Movie Tickets that don’t match

I noticed this in a story about why someone walked out of ALEXANDER:

Maybe my first clue that it wasn’t meant to be came when, though my husband had clearly specified “two for ‘Alexander,’ ” the ticket-seller sold us two tickets for “Blade: Trinity.” (We only noticed when we were wandering aimlessly around the multiplex, wondering why the theater number on our ticket didn’t match up with any of the theaters marked “Alexander.”)

This may have been a simple mistake or database error on the part of the movie theater. Or it may have been an intentional conspiracy.

There are two things that immediately jumped to mind when I read this:

  1. Someone wants to raise numbers for BLADE: TRINITY, or
  2. The theater’s cost per ticket for BLADE: TRINITY is less than that for ALEXANDER

If other people bought tickets for something besides ALEXANDER and received tickets for BLADE, the first option is in play. Someone somewhere is trying to manipulate the gross for BLADE upward in order to sell more tickets in the future by giving the impression that everyone is going to see it.

If, on the other hand, other people bought tickets for ALEXANDER and received tickets for something other than ALEXANDER (but also for something other than BLADE in some cases) we can figure the second option might be it. The studio/distributor of ALEXANDER may be charging a higher royalty (not sure what the correct term is) on each ticket sold, giving theater owners a reason to sell tickets to something else instead. This was reportedly a problem during the release of STAR WARS: EPISODE I, when George Lucas charged the rate he would have charged for the original films if the technology just would have been available back then.

A problem is that there can’t be too many people out there who actually intended to buy tickets for ALEXANDER, meaning that proving theory number two might be difficult.



  1. Why couldn’t it have been the case of a college student working a minwage job with his MP3 player turned up too loud? If it was, then I suspect that the CIA is sending subliminal messages underlain on the MP3 files to make the ticket seller make mistakes. After all, we all know the Pres. Bush won because of homophobia. Now he’s got the CIA screwing with our music files! James

  2. James: You’re totally right. It very well could have been a simple error and not some nefarious plot. But what fun is THAT? I’ve just noticed this from time to time and wondered how often it IS really a nefarious plot. I wonder how many ‘sold out’ shows of F911 were just CIA-directed responses by ticket sellers listening to CIA-modified mp3s. Makes you go ‘Hmmmm’. Or not.

  3. Speculation Mode On: 1. Both film are distributed by Warner Bros. distribution. NewLine Cinema is part of TimeWarner. 2. Despite taking a bath at the ticket, Warner Bros. lost on Alexander is less than at first glance. They’re only the distributor while a German production company bears the brunt of the large production cost. 3. Blade Trinity IS produced by TW entity, and it’s on TW’s book. 4. Since Alexander promotional & advertisement cost can probably be considered tax write-off, why not redirect some of its revenue to something that will reflect on your book?

  4. My wife and I went to a movie last evening. You can ask, ‘that’s news’? Well it is for us, since we only go approximately three (3) times a year. It relates to your story because of the incompetence of those who work at these places in today’s world. The poor thing who was the sole ticket seller didn’t have a clue about much. The fellow in front of us was trying to buy a gift certificate for $20. The ticket seller tried punching in the ‘data’ and couldn’t get a receipt, then tried calling someone, then gave up and got a manager to show up. Then another bright bulb showed up to help. Meanwhile a line of twenty plus were in back of us. They finally (after ten+ minutes) decided they couldn’t sell the poor guy a gift certificate and he left muttering. Then we got inside the place and made the bad decision to buy $16. worth of ‘food.’ While standing in line for this operation a young woman was sweeping with a broom (I kid you not; they evidently don’t own vacuums at this cineplex) and was sweeping popcorn remnants, assorted candy wraps, pennies, etc. I guess this would have been ok and written off as trying to keep the place clean, but she was SWEEPING RIGHT AT ME within five feet! Twice I gave her a dirty look, thinking she would be smart enough to stop. When she didn’t, I said in what my wife said was a loud (yell) voice: ‘Stop sweeping that stuff all over me, will you!’ Anyway, what a couple of zeros as our first two human interactions at the theater last night. No wonder they are moving even more towards automation.

  5. Re: blananced I’ve cut back on going to the theater in recent years. I’ve stopped going to the ticket counter all together. If the ticket vending machine doesn’t bother you, it’s the way to go. No lines.

  6. Nice to see so many people applying Hanlon’s Razor, even if it is only to something this trivial. Never attribute to malice (or greed or other nefarious motivation) that which can be caused by stupidity.