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TOPIC: Paranormal Activity from the Audience

Paranormal Activity from the Audience 24 Oct 2011 17:22 #37276

  • leeler
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We had groups of junior high age kids come both Friday and Saturday nights at the late show. Parents would buy their tickets and then leave (this happens quite often). The kids scared the bejeezus out of each other and created quite a disturbance. We had a few complaints from the very few 40+ crowd that attended it. Ushers were doing their best to control the situation but what is one 16 year old with a flashlight going to do to 140 screaming kids? Should we have shut off the projector and threatened to kick them all out? As much as I don't want a disturbance I also want the younger crowd to have a good time too. Have you had anything similar happen and what did/are you doing to keep it from being a problem?
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Paranormal Activity from the Audience 24 Oct 2011 23:04 #37281

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Years ago when I owned a theatre in Portland, Oregon (a 600 seater)I had a house full that was causing quite a disturbance. I shut the show down, got on stage and told them it would not continue unless they shut up and remained quiet and I would not refund any money (I had a list of "house rules" posted in the lobby). It worked. I don't remember what I was playing.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Paranormal Activity from the Audience 25 Oct 2011 16:07 #37282

  • Night Fury
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The theater I work at adheres to the R policy, we try our best to keep the under 17 crowd OUT which is most of the problem. Every once in a while we still have problems, but it's typically easy to pinpoint the group and lecture/kick them out
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Re: Paranormal Activity from the Audience 25 Oct 2011 20:19 #37283

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Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the R-rated policy to admit younger people with their parent/guardian? What happens if a parent comes in with a group of young people and says they have permission? We've been allowing them in at that point. Do you? Should you?
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Paranormal Activity from the Audience 25 Oct 2011 20:26 #37284

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Perhaps if this continues you could try one of these policies that I've seen other places:
- All shows after 8pm are 17 and up ONLY, no matter what.

- Have ushers check who the "guardian" is for the under-17 trouble makers.
If the "guardian" has left, then they are in violation of the rating rule and should be kicked out.

- Limit how many under-17 kids can be with a "guardian", so that 40 kids don't come in with one 18yr old.
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Re: Paranormal Activity from the Audience 25 Oct 2011 21:53 #37285

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leeler wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the R-rated policy to admit younger people with their parent/guardian? What happens if a parent comes in with a group of young people and says they have permission? We've been allowing them in at that point. Do you? Should you?

Having permission doesn't count. The guardian MUST accompany the under 17. If they did not I would not let them in.
Bob Allen
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Re: Paranormal Activity from the Audience 26 Oct 2011 00:14 #37286

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Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the R-rated policy to admit younger people with their parent/guardian? What happens if a parent comes in with a group of young people and says they have permission? We've been allowing them in at that point. Do you? Should you?

Do you? No, I do not. Should you? No, you should not.

I have one of the 1 sheet size Tommy Teenager ratings posters that I got from NATO that I always display next to the box office on R rated movies. It shows a photo drivers license on it and says: Show us your picture and we'll show you ours. It then says: Under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at least 21 years of age. It also states that everyone under the age of 25 must show ID. I also limit no more than 4 under age people per adult guardian.

If you follow the rating system as written you are not supposed to admit anyone underage with verbal permission from an adult or parent.

I know that many will argue that it's not our place to decide what films other peoples kids can or can not see, but we're not deciding what they can see, but rather the conditions under which they can see them. We have that right, and we have that responsibility. I don't care what arguement anyone gives, if you don't inforce the rating system... there is only one reason you don't... MONEY. You feel that by allowing underage people in on restricted movies it will make you more money. In the short term, yes. In the long term, no. One thing that newbees, and that's people that have been in the business for 10 years or less, take a long time to learn is that REPUTATION is EVERYTHING!

As you build your business, the community becomes more aware over time what your commitment to the community is, and while there are always those that don't follow the norm, the majority does and will support you for it. I've taken considerable grief over the years from a few that do not represent the community norm, but the majority have always come to my support. The proof is that my business improves every single year. If people didn't agree with my policies, that wouldn't be the case. I have recieved awards from the PTA, various service organizations, and the town itself for my commitment to the community. Hundreds and hundreds of people over the years have made it a point to come up to me and thank me for enforcing the rating system, while maybe a few dozen have condemed me for it.

Maybe in a large city, it doesn't mean much, but in a small town, it can be the difference between success or failure.
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Re: Paranormal Activity from the Audience 26 Oct 2011 00:37 #37287

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revrobor wrote:
leeler wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the R-rated policy to admit younger people with their parent/guardian? What happens if a parent comes in with a group of young people and says they have permission? We've been allowing them in at that point. Do you? Should you?

Having permission doesn't count. The guardian MUST accompany the under 17. If they did not I would not let them in.

Should you? Depends on what you think is the right thing to do. This is what I know from over 20 years in the movie business (most of it with home video) 1) 75%+ of the parents of 13 years old and up do not care that their children watch rated "r" horror movies with minimal sex and drugs in them.. Violence is certainly low on their list of concerns. 2) We have always received more complaints from parents about sexual content in PG-13 movies than anything in R rated movies (their a few exceptions but very rare). The Eddie Murphy movie Norbit had the most complaints all time for us. So the ratings system is very messed up with mainstream mid-western movie watchers in my experience. We do warn parents about the rare extremely vulger/rude/crude movies when they are out. Even then only about 10% care that much. 30 Minutes or Less is our most recent example of that type of movie.

So, you could enforce the ratings as strictly as Bob would. I know in my case I would see a significant reduction in revenue due the following reasons: 1) The majority of parents do not want to watch these with your children. 2) You would drive your customers to other larger theaters where the 14 year old can buy a ticket to a PG-13 movies and walk into the R rated movie. This past weekend over 50% of my tickets sold to Paranormal Activity 3 were to high school and JH students.

If you expect a problem, paying for an extra staff person to be in the auditorium would be wise and probably fix most of the problem.

You could make the last show over 18 only but for me the 9ish show (my last) is the most popular with teenagers.

Reality vs Theory: If at least 50% of the parents cared I would take a different stance. But that is not the reality.
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Re: Paranormal Activity from the Audience 26 Oct 2011 00:41 #37288

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RoxyVaudeville wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the R-rated policy to admit younger people with their parent/guardian? What happens if a parent comes in with a group of young people and says they have permission? We've been allowing them in at that point. Do you? Should you?

Do you? No, I do not. Should you? No, you should not.

I have one of the 1 sheet size Tommy Teenager ratings posters that I got from NATO that I always display next to the box office on R rated movies. It shows a photo drivers license on it and says: Show us your picture and we'll show you ours. It then says: Under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at least 21 years of age. It also states that everyone under the age of 25 must show ID. I also limit no more than 4 under age people per adult guardian.

If you follow the rating system as written you are not supposed to admit anyone underage with verbal permission from an adult or parent.

I know that many will argue that it's not our place to decide what films other peoples kids can or can not see, but we're not deciding what they can see, but rather the conditions under which they can see them. We have that right, and we have that responsibility. I don't care what arguement anyone gives, if you don't inforce the rating system... there is only one reason you don't... MONEY. You feel that by allowing underage people in on restricted movies it will make you more money. In the short term, yes. In the long term, no. One thing that newbees, and that's people that have been in the business for 10 years or less, take a long time to learn is that REPUTATION is EVERYTHING!

As you build your business, the community becomes more aware over time what your commitment to the community is, and while there are always those that don't follow the norm, the majority does and will support you for it. I've taken considerable grief over the years from a few that do not represent the community norm, but the majority have always come to my support. The proof is that my business improves every single year. If people didn't agree with my policies, that wouldn't be the case. I have recieved awards from the PTA, various service organizations, and the town itself for my commitment to the community. Hundreds and hundreds of people over the years have made it a point to come up to me and thank me for enforcing the rating system, while maybe a few dozen have condemed me for it.

Maybe in a large city, it doesn't mean much, but in a small town, it can be the difference between success or failure.

Roxy,

How many R rated movies do you play in a year? How many the past 3 years?

I doubt a discount house gets much R rated horror business. I do not see the discount house in my area play them at all.
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Re: Paranormal Activity from the Audience 26 Oct 2011 01:39 #37289

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BTW, the issue has nothing to do with the rating. I had a group of 20-13/14 year old girls watch Footloose. You think they were quiet as church mice? These same rowdy kids are rowdy in Captain America. They will be rowdy in Jack & Jill. They will be rowdy because that is what large group of kids do.
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Re: Paranormal Activity from the Audience 26 Oct 2011 02:39 #37290

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Mr.Allen is correct. The ratings system expects that the adult or guardian will accompany their under age children into an R rated movie.
I think we do the industry a diservice when we allow under age children into an R rated film without a guardian.
Whether a small town or city, people should expect that their children are going to the proper movie and most parents do care.
Both political parties have siezed on the ratings system from time to time and the FTC does regular secret shopper checks. If we don't police ourselves the government will.

With all due respect to Rufusjack, with whom I usually agree, the policy of: "This past weekend over 50% of my tickets sold to Paranormal Activity 3 were to high school and JH students" is just wrong.

AllenD
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Re: Paranormal Activity from the Audience 26 Oct 2011 03:20 #37291

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wrong? I disagree. If it weren't for the young kids having their parents buy their tickets to Paranormal Activity this past weekend it would have been a bomb for us. Yes, the forty year olds would have been happy, but I would not have made the ends meet. This was the only picture worth having for me this weekend.....by a factor or three to one. the questions is not how to keep the young people out of my theater for R rated movies, it is how to have them be civilized while being here. I am fairly new to running R rated content, at my single screen it rarely works (with a few exceptions, like True Grit which the teens did not attend). I also run a video store at my single screen and the vast majority of parents say yes to nearly any movie any kid wants to watch. I don't have kids, but I know when I was a young teen my folks would never have let me see any movie close to what kids see these days. Times have definitely changed! I follow the rules.... my question is about hordes of young people who legitimately have their tickets and want to see the show. Should I stop the show and read them the riot act and tell them to shut up or get out? should the 1% of the patrons for the Friday late show of Paranormal Activity dictate the civility of the rest of the audience? Should the kids be able to scream at the top of thier lungs when the TV ads for the movie all show them doing just that? It was the highest grossing horror movie of all time, should I have kicked out the 16 year olds after a parent bought their ticket?
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Paranormal Activity from the Audience 26 Oct 2011 03:35 #37292

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AllenD wrote:
Mr.Allen is correct. The ratings system expects that the adult or guardian will accompany their under age children into an R rated movie.
I think we do the industry a diservice when we allow under age children into an R rated film without a guardian.
Whether a small town or city, people should expect that their children are going to the proper movie and most parents do care.
Both political parties have siezed on the ratings system from time to time and the FTC does regular secret shopper checks. If we don't police ourselves the government will.

With all due respect to Rufusjack, with whom I usually agree, the policy of: "This past weekend over 50% of my tickets sold to Paranormal Activity 3 were to high school and JH students" is just wrong.

AllenD

I have waited on thousands upon thousands of customers over 20 years at my video stores on Fridays and Saturdays. Video stores with over 20,000 movies with most of them over the past decade being r rated. R rated horror movies are released every week at the rate 2-4 every week. Horror movies are very cheap to make. My customers who are parents of 14-16 year olds (which is the bulk of who we are talking about here I believe)do not care if their kids see Paranormal Activity 3 or any other typical r rated horror movie at a very high rate. I have talked to these parents often over these 20 years. It is rare when a parent does care. And we know who those parents are. When an account is opened at our stores, we ask if there are any restrictions for their under 18 kids. The answer is usually no. When there is a concern it almost always about sex and drugs seldom about violence. I have easily asked 3000+ parents if they care. How many of you have posed that type of question to over 3000 people as I have?? I will give you guess where parents are on M rated video games.......

AllenD: what do you base your opinion that parents do care on?

Whom am I to judge what parents allow their kids to watch? I certainly do not want them to judge me.

The government and ratings: The government (at all levels) have never won a lawsuit where the MPAA ratings or the ESRB ratings are used to limit access to anything by minors. This has happened at least 10 times with a CA case being one of the more recent.
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Re: Paranormal Activity from the Audience 26 Oct 2011 03:36 #37293

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How many R rated movies do you play in a year? How many the past 3 years?

I doubt a discount house gets much R rated horror business. I do not see the discount house in my area play them at all.

At my downtown Roxy Theatre I only play 3 or 4 R rated movies per year. The reason for that is not that I have anything against R rated movies, but there are seldom more then that each year that would do any business at my theatre.

When I had my twin theatre across the river in the mall I played a lot of R rated movies and did quite well with them there. Both theatres were late run. This was back in the 90s when I would run the films first at the Roxy downtown for $2.00 and then move them to the Plaza Twin in the mall for $1.00. Of course since the mall theatre had 2 screens and the Roxy only one there were many films I skipped at the Roxy and only played at the Plaza. I had the same policy of inforcing the R rating at both theatres and it didn't seem to hurt that theatre either. I think the young set realized that if they wanted to get into an R rated movie they had to do it at the high price first run theatres.

I was forced to close the Plaza when they torn down most of the indoor mall to convert it to a strip shopping center, and didn't want the theatre there anymore.
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Re: Paranormal Activity from the Audience 26 Oct 2011 04:20 #37294

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Leeler wrote
my question is about hordes of young people who legitimately have their tickets and want to see the show. Should I stop the show and read them the riot act and tell them to shut up or get out?

Absolutely!

Once you get a reputation for letting the kids run amok, you will lose all other business. The teenage business for one weekend is not worth what will ultimately happen to your business.
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