Are Cineworld jeopardising their own Secret Screenings?

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Yesterday was Cineworld’s first Secret Screening of 2016 and the second I have attended and they seem to be following an alarming pattern. The first Secret Screening I attended was in December when Cineworld made the bold but clearly very deliberate move of placing their screening a few days before the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

What happened next was widely reported, even in some news websites, as Cineworld Unlimited members began to speculate that the film could well be Star Wars and that Cineworld was hopefully giving them the chance to see it a full two days before anyone else.

By scheduling their event near Star Wars, it left people predictably disappointed

This obviously wasn’t the case and when the green title card for In the Heart of the Sea appeared on-screen, an audible groan followed and few people actually left the cinema! Even though Cineworld had told people it wasn’t Star Wars (though not necessarily in the clearest of ways) they still got their hopes up and for many, it wouldn’t have mattered what the movie was, they were going to be disappointed.

You could chalk this up to coincidence had it not been for this week’s Secret Screening which comes only a few days before the release of Deadpool. Although not on the same scale as Star Wars, Deadpool is still a highly anticipated movie with many people relishing the chance to see it before anyone else, so this Secret Screening was again met with tweets and messages stating things such as “if it isn’t Deadpool, we riot” or “I will throw my Cineworld Card away if the film isn’t Deadpool.”

Of course people were expecting Deadpool… and were disappointed

As you may already know, the movie was in fact Triple 9 and when that title card appeared, the groans were more audible than for Star Wars. This meant that the audience were already viewing Triple 9 with disappointment and it would mean the movie, which is actually very good, would have to work hard to bring them round.

This seems to be a pointless and worrying trend that Cineworld are beginning. If the Secret Screening had been a week later, the whole issue of people really wanting it to be Deadpool would not have been. People would go into the film with little to no expectation and instead of groans because it wasn’t what people hoped, they my give the movie more of a chance.

If Cineworld waited a week, people may appreciate the movie they did see more

It isn’t even like Cineworld need to build this “fake” anticipation. Secret Screenings build their own interest because film fans are guaranteed to see a movie that isn’t released for a few weeks and have the opportunity to be genuinely surprised. If they, like me, can view the experience with an open-mind, they may even see a film that they wouldn’t have chosen to watch willingly and thus be pleasantly surprised.

Instead, what Cineworld do is begin their Secret Screenings with a tint of disappointment and it seems to be the cinema chain jeopardising their own event. They could very easily just schedule their movies in more clever ways so nobody feels disappointed or like they have been “tricked.”

Overall, whether it is coincidence or a marketing ploy, to schedule Secret Screenings around highly anticipated movies may be doing the event more damage than good. What should be an exciting, intriguing and quite novel experience is tainted with disappointment when it isn’t the film people feel it should be. This feels slightly pointless when it could be so easily rectified by waiting a week!

I guess two days before this film is released will be the next Secret Screening

 

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8 comments

  1. What cinema do you go to where people groan all the time? Haha.
    People at Sheffield seemed fairly happy with the film and chatting to people around me everyone knew it wouldn’t be Deadpool (although wished it would be). I saw one guy in a Deadpool t-shirt but I got the impression he wore it ironically.

    • I think they just had clear expectations and unfortunately Triple 9 didn’t meet them. I think deep down everyone knew it wouldn’t be Deadpool really.

    • That’s fair. Are they surprises though? I think that this is a “secret screening” is what makes it so appealing and also fuels the disappointment.

  2. Triple 9, I didn’t go because some people’s guess was the last thing I wanted it to be. wouldn’t have been bothered with it being Triple 9.

    Ok am I the only one who went to the In The Heart of the Sea screening where almost everyone knew what it was going to be? I heard no groans what so ever (someone yelling something out that’s it) and I saw very few people leaving.

    Never thought about Deadpool being released shortly after. But yeah I can see what you mean by the risk they took. Only other film I could find that they showed as a secret screening left no one surprised or impressed and many walking out. It was the secret life of Walter Mitty which apparently had been so heavily advertised many said there was no way it could have been anything else. Now that I think of it, with that in mind, if the Molby Dick one hadn’t been advertised as being in 3D my money would have been Joy. what wasn’t that advertised before after Mockingjay part 2 came out?

    • I think many people at my screening still had the slight idea it could be Star Wars and I had plenty of groans at both.

      Never considered it could be Joy for the first one at all. I try to keep my mind as open as possible whatever it may be. I quite liked Triple 9 in the end.

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