Friday, 20 June 2008

Parents, Babies, Hulks...

While Parent & Baby screenings are a great way for parents of small children to get to see new movie releases without having to wait for them to come out on DVD, the selection of movies is restricted, and a little bit dubious.

When recently on paternity leave, I looked around for "adult" things to do, apart from not sleeping and changing diapers and I realised that quite a few mainstream movie theatres have so-called "Parent & Baby Screenings" where you are allowed to bring babies up to the age of one year (for free no less) and which usually happen during the day and during the week.

Like just about anything that can be done for new parents to keep their sanity in times of sleep deprivation and seemingly inconsolable babies, it did sound like a good idea. You don't have to get a babysitter, you don't have to worry that your baby is screaming (since probably everybody else's will as well) and you fool yourself into believing that leaving the house is still as easy as it used to be.

Since babies under the age of a year don't really care about movies as such, the main target is of course the parents, which means movies of anything up to 12A certificate are shown - although apparently with the volume turned down a little bit (I guess the audience provides additional sound effects anyway).

Unfortunately, having to wait for builders we did not make it the showing of "Iron Man" during my paternity leave, and since "Newbies screenings" happen exclusively during the week (which pretty much rules out the working population to take their newborns), I couldn't realise my dream of attending one.

When my wife had another go at going out to watch a movie with like-minded new mothers, they found out to their big surprise, that pretty much the only movie showing in these conditions was "The Incredible Hulk".

So, imagine what must go through somebody's head who is running a movie theatre and who is thinking about which movie to book for the next week.

  • You have a show at Tuesday lunchtime targeted at parents with newborns.
  • You probably figure that despite emancipation and all, these new parents are likely to be mothers.
  • You have "Sex and The City: The Movie" in your repertoire, which is a "chick flick" if there ever was one.
  • You decide to show "The Incredible Hulk".
Makes sense.