In Canada we get ads for the military, shampoo and cars. I will never join, use or drive any of them!

Turn off the house lights and hold the commercials
By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY
LOS ANGELES ó Rita Blume paid $9 for her movie ticket, $6 for her popcorn and $4 for her drink to see The Core in high style over the weekend.
So she was more than a little miffed by the eight commercials touting everything from Pepsi to the Army to HBO that preceded the coming attractions.
“I can see those commercials at home,” the 29-year-old fumed. “Why am I paying 20 bucks to watch them in a theater?”
Moviegoers are asking themselves the same question as theaters revolutionize what they show customers before the start of a movie. Chains are replacing decades-old billboard slide shows with big-screen commercials ó often to a chorus of boos.
Last month, an English teacher in Chicago filed a lawsuit against Loews Cineplex for showing advertising after the lights go down. The suit, which is pending and seeks class-action status, says the practice is deceptive because it delays the advertised start of the film.
It asks that theaters state films’ actual start times in their advertisements. If successful, the suit could cost theaters millions of dollars; it asks for up to $75 per patron as “lost time.”
“Commercialization has gotten out of hand,” says Douglas Litowitz, the lawyer who filed the suit against the Chicago-based chain. “Stadiums are named after phone companies. College bowls are named after potato chips. It’s disgusting. But movies are the worst.”
Since his firm launched a Web site,, more than 700 people have expressed interest in joining the lawsuit, Litowitz says.
“We want them to pull the ads or at least be honest about when a movie will start so people don’t have to be subjected to product placement the moment they step into a theater,” he says.
In a statement, Loews said it does not intend to change its format. “This lawsuit is frivolous and completely without merit. The moviegoing public has come to expect this type of content prior to viewing the main feature.”
Regal Entertainment Group, the largest exhibitor in the nation with 6,217 screens, recently launched a 20-minute block of ads and short features before its movies. Cliff Marks, president of marketing and sales, says the company has received few complaints.
“People have told us they either enjoy the pre-show programming or aren’t bothered by it,” he says. “And we aren’t forcing people to watch it. They can talk, relax, go get popcorn and a drink.”
The ads are critical to keeping many theater chains afloat, says John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners. In 2000, he says, 12 chains filed for bankruptcy.
“Unlike Julia Roberts, we don’t make $20 million a feature film,” Fithian says. “It’s a relatively low-margin business.”
And the alternative to ads, he says, would be even less popular: “You can either have movies with ads and pay $7 a ticket, or you can pay $12 a ticket and not have commercials.”
But Litowitz does not buy that argument. “They’re putting in the ads, and the tickets are still going up. We just want some escape from corporations bombarding us.”