Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This looks interesting.

I don't know if this movie is going to get a Canadian release, probably not, but I'd go see it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Midnight Movies so far update

We've only done three midnight films but all have done quite well so I'm optimistic the series will work.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail did about 70 people and they quite a few bought snacks.

The Shining did about 53 people but they bought more snacks and the dollar total was almost the same as Holy Grail.

I expected it to do less but Princess Bride did the best with about 85 people and a ton of snack bar sales.

So far each movie has done more than double what it needed to break even. This is good as some of the later movies may not break even. As long as the series as a whole doesn't lose money I can keep doing it.

This week is Clockwork Orange which I expect to do about the same as The Shining.

I purposely front loaded the schedule with the obvious Cult films to give the series a kick start, after Clockwork we get into some movies that are less obvious and I'll be curious to see how they do. I'll also be watching carefully what does well to help decide what to book for next term.

I'm still taking requests at

Next Week's movie Oct 15 - 21

I had already booked in Inception to start on the 15th. It was available last week but I had already booked Eat Pray Love. I think Inception will do well, we've been waiting for it for a while.

My only decision was whether to play a late show next week. Inception is so long a late show would have been at 10pm, really late for us. Only certain movies will work that late, generally movies aimed only at younger people. Scott Pilgrim might have worked but I had already played it for two weeks. I considered bringing back Toy Story 3 since it was popular and is short so it wouldn't end too late at night. I decided not to. I also briefly considered playing Inception for two shows a night. I think it's popular enough to do so but the late show wouldn't finish until 12:45 which is after the last buses. It would also mess up the Friday Midnight movie.

Let Me In turned out to be available for next week. I wasn't expecting it to come off so fast. I considered playing it after Inception but decided I should wait for a week when I can play it earlier. I don't get a lot of movies that are good late shows so I wanted to make the best of it. Let Me In is basically a horror film but has enough other elements that it might play well at Western Film. It got good word of mouth as well. It may tank but it seems worth the risk.

So in the end Inception is playing by itself at 7pm.

Let Me In will be the late show the following week. I'm not sure what to expect for the early show.

Sometimes I think we should play this trailer before each movie.

Let's just say occasionally I find things up in the back row I don't want to touch after the movie.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

3D Discrimination - Jackass 3.

UPDATE: Paramount moved the 2D release back to Oct 15th, the same date as 3D. I find it funny I never heard anything about this anywhere else but somone must have complained pretty loudly.

I just found out that anyone who can't play Jackass 3 in 3D has to wait 3 weeks before they can play it in 2D. 3D runs open Oct 15th but 2D runs open Nov 5th. This is new, up til now 2D always opened the same day as 3D. Yet more discriminatory practices against smaller theatres that can't afford the $100,000+ it takes to convert one screen to 3D.

I think they are doing this because more and more people are choosing 2D screenings over 3D because it's cheaper when given a choice. They are attempting to make more people pay the 3D surcharge as most admissions for any movie are in the first two weeks. However this movie is actually shot in 3D, not converted, and is probably one of the films that the 3D will be beneficial. Although I'm not looking forward to what they 'throw' or 'point at' the audience, I imagine gross substances and body parts not normally seen on screen will be involved.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. I don't think Western Film will play the movie anyway, we'll see how it does.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Midnight Movies return.

We used to run a series of cult films Fridays at Midnight. It was quite popular however most of the films people wanted to see were no longer available on 35mm film for various reasons, mostly age and worn out and not replaced. I couldn't do the series on video because the video projector in the room generated a small, dim picture I would have been embarrassed to try to charge money for.
That's not the case any more.
The USC has invested in a new, high end video projector for the McKellar room for Western Film to use as well as other users of the room. It isn't a Digital Projector like some theatres use, those are still about $100,000. One of the main reasons I listed in my business case for buying the projector was the possibility of bringing back Midnight movies and playing them on video. People still ask about midnight movies all the time.
So now we can play the films off a DVD or Bluray. The new projector makes an image almost as good as the film projector and fills most of the screen.
Now we can play anything available that we can get the rights for. We can also play some movies that were never available on film in Canada such as Donnie Darko.
There's still some movies we can't play. Fox and George Lucas have all the Star Wars films out of service which means we aren't allowed to play them.
The most requested film is Rocky Horror but it's too messy to play in our nicely renovated theatre.
I've booked the first few films, however as of this writing only Holy Grail is confirmed so the list may change. I'm having trouble finding who owns the Canadian theatrical rights to Evil Dead, it's not the same as who owns the DVD rights which is unusual.
Now hopefully people show up. I'll be quite embarrassed if I've talked this series up to get them to invest in the new projector and not many people show up.
In the previous series we had more than 100 people show up for a few of the movies, however almost all of them were the movies with horrible prints. (Shining, Clockwork Orange)
If anyone has any suggestions please e-mail or leave them in the comments. However, take note, I reserve the right to ignore suggestions. I kept track of the movies suggested before, one of the most requested films, Taxi Driver, has one of the lowest attendances. I've had 4 people suggest a movie called The Room which I had never heard of. Since three of those requests arrived in one day I suspect one person had his or her friends request it as well. I'll embed the trailer below. Anyone think I should play it?

I'm a sucker for this kinda film...

My favorite genre is science fiction and I hate to admit but I like the cheesy ones as well as the good ones. I can't quite decide which one Skyline is. It could be good like District 9 or a low rent version of Independence Day. I'm not sure how big a release it's getting, hopefully it will play here.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Next couple weeks films. Sep 3- 16

Since we were closed for three weeks we built up a backlog of available movies. This resulted in us not playing a couple films we would have otherwise, but also allowed me to book the Frosh Week movies early. We try to get the new students into the theatre during Frosh Week so I booked the films ahead so the orientation staff and sophs can tell them what we are playing.

Here's some of the films that came available.

A-Team- from Fox so couldn't split, this movie wasn't worth playing by itself.

Knight and Day- also Fox and even less worth playing by itself.

If we had been open the three weeks I would have asked Fox if we could play both movies the same week, they will usually split with their own movies. Now better movies are available so I won't be playing either one.

Predators- Fox, no splits but probably wouldn't have played it anyway.

The Last Airbender - no words are needed.

Sorcerer's Apprentice. If we had been open I might have played it just to fill space but now I don't need to. It was a fun movie, I don't think it deserved the horrible death it got.

For re-opening I ended up booking The Girl Who Played With Fire. I'd rather have reopened with a big movie like Inception but it wasn't available. Also I wanted to play Girl before school started as a lot of the non-students stop coming during the first couple weeks of school. The other movie I reopened with was Grown Ups.

For Frosh Week I booked Twilight Eclipse and Dinner For Schmucks. Twilight isn't the best Frosh Week movie as mostly only the girls will go. Dinner For Schmucks is good for anyone.

For the last part of Frosh Week I booked Toy Story 3 and Salt, both good films. I wanted to play matinees of Toy Story but the theatre was already booked by someone else. Not an issue I would have had to worry about if we had got it before school started.

Renovations complete!

The new seats are in, along with the new floor and some of the walls have been painted. As soon as I remember to take my camera in I'll post some pics.

The new seats are more comfortable than the old ones and have higher backs. The cupholders were delayed for some reason but are supposed to be installed soon.

The floor is now vinyl, not the prettiest things to look at but much easier to clean than carpet considering how much stuff is spilled in the theatre.

The new video projector hasn't come in yet. I'm looking forward to seeing the image it puts out. We are bringing back the midnight shows on video as a result.

Going to be an interesting year...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

This trailer make no sense but looks cool.

The movie is directed by Zack Snyder who did 300 and Watchmen. I like the imagery but have no idea how it all compiles into a movie?!

Next Week's films Jul 30 - Aug 5

I've gotten behind on these again. The only new movie available to play for next week was The Last Airbender which I don't plan to play. The Karate Kid and Prince of Persia had both come available in the last couple weeks so I choose those. I'm not sure how Prince of Persia will do as it wasn't exactly a huge hit but I think it will do well enough to play it.

The A-Team is available but I can't split it so it probably won't be played. We are going to be closed for three playweeks for renovations as of Aug 6th. The timing is actually kinda good. I'm running out of movies to play. This has been a weird summer with a lot of disappointing movies, most of which we have either already played or won't be playing. Most of the movies currently playing now are hits that will keep playing first run for a while like Toy Story 3 and Inception. All the big summer movies have opened so there isn't a lot of new product coming out to bump older films off the screens. Whereas something like Iron Man 2 takes up several screens in a multiplex opening weekend the films left this summer are the kind that only take one.

About the only film that might have been available for the following week is The Girl Who Played With Fire and I think there's still no extra prints so even if The Hyland drops it the print will go off to another first run theatre.

I expect to reopen on Aug 27th with Toy Story 3 and Girl Who Played With Fire but we'll see what happens.

Bollywood Films.

Just a quick post regarding a comment left on a previous post asking about Bollywood (Indian) Films. The ones that have played over the last couple years were put on by others renting out Western Film. They sold the tickets etc. I haven't heard from them for a while so they may not wish to do any more. The attendance was never super high.
I tried to put on Bollywood films myself a couple times but I didn't know how to market to the proper community.

The basic problem is we have to wait 2-3 weeks after the films have been released in order to play them. We have to wait until a theatre in Toronto is done with a print before we can show it. The piracy is so bad on Bollywood films they are basically dead by the time we can show them.

I do find it frustrating as I'm constantly being asked to show Bollywood films but then not enough people show up when we do. Piracy is a two way street, if people are willing to watch the pirated versions then theatres won't be able to play them.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Next Week's Films Jul 9 - 15

I'd already scheduled in Robin Hood so I only needed to decide on what late show to play. Shrek 4 was available but obviously isn't well suited to a late show. It will play starting Jul 23 at 7pm and matinees. The only other movie that the booker was checking on was Get Him To The Greek which ended up holding so it wasn't available to us. I would have put it in a the late show if it had come available. I was considering keeping Iron Man 2 as a late show but wasn't sure. Robin Hood is quite long which would make the Iron Man 2 show at 9:45 and Iron Man isn't exactly a short film. The evening shows of Iron Man have done quite well. The matinees were a bust but I think a lot of that was due to the holiday weekend and people being out of town. Bringing back Date Night as a late show has worked reasonably well. So I decided to keep Iron Man 2 for a late show. I'm also doing a bit of experimenting with matinees. I'd going to run matinees of Robin Hood to try to gauge how non kid's movies will do. I'm also going to run matinees of Iron Man 2 partly to see if the first weekend was a fluke and to give people who didn't come last week a chance to see it.

Considering how the matinees for How To Train Your Dragon did I was truly shocked we didn't get more people for the Iron Man matinees. It was very out of character as Sundays are almost always busier than Saturday but we ended up having no one show up for the 1:45 show on Sunday?!

So the Robin Hood matinees are at 1:30 and the Iron Man 2 matinees are at 4:15. This is the first time I've run two different movies as matinees, I hope it's not too confusing.

Sex and the City 2 is already booked for the following week and will probably be followed by a late show of Get Him To The Greek. I doubt Robin Hood will do well enough to keep for another week.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Now accepting Debit and Credit Cards (at the Snack Bar)

I finally gave in and put in debit/credit at the snack bar. I've been reluctant for a couple reasons. The main one is speed. It takes a lot longer to do a card transaction than a cash one, especially for those who are a little slow putting their PIN in. I'm not as concerned about speed at the Snack Bar as we can get the popcorn or whatever while they finish paying.

The second reason I was reluctant was cost. It will cost about $100 a month to rent the equipment and the phone line and they take a fee every time debit is used and a percentage every time a credit card is used. It's not a huge amount per transaction but it will add up.

You may be asking why did I put the debit machine in then? Basically I noticed a lot of people wanting to buy stuff and not having cash and walking away. For tickets people have come to the movie so they will usually go to a bank machine in the building for ticket money but for snacks they are more optional so people are less likely to go to the bank machine. A ticket is only $4.20 and most people have a little cash but the concessions can cost more for a combo or whatever. There's also a fair number of people in the building studying who aren't going to the movie so again it's more optional.

We are selling tickets at the Snack Bar for those who don't have cash. I'm nervous too many people will want to buy tickets with debit and cause back ups. We are going to wait and see.

I suppose it's only a matter of time before I have to put in a card machine at the Box Office but I don't want to. The speed factor will create nasty lines. We only have one til and I can do about 10 cash transactions in the time it takes to do one debit. Since most people show up in the last 10 minutes before the movie we sometimes have to sell anywhere from 50 to 150 tickets in that time frame.

We'll see what happens.

Next Week's Movies Jul 2- 8

This is one of those weeks that's a bit annoying. There were 4 movies available, 3 of which I plan to play. The 4th one was Jonah Hex which I'm not going to play as it bombed very, very, badly and wasn't a very good movie.

Of the three I do plan to play I picked one for next week and I've slotted the other two in for later weeks. I decided to play Iron Man 2 first. This is basically a long weekend and the kids are just out of school so I figured it was a good week for something somewhat kid friendly and light. It's playing at the 7pm show and I'm going to run matinees on Sat and Sun.

Neither of the other films available I wanted to play as a late show so I decided to bring back Date Night. It did better than I expected when I played it for both shows and most nights the late show was actually busier than the early show. It's also quite short.

Robin Hood is scheduled to start Jul 9 and Sex and the City 2 for Jul 16th. I don't see anything else coming off that I would rather play then these so I thought I would just go ahead and book them in so I can advertise them. They will play the 7pm show. I think I'm going to try another experiment and run matinees of both. I've noticed a fair number of people show up to matinees that I never see at evening shows. I don't see either matinees being really busy so I'm going to try running with only two staff instead of the usual three to save money in case the matinees don't do well. Two staff is only a problem for the couple minutes when the projectionist is in starting the film. For that period we will sell tickets at the snack bar.

Late shows for those weeks will depend on what's available and how other films do. I might keep Iron Man for example if it does well. However both Robin Hood and SATC2 are fairly long so would make the late show start time fairly late.

Helen Mirren with a Machine Gun?!

I hope this film coming out in the fall is anywhere as near as good as it looks.

Next Week's movies Jun 25 - Jul 1 - a little late.

Got busy last week and didn't make this posting when I usually do.

The only new movie available was Killers which I wasn't sure about playing. Letters To Juliet had been available for a couple weeks but other films kept coming off so it hadn't been played yet. I decided to go with Letters To Juliet at 7pm, it's one of those films that has to be the 7pm show.

I thought a bit about whether to play Killers. I had previously decided not to play it but it came available quite quickly. Since we got it that fast I figured we might as well try it. It didn't get the best word of mouth but the stars are fairly popular. It's also a bit of an experiment to see if negative buzz is having the effect I think it is. If Killers doesn't do well I think that's pretty much it for negative buzz films. I tried playing MacGruber which turned out to be better than most thought it would be but it still had a negative buzz to it. It bombed at Western Film and didn't even break even. I saw Killers and found it entertaining enough but it wasn't the best movie I've ever seen.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I wish I could play this before every Film.

One of the most common reasons given for people not going to theatres are the behaviours of the audiences. Noise, talking, lighted devices and other distractions. I find I avoid the busy nights at other theatres to try to get distracted as little as possible.

I found this video on the web. I'd like to show it every night before the films but the numerous regulars that come often would probably get sick of it.

Let me know what you think...

Cinema Etiquette from Damien Ferland on Vimeo.

Cool TRON stuff

I remember seeing the original TRON movie back in 1982 and being absolutely enthralled. I convinced my father to buy me a Vic-20 which was one of the first home computers. It was called the Vic -20 because it had 20 K of memory...yes you read that right, 20K not M. The entire computer ran on what now is the size of an average picture file. The back-up device was a cassette Drive which was also how one loaded programs. Needless to say I was disappointed when I couldn't recreate the world of TRON in that computer. It could do the horizon look pretty good though, but not the Light Cycle.

The sequel comes out Dec 17 and the trailer makes it look amazing. I hope it lives up to it.
I found these videos of a couple of cool-tie-in Toys that are also coming out. The remote control car actually drives up the wall?!

Check out the videos and then the trailer if you haven't already.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Next Week's Film Jun 18 - 24

There was only one new film available which made a couple decisions easier. Date Night was available but since it's from Fox I would only be able to play it by itself, not split it with another movie for the week. I had been trying to decide whether to play it as I wasn't sure it warranted a week all to itself. Since it was the only film I didn't have to decide.

I had been trying to decide whether to keep the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for another week. It had done well on the weekend but not spectacular and it's really long. Since I couldn't split it with Date Night that made up my mind for me.

The other decision I had to make was whether to play just one show of Date Night at 7pm or play two shows a night. Date Night is quite short so the late show could run at 9pm so I decided to run the late show. It won't cost too much extra staffing so it's worth the risk of experimenting. If the movie had been a full two hours long I would have just done one show. My staff like it when I run two shows so they get in a full shift. If there's only one show they only get two hours work.

Date Night is a funny movie so I suggest seeing it, and stay for the scenes in the credits.

The only movie I've got in the backlog right now is Letters To Juliet which I could have played a couple weeks ago but other films I wanted to play more kept coming available. It looks like we won't have space to play The Last Song which I was kinda iffy about anyway.

Robin Hood should be available soon and maybe Iron Man 2. I think I'll try running matinees for Iron Man, we did some for How To Train Your Dragon and they did okay.

That was Close...

I was working as projectionist tonight. The movie playing was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which is a long, intense thriller. The movie was in the credits and only one guy was left in the theatre watching the credits. Suddenly the power went out for no apparent reason. Initially he gave me a bit of a dirty look thinking I had turned the film off on him but the entire building was dark. I was so glad the power didn't go off even 5 minutes earlier, imagine sitting there for 2 1/2 hours and suddenly the screen goes blank right at the climax of the film?! The power was only off for a few minutes so I could have finished showing the film but sometimes it's off for hours.

It was kind of odd, the power usually only goes off during thunderstorms and it wasn't even raining.

It reminded me of a time that did suck. I was working at the Galleria Cineplex back in 1998 for a matinee of Saving Private Ryan. That movie is almost 3 hours long. It was about 10 minutes from the end and suddenly the bulb went dark, so the screen went dark, but the sound would have continued. The manager wanted me to change the bulb but it's dangerous to change a bulb when it's hot so I said I had to wait 20 minutes. The people got passes or whatever but I wasn't able to finish running the show for them because it would have screwed up later showings. When I started running the film through I noticed it had gone dark right when a major character was having his big death scene. Ouch.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Upcoming changes at Western Film.

There's a few things afoot at Western Film over the next few months. Some good and some not so.

The Good.

New Seats- Probably in August all the seats and carpet on the main floor are going to be replaced. The carpet is pretty old and stained. There is going to be vinyl under the seats and maybe carpet still in the aisles. The seats haven't been chosen yet but will look similar to the pic. We aren't changing the layout in terms of elevation. The new seats may or may not be the same size so I'm not sure if the total number of seats will change. The new ones will probably have cup holders instead of the tablets, the tablets aren't needed since the room isn't being used for classes any more.

Website redesign- we are going to redo the website, I'm going to add a lot of pics and start embedding trailers. The current design doesn't match the decor of the theatre or the atmosphere I'm trying to create.

No Classes- Since the new classrooms opened downstairs the McKellar room isn't being used for classes any more. This should help with people thinking we aren't a 'real' theatre since we ran in a classroom. I always tried to get people to think of McKellar room as a movie theatre that also held classes rather than a classroom that showed films. There will also be more opportunity to rent the theatre out to show films to high school classes, student clubs etc.

The Not So.

New admission price- Come July 1 the ticket price will go up. I'll do another post on it later but basically we have to go up because of the HST.

New Snack bar prices- our costs for supplies have steadily gone up and with minimum wage raises driving up all the wages we pay we are going to have to raise prices at some point. I'm trying to keep it as low as possible. We aren't sure when the change will be.

I'm Back...

As anyone who's actually reading this knows I kinda stopped posting a while ago. It was a combination of things, busy at work and buying a house and all the work and time that entails.

I had set myself the goal of posting each day but sometimes didn't have time so got frustrated and basically stopped altogether.

I realized i missed writing the posts and have had a few people comment that I should start again which implies someone is reading.

So I'm going to start again but not give myself any kind of preset number of posts and just do them as I can. I'll at least do the Next Week's Movies posts as those are probably interesting.