Everyone knows that movie going is expensive. On a Friday night, tickets cost $10 each, and that’s not including popcorn, candy or soda.
We like movies. All of us who write for the site are doing this for the love of cinema, not to get rich off of it. (‘Cause trust us, we aren’t.) We don’t get advance screeners of DVDs, we don’t get invited to sneak previews, every movie we review on the site we have either rented, bought or gone out and paid money to see. So when people say, “you know, going to a movie is expensive,” we all nod our head in agreement. They are. If you go at night, tickets are $10 each, not including popcorn, candy or soda. And that’s also not including parking. But I’m not writing this to complain about how tough we have it. We don’t. This is fun. We’re not going to the movies because it’s work, we’re going because it’s fun. That’s the goal of this site: talk about movies and have fun.
So when we see a theater chain that blatantly disregards the audience and is open simply to take in as much money as possible and do as little work as possible, well, we get a little riled up.
Several weeks ago, my fiancée and I went to a theater that is part of the AMC chain. We paid our $20 ticket price. We got popcorn. We got soda. And then the movie started. From the first frame, there was something wrong with the sound. Not something truly egregious, but something definitely wrong. I’m not even sure how I’d describe it. It was kind of warbly. Something that wasn’t all that noticeable in a dialogue scene, but incredibly noticeable anytime there was music played.
A quarter of the way into the movie, I ran out into the lobby, found an usher and alerted him to the problem. He thanked me for pointing it out and said he would alert the projectionist. Nothing changed.
At the end of the movie, I made a point of stopping in the lobby to talk to the manager. I wasn’t looking for a handout, I simply wanted him to know that there was a problem and that they might want to fix it before the next showing started. He took my tickets and handed me two free passes saying he was aware of the problem. I thanked him, but said that I was bringing this up not for a freebee, but to make sure the audience saw the movie without any problems. I said I thought it was a problem with the projector, but it could be the print. He said he knew there was something wrong but he wasn’t going to fix it. I asked him why.
Here’s what he said to me, verbatim: “If I sell 100 tickets, and only two people complain, well, you do the math.” We pointed out that it was a pretty terrible business stance, to knowingly sell your customers a sub-par product; he repeated what he said before.
I went home and wrote my first letter ever to the president of a company. To date, I have heard nothing.
AMC clearly does not care about its customers.
Because of this blatant disregard for its customers, as well as those people working hard to actually make the movies, Lonely Reviewer is calling for a boycott of AMC theaters. Why would anyone dream of spending so much money to visit a theater that so very clearly does not care about the experience its customers have? They are only there to take your money.
We’re not opposed to companies making money. We are, however, opposed to companies taking money and providing sub-par service in exchange for that money. At this time, with the economy in the state it is in, many people are going to the movies for an escape. Why can’t AMC try just a little bit to give audiences a quality screening in exchange for their hard-earned cash? If they don’t care, that’s fine. We will just choose to see movies in theaters owned by different chains; there’s enough around.
With the summer movie season gearing up soon, I encourage you to seek out theaters that care about the movies they show. Maybe this summer’s crop of movie won’t be the best films, but for your money, you should see a good, clean print with quality sound. Anything less is outright robbery.