Some time before or after the millennium, cup holders appeared. I was grateful, because I had run a movie house back in 1976. When I set a drink or box of popcorn down on the floor, I knew the probable cost. A cup holder may seem merely an added comfort, but Coke syrup on a hard floor behaves somewhat like Super Glue when it weds itself to spilled popcorn. Only professional steam-cleaning (an eye-popping $2,500 in 1976) succeeded in depriving our burgeoning mouse population of what they no doubt considered several very square meals. Thankfully, our auditorium wasn’t carpeted!
Seats in theaters dedicated to showing movies have diverged, recently, in other ways from the conventional hard-stuffed chairs you still encounter at the opera and other live venues. Premium seats at the movies may have higher backs and perhaps some kind of lumbar support—a little like the chair in my Volvo. Well, going to the movies IS a journey after all.
You need food and drink (what American would buy a car without cup holders?), and you may need—more than your movie-going predecessors did—to be alone in the dark, your own private dream.
Note: The title of this blog post is a (mildly ironic) riff on an exciting classic book about movie palaces, The Best Remaining Seats: The Story of the Golden Age of the Movie Palace, by Ben. M. Hall (1961). I encourage you to find it and read it, if you haven’t already.