Some choice movie theaters weren't about to let two completely different genres, titles and release years come between them and an inadvertently hilarious (or heartbreaking, depending on which side of the screen you're sitting on) projection mix-up on one of the most highly-anticipated opening nights of summer movie season.
The saga began on Thursday night, when a Regal Cinemas theater in Virginia accidentally screened the decidedly non-Sci-Fi-Action-James-Gunn-directed-sentient-tree-and-rocket-wielding-raccoon-starring 2012 animated DreamWorks children's movie "Rise of the Guardians" in place of Marvel tentpole "Guardians of the Galaxy."
To make matters worse: despite scrambling to right the blunder, theater employees somehow managed to play the opening of "Rise" (complete with requisite bajillion hours of credits tacked on prior) three more times before getting it right. Chris Pratt may be babein' big time in "Guardians of the Galaxy," but we're betting even an eyefull of chiseled Star-Lord chest wouldn't make up for almost an hour and a half of Regal's rigamarole.
Naturally, theater-goers were granted refunds, posters and free passes to a later showing, wherein they could take in Pratt's majestic pectorals unperturped.
And hey, Virginia Regal Cinemas outpost, you can wipe that egg right off your face because apparently you're not alone! The Hollywood Reporter tracked down a tweet from a New Jersey resident, announcing that her (decidedly weepier) audience fell victim to the exact same switcheroo. "omg they started playing rise of the guardians instead of guardians of the galaxy EVERYONE IN THE THEATRE IS CRYING," @thestorysofxr wrote.
We're not exactly sure how a two-year-old animated movie is still making the rounds in theater projection rooms, but CinemaBlend reports that "Rise" has been shown recently as part of children's matinee clubs – if both items were simply labeled "Guardians," that could explain it. Though if you ask us, the whole thing positively reeks of Thanos sorcery.
Did your theater succeed in showing you "Guardians of the Galaxy" this weekend? Leave us your review in the comments!