Phantom of the Megaplex

Movie review by
Rich Phippen, Common Sense Media
Phantom of the Megaplex Movie Poster Image
Mildly creepy Disney TV movie has some positive themes.
  • NR
  • 2000
  • 89 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Although the movie's aim is to entertain rather than educate, viewers may gain some knowledge in how a theater is run and movies are projected.

Positive Messages

Hard work and diligence pays off. But enjoying life and being with friends and family is deemed equally as important. Teamwork is a positive theme throughout.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Pete is a hardworking, caring brother, and son who looks after his friends, family, and co-workers. Children and young adults are depicted as smart and caring. However, several kids defy their parents. The general public are depicted as being easily angered and unreasonable, while the movie theater's management are either incompetent or uncaring. 

Violence & Scariness

Strange occurrences at a movie theater -- moving of objects, an out of control inflatable dinosaur -- provide some mild scares. A mysterious "phantom" is said to be responsible for these unexplained events. Several characters are tied up. A fight scene occurs in silhouette behind a movie theater screen with some punches kicks shown -- although no injuries occur. A character is shown creepily peering through the eyes of a movie poster, and occasionally walking around the theater laughing while hidden under a cape. 

Sexy Stuff

Brief reference to dating.


Characters are seen enjoying all that a multiplex has to offer -- sweets, popcorn, and more. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Phantom of the Megaplex is a Disney TV family movie that is very loosely based on Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera. While it features little to no violence, it does have a creepy edge that might occasionally scare younger viewers. A variety of mysterious occurrences take place -- such as a popcorn machine malfunctioning -- which although playful are also played for scares. "The phantom" character is also suitably creepily, especially when staring through the eyes of a poster in the theater. A fight scene takes place behind a screen, and although the figures are silhouetted, punches and kicks can be seen -- although no one comes to any harm. There are also several instances of characters being tied up. Central to the plot is a work-life balance -- work hard, but also make time for friends and family. There is no bad language or scenes of a sexual nature, albeit a brief reference to dating. Due to it being set in a multiplex, there are several instances where characters are seen buying and consuming popcorn and sweets. 

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What's the story?

PHANTOM OF THE MEGAPLEX finds Pete (Taylor Handley) -- a teen working at his local multiplex -- diligently taking care of business while his boss, Shawn (Rich Hutchman) sucks up to the owner. On the night of a big movie premiere, Pete is more stressed than usual as he tries to keep order despite a number of strange occurrences -- from a popcorn machine that won't stop churning out popcorn to theater screens breaking down. As things go from bad to worse, it falls to Pete -- along with his little brother Bryan (Jacob Smith) and sister Karen (Caitlin Wachs) -- to figure out who is behind the chaos. 

Is it any good?

Based (very) loosely on The Phantom of the Opera, this straight-to-TV Disney movie, with its limited budget, but surprisingly decent cast, is actually rather watchable. Handley proves to be an engaging lead, and while most of the adults are phoning it in, he and his supporting cast of teens and tweens make the most of their screen time. Young Smith is given a little more than he's perhaps capable of dealing with, although his scenes with veteran actor Mickey Rooney do shine.

But beyond that, it's ultimately rather lightweight. While it celebrates movie-going culture and features positive messages about working hard and looking after family, it's over-reliant on slapstick comedy and a Scooby-Doo-style "whodunit" plot. It's family friendly and fun, but is also entirely forgettable. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the scarier moments in Phantom of the Megaplex. Which scenes did you find most frightening? Why do some people like being scared? Did you feel scared after the movie had finished? How much scary stuff can kids handle?

  • How does Pete develop an understanding for a better work-life balance? Why is it important for us to make time for things other than work?

  • Discuss going to multiplexes to watch movies. How does it compare to watching a movie at home?

  • Talk about how some of the customers in the movie responded to the various mishaps. Were they right to be so angry? Is that how people would -- or should -- respond in real life?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mild scares

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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