Thursday, June 26, 2008

I have seen the future and it is Digital.

I saw about 15 films in England, about a third were projected digitally rather than on film. These were the first real digital presentations I had seen other than demonstrations.

The cinemas in England were much more expensive than here so they maybe could afford top of the line equipment but things are going to go the same way here sooner or later.

Anyone who thinks film is going to be around for more than a few years is wrong.

The best presentation I saw in England was at the Empire in Leicester Square. I saw Speed Racer there. It was a old movie palace that had been plexed but there was still one big theatre. The screen was huge, maybe 60 feet wide. The Digital image was amazing in it's clarity and color and there weren't any of the physical problems that can be associated with film such as scratches.

I will admit movies like Speed Racer were made to show on Digital screens like this, bright colors, high contrast and distinct elements. It's similar to animated CGI films on digital TVs. Ever notice when you go to a place that sells TV the films playing are almost always animated films like Shrek or Toy Story? They look way better than anything with live people on those kind of TVs.

I would be curious to know what a film like No Country for Old Men with it's more subdued colour palate and lower contrast would look like on the Empire's screen.

Some of the films I saw would only have been distributed digitally as film would be too expensive. I saw an Anime film called Vexille at the Institute for Contemporary Art in a Digital theatre. Here the film went straight to DVD. It was one of the most exciting films I've seen in a long time and deserved to be seen on the big screen.

I predict as soon as the Studios and Exhibitors get their acts together and come up with some agreements a complete transition to Digital projectors will be quite rapid. All that will be left on film will be small independents, hopefully Western Film won't be one of them.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cool trailer for Eagle Eye starring Shia Labeouf

This is the new trailer for what looks like a cool thriller. Interesting idea, kinda takes part of the Matrix and expands it into a full-length film. I like trailers like this. It gives you a good idea what the film is about without saying too much. There's enough unconnected info to get you interested but not tell you the whole film.

For example: There's a intriguing line in this trailer along the lines of 'what if this is a distraction from something 50 times bigger' with no reference to what 'this' is. The opposite is a line in the trailer for 'Death Race ' along the lines of 'he knows we framed him' which gives away way too much info.

Enjoy the trailer, you'll have to wait until September to see the film.

Trailer for RocknRolla, Guy Ritchie's next film.

Just found this trailer for RocknRolla, the next movie from Guy Ritchie. Guy is commonly known as (in no particular order):
-The guy who directed Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
- the guy who's films started Jason Statham's career
-Mr. Madonna.

As I was watching the trailer I thought it looked like one of his films and then his name came up. I guess I was right. This film looks cool. I'll be there.

The trailer is embedded below or better quality at link above.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Next Week's Film

Finally, Iron Man came off so I booked it in. I was already told What Happens in Vegas was available so I would have booked that in if Iron Man had not come off. Vegas will probably play the week after Iron Man. I was mildly surprised when the booker told me she was checking on Sex and The City. I didn't think it would come off for a couple more weeks. It turned out it wasn't available next week but may be for the following week. That may introduce an interesting choice. I may have to chose between Sex and Vegas?! I'd choose Sex as I think it will do better here.

I decided to do late shows and matinees for Iron Man. Late shows lately have been a bit of a bust but I think Iron Man should pull some people. If it doesn't we may be looking at a summer of single shows much to the chagrin of my staff.

Matinees have been Hit and Miss at Western Film. Iron Man isn't as obvious a matinee film as something like Kung Fu Panda but a lot of kids liked it and I heard many wanted to see it more than once so parents may choose to bring them to a lower priced theatre. If Western Film plays matinees for a film we are playing at night the extra cost is basically just the staff cost so a huge number of attendees isn't required. I stopped bringing in movies for just matinees as the costs go up quite a bit once the minimum rental is added.

Plus matinees tend to have high food sales, kids love popcorn even more than I do.

Funny Hancock Blooper at a theatre I was at in England.

This article was on Cinematical today. Someone shot this not quite completed billboard for Hancock. I happened to realize the theatre was the Vue in Leicester Square in London England. One of the big old theatres that had been multiplexed. I saw a couple films there.

Requiem for Ferris - remake trailer?

Found this brilliant little fake trailer today. Coincidentally it uses the music from the Babylon A.D. trailer. It's a remix of the theme from the film Requiem for a Dream. This particular version was made for a LOTR: Two Towers trailer. It's another of my favorite pieces of music. It's great to play really loud. It was also used in the trailer for Sunshine and at least one other movie.

This shows how editing and music can completely change the meaning of a film trailer. Imagine watching this trailer and then seeing the real Ferris Bueller's Day Off?!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Yet another cool looking action film with Vin Diesel this time!

Another new trailer for a fun looking film. This one adds a sci-fi element which is cool as that's my favorite genre. If there was an Oscar for action film star Vin Diesel would be in the running. he should at least get an honourable mention for coming up with his screen name?!

The second video shows just how far he's come.

Speaking of Jason Statham...

This looks cool too. If they gave out Oscars for action film stars he should win.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

David Fincher and Brad Pitt together again!

David Fincher is one of my favorite directors. He directed the classics Se7en, Fight Club and the under appreciated Zodiac. His next movie again stars Brad Pitt. The Curious case of Benjamin Button is about a guy who ages backwards. It's an interesting idea and I'm curious to see what they do with it. From the trailer it looks like a slow paced dialogue heavy film. The kind Fincher likes but probably won't do huge box office. I'll definitely see this one opening weekend.

Tom Cruise in the news again.

An interesting article from Slate about Tom Cruise in a possible Mission Impossible 4 and some controversy about Valkyrie, his next movie. Tom is playing a real life German officer who headed a conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. His supposed facial similarity to the officer was one of the studio's defenses when German objected to a Scientoligist playing a German hero. However is seems the studio may have fudged things a bit.

Next Week's Movie.

I was afraid this would happen. Iron Man didn't come off. The only new movie that might have been available was The Strangers. I told the booker we didn't want it anyway (horror film) before she knew whether it was available or not.

I checked into the art/independent stuff. The only one I thought we would do okay with was My Blueberry Nights but no prints were available.

So I had to go back through films we had chosen not to play for various reasons. I narrowed my choice down to 2 films, Speed Racer or Street Kings. I had initially decided to go with Speed Racer because of it's higher profile but the booker convinced me to go with Street Kings. She said Speed Racer had been doing horrible at second run theatres. The negative buzz was just too strong even though the film wasn't that bad.

The main reason I didn't play Street Kings before was because it was from Fox so I couldn't split it. That isn't a problem this week because there's nothing to split it with anyway. I am however only playing one show a night. It wouldn't do enough business to justify two shows a night by itself.

If Iron Man doesn't come off next week I'll have a conniption fit (whatever that is).

I was informed we could have What Happens In Vegas as of Jun 27 but it's Fox so I can't split it. It may wait a week or two until I get a week when there isn't anything else available.

Movies that should be seen on the Big Screen only.

I saw this post on Cinematical today and couldn't resist linking to it. I've done the same thing as the author. There are films I've refused to watch until I could see them on the big screen. I'd never seen Wizard of Oz in it's entirety until they re-released it a few years ago. I had never seen Lawrence of Arabia until the old New Yorker theatre played it. I still haven't seen the Sound of Music to the disbelief of everyone I know.

This is one of the reasons I'm looking forward to the switch to digital projection. These old films will probably be converted to whatever format the new projectors use and we can finally see them as they should be seen. The few 35mm prints of most of these films left in Canada are pretty much unwatchable. It's too expensive for the studios to make new 35mm prints but digital copies are a lot cheaper.

Some films I've seen but would love to see on the big screen again.

Grease 2

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Star Wars ( Lucas would probably nix this one)

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Moulin Rouge

The Lost Boys

The Goonies

Fifth Element

The Abyss- the original version is the only one available on film here. I'd travel far to see the Directors Cut on the big screen. It's way better than the original version.

Anyone else have movies they want to see on the big screen?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

England trip- Cinemas- annoyed at myself a little.

I finally got to downloading the hundreds of photos I took in England and was surprised how few of them were movie related. I guess I was so interested in the movies and cinemas I forgot to take pics. There were things I thought I had done but I guess I didn't. I thought I had taken some pics of the big cinemas in Leicester square at night but don't see any. The cinemas looked nice lit up, especially the Empire.

There's still some teenage boy in me.

Traditionally guys my age are supposed to start liking opera and only serious films. However I still really love to watch films like this one.

I know he's one dimensional but I like Jason Statham. I noticed both Transporter 3 and Crank 2 have shown up on the release schedule. I'm curious how they do Crank 2.

(Update- one of the comments made me realize I may not have made myself clear.
I want to watch this film, just like most teen-age boys, most guys my age would think it's too teen-agery.
-I don't like opera, except when used in films.

Update 2- I read a bit more about the film and now I'm a little disappointed. It's a remake in name only. In the original film the race took place out in the open country and the drivers received points based on things like how many pedestrians they hit, the older the better I think. I only remember one thing from that (Spoiler)- some doctors had put a bunch of old people out on the street to be hit by the drivers. One of the drivers veers off to hit the doctors instead.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Next Week's Movie(s)

I'm a little late on this post (again), sorry. There was only one new film available next week, Made of Honor, which I booked in for the early show. I booked in Baby Mama for the late show. It was 'will be playing' on my status list and we still had people asking about so I thought I'd take a chance. Hopefully I don't regret it.

I asked about My Blueberry Nights but there aren't enough prints for all the first run theatres that want it let alone a second run theatre like Western Film.

The booker said Iron Man will almost definitely come off the following week which would be cool. If it does I'm going to run a 7pm show and maybe a late show, I haven't decided yet. late shows are iffy during the summer, even for Iron Man. I'm also going to try running matinees on Saturday and Sunday. We have had some success in the past playing kid-friendly films for matinees during the summer.

If Iron Man isn't available I'm not sure what I'm going to do. There's almost nothing else I see coming off I want to play. What Happens in Vegas should come off but Fox puts two weeks between when it leaves first run and is available to second run.

Bogus trailer for a movie that may or may be actually made?

This funny little trailer is for a movie called Jay and Seth Vs. The Apocalypse. Some people think it's a spoof trailer, some think it's a short film. Whatever it's origins, according to Cinematical it's being made into a full length movie. It's an interesting concept and if the movie is anywhere near as funny as the trailer it should be great.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Movie Theatre teaser for Pink Panther 2.

I thought the first Steve Martin Pink Panther was okay but obviously nowhere near as good as the Peter Sellers series. A lot of people around here wonder why a sequel is being made when it didn't do great here. The reason is it did big business in the rest of the world. According to it did 82 million in North America, not bad but not great. However it did 76 million overseas. A large amount compared to the domestic gross. Hence we get a sequel.

This is the first teaser for the film. I can't quite tell if it's part of the film or footage shot just for the teaser. I'm inclined to believe the latter. It's self-contained and takes place in a movie theatre. The end part seems a little long to be inside a movie and there's something at the very end that's obviously not in the film.

P.S. I love the Marquee on the theatre. I wish theatres still had those fancy Marquees.

Great Ideas!

I wish I'd thought of these myself.

How to Improve Cinemas in one simple step.

Why the General Public should be banned from Cinemas.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Funny Tropic Thunder ' viral ' video

I guess this was on the MTV awards but it's the first time I've seen. I hope Tropic Thunder is as good as it looks. I thought the reference to Heartbreak Kid was great.

I tried to embed the video but it's not working so I'll just include a link

There's a bit of an interesting article on this video on Cinematical.

Hollywood Reporter Q&A with head of Nato and Regal Cinemas.

This is an interesting article from the Hollywood Reporter. It's a Q&A with John Fithian, the head of NATO, an organization of cinemas and Mike Campbell, head of Regal Cinemas the largest theatre chain in the US.

Both men are talking about trying to spread out movie releases so they aren't concentrated all in a few months, especially all the big ones that open in May and cannibalize each other.

They also talk about ratings of films in the US and 3-D cinema.

Some interesting differences between movie-going in Canada and England.

This was the first trip I had taken outside North America. I've visited the States a few times and overall it's similar to Canada, although I did get some funny looks when I asked for vinegar for my french fries in the US.

There's some interesting differences in England, some good, some bad. I was in enough different cinemas that I think it's safe to say these are probably common to the entire country.

They are called cinemas only, whereas we often use cinema and theatre interchangeably. If I said theatre over there they assumed I was talking a live show. This makes sense to me, I often calls for people looking for the live event theatre on campus.

No cinema I was in had a pre-show, they all had curtains which stayed closed until the film started. I can't decide about that. I kind of like an interesting pre-show and since Western Film has one I'm in a bit of a conflict of interest. On the other hand it was kind of nice being able to relax and just wait for the show to begin.

They play way more commercials and fewer trailers. One show I checked and there was half an hour of commercials and trailers. The proportion was different. Here you usually get about 5 minutes of commercials and 15 minutes of trailers. There it was about half and half. It wasn't all bad though, most of the commercials were quite entertaining, even multiple times. I did wish they played more trailers though as I really like trailers.

As an example, around here we get those boring Telus ads with the fish etc. asking us to turn off our mobile phones. In England they have this.

In some cinemas they have assigned seating. Some of the bigger prestige cinemas, most notably the big Odeon in Leicester Square have assigned seating. It also has different levels with different prices. I'll do a post on it later. The cinema closest to my sister's place had an interesting arrangement. Most of the cinema was general seating but there were a few rows in the middle that had assigned seating and were bigger chairs. They cost extra but it was nice to be able to book tickets for Indiana Jones online and know I would get a good seat.

There's a lot more digital presentation in England, I'll be doing a post on this later.

This one was my sore point. Every cinema had stale popcorn!? I never saw an actual popper as we do here. They seemed to get it in from somewhere in big plastic bags. It was dumped into a bin under the counter and served from there. It was interesting they had a choice of salted or sweetened popcorn. They didn't have butter or similar products. They also didn't have the seasonings we have, white cheddar, dill pickle etc. If I wasn't such a popcorn addict I wouldn't have bought it, especially when it was outrageously expensive once the money exchange was factored in.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Next Week's films.

Next week is one of those weeks that sucks because the students who would be most likely to want to see the films are AWOL.

Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay was the only new film available. I booked it for the 7pm show. I'm not sure how it will do, hopefully there's lots of people like me who didn't get around to seeing it first-run.

Be Kind Rewind came available some time while I was gone. I really wanted to get this film before school ended but it just kept playing and playing at the first run theatres. I was tempted not to play it at all but after saying for months I was going to I feel a certain obligation. I booked it in for the late show. I hope it doesn't do as bad as I think it will.

The only other movie the booker was checking on was Made of Honor so that might be available the following week. It looks horrible but apparently is funny plus there's lots of Patrick Dempsey fans around.

To my surprise the booker said Iron Man was close to coming off. I wouldn't have expected it this soon. There's now one or two big releases each weekend so it may get pushed off. Needless to say I will be playing it.

What Happens in Vegas is close to coming off but it's Fox so I'll have to wait two weeks and then not split it.

Programming update.

A bit of an update about the last couple weeks. My staff were booking the films while I was gone. You may have noticed we went down to one show a night for a couple weeks. That's partially a byproduct of not many movies available but mostly because this is the deadest time of year for us.

Some of the movies we didn't play:
Street Knights: from Fox or I would have played it.
Speed Racer: I liked the film but obviously a lot of people didn't since it's now one of the biggest bombs of all time.
Baby Mama: I would have played this film while the students were here but now it would probably bomb. I might play it if we don't get a good movie next week.
Horton Hears a Who: Fox.
Deception: low awareness and bad reviews.
Forbidden Kingdom: basically a kid's film, we don't play them until the summer.

Back from England

I'm back. It took me a couple days to get caught up on the backlog of work but I seem to have caught up so I can start posting again. I took tons of pics of theatres etc in England to post. Don't worry, I won't bother you with all the pics I took of all the cool non-theatre buildings I took.

I saw about 15 movies in England. Some would say it's a little silly to take a vacation from working at a movie theatre and go watch movies but it's what I love to do. I also wanted to check out the theatres the films were playing in. I always find it interesting to check out new theatres. I even got some ideas to implement at Western Film. Some won't be relevant until some renovations vaguely planned for some unknown time frame.