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.