As the resident Prodigal Nerd, I’m the one who’s usually the last to read books, last to play board games, and last to see movies among the Nerds here at NoE. Holding true to form, I FINALLY got to see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker this past Saturday. (Just to give you a glimpse into my life as a prodigal nerd, I was only able to accomplish this feat by finding showtimes for that movie and Frozen 2 that ended at roughly the same time so that I wasn’t fully abandoning my wife for 3 hours with a very active 4-year-old and a baby…)
I’ll maybe share my thoughts on Skywalker in a review later on, but what I really want to talk about today is the movie-going experience itself. In fact, I want to sing the praises of waiting until well after opening weekend to see a movie in theaters.
Why You Should Go See a Movie on Opening Night/Weekend
I’ll start by actually telling you why should go see a movie as soon as possible, just to be fair. You should absolutely go see a movie in theaters on opening night or opening weekend if:
- You’re going with a group of friends who want to go see it then. Just be honest that you want to see the movie, but you also want to hang out with these people. It’s a social thing as much or more as it is a movie thing, and that’s totally fine.
- You’re the type who just enjoys large crowds and the energy found therein. Again, just be honest about the fact that you’re an extrovert weirdo who can’t stand to be alone with their own thoughts for whatever reason. 🙂
- You’re super active on social media, so you can’t fully avoid spoilers, and that matters a lot to you. I absolutely understand wanting to not have movies you care about spoiled before you get to see them. If it’s going to ruin the experience for you, go see it before it can be spoiled.
The balance of this is that if you’re going to see a movie on opening weekend, you’re going to be dealing with huge crowds, lots of extra headache, and in some cases higher prices. As someone who prefers peace and tranquility (why, oh why, did I have two kids…?), it’s just not worth it to me.
Why You Should Wait to See a Movie in a Theater
For my money, it’s far better to wait until much later in a movie’s theater run. Here’s why you should wait to see movies in a theater:
- You prefer smaller/no crowds. I saw Rise of Skywalker in a theater that seats close to 150 people, and there were four of us in the whole place. It was glorious. We were four individuals with all the room in the world to spread out and get comfortable. I sat middle-middle (of the screen, not the room), and was able to put my hat in the seat to my left, my jacket in the seat to my right, and my feet in front of me. I had both armrests completely to myself. And, at the risk of over-sharing, since no one was anywhere near me I didn’t have to be shy about passing gas.
- You can avoid spoilers, or just don’t care. I’m barely active at all on social media, so spoilers aren’t a huge issue for me. I know that this is a big one for a lot of people. And yeah, if followers and interaction are a big part of your personal or professional life, it might not be doable for you. For me, though, I’ve just discovered over time that I don’t really miss social media at all. I’m as active as I need to be professionally on Facebook, but that’s it. I also developed the ability a few years back to consciously just keep scrolling and not look whenever anything that looks like it might be spoiler-y comes up in a newsfeed.
- You want to be able to use your smartphone during a movie. This one might be controversial, but I don’t care. If you’re like me, your mind is is thoroughly trained and adapted to our modern culture to think that you can multi-task your attention. So when I saw something in Rise of Skywalker that triggered a question about continuity, I whipped out my phone and searched YouTube. And, because I was one of four people in the theater, and the nearest person to me was probably 30 feet in front of me, it was totally fine. I also had to field several work texts during the movie. Again, no problem at all, because I was pretty much by myself. On opening weekend I would have had to deal with dirty looks and people shushing me as I watched a YouTube clip or had a text conversation in a dark, quiet theater.
Listen, ultimately people like what they like. If you’re really into seeing movies on opening weekend, I’m not going to try to stop you. But I think that if you can stay on top of a movie’s schedule so that you don’t miss it in theaters, and if you can avoid spoilers (or if you just don’t care about spoilers, you monster…), seeing a movie in a nearly empty theater is infinitely better.
Either way, we can all agree that it’s dumb that somehow a huge part of the Death Star survived both the massive explosion at the end of Return of the Jedi AND crashing down to the surface of Endor’s forest moon…