Blockbuster or Bladderburster? Why People Are Calling For Theaters To Bring Back Intermission

From Bond to Batman, films are nearing the leg-crossing, butt-numbing 3-hour mark in many cases, and some people want theaters to bring back the intermission. In cinema’s early days, intermissions were necessary to allow projectionists to change out film reels, but as time went on, they helped meet other needs. Having a brief break in the picture encouraged patrons to get up and refill their popcorn, which meant the theaters made even more money on concessions. For most of the 1950s and 1960s, intermission marked epics. With films like The Ten Commandments, Lawrence of Arabia, and the original West Side Story that ran well over three hours, intermissions were necessary to let people stretch their legs and visit the restrooms. As time moved on, multiplexes started popping up, and intermission became a way for bored moviegoers to jump into a different theater to see a movie they might like better, forcing concerned theater owners to dissolve the intermission. Now, patrons who feel they’re not getting their money’s worth when they have to miss part of the movie to run to the restroom are clamoring for the intermission to be brought back. With concession food still being the biggest income for theaters, regaining that extra opportunity to make more money would seem to make sense, though there’s little doubt that instead of instrumental music during the intermission, there would be 10 minutes of commercial messages. Intermissions would benefit moviegoers the most, allowing them to stretch their legs, visit the restroom, drop by the concession stand, and check their smartphones so they wouldn’t have to whip them out during the actual film. Will we actually see a return of the intermission to the American cinema? It doesn’t look like films are getting any shorter, and it’s for sure our bladders aren’t getting any bigger, so intermission just might become a reality in the near future.