Odeon – fanatical about films?

Are cinemas themselves guilty of ensuring that the films we crunch our over-priced popcorn to are lacking in diversity and quality?

I am a film fan. I love both ‘arty’ films as well as the usual summer blockbusters and would happily site through Snakes on a Plane, Transformers, Delicatessen or Mutronics the Movie with the same passion and love for the artistry of films (well maybe not the last one). And when a new movie comes out that sounds good, has had nothing but praise from fans and critics alike, then I am more than willing to part with my well earned pennies to sit in a cinema and watch a movie.

I even, at times, pay the excessive fees and actually buy food in a cinema and for all the moaning about irritating chavs with phones, half hour adverts and the unreasonable starting times, there is still something fun and endearingly entertaining about sitting and watching a film with an audience.

Therefore when companies say they are ‘Fanatical about Film’ I expect them to be as passionate as I am. I see myself as a film fanatic and if a company can provide for my craving then fantastic, I am all for that, and we have what is commonly known as a lovely film match made in heaven.

So then to the above company and the focus of my rant, the lovely Odeon and its supposed passion for film which I personally feel is really nothing more than a hollow lie.

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If they were passionate about films and really not just interested in getting you to part with cash they would actually put films on that you wanted to see. This Easter weekend we have two releases at different ends of the cinematic spectrum – first up is Meet the Spartans which has been universally chastised, maligned and billed by critics as probably one of the worst films ever to grace the local multiplex. A rancid turd of a parody, I have yet to see or hear an opinion that the film is anything less than a pathetic comedy which has little-to-no jokes in it. However on a quick flick through the times and listings of my local Odeon, it is shown no more than four times.

On the other end of the spectrum is the much praised Spanish/Mexican horror film The Orphanage, which has been praised and critically acclaimed much in the way Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth was. Now trying to see this film this weekend it seems damn near impossible, as not only is the film not advertised on the front page of the cinema’s web page, after much clicking I find that the film is only being shown in ‘selected cinemas’, the nearest being 30 or so miles away.

It really just makes me mad that cinema companies ignore good films and cannot understand why they feel that the cinema going public are by and large brain-dead morons, who are a Michael Bay-chasing set of exploding car addicted teenagers. And while I understand that they have to cater to this demographic, as well as the other demographics they seem to cater for ( kids, mums and babies, golden oldies), they seem to think that if a film has subtitles, is a bit different or from a country other than the US that it is in some way non-profitable, arty or that people don’t want to see it. And we do! Us the thirty odd year old, fully employed passionate film going public who have a disposable income and a desire to see films.

The insistence that film companies and cinemas are losing ‘millions’ via bit-torrent and file sharing is to me a bit of a fib. I feel that this is really down to them as a company not really handling what their customers want to see.

If they actually put a wider variation of films on, a bit of choice and looked at an audience other than kids and spotty teens, then they might find that, as Nintendo has done for the gaming market, that the usual demographic is not the only market out there. They might also discover that both male and females of all ages like to be entertained by the power of cinema.

Fanaticism describes the essential need for something, to be totally committed to an idea, and I feel that by not catering for me, along with the many thousands of film fans like me by not putting films like The Orphanage on (not to mention the lack of screens showing Blade Runner before Christmas), they should not parade the slogan ‘Fanatical About Film’ Because they’re not. All they are interested in is selling you bad summer tat with the added bonus of popcorn, syrupy cola and stinky Doritos…

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All for way over the odds.