As you may know, recently, Across the Spiderverse came to theaters! As a diehard Spider-man fan, I made it my mission to go see this movie. Up until this point, I had not gone to a cinema in Japan. I wanted to but none of the movies listed interested me so I waited for Spiderverse. The experience was interesting.
The first difference I noticed was in pricing. The tickets to theaters in Tokyo are expensive. I went to see it in IMAX, of course, and the price after my student discount was 2300 yen(about 18 USD). If it hadn’t been for the discount, I would have paid well over 20 dollars for the ticket. The theaters I went to in the US have been cheaper. I have been to theaters in Oklahoma and Southern California, which tend to have higher prices. On average, I paid about 15 dollars without any discounts. Here, a student discount is needed to get close to that amount. But one interesting thing about the pricing is that it seems to change on the 1st of the month. When I went a second time to see the movie, I happened to go on the first of the month and the ticket was 1000 yen less. I asked my Japanese friend about this and he told me that it is probably because Japanese people view the first of every month as a special day. I don’t ever remember seeing that in the theaters I’ve been to in the US.
When I entered the theater, I noticed some more differences. One of these differences is food pricing. In the US, food and drinks are expensive. It isn’t out of the ordinary to spend 15 dollars on just popcorn and soda. In Japan, the food and drinks are much cheaper. It is on average 500 yen per item(about 4 dollars). That being said, the sizes are different. In the US, when you get a large soda, it is huge. I often share it with my siblings. In Japan, the large soda is about the size of a regular soda in the US. It is meant more for the individual and can be difficult to share with a group.
Finally, the experience inside the theater itself is very different. When I saw Infinity War and Endgame in the US, people cheered when something cool happened, gasped when something shocking happened, laughed when something funny happened or even got eerily quiet when tragedy struck. When I saw Across the Spiderverse, I was surprised that no such thing happened. I was witnessing cool moments, funny moments, and sad moments and I was expecting a reaction from the audience each time but there was nothing but deafening silence. I was left silently reacting, attempting to hold back my energy. Honestly, I prefer the experience I have had in American theaters. Sure, sometimes it can be annoying but when something awesome happens, the energy of the audience can elevate the event. Still, it was interesting to see the differences between the two. I am glad I got to go to a Japanese theater! I even got a cool little Spiderverse poster!