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And yet, as an 18 year old who was not a professional projectionist… I was great at the job (which, btw, was in addition to assistant managing). When building prints I used tricks like overlapping a sliver of the heads and tails of a reel so that you didn’t get audible pops out of the optical soundtrack. I’d use clear tape for reel change and apply a sliver of colored tape outside the sprocket holes so that you didn’t get dropouts in sound or black flashes on screen at reel changes. I insisted on tracking down the DTS cd-roms for Jurassic Park when we ran it a year later before the VHS and LaserDisc release so that we could be one of the only ones running it in 6-track digital during it’s re-release in late 94. I also insisted we put it in our largest theater (which was about 600 seats with a vary large screen) and I made sure we ran the curtains appropriately. We did about 40% of the city’s entire Jurassic business that week.
I’ve seen many a brain wrap at the hands of union projectionists. We had a union projectionist build up Exorcist 3 with reels 3&4 swapped and nobody noticed until Monday afternoon. When I saw The Rocketeer at Arclight a few years ago (it was reel to reel), every other reel was mono (which the projectionist never fixed despite several complaints from me). I was told that they unfortunately had reels from a mono print as well as a stereo print, but anyone who knows anything about optical tracks (especially circa 91) knows that’s not how it works. A “professional” projectionist would surely know that, right? Oh, and take a guess where the only place I’ve ever had a problem with digital projection is?? The Arclight- Once when the projector was flashing purple digital blocks during a screening of Paranorman and once when they had to reboot the projector for whatever reason and start over. So even the underpaid Arclight projectionists there to “handle problems” can’t always seem to.
Quality and presentation has nothing to do with your job title and everything to do with your passion and drive. If the presentation quality of these theaters has deteriorated, it really has very little to do with the job title of the people in the booth and more about the types of people they’re putting in that booth.
Like I said, projectionists the past 20 years have really been more about keeping schedules than anything else. Now, with everything as automated as it is, that responsibility is becoming evermore unnecessary. Should theaters be expected to pay more for someone on site just on the off chance that they might someday have a problem that needs fixing immediately? There’s no more prints to be built, there’s no more projector threading, there’s no more reels to be rewound, there’s no cleaning of projectors between every show. While I understand your romanticism of the projectionist as a symbol of movie-going (I really get it), it’s an increasingly outdated concept (as is the Pony Express).
I’m a special features producer for DVD and Blu-ray and as I’ve seen the market change and the demand for my job shift, I’d had reevaluate my role and decide how to adapt to make myself relevant (and successful) in the future. These guys seem to be clinging to Interstellar as a last hurrah to better their situation because they know it’s their LAST hurrah, for better or worse. It is what it is.
And the idea of putting the theater managers out to pasture because of lack of business is just dumb. 2013 set a new record of $10.9 BILLION in North America and while this year is going to be down (but not by much overall… less than half a billion at this point), next year will, in all likelihood, be even bigger and almost certainly break $11 billion.
In Arclight’s defense… it’s not like film projectionist is an in demand job anymore. We weren’t utilizing projectionists when I was working for United Artists 20 years ago (other than district-wide “maintenance”), so I’m not sure what’s changed. Projectionists used to be a vital part of the exhibition of film (with the necessary film changeovers and projector maintenance), but as we moved to platters and certainly now with digital, the role and importance of the projectionist is evermore questionable. This is not to start a debate on film vs digital, but just a question about the demand and supply of projectionists in the current exhibition climate. Most theaters really need part-time DITs now (again… district wide). It’s like being the guy who still maintains the horses for the Pony Express complaining that he’s underpaid.
I have to say I was initially worried about the Atmos retrofit for the theater and how it would affect the Village aesthetically. Having gone to see Apes at the Village this week, those concerns were unfounded. Unlike the El Capitan, where it looks like they just hung scaffolding to attach the new speakers (Which might be all they could do and protect the architecture… so not to bash the El Cap) the Village Atmos is very well installed. Oh, and it sounds great too. So yeah… Dolby Atmos and THX together at last!
Well, it was also beneficial for Arclight to break away from the Chinese because it also allows them access to Disney now (which they didn’t have before). After losing Avengers and Iron Man 3 to the El Capitan, they were able to get Thor, Captain America, Muppets Most Wanted, and eventually Star Wars, Pixar, and the rest. Had the Chinese never IMAX’d and the booking district split, Arclight would almost certainly never had any of those films. I’m sure that’s worth, long term, whatever attendance might get pulled by the Chinese now.
Or The National… :‘(
But I’m glad to see this arrangement. The Village and Bruin have been on a positive trajectory since the closing of the Avco and it looks like the iPic might have been the best thing for them (sort of how splitting the booking for the Chinese and the Arclight Hollywood has really improved the viability of the Chinese the past 9 months). Great to see so many of the previously endangered treasures getting some extra life.
The fact that both are booking day and date is fantastic news for both. I couldn’t imagine how iPic was going to book in their low seating count auditoriums while the Village had 1200 seats up the street. Conversely, it looks like the Village and Bruin will now be able to continue shorter 2 week bookings and keep those films fresh. This is a happy, happy day.
Spend 20 years twinning, triplexing, and tearing them all down and then the past 5 rebuilding inferior replacements.
You simply spouted off a bunch of totally false information in a tone of total authority. I like to hear the opinions of others, but I always hope those opinions have a LITTLE research or knowledge behind them and not just wild swings in the dark.
And for the record, I’ve not seen more than a half season of Veronica Mars (and certainly not seen the movie) and can’t really stand Tyler Perry… So congrats! You’re 0 for 2 now.
There’s so much wrong with almost everything you said. As markinthedark points out, Veronica Mars opened on only 291 screens (vs 1900 for SMC and 3500 for 300:ROAE), 260 of which were rented by Warner Bros as essentially “private screenings.” Those showings had more people in them, per showing, than anything else in the top 10 except Grand Budapest Hotel. More screens, more money.
When Frozen opened in November, it was #22. Would you say that film got kicked off the podium? Of course it was only in 1 theater that opening weekend.
I’m just saying a bit more research might be necessary before you go off on your next “commentary.”
Well, they’re showing Back to the Future there on June 21st, so it looks like it will still be a movie theater, from time to time.
I’m still absolutely baffled as to how an auditorium that housed a 90 foot wide screen now contains a 53 foot wide screen. Where did that extra 40 feet fit? Did they somehow shrink the auditorium?
I can’t imagine a lot of studios are going to want to book an 85 seat screen when they have 1300 seats up the street (at least on their biggest releases). I imagine a lot of move-overs and limited first runs. At best, you might get the occasional big summer movie taking up three or four of their six screens.
bigjoe59… there has certainly been an increase in business as well as a decent turnover in films. The biggest problem with the Chinese right now (and this is going to sound strange) is that very few people know about it. When Mann started dumping off theaters and the Chinese lost what little booking power it had to Arclight and the El Capitan, a lot of people (myself included) kind of abandoned the theater. Not because I really wanted to, but because it wasn’t the (overall) best place to see a movie anymore. There was no reserved seating and (worst of all) usually nothing of interest to see there. I can honestly say that in the past 5 years I’d only gone to Grauman’s to see Fast and Furious, District 9, Clash of the Titans, Predators, McGruber, Harry Potter 7.2, and X-Men: First Class (I didn’t even attend one single movie there in all of 2012). So that’s 7 movies in 5 years. Since the IMAX conversion I’ve been there at least once a month (going again tonight to see Jack Ryan, which will be my 5th trip there in 4 months). But that’s us here on CT. I don’t think the public at large is really aware of the changes. It was painful and sad to watch the Dome pack itself rather quickly for Catching Fire while the Chinese was half to half+ full. But I think (hope) that people are becoming more aware and we’ll see what happens this summer, which will have Spider-Man, Godzilla, Edge of Tomorrow, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Transformers 4, Jupiter Ascending, and Into the Storm giving them plenty of product to choose from.
I saw that as well… kind of shocking. The Chinese co-existing with the Arclight is the best thing for the Arclight because they now get Disney.
Saw Empire Strikes Back in this auditorium in 1980… except I was seated on the other side of that wall on the left. Sad…
Well now that Arclight appears to be in a separate booking district, I would assume Ep 7 would also play the Dome, but in their patented “sh!t-D” 3D experience.
Well, the wording’s certainly muddled, but one thing that’s TOTALLY inaccurate is that Bowles Crossing was 5 blocks west of Southwest Plaza. It was only across the street to the east for God’s sake. The Kipling 6 was the one to the west, but it was never operated by Colorado Cinemas. Originally Mann and now Elvis.
I would even say that the biggest screens (not the Dome, but the complex screens) at Arclight Hollywood are as big or maybe bigger than the El Capitan.
Wow… the TCL Chi-MAXing is the best thing that could have happened to Arclight Hollywood. It looks like they have been removed totally from the booking area, allowing them free access at Disney/Pixar/Marvel/Lucasfilm stuff now. It’s also the best thing for the Chinese since they don’t have to simply contend with Arclight’s castoffs anymore.
If Disney was smart… they’d locked down Hollywood Blvd for Episode VII and have it playing at both. Treat the Chinese and the El Cap as one big multiplex. Imagine how cool it would be to have Star Wars playing on both sides of the street.
Ironically (as the Dome has historically been my favorite theater), if the same film was being shown at the El Cap, the Chinese, and the Dome and I was being forced to watch it in 3D at all 3 (like many blockbusters now are), the Dome would be my LAST choice. I’ve been hoping this increased competition would force Arclight to retreat back and cater more towards 2D customers (like the Village has done), but between Gravity and now Thor, that isn’t happening. But if it’s 3D only and between the Chinese or the Dome… The Chinese. 3D only and between the El Cap or the Dome… the El Cap.
Wow… Thor is showing at the El Capitan and the Dome now. I wonder if because of the new Chinese, Arclight Hollywood is no longer in that zone. Weird.
There’s no way this becomes a nightclub in its new incarnation. They would literally have to gut it again and do another multi-million dollar renovation. And luckily, based on the attendance for Wizard of Oz, Metallica and now Gravity, the renovation was well worth it.
And once they IMAX craze is over (which I don’t think is anytime soon)… guess what? It’s still a theater. I think we have to worry more about what happens when the land lease runs out in about 10 years than we do a dip in the IMAX craze hurting this theater.
Well, I’ve read that Lincoln Square is 97'x76', so the Chinese is almost the same width (97' vs 90'), but not nearly as tall (76' vs 46'). Doesn’t really matter with Gravity though, because Gravity is a constant 2.4:1, so both screens use up roughly the same real estate.
And yes, some LA theaters do still offer matinee discounts except they’re like $12 or $13 now. But Arclight doesn’t… no.
They’re leaving it unmasked (for now). I suspect they are trying to impress people with the screen size in these early days. It’s also the reason I think they have the curtain open before the show, because they closed it when it was over. There also was no pre-show, although we walked in about 2 minutes to showtime so maybe it was just over by then. I just think the game plan is to try and wow people upon first entering the theater. I know I was wowed. Yes, I’d like to see them start using the masking, but I’m willing to cut them some slack these first couple months. I honestly never even really noticed the lack of top/bottom masking. I can say for sure… I feel sorry for the people seeing Gravity at the Dome.