Intermissions in early films had a practical purpose: they were needed to facilitate the changing of reels.
The technology improved, but as movies became progressively longer, the intermission fulfilled other needs. It gave the audience a breather, and provided the theatre management an opportunity to entice patrons to its profitable concession stand. A 1957 animated musical snipe suggested, before the main feature in theatres and during intermission at drive-ins, "let's all go to the lobby to get ourselves a treat".
The built-in intermission has been phased out of Hollywood films, the victim of the demand to pack in more screenings, advances in projector technology which make reel switches either unnoticeable or non-existent and also because in multiplexes, the break gave patrons a better opportunity to sneak away to watch other pictures.
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