I recently read some news about a Canadian movie theater chain that got under my skin. The company announced its plans to rent downtime at 29 of its theaters across the country to video gamers looking for the thrill of playing their Xbox 360 games on the big screen. (I’ll withhold any comment on how the gamers could better spend their time cleaning their apartments or, say, dating. Actually, I guess I won’t.) I’m not sure how much the theater execs aim to make off this endeavor, but they’re charging $179 plus tax for a two-hour gaming session. Seems about the same price as four popcorns.
But I’ve got my own suggestion for the use of theater downtime, which the article says is roughly 12 to 24 hours a week (and will likely increase once the school year starts). Rather than fill it with Red Bull-addicted gamers, why not use it to screen docs for – gasp – free? I’ve always been a fan of film fests offering free or reduced rates for seniors and students, so why not take that idea one step further and make it a year-round gift from mega theater chains and filmmakers to the general public?
It’d be an honorable practice and I’m sure the masses would come away more enriched after seeing a doc like Andrew Jenks, Room 335 or The 11th Hour than a small group of gamers would after blowing each other up in something called ‘Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.’