The IP Weekly
A few weeks back I took my kids to see The Batman. I’m still not sure we needed another Batman movie, but the opportunity to see a blockbuster back in the theatre was too good an opportunity to pass up.
About midway through the movie the power in the theatre went out. Total darkness engulfed the entire theatre and, for more than a moment, there was some chaos. In the darkness some froze, myself and my kids included. I wasn’t sure what was going on and I admit to being slightly unsettled. Other people immediately turned on the flashlight on their phones and began looking around. Some left their seats quickly presumably to find a manager or just to gather information. We waited in the dark theatre for what felt like a long time before I decided it was time for us to go. To be clear at no point was there an announcement or did management come to the theatre or was there emergency lighting or a Tweet, a text, anything to alert moviegoers what was happening.
When we got outside the theatre we discovered that all the theaters lost power and everyone was funneled into the lobby to get free passes so they could come back. We made our way to the lobby and found a large, disorganized crowd pushing its way slowly to the counter for the free passes. There were no attempts to organize the crowd and it appeared that was no one in charge at all. Again after some time and losing patience I made it up to the front and received my three free passes. I was alone by this time as both my kids went outside to avoid the busy lobby. I could have said any number for the free passes, no one was verifying. After getting my passes I made my way outside to the kids and we walked to the car dejected for missing the rest of the movie and concerned about our ordeal. It is worth noting that the free passes we were given had already expired according to the expiration date on the bottom of the pass. My son has already gone back to see the movie and the pass was accepted without objection.
I had hoped to write about why we need more Batman and not less. I had hoped to write about the role Batman plays in American mythology and why superheroes, especially those without super powers, capture our imagination. Instead I am writing to express my concern. Concern about my own reaction inside the dark theatre…we live in a time when we all have to think differently whenever we go out. Concern about the way the theatre was run, its lack of organization and its apparent lack of emergency plan. I like this theatre. I’ve been there many times and I am sure I will go back. I think we all place our trust in places like theaters whenever we send our children there presuming someone is in charge. Every time we go ourselves we want to focus on the show in front of us believing that someone else is keeping an eye out for trouble and knows what to do should anything go awry.
Movie theaters aren’t the only places where this unspoken trust exists. Where we count on, often, unseen people to safeguard ourselves or our children. There is so much leadership can provide when the unexpected happens. This was a power surge and they happen with some frequency. I heard from the crowd that this wasn’t the first time, leading me to question again how they didn’t know what to do. At the very least leadership can help everyone else breathe easier. Leadership can stand firm in the face of difficulty and guide people to safer places. There is so much more for leadership to do to be clear. If leadership can’t provide for personal safety, however, then they can’t do anything.