So last night we Kate, Nic and myself tried again unsuccessfully to book tickets to see HP6 at the AMC through (.com), we have been trying for the last week which has been really irritating since during that time I’ve had two ezines shown below telling me to do just that.

AMC Invitation
AMC Invitation
MT Invitation
MT Invitation

Problem 1 : Cosmetic Damage

The UK version of is broken Cosmetically.. at least in Chrome, Firefox and Safari, which is odd as the US version of the same site is fine in all those browsers.

Top FF3.5 bottom IE8
Top FF3.5 bottom IE8

So just to be on the safe side ( ironically ) we used IE for the rest of our experience at

Problem 2 : Fully Booked (Really?)

This problem concerned the available showings page for the AMC Broadway Plaza 12 – Birmingham.  This page lists all the different movies showing and at what times at the theatre on a given date.  The times under each movie are normally a link if tickets are still available, and there’s a drop down menu near the top that lets you change the date. (Simple but effective)

The issue here was that every link (time) for every film on every day was greyed out possible implying that they were sold out.  “Really all 10 different film and every showing for an entire week fully booked?” Personally I have a sneaking suspicion this wasn’t / isn’t entirely MT’s fault, the MT site has to check with the AMC what tickets are available to let you book tickets right…

My bet is AMC’s server was down, and with my web developer hat on id say fair enough and get over it, servers do sometimes go down (ours included).  Where I got annoyed was the fact that this went on for an entire week and what’s more the site didn’t even acknowledge there was a problem.

What’s wrong with telling your “loyal by this point” users “hold up, sorry there’s been a technical problem, our engineers are working on it please try again later.”

Instead of … whoops their servers timed out lets just pretend its fully booked.. have a nice day.

Problem 3a : listing Oddities

this wasn’t so much a problem as just made us think the site was broke again (our confidence was fading fast).  OK so HP6 is obviously very popular so the AMC are doubling up showing.. we choose to go around 8.00pm and there were two showings at 8.15 to choose from.   Here’s where it got interesting, two identically showings at the same time at the same place different prices. REALLY?


Now it is possible that the AMC are being really generous to half its customer,  More likely this is human error, but still as a user it raises all sorts of questions, which do I get, will I still get my tickets if I get the cheap ones…. what to do… (as it turns out its impossible to buy either so it didn’t really matter.)

Problem 3b : MovieWatchers Cards (Loyalty cards)

One of the main reasons Kate, Nic and I regularly use the AMC as opposed to the Cineworld or Odean that are closer is that the AMC  run a loyalty card scheme that gives you free stuff or discounts every now and again and if used in conjunction with MT’s site its supposed to waive the 60p booking fee, now to us the 60p each is neither her nor there compared to the points you get that then get you free confections and/or  tickets from time to time as they add up.

Now their scheme is far from perfect and the AMC’s own staff sometimes have trouble presenting a consistent front about how many cards you can used and how many points you get so its not a huge surprise that MT have screwed it up, but what is that the screw up complete stops you from buying tickets.

So I’ll try and explain a little how I think the scheme is supposed to work, bearing in mind I have collected over 150 point in the last three years click here to skip the explanation.

You get two point for each ticket bought.. (before you say it yes I know that means I’ve bought 75+ tickets to films at the AMC).  More over if you by more that one ticket you get more points depending on how many loyalty cards you use.. up to a maximum of 4 points.  ie..

1 ticket, 1 loyalty card   = 2 points/card
2 tickets, 1 loyalty card  = 4 points/card
2 tickets, 2 loyalty card  = 2 points/card
3 tickets, 1 loyalty card  = 4 points/card


1.) The self service kiosks insists you have to use as many loyalty cards as customer or not at all.
2.) Occasionally the odd Box Office staff insist the opposite only one card can be used no matter how many tickets are bought and to get more that 2 point each ticket must be bought separately (which they have actually made us do…)

I should add, no.2 has only happened twice in at least 50 visits so I’m fairly confident that their just wrong plus, really 3 transaction instead of one that’s just silly.

Anyway back to the point, MT screw this up too exactly the same way the self service kiosks do.  The form logic when booking tickets insists that you have a MW card for each ticket if you going to use any at all.

Here in lies the problem if you book 3 tickets and you have 3 MW cards as we do, you physically can’t input them as their is only one physical form field for MW card numbers…!!!!!  The form verifier refuses to let you continue unless it has 3 one of each ticket.

loyalty cards

I should note that the MT order form originally had up to 6 slots for MW cards but now just one and what’s more even when it had 6 slots it still wasn’t happy when you ordered 3 tickets and entered 3 cards or less.

Again as a developer I can understand that the system described above is complex if 1, or 2 etc…  but really if they can accept (Occasionally insist) that you use one card when ordering 3 tickets in the box office why can’t you.

Problem 4 : don’t want to get paid.

Finally and only because the girls really really want to go and see HP6 no matter what, and even without the MW we still prefer the AMC, we said screw it well book tickets without the booking fee being waived and miss out on 6 valuable reward point.  So we deleted the MW card number and hit checkout, filled in all the payment card details, processed the payment and guess what it failed, we tried again and again it failed.

Now from experience I know my bank can be a bit zealous at defending my card from on-line abuse, more than once I’ve had to phone up before they’d let me pay for something on-line especially if the transaction was from a foreign site, MT is international so it was possible, so Kate, tried to pay instead, and when that failed Nic tried and that failed too.

To put that in to a little perspective that 3 different people with health bank balances who all regularly purchase  items on-line and more importantly use three different banks weren’t able to buy anything from

The MT error message did little to help the situation as it just said payment failed and spat out an internal MT reference number, and that’s where we finally gave up on the MT site altogether.

Problem 5: Surprise Surprise AMC’s telephone booking doesn’t work either.

After wasting about an hour battling just to fail completely we decided to go for the lo-tech approach.  We went onto the AMC  UK website and found their box office number.  Kate called it determined in legal fashion to succeed where Nic and I had been defeated on-line.

The box office phone is an automated system, after spending about 10 mins going through options, selecting the date, movie, show time  it decided to hang up on her just after asking if she wanted any OAP ( Seniors ) tickets.  She repeated this process another two times just to be cut off at exactly the same point.  That was the straw that crushed the camel into oblivion.  We gave up all hope of seeing HP6 at the AMC and booked tickets else where.


After wasting most of the evening not booking any tickets for the AMC we spent approximately 5mins booking tickets on-line with their nearest competitor across the street Cineworld,  with a debit card refused twice by with out duress or incident.  Essentially the only way to book advanced tickets for the AMC in Birmingham is to go to the Cinema and do it in the box office, and in this day and age that’s just not acceptable.  That said we will still go the the AMC as a preference but never by booking in advance.

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