The ODEON Southampton Saga Part II: The Response

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Earlier this month I published an open letter on The Edge about the declining standards at Odeon Cinemas Southampton. I recently received a sincere and very apologetic letter from the senior manager of the cinema explaining why I had not received a response sooner. She also went into details concerning why the performances I attended did not reflect Odeon’s best quality of service.

For reference purposes, the previous letter/feature published on this website will remain available. However, I would like to  say that although I was angry, puzzled and annoyed at the poor service I received, I am willing to give the cinema another chance.

Sadly, it is true that cinema-goers across the country have noticed a decline in standards in multiplex projection. Whilst I accept Odeon Southampton’s assurance that they will now make sure that they offer good service to their customers in the future, I believe it is important to stand up against bad projection and poor cinema performances. For this reason, I urge every cinema-goer to complain when they notice bad service, or when the duties of a projectionist are not carried out to the standard one would expect from a major cinema chain. Although 35mm film may be on the way out, digital projection is not just a case of flipping a switch. An image needs to be nurtured and carefully checked so as to make sure the audience is getting the best possible experience and value for their money.

So I shall leave it there. One may label it as a truce, although I never really saw this as a fight, just a film lover standing up for good quality cinematic experiences.

Once again I earnestly thank the cinema staff, and the senior manager, of Odeon Southampton who took the time to investigate my concerns.

Barnaby Walter

 

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Second year BA Film & English Student. Watches too many films and enjoys good novels.

4 Comments

    • avatar

      Agreed. When I clicked on this page I was expecting a thrilling tale of how Barnaby received a dismissive and evil response from Odeon, leaving him psychologically wounded and reluctant to go back into battle with the evil cinema tyrant. But then the beautiful love interest and the wisecracking sidekick (roles which would have been filled by Harbour Lights and Cineworld respectively) give him a pep talk and send him back into the warzone with a newfound resolve for getting the cinema experience he deserves. Barnaby then marches back into Odeon HQ and does battle with the evil projectionist overlord, eventually overwhelming him by shining the projector directly into his face, blinding him, and finally dispatching him by drowning him in overpriced popcorn and soft drinks. Finally free of the projectionist evildoers, Barnaby settles down to watch Dolphin Tale, but quickly discovers a whole new threat: PEOPLE WHO TALK DURING THE FILM. DUN DUN DUUUUUUNNNN!!!

      Now THAT would have been a saga.

      But this was a lengthy complaint and then an apology. Seems fairly standard to me.

  1. avatar

    Dear Barnaby

    Thank you for making a point about falling standards in the Odeon cinema company. I have experienced a rather disconcerting visit to the cinema today and a rather weak response to my complaint from a gentleman (I assume he was the duty manager, or manager???)
    I went to the 1pm Sat Showing of Woman in Black.
    Before the film had even started the young audience were very unruley, moving to empty seats and then having to move when the valid people arrived.
    A rather weak request was voiced by one of the staff asking people who were not in the right seats to move …. surprisingly no one admitted to being in the wrong seats or moved.
    She was still ‘disscussing’ this when the start of the film was running and the lights dimming.
    All through the film there was a constant loud chatter from pocket areas in the cinema. I had several unknown items thrown and struck my head. I eventually could not relax or enjoy the film and so went out to complain (No point in sitting in a film you can’t hear). The young ladies on duty were not surprised (apparently this showing is notorious for being rowdy), but one did come back in and went to speak to the people at the back.
    At the end of the film when I came out the yound lady on the door apologised once again and advised that the manager was already talking to someone else from the same showing who was complaining.
    When I went over to speak to the manager the conversation points went:-

    Manager: That’s why we warn people before they come in that this is a large number of children and a rowdy sitting, were you not advised and asked if you wanted to go to a different showing?
    Couple & Me: No we were not advised.
    Me: Indeed you were the person to check our tickets on entering and advised to ‘enjoy the film’.
    Manager: Well I can only apologise and give you free tickets for another showing another time?
    Me: If you know this is a ‘rowdy’ showing, surley you should have a member/s of staff in the whole showing as a deterrant to disruptive behaviour? and if there is disruptive behaviour remove these people to show it is not acceptable?
    Manager: There are approximately 60+ rowdy children at the showing time every saturday and I am not prepared to lose that revenue. If I threw them out, I would lose money.
    Manager: I’m not their parents. it is not my responsibility to control them.
    Me: I’m sorry but I disagree. Surely you are responsible to enable all cinema goers an enjoyable visit. After all you are part of the entertainment industry?
    Manager: No I don’t agree with you. “It’s not about enjoyment or entertainment, it’s about making money”.
    Couple: Vue cinemas have a member of staff in each corner of the cinema on certain showings.
    Manger: That’s why one of the staff came in through the film.
    Me & Couple: We didn’t see anyone, they were not visual.
    Manager: Thats part of our job to be unintrusive.
    Me: Then surely a visual element with potential eviction from the film for these young rowdy cinema goers would be better?
    Manager: No, if I threw them all out and banned them we would be out of business.
    Manager: Do you want free tickets then?
    Me: No, I am not happy with your explanation and will write to the head office.
    Couple: Yes, but we are also not happy with the response and will be writing too.
    Manager: I will get the tickets then.

    As a frequent cinema goer it is such a disappointment to receive this sort of attitude. After all as an adult paying for 4 children and myself, as a frequent cinema goer to the Odeon in Bath and a spending on tickets and food etc, am I not more of a potential money loss?

    Also as an observation of the lack of control, we saw a very young boy entering the Project X showing …. 18 rated and not being stopped. He is the same age as my son (I know this becasue he is in the same class as my son at school.

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