SINGAPORE: Scores of Marvel fans in Singapore were left frustrated on Wednesday (Apr 10) after several cinema websites were temporarily overwhelmed by demand for Avengers: Endgame advance sales tickets.
Tickets for the superhero blockbuster were released at 9.30am at all cinemas, both online and over the counter.
The film, which opens in Singapore cinemas on Apr 24, sparked an online frenzy with thousands of seats snapped up within a few hours of sales opening.
A Golden Village spokesperson said their website experienced “extremely high traffic” due to the “unprecedented demand” for tickets, causing customers to wait longer than usual.
The spokesperson added that more than 15,000 tickets for Avengers: Endgame were sold in the first hour at Golden Village, surpassing all previous advance ticket sales records for a single movie.
Customers had even queued for tickets at all of Golden Village’s 13 locations before the cinemas opened.
As of Wednesday afternoon, several CNA readers who attempted to purchase tickets from the Golden Village website encountered payment errors when they tried to complete their transactions.
The Golden Village spokesperson said its regular website service has since resumed, and that patrons are advised to clear their cache and refresh the website should they still encounter any issues.
Several customers also took to Twitter to share their frustrations about using the Golden Village and Cathay Cineplex websites.
Marvel fans who attempted to book tickets online with Cathay Cineplexes on Wednesday morning told CNA that they received an error message and could not access the website at all.
Cathay Cineplexes said that the response from fans had been "overwhelming" and some even queued at their outlets early in the morning for tickets.
"Due to the unprecedented high online traffic, our website experienced intermittent down time. Our team is working to fix this as a soon as possible," a spokesperson said.
Cathay Cineplexes added that its mobile app was not affected and patrons can use it to purchase their movie tickets.
"YOU ARE NOW IN QUEUE"
Those who visited the Shaw Theatres website were redirected to a booking page where they were assigned queue numbers. A progress bar and estimated wait time was also displayed.
Once a customer’s queue number is called, the user has a set amount of time to complete their transaction.
The queue number shot to four digits within a minute of sales being opened. As of Wednesday evening, there were more than 53,000 users in the queue, with an estimated wait time of about an hour.
A Shaw Theatres spokesperson told CNA that its queue system was activated this morning for public access to their website and for all online booking systems for all movie titles.
"This was to help us better manage the extraordinarily high volume of traffic to our site ... Unfortunately, the measures we had put in place were still insufficient to meet demand.
"It was more than twice the traffic compared to our last encounter of a similar nature, and thus the system moved rather slowly and stalled at times," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson extended Shaw Theatres' apologies to all their patrons for any inconvenience caused and said that they are looking into "improving the resources needed".
The spokesperson also advised patrons to not entertain touts: "When it is a popular movie, we at Shaw Theatres will do our best to increase the number of screenings and the duration that the title is screened. There will be an opportunity to watch the movie and they do not need to consider ticket touting options."
SCALPERS TOUT TICKETS ONLINE
Within hours of the pre-sale launch, ticket scalpers in Singapore quickly capitalised on the hype for the film by attempting to resell tickets on online marketplace Carousell.
Carousell user “eszx6969” offered a pair of Golden Village Gold Class tickets for an evening screening of the movie on Apr 24 at VivoCity for S$12,000. Another Carousell merchant offered a full row of eight tickets at Golden Village Bishan on premiere day for S$2,500.
Another post by Carousell merchant “ulath” advertised a pair of “couple” seats at Cathay Cineplex Jem for S$888 on Apr 27, several days after the movie’s premiere.
In the United States, where sales opened on Apr 2, resale bids for the coveted tickets reached US$9,199 (S$12,443.49).
In six hours, the Marvel film broke the pre-sale ticket records in the US for three Star Wars films (The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and Rogue One) and 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War.