On october 1st at 5:30pm, Wrigley Field will host a viewing of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the movie’s release. This is due in part to Wrigley Field being featured in some of the scenes in the movie and in part to the way Wrigley Field (and many of John Hughes’ movies) feature Chicago. As an added kicker, there’ll be an attempt to break the world record for people singing “Danke Schoen”, the song that Ferris Bueller (played by Matthew Broderick) lipsynched during the parade scene. People can get $10 bleachers, $25 lawn seats or $75 VIP outfield lawn seat tickets. However, the idea of paying to see a movie in October instead of, for example, a Chicago Cubs playoff game is inciting some ridicule from Cubs fans and mockery of Cubs fans.
So, I decided to troll the ESPN story’s comment board for quotes. Here’s a snippet of what’s been said so far:
ImAYankeeFanBUT: why would you want to cram yourself in a urine smelling stadium in the freezing cold to watch a crappy movie?
Gosioux77: YAY! Postseason action at Wrigley!!!! Oh wait…..
tgwelch666: What a rip-off! Proceeds go to the Alfonso Soriano Extrication Fund.
Those are just some of the more “reprintable” quotes. Then, there is this quote from kingofdukezSMH that criticzes the promotion from a different angle:
kingofdukezSMH:”…when I first read they were doing a movie night at Wrigley, common sense told me that either it would be a) free to the public or b) a movie that’s now in theaters…why pay $10 to see a movie you can get from Redbox or Netflix (or buy a copy of) for less? The whole point of going to the movie theater nowadays is because a) you can’t see the movies they have at home and b) movie theaters have Imax/3D.
Even as a White Sox fan, I feel bad for the ACTUAL Cub fans out there (you know, the ones who don’t just go to Wrigley Field to get their picture taken and make @$$es out of themselves…and know who Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Greg Maddux, etc are). As long as there is a contingent of consumer $@%!$@ out there willing to overpay for anything Wrigley-related…you’re in a tough position.”
kingofdukezSMH makes a valid argument about the logic of paying so much to see a movie that could be seen on your local TV station for free. He also notes how “actual” Cub fans should be upset that Wrigley Field is drawing attention not for the talent on the Chicago Cubs but because it is being used as a marketing gimmick.
Yet, even with those arguments in mind, I take a different tack on the situation.
First, I should disclose that I am the type to pay $25 for a lawn seat. Out here in Denver, one of my favorite things to do is catch a Colorado Rockies fireworks game and pay $35 for a pavillion ticket just so I can go on the field. The grass, the dirt, it looks, smells and just plain-out feels great. Then, when the lights go off and the fireworks show goes on, sharing the field with another 30,000 to 40,000 people oohing and aahing is wonderful and an experience I happily pay for. Thus, if you ask whether I would want to see “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, a Chicago movie in Wrigley Field with the lights turned off, clapping and laughing with a larger crowd than what you can pack in a movie theater? Yep, definitely sign me up for that. I might even pay $75 because I’d consider that a lifetime experience. Going to Wrigley Field to enjoy a movie (which I admittedly have seen too many times to count) set in Chicago with fellow Chicagoans is an experience I would pay for. I’ll also throw in the extra possible perks like chatting with people about Chicago, the Cubs, Wrigley Field or the movie before and after the game. Even in modern movie theaters, you don’t get many people standing outside after a premiere and talking about it. Most just walk off. I doubt people would be so in and out at such a showing at Wrigley Field.
Second, the Chicago Cubs are out to make money. I don’t blame them, baseball is a business. Chairman Tom Ricketts did raise some ticket prices in 2010 while keeping the other half of the ticket inventory frozen other half of the ticket inventory frozen. On the other hand, that same Tom Ricketts walks the aisles and the concourses to mingle and question the fans which is a far cry from the entropy the Tribune Company’s ownership brought to Wrigleyville. The Ricketts may have looked (or been) a bit inert while waiting for some untradeable contracts to come off the books but the optimist in me thinks there are better things in store for the future of the Cubs. Given that perception that I have, I much prefer the Ricketts raise money through this kind of a promotion instead of, say, replacing the ivy with advertising, replacing the old-fashioned scoreboard with a blaring “Pick Your Song Sponsored by…” jumbotron or renaming Wrigley Field to Ameritrade Park. And yeah, those kinds of things may still come but if an event like this helps to stall a decision like that just for a year, I’m all for it.
Ironically, people pay even more money for concert tickets at Wrigley Field better watched for free on YouTube than in a public stadium not ideally built for acoustics. Some might argue, given the quality of play, that watching the Chicago Cubs for free on TV is better than paying for the privilege to watch them lose in person. However, the Chicago Cubs hosting this promotion won’t make a difference in their probably abysmal 2012 standings and maybe it’ll give them a few extra bucks to invest into their next contending team.