Jonathan Melville: Coming to a cinema near you?

Cinema poster. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Pic: Comp
Cinema poster. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Pic: Comp
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WHEN did going to the cinema get so complicated? After passing a bus shelter with a poster proudly announcing ‘preview screenings’ of the upcoming Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, I realised the joy of seeing a new film has recently become far too confusing.

Back in the old days, seeing a film was simple. You waited until the day of release, went to the cinema, queued to buy your ticket and watched your title of choice.

Now we have websites offering preview screenings, studios giving us a chance to see films weeks before official release dates as well as the odd freebie from magazines, newspapers and other companies.

That’s all well and good, but it now requires the investigative skills of Sherlock Holmes to discover when the film you’re most anticipating is arriving early at your local cinema.

How many sites can you register with for updates before you lose track completely? Then there’s the problem of email alerts arriving when you’re at work, meaning you can’t easily log in to reserve tickets on some random day of the week.

The theory is that by opening the doors early to the most ardent fans, studios will spread the word faster, ensuring more ticket sales when the film is released for real. We’re basically being asked to do the job of the marketing people, using our Twitter feeds and Facebook pages to ramp up the excitement.

We’re unlikely to see the end of this trend anytime soon, but if you can’t get a ticket two weeks before your friends it’s probably a good excuse to plan a visit with them on the actual opening night, where you don’t have to worry about tweeting them about it as the lights go up.

@jon_melville

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