Well, eventually, it turned out that she did come during that time period, when the movie had been out for quite a while. Before she came, some family asked me if I wanted to see that movie with them and I said sure. When this came up in conversation, my visiting friend was really mad at me! She said that we had agreed to see the movie together.
<snip> To me, the most important thing of going to the movies, for the first time for a given movie or not, is the social experience.
I truly don't mean this to sound accusatory, but I'm confused what exactly this "social experience" is, if you've already seen the movie in question. I would think, when the friend made plans so far in advance to see this movie together, she was looking forward to the specific experience of watching the movie for the first time together with you, anticipating it beforehand, and being surprised by the same things at the same moments, etc. - that's the shared experience. You'd already had that experience. I mean, since you already knew what happened in the movie, it seems to me you could have driven to the theater together, and she could have watched the movie while you read a book in the lobby, and then driven home together afterwards, and it would have pretty much amounted to the same experience as the one you two had together. BUT I am very aware I come from the side that places a lot of importance on these things, so I'm honestly curious as to what the experience was supposed to be to you.
Well, I admit it is hard to explain. I'm just, well, I don't want to say I'm "not a movie person". Because that implies that I actively dislike movies and would rather do something else. And that's not really the case. I just, am not into the "movieness" of the movie, as much as other people are?
Maybe it would help to explain that, while I totally respect other people's need to not be "spoiled" to a movie or book, and I keep my mouth totally shut if I have seen or read something I even suspect someone else has not read and would be upset to hear what happens, I actively seek out "spoilers" for myself, because, I just kind of prefer
to know what's going to happen before it does.
This is my preference, though, and I respect the preferences of others. Even if someone I know gets upset by spoilers gets tempted and directly asks me something, I always ask "Are you sure you want to know?" and I respect the answer, whether it is "You're right, I don't" or "On this thing, yes I do."
So, maybe that's why it seems so neutral to me one way or the other. I like to know what's going to happen in advance, and if I've already seen it, then I really do. But if I haven't seen it in advance, that's fine too. It just, well, I don't want to say "it doesn't matter", but that's kind of it. And it's the discussing of what happened in the movie afterward that is entertaining to me also. And if it's my second go at it, I've had a better chance to catch and understand things maybe somebody else caught on the first go.
And, as I said, if we had made a firm commitment to watch it together for the first time, I would have honored that.
Hopefully that explains things a little better, though I'm not sure it does!
ETA: The bolded part is what I didn't understand that she was thinking. We honestly didn't know if the movie would still be playing when she came, when we were discussing seeing the movie together.
ETA2: And for me, the "social experience" part of it is, we go to the theater together, wait in line, get tickets, share some popcorn, whatever. That has a lot of the value, though not all of the value, for me.