Today I witnessed a tragedy a the AMC Theater in Eden Prairie MN. It was something I was not prepared for when I headed to the theater with my son. Our intent was a youth group outing with a movie and pizza. There was a hint of the tragedy that was about to unfold as I arrived, but I didn’t connect the dots until later. It seemed like a typical Saturday afternoon at the movie. There were long lines at the concessions, there were new movies showing in several theaters, there was a small army of theater workers everywhere keeping all the customers happy.
Our movie was showing on screen 16 of 18. It was about a half mile walk to the theater from the ticket booth. On the way I passed several theaters with retractable belt crowd control set up outside the doors to the individual screens. Even at the sight of those I was unaware of the tragedy that was about to take place. As we entered our theater and moved to our seats we noticed about 50-60 other people in the room, a room which was not even close to full. Finding a good seat in this theater was not hard.
The lights dimmed and the previews rolled. Everything was happening just as it does on any normal day at the theater. Soon the previews were over the the remaining lights dimmed to black as the feature started. For the next 107 minutes our movie played. There was no glitch with the projector or sound system, we were not even bothered by anyone talking or texting near us. In fact nothing seemed odd or out of place even when the theater broke into applause as the end of the show.
It wasn’t until I was leaving the theater, passing the roped off areas of the other theaters, now filled with people waiting for the next show which was still some time away that it hit me – the tragedy that is. Three of the 18 screens, the biggest ones, were showing the same movie, “The Hunger Games”. It was of course opening weekend. I can’t comment on the Hunger Games, since I have neither read the book or seen the movie yet. But I was witness to the tragedy that only one screen in the theater, and it was way in the back 40, was showing the movie “October Baby.” It was also opening weekend for this movie.
The message of “October Baby” I can speak about, because I have seen it. It is a powerful message about faith and family, about lies and truth, about anger and forgiveness, about life. Yes, that is what the movie was about, Life. As an adoptive parent it was especially meaningful to me as I reflected on our own journey to be family.
The tragedy I witnessed was simple 3 screens for a movie, that could be a fine piece of cinema, but only 1 to a movie that was amazing. The tragedy will not stop here. October Baby will not play long in theaters, it will quickly move to DVD and even more quickly fade into obscurity except for a fairly faithful group of people who will continue to show and talk about it with fondness, and a box of tissue.
I hope that both of you who regualary read this blog will go see October Baby and that you will convince two people to go see it, and they will convince two people to go see it and they will convince… well I think you get the point.