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TOPIC: Cinderella Man refund

Cinderella Man refund 29 Jun 2005 09:28 #10564

  • leeler
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Saw this article and thought it was worth discussing......

LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- In a rare marketing ploy, the No. 2 U.S. movie theater chain, AMC Entertainment, is offering a money-back guarantee for boxing picture "Cinderella Man," hoping to boost interest in the struggling film amid a record box-office slump.

Advertisements offering on-the-spot refunds to AMC patrons unhappy with the film began running June 24 in newspapers and on the exhibitor's Web site (, AMC spokeswoman Pam Blase said Tuesday.

The ads, welcomed by the film's distributor, Universal Pictures, say in part: "AMC believes Cinderella Man is one of the finest motion pictures of the year!"

Blase said AMC provides occasional rebates to dissatisfied moviegoers on a case-by-case basis. But the "Cinderella Man" offer marks the exhibitor's first money-back guarantee since "Mystic Pizza," Julia Robert's breakout 1988 film.

"This is highly unusual," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracking service Exhibitor Relations Inc. "That's putting your money where your mouth is."

The AMC promotion is perhaps the most eye-catching step taken by exhibitors in recent weeks to shake up sluggish movie admissions, which some industry observers have attributed in part to a string of films widely regarded as subpar.

The major studios and theater owners have now posted 18 straight weekends of year-to-year declines in ticket sales, the longest slump since analysts began keeping detailed box office tallies.

"If there's a question about the quality of movies that are being shown right now, here is a movie that AMC would like to really tout as very high caliber," Blase said.

Starring Russell Crowe as the Depression-era boxing hero Jim Braddock, "Cinderella Man" has received generally favorable reviews but fallen flat at the box office.

The movie, which cost a reported $88 million to make, opened in fourth place the weekend of June 3-5 and has grossed a lackluster $49.8 million through its fourth weekend.

Executives at Universal, a unit of General Electric Co. , have acknowledged they took a gamble releasing a period drama aimed at adult moviegoers early in a summer movie season awash in high-octane popcorn fare targeting younger audiences.

Conventional wisdom holds that such films have a better chance in mid- to late-summer, when older filmgoers are looking for a break from blockbusters.

"We took a risk, and this time period clearly didn't work," Universal spokesman Paul Pflug told Reuters, adding that the studio is considering re-releasing the picture in the fall, closer to Oscar season.

Blase said the AMC has not decided how much longer to keep "Cinderella Man" in theaters, a decision that Universal said was up to individual exhibitors at this point.

The number of refunds requested since the promotion began has been "minuscule," but no figures were yet available, Blase said. Nor was there any way to tell whether admissions to "Cinderella Man" have risen since the offer began, she said.

The AMC promotion comes days after the privately held exhibitor announced plans to acquire its next-largest rival, Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp. The newly merged venture will remain the No. 2 U.S. theater chain with about 5,900 movie screens in 450 venues.

"What a crazy business"
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Re: Cinderella Man refund 29 Jun 2005 10:56 #10565

  • Mike
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Good idea......... I've done it with people who were undecided about a good film they had not heard of.

"Hey Dad..... glad to hear you will bring home the turtle!"

Michael Hurley
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Re: Cinderella Man refund 29 Jun 2005 23:09 #10566

  • outaframe
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Guaranteed not to rip, ravel, or run down at the heel, or DOUBLE your money back!... Sounds kinda like a carny barker's pitch, doesn't it?... 'Course by the time you took back your Little Gem combination can opener and sheep shearer, he'd skipped town... Actually, the idea dates back to the late 19th century, and retailers like Sears & Roebuck and Marshall Field, and seems reasonable for something TANGIBLE, but we're dealing with an image and a story line that is "consumed" the moment it is seen by the customer... Seems to me they're grasping at straws and opening a can of worms which, if carried to the extreme, could end up biting 'em in the ass... I don't see Walmart allowing you to return an open DVD, even IF you haven't watched it, and they'll even hassle you if it's defective, and replace it with the same thing, only... Are we THAT desperate to sell another ticket?...
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Re: Cinderella Man refund 30 Jun 2005 10:36 #10567

  • jimor
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This is not the first time that this gimmick was used promotionally. I recall the 1974 clunker THE SAVAGE IS LOOSE, where they advertised 'your money back' if it was not the most memorable movie of the year (and if you could withstand the subplot of incest)--which, of course, it certainly wasn't! I doubt the studio kept records of the refund (possibly out of embarrassment) so it may be impossible to gauge what promotional effect, if any, the scheme had. George C. Scott stared in and produced the film, but something tells me that he left it off his resume, and I doubt it will be in his epitaph. Here is the data about it at IMBD:
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member:
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Re: Cinderella Man refund 30 Jun 2005 11:09 #10568

  • mpopham
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"Cinderella Man" seems to be a good choice for this kind of promotion, since it has scored very well with test audiences. I don't think the same could have been said about "The Savage Is Loose".

But as a marketing ploy is sure has the smell of desperation about it, like something William Castle would dream up.

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