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How do cinemas decide what time to show films?


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Old 07-03-2013, 10:19
Inkblot
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Not sure if this has been discussed before, but why is it that so few films start at around 6-7pm? I would have thought that people leaving work around 5.30-6.00 would rather grab a quick drink and a snack and watch a film straight away, rather than waiting until 8 or 9pm. The previous screenings tend to start around 5-5.30, which is just too early to risk, even with trailers and adverts.

Looking for a film to watch after work this evening and more-or-less the only film starting in that time window is Stoker, which my OH has vetoed (I'd watch it). But with so many films around, and so many screens nowadays, why does this happen?
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:19
gashead
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This might just be your local cinema? I've got two Vue's locally and both have four films showing between 6 - 7pm, including Die Hard and Hansel & Gretel. At one of the cinemas, all four films are different genres, suggesting that maybe some thought has gone into the scheduling, although at the other, three of them could be classed as 'scary', so obviously weren't planned genre wise.

Generally speaking, I'd have thought that one of the things cinemas take into consideration is the expected popularity of films, and probably wouldn't schedule two or more films they expect to be very busy around the same time, otherwise there'd be chaos at the ticket stalls and around the foyer with people queueing to buy tickets and over-priced air filled corn kernels, and waiting to get into the screen room.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:47
Inkblot
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This might just be your local cinema? I've got two Vue's locally and both have four films showing between 6 - 7pm, including Die Hard and Hansel & Gretel. At one of the cinemas, all four films are different genres, suggesting that maybe some thought has gone into the scheduling, although at the other, three of them could be classed as 'scary', so obviously weren't planned genre wise.
At my usual local Vue, maybe I'm being a bit unfair because they have five films starting between 6 & 7:

Mama
Wreck-it Ralph
Hansel & Gretel
I Give It A Year
Stoker

So I've seen Wreck-it Ralph and I Give It A Year and the others are all, shall we say, not grown-up-couple friendly (if that's a genre).

The films that are not starting between 6 & 7 are:

Safe House
Broken City
A Good Day To Die Hard
Les Miserables
Arbitrage
Argo
Cloud Atlas
Zero Dark Thirty
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
This Is 40

and a few that are only on in the daytime. And I've just noticed, Django Unchained is at 7.30, but I've seen it.

So the choice is definitely much better either before 6 or after 8pm.
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Old 07-03-2013, 21:32
Dr. Linus
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Plus it's just screen space. If you have loads of films starting at 8pm then the screen has to have finished the film before by 7:40ish at the latest, meaning the vast majority of films in that slot would have to start at around 5:30, which I imagine is an extremely popular slot, particularly for families on Friday evenings.

And you do have to make sure you get lots of 5:30 options because for families especially you wouldn't really want the film going on much longer than 7:30 if you've come straight from school or whatever. And 8pm is a great time for the adult crowd IMO because the vast majority of people will want to pop home and get ready, and probably have their tea as well.
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Old 07-03-2013, 22:22
rfonzo
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i remember when The Exorcist was still unavailable to hire or buy on VHS would be shown at approximately midnight on special occasions to 1.00 am for a niche audience.
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:51
Inkblot
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And 8pm is a great time for the adult crowd IMO because the vast majority of people will want to pop home and get ready, and probably have their tea as well.
I finally found somewhere that had a film I wanted to see (Arbitrage) at 6.20. It was an independent cinema that doesn't do popcorn, but sells proper tea and coffee and beers, wines etc, and fresh cookies and cake. Although it wasn't full, there was a good turnout and I think every customer had either a hot drink and a cookie or a glass of beer or wine and some fancy peanuts. So for me that shows that there is a demand for early evening screenings where you can get a drink and a snack and not have to trek home first. And I could hear other customers saying things like "how was your day?", like they'd met up after work.
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:57
c4rv
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the timing are based on market research, timing, film running time and requests from the studio.

How busy is the screening starting between 5-6 compared to 6-7 ? You'll probably find you are in the minority.

You can always ask your local cinema, they aren't going to change unless there is enough requests.
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Old 08-03-2013, 11:34
Inkblot
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the timing are based on market research, timing, film running time and requests from the studio.
That's fair enough. It's become a bugbear for me because I like to have a regular evening out with my wife and it's hard to find a film we want to see at a time that suits us. If more people can get to the cinema around 5.30 than around 6.30 then it makes sense to show films at that time, but I'm surprised if that's the case.
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