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Author Topic: Horror Stories
Mike Blakesley

 - posted 05-30-1999 04:02 AM            Edit/Delete Post 
With all the talk on this board about horrible Phantom Menace
screenings, I thought I would relate one of my favorite stories.

The scene was the Ellen Theatre (a Carmike) in Bozeman Montana...the
movie was a trade screening (during a theatre-owners convention) of the
first Dreamworks film, "The Peacemaker." After the DW representative
stood at the foot of the house and gave us all a great pep talk on the film,
the movie began...with the wrong lens in! It took almost three full minutes
before it was fixed. The sound was fuzzy (not digital), the lamp was too
dark, and the house lights didn't go fully down until just after the lens
problem was fixed.

I would think that if you are showing a film to a bunch of theatre owners
(all indies), that would be the time to have as perfect a show as possible!

Mike Blakesley
Roxy Theatre

Brad Miller

 - posted 05-30-1999 04:03 AM            Edit/Delete Post 
Sounds like the trade screening of "Speed" at my favorite of all theaters,
the AMC Glen Lakes in Dallas.

The film started with the wrong lens. About 2 minutes into it, someone
went into the booth and flipped lenses on the turret. One minor problem,
the anamorphic was not level. Actually it was nowhere NEAR level! It
was also horribly out of focus. It took them at least 5 minutes and a
complete shut-down of the film to correct it. When the film started up
again, they still had the flat masking set. That took them another few
minutes to find the masking switch. Felt sorry for the Fox guys on that

Then there was the trade screening of "True Lies." The projectionist
started the film (didn't screen it the night before) and LEFT THE
BUILDING to go get some coffee. Well, as luck would have it there was
an out of frame splice in mid-reel 6...right as Arnold was pulling Jamie out
of the top of the limo. Granted this wasn't the projectionist's fault, but the
lab's...but still! Yet again, those poor Fox guys just couldn't win that

Mike Blakesley

 - posted 05-30-1999 04:04 AM            Edit/Delete Post 
Another one of my all time favorites happened to a friend of mine a few
years ago....he took his girlfriend to see "Braveheart" at the Carmike
dollar house in Billings MT. (He had previously seen the show, and she
had not.) THey got there 5 minutes before the advertised showtime, but
the film was already at least 20 minutes in when they arrived. They went
out and asked what was going on... the ticket kid said, "When we don't
have a big crowd, we sometimes start it early so we can go home earlier!"

Mike Trochalakis

 - posted 05-30-1999 04:04 AM            Edit/Delete Post 
It seems like there are many more problems that occur at press/trade
screenings. I work in radio and attend many press screenings, most of
which, even in a major city such as Seattle, are still plagued with
problems. Recent examples:
The Mummy was shown at the Uptown Cinemas with no surround sound
whatsoever. All audio only coming from the screen, and I did not notice
any stereo effects either. The movie was quite bad in my opinion, at least I
could have enjoyed what I'm sure was a great sound mix.
Robert Altman's Cookie's Fortune was previewed off reels, not a platter,
at the Harvard Exit Theatre. On two different occassions, I saw the
countdown leader of the next reel come on and stay on for a good two
seconds while the end of the last reel was still being projected. Oh well, I
guess this is pretty minor compared to the usual problems I see at most
standard run of engagement screenings at most multiplexes (soft focus,
framing etc)

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