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Senior admissions usually varied between 50-150 and if they had to pay, they wouldn’t have come. The Shining had about 150-200 people both times we ran it during the HorrorThon. Only shows that ever did more than 50% capacity on Saturday mornings were Wizard of Oz, It’s a Wonderful Life, Babes in Toyland, Miracle on 34th Street and maybe one or two others.
“Packed” definitely a relative term in this case. Biggest paid crowd we had would have been maybe 125 people for Goldfinger.
Where were you guys when we played Bond & Harryhausen between 2003 – 2014? :)
Sure: In New Jersey: the Loews Jersey, the Union County Arts Center (pretty sure they still have it), the Count Basie in Red Bank, probably some others I can’t recall. In NY: MoMA, the AMMI in Queens, the Film Forum, the Walter Reade at Lincoln Center, the DGA, a few others.
Most places will do rentals, but you have to factor in the cost of the venue rental plus the film rental. And you wouldn’t get a cut of concessions.
Yes, DCP is the current theatrical standard (that’s how all new films are distributed). DCPs for classic films should look better than the Blu-ray edition since the DCP has no picture compression applied, but there are some studios who simply take an already compressed Blu-ray file and put it on a DCP hard drive.
I projected Blu-ray when I was there and it looks pretty good as long as you’re not sitting very close. DVD doesn’t hold up that large at all and was really only suitable for the shorts and trailers I occasionally ran from it.
As far as I know, the Lafayette no longer has operating 35mm equipment so you’ll most likely never see another film presentation there. When we left in 2013, the gear was in fine shape, but subsequent changes in the booth have placed it out of commission – I would assume permanently – as the cost of restoring it after sitting idle for several years and finding a qualified projectionist to run special shows would be prohibitive.
Cost for booking classic films varies depending on the studio, but the minimum usually starts around $350 (for studio supplied DCP, running a Blu-ray or DVD costs a little less as those are usually not booked by the studio’s theatrical department). And that’s an upfront guarantee (paid in advance before the movie is delivered) against 35-45% of the box office. So figure you need about 125 paid admissions at $9 each just to break even on the film cost. Then factor in labor, utilities, etc., and you can see why there isn’t much of anything to be made running classic movies. Concessions contribute a bit to the theatre’s bottom line during these shows, but the free admission seniors rarely purchased anything.
Even the Horror-Thon weekends usually did not break even, sad to say.
Thanks for the kind words, guys. The 10 years running the classics at Lafayette were the most fun I ever had while working, no matter how much hassle they could be.
Mark – you should ask around, Weinstein is actively seeking former projectionists with large format experience to run the 70mm show.
Mechanical failure, repaired and back on screen within an hour. If it was a digital failure, they’d probably have had to send everyone home.
“Operated by” needs to change to “JACA Entertainment” as of 11/20/2015 (also, Majestic Star – which no longer exists – hasn’t been the operator since 2013).
Great article, Michael. Love seeing that slow rollout and long runs these films had.
“The 50th anniversary print of My fair Lady may have been. The scope on the screen seemed different from the scope previwes. The masking which lowers top and bottom rather then side to side was opened when the film started and the aspect ratio seemed different then 2.35”
Yes, the aspect ratio of My Fair Lady is 2.20.
As far as I know, the “70mm version” of Hateful 8 is exclusively presented via 70mm film. Yes, films shot on 65mm are presented via DCP all the time: Lawrence of Arabia, 2001, Ben Hur, etc.
The new DCP is supposed to be stunning wjphen played in 4K based on reports from people who’ve seen it projected properly and the restoration team. They were also able to use the original tracks for the first time since 1964. The track on the 1994 restoration was from dupes.
AFAIK , the Loews does not have magnetic playback capability. They do have Dolby Stereo and Sony does have Dolby Stereo prints of Guns, so that’s likely what they showed if it was stereo. As far as the poor changeovers go, that’s strictly amateur hour and they should be embarrassed charging admission for it.
The print I ran of The Sand Pebbles at the Lafayette was a brand new one struck from a newly-done restoration. It was perfect with a wonderful stereo track and remains one of my favorite showings from the 10 years I spent there.
Nice video story here about the Hoboken International Film Festival currently underway:
Not sure what you mean, first result in search list for “Varieties” brings up this listing for it:
The Paramount has started a classic movie series again. Tomorrow morning at 11:30 they are running The Philadelphia Story, complete with pre-show organ concert. Even though they don’t run 35mm film, the shows should look and sound great as they did install a digital cinema projector for first-run films and a new screen last year.
Schedule here: http://middletownparamount.com/classic-films/
Thanks for posting the pics, Bill. I was hoping to get out there, but will have to hope they do another open house some time soon.
Since they used the long play platter system, that would have been impossible.
No mention of Cinerama in either LA or NY engagements:
I don’t think so. It was filmed in SuperPanavision 70 and tech credits around the Internet say that it only had regular 70mm prints. Why do you think it was billed as a Cinerama presentation?
Regarding the lead above, the theatre has digital projection according to that linked article. It’s a lease problem, not an equipment upgrade problem.
The website says all movies are in DVD format, with Blu-Ray when possible.