Monday, January 24, 2005 - State/Region News - State/Region News

An exercise in fairness that I wholeheartedly endorse.

Too many trailers? Lawmaker wants start times published

Associated Press Writer

January 14, 2005, 5:25 PM EST

MANCHESTER, Conn. -- Coming soon to a theater near you: movie listings that print the time the previews start.

Frustrated with lengthy advertisements and previews that delay movies and chew up viewing time, a state lawmaker wants theaters to be honest about when a movie actually starts.

Rep. Andrew Fleischmann is proposing legislation to force movie listings to print the time the previews start, and when the movies start.

"We're being manipulated right now. We're being robbed of our freedom of choice because we're not told when the actual movie will begin," Fleischmann, D-West Hartford said.

Ads for everything from soft drinks to automobiles have been creeping into the previews in American movie theaters for the past few years.

It's big business for theaters. A report from the Cinema Advertising Council, an industry group, found that on-screen revenues for its members grew 45 percent from $190.8 million in 2002 to $315 million in 2003.

Messages seeking comment were left for the council, the National Association of Theater Owners, Loews Theaters and Regal Cinemas.

Fleischmann isn't the only one who is upset.

A class-action lawsuit filed in Illinois two years ago claimed movie theater chains were showing the previews past the start time of the movie. A Web site set up by attorneys in the case,, asks moviegoers to sign a petition if they are angered.

Some research indicates that most people don't mind theater advertisements, however. A study by market research firm Arbitron found that about two-thirds of moviegoers don't mind the advertisements.

A few is fine, but too many crosses the line, Fleischmann said.

"Twenty-five minutes? I'm not interested. My time is valuable. And that's true for most people I know," he said.

As people trickled into Showcase Cinemas in Manchester for matinees Friday, many chuckled at the thought of the bill.

"I like the previews. That's the most exciting part of the movie," said Kevin Zenobi, 20, of Glastonbury.

For Donna Gilligan of South Windsor, the preview listing would be helpful if she was out to dinner before a film.

"You could sit there for 15 minutes beforehand," she said. "You'd know the exact amount of time you have."

Others were just confused movie times deserved legislative attention.

"That's an issue?" asked Mike Wakefield of New Britain.

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