I’m at the opening day 12:40 PM showing of “Matrix Reloaded.” It turns out, not surprisingly, to be one of those great Silicon Valley moments. It’s not exactly a midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, but it is a distinctive crowd in its own way: this perfectly normal cineplex theatre has been turned into Nerdvana.
About everyone in line got their tickets over the Web– Fandango should make its quarterly numbers off this crowd. The theatre is nearly sold out. It’s 90% male, which is not unusual demographic for a postapocalyptic fantasy world; unlike standard postapocalyptic fantasies, though, the women who are scattered throughout the audience are NOT dressed in ripped leather skirts and sleeveless shirts.
But here’s the really striking thing. As we wait for the lights to dim and the previews to start, a few faces in each row are bathed in the cool LCD screen glows of Blackberries, Hiptops and PDAs. The nerd version of cigarette lighters at a rock concert.
I suspect some of them are going to IM about the movie throughout.
It’s all slightly absurd in a great Valley way, but then again, the fact that any of us are here is absurd in the age of digital reproduction. I loved the first “Matrix,” and given that anything I like is likely to be available on DVD sooner or later, why go on opening day? It used to be that moviegoing had an edge of scarcity to it: you had to see “Jaws” or “The Godfather” in the theatre, because otherwise you’d NEVER get to see it. The theatrical appearance was the alpha and omega of its exposure. Now, the movie release is but the first in a long cycle of appearances of a film: hotel pay-per-view, airplane film, cable appearance, then DVD and video. I know I’m going to buy the DVD of “Matrix Reloaded” when it comes out; scarcity is not an issue any longer. We no longer have a problem of scarcity of copies of a movie, but scarcity of attention: the challenge isn’t whether you can find it, but whether you can find the time.