Cinemas 'tweak start times to force us to watch 30 minutes of ads'

Cinemas ‘tweak film start times to force us to watch 30 minutes of ads’ as families complain that marketing tactic makes life difficult for parents

  • Cinemagoers arrive at start time to find the film does not begin for half an hour
  • One cinema made customers sit through 27 minutes of ads before film started
  • Families believe the tactic makes life difficult for those with young children

Cinema bosses have been accused of making cinema-goers watch around 30 minutes of adverts – by publishing misleading start times.

Film fans can arrive to meet performance times they have read online – only to find the movie does not actually begin for half an hour.

In the meantime, they can face a barrage of commercials. Customers say they do not want to pay to be bombarded with adverts.

Cinemas earn cash from adverts, while customers faced with extra time on their hands are more likely to buy drinks and snacks [File photo]

And families believe the marketing tactic makes life difficult for those with young children, who must be kept entertained before the film starts. 

There is no consistent policy across cinema chains, so customers looking to avoid excessive advertising and trailers face a lottery when deciding when to arrive.

The Daily Mail tested five cinema chains showing Downton Abbey.

A Cineworld in Hengrove, Bristol and an Odeon in Thornbury near Leeds both made customers sit through 27 minutes of ads before the film started this week. 

Vue cinema in Birmingham’s StarCity amusement centre took 28 minutes from advertised start time to opening credits. 

At the Curzon in Clevedon, North Somerset and Empire in Bishop’s Stortford, film fans watched 22 minutes of commercials.

Cinemas earn cash from adverts, while customers faced with extra time on their hands are more likely to buy drinks and snacks.

Most cinema chains claim online that their adverts and trailers run for between 15 and 30 minutes before the film begins. 

The film industry trade body, the UK Cinema Association, said: ‘No one is being misled.’

Film fans can arrive to meet performance times they have read online – only to find the movie does not actually begin for half an hour [File photo]

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