In Berkeley circa 1971, a weekend matinee at the local movie house cost about a buck. Ten-year-old Projector, flush with his $5 weekly allowance, could catch “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” hit the concession stand for popcorn, a Coke and Bon-Bons, and still have enough cash left over to buy the next week’s essentials at the corner store: baseball cards, Hershey bars and comic books.
Like everything else, the economics of moviegoing has gotten more complicated. With baby-sitting and dinner, a recent Friday night at the multiplex cost Mr. and Mrs. Projector $73.66. (That tab, by the way, does not include the two hours of our lives spent watching “Leatherheads.” Call that a write-off.) No wonder so many folks simply flop down in front of their flat screen TVs and pop in DVDs from Netflix or Blockbuster.