Obviously this news fits with my weekly column, The Exhibitionist, but I've already written recently on National Amusement's decision to branch out into live entertainment. Stand-up is just another addition to the live music, satellite-broadcast Red Sox games and other alternatives meant to counter decreased movie attendance. According to N.A. spokesperson Wanda Whitson (quoted on Boston.com): "This is part of [chief executive officer] Shari E. Redstone's goal of turning our 122 locations worldwide into community entertainment centers." Kinda sad for a company that has been a real force in movie exhibition for more than half a century (never mind the company's majority holdings in Viacom).
While I'm shocked at the ticket price of N.A.'s comedy shows, especially since the acts aren't names I've heard of, I think they're one of the theater chain's better ideas. Yet I think it would be more appealing if stand-up comics were brought in to warm up the audience for movies like Zohan and Panda. Certainly the tickets for these special events would still be more than a regular movie ticket (though not more than $20). And it would seem more appropriate for the setting. After all, anyone can go to a cheap or free comedy show just about anywhere else.