Star Wars: Episode VII is probably the most anticipated movie in history. People were buying tickets for opening night back in October. Has any other movie inspired people to buy their tickets two months before it arrives?
I was one of those nerds who bought their ticket before Halloween, mainly because I was worried some jackass on Twitter would ruin the movie before I got to see it.
Perhaps finding out spoilers would’ve been better than the hell I went through last night.
My roommate and I had tickets for the 10:45 p.m. 3D showing of The Force Awakens at the Pacific Theater at the Grove, which is a mall in West Hollywood, CA. Thinking there would be a giant line, we arrived about 45 minutes before the movie started. The person who ripped our tickets told us that our screening would be delayed, which made us feel like complete putzes for getting there so early when we could’ve watched another episode of Jessica Jones on Netflix.
Apparently some dickhole pulled the fire alarm at the theater around 8:45 and they had been forced to evacuate the building. Of course, the movie theater staff did not tell us this fact and instead let us stand in the lobby seething with rage. We just assumed they were completely incompetent. Here’s an image of everyone after they were evacuated:
We were #evacuated from #TheGrove #theater during the 7pm showing of #StarWars #TheForceAwakens . Many fans didn’t respond to the fire alarm at first and tried to at least see the end of a good fight scene. Eventually everyone from all 10 screenings was kicked out. Everyone crowded together, dressed in their very best #nerdgear, and waited hopefully. They eventually cleared the building and let the potentially #AngryMob back in before they started using their #Jedi mind tricks. We resumed the movie, and had time to get more snacks without missing anything. #MerryNerdmas to everyone! #iLoveLA #NotMyFirstFire
For 45 minutes we played games on our phone and wandered around the lobby killing time. As 10:45 approached, we realized something: the previous showing was still playing in our theater. There’s no way this movie’s starting before 11.
It should be noted that the 10:45 showing was sold out, so there was a throng of people standing outside the auditorium waiting to get in, most of them holding sodas and giant bags of popcorn. (My roommate and I waited to purchase our concessions until right before the theater doors opened so we wouldn’t look like complete fools holding oversized Star Wars novelty cups for an hour.)
A little before 11:30, almost 45 minutes after our movie was scheduled to start, the movie ahead of us got out and we were allowed to go in. Armed with our boxed candy, 3D glasses and sodas, we hustled into the theater and got ready for J.J. Abrams to blow our goddamn minds. After everyone sat down, a staff member at the Grove made the following announcement:
“Due to technical difficulties, tonight’s screening will not be shown in 3D.”
People went ballistic. They were yelling that they had bought their tickets back in October and how they had to wait almost an hour for the movie and now it wasn’t even going to be in 3D. Still, we accepted our fate. We just wanted to see the most hyped movie of all time.
Things would get worse.
As the lights dimmed, the first screen to pop up said, “IT’S TIME TO PUT ON YOUR 3D GLASSES.” People started booing. But then the first preview came up, and it was in fucking 3D! What the hell is going on here? So everyone scrambles to put on their glasses. Except there’s another problem: The screen is fuzzy as hell.
Characters in the foreground were semi-clear, but anything in the background was completely blurred. People are shouting that the movie is unwatchable, but apparently the entire theater staff was out in the hall eating Raisinets or whatever.
Despite the horrible picture quality of the previews, we waited to see if the movie itself would be better.
NOPE. The Force Awakens comes on and the same thing happens. Things right at the front of the screen are sort of clear, but everything else is a blurry mess. People go ballistic again. People are yelling, “Is it blurry for everyone else?” “Raise your hand if you can’t see the screen!” And then one jackass just keeps yelling, “We want free T-shirts!” That guy was a douche.
About half the theater leaves within the first two minutes to complain, and about five minutes in they stop the show. Another staff member comes into the theater (because that went so well last time), and tells everyone they’re going to stop and play the movie in 2D now. You know, exactly like they said last time.
After the announcement, a guy comes in and asks everyone to turn in their 3D glasses. This sets off another eruption of boos. At this point, it’s 11:45 p.m., over an hour since our movie was supposed to begin. People are shouting at the guy to just start the movie and we’ll turn in our glasses later. One woman shouts, “Fuck you, motherfucker. Play the fucking movie.” You would’ve thought we getting ready for a Tarantino movie.
One guy threw his (I believe) empty soda into the air angrily. People said we should throw our glasses at the employee, but that would only mean a bunch of other moviegoers would get hit in the head by airborne objects.
This might be the closest I ever come to witnessing a riot.
Now, we should’ve been suspicious that they were collecting the glasses in the first place. Why was the staff so intent on pissing us off even more? Well, we found out. After all the glasses were turned in (my roommate and I hid our glasses under our chairs in case they messed up and played the 3D version again), ANOTHER theater employee comes in. I can only guess they’re out in the hallway pulling straws, or possibly Red Vines, to see who will go in to tell this increasingly hostile mob the new bad news.
The new guy comes in and says, “You know what’s coming next. We’ve cancelled your screening of Star Wars.”
People were shouting expletives I had never heard before. They were berating this poor guy who probably makes minimum wage and had nothing to do with all the issues. One woman took her full soda and threw it against the carpeted wall, leaving a giant stain. I was pretty mad at the time, but even I thought that was a dick move.
A new employee came in and told us we could either get a refund or get tickets to a different showing that night. It’s now a little past midnight and my roommate and I had been in the theater for over two hours and seen about five minutes of the movie. We scurried into the lobby to get into next possible show. There was a giant line at guest services of people trying to get refunds. At one point, someone was shouting in the lobby, “I want to see a manager!” I’m pretty sure it was the same douche who kept demanding free T-shirts.
We ended up getting into the 12:15 showing in 3D. (Good thing we kept our glasses!) As everyone else stayed in the lobby trying to figure out which movie posters would make the best weapons to use against the theater employees, we sat down and enjoyed a truly excellent Star Wars movie.
And before you accuse me of making all of this up, here are a few people who tweeted about the incident:
WORST/SNIDE service at #TheGrove “You know what’s coming next” usher on Star Wars cancellation, after making us and everyone wait 2 hours— Carly Cylinder (@theflowerchef) December 18, 2015
The only thing funnier than #thegrove canceling Star Wars is people hateful reactions. I got my milk duds though-I’m chill— Jessica Heidenreich (@J_Bojangles) December 18, 2015
I would 100 percent recommend seeing The Force Awakens. But if you live near West Hollywood, I suggest you skip the Grove and hit the Chinese Theater. Mainly because I’m pretty sure all those people from my movie are still in the lobby demanding free popcorn vouchers.
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Joseph Misulonas is the Girls co-editor for Playboy.com. If you were at this screening, please contact him on Twitter at @jmisulonas or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.