June 24, 2009
A few weeks ago I blogged about trying to figure out a good age to take children to their first movie. After much deliberation, Hubby and I decided to make yesterday our first official "family movie outing." We had two options: we could see Igor for free at a nearby Kerasotes owned theater or we could see Kung Fu Panda for $1 admission at a local AMC theater. Since I've never heard of Igor and didn't have time to research it, we opted for Kung Fu Panda.
Overall, we had a good time. The theater was surprisingly crowded, but when you think about it how much it would typically cost a family to go to the movies, it makes sense that a lot of parents were treating their kids to the $1 selection.
Tortilla was happy as long as she was holding someone's hand or sitting on a lap. Sue-Sue was entertained for the first half of the movie, but then wanted to go home. She settled down once I told her she needed to be quiet so the other kids could hear. Cakes wanted to walk around the whole time. She was more into watching the other movie-goers than watching the actual movie. Roo seemed to do the best. She changed seats a lot and had a few questions, but overall she stayed quiet and glued to the screen.
My daughters will be four in September. I think this was a good age to try our first movie. If they had been much younger I don't think they would have had the attention span necessary to sit through a movie.
My advice: try a free or discounted movie for your first few outings. If we had left at any point during the movie I wouldn't have felt like we wasted money. Six dollars for all six of us to see a movie is a bargain. Also, arrive at least 20 minutes early. The later you arrive, the harder it is to maneuver through the crowd and find a seat. Talk about your expectations ahead of time: we need to be quiet, whisper if you have a question, the lights will need to be turned off so we can see the movie, etc. You may also want to consider taking a snack with you. We seemed to be one of the only families who by-passed the line at the concession stand. I didn't take any snacks from home and my daughters didn't seem to mind, but for other children this could really be a deal breaker. Finally, don't be afraid to leave. I really wanted to get through the entire movie, but had my girls started acting up we would have left. I saw several families leave... some simply because their kids didn't have the attention span for the movie.
I don't think it's something we'll do on a regular basis this summer, but it was definitely a positive experience. I'm glad movie theaters offer these free or discounted films in the summer because there's no way all six of us could afford to see a "typical" movie.