Wednesday, March 07, 2007

What's the deal with Carmike?

I have a bad feeling about the Carmike theater in Greensboro. I think it's the management. I have never forgiven them for ruining a movie for me. I was there to see a small film the same night that a much larger film (think Spiderman) was opening, and my film started a bit sooner than the other. Instead of making folks line up to wait to be seated, they allowed a bunch to gather in the lobby, blocking the ticket taker so those of us who should be seated right away couldn't get through. I spoke to the security guard about it, and he referred me to the manager, who shrugged her shoulders as if to say "What do you want me to do about it?" I suggested she use her staff to corral the crowd. She refused, so I requested a ticket refund and did not return to that theatre for years after. I only reluctantly go there now. If I have any choice of venues, I will do whatever I can to avoid going to Carmike.

On the plus side, Carmike is an early adopter of digital technology, but what good does it do to have great technology, if the theatre management doesn't take responsibility for what happens to the guests?

Now the Consolidated franchise has moved into town. Both the Consolidated theatres and Carmike charge over $8 for an evening show, but I'll drive further and pay slightly more to go to the Consolidated instead, because they are clean, well-staffed, organized. I have never missed a movie because of poor crowd management, even if I arrive at the last second.

I've never gone to the movies to be stepped on. I go to hear the laughter, or sighs, or surprise, to share the experience, to remember. If I saw Norbit at home on DVD, I would give it two stars, but in a theatre full of people, it gets a bonus star for surrounding me with laughter.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree!

    My mother's a big horror movie buff, as am I. We decided last April to see "Slither" when it was released. It was a midnight show, yet the ticket taker kept reiterating that "the theater's not clean yet." There were several guys waiting to see it as well. We all kept telling him the movie's going to start any minute and this is ridiculous. Finally, midnight came and went and one of the guys walked over the velvet rope. The ticket taker guy said, "Nah, man you can't go in yet. The customer said, glancing at his watch, "Well, it's midnight, my movie's starting, I'm going in." Ticket guy finally caved. Sadly, this was not an isolated incident as it seems Carmike keeps people waiting an inordinate amount of time in line in the lobby before or as a film starts. I can recall countless times when my hands have gone numb from holding a large soda while waiting in line to go to the theater showing my movie.

    I'm in Savannah, Georgia; other than Carmike, we have Regal Entertainment Group which does a pretty good job of crowd control and timely seating of customers. A company called Trademark Cinemas recently re-opened a long closed (since 1998) theater here (Victory Square 9, now Victory Square Stadium 9) and spent $1 million refurbishing it with stadium seating, do-it-yourself popcorn butter stations, a soda fountain, and improved sound and projection equipment. I've yet to go but they have discounts on certain movies on Tuesdays so that puts them above the others in my book.

  2. Becky, I would like to email you.

    Could you please get in contact with me at wesley (at)

    Please delete this comment once you have seen it. Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon.