Point: Esther E. Steeves says beer shouldn't be sold in theatres.
Selling booze at the movies is a bad idea. However, Famous Players doesn't think so.
According to an article in last week's Calgary Herald, licensed areas may soon appear in local theatres. At first consideration, this might not sound like such a bad idea, and there are already lots of people who sneak in a mickey under their jacket. After all, who doesn't find pleasure at the thought of sipping on a beer while relaxing at the movies? However, there's a vast difference between secretly spiking your $5 Kool-Aid and openly knocking back a few at the big-screen.
This difference lies in the unspoken code of conduct expected at theatres among viewers. There are already more than enough sober movie-goers who boisterously laugh at scenes that aren't funny or drown out the scenes that are by chatting with their friends. Add booze to the scenario and this type of belligerency will only get worse. Sneaking in a flask at least requires enough self-control to remain inconspicuous. With legal access to liquor, people will feel justified to get a little silly during the show, and cinema atmosphere will rival that of a football game.
When I saw Blackhawk Down, for instance, every other scene was tainted by the booming laughter of someone who apparently found a lot of humour in a graphic anti-war movie. If either one of us had been drinking, the evening would have been more appropriately titled Black-Eye Now.
Licensed theatres have been attempted in the U.K. and Montreal with varying degrees of success. While some people are able to handle a few drinks without creating a scene, many cannot. There have been reports of violence, vomiting and the like,- even in controlled environments.
Perhaps you don't mind rowdiness at the movies or will at least put up with it for the sake of being able to drink at a show. However, if Calgary theatres want to sell me a beer, they won't have much luck selling me a ticket.
Counterpoint: Jackie Panera thinks booze should be sold at the movies.
Wouldn't it be great if you could wash your popcorn down with a cool refreshing beer, or your milk duds down with your favorite wine cooler? This may soon be a reality as the Famous Players theatre chain is conducting research to determine if patrons would welcome booze in the movie theatre.
Of course, a person would have to be of legal drinking age to buy an alcoholic beverage. However, people who oppose the idea argue it will promote underage drinking. Let's be serious. Movie theatre concession prices are less than reasonable, so I can't imagine an underage kid wanting to spend up to $12 to see a movie, $8 for snacks and $5 for a beer. Besides, the kids who want to drink booze in a movie theatre are already sneaking flasks in their coats, so that they can add rum to their over-sized and over-priced soft drink.
In addition, opponents argue it will promote drunk driving, but why single out movie theatres? What about bars and restaurants that already serve alcohol to their patrons without a limited number of beverages? At least movie theatres plan to restrict the number of alcoholic beverages that they will be able to serve at two per person, and no hard alcohol will be served. And really, people who come to a theatre to watch a movie are not going to want to get up every ten minutes to get another beer. If they really want to drink that much, they will go to their local pub and not the movie theatre.
I'm also not concerned about the boisterous viewers that shout out comments during the movie because they can't hold their liquor anymore than I'm concerned about the people sitting next to me who can't turn off their cell phones or pagers. Perhaps the alcohol will give people the liquid courage to tell others to kindly shut off their electronic devices while the movie is playing. And at least you can tell a drunk viewer to be quiet, what about parents who bring their screaming babies into the theatre?
Let's not forget that movie theatres are a popular location for first dates. Maybe the addition of alcohol will be a good ice breaker so people will stop worrying if they have any spinach between their teeth.
Besides, having a nice cold one in your hand may help ease the fact that you have to sit through ten minutes of advertisements and eight minutes of previews before you get to see the movie that you paid for. I would much rather see a campaign against these advertisements. Now, those are annoying.