By CAMERON FULLER
Long lines at the Varsity Theater are not necessarily a thing of the past, but Varsity Theater patrons can say goodbye to at least some of the guess work that has recently been part of the ticket-buying ritual.
People began lining up across from the Varsity Theater ticket booth as early as 5:30 a.m. Friday to get tickets for “Air Force One,” the adventure film starring Harrison Ford.
At that time Friday morning, the theater was not limiting the number of tickets a customer could buy but changed its policy later that morning.
Beginning today, the number of tickets customers can pick up will be limited to six, said Jerry Bishop, the director for the Wilkinson Student Center Department.
“Our policy has been not to limit the number of tickets, but to allow students to pick up as many as they want,” Bishop said.
He said limiting the number of tickets has not been an done before because people became frustrated since more people had to wait in line for the tickets.
“But just because of the reactions of people, we’ve taken the position that we’re going to limit it,” Bishop said.
The first 14 people in line Friday arrived well before 7:30 a.m. and their collective plans included buying a total of 322 tickets. But that number soon crept up as the morning went on and one person who originally planned to buy 80 tickets ended up buying 95.
By about the 20th customer, Friday 9:45 p.m. showing was sold out. The Varsity seats nearly 400 people.
Carla Jones, a 59-year-old woman, from Provo, got in line 6 and a half hours before the ticket booth opened and was the first to buy tickets. She was there to buy tickets for her family and friends, but most importantly for her son who attends Timpview High School and wanted to take a date to a movie that was good and not R-rated.
She did not like the fact that she had to come that early, but she had learned from past experience that this kind of effort would be necessary. She believed the big lines are indicative of an even bigger issue.
“We’re hungry for movies that are cleaned up,” Jones said. “I wish there was some way we could get the message to the national film powers that we want movies we can watch without being offended by obscene language.”
Many people in the back of the line were frustrated with the fact that they might be spending hours in line in vain. Unofficial tallies were being kept and updated by people throughout the line of how quickly the tickets were expected to sell out.
Brigitte Liechty, a sophomore from Boston, Mass., majoring in music conducted one such tally and discovered that the roughly 85 people in front of her planned to buy around 973 tickets. This did not count those who were asleep or who were only holding the place for someone else, and did not know how many tickets their friends planned to buy.
“I just wanted to see if it was worth it to sit here for three hours,” Liechty said.
Some of the ideas the students in line generated to resolve the problem of waiting in line included limiting the number of tickets one person could buy, scheduling a matinee, selling the tickets weeks in advance, re-opening the Varsity II in the Joseph Smith Building and even using a computer system where students could slide their ID cards to get movie tickets.
Bishop said the JSB is not a practical option because of financial and technical restrictions including the need for movie equipment that could meet the Varsity’s needs.
Macc Vaughn, a senior from Reynolds, Calif., majoring in business, said his wife got in line about 8:45 a.m. and he came to relieve her at 10:45 a.m. They waited in line to get tickets for Vaughn’s sister who was coming with her husband from Rexburg, Idaho to see the movie.
He said that they wanted to be able to see the edited version of the movie, but admits that they may be movie fanatics. He did not think he would get tickets. He said he would tell his sister to be ready tomorrow.
“I’ll tell her if she wants some tickets, she better get here pretty early,” Vaughn said.