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"Free" Screening of Parental Guidance Starring Billy Crystal & Bette Midler
posted at December 12, 2012 7:56 PM EST
First: December 12, 2012
Last: December 12, 2012
I was looking forward to this event, organized by AARP New York. My reservation confirmation made it quite clear that there would be a strict policy of no cell phones during the screening; but I needed to have my phone with me whilst traveling to and from the cinema, so what was I to do? Sure enough, they had a table set up at the door to collect phones from folks like me and they were scanning everyone with a wand, TSA-style, to make sure none got through.
I would have submitted to this indignity until I found that I was also required to sign a waiver absolving the management from any responsibility for keepng my phone secure whilst I was in the theater. "Don't worry," they assured me, "your phone will be safe with us."
I offered instead to sign a declaration that I would not attempt to make any audio or video recording of the movie. That got me nowhere. "Why should we believe you?", they asked. The irony of that response apparently eluded them; so rather than be treated as a criminal, I tossed my ticket in the trash and walked out.
If the studios are really so paranoid about the assumed intentions of their customers, and if they truly believe they stand to lose a considerable amount of revenue at the hands of pirates, then I have a suggestion for them. Why not dispense with the humiliating search and detain ritual at the door and instead post a couple of security personnel in the theater—one on each side of the screen in clear view of the audience—as a deterrent? Better yet, equip them with infrared viewing devices so they can keep an eye on the malfeasants after the lights go out.