White House Down at UltraStar Cinemas

White House Down at UltraStar Cinemas

Have you seen the preview for White House Down? The movie stars Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, and Maggie Gyllenhaal and is directed by Roland Emmerich. I wasn’t familiar with his work, but he is responsible for some pretty big films including Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012. If you have seen any, or all of those, you know those are some pretty epic movies. If you haven’t seen the preview for White House Down, check it out. This movie just looks incredible.

White House Down Official Trailer (2013)

We don’t go to the movies a lot, but that is mostly my fault. Until last week, I was working two jobs and worked pretty much every weekend. I quit that job to dedicate more time to my blog, and to have a life! We have lived in Arizona for a year, yet we barely feel like we know the city we live in. So I quit and we are ready to experience what the Valley has to offer… like movies!

Sneak Previews

Last week Sheryl won tickets to see White House Down at the UltraStar Cinemas in Scottsdale. It’s so easy to get free tickets to these she can’t even remember where she got them. She had tickets to see Lone Ranger last night, to see Man Of Steel last week, and has tickets to see something next week. She doesn’t even try to get these, they just fall in her lap. The tickets for tonight did, and we decided to meet at the theater at 5.

We walked in, found a line, and saw a table near the entrance to the theater. There was a stack of brown bags and a Rubbermaid container on the table. I joked with Sheryl about them taking our phones. She said they sometimes do that. I am not exaggerating here… but I have been to HUNDREDS of sneak previews, and have NEVER had to give them my cell phone. Brown bag or not, that is my personal property and I am not giving that to someone standing there with a brown bag.

We debated what to do for a few minutes, and then someone from the studio walks over and asks if anyone has an iPad, Kindle, or any other reader. He then said that they would only be “taking” iPods and cell phones. Nope. NOT going to happen.

What does the ticket say?

We leave the line and head toward the exit. I ask Sheryl for the tickets and ask to speak to a manager. Funny enough, the manager was standing behind the counter talking on her cell phone. She walked over, still on her phone, and eventually hangs up. Right off the bat she was rude, and basically told me she has no control over the situation. As the manager of the movie theater, she has no control over movies being shown in HER movie theater? That also didn’t fly.

We continued to talk about it for a few minutes, and she basically told me to leave. I wasn’t happy, but I was professional with her and going to make sure she heard my frustrations. When I asked her about them taking my cell phone, she said that it would be printed on the ticket. It was not. Here is what the ticket says.

“DISCLAIMER: Please note: ARRIVE EARLY! SEATING IS FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED, EXCEPT FOR MEMBERS OF THE REVIEWING PRESS. THIS TICKET DOES NOT GUARANTEE YOU A SEAT! THEATRE IS OVERBOOKED TO ENSURE A FULL HOUSE. THEATRE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERBOOKING. NO ADMITTANCE ONCE EVENT HAS BEGUN. This pass is the property of Sony Pictures, which reserves the right to admit or refuse access to the theatre at the discretion of an authorized studio and/or theatre representative. Duplicate passes will not be accepted. Event passes are non transferrable. This ticket is NOT for resale. Reselling of tickets is strictly prohibited and punishable by law. All those found in violation will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The ticket goes on to say, “MPAA – No Recording This event will be monitored for unauthorized recording. By attending, you agree not to bring any audio and/or visual recording device including laptop computers into the venue and you consent to physical search of your belongings and person for such device. If you attempt to enter with a recording device, you will be denied admission. If you attempt to use a recording device*, you consent to your immediate removal from the venue and forfeiture of the device. Nothing contained in this notice shall limit the available remedies Sony Pictures may have against you. Unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability (including damages up to $150,000). *This includes cell phones with photo capabilities.”

Here is what the ticket looked like.

White House Down at UltraStar Cinemas

I understand that I could record with my cell phone… every person in line and in that movie theater has a phone. Most if not all phones now have photo and video capabilities. If you can afford to live in Scottsdale, you can afford a cell phone with a camera. I am not bringing a video camera in… but I am also not giving you my cell phone.

Calling Corporate

We left the theater and I called their corporate headquarters to discuss this with someone with more power than the lady at the theater. They didn’t answer and haven’t called me back. I seriously doubt they do. If they do call me back, I will update this blog post with what they say.

We didn’t get to see White House Down tonight. I blame the studio AND I blame UltraStar Cinemas. If someone is willing to give up his or her cell phone, great… but I am not. If someone is willing to leave his or her cell phone in the car, that’s great… I am not. It was over 100° when we walked in the theater. NO WAY am I leaving my phone in my car.

UltraStar has lost two paying customers today. I am just over waiting in line for two hours to watch a movie that comes out on Friday. I will pay the $10 to see it this weekend to save me the trouble.

Oh, and on my way home I was texting my buddies Robert and Patricia. They see movies ALL the time, and I wanted their comments on the situation. Patricia said, “I’m going to watch a movie, not sit there and text. I am fine with leaving it in the car.”

I am not taking my phone in to text, either. I am taking my phone in because my phone is ALWAYS on my person. Robert, who sees more movies than anyone I have ever met, said, “I understand your phone is your personal property. But the policy at these screenings sometimes is you can’t bring in a phone. It’s to prevent piracy. They should have allowed you to keep your phone or informed you could take your phone back to your car.”

Again, it’s over 100° outside. My phone is not going to sit in my car. I understand why they do it… I really do. But it is 2013 for God’s sake. EVERYONE has a phone. Oh, and don’t even get me started on what my buddy Josh had to say about this. If I didn’t know any better, I would think he worked for the movie theater. Here are a few of his comments:

I won’t be going back to UltraStar, and I won’t be trying to get these tickets again. Thanks for letting me vent. As Sheryl had to say about it, “If you want to give up your phone for a few hours to see a free movie, then go ahead. I would rather save my time and pay the $10.”