(Nearly) Empty Theater

Movie #9 of the year, The Ghost Writer

Last night Bruce and I saw Roman Polanski’s latest film at the Arclight in Sherman Oaks. Upon entering the theater it turned out that not very many other people had the same plans. Aside from four other people, the theater was empty.

It’s a weird feeling walking into a theater that is empty or nearly empty. Now I’m not talking about going to an average movie that’s been out for more than 3 weeks that’s empty because everyone has seen, facebook reviewed and deconstructed it in a workplace conversation; I’m talking about new, recent releases. The usher ripping your ticket, walking by the rows of empty seats, watching the “Please don’t act like a six year-old and disturb the other people around you” notice that starts before the film — reminders that this is a space that is meant to be filled, suddenly have an eerie tinge to them when you find yourself in an auditorium of a hundred plus vacant seats.

This is what the theater looked like.

Yet, sitting in a large empty theater seemed befitting for the thriller movie we were seeing. It’s a relatively quiet movie so having an equally quiet auditorium without any coughing seizures helped capture the film’s tone. Sometimes having a theater pretty much to yourself is ideal.

Of course, for horror movies like Paranormal Activity or comedies like The 40 Year-Old Virgin, I’m sure an empty theater would have an opposite effect and I probably wouldn’t have liked them nearly as much as I did seeing them in sold out theaters. And then there are movies I’ve been to that were like restaurants without any diners:

Empty for bad taste.


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