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When is It Okay to Get a Refund at the Movies?

When is It Okay to Get a Refund at the Movies?

Every once in a while this kind of story pops up for people to laugh or tweet the words “face palm” about: a moviegoer sees a film that wasn’t what they expected, and they want their money back. Sometimes, as in the case of a woman who thought “Drive” was going to be like “The Fast and the Furious,” they even sue. Many cinema chains have to please their patrons to avoid a bigger fuss (as a former theater manager, I know this very well), while heroic indie art houses get praise for denying refunds when the issue is just that someone was bored with “The Tree of Life.”

Now, according to the Telegraph, Odeon theaters in the UK are seeing walk-outs of the Golden Globe winner The Artist because it’s a silent film (and because it’s not widescreen), and those unaware of this are indeed getting refunds when they complain. It seems they’re not staying for the full experience so they have a right, to the extent that they aren’t getting the product that they’ve paid for. Few people agree, though, that they should be appeased when it’s their own fault for being unaware, stupid and without proper taste.

But moviegoing shouldn’t be a gamble. And I find it funny that this latest story is generating so much defense of the goods when just last week people were arguing that we shouldn’t be screwed over with cheap product at the cinema, such as in the case of “The Devil Inside.” I also don’t believe moviegoers need to do a lot of research before entering an auditorium. Reviews aren’t that important, nor truth, and marketing is deceptive. And movies aren’t a car or a computer, though they’re getting up there in price, so they shouldn’t require lots of legwork.

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