LAHORE: The Cinestar IMAX Theatre in Township, Lahore, has abruptly changed its schedule causing inconvenience to several moviegoers who had planned their evening to watch the scheduled feature films, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Without announcing it on their website, the cinema management had closed its door to people who arrived there to watch the 8:45 pm movie show. “The reason for closing the cinema today was 27th Ramzan,” one of the guards said. It is understandable to confuse lunar date of the Eid day, but the Cinema management had 27 days since the start of Ramzan to update their website with a short notice, or to be more obvious, not selling tickets for 27th Ramzan.
One of the theatregoers told Pakistan Today that he had purchased the tickets for the movie show one day in advance. At the time of buying the tickets, there was no mention of Cinestar being closed on Thursday. “When I came here the doors of cinema were shut and guards had told us and other people to go back as there was no show today,” he added.
The people waiting outside the cinema had no clue why the show was cancelled and if it was cancelled then why they were not informed about this new development. The management of the cinema was also not present on the scene adding to the cluelessness of the people who were already there with tickets.
When guards were inquired about this whole unusual situation, they said that they had received orders from the management that the cinema will be closed on Thursday.
The strange about this order is, if the Cinestar was already planning on closing its cinema then how they could possibly sell tickets on the same day’s afternoon, one person on the scene said.
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All Cinestar tickets clearly mention that “if for any reason a film is not played on the date and time mentioned you are entitled to 100% refund”. To that end, all customers were refunded but it was not enough for disgruntled moviegoers who rather than a refund were willing to get new tickets for the next available show.
The clueless staff, however, maintained that they had been instructed by the management to refund all tickets and not to issue any new ticket for any film.
The following day the same customer who had had to get his two tickets refunded on Thursday called the Cinestar IMAX UAN number to confirm well in advance whether the cinema would be open for business or not, the phone recording of which is available with Pakistan Today:
As is evident from the call made at 11:43AM on Friday 23-06-2017 the Cinema was open and showing the 8:45 PM show of WonderWoman.
A screenshot of the customer’s call recording app shows that it was an outgoing call to 111-CINEMA (111-246-362) at 11:43 AM yesterday.
Upon reaching the cinema 20 minutes before the show started to buy tickets the scene was similar to the day before, no lights, barriers in front of the parking and 6 to 8 armed security guards telling moviegoers to turn back as the cinema was closed.
“I can understand the rationale behind the Cinema closing for the 27th of Ramzan but it is odd that the following day customers are again told the cinema is open but is actually closed when they reach the premises. Plus the second time around there was no staff at all, just the guards following orders” said the customer
“I think there is some security threat because it makes little sense to close operations like this so abruptly with Eid just a couple of days away and when families want to watch late shows such as this one just before Sehri” opined one customer at the Cinema on Friday.
No one from the Cinestar management was available for comment on both days.