The organisers of a special screening of Back to the Future faced an intensified backlash from fans on Friday, after they announced shows will not begin until next Thursday – a week later than scheduled.
Secret Cinema had planned to launch its stint of events in London on Thursday 24 July, but dropped the opening performance hours before it was scheduled to begin. Adding to difficulties, visitors had been told to leave mobile devices at home before setting off to an agreed meeting point, meaning they were unaware of the cancellation until they arrived.
Another show on Friday night was also pulled at the last minute, and now all weekend showings have been axed. The events are now scheduled to begin on Thursday, 31 July.
The situation was made worse when the Secret Cinema team failed to tell customers on Friday morning whether the evening show would go ahead as planned, which they had promised they would do. Instead, customers were alerted at 2.30pm, when many audience members had set off from other parts of the UK.
More than 60,000 tickets are said to have been sold, costing £53.50 for adults with family tickets costing £140.
It remains unclear why the events have been cancelled.
Secret Cinema has already staged dozens of lower profile events. But its innovative presentation of Back To The Future captured public imagination. The setting of the 1985 hit movie starring Michael J Fox is to be recreated, with fans dressing up in 1950s period costumes and attending the “Enchantment Under The Sea” prom.
Ticketholders vented their frustrations on social media, with many saying the cancellations had cost them money in unnecessary travel and pre-booked accommodation.
One woman wrote: “I cannot begin to tell you how devastated and disgusted I am. Thank you for ruining my husband's birthday and making a pregnant woman cry.”
Some said they had come from overseas and were unable to attend later performances, and a number demanded that they should be compensated for their outlay.
Founder and Director of Secret Cinema, Fabien Riggall said on Friday: “I am really sorry that this happened. We look to push the boundaries of what we can achieve in each production and this has been the most ambitious and complex production to date.
“We are very confident that all will be rectified by next week’s performance and this will be the most accomplished Secret Cinema yet,” she added.
Ticket-holders are being offered alternative dates or a “full refund” for the cancelled performances.