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TOPIC: Saw same movie in two theaters - what a difference!

Saw same movie in two theaters - what a difference! 29 Feb 2004 16:06 #20350

  • Alysa
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This may be a bit OT but I figure “what the heck”. A few weeks ago I saw “Master & Commander” in what used to be a GCC (General Cinema) 5-plex – so it’s a relatively new theater, being about 6-years old.

The experience was good and I enjoyed the movie – not the greatest of scriptwriting (IMHO) but so what. Yesterday I took a friend of mine to see the same movie at the Hollywood ARCLIGHT (14-plex) theaters – and good lord! - It was like watching a whole different movie!

The screen was huge, the film was shown in theater that was in almost total darkness, and the sound system was absolutely incredible!! During the opening and other battle scenes the whole building shook from cannon fire concussion!! They didn’t achieve this with just the volume control set to “extreme pain” – for it wasn’t exceedingly loud – but it made you feel as though the cannonballs were crashing into the sides of the theater. And yet, in quiet/calm scenes, you could clearly hear the waves gently lapping against the sides of the ship.

Tell you what; I want to own a theater like that one… WOW!!

Alysa
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Re: Saw same movie in two theaters - what a difference! 01 Mar 2004 14:19 #20351

  • John Pytlak
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Sounds (and looks) like your presentation at the ArcLight Cinemas was "Film Done Right" or (maybe) "Digital Done Right"! :-)

Presentation quality and Showmanship ARE noticed.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Cell: +1 585-781-4036 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: Saw same movie in two theaters - what a difference! 01 Mar 2004 15:39 #20352

  • Larry Thomas
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We'd ALL like to own one like this.

Heck, I'd be thrilled just to be able to have a place like that to go see films. But out here in this midwest puddle of cinematic nowhere, that's not even a possibility!
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Re: Saw same movie in two theaters - what a difference! 01 Mar 2004 17:51 #20353

  • BECKWITH1
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I've not noticed that former GCC locations in my area are well equipped. I suspect that that 5 screen may be older than 1998 as that small size wasn't being replicated in the age of stadium seating. You may find that they were not running any digital sound equipment just stereo.
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Re: Saw same movie in two theaters - what a difference! 02 Mar 2004 09:51 #20354

  • muviebuf
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Alysa - the real question is: why did you go that GCC in the first place?

If you are like most moviegoers I suspect that the answer is: It was convient for where you were located and what you were doing at the time.

Sadly, despite Film Tech's constant banging of the drum for "Film Done Right", the concept seems to matter little (if any) as far as venue choices for the average moviegoer. Most people choose where they go for location and convience - not presentation.

[This message has been edited by muviebuf (edited March 02, 2004).]
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Re: Saw same movie in two theaters - what a difference! 02 Mar 2004 12:48 #20355

  • Alysa
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Moviebuf –

You are, if not extremely knowledgeable, very intuitive!

I made the decision to go GCC because:
- It was a cold/rainy day here in Los Angeles
- I was afraid “Master & Commander” would soon be pulled from theaters
- The GCC theater is within walking distance from my home

In other words, “I was simply too lazy to drive to the subway where I could take it into Hollywood”.


There may be other theaters, closer than ARCLIGHT, that have “Film Done Right” standards but I don’t know where they are.

You know, restaurants here in California receive a “letter grade” based upon the quality of their food/cleanliness, why can’t an organization (like NATO) develop a set of national “Film Done Right” standards (From A – D)?

Theater owners could **VOLUNTARY** ask NATO to visit and determine his/her theater’s ratings. The resulting theater’s “rating” could be posted by the owner at the front of the box office, used in newspaper theater ads, websites, and phone system. Why Not??

I sense "intense flaming” over that last paragraph!


Alysa <smile>

[This message has been edited by Alysa (edited March 02, 2004).]
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Re: Saw same movie in two theaters - what a difference! 02 Mar 2004 14:50 #20356

  • Reel-Life
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That sounds like a good idea to me. Maybe someone should suggest this to NATO.
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Re: Saw same movie in two theaters - what a difference! 02 Mar 2004 22:59 #20357

  • RoxyVaudeville
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It seems to me that this idea was suggested to NATO some years back, and they didn't want to touch it with a ten foot pole. I could be wrong about it being NATO, but it was some group within the industry.

I don't think most theatre owners of the past 25 years want their theatres rated for fear of the outcome as they know very well that they don't do anything more then they have to to keep them operational.

Back in the 70s and 80s most theatres built were pitiful from day one. Long and narrow auditoriums with one aisle down the center, small screens, no curtains, tiny lobbies and restrooms, and no architectural decor whatsoever. Then in the early 90s they started to build some decent theatres again. By the mid 90s stadium seating and digital sound became the norm. From that time until today they actually spend a decent amount of money to build some pretty nice theatre complexes.

However... that's where it all stops! Seldom do they spend any additional money to maintain those theatres. Day one is the pinnacle, after that it is all down hill.

Therefore, I doubt that most theatre chains would want any rating system today as well.
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Re: Saw same movie in two theaters - what a difference! 03 Mar 2004 03:40 #20358

  • Alysa
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For anyone who might have an interest, here is a link (if HTML works here) to Arclight’s webpage wherein some of the equipment used in their 14-theaters is described ==> http://www.arclightcinemas.com/sightnsound.jsp?path=about

While I’m not a video or audio engineer, some of this technical stuff sounds rather impressive to me.

Oh well, I’ll just have to save my pennies so I can have a theater like this someday
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Re: Saw same movie in two theaters - what a difference! 03 Mar 2004 09:00 #20359

  • jimor
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We can't blame NATO or others for not wanting to establish a ratings system for theatres. Such systems for other places, such as restaurants, have been shot down by courts in some places. It is not as easy as it sounds, since the raters must have "reasonable" ratings by experts, be scrupuously honest and very well documented to prove that, be timely, and be able to pay such experts to go to thousands of theatres/cinemas at times convenient to the owner(s) and with their permission. Since it is theatres which support NATO and the like, do you think that theatres on the bottom half of the list are likely to continue to support NATO?? Hardly. NATO is primarily a lobbying group, and they know where their bread is buttered, so are not going to bite the hands that feed them.

Even if someone were to want to do such a rating, by what standards would they rate? Projection standards may be quantifiable (and frequently 'advancing'), but most of the audience wouldn't understand such published specs, most all other qualities are not quantifiable, but subjective. Is it too warm or too cool? Is the aud. too narrow or too deep? Are the seats too hard or too small? Who is to say, based upon what "universal" industry standards? If there is no real attempt at decor, to what standard would one compare them in this day and age with no resemblance to the movie palaces where such competition by decor was commonplace? As Marcus Lowe said in the 20s: "We sell tickets to theatres, not movies." Nowadays, from the perspective of the exhibitors, we sell tickets to refreshments, not movies and certainly not theatres/cinemas. Most operators are having a life-and-death struggle just to keep their doors open, much less worry too much about newest projection, better seats, and something that could be called 'decor.'

And who would publish such a ratings system? The newspapers? Not on your life, unless it made money for them with no legal risks whatsoever. The theatres? Obviously, ONLY those with the highest marks. And if it were a matter of displaying some sort of sign in the window, how long would it be before the copryighted 'A+' sign were counterfitted by thousands of screens making it worthless? Yes, I would love to be able to rate theatres/cinemas, but I don't look forward to being sued, finding my tires slashed by unhappy exhibitors or their loyal fans, being denied entrance or being blackballed and banned permanently, and finding that the public just doesn't care. After all, as the exhibitors are learning, if the total experience is not comfortable, enjoyable and relatively cheap, the public will just wait to see it on video or go to any number of other amusements elsewhere these days. And as a warning example, look at what a joke the MPAA movies rating system has become! RoxyVaudeville was right that NATO won't touch this with a ten foot pole, and for good reason!
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: Saw same movie in two theaters - what a difference! 03 Mar 2004 15:31 #20360

  • John Pytlak
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I worked on a Theatre Ratings project for the Inter-Society Committee for the Enhancement of Cinema Presentation, in the early 1980's. A mandatory ratings system was not practical, for many of the reasons already discussed. But the work did result in a voluntary ratings system, the SMPTE Theatre Quality Evaluation Program:
http://www.film-tech.com/manuals/SMPTEEVALPROG.pdf

Many of the concepts I helped develop for the SMPTE TQEP found their way into the THX Theatre Alignment Program:
http://www.film-tech.com/manuals/TAPGUIDELINES.pdf

And the Kodak ScreenCheck Program:
http://www.kodak.com/go/screencheck

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Cell: +1 585-781-4036 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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