The World’s Premier 24-Hour Movie Marathon

An elite 24-hour movie marathon with an application process? A process in which only 2% of those who apply are invited to attend? With celebrity guest appearances and live marching bands? You must be joking.

Alamo Draft House CinemaNope – it’s real! 2014 will mark the 16th Butt-Numb-A-Thon, a 24-hour movie marathon hosted by Harry Knowles from A’int it cool news. It goes down in December every year in Austin, Texas and it has shown a whole heck of a lot of movies.

To get in last year, you had to fill out this 20-question application, and you were competing with 10,000 people to fill one of 200 seats! Here is a quick recap of the 2013 butt-numb-a-thon, from one of the attendees.

Harry’s event really makes me want to up my movie marathon game! Perhaps I should invite celebrities to my house for my 2014 movie marathon. Mel Gibson attended the 2003 Butt-Numb-A-Thon. He’s not doing much these days, right?

[Update: 8 July 2019] This event has been permanently shut down, due to assault allegations made against the event’s founder Harry Knowles. Yikes. What an awful turn of events.

Photo by BruceTurner

Quick Links: Summer Movie Marathon 2013

A little over a year ago, I attended the Hollywood Nights 24 hour movie marathon at Celebration Cinema North in Grand Rapids. Crazy coincidence – this guy had a spontaneous in-theater movie marathon only a week after I did.

I thoroughly approve of his rationale of why he did it (“because it’s there!”). From his article:

It was interesting to see how people responded to the notion of seeing five movies in theatres in a single day. My initial instinct was that it was madness, an opinion shared by many others; others thought it wasn’t a big deal, remembering Oscar marathons or film festivals where they sat in theatres for just as long if not longer. What everyone could agree on, however, is that it’s decidedly abnormal, which is why I jumped on the chance to attempt it once I realized it was temporally possible.

I also enjoyed his observations on the practicalities of the marathon and his general observations on culture through the lens of 2013 movies.Give his article a read when you get a chance.

Image by Miles McNutt

Movie Marathon Scheduler for Movie Theaters

I had a great time at my first 24 hour movie marathon in a real theater. But you know what would have helped? A movie marathon scheduler. When you have 18 different movies playing throughout the day at various times, any tool that help you schedule out your own personal marathon sure would have been helpful.

I recently found TheaterTag.com. Its interface is slick and simple – you enter in your zip code, pick a theater, pick what movies you want to see – and bang – a fill-in-the-blanks schedule is created for you. You just slide around the movies you want to see until you create a schedule that works for you. Here is a screenshot.

A sample movie theater marathon schedule.The only drawback is that TheaterTag does not automatically generate working schedules for you. This was a feature of the Movie Madness movie marathon scheduler. Movie Madness automatically generates a large list of possible movie schedules, based on your search criteria. Well, it did anyway – it apparently hasn’t been updated since 2007 and doesn’t work these days.

Regardless, I don’t miss this feature much. I think it is more fun to manually create your own schedule. It helps build the anticipation!

So next time I have a movie marathon in a theater, I’ll be using this tool to plan it all out. I might even use it to plan an extended visit to the theater. I’ve never actually seen more than one movie at a time in a theater before (excluding the one 24-hour marathon)! I think it would be fun to just take a day off sometime and just watch movies all day. No work, no chores, no obligations – just entertainment!

One disclaimer though – I do not endorse theater hopping. If I spend a day at the movies, I’m paying for the experience. Cheating the theater out of money just isn’t my cup of tea.

Where have 24-Hour Movie Marathons been held in Theaters?

I noted a couple days ago that the Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan is hosting a Hollywood Nights 24-Hour Movie Marathon in Grand Rapids. I was curious what other 24-hour movie marathon events were out there in theaters. Good ‘ol Google has the random collection of answers:

A 24 Hour Movie Marathon in a Theater in Grand Rapids!

I was thinking the other day: “Wouldn’t it be awesome to hold a 24-hour movie marathon in a real movie theater someday? I’ll have to organize one of those some day.” Bam! Already done! No work required! A 24-hour movie marathon right in my own backyard!

The Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan is holding West Michigan’s first annual Hollywood Nights 24-Hour Movie Marathon June 21st through June 22nd (Facebook event here). If you can raise at least $100, you get 24 hours of movies in Celebration Cinema North, lunch, dinner, midnight snack, and continental breakfast, unlimited free popcorn and drinks, and other goodies. They seem to know what they are doing – they successfully ran 24-hour movie marathons in Southeast Michigan for 10 years!

I e-mailed the organizer of the event, and they indicated that during normal business hours, participants get to see anything first-run movies playing in the theater, and after business hours there will be two screens playing older titles. These titles are TBD, but participants are free to suggest ideas ahead of time.

I’m stoked! I’m totally going! Let’s raise some money!