Best Of

Best crowd participation at the movies


The Magic Johnson Theater in Harlem has some of the cheapest ticket prices in the city at $10, and its moviegoers seem to have the most fun. It is a shush-free haven for those of us that laugh loud and have movie Tourette’s, a condition that compels one to shout out advice to the characters on-screen. At a particularly interactive screening of Snakes on a Plane, the crowd erupted in raucous cheering when Samuel L. Jackson appeared the first time. And the second time. And even the fifth time. When Jackson exclaimed that he’d “had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!”, fans yelled the lines out with him. Even in films without the beloved Mr. Jackson, it’s not unusual for audiences to vocally express their support for a favorite character, toss a beach ball through the crowd during a boring scene, or applaud the heroic end of an action flick. (Transformers was still getting applause a full month after its premiere.) And for penny-pinchers, it’s one of the few places in Manhattan that still has matinee pricing ($6) and student discounts. The only drawback: Its formulaic lineup of kid flicks, blockbuster thrillers, and mainstream “urban” movies—a/k/a films that AMC execs deem attractive to black audiences—doesn’t leave much room for even the occasional indie film.