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Peppie – yes I do know a lot about Film Distribution. My husband and family, have run a small country cinema (167 seats) for over 45 years. I change hats whenever I do stuff for him. But I am known to our regular Film Distributors. I am only permitted to use film images for promoting the movies the cinema is showing (or any other cinema who requires promo materials). For copyright reasons, the images cannot be used for anything else like products to sell, unless a special purchase licence is negotiated. I delete the images after every film is over.
Films are negotiated between the Film Distributor and the cinema owner. A high percentage of each ticket belongs to the Film Distributor. However first release film terms are difficult for small cinemas because they require on average 5 weeks and 4 sessions a day. Very difficult for a one screen cinema to maintain. There are sometimes no shows during the week but the film still has to run with associated staffing costs etc. This is why many of the films are shown a few weeks down the track when they can be shown with another film at alternate sessions to cater for different tastes and allow for more people to come.
A few years ago the window between film and dvd release was 12 months. Now it’s 3 months. The closer it gets the harder it is for the small cinema owners. And of course, the piracy and download issues affect things too. (I have a whole section on my own website and in the student resources section as to why we should all avoid piracy and illegal downloads.)
My husband has been enamoured of film since he built a ‘cinema’ out of a butter box when he was six years old in the forties. He laughs when he calls himself one of the last ‘dinosaurs’ – however, despite being ‘mature’ he has kept up with technology and sound changes all along and the cinema is very special. He is a perfectionist with presentation. The sound and image quality is amazing as he cleans the film as it goes through the spools and picks up any dust or marks. Although there are now a small amount of digital presentations, (which are on encrypted hard drives for cinema use only), his emphasis is on image and sound quality. Dedication to using the correct lenses and screen ratio is paramount. He is determined to give a quality experience to the cinema patrons.
I also get roped into helping with staff costumes on the times that they dress up for certain movies. (He didn’t tell me that was part of the marriage contract years ago! ) http://www.glenbrookcinema.com.au
The customers think it’s a lot of fun and they love it. Ron wrote a book that I published a few years ago called ‘A Little Cinema’ and some copies are still available for purchase.
Despite all of this, we still go to our local DVD shop to hire or purchase the movies we have missed!