The Undergraduate Student Government has approached the Garden Theatre to try to schedule earlier screenings of their sponsored movie nights, according to USG movies committee chairJack Mazzulo '16.
The initiative, however, has been met with some resistance on the part of the newadministration of the movie theater, which started its duties this summer.According to Mazzulo, students have told him that the regular 11:45 p.m. screenings take place too late at night.
The Undergraduate Film Organization — a subcommittee of the USG social committee — works with the Garden Theatre management to make free movies available for students every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night following the last regularly scheduled film each night.
“When I went to go see the Lego Movie for the first time I was just exhausted because it started at 11:45,” Ashley Koo ’18 said, noting that she has only been to one USG weekend movie so far. “I don’t think it’s worth it to go out to see a movie if I’ll fall asleep there, because it’s too late in my opinion.”
Mazzulo said that students who applied to join UFO this year voiced similar concerns.
Chris Collier, Associate Director of Renew Theaters, which operates the Garden Theatre, explained that peak times for the Theater are 7 p.m. or later on Fridays and Saturdays for the films it shows commercially. The latest shows end at around 11:30 p.m., depending on how long the films are. This means that the theater space is not available until 11:45 p.m. for USG movies.
Collier added that the Garden Theatre needs to follow certain guidelines for how often and at what times it shows movies due to an agreement it makes with movie distributors.
In addition, he said he was surprised that students are now expressing concerns about movies being shown too late, noting that the USG movie program had always been running at the same time and there had been no student response before.
Both Mazzulo and the Deputy Dean of Undergraduate Students Thomas Dunne have met with representatives of the Garden Theatre since the beginning of the semester to come up with a more flexible schedule, Collier said.
The USG cannot run movies earlier on Friday or Saturday because commercial shows run later on those days, Collier explained. However, the USG has started to run movies at 10:30 p.m. on Thursday starting with Oct. 24, earlier than the viewing times on weekends.
“We definitely want to work with the students at the University to make this as best fit as we can, but we’re going to do that within the limitations we have in terms of how we operate as a theater,” Collier said.
Koo noted that she thinks 10 or 10:30 p.m. are much more reasonable times to see movies than 11:45 p.m., and she would be much more willing to see movies at that time.
Mazzulo said that USG hopes the earlier Thursday times will help improve crowd attendance, and he hopes it will help people who do not want to stay up so late.
Mazzulo explained that he and the rest of UFO are also working to increase the accessibility of movies by creating an app on TigerApps that would allow students to vote for the movies they would like to watch and know the movies for the weekend before USG president Shawon Jackson '15 announces them in an email.
They would also be able to see if tickets for a given movie are sold out before they try to buy tickets.