MCN columnist Gary Dretzka‘s report about bigger theatre seats and implied American obesity levels doesn’t just raise intriguing questions — it could serve as the starting point for a comedy skit. Dretzka wrote from Showest that “representatives of seat manufacturers confirmed [during the festival] that the width of the average chair has expanded from around 18-20 inches, to 22-24 inches. Since volume is important to exhibitors, it’s logical to think that this adjustment was made necessary for reasons other than pampering their customers’ rear ends.” But how did this obviously major business decision (think of the revenue downscalings due to fewer seats per theatre) come to pass? Presumably theatre owners were getting complaints from their tuba-sized customers about the seats being too small, but how many (are there statistics?) and for how long a time? At precisely what point did the Jabba-sizing of America reach red-alert proportions as far as theatre seats were concerned, leaving exhibitors backed against the wall with no choice but to invest and accomodate?