Monday, July 14, 2008

Screw your preparedness


Stop buying tickets so damn far in advance.

I went to see Hellboy2 on Friday night at the Grove. I'm not gonna go into detail, but overall I thought it had some great action scenes and looked beautiful but the relationships between the characters seemed forced.

Anyway, Officer Beefcake and I got some tickets to Hellboy and wandered around. We ate and then we started to wander and that's when we came upon the line. The Hellboy line. And it was loooooooooooong. And it was at 10:40. And it was currently 9:50.

Really? Who the hell started getting in line over an hour early for the 10:40 screening of Hellboy? What is wrong with you people? You're at the mall - wander around and contribute to the economy a little.

And now I want to go see The Dark Night this weekend but it would seem some of the more nerdy set bought their tickets while they were still in the womb so I'm not sure I'll be able to see it. And I want to see it opening weekend because ignoring spoilers for an entire week will be virtually impossible. I dunno. Maybe I can go on a Tuesday at 3:30 or something.

It's not like it's a concert or something. There are multiple showings for multiple days, but people still get all antsy and buy the tickets ahead of time. I like to be a little more flexible. What if I'm sleepy? I reserve the right to flake on seeing a movie at the time I had originally planned on seeing the movie. And I can't successfully do that if you bought your seat at the Arclight four years ago.


  1. It it assigned seating? If not, I fully understand the idea of waiting in line for a good seat. I'm not going to buy my tickets early only to get a shit seat.

    I know from previous theater management experience how annoying those customers can be also. How many times did a customer say "I'm pissed off. I bought these tickets over a week ago and there aren't any good seats"

    "Well, when did you get here?"

    "A few minutes before the show started"

    Ya just wanna punch those people.

    As for buying tickets early, you have to these days. For a big event movie, they sell out way in advance. Normally I give it a week or two for the big movies. But for The Dark Knight I bought them the day they went on sale. For that day, my life revolves around the movie.

  2. but...did you get in line?

    ha ha ha!
    No, seriously, folks.

  3. Yes Matt, but if everybody bought tickets right before they went into the theater then nobody would have to wait in line.

  4. Emily,

    I'm not proud that I worked in theater management for so long, but I did. And your idea, while it may sound ideal, creates a clusterfuck in the theater itself. You'd have three or four hundred people there waiting to buy a ticket, then cramming into the auditorium at the last second. It just wouldn't work.

    It's easier for the customers the way it's done, better for the staff, and you have a better chance of getting everybody in there before the movie starts if people can pre buy their tickets.

    I don't understand what you mean about not waiting in line though. Do you not think that being unable to pre buy your Dark Knight tickets would create huge lines at the box office?

    It does. Been there, done that.

  5. Hellboy was kind of a mess and that young hellboy stuff freaked me out (chipmunk teeth much?). So I got your back on that one, but the Batman demands special attention.

    Personally, I'm stoked there's so much action about the flick. It's been a really, really, long time since I got to go to a movie I was super excited for that the general public also got super excited for.

    Batman Forever! Well, not the movie batman forever, that sucked, but you get the sentiment.

  6. Oh Matt I didn't mean everybody should buy a ticket the SECOND they walk in the theater. I meant they just shouldn't buy it like eight hours before the movie and then stand in line for three hours before it starts. It's that jackass who starts the line too early who causes the problem.

  7. I disagree. I worked in the theater industry before fandango and pre buying became a big deal, and after. And trust me, it's so much better for everybody involved if people buy their tickets well ahead of time. The only people it's not better for are the ones that show up at the theater with only a few minutes to spare.

    You can't please everybody.

    It also helps you plan your business sometimes a week in advance. If you know you already have sold out shows all day the upcoming Saturday, you know a movie isn't bombing and you need to schedule your staff accordingly.

    King Kong is a great example. That movie didn't do near what people thought it would do. And we tracked the presales. They were not that great, so we scheduled for medium business, rather than crazy busy business.

    Customers seem to like it (obviously), so does the staff and management of the theater. It makes their jobs ten times easier and it cuts down on the lines at the box office for all the other movies.

    Think about it, for a huge movie you might have two or three showtimes in an hour. Like 7, 7:30, and 8. So if people are showing up between 6 and 7 to buy their tickets for those three showtimes, that's over a thousand people in line in that time frame, not including all the customers that are there for the other 10-12 movies you have playing, many of which can also sell out.

    Like I said, clusterfuck.

  8. I hear you. I appreciate your experience. And I always show up early enough to get a good seat. I'm just annoyed with people who apparently have hours to spend standing around waiting for a movie to start. The whole reason you buy your tickets in advance is so you don't have to wait in a line.

  9. Don't get me wrong, those fuckers that show up 9 hours early for Transformers should be shot. It would help society. And normally those are the people that dress up as their favorite character. Again, should be shot.

    But bless them, it does make things easier.

    I think the only time in the last ten years that I've shown up more than an hour early was for the Star Wars prequels.

  10. Not having to wait on line for over a few hours is what makes the Arclight so great. On the other hand, you still have to buy the tickets well in advance which means I should have made my plans see The Dark Knight a month ago. I'll probably just go to the Vista where people buy tickets on the same day. Which means I'll have to wait on a line. See, there's no way to win.


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