Thanks a lot, faceless Cineplex exec in Toronto

Dixie and I had a date night planned for tonight. Our first date in a couple of months. We got babysitters for the kids and were planning on an evening out: dinner and a movie. We managed to have the dinner. Then we drove to the movie theatre to see Clint Eastwood’s new film, Gran Torino. As we approached the theatre, Dixie noticed a piece of paper on the theatre door.

“A notice on the door. That’s never a good sign,” she said.

We approached the door. “See?”

The notice: ‘The 6:40 showing of Gran Torino is cancelled due to a pay-per-view concert showing.’

Unbelievable. That movie was most of the point of the whole night. And there is nothing else worthwhile seeing in the theatre right now: Mall Cop, Inkheart, Bridewars, Hotel for Dogs and Underworld. They chose to cancel the one Oscar-nominated highly regarded and well-reviewed film showing in town to show this pay-per-view concert, which, with all due respect, isn’t even someone famous.

I went inside and inquired about the concert. The guy showed me the poster.

“Why did you guys chose the one Oscar-nominated film for this?”

“It’s not our choice. Some guy in Toronto makes these decisions. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

“Has anyone bought tickets?” I asked.


“What happens if no one buys a ticket?”

“Nothing. We show the concert. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

In the few minutes we were there we saw at least 4 families or couples come to the theatre, read the sign and turn back. One family had driven an hour to the city specifically to see Gran Torino.

It makes absolutely no sense. They have a chance to make some money selling tickets to a film which many people still want to see, but instead they will show a pay-per-view concert to an empty theatre. From the looks of it–the printed note on the theatre door, and no mention of the concert on the marquee (but a 6:40 showing of Gran Torino still is)–this was a last minute decision by the Toronto executive. This also means that nobody in town knows about the pay-per-view concert (although the website is now changed to it) and they are not likely to sell even a single ticket to the showing.

Frustrating. Makes no sense at all.

Dixie’s normally the one to send strongly-worded emails to corporations, but I think I will be the one to do it this time.

Now what do I do with the evening? Dixie’s pumped about doing office work (boo!). I’m trying to decide if I should be responsible with this newly acquired time and do some homework or if I should just watch TV and get some entertainment out of this evening.

11 thoughts on “Thanks a lot, faceless Cineplex exec in Toronto

  1. Ian H.

    Inkheart wasn’t too bad – made me want to find the book and read it, which is never a bad thing for a film… Sorry about your evening.

  2. Andre

    Distributor Warner Bros. Canada might have words for Cineplex if they knew their advertised film was dumped for an unadvertised concert. At the very least Cineplex should give you passes – they advertised an event, you came and they refused to offer what they advertised.

    The film was nominated for a golden globe and other awards and is currently rated #82 on the IMDB list of best 250 films of all time.

  3. Marc

    Collette, the concert is no longer listed on Galaxy Cinemas’ website. It was a concert of “the best aboriginal talent” from somewhere (Canada?). I forget the name.

    Andre: are you suggesting I go all the way to Warner Bros?

  4. Andre

    The way it works is WB Canada makes a deal with Cineplex to show its movie to people. I’m not sure what the particulars of that arrangement are, but Gran Torino is the only WB movie playing at that theatre. Usually half of the revenue goes to the exhibitor, half to the distributor. So when Cineplex turned you and Dixie away, they picked the pocket of WB Canada for half of what you would have paid for admission. So it’s not irrelevant to WBC, and being in the business of entertainment, they might be interested to know that you were not entertained by your trip to the movies.

    The reality is that Cineplex can stop showing a film whenever they think they can fill the screen with a more profitable film; but this is generally a permanent decision; ie. the film is replaced by a new film. That’s not what happened in this case. They advertised one event and you came, then they refused to sell you what was advertised and tried to sell you something else.

    Complaining to Cineplex should get you passes. I have no idea what complaining to WBC would actually effect. Maybe they’ll send their own complaint to Cineplex. Maybe they’ll buy you dinner with Clint Eastwood. I’d complain to Cineplex first, if they don’t make things better for you guys, then it would be fair to complain to WB.

  5. Phil L

    Bummer. Janet and I saw Gran Torino – first visit to the cinema in several months – and it was excellent. I give it 9 stars out of 10.

    Good luck with the complaint.

  6. Marc

    9 out of 10? Wow.

    What a gyp. I love Clint Eastwood films. I haven’t seen a Clint Eastwood directed film that I didn’t enjoy.

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