The Scarcity Principle and ‘The Greatest Showman’

This month I’m mostly going to the cinema.

I’m not a film buff. It’s not my idea of an ideal night out. I don’t have the attention span. I can’t sit still for two hours. Actually, I can, but that’s the problem, extreme self consciousness will make me sit completely still for two hours and therein lies the problem. It’s physically and emotionally taxing to sit completely still for two hours. Also, to compound things, I never understand the plot (unless it’s fantasy, sci-fi, or rom com).

This month, I’m mostly going the cinema for two reasons, it’s cheap seat night on Monday in January and I’ve had the flu for almost three weeks, since Christmas, three relapses all in all, and there’s nothing like a moderate dose of the flu to make you feel depressed and claustrophobic. I started to feel better one day, had a bit more energy, ran around like an idiot, playing catch up on laundry and chores, returned to my cardio exercises and completely burned myself out. I returned into the welcoming arms of the flu and then, just this week, when I thought I was out of the woods, got a brand new cold on top of it all. Colds are easy though, can handle colds.

All my friends think I’ve disappeared off the face of the earth and I sort of have. By the middle of this bleak cold January, no surprises there(when is January in Britain ever warm and balmy)? I badly needed some fun, but stationary fun, where I could just sit, weakened, through viruses, in a mostly empty, but warm, dark cinema, passively watching, through the mild delirium of a benign and almost friendly cold.

I just had to get out of myself. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t a hotbed of contagion by then, but we’re always playing Virus Russian Roulette in the winter. Fortunately, people like to ‘spread out’ seat wise, in cinemas. It’s not like the old days, when I was a kid, when we were packed in like sardines, soft drink cans rolling down the aisles and cigarette smoke fogging the screen and filling our lungs. Hey, perhaps that’s why I’m so weakened in the lung area.

I went to the cinema last week to see ‘The Greatest Showman‘ starring Hugh Jackman but it was sold out! No more seats left. I’m not sure if this has happened to other people but I’ve never experienced it before. Went to a second option, a Plan B, which happened to be The Commuter. An action/thriller/mystery/crime, which is not good for my attention span, and certainly not good for plot line understanding. ‘What just happened?’ I asked when the movie ended (I actually did say that) and ‘Where were all the gnomes?’ (I didn’t say that. Thought it though)

‘The Greatest Showman’ being sold out was a bit like the psychological situation of seeing a tin of soup in a supermarket and there’s only one left but there are several other kinds of another soup and you think, ‘What’s so special about that one?’

Maybe it’s popular because it’s good, tasty, delicious. Not so keen on popular people, but popular soup…now that’s a different matter.

What have I learned? Well, I’ve learned a new appreciation of cinema. It’s quite exciting I suppose, sitting in the dark for two hours. So I sat there with my carton of popcorn and watched the movie. Screen 4, or wherever it was. The Commuter had a decent turnout (probably down to the cheap seats on a Monday in January) but I couldn’t stop thinking about the scarcity principle. What was so good about ‘The Greatest Showman’ that it was sold out? That’s the theatre I needed to be in but as Groucho Marx said, ‘I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.’ I wasn’t accepted as a member of Screen 2, where ‘The Greatest Showman’ was playing.

It must be good.


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