Nicole Kidman’s AMC Theaters Ad, The Lost Script

Mia Mercado
Issue 5, Winter 2022

Late last year, AMC Theaters released a new ad starring Nicole Kidman, a person who has absolutely set foot in a regular movie theater in the last decade. Originally longer, the ad was cut down to be a mere minute long. We have the extended version of the script for those who were left wanting more. Take it away, Nicole.

(Lights come up.)

Movies… ever heard of them? I have. Hi, I’m Nicole Mary Kidman, and I’d like to reintroduce you to a little place called the movie theater.

“My mother’s modus operandi was to

conceal our healthy, un-buttered,

low-cost movie snacks in her maxed-

out tote bag, held close to her body,

and walk confidently into the movie

theater with her two smiling but

slightly anxious kids in tow.”

From the feature story that inspired
this piece, “Making Concessions.”

Why do we come to the movie theater? I’m so glad you asked. We come to this place for magic. We come to AMC Theaters to laugh, to cry, to care, to cough loudly during the quietest part of a film, to crane our necks up to look at the screen because we got there late and the only open seats were in the front row, to smuggle loose M&Ms in our pants pockets and two cans of Coke Zero in the big winter coats we’re wearing even though it’s July.

Because we need that. All of us.

“To be a projectionist is to be a magician

in the dark; to be an intrinsic part of

the movies.”

Corey Atad on the tactile joys of working
in the projection booth.

There’s truly nothing like the movie theater. That indescribable feeling we get when the lights begin to dim and we quickly hit send on a tweet that says, “the feminine urge to grab extra napkins at the concession stand lol.” That smell of popcorn that’ll stay underneath your fingernails for days. That taste of all the fountain drinks mixed together into one brown sugar mess. That all-consuming panic when you’re 15 minutes in and your bladder is already full. Maybe you shouldn’t have chugged both Coke Zeros during the trailers.

“And every day, another boy came home

from war and sat at whatever gathering

we were at, staring blankly into space.

Or didn’t come home at all. And so I

prayed at the altar of films.”

Naz Riahi, growing up in Tehran, relied
on the transportive power of movies.

At the movies, we go places we’ve never been before: a world where dinosaurs roam freely; a land where lovers spontaneously burst into song and dance; a galaxy far, far away; a universe where Jupiter ascends; an underwater cave where a sea witch collects cursed polyp people; a secluded Swedish village where men are burned alive in bear suits; the mall where Paul Blart works; wherever Casablanca is. Where else can you sit shoulder to shoulder with your parents while Leonardo DiCaprio pounds quaaludes and gets a candle shoved up his ass? At home? I suppose, but at home it’s easy to get up and leave when things get weird, and where’s the magic in that?

(Nicole takes a seat in empty theater.)

At the movies, we are not just entertained — we’re reborn together, each of us emerging from our seats a naked, gooey mess. There are dazzling images on a huge silver screen. There’s sound that I can feel. It hurts my ears and makes me say, “Ouch,” just like the director wanted. There’s the kid kicking the back of your seat in a way that feels personal.

Some may say Saw 10: All Needles isn’t appropriate for a seven-year-old. I say you’re never too young to experience magic.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it’s 100% better than CATS.

Pipe Wrench has reportage, illustration, personal essay, humor, opinion, criticism, poetry, photography, and more, all in the same issue. We are, like you, a rich tapestry.

Want to know when the next issue comes out? There’s an email list for that!

“It feels good to feel things with

other people.”

Read Issue Five’s feature story,
Making Concessions.”

Even heartbreak feels good in a place like this. AMC Theaters is my third favorite place to sob publicly, after the stage and the sad beach in Big Little Lies. I love to cry along with the main character in any film — I’m a gorgeous crier. If I could sit in a packed theater and watch the scene in The Lion King where Mufasa dies over and over again, I would. That is how much cinema means to me.

(Nicole dabs at single picturesque tear.)

At the movies, heroes feel like the best parts of us. Speaking of which, remember when I was in Batman Forever? People don’t talk about that enough. There’s nothing like cheering for the underdog, or screaming at a character about to go into a murder-y basement. And when things get a little too real, you can always sneak a peek at your phone to see how many likes your tweet has gotten. (None.) But like I said, heartbreak feels good in a place like this.

Want to see the actual ad? Voilà.

To paraphrase a wise popcorn box, let’s all go to the movies! To imagine. To dream. To fall asleep a little bit during dragging parts where the grandpa is talking about war or whatever. To pretend you can’t hear the high schoolers making out three rows back. Are they using teeth? I guess anything really is possible at the movies.

At the movies stories feel perfect and powerful, because at the movies, they are. Except the adaptation of The Goldfinch that I was in. That movie was boring as hell.


Mia Mercado is a humor writer. Her second book, She’s Nice Though, comes out In July 2022 but she has to write it first. Her debut collection of funny non-fiction essays, Weird But Normal, is out now. She’s the morning blogger for The Cut and her work has also been featured in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Washington Posts’s The Lily, Bustle, McSweeney’s, Reductress, BUST, The American Bystander, Gizmodo, The Hairpin, Hallmark Cards, and a bottle she threw in the river when she was 9.

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