I want my ticket refunded.
At the theatre where I work, yes it is. While people may not show up, we have recieved payment for each seat in that theatre. As we approach full, we tell them we have only front row seats/only single seating.
I’ve heard varying stories. Some theaters won’t sell every seat because they know that some people just won’t sit in the front row or don’t wish to split up groups. The LA Times ran a story about how you should demand a seat even if they say the theater is sold out by saying you don’t mind sitting in the front row.
I’ve tried it three times.
It’s never worked.
Sometimes (as was the case in the theater in which I used to work) local fire regulations will prevent a theatre from filling all seats. Therefore, a ‘sell-out’ is a pre-determined number, not necessarily every seat being sold.
Not sure why, but perhaps updated room occupancy regulations came around long after the theatre was built?
In the theater I worked at, all the seats were not sold when the show was “sold out”. I’d say about 70 or so seats go unsold. There’s the case that some people come in groups and don’t want to separate, and some people don’t want to sit too close to the screen. In some cases, a few of the seats are damaged.
When theaters were approaching this point, the ticket system let us know, and we’d tell people there would probably only be available seating in the first X rows (since those usually filled up last). Some people would go take a look, and then get a refund because they couldn’t find any good seats.
There seems to be some basis to this, as when theaters get to this point, there were always people coming to return their tickets saying they couldn’t find anywhere to sit.
I think this comes from all the empty seats between groups adding up. I’ve heard that some theaters, an employee will be in the theater, asking people to fill in spaces, but we never did this.
I’ve worked at two theatres. At the small 4 theatre one… every seat was not sold out, however, our system was not very complicated. It tells you the number of seats and you can basically keep selling to whatever limit you like. However, we knew some were broken and people wouldn’t want to sit in front, so we always left a few… possibly a dozen seats empty. However, at the super magalo 24 theatre complex every seat would be sold. The computer warns you and everything before they sell out. Trust me… people will demand tickets if there is any possibility of a seat left. Working at guest services is not fun when lots of shows are selling out. I will personally tell peopel at the boxs office “this show is almost sold out… you might not be able to find seats” and they say “sure,just give me the ticket.” Then those same people come out ranting and demanding their money back because the will not sit in the front row. I’m willing to bet that most of the time when ‘people can’t find seats’ there are available ones, just not ones they want.
When I worked at a theater (18-screen Cinemark), they sold every single seat (all broken seats were fixed immediately).
People had to line up in the hallway before showtime in a roped-off area. When it was close enough to showtime, we let everyone in at once (we also checked to make sure they had tix at the door of the theater)
The lights were on and all the ushers were in the theater, along with two managers. We used radios and hand signals to point out open seats. We made people move over to accomodate others, we made groups split up, we made people sit in the front row.
Once everyone was seated, only then was the movie started. IF you came in late, we knew where the left-over seats were and could seat you.
Seemed like a pretty damn good system.