Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas at the movies.

Way back when I wondered why some movies open on Christmas Day. I figured no one would be going since everyone was doing Christmas stuff. I have since found out Christmas day is one of the singlest busiest days of the years at movie theatres. I figure it's a combination of the following.

-The movies that open Christmas Day. I'd be curious to find out how this trend got started. It wasn't all that long ago movie theatres couldn't be open on Sundays.
-People who don't celebrate Christmas go to the movies because there isn't anything much else to do.
-People who don't have anyone to celebrate Christmas with for whatever reason go for the escapism if they feel lonely.
- Family members who get together for the holidays go to the movies. I figure sometimes it's because people feel they have to get together because it's Christmas but don't really want to spend time together, so they go to a movie.

Anyone have other ideas to add?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Next Week's nonexistent movie.

Western Film will be closed for the holidays starting Dec 22 until Jan 7th. There's a few reasons we close over the holidays-

-Few students around hence less business
-My staff are all students hence less staff. The ones that are here would have to work pretty much every night.
-This is one of the peak times of the year for moviegoing so anything remotely good the first run theatres keep. The only new movie I could have played next week was Unaccompanied Minors.
-The University is closed for some days so I wouldn't be able to open anyway.

Next week is the start of a two week playweek because of the holidays. Everything that opens on Friday and Christmas day will be the only movies playing for two weeks.

I did book a couple movies for after the holidays.
Stranger Than Fiction will be playing both shows Jan8th (the Monday when classes resume) until Thursday Jan 11.
Borat will play both shows starting Jan 11. Fox wouldn't let us split it. For this movie I don't have a problem with that as I expect it to do well. There is however the possibility that everyone who wants to see it has already seen it. Although my sense is it will do really well and I'm almost always right about these things.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Midnight Shows/ Anyone want 1/2 of 40 feet of Top Gun?

On Fridays during the school year Western Film runs a midnight classics series. Mostly comedies that have a cult following and are fun to watch with a group (Zoolander, Monty Python) and movies that are cool to see on the big screen again (Kill Bill, Top Gun).

I usually do the projection for these myself for a few reasons.
-Since these are older prints these shows are the ones we are most likely to have technical problems.
-I'm always up late so I don't mind working until 2 or three in the morning.
-I usually want to watch the movie, I was quite disappointed I had to cancel Kill Bill Vol 2 because of the snowstorm.

I've had a few interesting experiences doing the midnight shows.

We played Top Gun a couple weeks ago, about 30 minutes in the film suddenly started splitting down the middle. Half was still running through the projector, the other half was piling up on top of the film on the platter. I was sitting beside the projector so I shut off the light and sound and turned off the projector. The weird thing was half the film stayed threaded up instead of breaking as it normally would. I removed the part that had split off and slowly ran the film through until everything was ready to go again. Took me about 5 minutes. Seen in the pic is the half I removed, it's about 40 feet long. When we took the film apart to go back I had to cut out the other half so it would play fine for the next theatre. It will, however, be missing about 20 seconds at that point.

The only other time I had something as drastic happen was Army of Darkness. It did bascially the same thing but the film broke completely. That one only lost about 12 feet.

There have been some interesting prints come in.
Taxi Driver was the worst print I had ever seen. It was full of splices and there were entire sections of the film where the outer edge was missing. I almost cancelled the show, it was so bad I didn't think it would ever play through. I was truly shocked when it ran through without breaking. Too bad we only had 14 people, we won't be playing it again.

The Shining is one of the films we have had really good attendance for but I refuse to play it again. It's an original 1980 print. It's not too bad for splices but some kinds of film go 'pink' as they age. The blues go away leaving the film with a pinkish tone. The Shining is the worst I've seen for that. The entire movie is nothing but shades of pink and red.

Two of the most popular films for the Midnights have been Monty Python's Holy Grail and Life of Brian. A few years ago a Toronto company called Creative Exposure got the rights to both and made new prints. I tried to book them for this years midnight series but couldn't. Both owners of the company had recently died so it was for sale. Not knowing what would happen to the rights or prints as a result I couldn't book them. Maybe next year.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sorry I've been bad.

I knew I was getting a little slack in the posts due to time constraints. I'm a pretty bad typist/speller/ grammatician so it takes me a while to create an interesting post. It took me a about 50 minutes to create the 4 I did just now.

My staff told me a couple people at the theatre asked about why the blog wasn't updated more often so that at least lets me know people are reading it.

I just got a new digital camera so I've been playing with it. I have a few ideas for interesting series of posts. The first one will be following the sound system through, so readers see how movie theatre quality sound is generated.

Anyway, please bear with me.

Anybody want a pink umbrella?

This is a pic of the Lost and Found at Western Film. We get all sorts of interesting items. Lots of umbrellas, I think there's about 10 in my office. In the winter we get lots of hats, scarves and gloves. Lots on pencil cases too. We have lots of pens and calculators now.

Very little of it is ever picked up. Every few months I go through and give the older items to Goodwill.

There are sometimes quite interesting things lost. We've found wallets, purses and bus passes quite often. I usually try to notify the owner that we have their item.

Sometimes I get surprised by what doesn't get picked up. A couple times I've found set of keys, you would think they would realize when they tried to get into their car or home they had left them behind.

their was one situation that could have gotten real interesting. A woman left her laptop behind but someone else must have snagged it. I vaguely remember two or three guys rapidly leaving through an exit door near where she was sitting. She came back three times looking for it and didn't seem to believe me that I hadn't seen it. She was quite freaking out, I think it had her thesis on it. She kept asking me about it but there wasn't anything I could do. I couldn't help but think that she should have remembered to take it with her rather than arguing with me. I half expected her to call the campus police on me.

Last Playweek for 2006.

Bobby/ Tenacious D is the last playweek for Western Film for 2006. We close for the holidays on Dec 22nd and reopen on Jan 8th.

Since we don't open until Monday we get a partial playweek which is fun to deal with. Since everything is closed up there I can't really advertise the way I normally would. What I've done the last couple years is book something we already did well with for the 4 days. Last year it was Wedding Crashers.

unfortunately there no obvious movie to do that with this year. We've had a bunch of movies do well but nothing as big as Wedding Crashers. The biggest movie this fall was Inconvenient Truth but we played the crap out of it and it's out on video.

What I'm planning to do is see if Fox will let me book Borat for the first 4 days and continuing into the next playweek. We'll see if they go for it.

Next Week's Movies.

There were a few choices for next week. None were must-plays which is kind of good. I didn't really want to play anything 'good' next week since most of the students will be either busy with exams or gone.

The choices were:

Flushed Away- not enough adult appeal, though it was fun.

The Nativity Story- This became available really quick, big bomb, so much for the supposed Christian movie market.

Turistas- horror

Van Wilder 2 - horrible movie

Bobby- I decided to play this for the early show. Didn't do great First Run but seems the kind of movie we often do well with. Has more adult appeal which will offset the lack of students.

Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny- I decided to play this as the late show. I'm not a big Jack Black fan and this movie looked bad even for him but supposedly it has a cult following (just a small one). Normally I probably wouldn't have played this but it seemed like a good movie to play as a stress release for the students still writing exams, fairly short and presumably funny. I don't expect huge business but maybe Jack Black will surprise me.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Next Week's Movies.

Next week was one of those interesting weeks where I have some to choose from but no obvious ones I 'have' to play.

The only two new movies were:

The Fountain- I heard some people liked it but it bombed.
A Good Year- bombed spectacularly, in my opinion due to bad marketing. Also we couldn't split it so that wasn't even an option.

I decided to bring back the Departed. It did really well last week. Also it was the late show last week so moving it to the early show will appeal to some people who couldn't go to the late show.

The late show for the week was a dilemma, I could have brought is one of the movies I've been holding back on. I checked into some smaller art films like Little Children but no prints were available. Art films tend to work better as the early show anyway.

There was one art film that would make a good late show, Shortbus. Because of the explicit content I didn't want any one trying to bring kids. They couldn't get in anyway since it's rated R. It's sort of an experiment since it does have low awareness. It's an awesome movie. I've seen it twice already.

There's only one playweek left before we shut down for Christmas. It's traditionally a slow week since the students are either busy with exams or leaving. I may bring in a short funny movie like Employee of the month. They make good exam breaks plus I wouldn't want to 'waste' a good movie.

I was given a date when The Prestige is available but it's the day after we shut down so it will be playing right after Christmas.

Screwy Justice System, I'm glad I'm not American.

These items were all reported the same day on one of the studio news items I read.

A man was sentenced to 7 years in prison for camcording a movie in a theatre. Seems a bit extreme, it wasn't even a hit movie. it was The Core.

A man who bilked at least 70 investors out of millions of dollars for a non-existent TV show was given a sentence of one year and a day. The judge in this case deserves to have his money bilked by some other phony scheme so he knows what it feels like.

There was also a story about a man who had sold thousands of copies of pirated DVDs and also got about a year.

Does all this seem a little inequitable to you?