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  • boogie_woogie_beat
    Hey there everyone, I came across this recent article from Box Office Magazine about Ebert and Roeper s appearance at ShoWest 2002, and since the topic was
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 18, 2002
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      Hey there everyone,

      I came across this recent article from Box Office Magazine about Ebert and
      Roeper's appearance at ShoWest 2002, and since the topic was about
      exhibitor performance, I thought all of us here who love movie palaces might
      appreciate some of their sentiments (Roger's on OUR side, guys!).

      Hope you all enjoy it!


      Chicago Film Critics Ebert and Roeper Review Exhibitor Performance at
      ShoWest. Uh Oh.

      By Francesca Dinglasan

      "Originally we came here to criticize trailers," renowned film critic Roger Ebert
      told delegates attending the Wednesday afternoon event at ShoWest, "but
      the studios wouldn't give us [any] trailers."

      A safe decision, it would seem, on the part of Hollywood. After all, while the
      trademark thumbs-up from the pair can mean extra box-office bucks for a
      given film, a much dreaded thumbs-down from the reviewers, most famous for
      their television program "At the Movies With Roger Ebert and Richard
      Roeper," can equally result in a notable downturn in interest for a particular

      What Ebert and Roeper said they would offer instead to convention
      attendees were their opinions and suggestions as to the elements necessary
      to create the ideal moviegoing experience, or as Roeper phrased it, what
      would go into the "Ebert and Roeper multiplex."

      "Sometimes it's disheartening that the worse thing about the experience is
      the [actual] movie," said Ebert.

      Ironically, though the afternoon's proceedings had been dubbed "Ten Things
      We Love About the Movie Theatre," Ebert and Roeper's sharp wit and cutting
      remarks were more appropriate to a list of "Things We Hate About the
      Cinema." However, that same criticism that had been so feared by the
      studios was so engagingly and humorously delivered that many exhibitors in
      the audience felt the event to be the highlight of the entire convention.
      Roeper's first targets were the lighting and climate control of theatre
      auditoriums. He noted that sometimes auditorium lighting had not been
      dimmed enough, interfering with the audience's ability to see the onscreen
      picture, while the air conditioning always seemed to be cranked to its coldest
      setting. "We're not slabs of meat," he joked.

      For Ebert, the disappearance of the nation's movie palaces and glorious
      single-screeners is one of the major tragedies of today's exhibition business.
      "Save the really big screen," he urged ShoWest delegates. Noting that he
      understood that the lack of business driven to a theatre with just one
      auditorium was a major factor in their demise, he underscored the true
      pleasure of viewing a film on an immense screen. "Around the country, really
      big screens are being lost," he remarked.

      Also on the two critics' list of changes to be made in an ideal world was the
      idea of senior staff members always being present at a theatre. "I would like
      to see a higher level of staff, in terms of managers that are there," said
      Roeper. "On a serious note, if someone in a theatre's acting up, it would be
      nice if someone [with a level of authority] was there...so that you don't have
      to act as your own cop."

      Ebert added that an experienced or senior-level employee would also be
      more likely to understand problems that sometimes arise regarding the
      quality of screen presentation. "I get letters complaining about the boom mic
      [being visible during a film screening]," he said. "It would be nice if [staff
      members] who know what 'framing' means are onsite."

      A dditionally, Ebert took the very unique stance of advising theatre operators,
      "I'm going to ask you not to rush headlong into digital cinema." As the first
      voice in a long time at any exhibition convention to come out supporting
      celluloid over digital projection, he stated, "Hollywood has not spent one dime
      studying...how digital images enter the human mind."

      "There's a theory that people enter a hypnotic state when watching video,"
      he explained. "It gives a different experience [than watching film]....When you
      replace celluloid, you may be giving [movie patrons] an experience that they
      didn't know they'd be getting."

      Quite passionate about the issue, Ebert said that when the inevitable
      conversion to digital took place, people were "going to lose celluloid magic."
      What people would get instead, he insisted, were images that would be
      "cold, but technically perfect."

      Other suggestions proposed by the two critics included ensuring that the
      projection bulb is turned up, as "diminishing it does not preserve the life of
      the bulb"; bringing back Saturday morning "kiddie shows," which Ebert
      believes "will get kids into a moviegoing habit in a good way"; and dedicating
      a few auditoriums in a multiscreener to art or specialty fare, or as Roeper
      described it, to put "the word 'multi' into multiplex." "The same [major
      Hollywood release] plays over and over again [on different screens in the
      same theatre]," he observed. "We envisioned and hoped that there would be
      space for films like 'Memento.'"

      Additional recommendations were implementing a "no kids policy" because,
      noted Roeper, "Sometimes parents can't be trusted not to bring kids" to films
      inappropriate for them to watch, and offering a healthier variety of
      concessions. "Is it possible to sell anything at the refreshment stand that
      won't kill?" asked Ebert.

      Widely applauded by ShoWest delegates was Ebert's vocal abhorrence of
      cellular phones and his plea for "cell phone blocking" in theatre auditoriums.
      Conventioneer enthusiasm for Ebert's suggestion, however, seems more
      theoretical than practical, as evinced by the countless Nokia and Motorola
      chimes that continue to ring at ShoWest events.
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