Lights out for midnight shows

Thursday, February 26, 2009

When Adrienne Langlois ’10 wanted a Friday full of suspense, she would go to midnight showings of Alfred Hitchcock or the Coen brothers movies at the Avon Cinema. Now, she will have to settle for duller evenings and, when the clock strikes 12, she will just have to go to bed.

Until eight months ago, the Avon Cinema ran midnight shows of classic Hollywood movies every week of the year. It also showed movies that had come out in the past six months and received renewed attention at this time. But decreasing attendance forced owner Richard Dulgarian to cancel the midnight movies.

“People just weren’t coming,” he said. “It was obvious that the shows were not paying for themselves.”

Dulgarian doesn’t know the reason why people stopped coming to his midnight shows.

“Maybe our society is going to bed earlier,” he said. “Or maybe there’s just more things to do on a Friday or Saturday night.”

The news disappointed the Avon’s loyal costumers like Langlois, a contributing writer for post-, who spent several nights of her first two years at Brown in the theater.

“I’m gonna miss it,” Langlois said. “I have very fond memories of my time there.”

Langlois smiled as she remembered when she went to see “The Big Lebowski.” The theater was full and the audience was excited to see the film, she said.

“I went with a group of friends to see this movie,” she said. “And, those who were watching it for the first time had the opportunity to see it on the big screen and not on their laptop screens.”

For some moviegoers, the schedule was not the issue, it was money.

“They still charge the regular admission price to watch an old film,” Langlois said. “It becomes expensive.”

Another regular costumer, Bonnie Min ’10, said that canceling all midnight functions was too radical.

“They could have one each month,” Min said. “They could print out flyers and make sure that everybody knows about it.”

Min also mentioned that the Avon should try to have midnight screening in weeks when there are no midterms or final exams.

“I’m sure that the week after midterms would be a good idea,” she said. “People would want to have that unique experience after studying hard.”

Committed to getting the “films to the population,” Dulgarian has made some changes in the schedules. The theater now screens all movies earlier, with the latest showing around 10, he said.

“We’re trying to slip in the 10 p.m. show,” Dulgarian said. “We want to see if there’s an interest, a response.”

This week “Doubt” is playing at the Avon at 9 p.m., and this coming Friday there will be a screening of “Milk,” which just won two Academy Awards, at 10 p.m.,he said.

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