Friday, September 04, 2009

Changes in attendance patterns

I've noticed a couple things over the summer I thought were interesting. They may or may not continue during the school year.

Fewer Children to kid's movies. - Even for UP which was a big hit most of the attendance was adults, the other kid's movies we played didn't do great. The matinees just barely broke even. I was planning to play ICE AGE 3 but I don't think I will now. I don't think adults want to see it enough.

Yet more spreading out of business over the nights. - When I first started at Western Film we had a fairly standard pattern, busy weekends and discount Tuesday, the rest of the week was fairly quiet. Over the last few years it spread out until most nights were at least somewhat busy. This summer it got even weirder. Sunday and Monday were often busier than Friday or Saturday?! Tuesdays aren't as busy but sometimes Wednesday or Thursday are busier than Tuesday.

During the school year I attributed this to more night classes plus students going out to other places on the weekends. For the summer I think it's people going away or whatever on the weekend and seeing the movies during the week. I kinda like this trend, it takes the same number of staff to man the theatre for 10 people or 60. If we get the same number of people spread over more nights then we have less problems with lineups or the theatre getting too crowded and people not getting to sit where they want.

In very general terms people seem to be willing to see films they haven't heard a lot about but have heard are good. I'm not sure how much this affects it but a couple people have said they decided to see a film because we were playing it on the assumption that it must be good. It makes sense, as a single screen theatre I'm not going to play a film that isn't good if people also haven't heard of it. I only play bad films that were big hits (I'm looking at you Twilight).

Next Week's Movies Sep 4 - 10

Next Week is one of the most important of the year. We try to get as many of the new students as possible to know Western Film is here and hopefully go to a film as part of thier orientation. This year I got two movies I consider to be perfect Frosh Week movies. Both have general appeal and are comedies good for going to in groups. THE PROPOSAL is at 7pm and THE HANGOVER plays at 9:20.

My current plan is the switch THE HANGOVER to 7pm starting Sept 11. I think I can get a third week out of it and there's probably a lot of people who want to see it but don't want to go to the late show for whatever reason. I'll decide on Tuesday what to play as a late show that week.

The Ugly Truth should be available, MOON is still on my list to play. Harry Potter may come off soon. I may try Star Trek for another week once the students come back. That's one of those films that can be watched more than once. I've seen the whole movie 4 times, the beginning 5 times and the ending about 8 while working.

The last couple weeks.

I've been bad about posting again. I'll go through what I've played the last few weeks in case anyone cares.

UP- I decided to try to do both evenings shows plus matinees for this one. The late show was surprisingly busy. The matinees did okay but we got mostly adults, not a lot of kids. I may bring it back.

STAR TREK- Did well enough it's second week that I may bring it back during the school year.


TRANSFORMERS- was surprisingly quiet, not dead but not what I would have expected.

FUNNY PEOPLE - didn't do very well, I understood why after I watched it. How can so many funny people make a movie that's not very funny and way too long.

AWAY WE GO. - this was a bit of an experiment. I had an opening after Funny People and no other new movies were available. I wasn't sure how to full it as the show would be rather late starting because of the length of Funny People. My first choice was MOON but there weren't any prints available. If AWAY WE GO had not been available I would have put in UP for another week. In retrospect I should have switched the order and played AWAY WE GO at 7pm and FUNNY PEOPLE for the late show. AWAY WE GO probably would have out grossed Funny People then.

THE HURT LOCKER - another bit of an experiment, got a lot of great reviews but awareness was low. It actually did better than I expected and it's a good sign that people will take a chance on good movies.

BRUNO did okay but I expected more. The people that did come tended to laugh a lot.

THE HANGOVER- did quite well for a 10pm show. I'm bringing it back from Frosh week as the late show and plan to play it again the following week at 7pm to give people a chance to see it who don't want to see the late show.

These movies I rejected.

ALIENS IN THE ATTIC- Fox was unusually nice and was going to let us split it but it wouldn't have done any business.

I LOVE YOU BETH COPPER- Fox plus wouldn't have done any business.

A PERFECT GETAWAY- a okay little action film but wouldn't have done any business.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Next Week's Movies Jul 31 - Aug 6

I already knew My Sister's Keeper was available and had been planning to play it as the 7pm show. It didn't do great first run but we have had a lot of people asking about it so I expect it will do well. For the late show I decided to bring back Star Trek, it did really well its' first week. The late shows did okay that week with it playing for both shows.

The only New film that would have been available for next week is Public Enemies. I decided to hold off on it for a couple reasons. We had already been telling people Sister's Keeper would be playing and I couldn't play both the same week as both need to be the 7pm show. Public Enemies is also fairly long so I'm not sure if I will play anything after it.

It could get interesting as Up is also available the following week. Disney sets the dates we are able to get movies in advance. They usually leave a week between when the films leave first run and can start at Western Film.

I was trying to decide whether to play Public Enemies or Up the following week. Both have to be the 7pm show so they need to be separate weeks. It doesn't really matter which week they play though. I would have liked to have UP this upcoming weekend since there is a holiday Monday and we could have had extra matinees but it's not available until the following Friday. I checked to see if anyone else had booked the theatre during the weekend afternoons as that would affect my decision. No one had so that's not a problem. I figure the only thing I should do is try to play Up the week with the lowest kid's film competition. Opening it against Harry Potter would have been a bad idea for example.

According to the booker, The Proposal is getting close to coming off and The Hangover may come off soon to my mild surprise.

Interesting article about how 1989 Batman changed the movie business.

The title pretty much says it all. I remember the hype around Batman was something that seemed new. Everyone wanted to see it. This article from has some interesting things to say about it.

The main change it created was the emphasis on the opening weekend and movies making a lot of money in as short a time as possible. Previous to this films tended to play a lot longer in theatres. Even as late as Titanic which played in theatres for about a year. Of course the availability of home video started affecting the theatre business about the same time.

Next Week's Movies Jul 24 - 30

As mentioned in the last Next Week post I already knew Year One and Taking of Pelham 123 were available so I booked those two in. The only new film available was My Sister's Keeper which I'm going to play next week.

I think I may start getting backed up with new films available. I wish more movies worked as late shows. There's some interesting small films I'd like to play like Away We Go but the 7pm show usually needs to be a Hollywood film.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Feedback requested on something I hate doing.

One thing I hate doing is changing the phone message on the Movieline. It usually takes several tries and hence a lot of time. A while ago someone suggested putting a synopsis of each film on it but the message is already several minutes long.

It's also where I get into some interesting situations, for example next weekend we have a Bollywood film called Kambakkht Ishq, I have no idea how to pronounce that.

I once asked the IT department if there was any thing similar to a hit counter for the phone message to give me an idea how much it's used but I guess there isn't.

If anyone is curious I'd like any comments on whether the message sounds okay. There's a couple things I tend to do that I think may be annoying but maybe no one notices. I won't say what they are so I don't influence your opinion.

The phone number is 519-661-3616 then hit 1 for the movie listings.

Response to comment.

This comment was left on one of the Next Week posts:

Star Trek, then Night at the Museum.... I feel like I just watched their trailers on cable tv. What allows movies like these to come to campus so quickly?(I'm thinking the answer is likely either my lack of a sense of time or something to do with the industry. Perhaps they were set up from the start to quickly be put up for sale on DVD?)

During the summer the high number of new blockbusters released tend to push films off faster than at other times of year. When Harry Potter opens on 4 of the 12 screens in a multiplex they have to drop something to make room. It also depends on the film. Something like Transformers 2 is heavily front loaded, it will have made about half it's total gross on opening weekend. It won't play more than few weeks first run. It's also a long film so that encourages theatres to drop it as long movies make less money since fewer showings can be done in a day.
On the other hand there are films like Up and The Hangover. Hit kid's films like UP tend to drop down to matinees only and play for a couple months. The theatres like the 3-D ones as they can charge extra. A movie like the Hangover is one of those occasional word of mouth hits that just keep chugging along. Recent examples were Juno and Wedding Crashers. Hangover has had some of the lowest week to week drops in grosses of recent memory. A big action film will typically drop 50-60% in it's second week. The Hangover has been dropping only about 20% a week. I'm planning to play it during Frosh Week but there is a possibility I might not be able to get it by then.

The DVD window is now about 4 months so that doesn't come into play except for the occasional film that's still playing in theatres when it comes out of DVD. Regular readers of this blog will probably be able to guess which studio tends to do this the most...Fox.

Next Week plus the last couple.

I've missed a couple of the Next Week posts which normally I'm pretty consistent on so I'll put up a kind of summary of what the last couple would have said.

The week after Angels and Demons played I booked in Terminator Salvation. It was the only major film available that week. I decided to try playing a late show and see how it would do. The movie overall did okay but the late show didn't do very well.

The Week that just ended I played Star Trek. I did a late show and this time it worked. Star Trek was the busiest movie we've had in a few months. I'll probably bring it back if there is an opening in the next couple weeks. Angels and Demons might also return. A mildly weird thing happened. I was told Pelham 123 was available but didn't book it because I wanted Star Trek. It ended up still playing at Westmount. I don't know if Sony has decided we are in different zones and will let us play the same films at the same time. They may also have made a mistake or Cineplex may have changed their minds and decided to keep it. That last one could have gotten interesting if I had booked it in.

The week of Jul 17 - 23 I booked in a couple different films for the first time in a few weeks. Night At The Museum 2 was available. Since it's from Fox I asked if they would let me split it with Wolverine which is also their title. They said I could but had to pay a higher percentage. I could have waited longer and they probably would have dropped down to the usual percentage. I didn't wait for a couple reasons, I wanted to get Wolverine played before it gets too much older and we have a Bollywood film scheduled for next weekend afternoons so I wouldn't be able to play matinees of Museum if I played it that week. As Museum is basically a kid's film I figure playing matinees are important. I have this nasty feeling both films are going to bomb but I sincerely hope I'm wrong.

The only other film available for next week was Year One which I think will do as a late show. So currently the following week will probably be Pelham 123 at 7pm followed by Year One as the late show and the Bollywood show on the weekend afternoons.

The only other movie that looks like it will come off soon that I want to play is My Sister's Keeper. I figure Up will be at least a month and Hangover we may not get until late August.

One film that came available during the last couple weeks was My Life in Ruins which I had never planned to play. It's from Fox so I couldn't split it anyway. They really have got to be kidding sometimes.

Drag Me to Hell probably was available but the booker didn't even mention it to me as she knows we never play horror films.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Not really movie related but really funny.

I found this on another blog and I haven't laughed so much in a while. My excuse for putting it up here is that the song and video have been in so many movies and parodied so much. I still like the song though...

I doubt this will play in theatres but I would see it if it did.

Found this wacky trailer for a Japanese film that probably defies description. Apparently it doesn't come out in North America until 2010. Probably will go straight to DVD but I think it would be fun to see in a theatre with an audience.

Quick Post.

Someone mentioned tonight that I should update the blog more often. I know I've been bad lately. It was largely due to a relative (two actually) being in the hospital for about a month. I had to take my Grandmother up quite often to visit which usually meant going to bed 'early' for me. Late nights is usually when I did blog posts. There wasn't any one to be his executor so I said I would do it so my Grandmother wouldn't worry about it. It's amazing how much time it takes to be an executor, and he didn't even have a lot of assets.

I'll try to be better.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pulp Fiction playing at a theatre in London but not Western Film.

The presence of the Pulp Fiction trailer on the 50 Top Trailers list below reminded me that it's playing in London on Jun 26th at 11:30 pm. Empire Cinemas Wellington 8 has been playing old films once a month. Last month was Grease and the month before was Ghostbusters.

I haven't decided whether to go or not. I've seen it so many times.

I don't normally mention films playing at other theatres for competition reasons but I figure this is a special case as it's only once a month and we aren't offering the same types of films currently.

I went to the last couple and there were a fair number of people there. Apparently they did Fight Club the month before but I never heard about it. How annoying, I love that film.

They are doing the screenings the last Friday of the month so check their website for details.

Next Week's Film Jun 26 - Jul 2.

The booker told me last week ANGELS AND DEMONS might come off so I held off on booking in Wolverine which I knew was available. Angels was available so I booked it in. I thought for a bit about whether or not to play a late show but decided not to. It's a long film and caters more to adults who tend not to come to the late show.

These films were also available.

LAND OF THE LOST: I can't believe this came available after only two weeks?!, talk about a huge bomb. If I get a dead week I might throw it in but I don't plan to play it.

IMAGINE THAT: another huge bomb and too aimed at children for us to play it anyway.

WOLVERINE: I'm so pissed at Fox and their rules. This film has been off screen for two weeks and the only reason I couldn't play it already is because they make us wait two weeks. I ended up playing TWO LOVERS this week just to fill the space and it has rewarded me by being one of the worst attended movies ever at Western Film. It's a good film but the studio didn't do a good job promoting it and people haven't heard of it.

There is a possibility STAR TREK may come off for the following week so I didn't book Wolverine in. As I mentioned in a previous post I don't really think we will be losing much if we don't play Wolverine at all.

I just spent an hour watching Trailers. has this really cool list of the 50 Best Movie Trailers. I watched quite a few of them. It's interesting to see how creative some of the older trailers were, some were practically short films. The trailer for Psycho was almost 7 minutes long?! Imagine how well that would go over these days when most trailers are 2 -2 /12 mins long.

#42 was the first trailer I thought of when I read about the list.

There are a couple I would have put on the list.

Needful Things: This is the only version I could find online but I'm almost sure there was a version using the same music but with no dialogue. I've always loved this piece of music and I remember going out to watch the trailer over and over again when it played in the theatre I was working projection at. I don't think I would have done that if it had the dialogue.

Needful Things (Trailer)
Uploaded by Tower-of-Dark. - Check out other Film & TV videos.

CLIFFHANGER: Again this isn't quite the right trailer. I'm pretty sure there was a trailer for this film edited to match almost perfectly with the same piece of music as the Needful Things trailer. I guess I'm either remembering things wrong or there are unusual versions of some of these trailers. There is a possibility they were Canada only trailers but I don't know if they would have made trailers for use just in Canada.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Next Week's Film Jun 19 - 25

Again there wasn't anything new coming off so I had to be creative. This week there was a print of TWO LOVERS available so I booked it in. It's got low awareness but Sunshine Cleaning was in a similar situation and did surprisingly well here. It's also a good movie.

If that hadn't been available I was going to book in 17 AGAIN. I wouldn't have expected it to do well but I might have been surprised.

Wolverine is available to start Jun 26th but I decided not to book it in yet. The booker says Angels and Demons will probably come off since Transformers 2 is opening. I'd rather play that than Wolverine. I wouldn't be particularly upset if I didn't get a chance to play Wolverine. It's Fox with all the conditions that go along with that. While it wasn't a terrible movie it got a lot of negative buzz, I've noticed movies in that situation don't seem to do well at Western Film anymore. I think the fact it's a big movie would outweigh that but I wouldn't be surprised if I'm wrong.

A hard decision is going to be whether to play a late show of ANGELS AND DEMONS or WOLVERINE. I know my staff will want me to so they can get more hours but will enough people show up to justify it? I was way wrong on the late show for MONSTERS VS. ALIENS. The late show was a complete bust. We did 5 people on Tuesday?! Something I wouldn't have thought possible since it's our discount night and usually the busiest.

New Trailer for 2012.

I have a soft spot for disaster movies and no one makes them better (or worse) than Roland Emmerich who is best known for Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow.

His new film coming out in November deals with the end of the world as prophesied by the Maya. The teaser trailer was interesting, it showed a mountain monastery getting pummelled by a mountain high wave of water. The new trailer is currently only on Yahoo and it doesn't have an embedding function. The new trailer shows much more of the destruction but still doesn't show exactly what causes it. My thought from the teaser was a comet or something hitting Antarctica and instantly melting all that water. I think I'm still on the right track but it's maybe multiple objects?

A lot of people think the movie will be bad but I don't think anyone can say it won't be worth watching for at least the absolutely awesome looking special effects.

The scene in Independence Day where an alien ship blows up the White House is one of the most famous destruct ions in movies. There's a scene near the end of the trailer that may outdo that one, this one involves an aircraft carrier.

I'll be in line to see this opening weekend.

Answer to Comment about video/film projection.

This comment was left on a post. I'm not sure if anyone reads the comments on older posts so I thought I would repost my answer as I think some will find it interesting.

QUESTION: This is a naive question on my part, but why are movies still in film format and not digital? I am sure there is a reasonable explanation, but it seems cumbersome to have huge reels to take care of.Also, with all the CGI and digital enhancing that goes into a movie these days, do they have to transfer everything to traditional film in the end to make the reels?

ANSWER: Video projectors that can make an image even close to the quality of film are still about $100,000. More if you add 3-D. The problem is there's not any real difference between film and video presentation to the general public and so there's no real advantage to the theatres to make the investment in new projectors. 3-D is really the only driving factor there.The Studios will save hundreds of millions of dollars by not having to strike film prints and ship them around but so far have been dragging their feet on helping the theatres convert. This doesn't make much sense to me.The other issue is going to be all the small theatres that can't afford to convert. Most movies are shot on film, converted to digital for editing then put back on film to show in theatres. Some films are shot with digital cameras. Eventually it will all be digital but how long that will take varies widely depending on who you ask. I think in about 3-5 years it will be hard to run a theatre that hasn't converted.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Projectionist's Nightmare.

I got this picture off a projectionist's forum. This isn't at Western Film, it's a print of Angels and Demons somewhere in Australia. That's the film all over the floor, where it's not supposed to be.

The piece of equipment in the middle is called a platter. It consists of three revolving discs about 4 ft wide. On the bottom one you'll see a film as it's supposed to look, nicely wound in a big spool with the beginning of the film in the center and the end on the outside.

When a film plays off a platter it pays out from the center, goes over some rollers, through the projector and back onto one of the other discs. It wraps around a ring placed in the center and ends up looking the same as it started, just on a different disc.

What happened here is somehow the film was not going back onto the platter but was just spilling onto the floor. There's several things that can cause this, mostly projectionist error but sometimes it can be a equipment problem. Even something like a momentary power drop out can cause this. That's why you'll always see the projectionist at Western Film go into the booth after the power blinks, even if the film seems to be running normally.

The scary thing is the average film is 12,000 ft long, that's a lot of film to try to wrap back up manually.

James Cameron's Avatar

James Cameron is one of, if not my favorite directors. He's never made a bad film, even his weaker films are better than most movies and he has made several downright classics (Terminator 1 and 2, Aliens, Titanic.

His next film is Avatar which opens in the fall and supposedly will change the movie business again. I'm looking forward to it but I'm being sure not to get my hopes too high. No matter how good the movie is it will be compared to Titanic and how well that did. It's not a fair comparison as the combination of elements that allowed Titanic to be come the biggest grosser of all time will never be repeated. It's been 10 years and the movie business has changed. Titanic was still playing in theatres a year after it opened. I don't see that ever happening again.

One of the big variables with how Avatar does is the number of 3-D screens available. The movie apparently employs some of the highest quality 3-D ever done. But at this point there still only about 2000 or North America's 40,000 screens equipped for 3-D. The 3-D is so important to this film that Cameron says one of the reasons it took him so long to make this film was waiting for the technology to catch up to his vision.

The link is for a really interesting article at which summarizes what is known about Avatar which is surprisingly little. The movie comes out in 5 months but there's been no trailers, posters or even good stills. I think most of the illustrations in the article are from the video game, not the film.

I'll probably be in line opening night, how about you?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Next Week's Film May 12 - 18

Next week was a weird week to book. The only new film that came off the first run screens was Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, however that Studio (Alliance) usually puts a week between first and second run so I initially wouldn't have been able to book it for next week. That left me in a bit of a scramble as I didn't have any other movies that I wanted to play. Nothing recently had done well enough to bring back. So I was going to have to play something I hadn't planned on playing. I was looking at these options.

TWO LOVERS: Not a high profile movie but a good one. I saw it at the Hyland and they kept it for a couple weeks. The showing I saw it at had a fair number of people. There weren't any prints of it available though.

WALTZ WITH BASHIER: This is one of those films I don't think will do well but I could get surprised by. However I decided not to take the chance this time of year.

ADVENTURELAND: a fairly good movie aimed at an audience who isn't here right now. (students), didn't do great in First Run though.

17 AGAIN: an okay movie aimed at an audience we don't really get a lot of, young girls. However it does star Zac Efron and did fairly good first run. It's also the highest profile so I decided to go with it and see what happens.

However in the end I ended up getting Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. The booker decided this was a good time to question the one week wait policy at Alliance. They had been inconsistent in applying the policy, doing it in some places with some movies but not in others. As a result we won't have to wait a week any more and I was able to book Ghosts. I did have to wait until Tuesday to get an answer which caused a bit of a reworking of the things the staff and I do on Monday and Tuesday nights.

Now watch the movie bomb, romantic comedies are usually a pretty safe bet for us.

The following week should be Wolverine, it's not playing anywhere first run as of Thursday. Fox also does the waiting bit but at least does it consistently. I'm pretty sure they usually only make us wait a week so Wolverine should be available. If it's not I'll probably try 17 Again as there isn't anything else new I see coming off.

Last Week's Movie May 5 -11

I'm behind again, sorry.

The movie that finished tonight was Monsters Vs Aliens. I booked it last Monday, the only other choice was Dance Flick which I never planned to play.

During the summer we usually do matinees of any kid friendly pics. I also decided to do a late show of Monsters figuring some people would want to see it.

End of Week Update: This was one of those times when I was really off. Monsters did really bad. The matinees were dead and the late show was even deader. I'm quite surprised as I thought the film would at least do okay. I think a lot of it was the fact it finally got warm last weekend so people were doing things outside. It may or may not have been the fact it wasn't in 3-D. We only had a few people ask if it was then not see it.

We'll see how the next film does on matinees.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Next Week's Film May 28 - Jun 4

There were three new films available for next week.

17 AGAIN: I've never really planned to play this film. I think it skews a little too young for our demographic, especially with school out. I'll keep it in the maybe file if nothing good comes off sometime in the next couple weeks.

MONSTERS Vs. ALIENS: I booked this in and then had a thought later, maybe it wasn't a good idea to put a kid's film up against the opening weekend of a new Pixar Film (UP). So I changed the booking and Monsters will play starting Jun 5th with a 7:00 show, weekend matinees and maybe a late show.

THE SOLOIST: I wasn't sure whether to play this but based on how Sunshine Cleaning and State of Play have done I think there's a good market for adult oriented dramas still. I think it will do well.

I'm hoping Wolverine comes off the week after Monsters plays. There's not much else I'm waiting for, maybe Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Star Trek will be a while.

100 classic movie lines in 200 seconds.

Great little video someone put a lot of work into. I've seen almost all of these movies. There's a few of the older ones I would like to see at some point.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Hangover- surprise hit of the summer?

I first saw the trailer for this film a few months ago and thought it looked funny but nothing special. However buzz from screenings has been building and it looks like it may be a major hit.

Here's the trailer:

Here's some comments WArner reported from a screening in Toronto. There's a lot of them and pretty consitent. It looks like I'll have to put up a slide before the movie starts telling the audience there's something in the credits and not to bolt at the first sign of a credit.

At the bottom is funny little promo clip from Funny or Die. Hopefully the embedding works better than the last time I tried. The link below the player should work.

Some comments from the “HANGOVER” screenings Thursday, May 21(from Tribute contest winners across Canada) (there are about 90+)
Generally very very good!
================================================================================================== ====

It was so funny that I kept on laughing the whole way throuh. I definitely would recommend it to anyone. Loved it and I would watch it again in the theatres

This movie was awesomely funny and outrageous! The character that really added to the movie was the guy with the beard...don't we all have one of those in our lives?

very funny!

I was surprised by The Hangover - it turned out to be much better than I expected. Funny situational humor - at one point, it seemed impossible to resolve all of the loose ends, but it happened. Would recommend this.

This is one movie u actually have to stay to the end to see what really happens, absolutely loved it thanks again for the passes, Joyce

Yes, by far the funniest movie this year...not very often the whole theater is laughin. I may have to see it again as I was laughing so hard i may missed some jokes..

It was one of the funniest movies I have seen in years. We definitely have to see it again and will be recommending to all our friends.

So funny!!!

Worth going to if you want to have a good laugh. Loved the tiger and the whole story line. Some parts were x-rated, but on the whole, a very enjoyable and funny movie.

I laughed harder than I have in a long time - I was not disappointed!!! I have not stopped bragging about it to friends at work.

extremely funny, haven't laughed that hard in a long time

It was good. Really funny. More different from the other movies in it's genre than I expected. I did think the final scene was more graphic than it needed to be. They still could've got the point across with even half of the nudity in the photographs... or even none of it.

I thought it was pretty funny! Great cast and ridiculous storyline! Great laughs all around!

This movie was excellent. It was a lot of fun. The story is very well done. You don't know what to expect all along. Merci! Thanks for the free movie

This movie was hilarious. Every story had some kind of twist to it. I laughed so hard throughout the entire movie.

very funny and relaxing movie very nice

Super funny movie! Saw the advance screening and I'll probably watch it again once its released into theatres!

Some parts were funny, however, some parts of the movie were pretty dumb, I guess it will appeal to a very certain demographic.

Hilarious...had me laughing out loud, often. A little bit of a slow start..just to get the characters in place..then non-stop off-the-wall comedy!

Above average comedy. A lot smarter than Dance Flick, but that is to be expected.

The comedy built and built so that we laughed so hard my husband said it was a "Pee yourself funny movie". Everyone stayed to see the photos during the final credits and we were still laughing as we drove home.

I did not have high hopes for this movie, but it was hilarious. Some of the gross humour probably could have been left out, but it's worth seeing the movie if you want a good laugh. This movie is for anyone who thought Weekend at Bernie's was a scream.

It was very funny.

Quite funny

This was one of the best movies I have seen in a while. It was very funny, I especially loved the ending where they were showing the pictures.

The film was generally funny although there were some parts that dragged a little. I was very pleased during the film that it didn't take the "low road" by including lots of gratuitous sex and nudity for the sake of ratings. This was true unitl the closing credits when the photos of the lost night were shown. Out came the photos of strippers and oral sex. Very disappointing.

Crazy fun, I recommend this moving to every one who needs a good laugh!

Not laugh-a-minute, but the comedy is pretty even throughout. It's better than amusing and in the words of my brother, I wouldn't mind seeing it again or owning it on DVD.

A surprisingly funny movie about a plan to go awry gone awry. Very enjoyable.

This movie was absolutely hilarious, by far the funniest movie I have seen in a long time. The theatre was constantly filled with laughter. An excellent movie, and I would definately see it again!

Very funny. Wish they would have taken more time scrolling through the pictures at the end though.

Very funny . A kind of movie to forget life problems .

I enjoyed this movie immensely; it was hilarious and unpredictable. Each of the main characters' personalities played a role in the hijinks that these friends got into. Look for a significant cameo by Mike Tyson, and don't expect the chicken to be explained!

It was awesome, I enjoyed so many parts of this movie! Especially the tiger parts! haha!

It was hilarious, entertaining and long over due!!!!!!! I do not remember when last time I saw a good SUMMER type movie was.

In a world of murders, muggings, job losses, etc., it was a relief to watch a movie and be transported to a world of funny stuff. Thanks.

It had funny parts. The baby and tiger was awesome.

Hello, I really like this movie. Very funny and cleverly made especially since you only see waht really happened at the very end .

really funny. I liked how you only find out at the very end what truly happened in Vegas. One scene that was not really necessary was the one where they have the baby doing you know what... but other than that I enjoyed this movie very much. Thank you for choosing my name

Great Movie! Thoroughly enjoyed it. Light hearted, feel good movie. Put a smile on my face.

I went to the see the movie with my husband with not too high expectations but to our surprise we never laughed so much. Each actor portrayed their part so well. The story line was so interesting...trying to remember and retrace their steps to what happened in only 1 night was totally hilarious. Of course, the line What happens in Vegas...totally appropriate. I already recommended this movie to my co-workers. P.S. Baby is really adorable.

Thought the movie was very funny. Loved the little baby. Truly, enjoyed going.

when I first saw the preview for this movie I thought nah, it's just one of those stupid funny comedies. I have not laughed like that I'm a long time. It kept laughing throughout the whole movie!

very funny

I thought the movie was definitely one of the best I have seen in a while. It was remarkably funny, and it made me and my friend laugh alot. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I will most definitely be recommending this movie to all of my friends.

Incredibly funny! The story was non-stop twists that kept you laughing. Each scene was funnier than the last. Ed Helms from the Office played such a hilarious part...definitely a must see for any friends who've experienced one of those rough crazy nights!

I thought it was funny and quite believable considering the myths about Vegas!! lol

Pretty good!

It was the funniest movie I see in years. 5 stars

Very funny, laugh out loud movie. The fact that the guys have no memory of what they did the night before makes it unpredictable. Funniest movie I have seen in a while!

Very funny, I couldn't stop laughing. I am going to tell my friends to see this movie.

Pretty hilarious movie!

the movie is hilarious. Men hanging over with a baby with differents problems... Strongly recommended.. you won't waist your money at all

I expected it to be all Juvenile teenage boys jokes but was pleasantly suprised at the comedic content.

This movie is absolutely hilarious. Just when you think it can't get any worse, it does. It will have you rolling in the aisle with laughter. Truly, an enjoyable and fun movie to see.

Some very funny moments in the movie. My son enjoyed it more than I did. Maybe more a movie guys can identify with.

I had read that the movie tested very well and in advanced screenings and that the studio had already ordered production of the sequel, so I thought that I might be seeing a hidden gem. I found, however, that there were very few hearty laughs during the course of the movie and the most entertaining part came at the very end.

It has some funny parts - and was what I expected. Overall a good rental but I don't know if I'd come out and pay to see it in theatres.

the funniest film we have ever seen in 71 years!!

great movie!! very funny and the characters were fantastic! would pay to go and see it again!!

The Hangover is the funniest film I have ever seen in my 71 years, we went expecting not much, and laughed through the entire time, the film never lets up--you have a real winner here! Thank you so much for an hysterical evening. We are still laughing about it today!

Very funny movie! I think it will be good summer entertainment.

The most hilarious movie I have seen in a long time.Laughs from start to finish.

This movie was the funniest things I have seen in a LONG time. I laughed out loud until I cried. Actors were fabulous and movie was well directed. Good job guys. I would love to buy the DVD when it comes out to see all the bloopers. Just NON STOP laughing all throughout. I can't even pick my favorite moment because it was all too good!

This was the funniest movie that we've seen in a long time. It had surprise after surprise and you never knew what to expect next! Even the passing off of the tuxedos on the road was reasonable, but still unexpected! I would highly recommend this as a must-see and my boyfriend said after the movie that he would want it in his selective DVD collection.

Very funny. Although the premise has been done before, this was handled well, with just enough vugarity and filth to keep it interesting. The slideshow at the end was hilarious.

Laughted myself silly , had to wipe my eyes a few times . Please send me another pass to see it again .

Hilarious. Couldn't stop laughing. I had been looking forward to this since the first time I saw the trailer and it did not disappoint. Would recommend this to anyone that loves laughing. Mike Tyson singing? Nothing funnier. Will definitely purchase this DVD.

I find it great. The idea is original and we can not predict in advance what will happen. The guys are hilarious, I'm sure everyboday will enjoy this movie.

We thought this was a very funny film and I will not be hesitating to go see it again when it comes out June 5th.

We really enjoyed the movie and everyone was laughing from start to finish. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to see The Hangover. I will recommend to my family and friends. :)

It was good entertainment. There were plenty of laughs, not necessarily where you were doubled over with laughter, but it never dragged.The best part was how the characters kept leaping from one crazy situation to the next. The movie is not appropriate for children due to the extensive nudity.

I thought it was funny

My wife and I were lucky enough to view an advanced screening of this film and it was a riot! One of the funniest movies I've seen in a long while. Zach Galifianakis was hilarious from his first scene until his last. Not to say that the rest of the cast didn't do a bang up job, each were just as funny in their own right. Wolf-pack forever!

The cast, the plot,the trailer, what more can be said ! This is definately goin' to be a blockbuster,laughed my you know what off during the trailer.Really can't wait for this one,love a good comedy and this will for sure top the all time best list !

The movie is really good and funny to see. It's so cute. I suggest to go to see it. It's a good investment

HILARIOUS! The pictures at the end were the best!

The movie was funny with no political messages which I enjoy. A super summer movie that a lot of people both young and old will enjoy.

It was much better than I had expected it to be and I am so glad that I won tickets from Tribute. I will definitely be recommending this movie to my friends. Thanks, Tribute!

This was a super funny film. Its not very often that you laugh so hard that you can't stop. It touched all the right notes without being offensive. Was a great night out and I would recommend it highly for an evening of pure humour.

Hilarious and awesome

The movie was just what I needed that day! It was fun and one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. The hilarity just never stopped. And the audience was great too - adding to the fun with great infectious laughter! I'd recommend it to anyone!


Friday, May 22, 2009

Next Week's Film May 22 - 28

There were only 2 new films available for next week.

OBSESSED: The movie did well overall but wouldn't do anything at Western Film, especially this time of year. I might have played it as a late show when the students were still here.

STATE OF PLAY: based on the results of the Sunshine Cleaning experiment (see previous posts) I should play this film. It did okay and has fairly good awareness and star power. Reviews were generally positive. It's more of an adult film which is what I should be playing this time of year. I think it will do well but not great.

I'm pretty sure Monsters Vs. Aliens will come off for the following week. UP! will bump it out of the 3-D theatres which is probably the only reason it's still playing, that and the lack of family films until Night at the Museum 2 and then UP! come out.

I'm planning to play matinees and a late show. The late show may not work but I'm hoping there will be some adults who don't want to see it with kids in the audience. Matinees of kid's films are a pretty safe bet. One thing that might get interesting. This will be the first film Western Film has played that was strongly marketed as being in 3-D and WF can't play 3-D. I'm curious how many people will show up expecting 3-D, not realizing that it takes special, very expensive, equipment to play 3-D that not every theatre has.

If Monsters isn't available I might have to get creative again.

Comparison between 2 movies for booking.

One thing I keep mentioning is how the attendance and hence booking patterns for Western Film are different from almost any other theatre. To illustrate this I'm going to compare two films.

FAST AND FURIOUS- $70 million dollar opening (biggest April opening ever), $153 million total box office, 4th in a series, some fairly well known names although Vin Diesel and Paul Walker aren't as big as they used to be. High awareness. Did about $500 for the week at Western Film which is quite low for us.

SUNSHINE CLEANING-$219,000 opening in 4 theatres, $11 million total, original, not a sequel or remake, some lesser but still well known names but on the way up (Amy Adams, Emily Blunt). Low awareness. Did almost $800 for the week, still low but not bad.

Seems counter intuitive doesn't it? This is a general pattern at Western Film although it does have exceptions. The Dark Knight was still one of the highest grossing films at Western Film.

There's several reasons I think this occurs-
For many movies the audience who wants to see them go see them first run, this is why Western Film doesn't play horror films and most smaller action films. In many cases they don't want to wait until WF plays the film even if we are cheaper.

Part of it is timing, it depends on the time of year the film plays.

Smaller movies aimed at adults can do well here. Adults are more likely be willing to wait and/or want to see it for less money. Western Film is also less busy and crowded. Although I wouldn't mind seeing that change.

Smaller films often don't play in theatres much. Sunshine played for a couple weeks at the Westmount, F&F played at all the theatres in the city.

By the time WF gets a film word of mouth has spread and if it's bad it will affect us. The opposite effect can occur with good word of mouth for the smaller films that start in the bigger cities then spread out from there.

Being a University theatre our primary market is a more intellectual and discriminating group. They are more likely to take a chance on something that looks different. They are also less likely to seek out out only escapist fare.

The best example I can give is Hotel Rwanda. It was the biggest grossing movie at WF the year it came out however it did only $20 million in overall box office.

The Sunshine Cleaning experiment results.

As written in an earlier post my decision to play Sunshine Cleaning the week that just ended was a bit of an experiment. There were no bigger movies to play and I didn't know how Sunshine would do as it had low awareness but good reviews. I heard 'never heard of it' a lot this last week. I decided to try it because with the lack of students I thought something more aimed at adults might do okay.

Result: The experiment worked. While it didn't go great overall it did better than a couple of the last films. It actually did a bit more than my most optimistic prediction. I can pretty much guarantee it did better than FIGHTING which was the only wide release film available.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Funny Promo for The Proposal

This is a fun little clip to promote the movie The Proposal with Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock. I think the movie looks good and the advance word from screenings say it is. Language is NSFW but bleeped.

Update: The embedding doesn't seem to be working. Click on the text along the bottom to link to the video.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Star Wars fans revenge?

This a fun little clip.

Star Trek is Awesome!

I did something this week I haven't done in years. I saw the same movie twice, two nights in a row. I've been Star Trek fan since I was little and have been really looking forward to the new film.

I found the film exciting and a lot of fun. There were a couple places that seemed a bit forced (the guy in the water tube) and some logical inconsistencies ( how can a supernova threaten the galaxy?)

Overall the characters were good, the action was fun and the effects were flawless. There were never any of those moments where the effect is so obviously an effect it takes you out of the film. Wolverine had some of those.

Part of the reason I was it twice was I was checking out the new theatres at Westmount. I saw it on Sunday in one of the VIP theatres. It was cool but I was off center of the screen and it wasn't a real big theatre so I really noticed it. On the way out I talked to the manager who said theatre #1 of the regular cinemas has a 50 foot screen and almost 400 seats. I had to check that out! I figured Star trek would only play in that theatre for a week and Angels and Demons would take over on Friday. I went back on Monday for the late show and saw it in #1. That theatre is huge and the showing was impressive. I was able to sit in the exact center of the screen as I like it.

Some Star Trek fans are upset with the new film because it doesn't stick to the established canon. I don't think they could have stuck to the canon and made a film a lot of people want to see for a couple reasons.

-after 10 movies and several TV series I would imagine the canon is so twisted and complicated anything they did would contradict something. It would also severely limit the options for some of the characters.

-obviously since there is no TV series running and the last couple movies fizzled there isn't enough interest in Star Trek as it was to warrant making another film.

I'll probably watch Star Trek again when it plays at Western Film. I'm looking forward to the sequel. The characters have been reestablished so they can just go straight into a hopefully interesting story.

Next Week's film May 15 - 21

There was only one higher profile film available for next week.

FIGHTING- It was a good film but I wouldn't have played it at Western Film even during the school year. Just not the kind of film we do well with. It's especially true right now considering how bad Observe and Report and Fast & Furious have done. All three appeal to a similar demographic and they just aren't around this time of year. This is always the worst time of the year.

I decided to try an experiment. Since the younger patrons aren't around I'll try something that appeals more to older movie goers. It's a good week to experiment as whatever I experiment with can't do much worse than what I've been playing and could do better.

I considered playing Waltz With Bashir but decided it was too serious and I was told by the booker it didn't play well anywhere in Canada.

I decided to try playing SUNSHINE CLEANING. It's apparently a good, funny film but has low awareness so I'm not sure what will happen. It played for a couple weeks at the Westmount, it must have done at least some business since they kept it for a second week.

I'm not sure what I'll do the following week if Monsters Vs. Aliens or something similar isn't available.

I don't think we'll have to wait too long for Wolverine considering the word of mouth and big second weekend drop. I'm still planning to play it as it is a big release and while it wasn't great it wasn't horrible either.

Building / Western Film hours.

In response to a recent comment. During the summer the hours of the UCC building have been reduced but Western Film is still open as usual.
This is the first year that has happened. In previous year the building stayed open normal hours but since Campus Rec (the gym) moved into their new building there is no reason to keep the entire building open during the summer. Western Film is pretty much the only thing open on the weekends except the radio station.

Friday, May 08, 2009

I wish more cinemas would play these trailers.

I can't remember what they are called right now but I'm referring to the trailers that show off a particular part of the equipment , usually the sound system. The various Digital Sound systems all have their own, plus THX has some. Anyone who goes to Western Film knows we play a DTS one before every movie. I wish they would make a new one, that one is getting a bit overplayed.

Generally I prefer the Dolby Digital trailers, they seem more inventive and there are more to choose from.

I noticed few theatres seem to play them any more. I'm not sure why, it's not a big deal to put one on, we just attached our DTS one to the Feature Presentation and treat them as one unit.

If Western Film ever gets Dolby Digital you know I'll be playing the trailers.

This is a collection of THX trailers. The original THX trailer is still one of the most effective in my opinion. THX used to be a specific way of building a theatre to meet set criteria. If a theatre met THX specs you knew it was a good theatre. However it seems to have fallen out of use. Probably because theatres didn't want to pay the licencing fee every year to keep using the THX name. It's used on home equipment but in a very different way. I have a copy of one of the earlier ones on film and every so often I'll play it and crank the sound system.

This one holds a special place in my heart. My best friend and I at the time were trying to build a theatre here and we wanted it to be THX. When this segment of The Simpson's came on we laughed so hard it hurt. I saw this on the big screen once at the Uptown, my favorite theatre in Toronto, since torn down. It was a huge old palace and when the bass notes hit you could feel your chest vibrate.

This is one of the better Dolby Digital trailers. I love the bass in this one, again you could feel it in your chest.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Murphy's Law

Murphy loves the movie business. When I used to work as a projectionist at the other theatres I ended up dreading working Tuesday. This was when everyone had a discount Tuesday so it was busy. Things always seemed to go wrong on Tuesday even though as far as operation of the booth is concerned it doesn't matter whether there's 2 or 200 people watching a film.

Here's some recent examples.

One of the motors on the platter which pays out the film was making a funny noise so I took it in to be repaired. The shop changed the bearings. When I hooked it back up it's running considerably slower that the other motors even though nothing has changed on the platter and the shop didn't change anything else.

I was away last weekend, planning to leave on Friday morning. Thursday afternoon OBSERVE and REPORT hadn't been delivered yet. I called and Technicolor thought we were picking up the print from Silver City but I was told one would be delivered. The problem with this is since it was still playing at the Silver City Thursday night it couldn't be picked up until Friday. Naturally this had to happen when I wasn't planning to be in town on Friday. I had to get one of my staff to pick up the film.

While I was away the juice fridge stopped working but no one thought to tell me until Monday night. I called Coke who showed up on Wednesday to fix it. The fan in the refrigeration unit had gotten jammed. The Coke guy fixed it and it seemed to be running fine. At the end of the night I noticed a burning smell and opened up the fridge again. The fan had stopped working completely so something must have burned out. Now I have to get Coke back in, and we'll have warm juice again.

Since we are the only place on campus that's open at night during the summer I sell hot dogs for the people that are looking for something closer to real food than popcorn. We haven't sold any since we started, not unexpected since summer school hasn't started yet. Tonight the machine wasn't working and we had two people ask for hot dogs. The rollers are sticking so I have to find out what one uses to lubricate a machine that comes in contact with food. Somehow I don't think WD-40 would work quite right...

Next Week's Film May 8 -14

There were a couple choices this week.

FAST AND FURIOUS - I booked this for the 7 pm show. I'm not sure how it will do. It opened huge, biggest April opening ever, and did quite well but I can see it being one of those films where most who wanted to see it already did.

TAKEN- Fox was finally willing to let me split it but I decided not to play it. It comes out on DVD on Tuesday and there's no one here to see it right now.

CRANK 2 was available but I never planned to play it. It's a fun completely over the top film but wouldn't do much business at Western Film even during the school year.

Looks like I made one of my occasional misjudgments. I was away for the weekend and came back and my jaw just about hit the floor when I saw the numbers for OBSERVE and REPORT. It had done $72 all weekend as opposed to several hundred for I LOVE YOU, MAN?! I haven't had a film do that bad in years. I thought there was a chance it might not do great but had no idea it could do this bad. I don't think it's just based on the movie although it seemed to be one of those movies where people either liked it or hated it. It's mostly timing, exams are over and summer school hasn't started yet so there's few students around. It also occurred to me tonight that a lot of our regulars saw it at the advance screening we did.

So there's no late show next week based largely on that. I don't like running single shows for the sake of my staff who get about half the hours they normally would but if there isn't anything I think people will come see then I can't play a late show. This is generally the worst time of the year for us so I just kinda hunker down and try to lose as little money as possible.

Next Week's Films May 1 -7

There were only a couple to choose from this week.

I LOVE YOU, MAN. I was kind of surprised we got this one this fast but Wolverine opened on so many screens it pushed it off early. I booked it for the 7pm show.

OBSERVE AND REPORT- I wasn't sure whether to play it but decided to try it. I figure the dark humour makes it a good late show and Seth Rogen is popular. I wish I could have played it before the students all left.

I expect MONSTERS VS. ALIENS to come off soon. I'll probably do matinees for that one.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Next Week's Film Apr 24 - 29

There were a few movies available this week but it wasn't too hard to choose. It'll be a bit of a weird week as there are no shows on Thursday. I rented the theatre to a military history conference that wanted to play Passchendale then have a discussion about it. The screening is open to the public and free for anyone who wants to see Passchendaele on the big screen. It's at 7pm.

KNOWING- an interesting film but not something that would pull at Western Film. Most of those who want to see it will have already done so. If I get an opening I might throw it in just to see if I'm wrong.

TAKEN- would like to play it but it's Fox so I can't split it. I'm hoping either they will let me split it in a later week or I get a week where there's nothing else available.

DUPLICITY - I booked this for the 7pm show. It appeals mostly to adults, some students (of those that are left ) will probably also want to see it.

HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU - I booked for the late show. I wish I could have played this a little sooner before the majority of the students left. I think it will still do okay.

I Love You Man may come off soon. Observe and Report seems to be leaving the first run screens pretty fast. I'm not sure about playing it after the students have left.

The New Westmount theatres.

There's going to be another change in the theatrical landscape of London soon. The last one was the closing of the Huron Market Place last September.

Cineplex is building new theatres out at Westmount Mall which is in the south end of the city, quite aways from Western Film.

Currently there's a somewhat antiquated six-plex in the mall, the new theatres are in a separate building which I can't tell if is going to be connected to the mall or not.

According to the Cineplex website it will have 8 stadium seating screens, three of which are their VIP cinemas. The VIP cinemas cost extra but have extra comfy chairs, serve food at the seats and are licensed so they are 19+ only.

There's several questions and things I find interesting about the place.

They built it behind the mall where it's not visible from the street. I thought this seemed odd but I figure they probably got the land/lease for very little back there. The mall itself is dying so it doesn't need the parking.

What will the admission price be? The current theatre is $7.50 but I would be willing to bet the new ones will be about the same price as the Silver City which is $11.00. That would leave Western Film by far the cheapest theatre in London, the closest would be Rainbow downtown which is $7.50.
In Toronto the VIP cinemas are $4.00 more than the regular cinemas.

Currently they tend to play a lot of 'art' product there. Will they continue to do so or go more Hollywood? My feeling is they will put the art product in the VIP cinemas assuming the people who want to see those films will be willing to pay the extra. I'd certainly consider it just to get away from the damn teenagers and their cellphones.

I'm not sure when it's supposed to open. I would imagine they want to open ASAP to catch the summer business.

Will the VIP cinemas work in London? especially right now. Probably but I wouldn't be surprised if they don't charge as much extra as in Toronto.

It says some theatres will be 3-D. Will any of the VIP theatres be 3-D and will they then charge an extra fee on top for that as most 3-D theatres do? That would be getting close to $20.00 per ticket.

Will it change booking patterns at all? That kinda depends on what they do with the art product. If they go more Hollywood that would leave pretty much only Western Film and the Hyland playing anything non Hollywood. Currently at least a couple of the studios consider us to be far enough from each other to play the same film at the same time. That might change with their higher price.

I'm kinda surprised it's only 8 screens. I didn't think anyone built less than 10 or 12 these days.

I'll check them out as soon as they open and report back.

Last Week's Movie Apr 17 - 23

Watchmen was available so I booked it in. It's very long so there's no late show, plus there wasn't really anything available to play as a late show. If there had a been a short comedy or something available that would make a good exam study break then I might have put it in.

I'm not sure how Watchmen will do. I think it will do at least okay. It wasn't exactly what people were hoping for and didn't do as well as some thought it would. I figure there's enough people that haven't seen it and some that will want to see it again to play it.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Next Week's Films. Apr 10 -16

Next week wasn't too hard to book. There weren't any new films available so I just picked a couple I hadn't played yet.

The Reader is the early show. I think the long weekend is a good time to play this as I think it has more adult appeal that student and most of the students will be gone for the weekend.

Confessions of a Shopaholic will play at 9:30. The audience for this is mostly young women so they will come to the late show, although I expect the weekend to be quiet and it will pick up during the week. It sorta depends on how exams affect it.

That's pretty much it for the titles I've been holding in reserve except maybe for Paul Blart. I think He's Just Not That Into You and Watchmen will probably come off soon. Taken should be available but it's Fox so I won't be able to split it. That's a hard one to decide on, it's the kind of film we don't normally do well with but was an unexpected hit, it's actually the third highest grossing film of the year. Maybe it will come available on a week where there's nothing else available and I won't have to decide.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Response to Special Presentations.

For anyone who is curious. We had about 90 people show up to the advance screening of PontyPool, pretty good for a Canadian film with no stars and a hard to explain premise. Most of the people seemed to like it but I think many (including me ) didn't understand it. Financially it worked. While the people didn't pay to get in we sold enough stuff at the snack bar to total more than we would have made from the showing of The Wrestler it replaced.

We had 320 people show up for the Observe and Report screening, that's almost a sell out. Considering there was a $5.00 ticket price that's pretty good. Warner sent a ton of prizes so almost everyone got something. I did get caught off guard a bit by how early people started showing up and we weren't quite ready. The silly popcorn machine decided to act up and we kept running out of popcorn. That lead to lines which probably hurt snack bar sales. Financially we were way better off than showing Gran Torino. The $5.00 admission went to charity so we didn't make anything on the tickets. However, snack bar sales were probably one of the highest single showing totals ever.

Naturally I hope the studios want to do more screenings...

Next Week's Movie Apr 3- 9

Slumdog Millionaire was finally available so I booked it in. So this means we are playing it a week after it came out on DVD. I still expect it to do really well. Initially I was told I couldn't split it so it's playing by itself. On Tuesday Fox called and said we could split it so I had to decide whether to book in another film for the late show. I decided not to for a couple reasons:

It figure it will still do well enough to justify both shows even though it's out on DVD.

All of the films that I could play with it either needed to play the 7pm show (The Reader) or I wasn't sure I want to play at all (Paul Blart) or both (Coraline).

I had already put out all my advertising, while it can be changed it's a pain to do.

Confessions of a Shopaholic is available for the following week so right now it would be The Reader followed by Shopaholic. I doubt I will keep Slumdog unless it does extremely well because of the DVD thing and wanting to play other films before the students leave.

Our ticket sales are not 'plummeting'?!

The previous post reminded me of something I meant to write. A couple of week ago the student newspaper The Gazette did a story on the USC's budget for next year. The VP-Finance was quoted as saying Western Film's ticket sales were 'plummeting' and our snack bar sales were 'skyrocketing'. I'm not sure where he got this from. I think it may be from looking at the numbers from the wrong part of the year. Our ticket sales were down because of weak product in the fall however when the Feb month end numbers came out a few days after the article we were within $300 of the ticket sales at the end of Feb last year. Snack bar sales are up compared to previous years and a higher percentage of ticket sales but aren't skyrocketing. Our snack bar sales are up for a couple of reasons. The new products such as Slush and Ice Cream and sales to non patrons of the movies. This is possible because of the permanent concession stand that opened in the last fiscal year. We couldn't sell things like Slush before because we didn't have room and the whole concessions stand got rolled away over a tile floor each night. A slush machine wouldn't stand up to that kind of abuse for long.

I hate when The Gazette pulls stuff like that out. It's not good for people to think a place is having problems. I always remember what happened to the old New Yorker Theatre. As soon as word got out it was for sale attendance dropped a lot. It's not like anything had actually changed, the owner wanted to retire. I guess people thought something was wrong with it or something.

Response to a comment.

This comment was left on on older post so I thought I'd respond here.

I know I'm kind of late to comment on this post but out of curiosity, do you get customers at the concession stand who are not going to see a movie that night? Not sure if this is something you can/do track. I just imagine there may be students in the UCC who just want a snack.

Yes, we sell a fair amount of stuff to people who aren't going to the movies. We sell a fair amount of popcorn to people studying or meeting in the building.

We stock some items just to sell to the general public. Red Bull and Rockstar are generally bought by studying students. We sell quite a bit during exams.

This is partly because we run at night. The variety store downstairs closes early some nights and isn't open at all on the weekends so we are the only place to buy some stuff except for vending machines.

During the summer we are the only place open at night at all on the entire campus except for the Grad Club so we get a lot of customers looking for food. We sell hot dogs during the summer only for this reason. Hot dogs are about the only thing I could come up with. Anything else like sandwiches have too short a shelf life for us to sell at a reasonable price.

At one point I planned to turn the concession stand into a mini variety store and carry things like gum but dropped the idea once I checked into it further.
For things like gum there's too many varieties and I wouldn't be able to carry very many. Plus I hate gum, it should be banned if people don't stop sticking it to everything.
Things like Potato Chips would cannibalize popcorn sales.
Pretty much everything else a variety store sells that we didn't already sell I didn't think we would sell enough of to get around shelf life restrictions.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Casual Job for Student who likes movies.

I'm not sure how many people actually read this and are students but I thought I'd mention this. Maple Pictures is looking for a campus rep to help promote their upcoming films and advance screenings. It's a few hours about once a month. Basically organizing promo and then attending the screenings and reporting how the audience reacted etc. It pays $50 each time plus 2 DVDs from their library. You aren't going to get rich doing it but it's certainly interesting. I wanted to do it myself but it was determined to be a conflict of interest with my Western Film job. The last Maple pic was Adventureland, the next one is Crank 2. Maple is the Canadian arm of Lion's Gate.

These are the basic requirements:
Student or work on campus
here over summer and next school year
Most screenings are Wednesday or Thursday night.

Anyone who is interested please contact me at and I'll refer you to the person at Maple.

When my boss told me I couldn't take the job myself I got a bit of a backhanded compliment. The problem was I would be sending people to showings at another theatre. Most of the screenings will be at the Silver City. One of my arguments that I should still be able to do it was that someone would be doing it anyway. He said no one would be able to do it as good as me, I'm not sure if he meant it or just said it to make me feel better.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Next Week's Film Mar 27 - Apr 2

Next week is one of those weeks I'm not sure if I booked correctly. The original plan was The Reader, left over from last week, and Yes Man unless Slumdog Millionaire was available.

Slumdog wasn't available, the only new movie available was Paul Blart. I'm not sure if I'll play that, it was a big hit but plays a little immature for our audience. If I do play it I should probably wait and play it during exams, it'll make a good study break film.

However Gran Torino was doing fairly well as the late show and I was getting a very strong indicator that my original thought that it needed to be a 7pm show was correct. I was getting a lot of people asking about it. The newspaper made a typo that implied there was a 7pm show this past Monday and I got several phone calls about it and a few people showed up. I decided to bring it back next week as the 7pm show. Hopefully I haven't just split the difference between the two weeks.

Yes Man feels old and I'm not sure how well it will do but I've been saying I would play it so I figure I should so it's the late show.

Slumdog is down to one theatre at the Silver City so hopefully they drop it the following week. I'm nervous they'll hold onto it longer than that. If it gets too far past the DVD date and the start of exams I might have to make a nasty choice. Knowing Fox they might still insist on full shows even though it's out on video. Fox has pissed off a lot of theatres. Slumdog is still in the top 10 and they are releasing it on DVD on Tuesday.

If Slumdog isn't available the following week it will be The Reader followed by something, probably Paul Blart. Shopaholic and He's Just not That Into You should both come off soon. Disney will make me wait a week for Shopaholic as they usually do.

Credits Cardio

Forget jogging or Pilates, the only thing you need around here to get people up and moving is to show them the credits at the end of a film.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Upcoming Special Presentations.

We have a couple special things happening at Western Film I don't think I have mentioned on here.

Monday Mar 23rd at 7:00. We are having the London Premiere of a Canadian Film Pontypool, directed by Bruce McDonald (Hard Core Logo). Maple Pictures asked me to do the screening. Bruce was originally supposed to be here but had to cancel. It looks like a film that's a little hard to describe. The basic descrip would be several people trapped in a radio station by zombies but I doubt Bruce McDonald would make anything that simple.
Admission is free at the door.

Monday Mar 30th at 7pm. An advance screening of Seth Rogen's film Observe and Report courtesy of Warner Bros. This is being done as a charity screening through a sorority, I can't remember the name right now.
Tickets will be $5.00 at the door. Show up early for good seats! There is a possibility this one could sell out.
The original plan was for Seth Rogen to be here for the screening but that didn't happen. I'm almost happy the crowd control and security issues would have been a real pain.

It won't let me embed it but if you can watch the age restricted red-band trailer, it gives a much better idea of the film than the toned down one above.

Response to some recent comments.

Here are some comments made on recent posts and my responses. I figured it was easier for everyone to see them if I did it this way.

I would rather see Slumdog Millionaire on the big screen. Hope you decide to play it.

Western Film will be playing Slumdog Millionaire, even if it's a week or so after it comes out on DVD. I think there will still be enough interest.

Will you let us know how the movies did? Did your plan work?

This comment is in reference to my plan to play Revolutionary Road and Milk during Slack Week then switch the order the following week when the students were back. That way both films played for the early show at some point. Basically I would say it worked. Overall Milk did better but the total for each film each week was consistent with normal patterns. I'll have to remember this trick for future use if I have two suitable films at slack week.

thanx for answering bak bout this !--personally- wenever they've shown a bollywood film its been on a single day and invariably i've already got sumthin happenin-- also wen its hosted by a club then sumtimes u dont wanna go coz it feels kinda odd that ur not part of the club--newez-- hopefully we'll get to see sum indian films in the near future ! =)

I'm don't think I ever mentioned it on here but we did do another Bollywood film a couple weeks ago. The guys that had been putting them on contacted me again. I hadn't heard from them for a while so I figured they didn't want to do any more. Turns out they were visiting India?!
The show of Billu Barber did fairly well. Enough for me to keep doing them as long as the guys want to do them. They'll contact me next time there's a film they want to play.

The talking at WesternFilm seems to be a bigger issue than anywhere else, and this is true especially during the previews. Sure, the actual movie isn't playing yet, but there are people who want to watch the previews without the VERY loud chatter going on around them. I noticed that WesternFilm doesn't turn down all the lights until the feature film starts and I feel that is contributing to the problem.

There's not much we can do about talking during the previews. To me they are part of the film but a lot of people consider them nothing more than commercials. Part of the problem is I have to play them at a lower volume than the films. Trailers have different volume levels between them so often I'll get a loud one that necessitates turning them all down so as not to deafen everyone during the loud trailer. We readjust the volume for the movie. As for the lights, most theatres don't turn them all the way down for the same reason we don't. There's often still a lot of people coming and going during the trailers. I think we may keep ours little brighter but there's several reasons for this.
- For some reason we get a lot of people right when the trailers start or after they have started. We can have 10 people in the theatre at 6:50 and 80 at 7:10.
-We don't have any lights on the stairs beside the seats. The edging on the stairs actually glows in the dark if you look very carefully but it never worked very well or has worn out.
-We get a lot of older people and seniors.
-The damn tablets (little tables) on the chairs, most of them don't stick back out of the way even if pushed into position. If the lights are down a lot of people hit them with their legs. When the room isn't being used for classes any more come about January I may ask if I can take them all off. They do make good cup holders in some cases though.

Any questions I didn't answer feel free to post in the comments below.