Walking out of a movie makes the statement to your fellow theater patrons, “I hate this film so much that I can’t stand one more minute of it!” But walking out of a movie and then asking for a refund not only means the movie felt like a waste of your time, but your hard-earned money as well. It’s the dissatisfied movie-going experience double whammy.
Recently, The New York Times reported that not only are folks walking out of Terrence Malick’s love-it-or-(literally)-leave-it Tree of Life, but some are demanding refunds, too. While the evidence in that particular story isn’t overwhelming (only two pairs of walk-outs asked for their money back during an opening weekend screening at a theater in Connecticut) it seems enough people still think they could have stayed home and watched their laptop screen saver for free instead of the “creation of the universe” montage.
According to an employee at the AMC Empire 25 in New York City’s Times Square, they’ve seen a steady number of walk-outs and refund requests for the Brad Pitt-Sean Penn drama. (“People are upset with the movie,” the employee claimed.) But patrons who sat through the entire film and then decided they wanted their money back were out of luck, as AMC’s policy is to only offer refunds 30 minutes into a screening. The same goes for Landmark, an independent movie chain (prime territory for The Tree of Life) whose policy states, “If a film is not what is expected… and the feature is viewed less than 30 minutes a refund can be processed for you at the box office.”
I’ve only asked for a refund once before — and was honored — for Fast Food Nation, thanks to its more-than-unsavory graphic cow-slaughtering sequence. But I’m curious to know, have you ever hated a movie so much that you asked for a refund? If so, did the theater give you your money back? Share in the comments section below!