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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » intermission (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: intermission
Ron Curran
Master Film Handler

Posts: 499
From: Springwood NSW Australia
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted 03-16-2006 08:35 PM      Profile for Ron Curran   Author's Homepage   Email Ron Curran   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We independent cinemas are in the direct customer firing line. Along with the wounds there is some wisdom.

Many of our customers have stated that they would not come to see certain films. It had nothing to do with the content, the talent or any technical aspect.

The thing all of these films had in common was that they were too long.

In the good old days, our audience thought nothing about coming to Lawrence of Arabia, The Sound of Music or Gone With the Wind. All films of any length used to come with an intermission.

Today, because intermissions have been outlawed, people have decided to get the DVD and make their own intermission.

Our industry’s dictatorial demand that customers must sit through up to three and a half hours of a feature without a break has been met with understandable resistance.

Several of the patrons who do buy tickets have to make their own break for the toilet or refreshments. These random comings and goings are more disturbing to the atmosphere than an expected and formal intermission.

When the feature is more than two hours long, many of our customers ask if there is a break.

In the civilised days of intermissions, kiosk sales were spread over pre-show and half time. Now, all staff is flat out for that frantic ten minutes for ticketing, concessions, ushering and show start. Concession sales definitely benefited and customers and staff were less stressed.

Features of around 150 minutes could be hurting our business, being run as marathon endurances rather than enjoyable events.

Give us a break.

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John Koutsoumis
Master Film Handler

Posts: 261
From: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 03-17-2006 11:05 PM      Profile for John Koutsoumis   Email John Koutsoumis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Ron Curran
Today, because intermissions have been outlawed, people have decided to get the DVD and make their own intermission.


Well I was told by one manager that "Saving Private Ryan" came with strictly no interval instructions and rightly so. As far as recent epics go, I have not seen any of them and don't care too but others have placed intervals (probably in the wrong places) on films like King Kong, etc. You could do the same.

quote: Ron Curran
All films of any length used to come with an intermission.


Any length?? This can't be true. Why would you place an intermission on "Casablanca" or "Citizen Kane" or any Hitchcock title. You mean of course films longer that 150 mins or so.

What should happen, apart from films where the Director has ruled out placing of intermissions, is that the distributor should have a preferred placement of an intermission during the film and inform Theatres of this who wish to place one and even have an intermission tag made for that film. But Intermissions at Multiplexes don't work. No curtains, poor lighting, bad music, candy bar and toilets out side the valid ticket area, patrons losing tickets, etc etc.

quote: Ron Curran
Several of the patrons who do buy tickets have to make their own break for the toilet or refreshments. These random comings and goings are more disturbing to the atmosphere than an expected and formal intermission
I agree but as I say there has to be an official point where the intermission is to happen. A projectionist just stopping the show at the completion of reel six is just as disrupting.

Anyhow this has been discussed here elsewhere.

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4421
From: prospect ky usa
Registered: Mar 2005


 - posted 03-18-2006 08:27 AM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The owner/manager of the cinema is the final authority; like a ship's captain. If this is unacceptable to the film company, don't book the film.

"Preferred location" is a good idea. I know of a theatre that ORDERED a special intermission trailer of Titanic that appeared to be supplied by the film co. He personally found a good spot and inserted it. No complaints....and concession sales soared. Louis

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Kenneth Tiffany
Film Handler

Posts: 16
From: Sanford, Florida, USA
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted 03-18-2006 06:02 PM      Profile for Kenneth Tiffany   Email Kenneth Tiffany   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I, personally, would not go to a theatre that ran intermissions.

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Ron Curran
Master Film Handler

Posts: 499
From: Springwood NSW Australia
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted 03-18-2006 06:55 PM      Profile for Ron Curran   Author's Homepage   Email Ron Curran   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Of course there has to be an official point, decided by the makers, not an arbitary frame at random. And only for extra long films. I have been told that the main reason for NO BREAK is that we could fit in an exttra session. Obviously distributors have rubber clocks.

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Claude S. Ayakawa
Film God

Posts: 2723
From: Waipahu, Hawaii, USA
Registered: Aug 2002


 - posted 03-18-2006 07:58 PM      Profile for Claude S. Ayakawa   Author's Homepage   Email Claude S. Ayakawa   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When two projector Polarized 3-D films were released to theatres in the early fifties, they always used to be an intermission regardless of the running time of the film because of the necessity to change reels.

-Claude

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5160
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 03-18-2006 09:16 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Kenneth Tiffany
I, personally, would not go to a theatre that ran intermissions
Even if it had one built in?

quote: John Koutsoumis
Any length?? This can't be true. Why would you place an intermission on "Casablanca" or "Citizen Kane" or any Hitchcock title. You mean of course films longer that 150 mins or so.

It really is a matter of culture. In India, EVERY film has an intermission. People expect it. When they get American films, I am told that when producers here export them, they put intermissions in, even in those films that the director over here insists he will not tolerate an intermission. On short films, over here we would scratch our heads and wonder why would you put an intermission, but over there if you didn't, your audience would revolt.

I think it is just self-importance arrogance on the part of a director (even one who thinks he's the king of the world) to think his film is more important than the people who are watching it. And the argument that it is too distracting to have an intermission, again, it's just ego run amuck since not only do people still take their own intermissions in these epics, but they take them at much less opportunistic points AND they disturb all those around them, so you are winding up with multiple disturbances instead of just one appropriately placed interval.

So how come TITANIC played India, there was an intermission built in, title and all, if it was so distracting. Evidently a place was found where an intermission was perfectly acceptable to both director and audience.

I know a lot of places had "equipment problems" during TITANIC --oddly enough, always around half-way through the film! [Big Grin]

Theatre managers, although they do have contractual obligations to the distributor -- you have to show the WHOLE film (including the credits) so I wouldn't say they have quite the same power of a captain of a ship -- we can't throw an unruly patron in the brig or marry anyone -- but we certainly have an obligation to the comfort of the patrons. Since patrons come back over and over, I look first to their comfort, especially since I am getting 100% of their concessions sales whereas the director by way of the distrib is giving me only 10% of the ticket sale. [Eek!]

Ignoring the inescapable reality that a 3 hour plus film causes unnecessary discomfort for a majority of patrons -- bodily functions will not be put aside by decree of some arrogant, self-aggrandizing director -- is not good management.

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Paul Linfesty
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1378
From: Bakersfield, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 03-19-2006 12:07 AM      Profile for Paul Linfesty   Email Paul Linfesty   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Frank Angel
especially since I am getting 100% of their concessions sales whereas the director by way of the distrib is giving me only 10% of the ticket sale.

100 percent of concessions sales? How is this possible? Are the concessions that theatres sold given to them for free?

And the distributors only let a theatre keep 10 percent of what is collected at the box office? That seems quite unlikely, since the strongest terms traditionally used have been 90 percent going to the distributor AFTER an agreed upon house allowance has been applied. Minimum floors would start at 70 percent applied to the straight gross and bottoming out at 35 percent. And at the NYC first-runs, the traditional arrangement included no floors, so that if a theatre with a $29,500 nut (allowance) grossed $30,000, the distributor would only get $450 of the box-office.

Today, the largest circuts have gotten some distributors to accept an averaged-out straight b.o. gross applied to the full run of the film (typically 50-55 percent of the box office for major distribs, 35 percent or so for independents).

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4421
From: prospect ky usa
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 - posted 03-19-2006 06:20 AM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Frank: my guy with the intermission in Titanic, had problems with them "peeing in the seats" since the good part of that film is at the end. Too good to leave; too late to hold it. Remember that the Coke that went in during the first hour comes out later, and, with short movies, we have trained them for 135 minutes.

Remember also, with long films there are fewer showings and therefore lower concessions sales. Think of that part as a partial recoup. Louis

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Brad Allen
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 688
From: Evansville, IN, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 03-19-2006 02:14 PM      Profile for Brad Allen   Email Brad Allen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I vote for intermissions in films over a certain length.
Easy to accomplish from the theatres side with automation and platters. Projector never shuts down.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12280
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 03-19-2006 09:12 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Paul Linfesty
Today, the largest circuts have gotten some distributors to accept an averaged-out straight b.o. gross applied to the full run of the film (typically 50-55 percent of the box office for major distribs, 35 percent or so for independents).
If any indies have gotten such a "35 percent" deal, I'd love to hear about it. We had 2 movies last year that were 59.5% across the whole run.

Back on topic - I have always thought that any movie over 130 minutes should have an intermission. It's more necessary now than ever, thanks to oil-drum-sized beverages.

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Jack Ondracek
Film God

Posts: 2274
From: Port Orchard, WA, USA
Registered: Oct 2002


 - posted 03-19-2006 10:20 PM      Profile for Jack Ondracek   Author's Homepage   Email Jack Ondracek   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mike Blakesley
Back on topic - I have always thought that any movie over 130 minutes should have an intermission. It's more necessary now than ever, thanks to oil-drum-sized beverages.
Nice to see a few people here recognizing that. Our original 1949 building had 4 seats in the womens room (back when a large Coke was what... 8 ounces?). Our new building has 10, and the intermission lines still go out every available port.

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John Joseph Fink
Film Handler

Posts: 60
From: West Hartford, CT
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted 03-21-2006 04:12 PM      Profile for John Joseph Fink   Author's Homepage   Email John Joseph Fink   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've even seen 3-hour "Bollywood" films without an intermission at a National Amusements house in East Hartford, which is odd since they clearly have a built-in intermission and it makes for an akward jump-cut (when the action slows down, then is recapped in a breif montage, then the narative starts back up). I've also seen Bollywood pictures at the Cineplaza in North Bergen, NJ - a house run by Indian distributer Cinecorp USA and they always take the intermission and use that time to run trailers before the film re-starts.

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John Wilson
Film God

Posts: 5435
From: Sydney, Australia.
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 03-21-2006 04:42 PM      Profile for John Wilson   Email John Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Don't agree with showing trailers in an intermission of a long movie. Never have. The break is to have a pee, get some food, have a relax and think about what has been and what could be coming in the story...not to have Bruce Willis on screen blowing away another baddie and being told it's coming soon.

Two different movies with an intermission? No problems with the trailers...but in a break of a film it's a real no-no.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12280
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 03-21-2006 06:56 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: John Koutsoumis
Intermissions at Multiplexes don't work. No curtains, poor lighting, bad music, candy bar and toilets out side the valid ticket area, patrons losing tickets, etc etc.
These problems don't seem all that unsolvable. Consider:

- The film-maker can include 10 minutes of "intermission" film in the print. The intermission could be a simple title card with the word INTERMISSION, possibly with a countdown clock. The title card should be light in color, therefore the screen itself should provide enough light for people to get in and out. This way the projectionist would have to do "nothing." Perfect. (Better theatres should have enough automation firepower to be able to include a simple lights-up/lights-down cue in an intermission.)

- Since most plexes don't seem to check tickets at the auditorium door, that issue is no problem. If the restrooms and such are outside the ticketed area, a simple sign or a friendly warning from the cashier to "please keep your ticket stub if you want to leave the auditorium during intermission" should suffice. (Once people got used to intermissions, this problem would decrease.) The theatre could use the increased concession sales to pay an extra usher to watch the door during intermission time and have money left over.

NATO should work on this issue and forget the trailer-volume issue, which is now a near-total flop.

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