What’s the Most Number of Times You’ve Seen the Same Movie in the Theater?

For the last month, I’ve been torn over whether or not I should go see Star Wars again before it leaves theaters. There were many times when I came very close to succumbing, but I resisted.

Why agonize over something so trivial? After all, The Force Awakens was my favorite movie of 2015. Why not enjoy it on the big screen a second time?

Well, I see it like this: There’s so much excellent content out there–particularly books, television shows, and movies–that if I’m going to spend time consuming something, I want it to be something new. Especially if it’s an “event,” like going to the theater (opposed to watching a movie at home).

Of course, that logic doesn’t work all that well. I play the same board games over and over again. I go to the same restaurants. I’ve seen the same bands in concerts (is Typhoon ever going to return to St. Louis? Because I will be there). I don’t want the exact same football games or soccer highlights more than once, but each game isn’t all that different.

The last time I saw the same movie more than once in the theater was Avatar. It’s not a perfect movie, but it was breathtaking in a sensory-overload kind of way. It took me two viewings to fully appreciate it.

Star_Wars_Phantom_Menace_posterIt’s for that same reason I considered seeing Star Wars again. I was so in awe of it the first time; I think a second viewing would feel different. And maybe a small part of me is worried that it won’t be as good the second time, and I don’t want to tarnish my love for it.

The previous movie I saw more than once in the theater–three times total–was There’s Something About Mary. It was one of the first R-rated comedies I had see, and I had never laughed that hard while watching a movie. I wanted to see if it would be just as funny the second time, and it was.

The only other movie I can recall seeing more than once in the theater (I’m bracing myself for the embarrassment of admitting this) was Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. I saw it four times in the theater. Yes. I know. I had never before experienced a new Star Wars movie on the big screen, and it swept me away on its green-screen wings.

I genuinely enjoyed the first three viewings, and then when I saw it a fourth time, I snapped out of the dream and was like, “How have I spent 10 hours of my life watching this pretty terrible movie?!” I think the experience scarred me a bit. I learned that I had a blind spot, and I wanted to avoid it from happening again.

Regardless, I’m still tempted to see The Force Awakens again. Even just writing about the idea gets me excited about the possibility. Perhaps I shouldn’t deny myself of such pleasures. We’ll see.

What about you? Have you seen movies more than once in the theater? Why have you done that, or why do you not?


19 Responses to “What’s the Most Number of Times You’ve Seen the Same Movie in the Theater?”

  1. Usually, I don’t go see a movie in theaters multiple times, though there are a few I do. The worst I’ve ever done, (and I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this) was Inside Out, which I saw 8 different times while it was in theaters. Most of those was me encouraging people to go see it and going with them, but… I did go and see it three times by myself. ^^;

  2. Katy says:

    The first Hunger Games movie I managed to see 3 times in the theater: the first was a midnight showing opening night with my little sister (who I had promised months before it came out that I would take her to that showing), the second was with the girls from my church the following Sunday, and then a couple of weeks later my older sister was in town and wanted a buddy to go see it with her at the Moolah (I may have fallen asleep during that time).

    Going to see The Force Awakens a second time isn’t a bad thing at all! I went on Christmas Day with a friend who hadn’t had a chance to see it sooner and it was just as great the second time around. Plus, it’s another opportunity to go eat popcorn again before Deadpool is released. 🙂

  3. This’ll make you feel better. I saw Phantom Menace 10 times in theaters. Nowadays I basically wait for everything to come to Netflix or home video. I think I’ve maybe seen a handful of movies in cinema in total over the past several years.

    However, I make exceptions for things like Star Wars. And I did wind up seeing it twice, which is completely unheard of for me now.

    Totally worth it.

  4. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    Preston: That’s quite a few times! Did you connect with Inside Out in particular over other movies?

    Katy: Those are all good reasons to see it again–I’m glad you enjoyed it the second time!

    Inside the Box: That does make me feel better. 🙂 Totally worth it? Shoot. Now I may actually go see it again.

  5. Yeah. I don’t know exactly what it was, but something about the movie really resonated me with. I just loved how complex and yet simple it’s plot is. It’s easily my favorite movie.

  6. Sean says:

    I normally don’t even see movies in the theater unless they are big action packed ones that need the big screen. I just wait for them to be view able at home.

    However for Star wars I made an exception. I went and saw it with friends, and then when I was home for Christmas I went and saw it with my dad a second time.

  7. jewelyaz says:

    I am MUCH less of a moviegoer than you are, Jamey, but wow, are our experiences different! I’ve seen Rocky Horror over 100 times in the movie theater. The Big Chill, three times. Grease, five or six times. The Breakfast Club, four times. Strangers in Good Company, twice. Eraserhead, five times. Brazil, four times. The Wall, six times. Desperate Liaisons, six times. An American in Paris, three times. Father Goose (you’ll have to imDB that), twice. I’ve seen EVERY Gene Kelly/Leslie Caron movie in the theater at least once. I’ve also seen ever Tennessee Williams movie at least once in a theater as well. I am 48 years old and I think ALL of that moviegoing happened before I was 20!

    “But Julia, you’ve seen a lot of movies!” No. Not really. How many NEW movies have I seen? An average of two a year, usually with the kids… hence, Inside Out, War Horse, Bridge to Terabithia, Coraline, Divergence, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Fault in Our Stars (OK, mostly with my teenage daughter, now that I look at this list) LOL How many big, modern blockbusters have I seen in the past ten years? I think Divergence might be the closest thing.

    You see, I don’t usually watch excessively violent movies – War Horse was a huge stretch for me and I had wake-up-screaming nightmares for a month after watching Saving Private Ryan – and I don’t watch movies that flunk the Bechdel Test (usually). The violent movies I saw as a teenager, like Eraserhead, The Wall, and Brazil all really stuck with me and I’ve decided not to spend my money, time, or mind-space that way. I saw the first Star Wars movie in the theater with my dad and brother and sister the day it came out and really since then, meh, the series has not done much for me. And this latest one really looks like white-guy-religious-quest-violence (jihad?) to me, and that has next to no appeal. Go see it again, for me, if you will enjoy it. I’ll watch for a revival of a great “chick flick” like Spitfire Grill, and I’ll see it in your honor. Deal? 😉

  8. Matthew Laing says:

    Hey Jamey – would you watch it multiple times when it gets released to Netflix or on DVD? If so then seeing it at least one more time on the big screen surely would not be a waste of your consuming time.

    I was happy to see the Force Awakens in the theatre just the once – it wasn’t my favourite film of 2015 – but I would have loved to have been able to see Spirited Away multiple times in the theatre.

    Funnily enough – I did go see Avatar in the theatre twice. The first time I was blown away by the spectacle – the second time I suddenly realised how weak the script was and actually fell asleep!

    Anyway – just don’t be like the girl who was a couple of seats over from me watching the Force Awakens. She obviously was there for a repeat viewing as she started to sob a few minutes before “that” scene…

  9. rupertfuller says:

    I’ve seen the Force Awakens twice, initially with friends and then again by myself and I enjoyed it as much the 2nd time. Well worth it!
    I also watched Jurassic Park and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy twice in the cinema.

  10. T-Mac says:

    I saw Home Alone four times in the theater, and I saw Love Actually two or three times. I haven’t seen any movie in the theater more than once since the advent of Netflix, however. Home Alone was mostly because my sister was obsessed with the movie (I enjoyed it as well at the time) and Love Actually was released the day after Christmas in Sydney–I had lots of time to myself at that point.

    I do still want to see The Force Awakens in theaters. I hope I can squeeze it in before it’s gone!

  11. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    Sean: I’m typically the same way–I see movies on the big screen that will be all the more epic because they’re on a giant screen. Also, I like popcorn.

    Julia: That’s so interesting that you see far fewer new movies but enjoy watching the same movies again and again. Different tastes. 🙂

    Matthew: That’s a fair point, though when I watch movies at home, I multitask. Like, I’ll split a 2-hour movie into two viewing sessions, and watch each while I’m eating dinner. When I’m in a theater, the only thing I’m doing is watching the movie. That’s great the first time–I want my undivided attention on the big screen. But because I COULD just wait for the DVD and watch it the second time while multitasking, I feel guilty about going to the theater again.

    Rupert: I’m glad it was worth the second viewing! I’m jealous you got to see Jurassic Park in the theater. 🙂

    Trev: Home Alone four times! Wow. For some reason that stands out, especially since we were kids when that movie was released.

  12. Katie says:

    In college one of my best friends worked at the movie theater, and we’d get in for free on her nights off. As a result, there were a lot of movies that I saw over and over simply because I could. Two movies that I really remember watching an excessive number of times were Ocean’s Eleven and A Beautiful Mind. I think I watched them each maybe 8-10 times in the theater. We also had private screening parties before some movies were actually released, which was like a dream come true. There’d be about 20 of us in an otherwise empty theater with all the snacks you could want and a cooler filled with beer. Those were the days!

    Also, in high school I watched Runaway Bride in the theater with my mom. A week or two later, I had a date planned with a guy, and unbeknownst to me, he’d already purchased tickets for us to see that same movie. He was so nervous about everything, and I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d just seen it. Going in already knowing the storyline, I kept myself entertained by whispering things in his ear – “predicting” plot points that were about to happen (“Wouldn’t it be hilarious if she…..”) or making a funny observation a beat before a character said the same thing. He was amazed and kept commenting that I should consider writing screenplays for a living.

    I still feel kind of bad about that one. 🙂

  13. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    Katie: That’s a great story about the date. 🙂 I’m curious (for you and for others), what do you get out of multiple viewings? I’ve also seen Ocean’s 11 multiple times (though not as many as you have). The first time it’s all about the newness of it. The second time I watch it almost because I already know it’s something I like, similar to a good dish at a restaurant. But I hardly ever get to a third or fourth time. What compels you to keep coming back to the same thing? Was it the fun of having the theater to yourself?

    Somewhat of a sidenote, for the summer in high school when I worked at a movie theater, one of the people who worked there used to create entire movies consisting solely of trailers. He’d have screenings once every month or two where we’d just sit and watch movie trailers for 90 minutes or so.

  14. Katie says:

    I’m not even going to try to hide it – I watched Ocean’s Eleven that many times mostly because of Brad Pitt. I mean, the mid 90s to early 2000s was Peak Brad Pitt era, and this was the movie that was the peak of his peak, at least for me. I could write you a dissertation about why he was so attractive in that movie, but I’ll spare you the details. It was also just a fun movie with a little twist at the end that was entertaining to watch more than once so you could spot all of the background things happening that you didn’t notice before.

    For me, I think I was so taken with A Beautiful Mind because I’d struggled with horrible sleepwalking for so long. At that point in my life it was really severe and causing a lot of issues for me. I’m not trying to compare my problem to schizophrenia, but I really connected with that feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under you when you’re so certain that you’re seeing someone or doing something, and then you learn that it’s not real. It’s embarrassing and scary. You don’t trust yourself anymore, and it keeps happening over and over no matter what you do. It was the first time I’d seen something which reflected that situation back to me, and it was really moving. It gave me a sense of peace that I wasn’t the only one feeling that way, and that maybe everything would be ok.

    When I first read your comment I thought you were going to say that the person at your job took different movie trailers and edited them in a way that they were all mixed together but formed a plot to make an entirely new movie. That would have been really impressive!

  15. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    Katie: I appreciate your honesty about Brad Pitt. I’m amused that he’s always eating something in that movie (in most movies, really). Is their an Oscar category for “Best at Pretending to Be Eating”? Because surely he didn’t consume all of that food.

    Thanks for sharing about A Beautiful Mind. I’m glad it was able to help you through that time.

  16. Matthew Laing says:

    I tend to never bore of watching well crafted movies that move you emotionally, that supply a layered mythology, or that supply a convincing thought-provoking twist. Eg Good Will Hunting, Spirited Away, Unbreakable, The Others, etc.
    I usually end up watching the same movie again when wanting to share the experience with a friend or family member who hasn’t seen that particular movie before. It’s fun.
    Having kids who are now old enough to watch more intense movies is fun too. We watched The Prestige together a few weeks ago then had a good time over the following few days discussing how the director through out the movie told the audience in subtle and not so subtle ways what the “twist” ending was.

  17. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    Matthew: That makes sense–thanks for sharing! I can definitely relate with The Prestige. I love that movie, and each viewing has revealed new layers and clues I didn’t notice the first time.

  18. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    Quick update: I decided to see Star Wars again today, and it was glorious.

  19. JohnWrot! says:

    I saw Disney’s Pocahontas 9 times in the theater. ..yup. : D

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