The Last 5000 Movies I’ve Seen in a Theater

On January 1, 2010, I started keeping track of every movie I watch in a theater. On that date, I saw the Jason Reitman film Up in the Air. I saw it at the Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek, and it was the second time I had seen that film.

Last night (July 27, 2017), I watched my 5000th movie in a theater since the beginning of 2010. It was a movie from 1961 called The Curse of the Doll People, and it was the second half of a double feature of Mexican horror films projected on 16mm in the Austin Film Society’s screening room. The first film in the double feature was the 1962 movie The Witch’s Mirror.

Since this is something of a milestone, I decided to take a look through my records and compile some statistics. Here’s what I came up with.

  • It took 2765 days to reach 5000 movies, so that’s just over 1.8 movies per day. 
  • I’ve been to 35 unique theaters, but the vast majority of the movies I’ve watched have either been affiliated with the Alamo Drafthouse (4255 movies, of which 2462 of those were at their Ritz location) or the Austin Film Society (473 movies). Most of the others have been at the Regal Arbor and Violet Crown theaters, which primarily show arthouse films, but I haven’t been to either of those theaters in years because of too many experiences with poorly-behaved audiences. 
  • The most movies I’ve seen in a single day was on April 20, 2014, when I saw Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier followed by a marathon of all seven movies in the Police Academy series. That was a good day. 
  • The most movies I’ve seen in a year was in 2013 when I saw 823 films. I also did 778 movies in 2012 and 764 in 2014. My obsession was probably more in the area of addiction during those years, but I’m feeling better now. I’m at 350 so far in 2017, which is just about where I was this time last year (and I ended up hitting 635 then). 
  • That set of 5000 movies includes 3939 unique films, which has a nice symmetry to it. I saw 3271 of those movies only one time within that period, and I saw 668 movies two times or more. The movie I saw the most during that period was the 2010 Edgar Wright masterpiece Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which I have seen twelve times in a theater. I’ve seen Die Hard, Ghostbusters, and Jurassic Park eleven times each. I’ve seen The Room ten times, and Back to the Future nine times. 
  • I should point out that some of those screenings of Die Hard, Jurassic Park, The Room, and Back to the Future were cases in which the movies were being mocked by the hilarious local comedy troupe Master Pancake Theater. I’ve been to a total of 231 Master Pancake shows within this time period (and I don’t know how many before I started keeping track). 
  • Every Tuesday, the Alamo Drafthouse shows a horror movie as part of their Terror Tuesday series, and every Wednesday they do an exploitation film as part of their Weird Wednesday series. There have been 395 Tuesdays and 395 Wednesdays since I started keeping track, and during that time, I attended 356 Terror Tuesdays and 308 Weird Wednesdays. Plus, they do occasionally skip weeks (like during the holidays and during SxSW), so I’m not exactly sure how many Terror Tuesdays and Weird Wednesdays there actually were during that period. I really do try not to miss Terror Tuesday if at all possible, and Weird Wednesday is usually a priority (at least when it’s not a John Waters movie). 
  • The one event that consistently makes me skip Terror Tuesday and Weird Wednesday is Fantastic Fest, which is an eight-day genre film festival that the Alamo Drafthouse puts on every year. It’s always one of the highlights of the year, and I’ve seen 258 movies at the six fests that have fallen in this time frame. We’re less than two months away from this year’s fest, and the anticipation is already on the rise. 
  • I’ve also been lucky enough to be able to show some films of my own choosing over this time period. The highlights of those have been marathons of Walter Matthau films (The Fortune Cookie, Cactus Flower, Fail-Safe, The Bad News Bears, and Charley Varrick) and of Shirley MacLaine films (The Trouble with Harry, The Children’s Hour, What a Way to Go!, Being There, and Gambit). But I’ve also gotten to show individual films, including Oldboy (my favorite movie of all time), The Karate Kid (a 35mm print that I bought for my birthday one year), Strangers on a Train (my favorite Hitchcock film), and films from the local American Genre Film Archive, including Alley Cat, Night Warning, and Surf II. I hope to be able to show something else fairly soon, although what exactly that might be depends on what film prints happen to be available.

I could keep going, but that’s probably enough for now. Plus, the amount of information I capture about each movie has evolved over time, so some of the other statistics that might be most interesting (like counts broken down by format, like film, digital, VHS, etc.) isn’t available for the entire time span. But I do know that there’s some great stuff coming up, and I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more.