Thursday, December 11, 2008

Great New Trailer - The Proposal

This is an interesting trailer. Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock are two of my favorite actors so I'm looking forward to this. The trailer starts off kinda lame but gets going later. There's a joke involving mornings that made me laugh out loud here at home all by myself. That doesn't happen often. As long as all the best stuff isn't in the trailer this one should do well.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Next Week's Film Dec 12 - 18

There was only one film available for next week, Changling. Well, that's not completely true, Secret Life of Bees was available but it's from Fox so I can't split it so I never even considered playing it.

It worked out fine that there isn't anything available for a late show for next week. I kinda wanted to only run one show anyway. It's the last week of exams and the last week Western Film operates for the year. It's usually one of our deadest weeks even if we have a good movie.

Changling is a good choice as it has adult appeal and the adults are still here.

The booker was checking on Role Models which didn't come off. I don't think I would have played it anyway. With most of the students gone it would have been a waste to play it. I'm currently planning for it to be the movie the first few days we come back.

We should have lots to chose from when we reopen. there's a ton of movies opening over the holidays.

Next Week's Films Dec 5 -11

This post is a few days late. I had already booked Passchedalele in for the early show so I only had to chose the late show. The only new film available was Zack and Miri make a Porno which works out fine. It's a good late show and a good exam break film. If Zack and Miri wasn't available I was going to see if Fox would let me split Max Payne (doubtful) or put in Lakeview Terrace.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Freaky Film / why one used to need a licence to be a projectionist.

I posted about one of these videos way back when I started this blog but I think I can load it up here now. The other one I found on youtube.

Film used to be nitrate based which was highly flammable. It's now basically plastic based so melts but doesn't burn.

The film was so highly flammable it took special training to deal with it. It was a bad combination, highly flammable film and light so bright it would burn right through the film if it stopped moving.

Anyone who's seen Cinema Paradiso will have an idea what I'm talking about.

Nitrate film is also a reason that if you read through the history of movie theatres you'll notice how many of them burned down.

Next Week's Films Nov 28 - Dec 4

Next week wasn't too hard to book. I had already booked in Body of Lies for the early show. It was available the week before but I didn't want to play it as a late show.

The booker was checking on a few films including Zack and Miri and Passchedale. I asked her to book in Zack and Miri for the late show if it was available or Religulous otherwise. Zack and Miri didn't come off so Religulous is getting a second week. Passchendaele wasn't available but that was fine because I wouldn't have booked it anyway. It needs to be the 7pm show. I was told later in the week Passchendaele was available starting Dec 5th so I went ahead and booked it in.

Max Payne was available and I would have played it as a late show but Fox wanted all shows which I can't do. I asked the booker to tell Fox I'll play it as a late show with Passchendaele if I can split it. Occasionally they listen to reason and agree but I'm not holding my breath. I really don't understand Fox, they'd rather me not play the film at all than share the screen with another film?!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Last week was a really weird week.

The last playweek (Religulous and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) was one of the weirdest weeks ever in terms of attendance.
There are basic patterns Western Film tends to follow. How well Friday and Saturday do can usually be extrapolated into how well the rest of the week will do. That's partially how I can make a decision on Monday about whether to keep a movie for another week even though I don't know for sure how it's going to finish.
There are of course variables such as weather and holidays.

here's the base assumptions. I knew Religulous would do well but I wasn't sure how well. Nick and Norah I wasn't sure about. I figured it would do okay at least but could bomb. I didn't expect it to do really well.

I don't normally use actual numbers but in this case I will since I don't think the meaning will come across if I don't.

On Friday Religulous did about 90 people and Nick and Norah about 35, respectable numbers for each.
They both did almost exactly the same numbers for Saturday.
Sunday and Monday are the quietest nights so based on the above I would have expected about 30 and 15 on Sunday. My staff got somewhat surprised when we again had 90 and 35 show up?! I've never seen something like that happen without a holiday or some extenuating factor.

Monday night we weren't sure what to expect and much to my surprise once again got 90 and 35.

Based on the weekend numbers I would have expected about 200 and 100 on Tuesday since it's discount night. However I wasn't sure if the pattern would hold since things had been weird so far. About 6:49 Tuesday I was thinking the pattern had broken because we didn't have a lot of people yet and it just didn't seem like it was going to be busy. However at 6:50 people started coming in droves and we ended up with 173 for Religulous. Based on that and the weekend I still expected about 100 for Nick and Norah. Much to our surprise 193 people showed up?!

Wednesday was about the same as the weekend which isn't unusual.

I expected about the same for Thursday. Again we were surprised when 137 people showed up for Religulous, a high number for any non-Tuesday show. Nick and Norah did about the same as it did the other nights.

So Religulous ended up as the third highest grosser of the year, second if you count the 85 high school students who came to a special afternoon showing. Nick and Norah did about twice what I would have guessed it's maximum would be.

So all in all it was a great week. I think it was somewhat fluky, good movies that people hadn't seen yet in a week when there weren't too many midterms?

So this leaves me with the question of whether to bring Religulous back for another week. Normally a film does about half of what it did the first week, but was that week a fluke and artificially high?! I'm also reminded of the situation that happened with Borat. It's first week was huge, one of the highest of the year but it's second week was only about 15% of it's first week, really weird.

I'll probably bring Religulous back if there aren't any new movies I need to play. I'm very curious to see how it does....

Next Week's Films

There were three new films available for next week.

Saw 5 - I never book horror, most of the ones who want to see it will have already done so.

Eagle Eye and Body of Lies.- This presented me with a bit of a dilemma. I want to play both films but didn't really want to play either as a late show. Both strike me as films that will do better as a 7pm show since they have adult appeal as well as student. If I had to choose one as a late show it would have been Eagle Eye. Since there aren't a lot of films out currently that I'm really waiting for I decided to play Eagle Eye next week and book Body of Lies for the following week.

I decided to bring back Pineapple Express for the late show. It did really well the first week and I've had requests. I considered keeping Religulous but haven't yet decided whether to bring it back, see the next post as to why I'm having trouble deciding.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I hate when they don't play the right trailers!

I went to see Quantum of Solace tonight. One thing that was a bit of a story in the movie world was the new trailers that were supposed to show before it. The one I was most interested to see was the first full length trailer for the next Star Trek movie. There was also supposed to be the new Watchmen trailer, and I think the latest trailer for The Day The Earth Stood Still.

I was very disappointed, the Trek trailer wasn't there, there was no Watchmen trailer and the DTESS trailer was an older one.

I finally gave in and watched the Star Trek trailer online, I really wanted to see it on the big screen. I'm looking forward to the film, I've been a Star Trek fan since I was a kid. Got a bit out of it over the last while, never watched the last series but always watched the films.

That's my rant for the day.

Friday, November 14, 2008

James Bond Meets The Incredibles

This is another mash up trailer from the same guy who did the Dark Knight / Toy Story one I posted a couple weeks ago. It's not quite as good but still fascinating how images and audio are so malleable.

100 Spoilers in 4 minutes.

Found this interesting little video. Don't watch it if you haven't seen a lot of films. I figured I would be safe to watch it but there were a couple films mentioned I hadn't seen. Most of them are well known to anyone who pays any attention at all to pop culture or film.

I wonder how many takes it took?

I'll take a compliment where I can get it, sort of.

I overheard a customer say this last night, he was referencing our snack bar prices.

' they're not as big a rip-off as the other places'

Not sure if that's a compliment or an insult?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I hate it when...

Some girl showed up about 20 mins late for a film tonight and called her friends inside to find out where they were sitting. That's a trifle rude to the other customers. The theatre was quite full so she probably had to crawl over a bunch of people to get to her friends.

Cell phones have their place but not in a movie theatre. One of the most common answers given as to why some people prefer to see movies at home is distractions from other patrons in theatres, especially cell phones.

That's my 2 cents for tonight.

Next Weeks Movies.

Next week was a pretty easy week to book. I had been planning to play The Duchess as the 7pm show if nothing came off that I thought should be played instead. It turned out the only new film available was RockNRolla which seems a great fit for a late show.

The booker was checking on Eagle Eye and Body of Lies so they should come off soon. Eagle Eye has been playing a while so must still be doing good business.

We've only got 4 playweeks before we close for Christmas. Time flies.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Question about Slideshow invisibles trivia.

I'm looking for feedback from anyone who reads this who actually goes to Western Film to see movies. Before the movie starts we play a PowerPoint slide show with trivia. Some of the trivia I get from imdb which is usually more in the form of 'did you know...' rather than questions. The visual trivia I get from a site called (with permission) I started using their invisibles trivia as they seemed neat and they make a lot of them so I had lots to choose from. In the invisibles trivia they take a scene from a movie and someone very skillfully erases the humans leaving only their clothing and sets. You then have to guess what the film is.

I like using the invisibles for the slideshow because they are easy to change which takes less time so I can change the slide show more often. However I'm not sure how effective they are. I have to make the images larger for the slide show which reduces resolution and then the image gets even bigger on the big screen.

So I have a few questions.

Do people have trouble making out what the image is because it's too fuzzy sometimes?

Are they too hard?

Is having trivia before a movie tacky?

I make sure the trivia isn't so easy as to be almost insulting as I've seen at other theatres.

I just updated the slide show. This time I tried to pick invisibles that were more clear visually. I also tried to pick ones that were a little easier than some in the past.

If anyone checks it out let me know what you think.
P.S. if you are a movie buff you might want to check out the invisibles at the site. I'm surprised how many people get all 8 each week. I can usually get about half.

Speaking of Presidents...Trivia Question.

An interesting fact was recently unearthed in the USC archives by Andrea at the Front Desk.

Guess what Canadian recently married to a very famous Briton was President of the Western Film Community as it was called in 1982? It was a student club at the time.

I'll post/confirm the answer in a few days.

Hint, there's one twist to the story so think a little outside the box.

P.S. Anyone at the USC who already knows the answer please hold off before commenting. I'm curious to see if anyone gets it.

This is one time I'm glad I was wrong.

When a friend of mine who follows politics closely told me about this guy named Barak Obama who was running for President I was skeptical. I figured a black man with an Arabic sounding name didn't have any chance at all to become President of the US. I'm glad I was wrong.

Now we'll see if he can start to put the US back on track and repair at least some of the damage of the last 8 years.

Personally I think if McCain had won the rest of the world would have basically said 'screw you' to the US and it would have become increasingly irrelevant.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Remake of the Day the Earth Stood Still

This is one of those movies that puts me in a movie lover quandary. The original is a classic that in many ways shouldn't be touched but the new one looks interesting.

I'm getting the impression this is one of the remakes that uses only only the name and some of the basic concepts and characters from the original. The original is way too slow to work these days and somewhat anti-climatic.

SPOILER - From the trailer it's obvious the definition of the word 'still' has been changed. In the original the alien made all the machinery, cars, trains, electricity, etc. stop at the same time hence making the world still. The new one looks like still=dead.

I'm curious to see how they end it. It will have a similar problem as the War of The Worlds remake did, the original ending isn't very exciting.

Keanu Reeves is actually well cast here. He does well with parts where he has to play anything but a regular human.

One thing that is setting off alarm bells for me is the special effects, especially the disintegration scenes, they don't look very well done, hopefully it was just an early version.

Here's the trailer. There was a five minute extended version but it has been removed. It showed a bit more of the action.

I'll be seeing this one opening weekend. It's from Fox so I hope it's either a big hit or a complete dud so I don't have to decide whether to play it for all shows when it should only play one show per night.

Next Week's Films

I had already booked Religulous in for the 7 pm show so I only needed to decide what to play for a late show. Over the weekend I had thought about playing Lakeview Terrace but decided it would be better to bring back Pineapple Express depending on what came available. There were four movies available:

City of Ember: a cute movie but I wouldn't have played it even if I could. As it is it's from Fox who wanted full shows so there's no chance in heck I would ever play it.

W. : I'm not sure about this one, it didn't do great in general release and a lot of our regulars saw it at our advance showing.

Quarantine: We don't do well with horror.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist: I wasn't expecting this to come off yet so I hadn't really thought about playing it. It got decent reviews and did good business so I decided to play it. It makes a good late show since the target audience is students.

The following week is getting interesting. I'm still planning to play Duchess as the early show but I'm going to wait and find out what else is available. I'm also accumulating a lot of possibles for the other show.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Trailer for a Freaky Film.

This film has been getting a lot of buzz, I hope it makes it to Canada. The story sounds like something Hollywood couldn't make up but it's true.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I don't understand some theatres.

We played a Bollywood ( Indian ) film called Drona on the weekend. One of the theatres that had previously played the film did something that makes no sense to me. Bollywood films are almost always long, 2 1/2 to 3 hours and have an intermission about half way through. The intermission is built into the film, the word intermission, or sometimes interval, comes up on the screen.
Every Bollywood film I've played has had an intermission, even one that was only about 2 hours long. So Bollywood audiences expect to have an intermission so they can go to the bathroom etc.
From a theatre's point of view an intermission is great for food sales. We made 75% of our food sales this weekend during the intermission.
So if you are still with me, the audiences expect an intermission and the theatre makes money, everybody's happy.
So why did a previous theatre cut off the section of film that says intermission?! From a film standpoint the only practical reason to do this would be to be able to splice the film altogether into one long movie without an intermission. Why would anyone do that? The only thing I can think of is to save the time of the intermission in order to run more showings of the film per day. Personally I would hate to be sitting watching the film waiting for the intermission to go to the bathroom and it never comes.

It made things a little awkward for us this weekend. A Bollywood film I showed a few months ago had a similar situation. I spliced the intermission titling back into the film. This weekend however one of my projectionists made up the film and didn't know to do that. By the time I found out it was too late to fix it. I knew where the intermission was supposed to be but to the audience it was probably somewhat jarring as the film just stopped without any text warning. Luckily they tend to put the intermissions at either cliffhanger moments or just after pivotal events so it's somewhat predictable. For Drona the intermission came right after the transformation of the regular guy into the Super guy.

Next Week's Films Oct 31 - Nov 6

I had already booked Burn After Reading in so I knew what the early show would be. The question was what the late show would be. It ended up being one of those annoying weeks with tough choices to make. There were some good films available but I didn't think they would make good late shows. Movies that appeal to adults as well as students usually need to be the early show. For the most part only students come to the late shows.

Religulous- I decided this should be a early show so I put it off a week and booked it to start Nov 7. I booked it in so I could start advertising it.

The Duchess.- Another film that needs to be an early show. I've tentatively slotted this into the week after Religulous. I didn't book it in in case something more interesting comes available.

I still needed to make a choice for the late show. There were two possibles.
My Best Friend's Girl- I've been changing my mind about whether to play this or not. It's kinda a cross between a romantic and a raunchy comedy. I usually have a reading on how I think any film will do and this one I'm getting nuthin'. I decided to try it and see what happens. It's playing at 9:00. My guess is it will do somewhere between 'okay' and 'bad' but it would be a nice surprise if it does 'good' or better.
Lakeview Terrace - I normally wouldn't play this kind of mid-range thriller but it did okay and stars Samuel L. Jackson. It's tentatively slotted into the late show after Religulous but I won't cry if something better comes available.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Advance Screenings

One thing I really like doing is advance screenings, especially when it's a film I know won't suck. We've done three so far this year. Warner did Fool's Gold in February. That went really well, was very busy, it got a little complicated as they were selling the tickets for charity rather than giving them away. It also had to be on a Tuesday which got interesting since I had to cancel whatever else would have played that night on our discount night.

Maple AKA Lionsgate did The Bank Job in March. It went quite well for a relatively small movie, at a busy time of year for the students, about 100 people.

During the summer I wrote to the woman at Maple and asked her if she wanted to do any more. I was interested in Religulous but it turned out that was being distributed by TVA in Canada.

We did decide to do one for Oliver Stone's W. which was last week. Considering the timing right after Thanksgiving I was expecting about 100 people. We ended up with just over 200 so I was quite happy. They also bought a lot of popcorn.

W. had trailers for The Spirit and Transporter 3 in front of it. Hopefully Maple will want to do advance screenings for those.

Toy Story meets The Dark Knight.

This is a great fan-made mash.

It occurred to me that something like this would make a great study subject for a film class. It shows just how easily the meaning of images or sound can be manipulated for a desired response.

An odd decision I had to make.

I got an odd phone call on Monday. Alliance called at about 4pm and asked if we wanted to do a advance showing of Zack and Miri Make A Porno. Doing so would be really cool except they wanted to do it on Thursday, as in 4 days later, replacing a movie that had been advertised all week and was doing well (Mamma Mia). I had to say no even though I wanted to do it. Mamma Mia is doing quite well and I didn't think cancelling the last 7pm show of it was a good idea. I'd never be able to let everyone know in advance it had been cancelled which would lead to some pissed off customers.

I wonder if a premiere somewhere else got cancelled and they were looking for some place else to play it. The woman seemed almost insulted/surprised when I said no.

Hopefully they call back and want to do some more advance shows with a little more notice.

It's too bad they didn't call last week. I only had the 7pm showing of Dark Knight so I could probably have done the screening afterwards at about 10pm.

It occurred to me later I could have done the Zack and Miri screening as a midnight show but I don't know how well that would have worked or whether Alliance would have gone for that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Next Week's Films.

I think I may have missed a week with Thanksgiving and all. Mamma Mia is currently playing and doing quite well. I've decided to keep it for a second week as the late show. If there were any stronger titles available I might have dropped it but there weren't.
The only new movies available for next week are:

Appaloosa: This Western is apparently an okay movie but doesn't have enough awareness to play at Western Film.

Nights in Rodanthe: This film didn't make a big splash or do huge business but it's the kind of film I think will do well at Western Film. It's primarily aimed at women which is a genre that always does well at Western Film. It's got a couple fairly big stars (Richard Gere, Diane Lane), based on a popular book and while it didn't make a huge splash it didn't get a lot of negative buzz either. I booked it in for the 7pm show.

Burn After Reading finished its' first run but Alliance wants to put week between it's first and second runs. It will probably play starting Oct 31.

There's a few other films that have come available that I'll stick in where available. There's no films out right now that I think will do huge business. There's a few I think will do well which we should get in the next few weeks, Eagle Eye, Religulous, maybe W.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Next Week's Movie.

I'd basically already decided what to do about next week before I even knew what was available. The playweek includes Thanksgiving weekend, so many students go home this place becomes pretty much a ghost town. I didn't want to play a good movie and 'waste' it. Last year we played Stardust over the holiday and not only did it not do well but I got a lot of e-mails from people asking if it would be playing later because they weren't going to be here.

We also have the preview screening of W. on Wednesday night so the regular movie won't play that night.

I decided to play one show of Dark Knight at 7pm and no late show. Dark Knight is still doing well enough to keep for a third week and it's a good place holder to 'kill' the week. Just doing one show reduces expenses and gives those of us that are still here working something more similar to a holiday.

There were several movies available.

Mamma Mia- finally, this is one I definitely didn't want to play over the holiday. I booked it in for the week following, starting Oct 17.

My Best Friend's Girl- This came off really fast so it must have bombed worse than I thought. It goes into the reserve list but there are other things I'd rather play first.

Ghost Town- kinda funny but bombed, probably won't play it.

The Women- will probably play in a week or two, maybe.

Righteous Kill- another hard call, starred Pacino and De Niro but didn't do all that well. Might play as a late show later.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The end of Ambush Interveiw movies? / Religulous review

I went to see Religulous today. Bill Mahr's film about religion sorta combines Michael Moore's style of what are called ambush interviews with a bit of Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat type 'documentary'.

The film was quite funny and had more of a social commentary aspect to it than I expected. I would imagine most of the patrons will be people like me who already agree with his viewpoints on religion. I'd be interested in what a religious person thinks of the film.

I couldn't help but wonder why some of these people agreed to be interviewed by Mahr. Why didn't they realize he was going to make fun of them? A couple make statements that suggest they weren't told the actual idea of the film or possibly didn't even know who he was.

I know Moore has been having trouble making films because no one will talk to him any more. When it first was announced he was making Sicko most of the medical companies in the US ordered their employees not to talk to him.

I think Cohen has been having similar trouble making his latest film, people are recognizing him so it's harder for him to get people to make fools of themselves reacting to the characters he's playing.

I don't think these kind of films can go on much longer. People get wise to them after a while.

I would love to look at the actual footage shot for Religulous vs what was in the final cut. The wonderful thing about editing is you can make the footage say pretty much anything you want. A lot of the funny moments in Religulous may have been created by editing. The ones that stood out the most were the reaction shots of the interviewees right after they said something stupid or Mahr made one of his jokes.

I'm willing to bet at least some of those shots were at different places in the interview. On the other hand some of these people say pretty stupid things. One of the funniest is the reaction shot of the US Senator that says there's no IQ test needed to get into the Senate. The 'oh crap, what did I just say' look on his face is priceless.

Religulous will be playing at Western Film.

Digital Cinema deal done?

Below is a link to an article from the Hollywood Reporter about a major deal between 5 of the Studios and the three biggest cinema chains in the US. This should finally get the ball rolling on a major changeover to digital from 35mm film to digital projectors.

There are many reasons for conversion but the main one is the cost savings of not having to make and ship millions of feet of film. I read the studios may save up to $1 Billion a year, that seems a bit much but it will be significant.

The basic issue has been the fact that the studios would be the ones to save most of the money but the cinemas didn't want to pay for the cost of the equipment which won't really make a difference most of the time. 99% of the time the audience wouldn't know whether it's watching film or digital. Converting a theatre can cost upwards of $100,000, more if 3D is involved.

They have finally agreed on what is called a Virtual Print Fee which is so obvious it should have been agreed upon earlier. Basically each time a digital print is used the studio will pay the theatre the amount it saved by not having to make a film print. Once the equipment is paid for the payments stop. Makes a lot of sense to me.

One issue that's been looming over this whole debate is what to do about smaller chains and independent theatres. The situation could be especially difficult with second run theatres that use the 'leftover' prints from the first run theatres. The studios won't want to pay us a VPF since they didn't save any money by not making a print.

I'm sure something will be worked out. For example I went to see a movie at the Hyland tonight and all the trailers were for movies from a smaller company called Mongrel Media. Mongrel tends to specialize in smaller Art type releases that rarely play in the big multiplexes. They mostly play in places like the Hyland and Western Film.

To me it would be in Mongrel's and other smaller distribs interests to work out some sort of VPF with the theatres that plays their films. Otherwise most of those theatres will close because they can't afford to convert to digital without help.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Mini Movie Review - Eagle Eye.

The only movie critic I normally read is Roger Ebert. I almost always agree with him. However this is one of those occasions where I didn't . He gave it two stars and a rather tepid review.

Basically Eagle Eye is a movie, it makes no sense, would never work in the real world, has way too many things happen just right at just the right time. In spite of all of that and maybe because of it's sheer audacity I found it very entertaining. Shia Lebouf and Michelle Monaghan are both good as the lead characters. It's is a bit predictable and movieish, when machinery has moving parts that it doesn't need you know someone is going to break them. There was a little bit of a tacked on ending that didn't quite work. Overall it was a fun little movie, and things get blown up real good.

This film will be playing at Western Film, probably as a late show.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Next Week's Films

Next week wasn't too hard to book. I knew on the first night it played I would be keeping Dark Knight. It did more Friday night than many movies do all week. By the end of the weekend it had done more than almost all movies do all week.

Initially I had planned to play Dark Knight for both shows again unless Mamma Mia was available. Mamma Mia wasn't available but Tropic Thunder was, to my mild surprise. In most cases I would have held off on Tropic for a week but the following week is Thanksgiving and I don't want to play anything good that week.

So I decided to play Tropic Thunder at 7:00. Dark Knight moves to 9:20.

The only other film available was House Bunny. I probably won't get to playing this, at this point I'd rather bring Pineapple Express back another week. Dark Knight might do well enough to play another week as well.

And sooner or later, Mamma Mia will be available...

Mini-Movie Review - My Best Friend's Girl

I did an earlier post on how the marketing for this film couldn't seem to decide if it was a romantic or raunchy comedy. Turns out it tries to be both and doesn't entirely fail. I enjoyed it well enough, it had some funny bits. I would recommend that anyone who doesn't like Dane Cook not see this film. He's playing an even more exaggerated version of the character he always plays. This will probably play at Western Film. It won't be my first choice but I think it will do alright.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another coincidence.

This is just a weird one I thought was funny. Pineapple Express has been really busy so we have been going through a lot of change. At the end of the night we deposit the days moola in mostly 20's sometimes a few fives. Our change floats usually end up with a lot of 20's and sometimes a few fives. The next day I exchange those for quarters etc.

On Wednesday I had 42 fives left over from Tuesday and no 20's, odd in and of itself. I used them to get quarters and tens.

When I finished up the deposit at the end of the night Wednesday I ended up depositing 42 fives, what were the odds of that?

A trailer for a film I'm looking forward to.

Below is the trailer for the new film from Charlie Kaufman who has written some of the most delightfully twisted movies in recent memory, maybe ever. He wrote Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich. This is his first time directing. In any case it should be an interesting film.

The film is called Synecdoche, New York, a title I'm not looking forward to making sure is spelled correctly when I do advertising the week Western Film plays it.

President Bush Vs. The Joker.

Thought this was a neat little clip. Don't watch it if you haven't seen Dark Knight. It may give away plot points and probably won't make sense. Come back and watch it after you have come to see Dark Knight this week at Western Film, hint.hint...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Next Week's Films change.. Dark Knight finally!

Yesterday I booked for next week as I normally would on Monday. I booked Step Brothers and a second week of Pineapple Express.

This morning I received a phone call at home at 9:30 in the morning from the booker. I was still asleep so a little groggy. When she said she wanted to talk to me I think my heart skipped a beat. These kind of calls usually mean a film has been pulled or something similar. However in this case she told me that Dark Knight was available for Friday. She suggested I call her back and let her know whether I wanted to book it.

I thought about it for a few minutes. The basic problem was I had already started advertising the other films. Most films I would have just waited the week unless the already scheduled film was one I had booked just to fill the slot. That wasn't the case here.

However Dark Knight is the second biggest hit ever and pretty much everyone who walks by the theatre says they want to see it. We are also coming up on midterms and the week of Thanksgiving and I wanted to play it before we get into that.

So anyway, I booked Dark Knight in and changed all the advertising. It was only 'wrong' for one day so hopefully there's a minimum of problems.

I decided to play Dark Knight for both shows which leads to a 10pm late show since it's so long. The late show won't end until about 12:40. I'll probably regret that on the nights I'm projectionist.

Step Brothers will probably play the following week. Dark Knight will almost certainly do well enough to play for another week. Pineapple Express may or may not come back for another week. It probably will since the crowd for tonight's show was the biggest we've had for quite a while. The theatre was about half full, and it's a big theatre.

I've been saying to my staff that if we are going to sell out this year it will be one of the Tuesday showings of Dark Knight.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Next Week's Films

There were two films to choose from:

Step Brothers: I've been waiting for this one so I booked it in for the early show.

Traitor: This film looked good and got fairly good reviews but didn't do a lot of business. In general Western Film doesn't do well with these kinds of films. I'll keep it in reserve if I have an open spot but probably won't play it.

I decided to keep Pineapple Express for the late show again. It wasn't a hard decision, as of Sunday it had already done as much as most movies do all week. Friday night was the largest non-Tuesday crowd I've seen in quite a while. Even Sunday night it did really well, the late show on Sunday is usually dead. I'm curious to see how it does the rest of the week. Tuesday is probably going to be crazy.

To my mild surprise the booker said today I might get Dark Knight before I get Mamma Mia. Tropic Thunder is also getting close to coming off. So is House Bunny which I'm really undecided about whether to play.

And some people don't believe in coincidence...

Western Film has some old movie posters we sell at the theatre. Some of them date back to when I was involved as a student?! A few years ago I decided to pare back my personal collection and donated the ones I didn't want to Western Film. One of them was a poster for the The Punisher, the 1988 version starring Dolph Lundgren, not the more recent one.

So this poster had been sitting in the displays for years and it finally sold one night about a week ago. I saw my staff person sell it but later noticed he hadn't crossed it off the list. When I asked him he said it wasn't the last one. I checked the display and to my surprise found there was a smaller video release version of the same poster hiding behind the other one.

In case you are wondering what the heck I'm talking about, that's not the coincidence the title refers to.

About an hour later the video version sold too...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The real reason Harry Potter moved to next summer?

As most people know the Harry Potter film that was supposed to come out at Christmas was moved to next summer by Warner Bros.

The official reason is that the Writer's Strike prevented production of any major films for Warner to play next summer. This is a bit of a crock as the writer's strike affected mostly TV and other elements that work on a shorter timeline. Most movie stuff was already done.

There is word in the industry about the real reason. It has to with investors and their short sighted vision. Warner has had an extraordinary, unrepeatable, year with Dark Knight making over $500 million and several other films such as Get Smart doing well. If you added the Harry Potter film to the mix there would be at least another $200 - $300 million.
All this would add up to an enormous amount of revenue for 2008. There's no way 2009 could come any way close and Warner stock would get hammered. Investors seem to only look at the numbers and don't take into account real world variables like having the second biggest hit of all time in one year.

Moving the Harry Potter film moves a couple hundred million from 2008 into 2009 hence leveling things off a bit.

I find it funny and weird how business people and investors think.

Next Week's Films

There were several films available next week but only two I wanted to play.

Bangkok Dangerous: looked horrible and did horrible.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2: I consider this aimed at a female audience younger than the students. However the way I hear the gaggles of girls around speaking I may be off the mark. When did Valley Girl come out again? If I had a spare spot next week I might try this one.
Disaster Movie: wasn't the worst of these types of parody movies but wouldn't do any business at Western Film.

Hamlet 2: I booked this in for the early show. I'm curious to see how it does. It looks funny and got generally good reviews but may have an awareness problem. One of my staff had never heard of it.

Pineapple Express: I booked it in for the late show. I expect it to do well. It's quite funny and stars some popular actors. I'm curious how many customers show up exuding the characteristic smell of weed.

Mamma Mia is down to 2 theatres, the Westmount and the Hyland picked it up so it may be available next week.
Dark Knight is still playing at 3 theatres so it isn't coming off soon.
Unless Sony puts 2 weeks between first and second run as they sometimes do Step Brothers should play soon.

Good thing I'm not Superstitious

When I was a kid living in the country north of London our telephone number prefix was 666-????.

On the paperwork we do at the end of the night the cost of two advance tickets after GST is taken off is $6.66.

And the most ominous one:
my office extension is 82666.

I usually call my office the devil office.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Funny little Darth Vader Star Wars reedit

Saw this on Cinematical today.

Next Week's Films

Again I'm behind as these films start later today. I have to admit I was a little dismayed by next week. It can be one of the busiest weeks of the year with good movies. The students don't have too much work to do yet and haven't spent all their money yet.

However the only new film available was College which sucked and bombed so I never considered playing it. It was kind of odd nothing else came off because there are three new movies opening. None of them is exactly a blockbuster so they didn't push anything off. The first run theatres just start splitting films rather than dropping them at this time of year. If you look at the listings you'll see some playing only one show a night hence sharing the screen. The Silver City is currently playing 14 films on only 12 screens.

I tried to get creative and bring in some films we wouldn't normally play because of low awareness or other reasons. You never know, I might have been surprised. Weeks like this are at least good for experimenting. So I asked about the following.

Mongol - a somewhat high profile well-reviewed film, but no prints available

Gonzo: Hunter S Thompson- a documentary about the writer, a couple people had asked about it. I figured with the students back maybe enough would be interested but again no prints available.

Brideshead Revisited. - no prints available.

I couldn't think of anything else that had any chance of pulling people.

I ended up playing these two films:

You Don't Mess With The Zohan: I could have played this film about 2 months ago but didn't think it would do well. I choose to play it next week because we hadn't played it yet and I figured it had a better chance of doing well with the students here.

Hancock: We already played it and did okay with it, however it played the week before school started which is generally a quiet week. The whole city kinda seems to be holding it's breath waiting for the students to come back. I think everyone is out of town. Also, again, I think Hancock has a chance of doing better with the students back.

The prospects for the following week aren't much better so I asked the booker to check on prints for the non-Hollywood films listed above. I may also bring Wall.E back.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Next (this ) week's films.

I got behind a bit so this should have been posted last week. There were no new movies available for the current week but I did have a couple I hadn't played from previous weeks.

I didn't play Wall.E last week because it was the first part of Frosh week and it didn't fit right. Also I didn't want to run matinees on the long weekend because of the general chaos at the University.

I decided to bring in Wall.E for the 7pm show and matinees on the weekend.

I decided to play Swing Vote for the late show. Normally it would have been the early show as it appeals to adults as well as students. However Wall.E was better for the 7pm show because it was a bigger hit and for kids to be able to come.

I didn't expect Swing Vote to do great but part of the reason I wanted to play it was to show the new students we didn't just play Hollywood hits and popcorn movies.

I'm still waiting on Dark Knight and Mamma Mia among others.

The kind of Circus that isn't fun.

This is my latest excuse for not posting. Last week was Orientation / Frosh week here. The busiest week of the year for many of the full timers around here. Downstairs in a place called Centerspot the students pick up their bus passes. Some of the full time staff call it the 'circus' because of the general chaos involved. It gets really hot and the line gets really long.
As a promotional effort we set up a table and give away free popcorn. It's mostly aimed at the first years so they realize Western Film is on campus.
We also do a draw for free movies for a year. The students enter with their e-mail address and can check off a box for us to add them to our mass-e-mail list. So the draw serves two functions as a way to get more addresses for the list and promotion.

This may not sound like much but it adds up to a lot of work and hours. For the four days we did it I had to be here at 9am and since it's usually busy at night I was here until about 11pm each night.

I had a staff member stay at the booth and bag the popcorn. We have a small older machine that we use as a warmer but we have to pop the popcorn upstairs at the theatre to be even close to keeping up with the number of people taking popcorn. We would pre-pop a lot the night before and then I would start making some as soon as that was gone. On the busiest afternoon I was literally making a batch, taking it downstairs, going up and getting another one and the first one would be almost gone by the time I got back. I was popping popcorn for 4 hours one afternoon. I may never eat popcorn again.

Everything seemed to work out, we gave out over 3000 little bags of popcorn and got several hundred e-mail addresses. So hopefully lots of students come to the movies.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Freaky Matrix - 9/11 coincidence or conspiracy?

I think the conspiracy nuts are having a field day with this one. If ones watches closely it turns out the expiration date on the passport Neo (Keanu Reeves) shows in The Matrix (1999) is Sep 11 2001.

It is kinda freaky.
While looking for the image of the passport I found this interesting article about other 9/11 references in various media. I think the Simpson's one is pushing it though.

RIP Huron Marketplace

A co-worker informed me today that the weekly Cineplex e-mail included mention that the Huron Marketplace theatres would be closed as of Sep 2. I don't think anyone will be surprised. That theatre has been in decline for a while. When it was first built it was state of the art and even had two concession stands, one of which is all walled in now. Now it's one of those outdated mall theatres that are closing all over North America. They tried running as a third run theatre for $3.00 admission for a while but I guess it didn't work. Part of the problem may have been the concession prices were that same as at the more expensive theatres. I would imagine people expected lower food prices along with the lower ticket price.

The area it's in is getting pretty scary which I imagine was keeping people away.

I was there last week to see a film and it was pretty nasty. I could smell urine about half the way down the lobby, I'm not sure if it was the bathrooms or if some yahoo had pissed in a corner.

I've never been sure what effect it was having on Western Film. When Rainbow went first run the Marketplace was the only other second run theatre left in town. With it closing that leaves Western Film as the only one.

Basically Huron Marketplace closing may not help Western Film but it can't hurt.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Offerings at Western Film - Ice Cream.

I got an Ice Cream freezer in early in the summer. It's another experiment, so far it seems to be working. We've been selling a fair amount, mostly Hageen-Daaz and Dibs. I figure Dibs are popular since they are individual pieces and easier to eat while watching a film. I'm curious to see how things go later. It won't be hot outside any more but there will be more customers around. I figure the two will balance each other out.

Really the biggest problem has been with Nestle itself. They have a $200 minimum order. The last order I got didn't all fit in the ice cream freezer, we had to put about half of it in the freezer we make ice in. Even then we had to tape the door shut to keep it all in. I ended up throwing out some product that had gotten crushed.

We'll see if it sticks around.

How Stuff Works: movie projection

I found this interesting page on a website called It gives a pretty good explanation of how movie projectors work for those who are interested.

I should get my projectionists to read it. It's best to know how everything works in order to troubleshoot. I think I have trained them well but every so often there's a 'shouldn't you know that' moment.

One part of the job I hate.

One of my least favorite parts of the job is changing the xenon lamp in the projector. It's under extremely high pressure and can explode. I've never seen it happen in person but I've heard about it. The manufacturer says to use protective gear when installing it. I can wear a face shield but it's pretty much impossible to wear any kind of gloves, the spaces involved are too small.

Below is a video of what can happen.

Lucky me, I get to change the bulb in the next few days. The current one is starting to have trouble igniting which means it's time to replace it. Too bad they are $800 each.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Next Week's Films

Next week is an important week for Western Film as it comprises most of Orientation (Frosh) week. We try to get the new students to check out the theatre and let them know we are here. We give away popcorn where all the students pick up their bus passes as a promotion.

Therefore it good to have good movies that week. I was hoping for Mamma Mia and Dark Knight but that wasn't likely to happen, especially Knight. I thought Step Brothers would come off but it didn't.

There were three movies available.

Journey to the Center of The Earth: too child oriented and really meant to be shown in 3D only.

Swing State: this film might do okay but not during Frosh Week, too serious and not well known enough. I might play it later.

Wall:E : I plan to play this but not next week. It's not a good fit for Frosh Week and this is a bad weekend to run matinees. Anyone who doesn't have to go near the campus generally doesn't due to the semi-controlled chaos up here.

Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor: I booked this in as the 7:00 show. It got some bad buzz but was a fun movie, it's a good fun diversion for the new students. The only problem is losing some customers that would have come to see it but will avoid the campus. Other weekends I probably would have played matinees for it.

The question was what to play with it since there were no other new films I wanted to play. I considered keeping Hancock, bringing back Wanted or Indy 4 and even, briefly, bringing back Sex and The City. I decided to bring back Get Smart. It did surprisingly well the first time we played it. It's also a fun movie that appeals to both guys and girls for Frosh Week. Also, since it wasn't a monster hit I figure the odds are better more students won't have seen it already than something like Hancock.

Frosh week is generally really busy so I added extra time between shows.

So Wall:E will be playing the week after for the early show and matinees. What will play with it I won't know until Next Tuesday since Monday is a holiday.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mini - Movie Review - Death Race.

I was looking forward to this film because I tend to like mindless action films and Jason Statham. I was somewhat disappointed. Jason was Jason as usual. However, I was sitting there trying to keep myself from looking at my watch. I couldn't figure out how a movie with so much action could be almost boring. It's basically one big race with lots of explosions and car wrecks and the occasional dialogue scene. Joan Allen is pretty good but does seem a bit out of place, she also needs to see a better plastic surgeon, it's becoming obvious. I liked the movie okay but was hoping for more. I thought it might be just me but Roger Ebert gave it a half star. I can't remember the last time I saw him do that.

Death Race wouldn't have played at Western Film anyway, it's a kind of film we don't do well with, even if it was better.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Death Race

The movie Death Race opens this weekend. I want to see it as it looks fun and stars Jason Statham. However I'm not impressed with it being called a remake of the cult film from 1975. It has little to do with it except for it's a race. The fun of the 1975 one was aspects such as getting points for hitting pedestrians. The drivers were basically nasty Nascar drivers rather than prisoners trying to win their freedom as in the new one. The orig is also a cross country race. The new one looks like it may all take place in the prison.

The new film has more in common with The Running Man than the original Death race.

Below is a clip of the part of the original that made the most impression on me. It cuts off a little too quick. If I remember correctly he gets fewer points for his little surprise than he would have if done what was expected.

Next Week's Films

There was only one film available this week, Hancock. That was fine with me since I wanted to play it. I decided to run a 7pm and late show as I think enough people will come see it to justify both. I might have run matinees but we have the Bollywood film Singh is Kinng on Sunday. I considered Saturday only matinees of Hancock but normally the Sunday matinees are busiest and I didn't want to confuse people who might assume the mats are both days. If it had been Wall-E or something really matinee friendly I would have done just the Sat matinee.

The only other film the Booker was checking on was Mummy 3 which wasn't available. She also said Stepbrothers might come off.

The following week includes most of Frosh Week which is a very important week in terms of getting the new students into the theatre. I was hoping for a big movie like Mamma Mia but it looks like might end up being a combination of Hancock and/or Stepbrothers and Mummy 3.