Throwback Thursday: See Disney’s Snow White Again

Throwback Thursday: See Disney’s Snow White Again

In the 1930s, movies didn’t open on thousands of screens the
same day and suck every dollar they could from moviegoers during their opening
weekend. They started out in first-run theaters where, if successful, they were
held over for one or more weeks. Then they made their way to neighborhood
houses, playing at “popular prices.” Here’s an unusual trio of advertisements
touting the Los Angeles run of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which enjoyed an extended stay at
the Carthay Circle Theatre before moving to two other prestige houses in the
city. These customized ads clearly helped extend the movie’s lifespan, week
after week after week. No wonder it was a box-office sensation. 

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I remember when you gauge a film's success/quality by how long it took to travel from the big first-run theaters scattered around Bay Area suburbs to the cozy little neighborhood house in Morgan Hill. A few really big films, like "Sound of Music", could hold down a first-run screen for over a year before filtering down. An unfortunate Peter Sellers vehicle, "The Bobo", reached Morgan Hill while the TV commercials were still running.

Now it seems most big studio films open everywhere at once. And even the hits zip through comparatively quickly, video releases already scheduled.

Ali Stevenson

My father took me to see Snow White when I was three. First up was a western, which I enjoyed because I loved horses. By the time Snow White began I was getting restless. Then the witch frightened me and I had to be carried out.


The distribution prorcess is one that escapes me. In St. Louis in the 50's and the 60's , before multiplexes films had a way of working their way thru the"system", I wonder if LM would explain the dynamics of that process. Since we were kids at the time, at the "secondary" theatres you could see two films, shorts and trailers for a mere .35 cents(continuous running), plus popcorn was the same price and a soda for.12 cents. cherry flavoring was extra.

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