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.