A couple of weeks ago, there was a story ping-ponging its way around the Web that went something like this: Paramount had cut a deal with the major cable providers to launch their tentpole Transformers on television the same week it landed in theaters. The idea was that it would be available as a premium pay per view choice for somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 and assuming the experiment turned out to be a rousing success -- and it would have -- the vaunted 'window' would be good and smashed for all time. There were some outlets that were convinced the story was going to turn out to be true, but my Paramount contacts told me it was complete crap, and they were right -- no such plans were afoot, obviously. The interesting thing about all of this is that most of the people I talked to who believed the story was going to turn out to be true were not outraged by it in the least -- and neither was I. I've come to believe that 'smashing the window' is an idea whose time has truly come, mainly because of the ever-deteriorating movie theater experience.
Take it from someone who chose his first apartment based on its proximity to two movie theaters -- this is not a stance I take lightly. I don't think there's anything in the world that beats a really good experience at the movies, but I've also noticed that over the past few years, the onus has been more and more on me to make that experience happen. Going to the movies on Friday night became a non-starter a long time ago, since it's kind of hard for me to follow a film when the guy to my right is breaking up with his girlfriend via cellphone and the guy to my left is playing his portable video game at full volume through the second and third acts. The matinees used to provide an escape from that kind of behavior, but no more. Last week I ended up walking out of an early show of Knocked Up because, honest to God, I couldn't follow what was going on thanks to the non-stop jabbering of a gang of high-school girls in front of me.