U.K. Moviegoers Claim Refund After Silent Treatment From ‘The Artist’

The Artist Chair Film Still - H 2012
Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

The Artist Chair Film Still - H 2012

Largest British exhibition chain Odeon Cinemas refunds a handful of tickets for disgruntled fans looking to have words.

LONDON -- Michel Hazanavicius’s The Artist may be leading the field with nominations in 12 categories for this year’s Orange British Academy Film Awards but the movie is leaving a less glossy impression with some British filmgoers.

The film’s rollout in theaters here set the media and Internet alight after it emerged moviegoers in Liverpool demanded a refund after discovering it was a silent movie.

The U.K.’s biggest exhibition chain, Odeon and UCI Cinemas, initially denied and then later admitted to giving refunds to a handful of customers who had complained they were unaware it was a silent movie.

Odeon and UCI currently operates 118 sites and 919 screens in the U.K. and Ireland.

Hazanavicius’s film was placed front and center in the British public’s minds after dancing its way to 12 nominations at the U.K.’s biggest and most prestigious film awards presented by the British Academy.

Reports in the British media said that moviegoers in Liverpool were given a refund after the discovery.

The film, much heralded by critics in the U.K. and currently enjoying a healthy awards season having most recently picked up a brace of Golden Globes, depicts the “Golden Age” of cinema.

According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, one Odeon cinemagoer in the English city of Liverpool was asked if she knew it was silent before she went in.

After replying that she did, she asked why and was told that some people complained and asked for refunds because there is no sound and the screen is smaller.

An Odeon and UCI Cinemas Group spokesman said: “Odeon Liverpool One can confirm it has issued a small number of refunds to guests who were unaware that The Artist was a silent film.”

According to reports, the exhibition chain gives customers the first 10 minutes of a film to complain in order to get a refund.