Movie Mayhem: Website crashes incite stress during movie ticket purchases

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Media by Marin Ellington (she/her)

Marcus Theatres was one of the many online sites experiencing technical failure as Marvel fans attempted to purchase tickets in advance for “Spider-man: No Way Home” which premieres Friday, Dec. 17. Mahita Avasarala, junior, said she had to look at multiple options as she couldn’t rely on any one site to successfully allow her to purchase tickets. “I ended up opening Fandango on my phone and my computer. I opened up the Marcus website, and I opened the AMC website to try and buy tickets,” Avasarala said.

As the clock ticked, Marvel fans across the nation waited in anticipation for tickets for “Spider-man: No Way Home” to become available. 

The movie, which premiers Friday, Dec. 17, has been anticipated by fans since its announcement in 2019. But, as friends made plans to purchase tickets, glitches and even complete website crashes plagued theatre websites in the early hours of Monday, Nov. 29, caused by the immense number of people accessing them at once.

Starring Tom Holland as Spider-Man and several other well known Marvel actors, the movie serves as the third installment of the Spider-man trilogy and follows his journey after his secret identity is revealed to the public. 

Nora El-Ruwie, junior, said she has been a fan of Marvel for as long as she can remember and has enjoyed watching childhood stories come to life in front of her on the screen. But at times, such as with the ticket release, El-Ruwie said the stress can be overwhelming.

“The experience was overall horrible and incredibly stressful,” El-Ruwie said.

After only two minutes on the Marcus Theatre’s website, El-Ruwie said it crashed and she was forced to switch to the Fandango website, which was glitchy and frequently kicked her off. Eventually at 2 a.m., after three hours of trying, she was able to get a ticket. 

Marvel movies are always packed, so getting tickets ahead of time is a necessity unless you want to be stuck sitting in the front row. The only option is to wait it out.”

— Nora El-Ruwie

El-Ruwie said she has heard similar comments from peers as social media sites, such as TikTok, have been flooded with complaints about the websites’ inefficiencies, and national media attention has even been gained as a result of the massive outpouring of fans.

“Marvel movies are always packed, so getting tickets ahead of time is a necessity unless you want to be stuck sitting in the front row,” El-Ruwie said. “The only option is to wait it out.”

However, students such as El-Ruwie don’t always have the option to completely prioritize the purchase of tickets. El-Ruwie still had homework to finish and had to keep tabs on both the websites and her work into the early hours of the morning.

For movies with a large media presence, fans also face the possibility of having the film spoiled to them through social media or news reports if they are unable to attend on opening day. 

Marvel has released films earlier this year, such as “Eternals” and “Black Widow” that El-Ruwie said were much easier to purchase tickets for online.

The biggest issue was all the buffering that all the sights had. The Marcus website also kept telling me there was an error in my order and I had to keep starting over and buying other tickets.”

— Mahita Avasarala

“I think it depends on the hype the movie has,” El-Ruwie said. “Spider-man has a huge fan base, and people go a bit crazy for him, so I expected it to be more difficult.”

Nathan Frankenberger, math teacher, teaches a programming class and said these types of website crashes can be common for businesses with high traffic online sites.

“It is usually a lack of preparedness by the website server,” Frankenberger said.

According to Queue-It, there are three main types of high traffic times that will usually cause website crashes: an unexpected traffic spike, a large sale event or a product launch or collection release.

Mahita Avasarala, junior, had the responsibility of obtaining tickets for her entire friend group when they became available. She went through three websites on two different devices before she was able to secure tickets.

The biggest issue was all the buffering that all the sights had,” Avasarala said. “The Marcus website also kept telling me there was an error in my order and I had to keep starting over and buying other tickets.”

Avasarala ended up purchasing 12 tickets instead of her intended four. Though she has returned four, she kept the other eight to determine which seats will be the best. She said she runs into an issue, however, with the $20 convenience she would lose when returning the remaining tickets.

“I think the easiest thing to do would be to sell the tickets, but I have to sell the tickets to a group of four people since I cannot split up the order,” Avasarala said.

Though she is unsure of her plans for the extra tickets, fans throughout the nation have taken advantage of the desperation for seats. While some are reselling tickets for their original value, others in larger cities are pricing them as high as $25,000 according to Comic Book Resources.

“For this movie specifically, my friends and I have wanted to watch it together since before the movie was announced,” Avasarala said. “It was a movie that we were all waiting for.”