Say yes to movie police

It’s a mystery why Charleston has been unable to sustain a sit-down movie theater where waitstaff take food orders and a selection of wine and beer is on the menu.

Slated to open June 27, Cinebarre plans to give this kind of movie-going experience another shot.

Replacing the former Regal in Mt. Pleasant, this up-and-coming cinema will be a definite upgrade. Geared toward a “mature” clientele, Cinebarre’s retro decor and strict cell phone ban contribute to a no-nonsense movie experience for adults. No one under the age of 17 is allowed entrance without a parent or guardian. Children under 6 are not allowed at all.

Did we mention the on-the-spot complaint system? Bartenders joining forces with the movie police — it’s about time. —Gervase Caycedo

Access to opera begets fans of opera

The Metropolitan Opera’s efforts to raise the profile of opera — two years of broadcasting high-definition signals of live Met performances into movie theaters around the country — are working.

A new study by Opera America and National CineMedia indicates that more than 920,000 people paid to see the special Saturday afternoon broadcasts in the 2007-2008 season. That’s more people than those who went to New York to see the opera firsthand. In one season alone, eight live broadcasts grossed $13.3 million in domestic theaters and $5 million overseas.

People used to say the problem with opera and classical music is that they were opera and classical music. They’d never be popular because they were inherently exclusive, requiring specialized knowledge. Solution? Crossover appeal. Dumb them down to hit the coveted middle market.

With $18.3 million in gross revenue, it’s pretty clear that the product isn’t the problem. Distribution was the problem.

A new means of getting the art into people’s lives challenges the whole niche market versus mass market paradigm. Why bother with the middle market? Now you can aim more precisely by getting the product to people who really want it, whether they are in Hollywood, Calif., or Hollywood, S.C. —John Stoehr

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