Yes, OK, Odeon, why don’t we talk about being “fanatical about film”?
For a start, I’m not a film nerd; I couldn’t tell you who produced most of the films I love, although I do sometimes look them up on IMDB. (The actors I can tell you, OBVIOUSLY; I’ve watched the films. Duh!)
BUT I DO LOVE FILMS.
When I lived in Edinburgh, I used to go to the cinema two, sometimes three times a week. I’d walk home from work, put some food in the oven to roast, go for a run, come home, shower, eat and then walk across the city to the Cameo or the Filmhouse or the Dominion. I saw all the major films, loads of minor ones and some that, despite their excellence, I’m surprised ever saw the light of day (Hello! Atanarjuat – The Fast Runner.)
And then at the weekends, I’d take my daughters to the cinema. One week, I went to the cinema five times! Honestly, I am your perfect potential customer.
So, anyway, if we’re talking “fanatical about film”, Odeon, I think I’m qualified to be in the conversation.
On Sunday, I took my son to your Odeon in Preston to see The Amazing Spider-Man. He loves the cinema, too. That’s good for you, isn’t it, Odeon? People growing up, seeing the value of the cinema experience over watching DVDs at home. Yes, right. We’ll come back to this point in a minute.
So, we went in and went to the front desk to buy our tickets. “Two for The Amazing Spider-Man, please” I said, indicating Dan at my side. You know, one adult, one child. “Would you like premium seats?” I was asked but I thought, no, by the time we’ve bought snacks and drinks, it’ll be twenty quid. “No, thank you.” I replied.
“That will be nineteen pounds and ten pence, including your 3D glasses, please.”
NINETEEN POUNDS AND TEN PENCE. For a man and his son to go and see a film.
But I paid, of course.
And then we paid £4.50 for some dorritos and cheap cheese dip (“nachos”) and £2.65 for some carbonated water flavoured with cheap syrup.
£26.25 to see Spider-Man.
Anyway, I put that to one side. It was paid, we were in, we were going to enjoy the film together (which we did; it was brilliant, especially Martin Sheen).
But at the end of the adverts, there was an infomercial, or whatever they’re called, showing a closed down cinema, the deserted auditorium interspersed with shots of people watching films: people enjoying the cinema vs the decaying, unused theatre. The subtext was clearly that something valuable was being lost. Something enjoyable and precious was under threat.
And do you know what the message was, at the end of the clip? Don’t buy pirated movies.
You idiots. YOU BLOODY IDIOTS!
It’s not pirates that are keeping people out of the cinemas, it’s your ridiculous prices, which mean that an ordinary family can’t afford to go to the cinema on a Sunday afternoon. Have you ever heard of EasyJet? Lower your prices, Odeon, and fill your cinemas. You can make far more money – which is clearly your passion, not films – by getting LOADS of people into your movie-houses.
I love films. LOVE them. I’ve been taking my children to the cinema for twenty years and now I can barely afford to.
You idiots. Fanatical about film? No, passionate about profits.