"The screening is overbooked," hollered a media rep to a long line in the lobby. We'd estimate that about 200 people were waiting with free-sneak-peek passes; without blogger credentials, they were made to wait as long as an hour only to be sent packing. Their consolation prizes: a locker-sized poster, and a pass to see Prime, a romantic comedy with Meryl Streep. They were not amused. And neither was the poor media rep as she scurried around, hiding at times behind a pillar so that the line would stop yelling at her. The promotion was being handled by Grace Hill Media, a PR firm specializing in outreach to faith-based communities. They barely even have a website; who knows why they were assigned to coordinate with bloggers.
As the crowd was undiplomatically shouted at, "you'll have wait until Friday and buy a ticket," things got scary. More shouting; some pushing; some ripping of posters; one excitable gentleman was told that he was now banned. Ultimately things quieted down, but the ill-will generated by Grace Hill Media's tease may have done more harm than good. The punchline to the whole confrontation: after the crowd dispersed and we made our way into the theater with a media rep, we discovered that there were still plenty of empty seats.Serenity