Monday, February 04, 2008

Spiderwick or Spidersuck: My Movie Screening Disaster

So last Thursday me and my sweetie stand in the cold for TWO HOURS to see a screening at the AMC on 34th & 8th for the new movie Spiderwick Chronicles. We were invited by New York Comic Con for pre-registering, or something. The invite said, "first come, first served."

So we are standing there in the blistering cold, and then somebody finally comes out and says:

"All college students who registered in Facebook, come in first."

All these people are let in ahead of us. Then,

"Everybody with the blue tickets, come in."


"Uhhhh...we screwed up, there is no more room. Sorry. Goodbye."

We're talking like at least a hundred people sent home.

Part of the possible reason?

We were told that the organizers might have wanted to let in the more desirable, younger demographics first.

But, all the good they did with the free screening was undone by the hundred or so people who had their night ruined and were freezing.

We were put on some hastily concocted, wrinkled mailing list for future screenings. People were pissed, though.

"I want free tickets to get in NOW," one angry person on the line said. "F**k Spiderwick. I wanna see Rambo."


  1. This is actually pretty typical for how these screenings work from what I've heard and experienced. Very often there is some specific demographics that are desired either for feedback or word of mouth marketing purposes. I had been blindly invited to a couple of screenings in the past that it turned out I wasn't in the right demographics when I got there. Fortunately for me though I never had to wait around for hours to find this out. That's pretty cold. (Literally, I suspect.)

  2. Did the same thing in Stardust at San Diego. Same exact thing happenned.

  3. I showed up and waited an hour for MI 3. It turned out that they only wanted a crowd for the opening standing around, they would give us tickets to see it somewhere else at some other time if we stayed for antoher hour (two hours in).

  4. Ouch! The theaters for every screening I've been to that filled up always let people use the free pass right then and there for a different movie that was playing.

  5. I quit going to screenings years ago because a promoter admitted to me that they give out some crazy overrage of passes for screenings here (x5 maybe). The last screening I went to, they let us get as far as buying concessions before telling us they were out of seats (when they could have easily counted the number of people in line and let us know we weren't going to make it an hour or two before the show).

    The stupid thing for them is that they keep getting the same crowd of hypercritical demanding (as in swag-wanting) people, who generally have no job (which is why they can be in line 5 hours before the screening starts) and therefore no disposable income.

  6. That is pretty standard for screenings. I don't go unless I'm going to gung-ho my way in there Hell or High Water. I saw Golden Compass thusly.

    I like Tony Diterlizzi a lot.

  7. Wow, I didn't realize this "free screenings" thing was such a racket.

  8. For the Baltimore area, the overbook is also standard, but with less demo-line cutting. Basically, if it's a movie you want to see and others will also be showing up (Transformers), get there early. If it's a movie that's just doing a press screening and giving away the extra tickets as a promotion, but few others are jonesing to see it, you can show up only 10-15 minutes beforehand.
    Think I've gone to about 10 movies this way, including the last two Star Wars movies (which are not as bad when free).

  9. The Free Society will show up to see anything. You might as well talk about the dire consequences of a soup kitchen pissing off the homeless people they have to turn away.

  10. Managed to see a few movies at screenings that have turned out okay - the ones through TimeOut seem to be pretty well run.

    I'm guessing that the people on the NYCC list may not have as much of an issue of overattendence with their next screening - The Hottie and the Nottie...jeez...

  11. Valerie, I'm very sorry you were unable to see Spiderwick. We want the screenings to be something genuinely fun -- not something that royally sucks. Groups of non-Comic Con ticket holder we weren't informed of were also invited resulting in what you know happened. We've set up an additional Spiderwick screening for the Comic Con folks who couldn't get in. Send me an e-mail and I'll get you the time and place.

  12. Thanks, Peter! We appreciate it.