Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I think a record was set last week.

I forgot to mention something about last week. See No Evil was available to play at Western Film starting May 26th. We weren't going to play it anyway but one thing struck me. It had opened May19th so it was available to second run after only 1 week in first run! I can't recall that ever happening before. It must have done absolutely horrible.

Next Week's Movies.

We booked Scary Movie 4 for next week. Just one show at 7pm. There wasn't anything else I wanted to play to split with it. We could have had Benchwarmers but we don't do well with that kind of comedy. The Sentinel was available but it was from Fox and couldn't be split. I might have played it for one show but it kind of vanished and didn't do well first run. Silent Hill was also available but Western Film doesn't play horror movies.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Poster of the Week.

One thing I've always really liked are movie posters. I have a large collection all of which I'll frame one day when I'm rich. Some really cool ones like a Disney's Snow White re-release with real gold on it and a rare B-style poster for Rocky Horror. Some may or may not be cool but I like them, such as my British Sixteen Candles poster with neat artwork. At some point I'll take pics of some of them but for now I thought I would post some interesting posters for upcoming movies.

Personally I don't like Jack Black. I find him annoying. However I have to admit I laughed when I saw this poster. The movie looks really funny, that is if you like Jack Black. I don't think I'll go see it. But the poster is fun.

2 things you can never get 'right'

There are some things where it's impossible to please everyone. There's three that come to mind about Movie Theatres.

1. Volume. For everyone who says we should turn it up there's someone else complaining it's too loud. At western Film we try to find a happy medium depending on the film. For action films we crank it up, for dramas we turn it down a little. We also vary it depending on how busy the theatre is, bodies absorb sound so the volume needs to be higher if there is a large audience. Most theatres leave the volume at the same level so it may be too loud for small audiences.

2. Popcorn saltiness. Similar situation, some people like it saltier than others. Again we try to find a happy medium. Sometimes when I'm cleaning up the garbage between shows I'll find almost full bags of popcorn. I figure most of the time maybe they found it too salty?

3. Temperature. This mostly comes into play during the summer. People come into an air conditioned theatre dressed for hot outdoor weather and after sitting for a while get too cold. I keep an eye on it and call Physical Plant if it gets too cold. I have noticed many theatres keep it really cold in the summer. I usually dress warm or take a coat. I've seen people bring blankets into theatres during the summer.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Movie choices for Western Film and why I'm usually right.

Picking the movies each week is an inexact science with many variables. I usually have a good idea how any particular movie will do at Western Film. It's a combination of box office,buzz, reviews, my own impression of the movie and general trends at Western Film.

Western Film has it's own unique trends. The movies we do best with are usually not the huge hits. For example last year our biggest grossing film was Hotel Rwanda which only did about 20 million in the general marketplace. Western Film's biggest grossing film ever is Bowling for Columbine. We brought it back for 4 or 5 weeks. We set a non-Tuesday record of 278 people for one show. It was the first Friday back after Christmas break and it was the late show. I remember it well because I was running the box office. I hadn't expected attendance to be that high so I didn't have any extra staff on, made the three of us that were on scramble quite a bit.

I'm usually right about how I think a movie will do but sometimes I'm wrong, occasionally spectacularly. The biggest example is Moulin Rouge. I didn't really want to book it because I hadn't heard much about it and it was Fox so I couldn't split it. However I didn't have anything else to play that week so I booked it. We did huge business and once I watched it became one of my favorite movies. It was one of the highest grossing movies that year.
Another example is Wimbledon, it didn't do great First Run and I didn't hear a lot of buzz about it. I booked it expecting it to do okay and it ended up being extremely busy.
I can't think of anything I thought would do well and was extremely wrong. There have been disappointments of course. Big movies like Star Wars and King Kong can sometimes perform less than would be expected considering how much they do First Run. The biggest disappointment I can think of is a movie called The Machinist. It was a small movie but was getting a lot of press, I had seen it already and thought it was really interesting. However I booked it and did nowhere near what I had hoped.
On the whole I like to think I know what I'm doing but every so often it's nice to be wrong, (in a good way)

Next Week's movie choices.

This week I booked on Tuesday because of the holiday. I booked Take The Lead but for only one show at 7pm. I didn't think attendence would be high enough to run a late show. We almost never run the same movie for both early and late shows unless it's a big hit and we can't split it. Some people think we won't do well with Take The Lead. I have a feeling we'll do good, not great, but good.

Besides there wasn't much else to play anyway. The only other new movies available were The Rocket and Hoot, neither of which I expected to do any business here.

Friday, May 19, 2006

My Theatre Pet Peeves Part 1.

Most people share these but I thought I would rant a little.
In no particular order.

Talkers: People talking during a movie has always been a problem but it's gotten worse since home video. People seem to have gotten used to talking amongst themselves at home. I've gotten good at tuning them out but every so often I have to give someone a look or ask them to be quiet. Thankfully they usually are once asked.

Cellphones: On a similar note, people who talk on cellphones during a movie. Most leave the theatre but even that is enough to be annoying. I was at a movie once and there was a woman talking quite loud on her cellphone. I couldn't believe anyone would be so rude and selfish. My friend and I ended up throwing popcorn at her to get her to shut up.

Cellphone screens: On yet another similar note, I've noticed lately I see a lot of blue screens in theatres. I assume it's people checking the time or whatever but it's really distracting. I was doing a private showing for a group of high school kids here at Western Film a while ago. It was amazing the number of blue screens I saw waving around. One girl even kept hers on and was playing a game on it or something. I could see the light on her face.

What I would get rid of at Western Film.

There's two things at Western Film I would like to be able to remove. However it's nessecary to have both.

Diet Coke: This stuff is a pain because it comes out so foamy. It's a thick foam that doesn't settle quickly. If we fill a cup up once the foam settles the cup is only about half full. We end up wasting a lot trying to pour out the foam. It may not sound like a big deal but if we sell a lot of Diet Cokes it really slows us down.

The Butter: This stuff is just plain messy and gets all over everything. Seems like every time I put some on it manages to hit a popcorn kernal just right to spray back out. I tell all new staff to wear pants and shoes that can get messy. It's surprisingly expensive as well. A 9 litre jug is $50.00. I checked into serving real butter a while ago but it was even more expensive and I didn't think we would use it fast enough to keep it fresh. We stopped selling Nachos because we didn't use the cheese fast enough.

Monday, May 15, 2006

This is the big weekend!

2 movies that are expected to be massive hits open this weekend, The Da Vinci Code and Over The Hedge. Da Vinci could do over $100 mil it's first weekend. It's one of the most anticipated movies in years. The early reviews I've read have all said it's very good movie. Over the Hedge is more of a family film but again is expected to be big and is said to be very entertaining.

After the disappoinment of MI3's opening and the bomb of Posiden the industry needs a good hit to boost morale.


Well, we have our first big bomb of summer 2006. Posiden opened to a very low 20 million. For a movie that is rumoured to have cost 200 million that's pretty bad. It got very bad reviews.

I went to see it last night. I thought it was okay, kept my attention. Most of the effects were pretty good. I doubt it could have cost as much as they say. Some of the effects were pretty obvious.

I'd still recommend seeing it if you like big budget-no brain popcorn movies (which I do).

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Western Film's movies next week.

Next week May 12 -18, will be an interesting experiment here at Western Film. The early show Friends with Money has some good names in it( Jennifer Aniston, Joan Cusack, Catherine Keener, Frances McDormand) but hasn't gotten a lot of publicity so I'm curious how it will do. It got a 67% on Rottentomatoes.com which isn't bad. Western Film often does well with movies aimed at women so I'm hoping.
The late show is Lucky Number Slevin which again didn't get a lot of press despite some big stars in the cast, Josh Hartnett (maybe not a big star) Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Lucy Lui and Ben Kingsley. It was a fun movie, fairly violent, defintely influenced by and/or ripping off Tarantino. I'm curious to see how well it does.

47 Million Dollar opening is a disappointment?

Mission Impossible 3 debuted with only 47 million dollars, way below the studio and various analysts had estimated. It seems funny that much money would be considered a disappointment. Part of the reason it's considered low is that it opened on over 4000 screens, the 4th highest ever.
I don't think they should have been surprised considering how much Tom Cruise's public image has changed over the last year. He's getting the same creepy taint that finished off Michael Jackson. He's totally alienated his female fan base.
I want to see MI3 but more for Philip Seymore Hoffman as the bad buy. On the other hand I would imagine Cruise is getting a front end deal so he gets a portion of ever ticket sold. I would rather not give Tom Cruise, and by extension, Scientology, any of my money.

For the few people who haven't heard.

The big news this week for many was the announcement that George Lucas was releasing the original Star Wars movies as they were seen in theatres when first released. They are supposed to come out in September. I'll probably buy them. I find it interesting how often he changes his mind. Way back when he said there Star Wars movies would never come out on video at all. I wonder if he's releasing them because the fans have been clamouring for them or to make more money?
I guess it doesn't matter as long as we get to see the movies as they were made and we remember them.
I just wish he would let movie theatres (including Western Film) play them.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

An update on Piracy.

I saw this article on the IMDB and thought it was interesting. Reminds me of the first time I realized how big a problem piracy could be for movie theatres. Western Film was playing In Good Company. I was walking back to my office and right outside the theatre I saw two people watching the same movie on their laptop, needless to say I wasn't impressed.

"Having determined that some of the most flagrant movie piracy occurs on college campuses, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have sent blistering letters to the presidents of 40 universities in 25 states, demanding that they take action against illegal sharing of copyrighted material. The letter observed that several file-sharing sites promise security and confidentiality, giving "many students incentive to engage in activity they have otherwise learned is illegal and unacceptable." The two groups said that they intend to "prioritize our focus" on campus piracy and asked the schools to install blocking and filtering software in their network systems. Meanwhile, today's (Wednesday) Wall Street Journal reported that a study commissioned by the MPAA concluded that the industry is losing $6.1 billion annually worldwide as a result of piracy in all forms, $1.3 billion of that total in the U.S. alone. The study indicated that Mexico ranks as the world's largest market for pirated DVDs followed by China and Russia. At a conference at the Tribeca Film Festival on Monday, BitTorrent co-founder Ashwin Navin said that users of BitTorrent download 700,000 films each day. "

GST reduction.

The reduction is the GST will make things interesting at our ticket counter. Our current ticket price is $4.25, a nice even number. If you take the 7% GST off that you get $3.97 base price.

The problem is in Ontario there is an 10% entertainment tax that kicks in as soon as your base price goes over $4.00. That's the reason you see so many theatres in Ontario more or less stuck at $4.25. If we try to raise the price we more or less have to go to $5.00 since another 50 cents of tax kicks in.

If you take the new GST reduced rate of 6% off $4.25 you get $4.01 which kicks in the entertainment tax.

Looks like I'll have to stop using the nice even number $4.25.

New Superman Trailer!

Here's a link to the new Superman Returns trailer. I'm much impressed. It looks good, they seem to have gone the Batman Begins direction and made it a little darker. I'm still a little nervous about the guy playing Superman. I noticed that until this point they never showed him speaking in any of the marketing. I hope they haven't cast an actor who couldn't act again. Christopher Reeve wasn't exactly a great actor.


PS: you need the latest version of QuickTime.
PSS: If link doesn't work paste the above link into your brower window or go to Apple web site.