A complaint letter to AMC Theatres

Posted: April 14, 2012 in Real Life
Tags: , ,

To whom it should concern:

This afternoon I attended the 4:35pm showing of The Raid: Redemption in theater 9 at AMC Regency 24 in Jacksonville, FL.  First, I’d like to thank you for carrying this limited release film. I’m sure you won’t sell as many tickets to it as you will some of the bigger movies, so I appreciate that you carry it in your theater for those of us who wanted to see it without having to wait till it came to video.

Unfortunately, there was some sort of problem with the projector. After the trailers and during the PSA by The Lorax, the screen went black even though we continued to hear audio. Unfortunately, this continued into the movie. Fortunately, when I went out to alert someone of the problem, there was someone nearby with a walkie talkie. Satisfied at having reported the problem, we all sat patiently, listening to the movie but not seeing it (or understanding what we heard since it was subtitled).

After about 5 minutes or so the problem was rectified; however, the movie continued playing.  A gentleman then left the audience to see if we could get the movie started from the beginning. When the gentleman came back into the theater, he advised us that he was told you could not rewind the movie because it was on 35mm film.  After the movie, someone was there to give us free passes and apologize for the situation.

To me, a free pass does not make up for this. It’s a nice gesture, but without rewinding the movie, you’ve robbed me of the full experience. What am I supposed to do? Should I go into the next showing and wait for the first 5 to 10 minutes of the movie and then leave because I’ve seen the rest? Should I use my free pass to see the movie again in its entirety? I’ve already sat through 95% of the movie. As much as I wouldn’t mind seeing it again, there are other movies that I want to see, and if I spend another 2 hours just to make up for the 5 or 10 minutes that I missed of this movie, then that takes away from time I could spend watching another movie.

Frankly, I don’t believe you when you tell me that 35mm cannot be rewound. After all, how do you prepare for the next showing of the same movie?  This isn’t the first time there’s been a problem at a theater, but I’m pretty sure that anytime other than this, the theater was able to restart the movie from the beginning.

Let’s pretend for a second that what you say is true and the movie really could not be rewound. I understand that you probably have most of your projection booths automated to cut down on costs, but if you have a booth that you know if something goes wrong it cannot be fixed, shouldn’t you have someone monitor at least that booth? With your other movies that can be rewound, it’s not as big of a deal. Oops, we had a problem. Let’s start over. Nothing has been missed. If you have a situation where you allegedly cannot start over, then shouldn’t you monitor that more closely?

There is also the matter of the door to theater 9. Once it is opened, it doesn’t close on its own. I’ve learned that I cannot trust theater staff to close the door when the movie starts, so I generally close it myself whenever I walk in.  Unfortunately, I was not the last person to arrive. Once the trailers started, I had to get up and close it again because the hallway noise was distracting. Then someone else showed up and didn’t realize the door wouldn’t close by itself. Finally, after the last guy went to request the movie to be restarted, I got up again because he also didn’t realize that the door wouldn’t close. I’d suggest keeping some WD-40 on hand for when your doors start to stick.

I write this letter of complaint not to ask for anything. There’s nothing you can give me that will make up for the poor experience unless you’ve somehow discovered time travel. I may watch this movie again someday and see it in its entirety, but until then, I’ll just be left wondering how it begins.

You also don’t have to worry about losing my business.  Even if I was furious enough to stop going to your theater, the AMC Stubs program keeps me coming back.

Additionally, I know that problems like this don’t happen often. Most of the time things go smoothly.  I know this because I’m at the theater once or twice most weekends. 99% of the time you do a fine job.  I just felt compelled to tell someone about this situation, though, because it was just such a bad experience.  A problem is one thing, but a problem that you don’t truly fix is another.  Yes, they got the picture back, but that simply rectified the issue. Fixing it would have meant restoring our movie-going experience by allowing us to see the movie as it was meant to be seen, from beginning to end.


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