When Indiewire recently wrote about how movie theaters are increasingly offering customers movies and alcohol in order to lure them away from their couches and home entertainment systems, many of the commenters responded angrily, asking why a good film couldn’t stand on its own.
Of course, we at Indiewire appreciate the joy of sitting in a movie theater surrounded by strangers and watching a good film in silence (no texting, please!). But we also appreciate the fact that theaters are struggling to attract audiences — especially younger audiences who are more accustomed to watching movies on their mobile devices than in an actual movie theater.
Nobody is arguing that all movie theaters should operate like the Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg where the chef creates a themed food and drink menu based on the particular film screening. But to ensure the future of moviegoing, maybe it’s time movie theaters experimented more — especially on slow weeknights.
One innovative (crazy?) idea — albeit not inside a movie theater — is a “hot tub cinema” where audiences literally submerge themselves in hot tubs to watch movies. The Daily News reports on a “Hot Tub Cinema” which launches in Williamsburg (where else?) this week with a screening of (what else?) “Hot Tub Time Machine.”
“Our simple but magical formula for an unforgettable night out is to combine great films, amazing spaces, lots of hot tubs and just add water,” writes Hot Tub Cinema on its web site. “Our guiding mantra here at Hot Tub HQ is that we don’t just watch films, we celebrate them. We encourage you to dress up, sing, dance, drink, play and most of all enjoy your favourite films, alongside friends old and new. Oh, and did we mention you do all this in a hot tub?”
The series started out in the UK in 2012 and is only now branching out to the U.S. Sure, all of the festivities will inevitably detract from the main attraction — the film — but, no doubt, these events will also draw a new crowd to the movies. What do you think of the idea? Innovative or absurd?