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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film-Yak   » AMC Sensory Friendly Showings? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: AMC Sensory Friendly Showings?
Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12295
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 03-28-2018 07:42 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So a friend of mine (from the high school days) posted a humerous experience he had at an AMC movie theatre. I say humorous because I wasn't a participant but reading, with great humor, his experience. WTF is this "Sensory Friendly Showings" BS? I'd never go to one of those. They can't be good for the industry.

Anyway, here is his story. Note, he is not, in any way, part of the cinema industry but is definitely technosavy and has had friends in the industry enough to have an idea of what goes on in the industry.


Hey, I know, let's just pop in and see a movie. In the theater. You know, for that cinematic experience that makes it worth the ticket price.

Click. Clickety-click-click, search, tap. Using AMC's web site, buying directly from them. Ah! A $3.50 "convenience fee." Grrr. Fine, we're already this far. It's Tuesday night, it's not like we really need reserved seats, but, fine. Movie is in our choice of "3D" or "Digital." 3D is a bad thing, so Digital it is. Two good seats, dead center in the auditorium. OK, off for a casual bite of food with time to spare.

Walk into the large theater, where there are ... two other people. Hey, dudes. So, the four of us are watching the pre-show ads, and a theater employee wanders in and comes overs to us. In a barely audible sheepish mumble:

EMPLOYEE: "Just saying, this is a cents petting throwdown."

WE: [stare at her with eyebrows raised]

DUDES IN FRONT OF US: "It's a ... what?"

EMPLOYEE: [even less audibly] "Flemmish smelting goose down." [walks off after we try to ask her what she's on about]

THEATER: [starts the feature ... leaving the auditorium lights on full]

ON SCREEN: "Welcome to a Sensory Friendly Showing! For your enjoyment and safety, we're leave the lights on for you. Feel free to get up, walk around, text, chat, dance, sing and just be you!"

WE: [simultaneously] "What the f...!"

AUDITORIUM: [for the first 15-20 minutes of the movie, groups of three or four people keep wandering in and shuffling around to different seats]

I believe AMC has just received our last ticket dollars ever.

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Sam Graham
AKA: "The Evil Sam Graham". Wackiness ensues.

Posts: 1393
From: Waukee, IA
Registered: Dec 2004

 - posted 03-28-2018 08:04 AM      Profile for Sam Graham   Author's Homepage   Email Sam Graham   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A showing where wackiness ensued right there in the auditorium.

Bravo, AMC. Bravo. [beer]

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Lyle Romer
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1383
From: Davie, FL, USA
Registered: May 2002

 - posted 03-28-2018 08:17 AM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I guess this is some kind of thing for autistic people. This is from AMC's website:

AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! Our Sensory Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) and Tuesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month. Please check your local theatre listings for specific showtimes, and don't forget to share your family fun with #AMCSensoryFriendly.
There can't possibly be enough people that would buy a ticket specifically for this type of show to offset the revenue and customers lost from these showings. I don't understand why an autistic person would want to pay for this let alone anybody else.

Not meaning to come of like a jerk but if you or a friend/child/relative has autism that doesn't allow them to enjoy a standard movie theatre experience, then don't go to a movie theatre.

Accommodations for disabled people and people with hearing or vision problems (although the solution for the latter is more like an audio book than a movie) can be made without adversely effecting other people. Unfortunately for people with autism (which from the latest statistics seems to be 135% of the population), this type of accommodation adversely effects everybody else.

If AMC is going to have shows like this, they need to be VERY clear before you buy the ticket. Not just have some little logo or small print on the show time listing that nobody understands.

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Mark Ogden
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 887
From: Little Falls, N.J.
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 03-28-2018 08:19 AM      Profile for Mark Ogden   Email Mark Ogden   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Deleting. Lyle just covered the point I meant to make.

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Frank Cox
Film God

Posts: 2016
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: Apr 2011

 - posted 03-28-2018 11:02 AM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's been several years since I did this last, but I used to occasionally have a private show for the local group home/sheltered workshop where they would bring a dozen or twenty people that they would otherwise not take out anywhere. Since it was a private show just for them it didn't matter if someone started screaming or creating a disturbance since nobody else was here.

Sometimes those shows were a bit wild, but the people they brought liked it a lot so it was worth doing.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10727
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 03-28-2018 11:45 AM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: AMC Sensory Friendly sales pitch
AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing!
Yeah. I can just see how this sort of thing could creep into many other feature screenings.

Sound turned down lower? Check. That's a common feature in many theaters already. The volume is up just enough to let you know you're not at home, but the sub-bass response and overall dynamics is still limp and wimpy enough to remind one of TV set speakers. But maybe that's a new thing to please these younger whipper snappers into little sound bars, pill-shaped bluetooth speakers and ear buds for their smart phones.

Lights turned up? Check. I've already seen that a few times where the automation wasn't set correctly. Why even bother with the automation? That's just something extra leg work that costs us on labor! Let's just leave the house lights on all the time! We might even save on insurance costs since people can see the aisle stairs better!

Audience members getting up, talking, walking, shouting or even singing? Well, why not? Can't be any worse than audience members compulsively playing with their phones, kicking seat backs and being messy with their food and drinks. Let's remove all those burdens that come with being considerate of others an proving one has a functional brain. Hell, making a trip to restroom is a big problem. The customer will miss some of the show. But now we have new policy at Ronco Cinemas: customers can piss and shit on themselves without leaving their seats! Diaper is optional, but much appreciated!

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 03-28-2018 01:00 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have a hard time believing that there was NO indication that the showing was a "sensory friendly." No signage at the ticket window, none on the auditorium, nothing on the ticket itself (on the phone)? Nothing but a marble-mouthed employee walking around telling people after they'd spent their money?

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12295
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 03-28-2018 03:00 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As I said, I know the guy and if it was even remotely in his face, he'd would have seen it.

Why else would they send an employee in to announce to each person about it if it was so well documented that everyone should already know.

The site was the AMC Tysons

I just tried several movies (including the one he attended) on Tuesday Evening. Nowhere was I made aware that it would be a special show.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12492
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 03-28-2018 03:17 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I guess the other thing I'd have done is, go ask if there was a different showing and if not, refund-city.

If there's really no indication, then that's a major fail on AMC's part. Maybe they HAD some signs up, but got complaints from poor sensitive people who were "triggered."

Being in business in a large city has got to be a hellish challenge these days.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

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From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009

 - posted 03-28-2018 03:51 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post

- Carsten

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Bill Brandenstein
Master Film Handler

Posts: 369
From: Santa Clarita, CA
Registered: Jul 2013

 - posted 03-28-2018 04:29 PM      Profile for Bill Brandenstein   Email Bill Brandenstein   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A semi-local theater, Simi Valley 10, does these monthly. They're formerly a Regal house that was closed and sold, now owned by Tristone Cinemas, a small SoCal chain. Just a few years ago you could go there for $5, and now that they're running a few first-run titles, it's $8 for a full-priced evening show.

Anyway, the first Saturday of each month there is ONE screen of their 8 dedicated to a 10AM Autism-friendly showing, and the title and date/time are always well publicized. I think they've done it right.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7130
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000

 - posted 03-30-2018 08:26 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The root cause of the problem here appears to be the nature of this screening was not properly and clearly explained to the customer during the online booking process.

One theatre I worked at in England in the 1990s did a low volume, and played on 01/mono (because there were complaints that the surround sound scared people) show of whatever was the blockbuster of the week at 1pm on Wednesdays, specifically for seniors (or OAPs, as they're known in Britain). If anyone who was clearly below the target age group tried to buy a ticket, this was explained to them, and as a result, there were almost no complaints.

The major accessibility issue locally to me now is Spanish language screenings. For a typical blockbuster, my local 14-plex will usually have two or three screens playing the original version, and one playing the Spanish dub. Sometimes all the English houses sell out, leading to complaints when only the Spanish show has open seats. Apparently they used to play subtitles, but a lot of the Spanish speakers complained that they had a hard time reading them, hence switching to one screen playing the dub. This issue boils down to straight math, I guess: if they sell more seats for the Spanish version than they have to turn customers away who want to see the English one, it makes sense to do it.

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

Posts: 2135
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004

 - posted 03-30-2018 06:34 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My company does sensory friendly showings the second Saturday of most new animated movies. The number of people we get varies by the movie, but those small number of people who attend are always extremely grateful.

Families who have a child - or even an adult - on the Autism spectrum often do not get a chance to go to the movies. The reason is their ASD person often engages in behaviors which might be disruptive to a more general audience. These include scripting - which mean reciting movie dialog or facts about some aspect of the movie. Stimming - which is often repetitive motions such as rocking in their seat, flapping their arms, or other similar motions. Sometime ASD people even need to be standing and moving around. These behaviors are part of how some people on the ASD spectrum process information. It's kind of like the mindless tapping of a pen, tapping a foot, or other similar things many of us do without even realizing.

Another common trait among people on the spectrum is they can be sensitive to extreme sensory experience. This includes the loud volume in am movie theatre, the large crowds, the lights being too dim, and more.

The purpose of providing sensory sensitive shows is to give these families an opportunity to see movies in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable.

Although we have had a small handful of customers make a stink about one of these shows, they are usually very accepting and understanding once the purpose is explained. However, if you get a low level employee who doesn't understand the purpose these shows serve, they can really create a negative perception.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12295
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 03-30-2018 07:47 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Leo is right. The root cause is that the show was not identified (or adequately identified) as something other than a normal show.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16270
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 04-01-2018 12:16 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Anyone that goes to any AMC Theater really deserves this sort of thing to happen to them. They are the worst of the worst and that is well known. They ARE just that bad! Like restaurants have reviews, so do theaters. Read the reviews on the theater you are wanting to go to before going there!

For starters look here!
Pissed AMC Customers

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