sundance on a sunday

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depinmad
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sundance on a sunday

Postby depinmad » Mon May 14, 2007 7:45 am

took my wife to the movies as a mother's day afternoon getaway. we decided to see black book at sundance 608.
i was planning on just buying our tickets when we got there, but went online to see how many seats were left at 2pm for the 330 show.
the seating chart online showed all of seven rows, and maybe a third of them were already sold. so i figured better safe than sorry and bought two tickets in the center of row g which showed as being the last row in the theater... the service charge was an additional 1.50 on top of 6.25 base price for each ticket.
got to the theater at 315, went to the concierge desk and told them my name, and she printed out the two tickets, i didn't have to show id or my credit card, which was nice. she asked me i'd had any trouble ordering online. i hadn't. she told me shows seat 20 minutes before show time, and at 10 to showtime there is a sundance preshow that i wouldn't want to miss.

so we head over to the auditoriums but are told that black book is not seating yet, even though it's now 10 minutes to showtime.
i get inline at the snack bar, where most of the baked goods are sold out, and everything seems expensive even by movie theater standards. even though there were five people working the concierge desk, there's only one person working the snack bar, and i have to wait five minutes to pay for a bottle of izzy soda that my wife wants (2.25).
we wander around the lobby and look at the sundance shop, which seems to mainly sell five different styles of sundance shirts. an announcement comes over the pa that black book is now seating.
so we head back to the auditoriums and walk down the darkened, tree branch festooned hallway. walking into our theater, we are greeted by two employees, asking us how we're doing and wanting to know if we need help finding our seats.
arriving at our seats, we discover that there are actually ten more rows of seats behind ours that didn't appear at all in the online seating chart. additionally our seats which appeared dead center online are actually off to the right side a little bit.
apparently everyone else attending also bought seats online, because the row in front of ours was entirely filled from end to end, even though, at show time, the theater was at least half empty.
anyway, the sundance preshow turned out to be a single short subject played at a very low volume. at show time one of the asst managers stood in front of the screen and talked to us through a mic, saying he'd be there for the first few minutes of the movie to make sure the sound and projection were "up to sundance standards".
the screen was very large, and the sound and projection were excellent, as were the comfy seats. the print of black book was fairly scratched up, but i'm going to guess that's because it probably played some more typical art houses before it arrived here. if the sundance 608 projector was responsible for these scratches, that's bad news indeed.
after the movie we were thinking of getting a drink at the upstairs bar, but when we got there, we kind of chickened out. it just gave off a price gouging vibe.
we then checked out the roof top bar which turns out to be rooftop seating but no actual bar.
then we left.
to sum up, this reserved seating thing is a joke and should be dropped immediately if not sooner. the prices for food and snack are prohibitive, and so even thought the cafe is open at six am and features breakfast sandwiches and is on my way to work, i'm not gonna be stopping buy to pay 5.50 for a bacon egg and cheese sandwich.
however, for a strictly movie going experience, it is a huge step up from westgate, and equals or betters madison's old benchmark, star cinemas.

Monzie
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Postby Monzie » Sun May 20, 2007 2:08 pm

Thanks for the information. I'd been wondering about that place. Had no idea about the reserved seating, but I'm definitely not fond of the idea. I'm very short and my husband is very tall....we like to choose our seats so that he's not obstructing someone's view and so that my view isn't obstructed by some other giant. That can sometimes be a tricky proposition. Plus, I hate sitting next to humongous guys who hog the armrest and people eating nachos. Yep. I'm picky.

I guess we'll just have to check the seating chart ahead of time and go to films that are mostly empty. Any idea whether they frown on moving to different seats once the flick has started?

depinmad
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Postby depinmad » Sun May 20, 2007 7:41 pm

no, i don't think they frown on it at all, however no one at the screening i attended did so.

chance
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Postby chance » Mon May 21, 2007 9:10 am

Monzie wrote:Thanks for the information. I'd been wondering about that place. Had no idea about the reserved seating, but I'm definitely not fond of the idea...

Amen.
Actually, that's not strong enough. I hate the idea. It's freakin' insane. I can't imagine being so desperate to see a movie that I would put up with it (and with the added bucks they're tacking on as a "service charge" for the privilege of being locked in to a particular seat). I'll stick with Westgate, and DVDs, thank you very much.

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Postby jjoyce » Mon May 21, 2007 10:00 am

The seating in the auditoriums is about half stadium-style, so getting stuck behind a tall person isn't an issue, as it is at Westgate. Reserved seating might help you ensure a seat in the stadium section if you might be running behind or something.

How Madison is it that people either LOVE this concept or HATE it? How many times have you seen a movie where the theater is so jam packed that you can't move if you need to?

depinmad
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Postby depinmad » Mon May 21, 2007 10:08 am

it's a simple equation:

reserved seating for a concert = fuck yes.
why shouldn't i be rewarded for buying my ticket when seats go on sale and punished for having a job and not being able to park my ass in front of a venue at 9am day of show

reserved seating for a movie = fuck no. why should i pay for the privelege of sitting squished between two loudmouth lummoxes while half the theater and the best seats in the house, are empty?

chance
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Postby chance » Mon May 21, 2007 10:24 am

jjoyce wrote: How many times have you seen a movie where the theater is so jam packed that you can't move if you need to?

True -- so why the $#@!!#$! was it necessary for them to have reserved seating at all??

Possible answer: to justify an inflated big-town ticket price. "Reserved seating fee" my ass.

Paco
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Postby Paco » Thu May 24, 2007 5:41 pm

I'm glad they are bringing alternative and foreign movies here. I may check it out sometime, even though I hate going to theatres and seeing a movie with strangers.

Unless that reserved seating tells me if the jackass behind me is eating a bucket of popcorn big enough to bathe a small child in, I doubt I'll like that. Eat before you get there, por favor. Let me sit where I want to.
Of you want to sell reserved seats, sell X amount that the theatre holds, but don't dictate where we have to sit.

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Postby TAsunder » Mon May 28, 2007 8:52 pm

I went there today. There was no oddities with the seating... no additional seats or different screen position. The seats are really comfortable and there is significantly more leg room than in other theatres. The prices at the concession stand were fine... $5 for the largest popcorn, $3 for the lagest soda. Same as other theatres.

I've now had three reserve seating in movies experiences, and I have liked all of them. I don't see why people are so uptight about it. I can get in the concession line without making a mad rush for the theatre hoping for decent seats. People don't hunt and peck for seats. You can know in advance if you are going to have to sit really far up or not together and then pick another time.

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Postby Stu Levitan » Fri Jun 01, 2007 7:00 am

depinmad wrote:why should i pay for the privelege of sitting squished between two loudmouth lummoxes while half the theater and the best seats in the house, are empty?


why wouldn't you take the best seats to begin with?
and if there are all those empty seats, do you think someone would stop you from moving?

bluethedog
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Postby bluethedog » Fri Jun 01, 2007 7:21 am

Stu Levitan wrote:
depinmad wrote:why should i pay for the privelege of sitting squished between two loudmouth lummoxes while half the theater and the best seats in the house, are empty?


why wouldn't you take the best seats to begin with?
and if there are all those empty seats, do you think someone would stop you from moving?

- They weren't the best seats to begin with. They only became the best seats after the lummoxes moved in.

- Someone may not prevent you from moving but someone may cause you to move again if you happen to move to their reserved seats before they get there.

depinmad
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Postby depinmad » Fri Jun 01, 2007 7:43 am

bluethedog wrote:
Stu Levitan wrote:
depinmad wrote:why should i pay for the privelege of sitting squished between two loudmouth lummoxes while half the theater and the best seats in the house, are empty?


why wouldn't you take the best seats to begin with?
and if there are all those empty seats, do you think someone would stop you from moving?

- They weren't the best seats to begin with. They only became the best seats after the lummoxes moved in.

- Someone may not prevent you from moving but someone may cause you to move again if you happen to move to their reserved seats before they get there.


exactly and as i explained in my original post, the best seats in the house were not available online, and remained empty for the whole show.

omegarobot
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Postby omegarobot » Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:07 pm

I've been to 4 showings at Sundance. I've enjoyed them all and I have picked seats I believed would be beneficial to me (I asked the cashier to recommend a seat to me and haven't regretted doing so since). My biggest problem, though, was that of those four times, twice there were people sitting in my seat.

The first time was kinda embarassing because I was with my girlfriend and I didn't want to cause a scene as the movie was just starting. But it was rude that someone would just believe they had the right to a seat that could potentially be sold to someone. What's more is that since I didn't want to say anything, we sat in some random seat I prayed no one would come in and claim them from us because that would be embarassing for me and her to look like we're being neglectful of other people's seating rights. They sell those seats on a reserved seating basis for a reason: before going in there, we can see how crowded it's going to be all around us and we can gauge where we think would be good place to sit.

The third time, it happened again. But this time I wasn't going to let it go. I told the people that those were my seats. My friend got kinda embarassed for my telling them that, but I insisted that if people are so uptight about the amenities fee, don't pay it so then you're not in my seat. Before the movie started, they were asked again to move because someone else had the seats they were now sitting in.

It's because of this superior attitude that people have that makes them believe that they don't have to follow the rules just because they don't like them. Fine, don't like the rules, but don't ruin it for other people who find them comforting and just. Westgate still lets you sit where ever you want, I prefer you go there anyway so you'll definately not be in my seat at Sundance.

Now, to be fair, this is something I asked about and everyone should know: 30 minutes after the start time, they stop selling tickets for the film. Typically, ticket sales slow to a halt about 15 minutes after. So, 15 minutes into a movie, if you don't like where you are anymore, THEN you can move to where ever you want to. That's my compromise with the general public.

Also, they changed the name to amenities fee. They were calling it a service fee in place of reserved seating fee because even the cashiers knew it was misleading. One of the amenities is that you get to reserve your seat.

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Postby Bwis53 » Fri Jun 29, 2007 9:22 pm

Went to a matinee today. Had a nice time. I had a problem finishing my advance ticket buy online, two nights ago. The manager was very helpful and got me the kind of seat I wanted.(easy to get to and leave quickly) I had no trouble picking up my ticket, a day early. Sounds like it shouldn't be, but I've had some awful service, so I appreciate smooth service. I have to admit, I was happy to pay the $2. for something I wanted guaranteed, otherwise, I'd rent. The lounge was nice to sit in and wait for a few minutes. I didn't come for all the other amenities, this time, so can't comment about that.

bluethedog
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Postby bluethedog » Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:34 pm

omegarobot wrote:My biggest problem, though, was that of those four times, twice there were people sitting in my seat.

Myself and others have already pointed out this would happen - it's a problem with the whole reserved seating concept.


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