Bad movie theater experience tonight!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian Dobbs, Aug 6, 2002.

  1. Brian Dobbs

    Brian Dobbs Ambassador

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    I just got back from seeing (most of) Signs, and I'm in a really bad mood. Here's the story....
    My girlfriend, Grandmom and I went to go see the 7 o'clock showing of Signs at the Annapolis mall theaters. Seeing how the movie is a brand new release, the theater was showing the movie on screens 1 and 11. The first theater in the theaters are usually the biggest, and in this particular case, THX certified. Seeing as how I'm in a bad mood, guess which theater was not showing the 7 o'clock Signs? You guessed it. Lucky ol' 1. We make our way into theater 11, which by no means was small, but definitely was no where near the size of 1.
    As the previews started rolling, the sound kept cutting in and out. Major bummer! The previews are a big part in the movie going experience, you know? However I must admit, it was nice not having to hear the stupid Crown Theaters promo, "I'll be working my way back to you, Crown!", song. However the previews ended on a sour note, cutting out the first half of the THX trailer. To my surprise, theater 11 ended up being THX certified, and the moment the THX sound cut back in (during the loudest peak of the sound), the whole audience jumped and yelled like a bomb just went off.
    I don't know why my instincts didn't kick in and force me to tell a manager about the obvious problem. I just thought the problem would go away when the movie started.
    -INSERT Murphey's Law here-
    (anything that can go wrong, will go wrong)
    Throughout the first half of the movie the sound did the same every now and then, going out and kicking back in during important scenes no less, but for a while it behaved properly.
    I'd say with about 30 minutes or so left in the movie, the sound completely cut off, and refused to come back in. I was still willing to give the movie a chance, even though at this point I was about ready to demand a refund or free tickets anyway, but no dice. The sound just gave up and we were stuck with a good ol' silent film.
    At this point my lip reading skills kicked in at full force, allowing me and only me to understand the film's dialogue in it's full glory.
    But seriously folks, this film got me so excited towards the end, and now I don't know how it ended because me and the rest of the crowd got up and walked out. Some people threw things at the movie screen, while others simply resorted to foul language. I didn't want to upset my girlfriend or grandma, so I quietly left with everyone else. We all tried to make our way into theater 1, which started Signs a half hour after theater 11 did, to catch the end of the film. But the theater employees were gaurding the doors like bouncers or something. Oh well. The manager came out and gave us all free tickets. We ended up getting an extra one by accident [​IMG]
    So I need some support right now. Can life go on? Does anyone here have similar experiences they can share, or possibly offer me some suggestions as to which movies to use the free tickets for? Is it worth it to go back and watch the entire film over again just for the ending? Thanks fellow HT forumers for listening.
    After the movie my girlfriend Christine asked me if I was ok and my reply was, "I'll be fine, just as long as I can visit the Home Theater Forum when I get home".
     
  2. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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    I can hardly bring myself to leave a theater when something is screwing up, because I don't want to miss anything. Of course, the sound going out COMPLETELY would leave me no choice.
    Last week, I sat through a screening of PUMPKIN that had the digital sound dropping out several times. The analog sound was something like 20db lower, so I had to strain to hear. But I never got up...
    So am I determined or deranged? [​IMG]
     
  3. Rich Romero

    Rich Romero Supporting Actor

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    That's what a home theater is for. After now acquiring the Lord of the Rings DVD, I can fully see that going to the theaters is not entirely necessary anymore. Sure, you get a big screen, but my screen ain't that shabby and the audio on my home theater improves upon what I normally hear. I can adjust it the way I want to hear. From now on, I'll only go if I REALLY want to see a movie.
     
  4. Mark McLeod

    Mark McLeod Second Unit

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    I had a similar problem at the advance screening of Spy Kids 2 on Saturday. It was held at what I consider the world's worst multiplex Silvercity Metropolis and was held on 3 screens. #1 (THX), #9, and #10. I chose the THX one since I expected a better presentation. Well halfway through the movie the digital sound dropped out, then came back and dropped out again for the remainder of the movie.

    To add insult to injury, I sent my friend down to the other screens and the sound was fine. So I had to listen to the rest of the movie in really poor analog sound. I complained to the manager afterwords and he refused to give me a free pass. I've since gone over and above him to the distributor and the theater company in hopes they will rectify the situation. Some people would consider me media in that I write the occasional movie review and do a lot of DVD reviewing. Hopefully flexing my media muscle will yield me a nice apology. The free pass is not the issue, the issue is how the manager handled things.

    And yes. This is the same theater where I had problems with the aspect ratio on Moulin Rouge as well as multiple other problems that Jason Whyte will no doubt remember all too well.

    Mark
     
  5. Dahna

    Dahna Auditioning

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    Hop on 100 West and go to Muvico at Arundel Mills. They usually have it all together! Sorry about the bum experience. :-(
     
  6. Jeff Pryor

    Jeff Pryor Supporting Actor

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    In '94 I went to a theater across town to see Star Trek: Generations. Halfway through the movie the surround cut off and didn't come back on. That just sucked and I vowed to never go back there. Alas, months later by chance I ended up back at that theater to see Apollo 13, but on a different screen. You guessed it, halfway through the movie the surround cut off and stayed that way. To this day I give that place a wide berth, and have never had trouble of this kind anywhere else.
     
  7. Chauncey_G

    Chauncey_G Second Unit

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    A friend of mine solved this one for himself. Instead of going to movie theaters, he just waits for the DVD release and buys it. If he likes it, then it's a keeper. If he doesn't, then he sells it on E-bay. The way he put it to me is that even if he sells the disc at a loss, once you factor in how much he would have paid for a movie ticket and maybe something from the concession stand, he could sell a $20 disc for $10 and come out even.

    Plus he doesn't have to put up with crying babies, cell phones, pagers, and fouled up sound.

    Are more people doing this now, or is it just me?
     
  8. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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    For my money, you can't match the theatrical experience. I've been to the private screening room at the Fox Building in London and even that doesn't come close to the buzz and immersion you feel sitting in a huge theater with THX certified sound. I'll never stop going to the cinema, even if ticket prices rise, and HT prices fall.

    The only way to avoid the pitfalls of cinema visits is to limit yourself to the best-theaters and to go at off-peak times.
     
  9. Jeff Pryor

    Jeff Pryor Supporting Actor

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    The only real 'buzz' I ever hear around these parts is cell phones and pagers. The only real 'immersion' is popcorn being stuffed into someone's mouth during the quietest segment of the movie, or a hand digging into a really loud cellophane bag of candy.[​IMG]
     
  10. Dan Paolozza

    Dan Paolozza Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark (McLeod):

    Which Silvercity might that be? Metrotown? Let me know, I'm quite interested. The 3 I've tried out in the lower mainland have been pretty good experiences, and since movie tickets are not cheap, being advised to steer clear of a given theatre is much appreciated! (Not to mention "word of mouth" power to whip bad management practices into shape).
     
  11. Andrew Chong

    Andrew Chong Supporting Actor

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    I had a similar experience with sound trouble when seeing "The Haunting" with Lili Taylor. The sound was 'rattley' throughout the previews and the start of the movie; at times the sound cut out completely. I say start of the movie because I couldn't take it anymore, left the theatre and got my money back no questions asked. Apparently, the thunderstorm that had started outside (well of course, outside) had wreaked havoc on their sound system.

    I saw the movie with no disruptions a week later.
     
  12. Mark McLeod

    Mark McLeod Second Unit

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  13. MickeS

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    How does giving you free tickets make up for this?
    Imagine the expense of parking, babysitter, gas, etc. You pay all of this before getting to the theater, your presentation is ruined and what do they do? They give you a lousy free ticket to come back another time. Pfft.
    I say they should be forking out free tickets/free food drinks and what have you! Man if that ever happened to me I would be asking the manager to babysit my kids next time I want to come back. [​IMG]
     
  15. Mark McLeod

    Mark McLeod Second Unit

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    MickeS,

    Thanks. I just filled out that form and also called their phone THX line. In addition to that I have also sent emails to the theater chain and the media relations people at Spy Kids 2's Canadian distributor Alliance Atlantis.
     
  16. Dan Paolozza

    Dan Paolozza Stunt Coordinator

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    Now that is just prime.

    I've had a similar digital-to-analog-and-back experience at a Regal cinima in Pennsylvania (Phantom Menace) - I figured it had to do with the wear and tear on the film, but sounds like many theatres are plagued by this technical snafu. They were more than willing to refund the ticket money - in fact, the Regal theatres would even refund if I got up and left because of rude customers spoiling the movie for me.
     
  17. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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  18. Rich Tysinger

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    Well, I just experienced my worst ever theater experience recently when I went to see K-19: The Widowmaker. There was a guy several rows behind me that was giving a running commentary to his friend during the ENTIRE movie. Either the guy had read the book or was a big nuclear submarine buff, or maybe both. One thing is for sure, he was talking constantly and VERY loudly. He was at the back of the theater, but when I finally moved halfway to the front, I could still hear him. Folks sitting near him never complained. I never complained either, it just seemed surreal that a guy could be so rude that you could hear him even when the soundtrack and effects were blaring at their highest volume! I hope his friend had seen the movie before, because there was no way the poor person could've caught more than 40% of the dialogue listening to all his friend's yakking. Well, no need to buy a K-19 DVD with commentary...I've already heard it!
     
  19. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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  20. Don_Houle

    Don_Houle Stunt Coordinator

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    People are too afraid to speak up when something annoying happens!

    I had an interesting experience when my wife and I went to see Spider-Man a little while back. First, let me say that I will only go to the theater to see something I REALLY want to see (recently, that was LOTR, Spidey, Road to Perdition, Signs) and I usually like to go to in the afternoon on a weekday (I work 4, ten hour days, so I get a day off during the week!) to avoid the annoying crowds.

    Anyway, my wife wanted to see Spider-Man, so we went on a weekend evening. The show was pretty crowded, maybe sold out. We took our seats, watched the trailers, the film began. 15 minutes into the feature, we hear a noise like someone snoring a couple of rows behind us! This goes on for a few minutes, stops, then we hear it again a couple of minutes later - now it's louder!

    My wife nudges me and asks me if I hear this. I'm looking back over my shoulder to see if I can pick out the idiot who's asleep during this movie! I didn't see anyone who looked to be asleep. This goes on for about 10 more minutes - even through a couple of loud sections of the film. Finally, I say something in a fairly loud voice, like "Stop snoring!" Got a couple of giggles from folks around me, but Mr. Sleepy-Head doesn't wake up.

    More snoring and I am so focused on it that I don't even hear the cell phones ringing or 2 year olds crying every few minutes in the packed theater, never mind taking in what's going on in the film!

    Finally, I can't take it anymore. I stand up, turn around to the general direction of the snoring and yell "Quit snoring! We're trying to watch a movie here!" General laughter ensues and I take my seat. We didn't hear anymore noise after that and I felt good about having done it.

    What gets me is that no one sitting near this person would say anything! If my wife and I paid our hard earned money to enjoy our night out, I am assuming that everyone did the same. To let one person ruin everyone's time is just too much. I couldn't let that happen.

    Peace!
     

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