questionsif nobody buys a ticket to a movie do they still…

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Very good question. Contractually, I would venture to say yes.

$30 gross.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zyzzyx_Road

$11 gross.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Worst_Movie_Ever!

As for the armrest ... who's first?

vote-for4vote-against

Of course they don't show it. No actor wants to perform for an empty room.

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Yes. I use to work at a movie theater and we would start movies without people all the time.
Co-workers and I would use them to take naps.

Armrest, from what I heard it's the left.

vote-for12vote-against

Very good question. I think the tree falling has been answered by scientists stating that in order to make a sound, you have to have something send out the sound and someone/something to receive the sound, so if nobody's around to hear it, it doesn't. This should be the philosophical question to replace it. As for the answer, I'd say yes. The theater already has that screen reserved for that movie, and there might be someone who walks in late.

As for the second, I usually have both armrests. I never know how it works out that way, but it just does.

vote-for29vote-against

They have to, so if anyone shows up late and buys a ticket it will run within it's time slot. My friend and I go to a matinee every Friday afternoon and we have been the only people in the theater on several occasions. We have gotten there halfway through the previews a couple of times and found them playing to an empty house. It's really kind of spooky.

vote-for10vote-against

I've worked at a movie theater, and we would show the movie to an empty room. A lot of the booth was automated, and by MA state law the projectionist only needs to remain in the building with that automation, not the booth, so playing the movie wasn't a problem.

On the other hand, I'm also a projectionist on my college campus, and our booth is entirely manual, and is about the size of a bathroom. If no one came to that, and I don't like the movie, I'm not showing it.

And I'm usually the one who doesn't get an arm rest.

vote-for9vote-against

I went and saw Green Hornet about 3 days after it came out and was the only one in there. It was like a private screening it was pretty cool. This would lead me to believe they would still go without anyone.

vote-for9vote-against

I've walked into empty theaters where the movie is running.

I don't care about the armrest, I just want the footrest (our theaters have certain seats that have a guardrail in front of them to keep people from falling from the elevated seats).

vote-for8vote-against

Yes, they still show it, because of the aforementioned latecomers but also because there's usually a contract in place with the studio that it must be run a certain number of times, etc.

Also, studio releases are generally contracted to run for at least two weeks no matter how big a flop the movie is.

vote-for9vote-against

Sounds like it depends on a theater and situation. I worked at a theater (10 years ago though), and the managers wouldn't start a movie in some situations if there were no sales. This was typically the last showing on a Sunday night for example (or on Christmas Eve was quite common). - This was a smaller town too... so it wasn't unusual to have empty theaters on weeknights.

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@figaroess: There is a MA state law dictating where the projectionist can be? Would you be arrested if you went to the convenience store to get coffee while a movie was playing? I am interested because I have several family member who used to be projectionists (father and three uncles).

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Once my friend and I were the only ones in the theater and we were told them couldn't afford to run the film, and given a refund. Reno, NV. Go figure.

How much does it cost to roll a film? Just the power and the projectionist, right? I wouldne't think there would be a per-viewing charge from the studio.

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I worked at a movie theater when I was a teenager and we definitely showed the movies no matter how many people were there. Of course, back then movies were much more affordable, and people in our little town would watch the movie and hang around to chat with others they hadn't seen for a while.

vote-for4vote-against

@benyust2: Actually, yes, there are MA laws regarding projection. The projectionist may not leave the booth while the lamps are arced, unless there are fail safes in place that will shut down the projector and lamphouse if the film breaks (or other similar failure). Most large theaters have this equipment, so the projectionist can be free to leave the booth (or so they can have two booths with one projectionist), but they must remain in the building.

You actually have to be licensed in MA to project any film 35 mm or greater, and by law a licensed projectionist must be in the booth while the lamps are on. We are one of the few states that licence, however.

I doubt you would be arrested, though. The theater would probably be fined, or the booth certificate taken away. I've never even been in a situation where someone asked to see my licence.

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I haven't seen the situation recently but when I was a kid a couple of the local theaters would start the movie and if no one had purchased a ticket 20-30 minutes in they would kill the projector. They would always start the movie in case someone showed up a few minutes late but once it crossed over that run time the only people that would end up going in were theater hoppers.

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@raider9924: They might kill the lights on the projector, but the easiest way to prep for the next showing is to finish running the movie - you have to wind that film back up on a reel. That is, if you're using a non-rewind system that pulls film from the middle of the reel.

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@holymythos might know. this is like one of those "if a tree falls in the woods..."

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@w00tgurl: Not really, though, because if you show a movie and no one is there NOBODY sees or hears it!! But it was shown. Grumbling about price, I went to see Descendents last evening - $8.50 ticket. I know probably much more in major cities, but in this smallish place, $5 used to just about have the entire town grumbling.

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both arms are mine

i sprawl

vote-for4vote-against

This is like Schrodinger's cat. The movie is both playing and not playing.

As for the armrest, whoever gets to it first has claim to it. However, the moment an arm moves from said armrest, it is officially open territory.

What I find gets you the armrest no matter what is to put your arm on top of a stranger's. I am not talking about resting your arm on part of the rest and nudging their arm over...just full on, vertically stacked arm-on-arm contact. Bonus points for trying to actually hold their hand during the movie.

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I'm a manager at a theatre, it depends on many levels.

First, if the movie is digital, it must be played since the big guys can track to see if we're playing it.
Second, if the movie is a reel, it may not have to be played, but if threaded into the machine it must be played if its the last showing.
Finally, from a financial point of view, no movie can be "cancelled" unless it has authority from my bosses bosses boss. A showing could theoretically be locked out for seating and then not shown, then have it unlocked by the end of the night.

So really, yes, most of the time it is shown. Since movies are manually threaded after the previous show ends, there's no wayto tell how many tickets will sell, so the movie is played anyway.

As for armrests, there is technically one extra in each row, so one person could have two while each other has one. And its the right one, since most people are right handed.

Schooled.