Better Be On Time
Alamo Drafthouse no late seating policy aims to improve movie-watching andpunctuality
Alamo Drafthouse doesn’t want to hear your excuses. Oh, you’re late because you couldn’t wrap up that last drink in time? Sorry. Here’s a voucher. Come again, please. What’s that? Your tire blew out, you called AAA to tow you to the theater, and now you just want to sit down and watch the movie? Can’t do it — but here’s a refund.
Last week, Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse announced a bold new “no late seating” policy that will go into effect January 13, 2013. (Yep, that means the policy will be in place when Dallas gets is first Drafthouse next spring.)
The initiative, which will ban late arrivers from entering a screening after it has started, is another progressive step the flourishing theater chain is taking to win back the movie theater from those who wish to see its demise — talkers, texters and, now, late arrivers.
“If customers show up after the feature starts, they have missed it,” read a press release. “If a film starts at 7:30 pm, customers are welcome to arrive anytime up to then.”
In part a response to the Drafthouse’s well-received reserved seating program, the ban on late arrivals hopes to send a clear message to potential moviegoers: get here on time, regardless of whether or not your seat is reserved.
And, really, that should be obvious. Sure, the reserved seating policy is meant to eliminate the need to wait in line for a movie, but it’s less about arriving five minutes before the theater goes dark and more about guaranteeing a great seat, anywhere the ticket buyer wishes to sit.
Unfortunately, some people just didn’t get that. “The reserved seating caused people to show up later than they otherwise would,” read the release, “and the no late seating policy is designed to counteract the increased tendency to show up after the show start time and interrupt patrons who are already seated.”
Of course, the initiative will not be as harsh as the no talking policy, which prevents an ejected moviegoer from receiving any kind of refund. If someone arrives late to a movie, because sometimes that happens and it’s out of the person’s control, Alamo will issue a voucher for another screening or a full refund, if a ticket was purchased in advance.
With a strict, but fair, policy — aimed at improving the moviegoing experience for everyone — Drafthouse hopes to set a new precedent for all movie theaters: Show respect for the movie and your fellow patrons and arrive on time.