I’m not a great cinema goer, in fact, Quantum of Solace was the last film I saw in a multiplex and that was a far from happy experience. Today we decided to watch Duplicity. As it turned out not a bad film but the worst part of the experience was the cinema itself. We went to the Odeon Kensington High Street and paid just over £21 for two tickets. Now that’s a lot of money but thankfully less than the £27 we were offered for premiere seats.
Now just a minute, not content with gouging us for an uncomfortable seat they wanted to charge a 30% premium for a better view. Thankfully, I declined their offer which was wise as the auditorium only had 64 seat. We’re talking a space not much larger than my sitting room with 6 rows of seats and consequently a screen not much bigger than a home cinema set up. The comfort of a Ryanair flight with the viewing experience of an Amsterdam peepshow. We bought an ice cream and a coffee for just under £7 and then the parking was £17.50. So the whole joyous experience of cramped seats, a less than spectacular screen and foul coffee came out at £45 for two.
That is simply outrageous and I have a few suggestions. First make cinemas comfortable and engaging rather than fast food concessions with screens. Why don’t you see plasma screens showing trailers in the lobby? Probably because it distracts you from spending £4.80 on popcorn where the container weighs more than the contents. Even if Gordon Ramsey is making the stuff it cannot cost that much money. Oh but you argue, the snacks subsidise the tickets. Well you know the answer to this – stop paying the distrubutors insane amounts of cash for the films. We all want good films to produce a handsome return for the studios but 8x, 10x, 15x? is that realistic these days? Mama Mia cost $28m and took over $245m.
The truth of the matter is that I have a better experience watching a first run movie on Sky or buying a DVD than going to a cinema and frankly the early adopter premium you pay just isn’t worth it any more. So what if you don’t see the latest block buster on the week of release, stay at home, buy the DVD and with the £30 you save you can make a bathtub worth of popcorn and not have to listen to a couple of pensoners explain every scene to each other during the performance.