Since the release of Fifty Shades of Grey over Valentine’s Day weekend, everyone’s been talking (at a volume low enough so that no one can actually hear them) about this cinematic interpretation of E.L. James’s seminal contribution to literature. We’ve all seen who’s reading Fifty Shades of Grey, but who’s willing to pay ten bucks to see the movie? LAP correspondents visited a local theater to pick the brains of these moviegoers.
It seemed like an average day at the neighborhood AMC: the employees were disgruntled, the floor was stickier than ever, and everyone walking out of the public restroom was showing early signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. We began our journey at the ticket window, where we purchased tickets to see the 11:00 AM showing of Fifty Shades of Grey. The employee assisting us, Roger, didn’t seem surprised by our movie selection (which was disconcerting to say the least).
LAP: “I bet you’ve sold a lot of tickets to see this movie. Have you noticed that these moviegoers have any characteristics in common?”
Roger: “Er, not really. In my tenure as a senior cinematic liaison (Roger has worked at the AMC ticket window for a year), I’ve learned not to judge. If people are willing to see most of Johnny Depp’s new movies, people’ll see anything.”
LAP: “So you haven’t noticed a lot of mustachioed men?”
Roger: “What? No.”
LAP: “Do you think I look like a Fifty Shades person?”
Roger: “I don’t know what that means…”
LAP: “ANSWER THE QUESTION!”
We made our way into the theater and were surprised to see several people already seated and waiting for the movie to begin. LAP approached two young women sitting near the front of the theater at the end of the aisle.
LAP: “Hey, there are still plenty of seats still available toward the middle. Why would you choose to sit here?”
The friend with glasses responded, “We want to be near the emergency exit in case of a fire. We just don’t want our last earthly adventure to be dying in a fire at a Fifty Shades of Grey showing.”
Several rows back, we spotted another couple—a man and woman. The woman was anxiously eating popcorn meanwhile the man was leaning awkwardly to the left like he had hemorrhoids.
LAP: “Would the two of you mind answering some questions about why you’re here today?”
The couple glanced at each in horror.
LAP: “I’m sorry, do you two not know each other? We thought you were here together. Wait, I think I understand now. Are you having an affair?”
The man finally responded, “I promised my girlfriend I’d take her to this movie six months ago, but I figured she’d change her mind or we’d break up by now.” He lowered his voice to a whisper, “I don’t know how I’m supposed to act. Should I be into it? I don’t want to seem too into it. Please… Help me.”
LAP correspondents walked around to talk to his companion.
Girlfriend: “Is that a camera? I don’t want to be on a video. Turn that off. You don’t have my permission.”
LAP: “It’s just an iPhone…”
The girlfriend waves us in closer, looking over her shoulder to ensure her beau won’t overhear.
Girlfriend: “I’ve wanted to see this since I read the books, but I don’t want him,” she points to her boyfriend, “to think I’m into it into it, you know?”
LAP: “Have the two of you discussed the fact that seeing this movie doesn’t obligate you to experiment with BDSM?”
Girlfriend: “Well, to be honest, I plan on breaking up with him soon, anyway. I just wanted someone to see the movie with me.”
In the very back row, we saw a woman wearing a hood and sunglasses. We knew we had to interview her.
LAP: “Excuse me, miss, do you mind answering a few questions about why you’re seeing Fifty Shades of Grey today?”
Hooded woman: “You think I want to see this garbage? I just came so I could make fun of it more thoroughly. No self-respecting woman would ever see this movie. It’s a literary and cinematic abomination.”
LAP: “I noticed that you’re wearing a tee shirt that says, ‘Mr. Grey will see you now,’ and clutching a copy of the book.”
Hooded woman: “What? They were just passing these out when I got here. You didn’t get one? Huh. That’s weird. They must have run out. You should check at the front desk or something, but they might not know about because they’re so busy, so…”
It was eclectic group, but we were still no closer to understanding the Fifty Shades of Grey moviegoers. The only trend we could identify was that most of them didn’t want anyone to know they were seeing the movie. Yet there they were, sitting in the theater to watch some light BDSM with a bunch of strangers. On our way out, we crossed paths with two women. One was proudly marching to her seat and the other was clutching her phone like a life vest.
LAP: “Are you ladies excited for the movie to start?”
Phone friend: “She dragged me here against my will. This movie goes against my beliefs.”
LAP: “Then why did you come with?”
Phone friend: “She’s buying me lunch after.”
LAP: “Oh yeah? Where from?”
Phone friend: “Arby’s.”
We thought by now we’d seen it all, but just outside theater three (where Fifty Shades was about to start) we noticed two guys loitering.
LAP: “Are you two waiting for Fifty Shades of Grey?”
Sorta creepy guys: “That porn movie? Nooo, no. We’re just waiting for American Sniper.”
We glanced down the hall and noticed that American Sniper didn’t start for seven more hours.
Sorta creepy guys: “Okay. Yeah. We are. We just heard there’s cool helicopters… And Audis.”
The Fifty Shades moviegoers are an interesting group, to say the least.
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