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View Poll Results: Should longer films be shown with intermissions at movie theaters?

Voters
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  • No

    1 14.29%
  • Yes, but only for really long movies (anything over 3 hours)

    2 28.57%
  • Yes, for anything over 2.5 hours

    4 57.14%
  • Yes (specify length of film)

    0 0%
  • No, give every seat a remote so anyone can pause the film at any time, like that Family Guy gag

    0 0%
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  1. #1

    Default Movie theater intermissions

    I think longer films should be shown with intermissions. For anything over 2.5 hours, this would be a good opportunity to piss, and refill drinks. Intermissions used to be commonplace in "epics" in the fifties and sixties. As a kid, I remember watching AMC (when they still played only films and didn't have commercial breaks) and they would have a short intermission for longer films like Spartacus.

    There's really nothing worse than being absolutely hooked to a film while having a full bladder, knowing you have to hold it so you don't miss anything. I remember this happening during Return of the King. If you have a younger kid, there's a good chance they'll have to go to the bathroom during a longer film (even something like Star Wars is pretty long in kid time), which means one unlucky adult has to miss part of the film to accompany them to the restroom, and it's always the "oh my god you should've seen it" part that gets missed.

    I know theaters want to pack as many screenings as possible into a day as to maximize ticket sales, but I think it might actually help their sales if they started having intermissions for longer films. It also gives people a chance to stretch their legs a bit and get excited for the final half. The downside I can see is it might break the narrative pacing for certain films, but the intermission would just need to be placed strategically. I can see why intermissions were phased out as epic-length films went out of style, but in recent years average film length has increased, so why not bring this back? Even a lot of "family" movies are longer than what I remember. Seems they used to rarely top 90 minutes, but I've noticed that has started to change.

    I also think the post-credits sequence is becoming an overused gimmick. Yes, I like to sit through the credits, but it was only a fun gimmick when it felt like no one was in on it. Now practically every superhero film uses this,and pretty much EVERYONE in the theater waits to see the post credits teaser. Just do one of those cheesy sequel previews before the end credits, like they did for Back to the Future III at the end of BTTF II

  2. #2
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    Yes any of the LOTR movies could be a nightmare if you needed to use the bathroom or refill on popcorn or soda and when the seats are uncomfortable a three hour movie is like being put on the rack! I definitely think they should bring back intermissions. And drive ins. We have two in my area but each are at least a two hour drive away.
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    Please, yes. I know we're being conditioned to sit for potentially infinity in front of any glowing screen, and soon we'll all install catheters/colostomy bags to help this along, but the attention span issue is a real problem. It's not all about you, Michael Bay.
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  4. #4
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    Yes, they should. Operas used to have, and still have to the present day, intermissions. It may not be for the same reasons (opera singers and the orchestra need time to rest and recompose) but still I think it's a good example. If the film is more than 3 hours long, people may feel the need to go to the bathroom as most like to drink and eat during a movie, or even refill their drinks and buy more food. Also, many may feel quite exhausted sitting still for more than 3 hours.
    I wonder how the management of the intermissions would work, though. The popcorn and food places could get too crowded, bathrooms with long lines etc. All that would require, I think, at least 15-20 minutes of intermission, which would be a bothersome for many.
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  5. #5
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    I actually plan for that -- I usually attend early morning matinees, so I stop drinking fluids when I go to bed the night before, and only eat a minimal amount of food before a movie (although I will take snack bars) and at most drink a mouthful of water. I will also empty my bladder twice at the theater before the movie starts, because I hate having to miss anything.

    The Hateful 8 was designed with an intermission, wasn't it? So the movie could be designed around it. The real problem with sticking in a forced intermission is simply losing dramatic momentum (with movies not designed for it), plus you need enough time for anyone to go who thinks they need to go, which is a glut on the bathrooms, which could mean a longer intermission.

    So my feelings are kinda mixed. Obviously for a three hour movie, it might be more appropriate. But how many movies run that long nowadays? 1:40 seems to be the "golden length" for a movie, although there are a number that clock in nowadays in the 1:50-2:05 mark regularly.

    I think people stay for post-credit trailers mainly for superhero movies, of which we nowadays have a bunch coming out. But there was not one during Wonder Woman, and everyone got up and left about a minute into the credits (and they turned up the house lights too), so for the last four minutes of the credits at least, I was the only one there and probably pissing off the clean-up guys... but heck, I paid for the movie and they are obligated to show the credits, and I like sitting through the credits regardless, so I stayed. Anyway, post credit scenes are only a problem for the movies that people expect them with or know that have one. Usually everyone bails, I'm usually either by myself or one of a few people by the end otherwise.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by shpotva View Post
    Yes, they should. Operas used to have, and still have to the present day, intermissions. It may not be for the same reasons (opera singers and the orchestra need time to rest and recompose) but still I think it's a good example. If the film is more than 3 hours long, people may feel the need to go to the bathroom as most like to drink and eat during a movie, or even refill their drinks and buy more food. Also, many may feel quite exhausted sitting still for more than 3 hours.
    I wonder how the management of the intermissions would work, though. The popcorn and food places could get too crowded, bathrooms with long lines etc. All that would require, I think, at least 15-20 minutes of intermission, which would be a bothersome for many.
    Some larger multiplexes have an extra food/drink area, I think that might cut down on some of the congestion in the lines--people on their way into the movies would go to the front stand, those on intermission would probably use the second area closer to the theater entrance. I'd be fine with a 15 minute break.

    I don't smoke any more but I think smokers would appreciate the 15-20 minute break as well. Plus it gives those stoner types a chance to toke in their cars to be really super baked for the epic final battle scene
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Totenkindly View Post
    I actually plan for that -- I usually attend early morning matinees, so I stop drinking fluids when I go to bed the night before, and only eat a minimal amount of food before a movie (although I will take snack bars) and at most drink a mouthful of water. I will also empty my bladder twice at the theater before the movie starts, because I hate having to miss anything.

    The Hateful 8 was designed with an intermission, wasn't it? So the movie could be designed around it. The real problem with sticking in a forced intermission is simply losing dramatic momentum (with movies not designed for it), plus you need enough time for anyone to go who thinks they need to go, which is a glut on the bathrooms, which could mean a longer intermission.

    So my feelings are kinda mixed. Obviously for a three hour movie, it might be more appropriate. But how many movies run that long nowadays? 1:40 seems to be the "golden length" for a movie, although there are a number that clock in nowadays in the 1:50-2:05 mark regularly.

    I think people stay for post-credit trailers mainly for superhero movies, of which we nowadays have a bunch coming out. But there was not one during Wonder Woman, and everyone got up and left about a minute into the credits (and they turned up the house lights too), so for the last four minutes of the credits at least, I was the only one there and probably pissing off the clean-up guys... but heck, I paid for the movie and they are obligated to show the trailer, and I like sitting through the credits regardless, so I stayed. Anyway, post credit scenes are only a problem for the movies that people expect them with or know that have one. Usually everyone bails, I'm usually either by myself or one of a few people by the end otherwise.
    Didn't Hitchcock say films shouldn't be longer than 2 hours? I think he was right, generally speaking. Obviously with certain things you just need the extra length, particularly in many adaptations of novels.

    Either way, the average length has increased, and I think that's something theaters and filmmakers will have to address if it continues to increase.

    I haven't seen Hateful 8 yet so I wasn't aware of that, but it wouldn't surprise me since Tarantino is a nut for the old school film experience. Oliver Stone included a 50s style intermission on the Alexander Final Cut DVD which is silly since you can just pause DVDs.

    I like to sit during the credits if there's a nice score suite playing, like especially if it's a John Williams Star Wars score or a Star Trek film. I was a teen without a license when Star Trek First Contact came out so my parents took me and my dad was annoyed because I wanted to sit and listen to Jerry Goldsmith music during the end credit. "I don't understand why people want to listen to soundtrack music when they can just hear it when they watch the film!"

    The people who want to stay in the theater can enjoy the intermission music suite, or play with their phones. I don't see it bothering that many people. More than likely the people who would be bothered by an intermission might not choose such a long film in the first place, or they'd just stay home.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anaximander View Post
    Some larger multiplexes have an extra food/drink area, I think that might cut down on some of the congestion in the lines--people on their way into the movies would go to the front stand, those on intermission would probably use the second area closer to the theater entrance. I'd be fine with a 15 minute break.

    I don't smoke any more but I think smokers would appreciate the 15-20 minute break as well. Plus it gives those stoner types a chance to toke in their cars to be really super baked for the epic final battle scene
    HAAHAHA to the part about stoners.
    Also, I would like to point out that I live in Brazil so there may be some differences from the theaters down here to the ones in the US.
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  9. #9
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    Didn't mother tell you to eat and potty before leaving the house

    Yes, agreed. When I went to see Beauty and the Beast I didn't want to leave to refill my drink, good thing my girlfriend needed to pee, or maybe I just convinced her she did so she would do the refilling.

  10. #10
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    This definitely IDs a legit problem with the movie theater experience (of which there is no shortage), but I don't think intermissions will be able to make a comeback, and I might actually be on team 'forgo them completely' though I'd really have to crunch the pros and cons before making an ultimate determination.

    First, an intermission would extend the length of the film even further than it already is. And if you're going to do an evening show and a late show in the same theater for a three hour movie plus a 15 minute to half hour intermission, that's a problem. If you push the standard 7 o'clock showing all the way back to 6, it's still going to be quarter to ten before the late show can start, and after 1 am when it gets out.

    Second, everyone getting up and going to the bathroom at once is a bit of a cluster fuck.

    Third, if you don't have to take a leak it's basically a huge chunk of annoying story-disrupting time that you have to tap your foot and endure like a Beyonce and Lil Wayne halftime show.

    I personally have a few tricks to circumvent this problem, though none are perfect. The first is to bring a tin of mints and suck on those instead of sipping soda if you get thirsty, mixed with not drinking much before going in. The second is the classic buddy system paired with waiting for a new scene that looks like it might be long and not entirely relevant to your interests- then have your buddy fill you in on any missed plot points.

    But my personal favorite is to just not go to the movies ever and instead stream bootlegged copies of current theater releases in the privacy of your own home with the most important movie feature you'll never get at a theater: the pause button.

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