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"Pre-movie ads rip off theatergoers, suits claim."

Old 02-19-03, 04:08 PM
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"Pre-movie ads rip off theatergoers, suits claim."

I was reading the Sun-times today and there was an article about about people suing theaters.

"How much is three to four minutes of your time worth - especially when you're waiting for the latest "Lord of the Rings" movie to start?

That question was posed in two lawsuits filed Tuesday against movie theaters which claim intheir ads that they'll show movies at a certain time, but, instead, show on-screen commercials at the advertised time, delaying the movie's start.

Theaters are committing consumer fraud when they claim in advertising that a movie starts at a certain time but it really starts a few minutes later because of the ads, said Mark Weinberg, a Chicago attorney who filed the two suits.

"They deceive you into thinking a movie starts on time in order to create a captive notice," Weinberg said. "People are actually paying good money to watch commercials."

The lawsuits were filed in Cook County Circuit Court. One is against the Downers grove company Classic Cinemas and the other against New York-based Loews Cineplex Entertainment, which aslo operates theaters here. The suits argue that the practice of showing the ads constitutes fraud, false advertising and breach of contract.

One of the suits was filed by Miriam Fisch, 36, of Evanston, who teaches English and film in Lincolnshire and is Weinberg's former girlfriend. On Feb. 8, she went to see "The Quiet American" at Loews' Pipers Alley theater in Chicago. She said she sat through commercials for Coca-Cola, Cingular Wireless, Fandango and one for the NAACP, which delayed the beginning of the movie by four minutes past its advertised time.

Greg Scott, 35, a DePaul University sociology professor from Oak Park, sued Classic Cinemas after he went to see "The Pianist" Jan. 26 at the Lake Theater in the west suburb. He said he had to sit through three commercials before the movie started.

Both suits ask for damaged of no more than $75 per person. More important, the attorneys who filed them say, is that their clients want the commercials dropped - or they want the ads to state the time a movie actually begins, not just when the commercials begin to roll.

"We just want the practice to stop, or we want the company to give notice," Weinberg said.

The suits don't take issue with movie previews. That's because moviegoers have come to expect those trailers "as a time-honored part of the moviegoing experiance, " Weinberg siad.

Chris Johnson, vice president of Tivoli Enterprises, which operates Classic Cinemas, said the "concept [behind the suit] is ridiculous."

He said the company had been showing no more than three minutes of commercials at some of its 12 theathers for about four years. But the advertised start time for a movie is for the entire presentation, not for the movie itself, he said.

An official with Loews declined to comment."

--------------------------------------

Big from me. I hate commercials before a movie, especially since I have to pay $8+ for it in the first place.
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Old 02-19-03, 04:12 PM
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Try Regal Cinemas, they give you 20 minutes of digitally projected commercials with audio before every film.
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Old 02-19-03, 04:14 PM
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I noticed that in London they gave three times for each film: the first was when the commericials began, the second was for when the trailers began, and the third was for when the film began. I'm guessing there must have been a similar lawsuit in the U.K., because there's no way theater owners would have come up with this on their own.
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Old 02-19-03, 04:21 PM
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I can't stand the commercials before the film starts.
At least they don't show them during the film though
Last time I went to the theater, I sat through literally 20 minutes worth of commercials and trailers. by the time the movie started, I was about ready to go home.
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Old 02-19-03, 04:25 PM
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Lawsuits:
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Old 02-19-03, 04:33 PM
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Next they will have commercials scrolling at the bottom of the movie screen.
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Old 02-19-03, 04:35 PM
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Originally posted by soxrule
Next they will have commercials scrolling at the bottom of the movie screen.
Don't encourage them!
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Old 02-19-03, 04:38 PM
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Re: "Pre-movie ads rip off theatergoers, suits claim."

Greg Scott, 35, a DePaul University sociology professor from Oak Park, sued Classic Cinemas after he went to see "The Pianist" Jan. 26 at the Lake Theater in the west suburb. [/B]
SAME THEATER that carded me to see American Beauty... I was 25 at the time.
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Old 02-19-03, 04:45 PM
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I love to see the movie previews, but could care less about the coke, buick etc. commercials they air before the previews start.
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Old 02-19-03, 04:52 PM
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Originally posted by TylerDurden_73
I love to see the movie previews, but could care less about the coke, buick etc. commercials they air before the previews start.
Word!
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Old 02-19-03, 04:53 PM
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Dammit. A frivolous lawsuit I agree with.
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Old 02-19-03, 05:05 PM
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I'm more annoyed by the people who still can't get to the theater on time even after 5 commercials and 5 previews. The doors should be closed to new viewers after the movie starts......
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Old 02-19-03, 05:51 PM
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I think I would rather have "PRODUCT PLACEMENT" in movies than 20 minutes of pre-show ads.

It's easier to ignore.
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Old 02-19-03, 05:55 PM
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Originally posted by Stoolie
Dammit. A frivolous lawsuit I agree with.
my thoughts exactly
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Old 02-19-03, 07:11 PM
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Originally posted by JaxComet
I'm more annoyed by the people who still can't get to the theater on time even after 5 commercials and 5 previews. The doors should be closed to new viewers after the movie starts......
Fo Schizzle!!

If these lawsuits were successful, the people who show up in the middle of the previews would start showing up in the middle of the movie, instead!
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Old 02-19-03, 07:54 PM
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I don't know why they can't...

... just run the commercials before showtime. I wouldn't mind as much if they did it instead of having a blank screen (the lesser of two evils).

Around here there are chains that have a slideshow of ads that runs between showtimes and that is about 1% as annoying as the pre-film ads they start at showtime.
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Old 02-19-03, 08:38 PM
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What exactly is the issue here? I don't particularlly care for these ads, but if they went away tomorrow, I'm sure ticket prices would go up 1 or 2 bucks as a backlash. If it keeps my ticket price down, and it's reasonable, I"m for it. I kind of like the leeway knowing that I have a few extra minutes to get to the theater if I'm running late. Most theaters will tell you how long the trailer/commercial package is prior to a few film. And anyway, does this include the abolishment of the still title cards that feature local businesses and movie triva under muzak before the movie starts? Is not not pre-film advertising? And are the trailers not adverstising? And are product placements not advertising?

Personally, I think the ads would be far better recieved with a creative approach, like a Coca cola newsreel, where the product is mentioned, but far more subtle than the average Mountain Dew, "Do the Dew" spot.
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Old 02-19-03, 08:40 PM
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No, GO BACK TO SHOWING CARTOONS BEFORE SHOWS!!!

At the NUART in West LA, they still show cartoons before the Midnite showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show.
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Old 02-19-03, 08:43 PM
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Lawsuits on theaters that are boarding on going bankrupt... Gee, talk about kicking them when they are down.

Listen, if you know the theater will show ad's. Go a few minutes later. Most theaters sell the space before the showing to local print ads. this helps theaters stay afloat.

If you really are law suit happy, here's who you should sue.. the studio's. why? Because of the % they take in the first weeks(more then a few mind you), the theater doesn't make a lot off the movie. Not to mention the amount they spent to buy the expensive print.. Each print of film does cost a lot of money. Now considering a lot of films don't have legs to walk on, this means the theaters don't make a lot of cash and must turn to other means to make ends meet.

I hate people complaining about something they don't want to do anything about. You don't want to pay more at the box office, yet you don't want to sit through 3 commercials... MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MIND!!! pick one or the other, The theater has to make it's $$ to recover from
A.) the film print they had to buy
B.) Expense of running the projector, clean up, etc.


Just like television is run by Ad Space, with the little amount that theaters are making, they have to resort to selling theater time to commercials. Product Placement doesn't give $$ to the theaters which are hurting, it gives money to the studio's the film belongs to.

I don't work for a theater, but consider this... the reason theaters are going bankrupt are for a few reasons. they expanded a great deal. Why? because they wanted to pop up everywhere so that you are close to one where ever you are. This means an over saturation of theaters. Now your saying simply take some theaters away right? Well if they did this then you would hear even more "Why isn't _____ showing in my area???" Well duh, _____ isn't playing near you because their is so few theaters around you.

http://www.forbes.com/2001/03/02/0302movies.html

So we get the situation where theirs to many theaters.. not to mention the Movie studio takes the majority of the first few weeks take of the theater. So even if a movie brings in 30 million for the weekend, the majority is going to the studio and the theater Hopes that the movie has a good pair of legs to carry it onto the point that the theater will take more % of it's sales in the later weeks (when it's not a special engagment). Sad thing is.. you notice a lot of movies have great openings but are gone by week three.

I say if selling ad space keeps them in buisness fine. The prices are high at the box office but I don't mind since I don't buy the popcorn and extra crap. My suggestion... Deal with it. Don't bring lawsuits to theaters that are already on their knees from the expense of staying open. Heaven forbid you have to add 5 minutes to the already two hours you set aside to watch a film.

Last edited by Jackskeleton; 02-19-03 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 02-19-03, 09:06 PM
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What ****ing retards!
Seriously, is that what are litigous society has come too.
I was at Burger King and when I said 'light mayo', it was a little too light, I should sue them because its truly not "my way".

Sometime I think this country has turned into a country full of sniveling geeks who have to run to mommy every time someone calls them a bad name or doesn't treat them like a princess.

News flash! There are commercials and trailers before movies.
Been to the movies in the past 10 years, oh you have, then why does this come as a surprise to you. The fact that it happened in Chicago makes me even sadder.
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Old 02-19-03, 09:27 PM
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In my area, they just started recently showing commercials before the film. Definitely hasn't been going on for 10 years.

And really, it isn't the commercials that bother me, it's just the showtime. If the theater reports the movie as starting at 7:30 that's when it should start. Just run the commercials before, and leave the lights on.

I like the idea of showing up late, but I never know if the movie will have advertisements or not. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't. My luck, I show up late to miss the ads they never showed, and I missed the beginning of the movie. You really have no choice but to show up on time. However, this definitely isn't an issue that is going to keep me from going to the movies.
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Old 02-19-03, 09:47 PM
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years ago it was people complaining that their was to many previews before the show. now it's the complaint that to many ad's run..

just deal with it

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Old 02-19-03, 10:03 PM
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I work in a movie theater, and I have to deal with peopel like this all the time. What do I have to say?

More power to them. I hate the commercials as much as the next man.

The fact is, this suit is ridiculous, and will be thrown out as quickly as it was conceived.

Open up your latest copy of Maxim - what do you get before you even get to the contents page? At least six pages of advertising. So why no class action suit against the magazines?

It's not very convincing or effective advertising shown before the film, either. They boast about the theatergoers' commercial recall; that's because they're a captive audience taht have seen the advert a thousand times.

My solution: Start the commercials ten minutes before showtime, with lights dimmed but not off. Most people sit into the show way before showtime anyway to make sure that they have good seats. I prefer commercials over those bloody slides, anyway.

Bruno, a coworker who raised this issue to my attention, agrees with me. Just to clarify - Bruno is a projectionist.
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Old 02-20-03, 12:26 AM
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Sadly, I almost like having the commercials in place, not because I like the commercials, in fact I detest them. I like having that time because our crappy Goodrich theatre so rarely gets correct lens on for the film (so the picture is not in the correct aspect ratio), and the commercials are usually an early enough indicator if there will be a problem. I think of the last 5 movies I've been to see (all at a Goodrich "Quality" theatres because they own this town), 4 of them have had the wrong lens on at the begining of the movie. It wouldn't be so bad if more people in the audience were willing to get up and tell them to fix it, but most people just sit there and stare at a screwed up picture. Quality my A$$! Thanks for letting me vent about a somewhat off-topic topic.
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Old 02-20-03, 01:10 AM
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What exactly is the issue here? I don't particularlly care for these ads, but if they went away tomorrow, I'm sure ticket prices would go up 1 or 2 bucks as a backlash. If it keeps my ticket price down, and it's reasonable, I"m for it.
How much do your tickets currently cost? Mine cost at least 9 bucks for a night time show here in Los Angeles. Commercials ARE NOT keeping ticket prices down.
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