The Marvel movie machine is a relentless beast that lives up to every promise it makes.  When the first footage for Marvel Studios’ Guardians Of The Galaxy was presented last year at San Diego Comic-Con, it marked the beginning of a fierce, intelligent marketing campaign that no one could run from.  During the past year, that excitement has only grown and now that the release date is upon us, millions of fans flocked to the local multiplex as soon as they could to get a glimpse of a team of relatively unknown characters, whose members include a tree and a talking raccoon. Everyone wants to be the first to see it, including “Maddie”, who after waiting over a year was finally getting ready to see the long awaited space adventure-comedy. And then something weird and tragic in the best possibly nerdy way happened….

Can you just feel her excitement in that tweet?  Considering how excited the entire planet is to join in the fun, you likely felt the same excitement before you saw the adventures of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) started rolling on the screen. Put yourself in that place. Now, imagine that instead of Chris Pratt’s handsome mug you get this:

That’s right. Instead of Guardians of the Galaxy, as promised, a theater full of Marvel fans were given the 2012 animated DreamWorks Animation film, Rise of the Guardians.  While Rise was a fairly good movie, it really wasn’t what the audience wanted to see and, according to Maddie, things just got a bit worse once the mistake was brought to the attention of management.  Instead of giving the audience what they paid for, management simply apologized for the mistake and handed out free movie coupons.  Dean Browell, one of the people in attendance, really expressed it best with this tweet:

How could this have happened? Well, it seems that someone may have gotten a bit lazy. Or dyslexic. During the summer, many theaters play older films on their screens first thing in the morning for the kids that are not in school.  This is a common practice and Regal Cinemas, the theater chain behind this fiasco, is one of the many theaters that participates in such a program.  So, it is very likely, and we will have to assume since Regal has not commented on the matter as of yet, that the projectionist grabbed the can marked “Guardians”, didn’t check the proof before loading the film, and ran with it.

It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if there was a copy of Guardians of the Galaxy lying around that they could simply swap for Rise but as it turned out, the other copies were all in use in theaters that were already full.  However, there are other reports trickling in that this happened at a few other Regal locations as well, so perhaps the problem runs deeper than a sleepy person at the projector.  At any rate, the unlucky theater goers were turned away with the hope that they can catch one of the hundreds of other showings throughout the weekend.

People love to be the first to see a movie, especially when that movie happens to be produced by Marvel and while it appears that those in attendance took the mistake in stride, there is no doubt that there was plenty of frustration and sadness as they left the theaters, having only the many Guardians of the Galaxy trailers and TV spots to console them once they got home.  We hope that every single one of those fans will take advantage of that free pass and get out to see Marvel’s latest this weekend.  By all accounts, it is set to be the best Marvel movie to date, which is no easy feat.

While we await the official statement from Regal (which may never come) let us take a moment to remember just why we are so excited for Guardians of the Galaxy.

Guardians of the Galaxy is in theaters today.  Well, most theaters.

Category: Film

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