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Premiere for 'The Women' a ripoff

Posted: October 19, 2008 7:20 p.m.
Updated: December 21, 2008 5:00 a.m.
My wife and I attended a premiere held in Canyon Country for the opening of “The Women.” Now, the movie was cute, and we enjoyed it. The theater staff was great, and they worked hard on their end.   

Unfortunately, the premiere was such a disappointment and in my opinion a complete rip-off. I have never paid so much money ($100+) for a movie, nor have I been so upset with the extent of false advertising about this event. I am not the only disappointed member of this fiasco. Much of the audience was complaining to the event coordinator, Michael, stationed at Araxi Salon, about the utter chaos and lies. I even tried to talk with him. Heated arguments were publicly displayed as well as the many groups of people laughing at such a ridiculous “premiere.” 

Edwards Theater suffered as well as it tried to apologize for something it were not in charge of. I saw many employees taking the brunt of the complaints, and they handled them very well, directing the customers to the event coordinator, Michael. As far as I am concerned, they acted in a professional manner, and my hat’s off to them.

We read about the premiere in our local SCV publication, and it sounded like so much fun. We were happy to see that events such as this were being brought to the area, and my wife and I decided to attend and make it a date. As I called for tickets, we were offered seats with a basic swag bag for $20 or we could have reserved seating and a deluxe swag bag for $35 plus amenities. We chose the higher option for the reserved seating because of the hype of being treated like a VIP, a chance to walk the red carpet, the possibility of seeing celebrities. There was a silent auction, as well and some food was to be provided. And yes, we wanted a larger swag bag. 

Michael mentioned that since I was a business owner, I should advertise for this event by being one of the elite vendors in a limited party of 10 participants. My business (interior design) fit into his idea of a perfect vendor. Fortunately, it was such short notice, we couldn’t participate and advertise to the extent my wife and I felt was a good representation of our firm. When we declined, he offered the idea of placing a banner in the theater as an advertisement. Again, we felt that was not a good representation of our firm and graciously declined. While we were talking, he said, “I have one spot left, and to let him know if we changed our mind.” 

Phew! I have never been so grateful that we didn’t advertise. We arrived at the event at 6 p.m. to “meet and greet.” There were only three vendors and the event was held in a poor space available in the strip mall. We couldn’t even tell by looking if that was the silent auction area or the vendor area. The other people attending didn’t know where to go either. There were no food or drinks provided, but the local bakery offered minimal samples to the people wandering around the area, showing good enterprise. So for two hours, people stood around and waited for any sign of direction, celebrities, announcements, anything that would show a worth of the price you paid to attend.

My wife and I decided to go have a drink at the local Sushi bar. When it was time to go in, 8 p.m., we were wrangled up the “red carpet-lined” handicapped ramp and herded into the theater. The banners that were going to be such a great advertisement were stacked on top of each other and concentrated in the entrance hall. Many couldn’t be read, and some were falling off.

The reserved seating consisted of two rows. This was not enough space, and many people had to sit in the very front area or separate from their party to find a seat. It was almost as if the theater was over-booked. Michael offered no accommodations for those who were moving around aimlessly in the theater, and he was useless as a coordinator. People had to buy their own snacks, the auction was never held before the movie, no celebrities attended, and when the movie was over, everyone received the same small swag bag, consisting of advertisements, a coupon, a pack of gum, and plenty of nothing. To top this all off, many arrived dressed to the nines, and Michael was dressed in jeans, a jersey shirt and sparkling sneakers. How embarrassing!

I feel this was such a disgrace, and such a lie that many people are owed an apology from Michael at Araxi. Obviously, a refund is out of the question, but I am sure we are not the only couple that wants to know what our money was used for. My advice is, “Beware of wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing” or in this case jeans and sneakers.


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