Supply and DEMAND DEMAND DEMAND

Man, sometimes I miss 1982.  But then again, I was four.  So I would have to restrict my liberties greatly, such as the ability to – say – write.  Oh, and blogging didn’t exist. (But I bet angst-riddled zines did.)

Anyways, 1982 was the year the original Tron came out.  Being that I was four I had no comprehension of how this cult movie’s impact would pretty much dictate the rise of computer animation to a true commercial art form.  To me, Tron was this whole terrifying thing. I vividly recall, in my four-year-old mind, being terrified that every time I or someone else played a video game, some guy or girl DIED.

I also recall some portion of the People Mover at Tomorrowland, Disneyland (Yes, I still refer to the People Mover under its One True Name) had a section where you were “sucked” into the Tron program.  I recall that freaking me out too, because I sure as heck didn’t want to end up playing frisbee to the death. (Though it was really just a room where they projected computer landscapes across the screen.)

So I avoided Tron until my college years, where, when I watched it (14+ years later) I realized that… wow… this explains why dial-up was so slow.  As a program you have to travel to these towers guarded by men on sit-and-spins in light-up fabric tents and beg them to let you put your disk in the beam.  And once you do it takes for-freaking-EVER for the disk to contact the user.  Everything is so clear now.

Oddly enough, this post has nothing to actually do with Tron.  It has everything to do with seeing the new Tron and the British free-movie seeing process.

Tron: Legacy is coming out this December.  And, as a special sneak preview 3-D loud noise extravaganza, they invited a select group to come to the movie theatre to watch 23 minutes of it.

Now, in Houston, the process of seeing ANYTHING free went like this:

  1. A designated scout would sacrifice part of his or her work day (either by coming in really early or giving up some vital vacation) to go and sit in line 1-2 hours before they started letting people in.
  2. The rest of the group (you tried for no more than 6) would then show up as soon as possible after wards, as you didn’t want to start a fight with all the other crazies who were there, often sporting whatever free merchandise they could beat out of the movie representatives.
  3. 30 minutes prior, you would enter the theatre, generally in an orderly fashion, but if you felt like attempting to beat more merchandise out of the movie representatives, you would run screaming towards the front.
  4. After they packed you in like sardines, the movie would begin.

In England, seeing something free goes like so:

  1. Show up 15 minutes before.
  2. Sit, most likely stretch out.
  3. Watch movie.

It is interesting, the grip that movie groups have on places like Houston, while in the UK it is sort of an after-thought.  A no-big-deal.  For me as an outsider, the English don’t seem so clingy to their movie stars (though they can be clingy to name brands like the rest of America).  Going to see this preview there were, maybe, 30-40 people in the audience.  We hogged the super-plush middle seats you have to pay extra for.  In the two other times I’ve gone, the theatre would eventually fill up, but it wasn’t the pandemonium one would associate with a rock concert.  It was a, “Oh, isn’t this nice.” sort of statement day.

Now, maybe I’m really rattling off another odd bit about Oxford.  Maybe, in London, people beat each other over the head with footballs and toss fish and chips at the screen if they don’t get a free t-shirt.  I don’t know.  But here, it isn’t the thriving market that was created in Houston.

Oh, and the 20 minute preview was really cool.  A lot of it you see in the various trailers, though.

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