TL; DR Rant #1 – Movie Theater Refunds
I was reading an article on some movie news, as I often do. This particular article was showing some new trailers for a couple of upcoming films. One of the films was X-Men: Days of Future Past. Occasionally I will glance down at the comments, scoff at a few, nod at a couple of others and leave. But sometimes I will see a comment that just…well…grinds my gears. I saw a comment in which someone said that he didn’t care much for X-Men: First Class and that the above trailer didn’t do anything for him. Okay, everyone is entitled to their opinion and despite its good reviews, I can understand why someone wouldn’t like that movie. But then he said that a bunch of people asked for their money back at the screening he went to. This little comment enraged me for some reason to the point of a soapbox that was so long I didn’t feel comfortable posting it. So…I decided to bring my rant here. Enjoy.
Firstly, as a side-note, the way the commenter left the remark, there was an implicit snobbiness that denoted a sense of, “well, I am right because I saw some people ask for their money back.” The below argument is in a way targeted at that attitude, but also to the concept of movie theater refunds in general.
I have no problem with an opinion on the movie, and I can see why some people wouldn’t like X-Men: First Class. But the “people asking for their money back” comment is not really a provocative statement. I guarantee, somewhere, at some time, someone has asked for their money back on every movie released in theaters. I know plenty of people asked for their money back on, say, Titanic or Braveheart. Or an even less award-heavy film such as Raimi’s Spider-Man or The Avengers. Are those crappy movies because a few movie snobs were easily offended/thought they could do better? No.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I think, in most scenarios, people who ask for their money back are incredibly rude and should just accept the fact they didn’t like it or should have better informed themselves of the film. They should: a. Start watching more trailers/reading reviews before going to a movie if they are that particular. b. Quit taking movies so seriously (especially ones as silly in concept as any comic book movie is at its core).
I have almost walked out on a movie before. I wasn’t prepared for the content and it threw me off. I take responsibility for it and I didn’t ask for my money back. I think it is possible to be misinformed by marketing and thrown completely off-course. Such was the case with Cabin in the Woods. Many ads sold it as a straight horror flick. Many weren’t expecting the humor-driven script and odd style. While it was a pleasant surprise to some (like me), others were put-off and upset they didn’t get the product expected. I could understand an argument for getting your money back to some extent with this one.
In the case of X-Men: First Class, I saw little in that film that would call for a return of money. It was by no means horrible in comparison to all other X-Men/comic book films and therein the viewer should fully expect what they were getting ready to see. Even if you are disappointed in the finished product (everyone has an opinion, which is why you like movies more or less than others), you can’t honestly say you weren’t expecting to some extent to see a product similar to that. I just don’t understand the money-back thing. “That roller coaster was not to my satisfaction. I demand a refund!” “This burger was not as tasty as expected. I demand retribution!” Get over yourself, people!
This isn’t something like the product being ruined. Like, say, the sound goes out half-way through the movie or you find a bug in your salad at a restaurant. That is a product blemished by error. A refund would be expected. But when a company is providing a product and you just so happen to not like the product, is it justifiable to whine and cry until you get your way? I suppose it is understandable…to see such behavior from a 5-year old! I get it, you can’t get those 2 hours of your life back. But, guess what? You took that chance going into the theater, and moreover, you took that chance on a COMIC BOOK MOVIE. If you were really expecting more from your product, you probably should have focused more on the subject matter.
If you walk into Saving Private Ryan expecting a war drama and you get zombies eating Nazis, maybe a refund is in order. But if you walk into Saving Private Ryan expecting a war drama and you get a war drama, and for whatever reason you didn’t appreciate the vision of Spielberg, you have discovered something new about yourself and your opinion. But something you shouldn’t discover is that your opinion can earn you your money back if you complain enough.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a soapbox.
TL;DR – Don’t demand a refund from a movie just because it wasn’t your cup of tea.