather watched a clean (broadcast) copy on a low res TV. Why would you prefer this to a DVD rip or TV version? You don’t even have the option of yelling “STFU!” at the guy in the row in front of you that is talking throughout the entire movie.

    The “in theater” (first run) movie experience may suck these days, but I think the “camcorder” experience is just as bad. Wait until a movie has passed into the smaller (and cheaper), secondary theaters before you watch them.

  34. Gumby says:

    At one of the Lord of the Rings movies, someone in our group somehow got in an apple pie, homemade. We thought it was the best ever, passing around a huge pie plate across 2 or 3 rows. We may have had to share the fork.

  35. Metostopholes says:

    #30: Heh, at least they had a sense of humor about having to enforce silly rules. :) (unlike most TSA people I’ve talked to)

  36. zuzu says:

    @56

    #13, I respectfully disagree. Girls are getting their first periods earlier and earlier, and I wouldn’t want to put my 8-year-old on the pill for no medical reason.

    The medical reason is she could get pregnant. If you don’t want a pregnant 8-year-old, she should be on the pill.

    However, I would argue that @13 Guy Jin should assure that birth control is a voluntary choice for his daughter. Offer, and explain why as a parent you think it’s best. But forcing drugs on any child seems like a dangerous road to go down.

    But I do see where you’re coming from. When I was 12 or so and needed sinus surgery, I had to give urine for a pregnancy test- hospital policy for every female over the age of 10. Very sad. I also do some fundraising for a pregnancy center in a bad part of town, and the director said the youngest client they’ve had was 13.

    In this decade, there’s four reported pregnancies at age 9 and eight reported pregnancies at age 10 in this list:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_youngest_birth_mothers

    Birth control starting at age 8 doesn’t seem so bad, considering.

  37. Takuan says:

    rather than meddling with the endocrine balance of the pubescent, other measures might be healthier.

  38. Anonymous says:

    People’s attitudes about their offspring’s sexual behavior is rooted in a lot of basic mammalian stuff involving dominance and which troop members get to reproduce. That and the natural decay of parental instincts when one’s “kids” are old enough to deal with their own shit. Nothing says “these people are not children any more” than catching them forming mating pairs with each other. Why our civilization demands that everybody continue the charade for several more years is another question.

  39. InsertFingerHere says:

    @17

    Mother tells me when she was young, her grandmother would take her to the basement of Eatons to buy a BBQ chicken, then across the street to the Metropolitan, they would sit in the back row eating & stinking up the place.

    I often wonder how hard it would be for a film operator to make a dub with today’s projectors… is there a spot where a camera could see some film ? What about capturing the audio to the amps ? Do the chains routinely inspect their own systems for that sort of thing?

  40. brainswarm says:

    #25: If the girl was taking them for non-contraceptive reasons, the mother probably would have known about it.

  41. Takuan says:

    Quebec? where the dark shadow of the Church still blights the land?

  42. Anonymous says:

    When Johnny Radio walks in front of me during a film I want to strangle him. And when random red dot patterns appear on the film for pirate identification purposes I want to shoot the screen with a shotgun. Why should these people give a crap if someone is recording the film with a cell phone? Anyone who WOULD stay home to watch a low quality video of the film on the internet obviously isn’t there to watch the film proper. So stop annoying me idiots!

  43. Takuan says:

    @36 the studios mark all the prints, any copying can be instantly traced to a theatre.

  44. Anonymous says:

    i once brought a full thai dinner in to see charlie’s angels, i think. i was pregnant, which explains why not one person batted an eye at me, and my oddball movie choice.

  45. Anonymous says:

    @17 My husband and I snuck in a large can of baked beans for a matinee of Cars. The problem with canned goods is that unless it’s a pop top you need to sneak in a can opener as well.

  46. Anonymous says:

    WHAT?

    Canada has a law, explicitly and specifically for the protection of the citizen’s privacy?

    Cory might do us all a favour by expanding on this and, perhaps, comparing the protections it offers – de facto as well as de jure – with the situation in ythe USA, the UK, and other countries.

    What makes me think that this will double the number of citizenship applications?

  47. Anonymous says:

    I work at a Canadian cinema and the first thing we look for is video cameras, smuggled snacks aren’t as big an issue as piracy, and the customer is required to show us what’s in the bag, we shouldn’t be going through anyone’s bags physically.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I bet they were looking for smuggled snacks in the first place and searching for video equipment was just an excuse.

    The profit margin on that food that they sell is absolutely mammoth. I don’t blame people for wanting to bring a few snacks. Because of having to pay $12 for a movie and at least $10 on a soda and popcorn, movies have become an extremely expensive proposition for any family.

    I vastly prefer watching movies in my own home on my 52″ lcd hdtv. I can bring any snack I want, I don’t have to worry about idiots snickering and texting each other and I can even pause the movie if I need to whiz. It is no wonder at all why there is such a huge market for these zero day pirated movies. Who wants to deal with theaters anymore anyway?

  49. Anonymous says:

    I live in the UK and my area are pretty strict about “No outside food” rules. We’ve never been searched but we have to hide it.

    My friend and I walked to the cinema with a big pack of strawberry laces that we wound around our wrists, ankles and necks etc. to look like jewelry.

    We handed our tickets to the usher at the door (the most awesome lady on the planet that you’ll ever find) who raised an eyebrow, smiled and gave us free tango ice blasts for “making her day”. Every time we see her we call her “Lacey” (even though her name is Ashanti) and she asks us if we have any new ideas about smuggling food into the place.

    P.S She hates her boss.

  50. Takuan says:

    so if I put up a sign at my front door saying: “any police entering this property consent to personal search”, that will fly in Quebec?

    “Vince Guzzo, vice-president of Cinemas Guzzo, told CTV Montreal that the judge ruled cinema staff can still search bags, but must follow stricter rules when doing so.

    “What the judge is saying is we could search bags, the problem is we have to tell people at the moment of purchasing the ticket with a sign at the ticket booth,” Guzzo said.

    “And we’re not allowed to put our hands in your bag, which is totally understandable. I don’t want to put my hands in your bag. In fact, leave the bags in the car.”

  51. Falcon_Seven says:

    …the problem is we have to tell people…
    I like that. After violating their patrons privacy, getting slapped with a fine, they remain unrepentant. The judge should have doubled the fine.

  52. Anonymous says:

    @63 I see your LSD and raise you Psylocybin.

  53. Takuan says:

    actual there seems to be any number of exemptions (especially for entertainment venues) if freedom from search is waived by the visitor. The only real solution is to boycott businesses that violate your privacy. Easy to do with rock concerts looking for booze, night clubs checking ID, not so easy with say airlines.

  54. liatach says:

    In Brisbane Australia a group of cinemas going by the moniker “Cineplex” have bucked the trend, tickets are eight fifty for adults 6.50 for students and and just 4.50 for kids.

    Perhaps even more amazing, thier candy bar is resonably priced, thanks to them i can take the whole family to the movies (my local also has one of Brisbane’s only imax screens)get candy, popcorn drinks the lot for less than $30, its insane.
    Thirty bucks wont even get tickets at their competition.

    Of course they are the busiest and most successful cinemas in the area. just goes to show, treat your customers well, and you will gain penty more of them.

    the practice which most inspires piracy here is delayed release.
    we still haven’t got Coraline, and may not until September.

  55. Anonymous says:

    Once snuck in a two pound bag of nachos and a jar of salsa. The best theatres to sneak food into are ones attached to malls. Double-bag or use a thick bag from a clothing store.

  56. Zergonapal says:

    I have never tried to sneak food into cinemas. In fact I have openly carried drinks, snacks and entire footlong subways into the cinema, if I was ever asked to leave my snacks in the car I would demand my money back so I could go rent a DVD from the video store.

  57. Mitch says:

    Why not just have an usher look for the telltale shine of the video camera lens? That would be a lot less invasive and more cost effective.

  58. jackie31337 says:

    Mitch @5 Why not just have an usher look for the telltale shine of the video camera lens? That would be a lot less invasive and more cost effective.

    Your movie theaters still have ushers?! Even in Finland, where movie theaters have assigned seating for evening screenings, they don’t have ushers in the theater during the movie. They basically just take your ticket at the door, and you’re on your own after that.

    Also, I agree with anonymous: we need to start a “most ridiculous things snuck into the movies” blog if one doesn’t already exist.

  59. Jack says:

    At the premiere of “The Phantom Menace”, a pal sitting in front of me dropped her bottle of booze. I noticed it and picked it up right as some local newspaper guy was taking a picture of our rows.

    All that is to say I’m happy nobody confiscated that booze and that I helped her find it. That movie was wretched.

    Also, please don’t make movie theaters more unattractive theater owners. I actually like going to the movies and at this rate you’re killing yourself.

  60. zuzu says:

    “Needless to say the mother was not pleased to find out in this manner that her daughter had those pills in her possession.”

    She’d rather her daughter was pregnant?

    Staff at the theatre were searching customers’ bags for video equipment that could be used for movie piracy.

    All the more reason to avoid movie theaters completely and watch downloaded screeners at home.

  61. HotPepperMan says:

    Maybe it is me but why on earth are people who are paying to see a movie accepting pat-downs? If I am going to a movie then it is my choice (or necessity if diabetic or have a food allergy – which I am not/do not) if I choose to take my own food.

    Why are people accepting this? Oh, they are not. They are going home and, out of necessity, downloading/pirating. The media companies are shooting themselves in the foot by destroying the joy of going out to a movie…

    There should be a move afoot amongst indie film / media producers to work together making movies for mainstream viewing and distribution. If you had a car that was giving you as much trouble as the media giants are (i.e., removal of pleasure) you would ditch it for a different/better model. Comments?

  62. Ian_McLoud says:

    This reminded me about the challenge to the San Francisco 49ers pat-down policy, which it seems has been revived:
    http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202428738944

    “Not only will the 49ers need to show searches are justified, she added, but also that they’re effective and less intrusive than alternatives.”

    Pat-down searches used on the general public are not effective. Anyone who has had the pleasure of a stranger molesting them knows they don’t search the groin. The general public will not accept a thorough groin search.

    So, I generally keep my recording devices, flask, pistol, and skittles directly under my junk.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I buy those chocolates in the little round tin at Trader Joe’s. They fit perfectly into a pocket. The water bottle goes in the sleeve of my sweatshirt, which I carry to the movies even when it’s 120° out.

  63. Marchhare says:

    I too just carry food into the movie theater. I have blood sugar issues, and I need to eat non-sugary food pretty regularly. So I’m always ready with my story if I’m asked about the food and drink, but I never am.

    When I was younger (prior to my body falling apart in my 30s) I snuck in a couple boxes of 64 Munchkins (donut holes). Don’t remember the movie at all. But I do remember the delight of eating donuts in the dark of the movie theater.

  64. Ian_McLoud says:

    @6 – Perhaps the mother had no problem with her daughter using birth control. A pimply usher and a handful of other movie patrons may not be the best company for a supportive parent to discover that their child is sexually active.

  65. orangebag says:

    I read an article once about the cinema companies business model: http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/movie-distribution2.htm It suggested that the large margins on food/drink are necessary because they make very little on the tickets. Apparently movie distributors take the lion’s share of the profits, especially for major releases at their first run.
    Anyone know if this is really true?

    I can’t believe people actually tolerate this:
    if I opened a cafe where customers couldn’t read their own newspapers, but had to buy them from me at 200% of the price elsewhere, I wouldn’t last very long.

  66. webmonkees says:

    Yeah, it seems to me they were primarily candy-searching, since when does x theatre _really_ care about the video cameras..

    although I’d say there’s a ‘if convicted’ reward from the movie industry, the preeecious snacks counter must be profitably protected.

    Slippery slope, it is.
    ‘theatre attendance is down-increase the snack prices to make it up!’

    Last time I went to the theatre, tix + the snacks for two people would be more than enough buy the DVD when it comes out, so patience, and spoiler-blockers are a must.

  67. knodi says:

    Antinuous, beat me to it. I was gonna say, I have a regular winter jacket, and a “movies” jacket, and the movies jacket has sleeves you could hide a baby in. I’ve gotten funny looks when I unbutton the wrists, and pull out a couple of 20oz cokes, a box of junior mints, and some other miscellaneous candy.

    Makes me feel like a wizard. And that’s why I like theaters better than watching at home. Nobody’s impressed that I can fit a bunch of snacks into my fridge. :-(

  68. guy_jin says:

    totally offtopic, but when my first daughter (who does not yet exist) has her first period, I’m putting her on birth control.

  69. Tichrimo says:

    @ Takuan — That sign would work only if the French text is 50% bigger than the English text. (q.v. Bill 101…)

  70. Anonymous says:

    #9, that is absolutely true. My husband and I were int he market to buy a small theater a couple years ago, and spent quite a bit of time going over the books on the theaters we were interested in (small vintage theaters in tourist towns). There was no money being made on first run movies, considering the percentages the distributor keeps, and the theater gets to keep a high percentage of the ticket the older the movie gets. So by the 4th week you might be getting some money off the tickets, but how many movies last 4 weeks, and who comes to see them then? And your contract requires you to run movies a certain number of weeks, even if it’s stinking up your screens. We ultimately decided to pass, the ONLY way to make money is off the extras. And when you consider how many people it takes to run a theater and keep it clean, you pretty much need a multiplex to make it work, or a very enthusiastic clientele for specialty films.

  71. Anonymous says:

    Clearly the reason people go to movies is for the quality of the big screen. Worrying about crappy pirated versions (which are rarely up to even the lowest of recording quality) should be the least of the entertainment industries worries. This tactic definitely is purely to prevent the bringing in of outside food.
    And you know what? I think I will open my own movie theater, and allow any non-messy/noisy food products right in the door. And I’ll sell food at a reasonable price. I don’t see the need to rip off the general public.

  72. Rindan says:

    I have no problem with movie theaters searching people for candy and video cameras… so long they give a verbal warning to each and every customer and have them sign something consenting to the search. Some how, I have a feeling movie theaters would be a lot more leery of doing such searches if they had to make it clear they were about to act like jackasses before they acted like jackasses.

  73. Anonymous says:

    ahahahaha, this world has gone nuts.

  74. Ian_McLoud says:

    What’s the most absurd food you’ve ever snuck into a theater? I often times sneak in a super-burrito from a local taqueria, another item that tucks nicely into a jacket sleeve.

    The burritos proved to be a gateway food and I tried super-nachos. The logistics of getting nachos into the theater wasn’t all that bad, however, attempting to eat them in the dark was relatively disastrous.

    I wonder how theater concessions sales are related to genre. I wouldn’t be comfortable chowing down during a serious/intense drama (such as Boys Don’t Cry or Schindler’s List). And if it is true that theaters sustain themselves on food sales I wonder how this affects other business decisions…

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      And if it is true that theaters sustain themselves on food sales I wonder how this affects other business decisions…

      Why do you think blockbusters are called popcorn movies?

      What’s the most absurd food you’ve ever snuck into a theater?

      When I saw Naked Lunch in its first run in San Francisco, it was quite warm in the theater. Almost everyone had stripped down to their underwear. And people were passing around big bowls of picnic food, like potato salad.

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