Just got back from a showing of “Sherlock Holmes” (which was rather good, by the way) at Cambridge Cineworld. The talking point of the evening, however, was not the main movie, but a trailer shown beforehand for a quite dreadful-looking movie called “The Sitter”. The problem was that the trailer was in no way suitable for an audience containing 12 year olds, with more use of bad language in two minutes than would be allowed in an entire 12A movie, and some sexual references which were uncomfortable even for the adults in the audience. Now, if people want to make and watch movies like that, then fine, but the (presumably mistaken) showing of this trailer demonstrated why the cinema multiplex business is slowly killing itself. Mark Kermode would nod his head knowingly.
On heading out from the showing, the young manager was clearly waiting for us all, accompanied by our complaints. It turned out that he’d been besieged by angry cinemagoers all day, and could only offer the defence that “the computer says it’s a 12A trailer for a 12A film”. When we pointed out that “The Sitter” was actually a 15 movie, and showed him the BBFC website, he resorted to saying that “the computer says otherwise”. When we asked if he’d watched it, he said that he had (unsurprisingly, given the complaints he’d been getting), and we asked if he agreed that it was unsuitable. At this point, while not saying yes, he admitted: “We’re not able to stop the trailers even if we wanted to, they come direct from a satellite”. So whatever was being streamed to his screens, the human being in charge was unable to do anything about it, regardless of the distress – and at our showing, anger – being caused. It makes you weep.