The House of Mouse is currently beaming like a loon at all the money The Avengers is pumping into Scrooge McDucks vault whilst very quickly forgetting about the mess that was a topless bloke in a quarry with Jar Jar Binks.
But a proper big amazing hit that has people flocking to a big dark room so they can watch moving images with a bunch of strangers is a rare occurrence in cinema world. Year on year studios announce losses, less films are produced, independent film making have had to go all ‘sisters are doing it for themselves’ and lets not talk about MGM.
The reason for this has many people scratching their chins and throwing theories about the whys and what nots. There is a lot of talk about films not engaging with audiences, too many sequels, rising budgets of TV making film superfluous and yadda yadda yadda. I’m sure you have heard it all before.
But what is being done at the cinema? Apart from bigger, louder, 3Der screens, what on earth is the cinema doing to make me get up my lazy ass and travel to these catacombs of entertainment? Well as far as I can tell, bugger all.
A recent cinema trip for myself and two friends cost close to £100. That was for three tickets to the super deluxe mega 3D screen, two cokes, one popcorn and two core sundaes.
No, the cinema wasn’t in Trafalgar Square or on the moon.
Now was this service with a smile? Was I welcomed with open arms and made to feel at home in the seat I would fart in for two and a half hours?
No I was not.
After a previous trip to this cinema where an awful human being decided to seat us in separate areas across the cinema, tickets were booked online. I was fully aware that human interaction was not their forté. The team was divided on the hunt for snacks – one lone soldier braved the Ben and Jerry’s stand and we were left to face the snacks queue.
Long queues are to be expected but there are ways to make in interesting, Disney have managed it for many years. When you queue in a theatre you have the grandeur and history of the building, queueing at a theme park you have a bit of story and theming. This cinema was like an empty warehouse filled with people demanding too much sugar, salt and explosions. After staring at a packet of minstrels for far too long, I was faced with the blank face of a person who I swear must have had a soul at some stage. It would be wrong to say he was rude, rude implies he interacted with us. Instead he mumbled, took my order, didn’t wait to hear what drinks I would like and just started pouring (well pressing the button that ejaculates coke into the cup thing.) My friend is a diabetic, so when I asked him to change it for Diet I wasn’t just being fussy about taste THIS COKE COULD HAVE KILLED. He changed the drink but swore a lot under his breadth thinking I wouldn’t hear. By this point we wished we hadn’t made the effort.
Soldier 2, over getting the Ben and Jerry’s core sundaes had a similar level of fun. He waited twice as long in a shorter queue due to the nifty cost saving service that cinemas have embarked on where you buy tickets at which ever till you fucking well like. The server was rude and the sundae was sloppy, no one wants a sloppy sundae.
The final human we had to meet, was the gatekeeper, the ticket stub collecting wench would should be all ‘Screen 6 on your right, enjoy your film’ instead was all ‘tickets!’ That was the only word she knew.
We were left wondering why the hell we paid so much money for? Maybe waiting a few months for the DVD would have been better.
Cinema’s need to do a Mary Portas and think about the long game. Cinema owners, please, oh god please think of the customer experience, spend some money on making a trip to the cinema something special. Also, spare a thought for your poor staff, they don’t have the most thrilling job, but the sea of blanks stares show you aren’t motivating them in the right way and, oh lord, give them some customer service training.
It was the Vue at Shepard’s Bush by the way.