I struggled with when to bring this up, because it felt like such a singular experience. Then one day, I was sitting in the AMC Century City, and everyone clapped when Nicole Kidman came on screen. And I knew we were all involved in the same weird fugue state.

It was nice to be out of the pandemic enough to go to the movies. But it felt completely insane to be back, and be welcomed before every movie by an A-list actress who's sitting in an empty theater talking about the joy of movies. 

Yes, dear reader, AMC spent so much money rolling this out. They hired an A-list writer Billy Ray to script, Nicole to star, and in some ways, it did what they wanted. It became a massive hit that got everyone talking. It even achieved Meme status

In the ad, Kidman walks into an AMC theater, sits in an empty screening room, and watches clips from films like Jurassic World. The video received over 193,000 views and 1,400 comments in four months on AMC's YouTube page. 

The commercial debuted in Sept. 2021 and quickly received murmurs from crowds, and then started a long conversation on Twitter, with people sounding off about the ad, analyzing why Kidman was alone in the theater, writing down her words, and even taking pictures of the screen. 

To say it went viral is an understatement. This endlessly quotable advertising campaign also caught on with social media. People would stand and pledge with Kidman, make T-shirts, try to find her outfit, and even printed out her dialogue to pass around so everyone could take part in the experience. 

While all this seems like it could be mean, I actually think it's kind of adorable and sweet. The pandemic took so much from us. Going to the movies is still an endeavor, with mask checks, vaccine cards, and relative worry about who might be around. But when the Kidman commercial starts, the ripple of laughter, claps, and fun seems to unite every theater I'm inside. It does make you feel good to be watching movies again, even if it's not because of the original intent. 

At the end of the day, as things slowly get back to normal, we're going to need to laugh at the weird stuff, cry at the emotional things, and get back to the movies together.

Because somehow, heartbreak feels good in a place like this...