Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"Batman": The Madness

I don't know if I've even mentioned this before, but Burbank is what's called a Box Office Pull Site. That means, when you see those numbers on ranking lists of what's #1 at the box office this week, or how much a film has raked in its first weekend opening, the people coming up with those numbers are using specific pull sites ( mostly in larger cities) to gather information as a general median. ( The same way a Neilsen rating works; not every family has a Neilsen box, but a few do in a choice burgs around the country and the statististics are drawn from them to garner a general profile of how popular a show is.) ANYWAY, because of this fact, Burbank has 3 AMC movie complexes within TWO BLOCKS of one another. You could literally walk from one movie theatre to another to the third without even breaking a sweat or moving your car. ( Of course, each theatre is, essentially, running the same damned big studio movies at every venue. Oh, there are a few exceptions: an extra family movie here, an extra late showing of a horror flick there, but they're the same roster. Nothing like stuffing the ballot box, eh? Groan. )

I mention this because Big Bookseller is on top of the smallest of these three, the AMC Burbank 3. ( AMC Burbank 8 is inside the mall, and AMC 16 --or as I affectionately call it, "The Googleplex"-- is around the corner. As things go, the one at the mall is the safest one to hit and not be mobbed. The Googleplex is a farking nightmare, not surprisingly). And I knew this weekend was gonna be hell on wheels because every fucking weekend a Big Movie opens, people a.) flood our store to waste time before the movie starts, b.) drag their kids in to appease them before the movie starts, c.) decide to mosey on in and dawdle around til we close because they don't feel like going home/are on a date and think bookstores are fun and romantic/ want a last minute frappuccino before heading to bed, and d.) take up every available parking space in the parking garage next door, thus leaving employees with very few options for how to get to work on time and possibly park legally simoultaneously.

This weekend, our store was so dead you could hear crickets chirping in the aisles. I was really, really confused because hey, "Batman" opens this weekend, and the hype is practically being passed out through the molecules in the air, it's been so prevalent.

Then I got the clue when I walked out of work last night at midnight.

There were a few kids milling about at the top of the stairs in front of our store, the stairs that lead down to the theatre. I thought they were just going home for the night, since hey, that movie had midnight shows the night BEFORE ( on Thursday) for its opening on Friday day. Friday morning, thinking I might go see it myself ( 'cause I love me some Christian Bale, and Christian Bale as Batman? I'm so THERE. Christian Bale at The Dark Knight Batman-- a comic book I used to read ardently in my early 20s?-- get the hell out of my way! Oh, and yes, you may now commence mocking me for my geekiness. ) I had checked online myself and seen that all the shows in Burbank EVERYWHERE were flat sold out except the midnight shows. ( I ended up having to work unexpectedly anyway, so ptphtpthtbtthh to that plan....) I didn't really wanna go at midnight, and frankly, I thought no one else would either, since the moment had effectively PASSED, you know; the movie was out and would be in theatres and readily available for viewing at your leisure, right????

BWHAHAHHAHA! NO! I underestimate the ferocity of comic book fandom! Because those straggling teens I saw as I was dragging my weary self to my car? They were IN LINE. All the way up the stairs. As I passed by to the garage, I looked down to through the glass partition below and saw a line all. The. Way. Around. The block.

At midnight. For real.

And then when I was dragging my weary self out to my car this evening at 8:30, I saw the same thing. I totally would bet my ticket to Paris that when Big Bookseller staff leaves at the crack o' tomorrow tonight that they will see another line, just as long. And I fully stake my own future earnings on yet the same thing tomorrow despite the fact that it will be Sunday, two days since the premiere, and the last day of the weekend, before all those sad saps have to roll into work the next morning.

I'm afraid to think about what was happening down the street. Or god forbid, in Hollywood, where they don't have nearly as decent parking.

The thing is, I've lived here now for almost 6 years. And I've seen this kind of thing before: lines, sell-outs, blah blah blah. We're a pull site, remember? We were chosen to be one not just because of our ridiculously close proximity to the studios, but because as a population, Burbank people go to movies. Alot. ( It's an industry city where people who work in said studios live and have families. Plus Burbank is pretty safe and boring and has no nightlife to speak of so there isn't shit else to do with your time, regardless). That's how, in part, pull sites ( and Neilsen families) get chosen: high activity. When I lived back in STL, I used to snipe out of Thanksgiving/Christmas obligations early and go to the movies. I was usually only one of a handful of people there. HERE, going to the movies on a holiday is like buying a turkey or decorating a tree: just one of those things ya do. ( Trust me- I still go to the movies on Christmas, so I know!!) It's a melee to get decent seats, etc. etc. etc.

And still.....I have never seen ANYTHING like this. For real. I know from checking today that it's already doing phenomenally at the box office: $66 million on Friday alone. But I predict that that is an early, early number, and that this movie will set records for it's opening weekend draw. It will break standing records and set new ones. I am completely confident in that prediction, too.

Wait and see.

And moi, you ask? Do I have "Batman" plans now that you know my secret geeky shame ? Wel, yes! I'm going tomorrow ( my friend is getting tickets early-- to be sure we get them--to a small theatre in Los Feliz --in hopes that we can avoid the madness). I'll let you know what I think ( of course), and please pray some dumb skateboardin' teen doesn't run over my foot trying cut in line for seats or starts shoving me inadvertantly while he's passing time with his friends, because I have PMS and I will take them all down!!! I'm excited and I've been waiting all summer, and having lived through the first 3 Batmans that graced our screens in the 90s ( retch), and having been fully relieved and entertained by "Batman Begins", I think I could start shoving back without compunction and no court in the land ( well, providing the judge is a geek) would convict me.

But I'm not standing around at some ungodly hour and waiting in line forever or wearing some goofy shirt. I AM an adult, for crying out loud. And never that big of a geek. ::Nose in air, *snif*::. Of course.