Random Question: Which movie did you watch most often in the theater?

Sometimes an idea of a post just presents itself when you least expect it. I was just chattin’ with one of the web programmers at work via email about a project, and somehow our conversation turned to movies. He candidly shared to me that he had seen James Cameron’s ALIENS 12 times! Yep, you read that right, TWELVE times! He said he probably saw it 4-5 times with friends/family, and then the rest was just on his own. I asked him what was so special about it that warrant such a high number of repeat viewing, and his reply was that the groundbreaking special effects at the time (in 1986), coupled with the fact that he was in his early twenties had something to do with it. I pressed him if he had a huge crush on Sigourney Weaver as Ripley and he said no, but her presence certainly didn’t hurt. Ha!

Interestingly enough, James Cameron’s other movies seem to prompt repeat theater viewings, I think Avatar‘s success benefits from repeat viewings and of course the biggest one of all being Titanic. According to its Wiki page, ‘The normal repeat viewing rate for a blockbuster theatrical film is about 5%. The repeat rate for TITANIC was over 20%.” No doubt the ‘Leo-mania’ at the time was the major factor (DiCaprio was certainly the Robert Pattinson of the late 90s). I think I saw Titanic twice in the theater and I’ve got to admit, I was a bit bitten by the Leo bug at the time as well πŸ˜‰

In any case, I was quite flabbergasted that someone has seen ANY movie in the theater more than three times. I think that’s probably the most often I had gone to a cinema to see the same exact film (I’m not counting a re-release that happens years later), and that was Superman: The Movie. I was a wee kid and I was so fascinated by a man who could fly that I had to see it again and again. I’ve seen the VHS and DVD version countless times after that of course, but to this day, I still can’t fathom watching that, or any other of my favorite movies for that matter, more than three times in the theater. But I’m curious now if someone out there have actually beaten my friend’s record.


Well folks, do you share my sentiment or perhaps you have actually beaten my friend’s record or close to it? If the latter, please share which movie you’ve seen the most often in the cinema and what do you love most about it.

70 thoughts on “Random Question: Which movie did you watch most often in the theater?

  1. Ted S.

    Wow 12 times in theater, even if I love a certain film that much I wouldn’t go see it more than 3 times. I saw The Dark Knight 3 times in theater, once in regular theater and twice in IMAX. The only other film I saw more than twice in theater was Mission: Impossible.

    Also I think with today’s advance in home theater equipment, I won’t even want to see a film in theater more than once. I have a nice set up so if I really like a certain film, I’ll just wait for it on Blu-ray in about 3 months.

    1. Yeah, I can’t imagine finding the time to go to the cinema, even if I loooove the movie. I remember almost going to see Phantom of the Opera for the 3rd time as I adore Butler in that movie, but I think by the time I wanted to go again it was already pulled from the theater.

      But Ted, w/ your home theater, you don’t even have to go to the theater even once… if you’re patient enough to wait for the BD release that is.

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie in theaters more than 3x and I can only think of Slumdog Millionaire at this moment (saw it with friends, family, then myself). A bunch of films I saw twice (LotR, a few Harry Potters, Easy A, Midnight in Paris, and a lot more), but mostly one set of people I hang out with wants to see it and another set wants to see it again and who am I to be the party pooper?

    1. Oh I missed Slumdog at the theater, but I can see people going to see that w/ their family. I think seeing a movie twice or even 3 times is still common, like you said I usually would go the second time around with friends who haven’t seen the movie.

  3. Great question, Ruth. Plus, you bring up a great point regarding the repeat viewing quotient of James Cameron’s films. With one huge exception, the most times I ever saw a film in a theater was three. A friend, I knew decades ago, her kids probably challenged and beat that web programmer. In the summer of ’78, just about every weekend the two young siblings went to movies to re-watch one particular movie: GREASE. Sometimes, more than once in a day (since they’d just stay in the theater till it restarted). I think they knew every song by heart by the time they returned to school in September.

    My exception probably doesn’t qualify since it wasn’t voluntary. In ’76, when I worked as a projectionist at an independent movie theater, I got to show JAWS for six weeks straight. My conservative estimate is that I saw it 60 times (not counting the three times I saw the film the previous summer when it was initially released). Two weeks in, the projecting team could do reel changeovers by just listening to dialogue alone.

    Cool topic. Can’t wait to see what others comment on this one. Thanks.

    p.s., in case you’re curious, the second most watched projection stint was THE EXORCIST (four weeks).

    1. Thanks Michael. I think it’s amazing that Cameron’s movies just prompt repeat viewings like that, he’s got a magic touch surely.

      Wow, your friend’s kids are definitely obsessed w/ GREASE, if they still don’t remember the lyrics to the song then they really have serious memory issues, ahah.

      Oh well, if you work as a projectionist then it doesn’t count, I mean that’s all in a day’s work, right? Oh my, are you sick of JAWS now or do you actually LOVE it??

      Oy, The Exorcist for 4 weeks straight?? You’ve got nerves of steel my friend!!

      1. Oh btw, speaking of working as a projectionist, my aunt told me of a funny story about my dad who worked as one back in the 60s or 70s in Indonesia. He apparently fell asleep during work one day and put the reels in the wrong order (there were probably 3-4 reels for that one film), so needless to say, he didn’t stay long in that job after that, ahah.

      2. For years afterward (I only worked as projectionist from ’76-77), I couldn’t re-watch Jaws or The Exorcist. Only during the 90s had enough time passed that I could revisit and appreciate them again. Thanks, Ruth.

          1. PrairieGirl

            I rarely go even once to see a film in the theater, much less over and over, but you prompted me to recall the movies I wish I could “un-see”: Million Dollar Baby, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and like you, the Exorcist ;-O

  4. I think the most times I’ve seen a movie in a theater is 2 times and there are quite a lot of movies I’ve done that. Usually if I go out with friends and they want to go to a movie I’ve already seen (and liked) I don’t mind going again. That’s usually the only reason I would watch it again like that.

  5. I think I went and watched Avatar about 6 or 7 times. I went the first time by myself I believe, but then friends kept asking about it and I kept saying that I would go. A thing that helped out with this was the multiple formats that you could view this movie in. I believe the first viewing was 2-D, but then I definitely wanted to watch it in IMAX 3-D. And then spent the other 5 times switching back and forth between 2-D and 3-D.

    However, had Lord of the Rings been released after I was out of high school (more time to watch it, movie theaters back home couldn’t carry movies for very long and had limited screenings), that would’ve probably held the record. I imagine that I’ll probably watch the 2nd Hobbit a large number of times if it lives up the hype. The Battle of Five Armies in IMAX 3-D? Not a huge fan of 3-D, but even I can’t say no to that.

    1. Man, that James Cameron is so darn lucky… genius but lucky also. I’m sure a lot of people are in your camp Red, I think I saw Avatar 3 times in the theater now that I think about it, for the same reason you mentioned. But it was well worth it as the visual was just spectacular.

      Oh yeah, LOTR and Hobbit would be lovely to see on the big screen… but it’s sooo long though, it’d be hard to find the time to go.

  6. Wow!! 12 times in cinema? awesome. I only saw Inception and Matrix twice in cinema (not counting DVD) and those two movies have 2 of the most handsome men in the world.

    I have never seen same movie more than 2 times in cinema. I have seen Breakfast on Pluto, Spirited Away, etc countless time in DVD but no movie had ever reached countless time in cinema.Wow!! 12 times in cinema? awesome. I only saw Inception and Matrix twice in cinema (not counting DVD) and those two movies have 2 of the most handsome men in the world.

    I have never seen same movie more than 2 times in cinema. I have seen Breakfast on Pluto, Spirited Away, etc countless time in DVD but no movie had ever reached countless time in cinema.

    1. I knew some people will balk at that number, I had the same reaction the first time my friend told me, too. I’m surprised you haven’t seen a Cillian movie more than twice Nov, I’d think at least half a dozen times? πŸ˜€

  7. I think the only films I have seen more than once in the Theater are, Kill Bill 1 and Inception.

    Kill Bill was mainly because we were slightly bored on holiday and it filled a ew hours of the day. Inception was because I was in utter shock when I watched it the first time.

    12 times is just crazy though!

    1. Hey Scottie (can’t resist to give you another nickname), I think my friend said your last line was his favorite comment, ahah. Well, crazy is such a subjective term, I’m sure we’ve all done ‘crazy’ things in regards to a movie/actor we love, right?

    2. I saw Dark Knight three times and Inception four times and I would go again to either one. Bit of a Nolan junkie, i guess. Every time i went I saw something I had missed before.

      I was in the same state as you, Scott, when we got out of Inception, they had a live band at the mall, the music was really loud & i thought…is this our kick?

    3. Ahha yea I saw Inception twice although I wasn’t really blown away or anything. The second time, I just went with a different friend who wanted to see it.

  8. Hi, Ruth and company:

    Great topic and thread!

    Most of my multiple viewing of films focus around the mid 1960s to mid 1970s.

    Must have seen Kubrick’s ‘Dr. Strangelove:…’ about a dozen times at Saturday matinees during the summer of 1965. To the point where I had memorized most of the lines and was cast as General Turgidson (George C. Scott) in a high school play of the film years later.

    ‘Bullitt’ rates about ten viewings as a double feature with ‘Dirty Harry’. To where I could count six hub caps being lost by the bad guys’ Dodge Charger that McQueen chases before it crashes. And to appreciate Harry Guardino as an under rated character actor playing Clint’s immediate supervisor.

    ‘American Graffiti’ got six or seven viewings. Enough to learn that Lucas is a mediocre director who does his best work in the editing room and cannot leave well enough alone.

    The same number for ‘Jaws’, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The French Connection’. One of the best on- location Cop ‘Partner’ (Not ‘Buddy’) films ever made. Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider are great together!

    Also saw two nearly unknown gems twice at Base Theaters while on Temporary Duty with the Air Force. The first, ‘Scarecrow’ is a no budget cross country trip with Gene Hackman and Al Pacino as drifters chasing the dream of opening up a car wash.

    The second is ‘Payday’ with Rip Torn as a hard drinking, pill popping, down and out country singer traveling across the South and Midwest trying to flog a new album to countless radio stations.

    1. Hi Jack, I always love reading your detailed and informative comment.

      I remember seeing Dr. Strangelove in a film class, it was a hoot, the dialog is fun indeed. And movie car chases are fun to watch though I didn’t find the Bullit one all that exciting, sorry.

      Wow, so it sounds like repeat viewing is nothing new to you, Jack, thanks for sharing!

      1. Hi, Ruth:

        You raise a very valid point regarding ‘Bullitt’.

        Outside of the car chase there really isn’t much going on beyond Steve McQueen evolving into an Icon of American Cool opposite Jacqueline Bisset.

        Director Peter Yates understood this and needed one event to tie up the loose ends of paid killers on the loose. So Yates came up with the superbly choreographed chase between two Testosterone seeping Muscle Cars through the streets, hills and highways of San Francisco and something very close to a genre of film was created.

  9. I was thinking about this recently with the end of the Harry Potter franchise. The only film that I can recall having seen multiple times in the theatre was the first HP. We’d gone ahead and bought our tickets for opening night, and then I caught wind of a midnight showing. So we went to that, and still went back to see it that night. And then, it being Thanksgiving, my boyfriend’s mom wanted to see it, so we took her. And THEN, my brother was in town visiting, so I went with him to see it. Total: 4. It was totally worth it because it was the start of something big and it was fun and so on. But mostly, I think I can usually wait for video to see something again. πŸ™‚

    1. Oh that’s interesting, so you saw it four times in one weekend, gotta be a record in itself. I think going with different groups could be a different experience so I get that.

  10. Well it’s a tie. The Hunt For Red October or Driving Miss Daisy. At least 20 times each. Back in ’89 I worked at a movie theater in Boston. Somedays there were too many employees so the manager would tell some of us to sit in the back of the theater and keep an eye on things. I LOVED the action sequence at the end of Red October and Daisy reminded me of my grandma. Aww.

    The most times that I’ve ever paid for a movie is The Dark Knight… 4 times. Long story. The first time I wanted to see it in IMAX but it was sold out and had to see on the regular screen. Boo. The second time I got an IMAX ticket but I was late and had to sit in the last row all the way to the right. The thing about IMAX in a theater and IMAX at a science center is there’s a huge difference in where you sit. The science center has 64 speakers, is on a steep grade not unlike the nosebleed section of any stadium and the screen is the curved wall of the theater and is HUGE so there’s not a bad seat in the house. IMAX at a regular theater is not nearly as good and if you’re not in the center you don’t get the full effect of IMAX. The third time I got there early and sat dead center in the middle of the theater. Finally. I even got vertigo during some of the rooftop scenes. Then a friend of mine hadn’t seen it so… “what the hell”… I saw it for a fourth time. It never got old. Great summer movie.

    Dave W.

    1. Oh wow Dave, 20 times??! You not only beat Phil’s record but went way over! But I suppose since you worked at the theater at least you didn’t have to pay for them. Interesting how different those two movies are.

      Ahah, great story about seeing TDK in the IMAX. My friend Ted is a huge fan of seeing stuff in IMAX (I wonder if he saw your comment) but I get dizzy seeing stuff in that huge screen and being surrounded by it actually gives me a headache. And that vertigo factor, man that’d have been cool to see if I can handle it. I even cringe whenever I saw the behind the scene photos of Chris Bale standing so close to the edge of those skyscrapers, it’s amazing they let him do his own stunts in those scenes (well parts of ’em anyway). Thanks for sharing Dave.

      1. Speaking of vertigo… Probably my worst experience in a theater was seeing LOTR: The Two Towers in the front row. Late again… lol. I was looking straight up pratically. When it was over my neck hurt and my eyes were cross. I still have nightmares seeing those Ringwraiths on their horses jump over my head.

        I highly recommend seeing IMAX movies at you local science center. The movie theater experience is ok but pales in comparison.

        Have you heard of the “XD experience” that Cinemark theaters now have? Of course they cost more to go see. Haven’t checked it out yet. I live in Pittsburgh and the theater’s only 5 minutes from my house.

        http://www.cinemark.com/theatres.aspx?type=1

        Here’s an interesting blog on the Cinemark XD experience… apparently IMAX and Cinemark are suing each other:

        http://www.reelviews.net/reelviewsforum/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1808

        1. Oh my goodness, that sounds terrible. I think if I were you I’d just ask for a refund or just see a later viewing. I ALWAYS have to sit about 2-3 rows from all the way back and in the center, that’s why I made a point to come at least 20 minutes early.

          I might go see something at IMAX (maybe the 3rd Batman movie) but generally I just don’t want to pay that much to see a movie (plus there is a $5 parking at the zoo where our IMAX is at). Not sure if we have such a theater here in MN, it’d be nice if we do. I’ll check out that article, thanks again Dave.

      2. Ted S.

        Yeah I just saw Dave’s comment. I always sat in the upper middle section at the IMAX theater so it’s a perfect spot to sit. Luckily most of the time I went to see a movie there, not people were in the theater. One exception was the first weekend of The Dark Knight, of course tons of people showed up so we had to sit closer to the giant screen. I didn’t get the vertigo feeling though, maybe I’m use to the IMAX screen now since I’ve been going to it since 2005.

        @Dave I’ve read about the XD theaters unfortunately we don’t have one in MN yet. I would love to go see films there, it sort of reminds me of the 70mm screen back in the days.

      1. Well it doesnt hurt when you’re getting paid to watch movies. Like I said the action sequence at the end was great on the big screen. You could cut the tension with a knife in the theater. Everyone was actually quiet and attentive. Besides one of the other options at the time was Pretty Woman… no thank you.

    1. Totally understand Luv, I’m more like you as well. There are less than 10 movies I’ve seen more than once in the theater I think.

  11. Wow what a great post Ruth! I don’t think anyone’s gonna top ‘Phil’ the programmer on this one. Before the rise of DVD and Blu Ray, multiple theater viewings were probably more common. Honestly, I’ve only seen certain ones 2 maybe 3 times at the most. Back to the Future was one. Actually, I’ve seen My Own Private Idaho about 5 times in the theater (as well as Glen Gary Glen Ross) but that was for film class, both of which I was writing a paper on so those don’t count.

    1. Thanks Vince, and thanks especially to Phil πŸ˜€ Well I thought initially nobody’s gonna beat him but I think a couple of people did. I really need to see Glen Gary Glen Ross, been curious about that one in a while.

      1. Ruth you need to see Glenn Gary Glenross just for Alec Baldwin’s monologue. 10 minutes of pure Mamet speak. Pure bliss.

        Blake: “We’re adding a little something to this month’s sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize?” [Holds up prize]

        Blake: “Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is… you’re fired.”

  12. Never more than twice for a single movie for me either. Been thinking that I might wanna go back and see Rise of the POTA a second time…

  13. TWELVE TIMES?!

    The most I’ve done is three for “Pulp Fiction”, and that’s only because our college ID got us free admission and I kept getting dates to go see it. It was great, no doubt, but the dates are the only reason I went back the 2nd and 3rd times.

    1. Oh yeah if it’s free I’m sure I wouldn’t mind going to see something repeatedly. Y’know it’s funny but I don’t remember much about going to the movies back in college. I’m sure I saw a ton of movies but can’t remember fondly about any of them, and I was never even a big drinker! Must be my poor memory then 😦

      1. Oh, trust me. There are only a very few that I remember fondly. Most of the rest? Starship Troopers; the Spice Girls movie (which we watched with a flask of whiskey and a set of earplugs so we could see the girls but not hear the Spice Girls sing); Mortal Kombat (the movie based off of the video game); etc… Making it free made us not care what we were watching.

        1. Spice Girls movie?? Ahah, well I’m glad you explained about the earplugs otherwise I might have to revoke your man-card, John! πŸ™‚

  14. I love going to the theatre more than once. It’s my favourite place to watch movies. I would’ve done that with Magnolia but I was only twelve when it came out!

    Memorable experiences I have had with going to the theatre more than twice: Black Swan, Inception, The Departed. As for going just twice, that’s a whole lot more movies!

  15. I think it must have been LOTR. A friend of mine saw The Dark Knight 3 or four times. My little sister saw HP72 3 times. Once in french with english subtitles and twice in English.

    1. So how many times did you see LOTR, Ronan? It’s such a beautiful movie but so darn long I don’t think I can handle more than one viewing in the theater. I do have the Blu-ray set and plan on watching them over and over again in my lifetime πŸ™‚

  16. 12 times is overkill. Heck, 3 times is overkill and there is only one movie I have seen 3 times in theater, oddly it was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. I very rarely see a movie more than once in theater and when I do, it’s usually more a set of circumstances rather than me actually really loving the movie. I could probably recount them all because they are so few…. Let me see:

    – Transformers (2x)
    – Quantum of Solace (2x)
    – Inception (2x)
    – Midnight in Paris (2x)
    – Harry Potter 8 (3x)

    I’m pretty sure that’s all and of those, only Midnight in Paris I deliberately went a second time because I truly loved it.

    1. That is cool that you love the final HP movie so much, Castor, and you saw it 3 times within a month right? Oh I didn’t know you liked Transformers that much that you saw it twice, I only saw it on DVD at a friend’s house and that was enough for me, ahah. I really want to see Midnight in Paris but haven’t got time to do it, I think it’s still playing now in Edina but not sure for how much longer.

      1. Ahaha well as I said, most of the time I see a movie again, it’s more because of circumstances (going with a friend who hasn’t seen it yet) than me actually liking it a lot. That definitely applies with Transformers πŸ˜‰

          1. Oh how cool. i loved Midnight in Paris, so glad it’s getting re-released.

            my hubby liked it too. Possibly because he loves Paris and Marion Cotillard πŸ˜‰ but isn’t actually a rom-com. it’s got romance, and it’s funny, but…i don’t know what you’d call it actually.

  17. I probably went to see “Return of the Jedi” in theaters at least five or six times. “The Goonies” also had quite a few repeat viewings. There wasn’t much to do in my home town during the summer and if you liked something…….you had to see it again!

    1. I’m sure Star Wars movies get a lot of repeat viewings back then, the original 3 I mean. Not only that, SW fans also make George Lucas even richer by buying the box sets over and over again, I knew one of my husband’s colleague who probably own 3-4 sets already and now the Blu-rays just come out so he probably have to buy those again, ha..ha..

  18. Emmabelle

    I have seen all Three Lord of the Rings films in the cinema a total of 24 times. I think that was 8, 7,and 6 times on first release and then another 3 times thorugh speical screenings. I was 17 to 19 during this time, the last one was lower because I was travelling at the time. I had to lie to my parents about where I was going as they told me to stop, you think they would prefer their kid in a cinema instead of out in the street? Now the question is how many times can I see the Hobbit and will they re-relase LOTR at the cinema again before hand ( i know they did in the US this year but sadly not in Aus)?

    1. Hi Emmabelle, welcome to FC! Wow, a true LOTR fan, very cool! Ha..ha.. yeah I suppose your parents probably would rather have you hang out inside the cinema instead of some club or on the street. Plus LOTR is a wonderful film with a poignant message of good vs. evil. So you’re in Aussie? Where about? You’d think that since The Hobbit is going to be filmed near you in NZ they’d release it at the same time as here in the States.

  19. Can’t answer the question since back when I was a kid we were extremely poor and didn’t go to cinema, and now my city doesn’t really have a cinema 😦
    But if you’re asking me which films I’ve seen the most times – I’ve probably seen MURRIEL’S WEDDING, MOULIN ROUGE, LORD OF THE RINGS and MUMMY more than ten times each πŸ™‚

  20. I’ve seen plenty of films twice, but only one I can remember three times.

    I saw Fellowship of the Ring twice in one weekend and then I went back a week later and saw it again. I think I went by myself twice and then I saw it during the re-release trilogy showing for the release of the third film.

    Off Hand I can remember I few doubles:

    Austin Powers 3 (disliked the second time)
    Star Wars: Episode I (fell asleep second time)
    Spider-Man
    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    Avatar

  21. Very rarely do I watch a movie more than once but I know I have seen Grease there at least a few times (because I saw it there again this past spring.)

    I’m putting a link to your post on my Facebook Fan Page. It’s an interesting subject. You are definitely right about James Cameron’s movies — his movies are so popular.

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