PART 2: A Tale of Two Cities:
The following is a sample of e-mail received by TORn staffer maegwen concerning the Boston Common Loews in Boston, Massachusetss. The e-mail is presented in chronological order, from the first announcements about ticket sales details, through to the immediate aftermath.
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*** TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7TH ***
Sent: Tuesday, October 07, 2003 7:44 PM
Subject: EE/Trilogy/LP status
Here are the details I just posted to the Loews Boston Common Line Party:
--Loews is definitely doing Trilogy Tuesday!
--Still no info on when exactly tickets go on sale; probably October 9th
--Tickets will be sold separately for this special event. (In other words, your ticket will be for all 3 movies).
--you aren't able to buy midnight (11PM) tickets for just ROTK
--still no details on showtimes (likely following New Line's plan)
--They are following New Line's prior announcement for showings of FOTR and TTT the week of Dec 5-11th and 12-15th, respectively.
--Extended editions apparently will be shown
--only one theater is reserved for the Trilogy (cap: 600)
*** WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8TH ***
Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2003 10:29 AM
Subject: Boston Trilogy Tuesday
Hello. For Ringers in Boston, I've called Loews Cineplex to find out their ticket plans, and they definitely go on sale Oct. 9. It appear you CAN'T buy tickets for this theatre's showings online, but you CAN get them at the theatre window beginning at 11:30 AM, when they open for the day. (Incidentally, this is the Loews theatre at the Ritz-Carlton, across the street from the Boylston T-stop.) Hope to see some Ringers there, waiting in the cold with me!
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Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2003 12:35 PM
Subject: Loews Boston Common
The theater will know around 4pm what is going on with ticket sales. They belive that they will be selling them online in addition to at the box office.
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Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2003 10:53 AM
I just read the post about the Boston theater selling the tickets in person only. So I called & I was told that they know nothing at this point, nothing about having to line up... nothing about anything. How did Grandmotherweb get her information?
This is seriously give me heart attack...
Please Please clarify this!
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Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2003 6:43 PM
Subject: RE: EE/Trilogy/LP status
Update for Loews Cineplex Boston:
Trilogy Tickets are going on sale Thursday, October 9th at 1PM. You can purchase tickets online at www.fandango.com or go to the theater and purchase them. Loews opens at 11AM and will begin lining up then. They will be selling special 3-movie tickets for one theater only (600 people) at $28.50 per ticket. Tickets will also be going on sale at this time for the Fellowship of the Ring Dec 5-11th and The Two Towers Dec 12-15th ($9.50 weekday/ $10 weekend). Movie times for the Trilogy are as follows: FOTR 1:15 PM, TTT 5:30 PM, ROTK 10 PM. This is the latest info as of 7:40 PM Wednesday October 8th.
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Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2003 8:05 PM
Subject: Boston MA Loews ticket time is 1PM
Writing in to tell you that Boston Loews Cineplex Boston Commons 19 is going to be selling tickets at the box office and online at 1PM tomorrow, from the mouth of Jeff at the theater.
Have fun updating all night! ;)
*** THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9TH ***
Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2003 12:53 PM
Subject: Re: TheOneRing.net | Features | NewsRoom | Trilogy Tuesday Ticket Details
The Boston, MA theater is now selling tickets.
Good luck to all!
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Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2003 1:10 PM
Subject: Trilogy Tickets--Boston
Due apparently to receiving the information late, Fandango did not have the Loew's Boston Common trilogy date up until 40 minutes after the scheduled time of 1 pm. They did, however, begin selling tickets at the box office at 1. They were sold out in under an hour; tickets were available online for less than 15 minutes.
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Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2003 1:16 PM
So, fandango didn't get the information and didn't put the tickets up for sale online until most of the tickets were gone. A few people got them online, most didn't. It's sold out.
They may put another screening up. Maybe.
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Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2003 1:20 PM
Subject: Boston Report for Trilogy Tues.
To the One Ring.net :),
The tickets here in Boston are sold out. I was advised by the theatre clerk to not use Fandango because it would be jammed and might crash. I called Fandango just to be sure and the baulked at the idea saying the tickets would definately be available online at 1:00 and would be fine. In fact she said that while I was waiting in line they may SELL OUT on Fandango before I reach the ticket counter. I trusted them. The tickets didn't show up until 1:40 and for less than 1 minute. I was refreshing constantly, tried to buy and said it was sold out. I am sure ALOT of people experienced this. They either are inept at Fandango or they purposely waited for the line to resolve at the theatre before putting it up on the web. Please adivise your readers NOT to use Fandango and get to a theatre if they are able to!!! I am trying to get through to a supervisor at Fandango but they are giving me the runaround. Please advise other people of this. I am now going to miss out on the event(unless I can bu on Ebay) and it was my nephews b-day on the 17th so he will be disappointed as well.
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Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2003 1:49 PM
Subject: Boston Trilogy Tuesday Sold Out
Fandango.com seems to have screwed up ROYALLY on this one!!!
I was on line at fandango.com PROMPTLY at 1 pm and they did not have any Trilogy Tuesday tickets on sale yet for Loews Boston Commons. After 15 minutes of repeated re-loading the screen, I called the theater and was told that fandango was having trouble getting the ticket information uploaded onto their system. Well, at 1:30 I had to leave my office for an appointment, and they STILL hadn't gotten the info up. I headed over to the theater and was there by 1:45 and they were all sold out.
I say we SUE fandango.com!!!!
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Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2003 2:22 PM
Subject: LOTR Trilogy: Boston
Hi. I tried to purchase tickets via Fandango for the Trilogy Tuesday, with no success. The tickets weren't listed until around 1:45PM, and I went through the entire purchase process. When I clicked to confirm, the server told me that the show was sold out (despite having tickets reserved for my order.) I continued to try, and eventually got a Fandango internal server error. I spent 30 minutes on the phone waiting to talk to customer service, only to find out that they were useless in the help department.
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Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2003 5:44 PM
Subject: Boston Common fandango issues far from 'resolved'
I thought you might want to hear the sad tale of happened to us today. Our entire LP is now fractured. We had 100 people and only about 1/3 got tickets. The information we got from Loews turned out to be wrong. Fandango tickets did not go on sale at 1PM, and none of the 800 numbers returned anything. Besides a few lucky folk, the only people who were able to get tickets were the ones who waited in line at the theater. Apparently fandango failed to put a limit on the number of tickets sold to individuals as well, and so we saw our precious tickets leaked out to e-bay not 30 minutes later. Loews is blaming it on fandango for getting the time wrong and New Line for being so stingy with the reels. We are lobbying for an additional showing but even if that happens, we'll be split in half. It's too bad because we were considering getting sponsors and really making it the best Line Party ever. Now we'll be lucky if we can scrape together something small. Do you at TORN have any contacts with New Line or with fandango? I have a group of extremely disappointed fans who feel they have no recourse.
Thank you, TORN has been great all along,
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Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2003 10:30 PM
Subject: What REALLY Went Down At Loews Boston Common This Morning...
I feel I should tell the story of what REALLY happened at Loews Boston Common during the Great LOTR-TT Ticket Rush of 2003 and the personal experience of those of us who actually went to the theater to get tickets and VERY PATIENTLY waited and also VERY CLEVERLY strategized for our chance to do so.
A small group of us (All strangers) got there about 4 hours early and, in fact, our defacto leader Christine (in a feat of patience worthy of Arwen) actually was there WAITING ALL NIGHT!
She got there at 11:00 pm the day before and building security actually thought she was a homeless person.
Anyway, we got there, we sat down and waited, and waited, and waited.
And boy did our asses get SORE on that concrete!
Finally we got a chance to speak to the Theater Manager and learned to our horror that Fandango's system apparently had FULL PURCHASING ACCESS to ALL
of the 600 plus seats available on Super Sized Screen 2 with a transaction limit of 10 tickets per order which would do us a fat lot of good if hundreds of people bought them all up at once.
It meant that if the Fandango system was up and running the show could theoretically still totally sell out in a matter of seconds or minutes before those of us who had waited in line for hours even got a chance for tickets!
While we all certainly felt that Fandango -- and those who wanted to use it should indeed have a large amount of access to the available seats for online ticketing (This is the 21st century and most people had to be at work!) we thought it was totally bogus and unfair that the theater wasn't allowed some sort of box office reserve for the people who actually showed up. If we hadn't gotten tickets because of a Fandango Buy-Up we would have been looking for a means of spilling some blood ourselves!
A T1 or Broadband Connection at the office shouldn't give internet buyers exclusive ticket rights over all the people who actually showed up to get tickets.
We had as much right to tickets as anyone who had armed their Fandango Browser Window and was waiting for a high powered snipe.
Anyway, back to the story...
Sensing an impending Apocalypse far greater then that which might be brought on by Sauron OUR "Fellowship" devised a plaaan because we thought
at the time that we'd have to outrun the Fandango online purchasers and we knew we'd have to do it fast.
We tallied up who in our immediate front of the line core group of about 15-20 people was paying cash and who was charging. We then calculated the total number of tickets we'd need for each person and then we made sure that our two chargers (They will get sooooo many miles!) were in position at the box office windows exactly at 1:00 which wasn't tough because we were the first in line.
It's true that there was no limit to how many tickets you could purchase at the box office, and in fact, our group of 15 did ultimately pick up about 20% of the total available tickets, but you have to remember, they were for us, our guests, friends, and family members.
Not one person in our group bought any tickets in small or large quantities for the purpose of scalping.
In fact, those few tickets available on e-bay were listed at their face value price and without ANY gouging or unreasonable Buy It Now price. The
price those tickets will go for is testament to the power of supply and demand and not some seller's greed or some calculated attempt to corner the
market. In fact, if people had been out to corner the ticket supply, they could easily have done it. There would have been more tickets available on
e-bay by now if that were the case.
Anyway, back to the story. Most of the people in line got there about an hour and half before the tickets were to go on sale and they obviously
didn't have the same smarts or dedication we had which was why we were there so early.
Additionally, we all were fearful of trusting Fandango's servers on so big a day and we were VERY glad we were there when we learned how badly
Fandango blew it.
However, because the Fandango system didn't work (For whatever reason) everyone who was in line (Even the last minute shows who totally didn't
deserve them, some of whom even tried to get them at the Automated Ticket Machines in the lobby bypassing the line!) actually got tickets and the
show had sold about 60% or more of its available seats by the time the line was finished getting tickets about 45 minutes after 1:00.
I assume that Fandango came on shortly thereafter because the show was sold out by afternoon.
I agree however that they should have - and should now add - more screens and tickets available and that the Fandango blunder was totally inexcusable!