Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Next Week's Movie

Rainbow finally dropped Inconvenient Truth from their $7.50 art series so I was able to book it for Western Film. The only other new film available was Accepted which I figured was aimed at younger people than most UWO students.

There has been a lot of requests for Truth so I decided to run it for both shows, not something I do often unless I have to. It's fairly short so the late show is at 9:05, so even if the late show is a bust it won't be too expensive in terms of staffing.

Based on requests and previous experience I think Truth will be one of our highest attended films this year.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Scott Baio as Maverick?!

I was flipping TV channels yesterday and watched a little bit of a show on child stars. There was a quick interview snippet with Scott Baio saying he was offered Top Gun! I can't imagine him in the role. He wasn't a very good actor for one, didn't look like a fighter pilot either. For all his faults Tom Cruise was perfect for the part of Maverick in Top Gun.

Next Week's Movies.

My choice for next week was pretty easy. Snakes on a Plane and Clerks 2 were the only good choices available. There was also a couple movies available that didn't do well like Wicker Man and Zoom.

I decided to put Snakes as the early show since I think it has wider appeal than Clerks 2.

I'm curious to see how they do. Both could be the kind of movie where most of the people who want to see them go to the first run theatres.

Still waiting for Inconvenient Truth, maybe next week.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Open Threat Post for questions.

Since I figure there may be some new readers among the new students I figured I'd put up an open thread. If there are any questions about Western Film or the movie industry please leave them as comments and I'll answer them as best I can.

Fun with Film Shipping!

Something happened this week that happens every so often, a problem with shipping and receiving a film.

Film is shipped on small reels about 20 minutes long. Most films are 6 reels. The small reels are shipped in metal canisters that hold from 2-4 small reels. Most of the time we expect to receive 2 canisters.

We book on Monday and the movies usually show up Wednesday or Thursday. To get a movie ready to play we splice it together with special tape. Add the trailers to the front and it's ready to go.

This week I'm playing three films, Prada, Scanner Darkly and Friday Midnight show of Crash. We already had Prada sine we played it last week so I was expecting Scanner and Crash to show up.

Nothing showed up Wednesday which isn't uncommon. When I got to work Thursday afternoon I checked and found the following: Both parts of Crash, 1/2 of Scanner and 1/2 of ANT BULLY! Needless to say I made a very fast phone call. The second half of Scanner was shipped today (Friday) on the bus so it all turned out okay. I'm glad we aren't far from Toronto.

We have had some other similar problems.

Every so often Purolator loses half of the film and sends it to Windsor or something.

Last week Universal didn't tell the warehouse to send You, Me and Dupree so it came in on the bus on Friday.

Sometimes small mistakes add up to bigger problems. We played a movie called Walking Tall once, it came in late for some reason so I was putting it together during the 7pm show to play for the late show. It ended up being one of the few times I have lost a show. The small reels weren't labeled properly so I had no idea what order the reels were supposed to go in?! The only way to tell was to play the small reels and figure out the right order. If the movie had come in on time I would have been able to figure out the order Friday afternoon. Since it came in late I couldn't check before it was supposed to play and had to cancel the show.
The worst example was a couple years ago. I don't remember what movie it was (probably blocked it out). It was the 7pm show. The studio didn't tell the warehouse to send the print. When I called Thursday the warehouse sent a print by Purolator. Purolator lost half and all I got was the first half. Another canister of the second half was put on the bus and should have arrived Friday Afternoon. There was some sort of natural gas leak or something in downtown Toronto which messed up the shipment. The canister didn't come on the 5pm bus and the next one was supposed to come in at 7pm.

So now I had a choice: do I cancel the show or take a chance and do the following.
Put together the first half, about an hour's worth, and start it at 7pm. Pick up the second half at the bus depot after 7 rush it back and put it together while the first half was playing. There would have been a short intermission while I threaded up the second half but other than that it should all have worked smoothly. I took the chance and guess what happened? The second half didn't show up on the 7pm bus.

I stopped the show about 40 minutes in and explained exactly to the audience what had happened. Thankfully most of them thought it was funny and no one yelled at me. The canister showed up in time to play for the Saturday show.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Scenes after the credits.

Some films have scenes after the credits. Currently we are playing X-men which has a brief but interesting scene at the end. I'm one of those strange people who watches the credits for every movie (unless I really have to go to the bathroom). I find it funny how the theatre is empty within about 10 seconds of credits showing most of the time. I was in California once and most of the people there stayed to watch the credits, maybe in case there was someone they knew?

Comedies, especially animated ones, tend to have scenes after the credits. Dodgeball had one that was almost a minute long.

Sometimes action/sci-fi films do as well, Constantine had one. There something similar at the end of Aliens.

I won't even get into the number of horror movies that have scenes at the end.

One of the Lethal Weapon movies had a scene at the end but the theatre I saw it in still had a curtain and it started closing partway through the scene. Whoever had set up the automation of that show I guess didn't see the extra scene or didn't care.

Sometimes Studios use the extra scene as a marketing ploy, some people went back to see X-Men again after they heard about the end. I was working in a theatre playing Monster's Inc and at one point we had to change the last reel on all the prints. Monster's Inc. was one of the animated films that had fake bloopers in the credits. Partway through the run they changed the bloopers and then ran ads to get people to see the movie again to see the bloopers. Thankfully the bloopers were really funny.

Next Week's Movies

There were only a couple new films available, Beerfest and Zoom. Neither struck me as something that would be popular at Western Film. Beerfest could have done well but I think it's one of those movies where people will wait for the DVD.

I decided to bring back The Devil Wears Prada since it did so well last week. I inquired about whether a print of A Scanner Darkly was available and it was so I booked it. I'm curious how it does, it's gotten some press but is a bit unusual.

Looks like An Inconvenient Truth will probably play the following week. I hope so, we are running out of good movies to play.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

On the other hand the Media can be manipulated.

I was involved with Western Film while it was still a club, at the time we still ran in Middlesex College and had just converted to 35mm film from 16mm. My friend Mark Maclellan and myself were in charge of Western Film. We both were fans of the movie Basic Instinct, him more so than me. We heard that the British version had scenes that weren't in the North American version. We arranged to bring in a print of the British version and show it. I won't get into how much trouble and expense it was to get it.
So we had the print and had to decide how to market it. This was before the Internet and marketing films was harder and more expensive for small operations like Western Film.
The added footage was basically extra sex and violence, which is pretty much what the whole movie was about. We decided to market it as the Director's Cut. The term was just starting to be used.
Anyway to get to the point, as they say there's no such thing as bad publicity and nothing sells like controversy. We decided to write a fake protest letter to the Gazette and if they published it that would get word of mouth going. They published it and we went on to have 4 sold out shows and made over $10,000 which at the time was a huge amount for Western Film.

Some related trivia.
-The 'person' who sent in the protest letter was Trina Shoons, an anagram of Sharon Stone.
-A nun from Brescia sent in a real protest letter.
-The added footage was less than a minute but was quite shocking for the time.

Tabloid Magazines.

I've noticed a couple things in the tabloids/magazines the last couple weeks. One of them had Nicole Ritchie on the cover, a bad candid of her running or something in a swimsuit. The tagline was something like 'Nicole's starving herself to death'. I bet if you checked back a few issues they ran a similar tagline about her being fat.
I looked at an inside page of one yesterday while waiting for the photocopier and it was running some sets of comparison photos. The one that caught my eye was Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. In the first picture she was taller than him, in the second picture they were the same height so they had a little caption saying Tom was wearing lifts in his shoes. The thing I noticed was in the first picture Katie was wearing a long formal gown which didn't show her feet. I'm not much on women's wear but I would imagine that dress would come with very high heels. In the second pics they were both more casually dressed and she wasn't wearing heels so they are probably about the same height in actuality.

Just a couple examples of how the tabloids manipulate images. I wonder if Tom Cruise wouldn't have had the problems he's had if the media hadn't paid so much attention to the couch jumping incident.

Also examples of how the media manipulates/reflects body image. The women can never be the right weight, the tabloids are always running articles saying so and so is fat or too thin. If they feel they have to say Tom Cruise is wearing lifts in his shoes as a bad thing they are implying/affirming being short is a detriment for a man. I'm glad I'm 6'2.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Back to School

It's Frosh Week, the most chaotic week of the year for basically everyone here at the University. 5000 new students plus many lost parents in need of directions.

It's the most unpredictable week of the year in terms of attendance at the movies. Even more unpredictable than usual.

We had a lot of adults at The Devil Wears Prada on the weekend. I imagine some of them will avoid the campus during the week. On the other hand I expect attendance for You, Me and Dupree will go up as the students return.

Hollywood has completely run out of ideas/ Poster of the Week.

Well, it's official. Hollywood can only recycle itself now. The poster is for a remake of Revenge of the Nerds in 2007. The original one is a great film, I hope they don't make the new one suck. According to IMDB the movie doesn't even have a cast yet. They may have put the poster out so soon because it's one of the productions from a new subset of Fox called Fox Atomic which is supposed to make movies aimed at teenagers. As opposed to Fox Searchlight which makes movies for adults and the art crowd. Little Miss Sunshine is one example.

Fox Atomic, I can't decide if I like the name, simultaneously interesting and cheesy.