'Club class' cinema tickets row as cost nears £60 for family of four trip to the cinema

Film fans have launched an online protest against an airline-style pricing policy in many cinemas.

They are angry that designating seats as ‘club class’ and ‘premium class’ has put the cost of some tickets up by nearly 50 per cent.

The Odeon chain’s seating policy means a family of four could end up paying £56.80 to sit in the back two rows, £48.80 in the middle rows or £38.40 nearer the front.

Expensive: Tiered pricing plans at the cinema are pricing families out of going

Expensive: Tiered pricing plans at the cinema are pricing families out of going

There is a similar differential for other customers. For example, an adult ‘club’ ticket in the back row to see Oz The Great and Powerful, starring Mila Kunis and James Franco, at an Odeon in Putney, south west London, will cost £16.55.

The same customer sitting just three or four rows closer to the screen will pay £11.95. Similarly, a child ticket ranges from £14.20 at the back to £9.60 near the front. 

The net effect is that movie-goers who make a last minute booking for a popular film may find they have no option but to buy an expensive premium or club seat, for little or no benefit.

Movie-goers who make a last-minute booking may find they have to buy an expensive premium or club seat only a row or two away from cheaper seats. Odeon says it has always offered a range of seats and that people who pay more get a better view, more comfortable chairs and extra legroom.

'Club class': Odean Cinema says it has always offered a range of seating price-plans

'Club class': Odean Cinema says it has always offered a range of seating price-plans

But as well as high ticket prices fans have attacked the cost of popcorn, snacks, sweets and drinks. A Facebook attack on high prices at the Odeon chain by Matt Pledger(correct), from Wolverhampton has drawn a staggering 300,000 likes from frustrated film goers.

His anger was fuelled by the high price - £21 for two tickets and a medium soft drink - queues and poor customer service. He described the charges for this ‘cinema experience’ as ‘ludicrous’.

His Dear Odeon letter concluded: ‘If you want to see more people in your cinemas and actually put a dent in film piracy you should really try and cut your prices, hire decent staff and forget the 600per cent profit margins on your food and drink.’

And Consumer Action Group founder Marc Gander said: ‘It’s no surprise that cinemas are struggling to compete with DVDs and downloads. It’s cine-suicide.’
‘I think that the message is – buy your sweets in the local supermarket and watch the film at home and save a pile of cash.’

An Odeon spokesman said: ‘Odeon offers a range of seating options across its properties including Premier seating which offers a more comfortable seat and optimal placement in the cinema, and Club seating which offers a wider, more comfortable seat with additional leg room.

‘Odeon has always offered a variety of seating offers for customers, but in 2006 these were consolidated under the ‘Premier’ seat brand, with Club seats then introduced in 2010.’

Rivals, Cineworld operates a standard ticket price regardless of where people sit. It does have so-called VIP boxes in some of its theatres, but these offer better quality chairs and, often, access to a private bar.

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