The mid-movie dash to the restroom can turn us into calculating Usain Bolt wannabes: Ah, this looks like a lull - time to dash.
When we return to our seats, we pray the answer to "What did I
miss?" isn't "Darth Vader is really Luke's father" or "the
girlfriend is really a guy."
The Web site RunPee.com can help with such anxious guess work.
The site provides recommended opportunities to race to the
restroom. It tells you when the action or romance wanes, and gives
you a cue ("Baby O.J. is taken from Bruno") for your exit.
The site tells you how long you've got and even summarizes what
you missed. Since early July, RunPee.com is available as an iPhone
Launched last August, RunPee took off earlier this summer. It's
been one of the season's runaway hits - a clever idea that has
spawned a lot of word-of-mouth from moviegoers.
"Helping your bladder enjoy going to the movies as much as you
do," the site boasts.
It was created by Dan Florio, a 42-year-old Flash developer who
got the idea during the three-hour-plus "King Kong" remake in
Florio, who lives in Orlando, Fla., with his wife, does
everything for the site, though he gets some help from his wife and
his mother. He's become a regular opening day attendee of movies,
busily taking notes in the back row.
On Friday, he's planning a double-feature of "Funny People" -
which runs nearly 2½ hours - and "Aliens in the Attic."
"I never intended to refocus my energies on this," says
Florio. "And I never thought that I'd be seeing every single movie
that comes out, either."
The site averages 3,000-6,000 visitors a day, Florio says. The
iPhone app is available on iTunes for $1. It's not a huge
moneymaker (Florio estimates he'll make $800 this month) but is
providing him a little extra cash.
He believes that not only do moviegoers benefit from the
service, but theater owners do, too.
"Lots and lots of people comment: `Ah! I can get that 64-ounce
drink now!"' Florio says.
Florio designed the site to be wiki-based with break times
submitted by users, but it's turned out that he's done most of the
work. Finding the right moments and recording the correct time is
more work than it might sound - most moviegoers leave their
stopwatches at home.
"It's not fun," says Florio. "I would literally have to pay
someone to do this."
Generally, the better the movie is, the harder it is to find a
break. The 96-minute "Up," for example, is one film where no
bathroom break is advisable. But there are suggested options -
after all, movies that children flock to are the kind where
bathroom breaks are often unavoidable.
There are, of course, limits to the usefulness of RunPee. But
it's also found friends in cyberspace like WhereToWee.com, a site
in the works that tells you where the nearest restroom is.