MacGuffins Bars at AMC Theaters

If you’ve been to any AMC theater lately, you’ve probably noticed they serve booze now. The little bar areas near the entrance  come with the inside-joke name of MacGuffins (A MacGuffin is any plot device that motivates the characters and advances the story, be it a Ring of Power or a mysterious glowing suitcase). MacGuffins sounds like an Irish pub, but it’s really a clever movie pun.

These mini-bars serve not  just beer and wine, but full cocktails, some of which are created specifically for the movie franchise in question. AMC had the “Twig and Berries” drink for Deadpool 2 (and yes, it’s intended to recall exactly what dirty thoughts you’re thinking); two drink options when The Last Jedi came out — a blue Jedi drink vs a red Sith drink, each with tiny glowing lightsabers; a dino-themed bevvie when Jurassic World 2 was showing; a creepy cool Venom drink most recently; plus a ton of other interesting creations that I’m personally too broke to order.  🙂

None of the beverages are what you’d call a great deal. The draft beers offer the most bang for your $7-$9 bucks with full pours, and there seem to be about five taps, with one rotating seasonal option, and usually an Angry Orchard Cider to boot. The wines are kind of expensive for what you get, hovering between $7 to $14, depending on whether you get a half glass or a full. The specialty cocktails generally run around $13 and up. The prices do fluctuate in different cities. On an recent trip to Florida, I found I could get a super large brew for around $10, making it a better deal than two $7 beverages.

So, they’re not so cheap, and there’s no happy hour, but it’s nice during a long movie to be able to sip on something more grown-up than a soda. I’ve noticed that a typical-sized beer can be nursed through a three hour movie. Usually I’m too caught up in the film to remember there’s a drink handy. But I like having the option. It still feels like a novelty. Remember the line in Pulp Fiction that you could get a real beer at the movies in Europe? Well, we have them now too.

One nice thing about MacGuffins is they usually have a couple of stools at the bar, and often some bistro tables to sit at with friends. This is really nice if you’re early for a movie and waiting for it to start, or if you’re seeing more than one film and want a convivial place to hang. An extra plus: there’s usually no line to order, unlike the overcrowded, chaotic popcorn/hot dog/soda concession stands. It’s a much more peaceful affair.

I’ve been to an Edwards Theater recently, and there was no bar. I’m so used to those being around now that it seems weird to not have a MacGuffins at hand. When you think about it, it’s a little crazy for the other movie chains to miss out on that extra income. I assume Regal, Harkins, and Edwards will probably follow suit from AMC’s example at some point. They’re just throwing easy money away if they don’t.

Anyway, of course, having beverages of ANY sort turns into a trial of holding your full bladder, to the point where you kind of want the characters to die and get over it — just so you can run to the bathroom and relax again. Seriously.

However, since there’s the faithful RunPee app, this is no longer a problem. Yeah, I’m going to plug RunPee here.

RunPee exists to service your bladder. The app (on both iPhone and Android phones) discretely vibrates when its to time go to the bathroom during all the wide release movies, every week and every year, and for the last ten years.

There’s usually between 2 to 4 “Peetimes” — depending on movie length — and the app provides a synopsis of what you’ve missed during the 3 to 5 minutes it takes to run out, do your business, and get back. There are Recommended Peetimes, Emergency Peetimes, and even Alert Peetimes (which warn you if there’s a unpleasant sort of scene coming up, like something featuring torture). The “Extra Scene” feature is very popular, telling you if you need to wait during the end credits or not.

In any case, RunPee goes together very well with MacGuffin’s beers, wines, and cocktails. You can’t pause a movie, but now you don’t have to worry about when to go, or if you should just sit there in agony. 🙂

I think a good idea for AMC’s next iteration would be an upscale barista counter. It would be nice to get a latte during an evening show.

Have you seen the MacGuffins bars? Do you think this is a good idea for movie theaters, and have you ever ordered anything?

[Photos owned by RunPee.com]

Related Articles: 

Movie Theater Review – AMC Fashion Valley in San Diego

The RunPee App, Explained

RunPee’s Movie Selection Process

Best Movie MacGuffins Explained

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Alert Peetimes

One common request from users over the years is to help them avoid graphic scenes in movies that might disturb them. For years we have tried to do the best we can to create Peetimes during scenes we found to be over the top, or disturbing, compared to the rest of the movie. Now we have made it quasi-official by marking these Peetimes as Alert Peetimes.

This solution comes with a few caveats.  First, this is obviously very subjective. What may be disturbing to one person isn’t even noticed by another. However, I think there is a lot of common ground. We focus on scenes that have sexual violence, animal cruelty, or torture. (Hopefully there’s never a scene that involves all three!)

Also, this is contextual. If you’re watching a gangster movie with lots of torture scenes, then what’s the point of making Alert Peetimes for those?That’s what the movie is about. But, if there happened to be a scene involving animal cruelty in a gangster movie, then we’d try to alert you to that.

Second, we can’t have Alert Peetimes that might cover every conceivable thing someone out there might be sensitive to. For instance, if you were recently in a terrible car crash, it might be traumatic to watch a movie and then unexpectedly see a car crash. My suggestion for anyone with an issue like that would be to talk to someone who has already seen the movie, and ask them if one of their trigger scenes is in it.

Third, we make it very clear in the RunPee app that we won’t be held responsible for catching every scene that might trigger someone. We’ll do our best and invite our fans to provide feedback, good and bad, on how we are doing with the Alert Peetimes — but we’re not interested in hearing criticism that blames us for not protecting them from a trigger scene. Again, we’re doing our best with it, but this isn’t our core purpose when getting Peetimes for a movie.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

RunPee FAQ – get more Peecoins

Find out how to get more Peecoins in-app, or via Paypal.

Once you verify your email address, you can purchase Peecoins, or watch ads to get Peecoins for free.

First, tap on your email address/Peecoins remaining message at the top of the Movie List Screen.

FAQ: Movie Info Screen-Peecoins remaining
FAQ: Movie Info Screen-Peecoins remaining

That will take you to a screen with all the options you need to get more Peecoins (below).

A Few Important Notes

If you want to purchase Peecoins, you can buy them either in-app or via Paypal in bundles of 10 for $1 — up to $4 worth at a time. Apple/Google keeps 30% of all in-app purchases, so we make 7 cents for each Peecoin you buy. On the other hand, you can visit http://runpee.com/peecoins/ to purchase Peecoins via Paypal. Paypal keeps a much smaller percentage, so we make a few more cents per Peecoin. (Every cent helps, and thank you!)

If you choose to view ads to earn Peecoins, please realize that each ad you view earns you ONE Peecoin — no more, no less. We realize this might be  confusing, as seen below:

FAQ: TapJoy currency
FAQ: TapJoy currency

TapJoy has their own currency. If I were to use their currency, RunPee fans would have to watch around 7 videos just to earn enough to have 1 Peecoin. I think that’s a bit much, so I just make it 1 ad for 1 Peecoin. Fair for everyone.

You might want to know that we earn, on average, less than 1 cent for each ad. In the future we may have to make it so you have to watch 2-3 ads to earn a Peecoin, so that we’ll have the income to keep RunPee up to date with new movies every week.

If you have questions you can comment below, or email us: support@RunPee.com.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

How to purchase Peecoins or the Infinity Peecoin

Here is a breakdown of the steps necessary to purchase Peecoins, or the Infinity Peecoin. I tried to make the process as simple as possible, but there is certainly room for improvement. I would appreciate it if you shared a comment with me –below — if you have some ideas on improving the process, or would just like to point out where you got confused. Thanks!

First off, before you can purchase anything, you need to verify your email address. This is because I need to record your purchase history, so that when you get a new phone you can restore everything: your remaining Peecoins and the history of which movies you spent Peecoins on previously.

There are two places you can begin the email verification process. The screen below is the first thing you will see when you start the app.

Or, if you are past this screen, you can select any movie from the Movie List Screen, which takes you to the Movie Info Screen for that movie only — as seen here below with Jumanji.

Pressing on either of the underlined buttons will take you to the Email Submission Screen — see below.

Please be careful to enter your email address correctly.  (However, if you make a mistake, you can correct it later.) As soon as you submit your address, you will see the screen below. Wait just a few seconds, and you should receive a 3-digit email verification code.

Simply input your 3-digit code. If your code is correct, it will automatically forward you to the next step. If, for whatever reason, you don’t get a code right away, you can finish this process later without starting over again. The next time you start the app you can input your code. Or, if you need it, you can get a new code, with an option of changing your email address (in the event you typed it incorrectly).

When your email is verified, you’ll see the confirmation screen below.

From this screen you can purchase Peecoins, or the Infinity Peecoin — just scroll down a little to see that option.

Important
The purchase process goes through either the Apple or Google interface, depending on your phone. If you have made purchases before, then the process should be relatively simple. If not, then you may need to add credit card information. (Note: all of your credit card information is handled by Apple/Google. Nothing is shared with RunPee. All we know is if your purchase was successful or not.)

Once you have closed the Email Verification Screen, and selected a movie (no Peecoins are spent/needed at this point), you’ll see a Movie Info Screen like the one below.

Just tap on the underlined button to “Get More Peecoins” and you will see the screen below.

If you want to use the app for free, just watch some video ads (there might be sounds – be aware to turn off the sound in your movie theater, or watch the ads before you go, to bank them for later). Each ad that you complete will reward you with one Peecoin. Honestly, these ads make us almost no money, so we hope that you’ll eventually chose one of the following options.

Purchase Peecoins in bundles of 10 for $1. (Up to 40 for $4 at a time. A minimal fee that gives you a lot of movie Peetimes!) This really helps support RunPee, because we make about 7 cents off of each Peecoin. (Apple/Google take 30%.)

Finally, there’s the Infinity Peecoin. This is the best option if you use the RunPee app frequently, and it really helps support the RunPee Family. You will be ad-free for infinity! You can purchase the Infinity Peecoin for $20 with in-app, or via Paypal for $15. (Apple/Google keep 30%, that’s why it’s more expensive in the app.) If you would like to purchase via Paypal then please refer to the email you receive with your confirmation code. Or visit: runpee.com/infinity/.

Note: as of this writing the only option for purchasing the Infinity Peecoin on an iPhone is via Paypal, but I hope to resolve this issue soon.

Please leave a comment below if there’s anything you find confusing about this process. We’re always looking to improve the app so everyone can enjoy it.

Thank you,

The RunPee Family

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

2014 year in review

This has been the most financially successful year in RunPee history. I think we’re in good shape to be around for a long time to come. The biggest personal news is that Jill and I bought a house! RunPee HQ is now located in Swannanoa, North Carolina — just outside of Asheville.
View from office

Here’s a picture from the office/bedroom window at RunPee headquarters.

Here are some statistics about this year’s movies.

We added 161 new movies this year (a new record), up from 146 last year. That’s just over 3 movies a week. There is now a total of 840 total movies in the database.

The 161 movies account for 17,894 minutes of film for the year. That’s an average movie length of 1:51 — up by about one minute from last year. The five longest movies this year were: Interstellar (168 minutes), Boyhood (165), Transformers Age Of Extinction (164), Exodus: Gods And Kings (150), Gone Girl (149).

RunPee Mom (Ginger) saw the most movies this year. Here’s a breakdown of movies by person.

Mom: 64
Dan (me): 54
Sis: 35
Shanee: 8

This is the first year that Mom saw the most movies. Last year it was Sis, who is way down from last year. She’s going to have to work hard this year or I might need to find a new sister. 🙂 Shanee sees mostly the big blockbuster movies so that we’ll have Peetimes for the opening showing. This year she chipped in and added a handful of limited release movies.

Of the 161 movies 46 of them had extra scenes, during or after the end credits. That’s about 29% of the movies.

Our movie review grades were all over the map. I gave an A+ to 3 movies this year: The Equalizer,  The Theory of Everything, and The Imitation Game.  Six other movies got an A or A- grade: Lone Survivor, August: Osage County, Veronica Mars, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Birdman, Captain America The Winter Soldier, and Guardians Of The Galaxy. Five movies got a grade in the D range: Pompeii, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,  The Maze Runner, Sex Tape, and Into the Storm.

Sis gave only one movie an A+ and that was The Fluffy Movie which really wasn’t a movie at all. She gave an A or A- to seven other movies: Neighbors, Tusk, Dumb And Dumber To,  Horrible Bosses 2,  Annie, The Gambler, and This Is Where I Leave You.  She gave four movies a grade in the D range: Devil,s Due, Oculus, Innocence, and Annabelle. She gave an F- to one movie: The Quiet Ones.

Sis and I were talking about movie grades last night and she commented that most of the movies that she’s looking forward to end up being horrible, and the movies that she dreads seeing end up really good. I think that’s very good evidence that she has poor taste in movies. 🙂

Mom gave just one movie, Jersey Boys, an A+.  Ten other movies got either an A or A-: Nebraska, The Fault In Our Stars, St. Vincent, Nightcrawler, Muppets Most Wanted, 
How To Train Your Dragon 2, The Good Lie, The Judge, Kill The Messenger, and Big Hero 6.

Here are the most Popular movies on the RunPee app this past year.

62,687 – Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1
61,578 – X-Men: Days Of Future Past
54,745 – Interstellar
54,381 – The Fault in our Stars
51,949 – Guardians of the Galaxy
48,552 – Captain America: Winter Soldier
41,823 – The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
41,018 – Transformers: Age of Extinction
36,511 – Maleficent
35,593 – Spider Man 2

Here are the top 10 movies of 2014 (ticket sales USA)

40,791,915 – Guardians of the Galaxy
38,153,070 – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay
31,831,735 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
31,591,264 – The Lego Movie
30,078,318 – Transformers: Age of Extinction
29,584,231 – Maleficent
28,666,854 – X-Men: Days of Future Past
25,557,057 – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
24,901,797 – Big Hero 6
24,859,550 – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Here’s a breakdown of RunPee app usage by country:

1. United States (87.16%)
2. Canada (2.65%)
3. United Kingdom (2.15%)
4. Australia (1.92%)
5. Germany (0.63%)
6. Mexico (0.50%)
7. Singapore (0.36%)
8. Netherlands (0.30%)
9. New Zealand (0.23%)
10.Sweden (0.20%)

Notice that China isn’t in the top-10. I’m almost finished working on a new version of the RunPee app that is translated, Peetimes and all, into Chinese. I’ll be interested in seeing how that works out next year – fingers crossed.

Here’s an age breakdown of RunPee app users:

18-24: 27.50%
25-34: 33.50%
35-44: 15.50%
45-54: 12.50%
55-64: 5.50%
65+: 5.50%

45.85% of RunPee app users are female; 54.15% are male.

72% of RunPee app users are on iOS; 28% are Android.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is the most popular Android phone among RunPee users, followed by the Galaxy S4, and S3 — looks like Samsung has the Android market cornered.

I just added the 3D voting feature to the RunPee app where users can suggest to others if the 3D version of a movie is worth seeing. It will be interesting to see what the best 3D movies are next year.

 

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Are Peetimes just the boring bits of a movie?

Many people assume that the Peetimes we pick for movies are just the boring bits. That’s certainly true for some Peetimes but not all. A more accurate description of Peetimes in general would be: the parts of a movie that are easiest to summarize without the viewer missing anything crucial to the story. Of course that’s a little more wordy than, “Peetimes are just the boring bits,” so I understand why people promulgate the former.

Desperately seeking Peetimes
It helps to understand how we actually go about finding Peetimes in the first place. Picture me, my mother or sister, sitting in the back corner of the theater — positioned so we don’t disturb anyone — with a notepad in our laps, holding our phone with a timer running. We’re watching the movie, looking for something that might make a good Peetime cue because first and foremost the cue has to be noticeable. When we see a potential cue we peek at the timer and jot down how far into the movie we are and then start writing down what’s happening. This is the hardest part for us because we have to keep up with what’s happening visually as well as key bits of dialog. It’s something that takes a lot of practice and I think we’ve gotten better over time.

If while we’re writing our notes we feel like we can’t keep up with important details then obviously this scene won’t work as a Peetime. So we cross that out and flip the page and wait for another potential cue. Also, if something funny, or exciting, or dramatic happens then we’ll cross off those notes, flip the page, and start the process all over.

Since we’ve been doing this for such a long time we’ve started to notice patterns in movies that make good Peetimes. For example: oftentimes near the end of an action film there is a short character bonding moment followed by the infiltration scene. That’s the scene where the good guys prepare for the final battle. For instance in the movie Zero Dark Thirty — the movie about the capture of Bin Laden — there is a very good Peetime that starts when the soldiers board the helicopters that transport them to Bin Laden’s house. Here’s the synopsis:

Very long scene of the soldiers loading up on the helicopters. Then another long scene of them flying low through the mountains. The scenes cut back and forth between headquarters where everyone is watching on satellite and back to the soldiers.

Along the way one of the helicopters bounces around a bit. One of the soldiers asks the others, “Who here has been in a helo crash before?” Everyone raises their hands. He smiles and says, “Okay, so we’re all good.”

They enter Pakistan airspace.

That’s a great Peetime because it’s near the end of a long movie. You know that the action is building toward the climax and you certainly don’t want to miss any of that, but you also don’t want to try and hold your pee for another 30 minutes, which would diminish your enjoyment of the ending. At the same time this scene is an important part of the pacing of the movie. It would be horrible to quickly cut from the soldiers boarding the helicopters to immediately arriving at Bin Laden’s front door. The audience needs this quiet time to let the tension build. However, if you need to pee this is a perfect time to release the tension in your bladder.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Vibration tips

So, the vibration feature on the Timer doesn’t seem to be working. There’s a 99% chance that you have an iOS device. There’s an easy fix for that: get an Android phone. 🙂

Okay, you probably don’t want to switch phones just so that the RunPee Timer will vibrate. Fortunately we can probably fix this for you.

Let me start by explaining that the RunPee app can only suggest that the phone vibrate. The operating system – whether it’s iOS or Android – decides if the phone will actually vibrate based on the phone’s state and the vibration settings.

Let’s start by going to the “Timer Help” screen – press the button at the lower-left of the Timer screen. From there you can test the vibration feature to make sure your phone settings are set to allow vibrations. If you’re phone doesn’t vibrate when you test it then go to your phone’s vibration settings and adjust them so that vibrations are allowed.

This usually fixes the problem but sometimes the RunPee app will never ever vibrate no matter the phone settings. This is usually because something went wrong during the installation process. If you’re pretty sure your phone settings are set to allow vibrations and it’s still not working then simply uninstall the app and then reinstall it. And if asked make sure that you grant the RunPee app the permission to vibrate the device.

Download the app: iOS   Android (Don’t worry, if you paid for the app you won’t have to pay for it again.)

You would think that would solve the problem. But there’s one other issue that afflicts iPhone users. iOS is very aggressive at shutting down apps that are running in the background. There’s nothing the RunPee app can do if iOS decides to shut the RunPee app down while the Timer is running. This almost always happens when the RunPee app is sent to the background. Meaning that the Timer is running and maybe you check a text message, or something like that. iOS looks at the RunPee app and thinks, “Hummm, this app has been running for a while but the user hasn’t interacted with it for some time now and has opened another app. I think I’ll just close it down and help save some battery power.”

There’s two ways to solve this problem. The most obvious is don’t check text messages during a movie. 🙂

However, if for whatever reason you send the RunPee app to the background just be sure to start it up again. The RunPee app is smart enough to know that the Timer should be running and will jump back to the Timer screen and adjust the time accordingly, just like nothing ever happened. As long as the RunPee app is the active app it should stay running.

Also, it’s not a bad idea to put your phone in airplane mode during a movie. If you get a text message, or email, or anything else that might notify you with a vibration then you might confuse that with an upcoming Peetime.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Fixing vibration issues with the Timer

For the past few days users have been reporting a problem with their phones not vibrating when using the Timer. The phone vibrates when testing but not while the Timer is running. This appears to be caused by a recent update to iOS to version 7.1.

Here are a few simple things you can do to possibly fix this. Note: there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with the RunPee app itself. For some reason iOS is ignoring the instruction to vibrate.

First, make sure you have the latest version of the app: 2.2.0. You can find the app version from the Movie screen by going to the Settings – gear icon in upper-right. Then scroll to the bottom of that screen and you should see: RunPee app version: #.#.#. If you don’t have the latest version then update your app at iTunes: http://RunPee.com/iPhone.

In Settings there is a “Auto-Lock” that needs to be disabled. To do that go to Settings -> General -> and set Auto-Lock to “never”. That disables the auto-lock feature. One word of caution though, if you turn off your phone (the top button on iPhone) the screen disappears and the vibrations for the RunPee app WILL NOT ACTIVATE!. (Thanks to Randy W. for discovering this possible fix.)

If none of that works then try resetting the data. In the RunPee app go to the Movie screen click on the Settings – gear icon in upper-right. Then click on the “Data” tab at the bottom. Then click on the big “Reset all cached data”.  Once the data reloads try testing the Timer.

Note: you can start the Timer and then use the “Adjust Time” button to jump forward to a point near the first Peetime.

If that doesn’t work then try uninstalling the app and then reinstalling. Note: you don’t have to pay for the app again to reinstall it but please make sure you uninstall first and then install the app again. Here’s the link to the RunPee app on iTunes: http://RunPee.com/iPhone.

So far one of those two tricks has fixed whatever problem iOS has with ignore the instruction to vibrate.

If you’re still having trouble then please email me – Dan@RunPee.com.

If I can figure out why iOS is ignoring the request to vibrate then I’ll fix it and update the app. The problem I’m having is that I can’t get the app to fail on my wife’s phone. It’s hard to fix a problem that I can’t duplicate.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.