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.