Great Movie, Bad Theater

Phillip and I saw a free, sneak preview of Chappie, at the AMC Pacific Place 11 theater, tonight.

It was a terrific, fun movie, we decided on the bus ride home, as long as you view it as fantasy rather that science fiction. The story line was interesting, the characters were well-written, but the technology was a bit far-fetched for a story set just a year or two in the future. I highly recommend Chappie.

However – our experience with AMC Pacific Place 11 was terrible. I’m still upset about it.

Phillip and I went to the theater right after work, as usual, and got in line two hours before the show started. There were about six or seven people in line ahead of us. As time went on, the line behind us grew longer, as expected, eventually curving around the perimeter of the shopping mall. Then, as show time got closer, the line ahead of us gained a dozen people or so. (What I mean is, the beginning point of the line somehow moved forward, and people filled it in.) The couples ahead of us and behind us noticed that, too. That was annoying, but not the worst part.

The doors opened, and we were directed to a surprisingly small theater. (This was not our first sneak preview, and they’re always in the largest theater possible.) I heard people saying that the movie was also showing in a second theater – apparently some people left to go to that second, possibly larger, theater. Phillip and I found seats. Then Phillip set his bag and his coat on his seat and left to go to the bathroom, and to get a drink and popcorn.

While Phillip was gone, a theater employee made an announcement that there will be no saving of seats. She led two people to seats vacated by people who (I assume) had gone to get refreshments.

Two people returned to find their seats taken.

The same theater employee returned later with a group of people. She announced, again, that there is no saving of seats. She added that any seat which is still vacant five minutes from now will be given to one of these people (indicating the group she’d brought with her).

I sent Phillip a text message saying that he needed to get back right now. I was unaware that Phillip’s cell phone was in his coat, on the seat next to me, and that it was off.

Luckily, Phillip returned before he lost his seat.

Five minutes before the movie started, another theater employee announced that anyone leaving their seat will lose their seat to someone else.

What the hell? What kind of theater doesn’t allow people to leave their seats – free sneak preview or not? There had been no announcement before people were seated. And what’s the point of not allowing people to spend money at the concession stand?

This experience, to me, was bad enough that I don’t want to patronize AMC Pacific Place 11 again – even if the showing is free.

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