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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Worst Weekend in Three Years

Author Topic: Worst Weekend in Three Years
Dustin Mitchell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1865
From: Mondovi, WI, USA
Registered: Mar 2000

 - posted 09-18-2000 09:22 PM      Profile for Dustin Mitchell   Email Dustin Mitchell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This weekend was the lowest grossing weekend since 1997. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? Give us some decent movies Hollywood!!

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Jesse Skeen
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1498
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Aug 2000

 - posted 09-19-2000 02:59 AM      Profile for Jesse Skeen   Email Jesse Skeen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I knew what the deal was with that "Dinosaur" and "Gone in 60 Seconds" re-release, but this weekend some theaters got back a bunch of other old movies! Regal Natomas got back "Perfect Storm" and "Scary Movie" (but DIDN'T get the new movie "Duets"), and Holiday Cinema Davis where I used to work got back "Scary Movie" and "Gladiator" which played before at their other theater in town. Are there that many bombs out there now that they're finding it better just to get back the old stuff that did good?
BTW this gives you one last chance to see the complete version of "Scary Movie", as I've heard the line "Brad Pitt's ex-girlfriend is a real freak!" won't be on the video release, thus one less movie for me to worry about buying.

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Brad Miller

Posts: 17687
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99

 - posted 09-19-2000 04:30 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Personally I think the bookers should dedicate a screen to classics like Raiders and Die Hard...movies that deserve to be seen on the big screen and not at home on video. Surely they would outperform the crap currently in release.

Then again, maybe that Olympic thing is pulling some of the business away.

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Harry Robinson
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 155
From: Franklin Tennessee
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 09-19-2000 08:24 AM      Profile for Harry Robinson   Email Harry Robinson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm not sure where I posted it, but I mentioned a couple of days ago that our local Regal (The Green Hills Cinema, Nashille) is using two of it's screens this week for classics. The biggest room they've got is showing a pristine print of Raiders and one of the small rooms is showing Gimmie Shelter in Dolby Digital. As far as I could see on Saturday both rooms were pulling at least as well as most of the new releases and better than the bombs (of which there are several).
When I mention to my friends who are not film buffs that these movies are showing, they get pretty excited. I'm thinking maybe it's time for the industry to take another look at programing classics into the plexes. The rush from being able to view everything on video has sufficiently subsided so that many of us would like to take a look a favorite films the way they were originally intended to be seen.

If enough people want to see these films it means money...and we all know that's the only language the studios understand.

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Tom Ferreira
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 203
From: Conway, NH, USA
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 09-19-2000 08:32 AM      Profile for Tom Ferreira   Email Tom Ferreira   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The rerelease of The Exorcist is a step in the right direction-hopefully it does BIG bucks, and the studios start raiding the vaults more.
There will always be people who will go to see anything, as evidenced by Bait making any money at all, and the fact that people walk into the theatre and stare at the time board like a crossword puzzle just looking for something that's worth seeing.
Luckily, there's a hunger for quality product-look at the PSA for Almost Famous in limited release, and the decent grosses for Nurse Betty and Saving Grace.
If one studio were to buck the September blues and release a potential blockbuster-the money's out there; it;s just not being directed our way.
Urban Legends 2 is not the answer to our problem, I'm afraid, and Remember The Titans may stop the bleeding slightly, but there's rough sailing ahead.

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Jim Ziegler
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 753
From: West Hollywood, CA
Registered: Jul 99

 - posted 09-19-2000 11:43 AM      Profile for Jim Ziegler   Email Jim Ziegler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't think we can blame the olympics, as NBC reported the ratings for the Olympics are way down from the Atlanta games...

It should get better soon though, as the product from Oct 6 thru Christmas looks a lot stronger.

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Jesse Skeen
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1498
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Aug 2000

 - posted 09-19-2000 11:54 PM      Profile for Jesse Skeen   Email Jesse Skeen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The problem with showing stuff you can already get on video is that there aren't that many BIG screens left anymore! The "Star Wars" reissues did absolutely nothing for me in that department. (Part of the problem may have been they were shown on a screen that cropped scope pictures!) The "Grease" reissue was enjoyable only because it hadn't even been released in widescreen format on laserdisc before then, so just seeing it un-cropped was cool even on a smaller-sized screen. I've seen new theaters where showing, say "Ben Hur" would look almost as pathetic as watching it on video (letterboxed, of course.) A 'big' film like "Gladiator" can remind you just how pathetically small a screen is. It's one area where size does matter!
I REALLY hope that nothing on television is making a dent in theater business though. I will never watch the Olympics because of how NBC promoted it by plastering the Olympics symbol onscreen during every show for the past year and a half along with their stupid turkey; in fact I quit watching most TV altogether when the networks started this whole crap with keeping their logos on all the time. Are we gonna have theater numbers painted on the screens next???

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Chad Souder
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 962
From: Waterloo, IA, USA
Registered: Feb 2000

 - posted 09-22-2000 08:12 AM      Profile for Chad Souder   Email Chad Souder   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I hope everyone isn't cutting back on staff, supplies too much for this fall. I have a feeling that much sough after business is just around the corner. Between 'Remember the Titans', 'Almost Famous', 'Get Carter', 'Meet the Parents', and 'The Grinch', I think we're gonna get busy.

"Asleep at the switch? I wasn't asleep, I was drunk!" - Homer Simpson

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Martin Frandsen
Master Film Handler

Posts: 270
From: Denmark, Europe
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 09-22-2000 10:08 AM      Profile for Martin Frandsen   Email Martin Frandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Overhere the theaters are also complaining about low business, they give the blame to the Olympic games as people rater want to stay home and wacth TV.

They hope business will go up again after the games.

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000

 - posted 09-22-2000 11:12 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree that upcoming product is looking pretty promising. Will be interesting to see what's shown at ShowEast --- at least a few of the pictures each year go on to be real hits.

Best word of advice to any theatre hoping to rebound is to TURN UP THE QUALITY OF PRESENTATION wherever you can. A small investment in brighter and sharper pictures will pay off handsomely. When was the last time you actually MEASURED your screen luminance to see if it was near 16 footlamberts? Are your lenses older than you are? Is the port glass clean? Do you check focus frequently? Why is that exit sign still shining on the screen? You know you shouldn't be SEEING the DTS track to the left of the screen.

Is the sound all it should be? When was the last time you had the system aligned and eq'd. Do you actually go into the auditoriums and LISTEN to the sound to find any obvious problems (e.g., missing channels, blown speakers, hum, distortion)? Be sure your analog backup (SR) is everything it should be.

Handle and inspect the prints with care and attention to detail, and get an on-line film cleaner for each screen. Be so GOOD at what you do, that the print leaves your theatre in better shape than when it came in.

Anyone with a good home theatre system (DVD or Laser Disk or HD satellite, 5.1 sound, high end monitor) knows that the real competition in the future isn't the theatre across town, but the BlockBuster store across the street or the satellite dish pointed south. Film can "blow the socks off" anything available in the home, or it can look and sound like crap. It's up to you.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services, Entertainment Imaging
Eastman Kodak Company
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7419
Rochester, New York, 14650-1922 USA
Tel: 716-477-5325 Fax: 716-722-7243

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Brad Miller

Posts: 17687
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99

 - posted 09-22-2000 06:07 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Well I think John pretty much summed up the biggest problem in the industry quite nicely.

Excellent advice! Hopefully more theaters will follow it.

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Michael Gonzalez
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 790
From: Grand Island , NE USA
Registered: Sep 2000

 - posted 09-23-2000 02:18 PM      Profile for Michael Gonzalez   Email Michael Gonzalez   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree that things are going to pick up again around November, but is any one worried about the potental writers strike and subsequent actors strike? Although I've read that it would affect television more than features, I still hear that studios are rushing through their productions(we all know what that did to X-men) and I for one am worried about the quality of product a year or so from now.

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Greg Anderson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 766
From: Ogden Valley, Utah
Registered: Nov 1999

 - posted 09-23-2000 03:25 PM      Profile for Greg Anderson   Author's Homepage   Email Greg Anderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One of the issues that the writers want to deal with is where their name will appear in the film's credits. Give me a break! If that's the kind of nonsense they're going to fight about, it could be a long, miserable strike.

Meanwhile, there are legitimate issues about who gets royalties when a work of film is distributed umpteen times on the various outlets (including, potentially, the Internet). On the other hand, the vast majority of voting members of both the Writer's Guild and the Actor's Guild are people who do not make a living at writing or acting. Sure, they want to milk the producers for every cent. Meanwhile, the "working actors" and "working writers" are having their careers held hostage by people who, perhaps, only want to quibble about where their name appears in the credits or whether or not they'll get that check for $3 when their film goes on the Internet 15 years from now. Meanwhile, Average Joe Gaffer who works in the film business is going to miss mortgage payments and be losing his house about a year from now.

Or maybe I'm completely wrong. Perhaps, in the long run, these strikes will be a good thing. Just as the summer of 2000 forced movie theatre chains to control their expansion and the glut of megaplexes, perhaps a good strike in Hollywood will stop the studios from paying some actors $20 million a pop while others are getting a few hundred a day. Maybe if a studio didn't pay someone $20 million to phone in his acting performance and, instead, the increased the movie's budget by a few million (for things like... I don't know... 70mm?).

Or maybe I'm still ill-informed and totally wrong in my analysis/hope.

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