impatient theatre goers wait for the film to start

Lights! Camera! WTF! – Guest Post from Jason Whyte

Jason Whyte, local film critic, asked me if he could submit a guest blog on his experience at the Roxy Classic Theatre in Victoria, B.C. After hearing his story, I had to give him the space. Enjoy the read.

I ventured down to the Roxy Classic Theatre on Sunday night to see a double bill of RAMONA & BEEZUS and RESTREPO. I’m not usually a fan of seeing a film at the Roxy due to many problems I have had in the past, yet, for their low ticket price I kept giving them a chance. Until, that is, a visit on Sunday night that makes me not want to be a customer at the this theatre ever again.

The film RESTREPO started with the wrong lens, the image was all distorted across the wide screen with black borders on top and bottom of the frame. Not only that, but the film frame was slapping against the lens of the projector. The film abruptly stopped halfway into the film’s titles, started again a minute later, (without the “slapping) but still had the wrong lens on. I then walked to the concession stand, alerting the staffer there was a problem with the picture and the lens needed to be changed. He went up to the booth where the operator still was, trying to frame the movie on screen (the image kept moving up and down), but not switching the lens. The film stopped yet again on screen action.

Think that it was finally going to be fixed? Wrong. The film started yet again with the wrong lens. I talked to the concession staff again, told him the film was still not working and helped explain to him how to fix the picture. He swiftly left again as I stood in the back. The audience kept turning their heads towards myself and the projection booth, wondering what was going on.

A moment later, the entire screen goes white but the movie keeps playing. The wrong lens has been removed and it takes nearly a minute to switch over to the right lens. The small audience (about 8 people) started to boo and hiss at the screen at this point until finally the lens worked. To add insult to injury, the image was bleeding at the top and bottom of the screen. Some of it was even projecting on the stage! The remainder of the film played this way. The film ended and no passes, no apology, nothing.

Infuriated, I made several tweets about the poor presentation on my Twitter page and also let the distributor’s Twitter feed (@maplepictures) know about it. The next morning, I made a comment on the Roxy’s Facebook page explaining what happened on Sunday night and strongly suggesting that their projection should be seriously looked at. When I returned to my computer that evening to check for comments, I discovered that I could not only access the page via my Facebook, but that I had been banned from the Roxy page along with Mike Sharpe’s (owner) own FB account.  Removing a post is one thing, but to block me entirely from the page is inexcusable. I have not been contacted by Mike Sharpe since as to why my comments were deleted, or to even contact me regarding the problematic screening. Even if he found my comments offensive, it is still incredibly unprofessional to just delete my comments and ignore me.

I hate to be so hard on an independent cinema, let alone a single screen movie house struggling to stay in business with first run competition a short drive away. Yet, when the place is being run by an owner and management without a care for professional film presentation, let alone MINIMAL projection standards and cheats their paying customers out of their money for a substandard presentation, I have no choice but to write these words and hope more people pay attention to these places with bad operation and poor customer service like the Roxy Classic Theatre.


  • Dude
    Your so out of touch. Who even are you? Your opinion is irrelevant to society. Get off the internet and move out of your mothers basment. The Roxy rules!

  • What did they think blocking him would do? Delete the person, delete the problem? Sadly I don’t think it will matter much, from what I’ve read the Roxy will soon be shutting its doors for good…. No doubt due, in part, to the terrible customer service they have.

  • Jason Whyte

    As far as I’m concerned EJB, the cinema is closed. I will not be returning ever again. I have spread this story like wildfire and many people have sworn off the Roxy for good. It’s a terrible cinema; horribly run and as you can see, it has an owner who is a real odd duck. Some people are even surprised to learn the place is still open!

  • Lots of people like it there – your a film critic ( how was the movie btw) not a work critic and if you knew the problem and how to fix it – how about stepping up to the plate help out – behind the scenes as you know is different. Many reasons could have attributed to the problem instead of complainng and bitching about it -you could have perhaps made difference by sharing your knowledge .. that goes lot further than this. Sadly as seems to be he norm these days – the me generation that we are – could not take the time show them – make yourself feel better by just stepping back and then complaining and in turn making the staff feel perhaps worse than they did for making the mistake – so Roxy for me YES.. reading Jason Whyte again NOPE

  • Jason, you sound like a whiny, vindictive little bitch. Stay at home on your couch or spend the money and go somewhere else.

  • Jason Whyte

    Neither of the last two responses even grasp at the blog post or even think about the reprehensible customer service that the Roxy provided on my last (ever) visit and instead resort to name calling and condescending remarks. Oh, how you are mature, interwebs.

    To “PAO”, I provided troubleshooting tips to the staffer on hand and I even did offer to assist up in the booth. That said, that’s sort of a no-no, for a customer to go into the booth and touch equipment. There should be someone on site that knows how to work the equipment properly and solve projection issues in a timely manner, something which was not done on this visit as well as previous ones.

    I have also offered much correspondence to the Roxy offering to open dialogue and even offer assistance to their troubled projection and sound equipment. I did receive a response once about a year ago, but have been ignored for all other feedback. And when I tried giving feedback recently, it was deleted and ignored, which seems to be how they normally dish out customer service. Hence this blog post.

    To “Alex”, why did you even bother commenting? Are you connected to the Roxy in some way and/or did I strike a nerve? How am I a “whiny, vindictive little bitch” by writing about what I feel is an issue for cinema in Victoria?

    Nice hiding behind anonymity, isn’t it?

  • Hey, Alex and PAO? Have you even been to the Roxy? Have you ever worked in customer service? I’ve done both. I’ve seen some projection follies at the Roxy–mostly bad changeovers, where the image bled onto the walls. I’ve also done enough customer service to know that when prints are burned through and projection is lousy, you compensate the customer somehow. (Most theatres use passes as a way to entice the customer to come back.)

    They don’t block a customer from their Facebook page. All the guy did was try to help them out. The fact that they don’t even want to listen to their customers (and someone who knows what he’s talking about, to boot!) shows a lack of professionalism or care for the basics of customer service.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *