How Do Theaters Pick The Thursday 4pm Movie Start?

Playing with Fire is opening on Thursday at 4pm

The last film I saw at 4pm on a Thursday was Joker⭐️⭐️⭐️½  which made sense to get that screening as early as possible. Today, Playing with Fire starring John Cena is the only one opening at that time. I would have thought Doctor Sleep ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ would be the one given the earlier start time due to that one seeming to have more pre-buzz, but maybe it’s the PG rating vs. R that is making the decision(?)

My question is how do the theater chains decide which movie to feature at the earliest screening? It’s not that big a burning question but it seems really random. Just curious. Anybody know what determines this?

JUDY Not Screening At Many Big Theater Chains In Seattle Area

Judy is showing at one independent theater in Tacoma and three theaters in Seattle

The movie I’m most looking forward to seeing being released today, JUDY (PREVIEW) is not showing at virtually any nearby Regal Cinema until October 3. Apparently, there are limited screenings of this movie, at least in the Seattle/Tacoma Washington area (what about your area?). I had to do some deep dive Googling to find it screening at a paltry four cinemas in the entire Seattle/Tacoma area.

JUDY is showing today at an independent theater: The Grand Cinema in downtown Tacoma. It is also showing at one larger AMC-10 in Seattle and two Regal in north Seattle (Thorton Place) and another further north Seattle.

Seattle is a big city. A big liberal city. This surprises me that a movie about Judy Garland — who is a known cultural gay icon, and one would think should be a bigger deal in this area of the United States isn’t screening on opening day in more theaters. Way more theaters.

Perhaps this is by design and marketing strategy. Start small, independents mostly, then get the buzz going and open wide in later weeks to the big chains (AMC, Regal, Cinemark)?

I do think it’s kinda cool that if I want to see this movie — and I very much do — locally, I must see it in an independent theater. I’m OK with that.

JUDY is playing opening day at the Grand Cinema, a nonprofit independent film house

Wow, after more digging, The Grand Cinema is a nonprofit too?!

The Grand Cinema is the South Sound’s nonprofit home for independent, international, and local film. As the only nonprofit cinema in Pierce County, we are committed to enhancing the cultural vitality of the community through quality film and educational programming.

Very cool. I wonder if this theater is going to have a vintage moviegoer experience (the old metal uncomfortable bucket seats)? This could be an interesting experience today.

Yes, I’m going.