Projection

Frozen

By now you’ve likely already heard about the debacle surrounding a Frozen screening at a multiplex in Pinellas Park, Florida in which a house full of parents and children were subjected to “sexually explicit content.” After some family-friendly trailers followed by Get a Horse (Disney’s short attached to Frozen), some sensitive material reportedly graced the screen for two awkward minutes. One patron recalls shielding her son’s eyes but preventing him from being able to “get the sound down real good.” Patrons were given free tickets and an official apology by the Park Place Stadium 16. Sites across the web covering the incident seem to have all agreed that the sounds in question were from the NSFW trailer for Lars von Trier’s customarily controversial and much-covered new film Nymphomaniac, a rumor that apparently originated from a comment on MoshNews‘s coverage. But is it actually plausible that a multiplex owned by Regal Cinemas would “accidentally” show a shocking trailer for a limited release film that doesn’t even have a US opening date? While misplaced trailers, out-of-order reels, and showing a film on the wrong screen was commonplace in the stone age of projecting films on film, in the era of digital projection such a thing is pretty much impossible.

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It hasn’t been a great start to the year for movie theater owners. There was the bizarre dust-up between the National Association of Theater Owners and the studios which advocated a shortened window of exclusivity before launching their films in homes On-Demand, but more so than one event, there’s a general feeling of outrage at higher ticket prices (which, as John Gholson explained on Reject Radio, have almost nothing to do with theater profits now) and higher-priced hotdogs. Plus, there’s the overall miserable experience that most theaters deliver. Now Boston.com has a truly disheartening story about theater managers not even bothering to switch out lenses between 3D and 2D films. The result? That 2D movie you saved money on by refusing the 3D up-charge is 50% darker than it should be. Read the entire article for the full take (and definitely listen to that Reject Radio episode for more illumination), but this seems indicative of a larger problem going on in movie theaters – a lack of incentive to make anything enjoyable. Audiences are coming for the movie, and theaters are delivering little else in the way of enticement. It’s no wonder that ticket sales are dropping. With the transition from reels to digital projectors, gone is the knowledge that came with understanding how the projection process really works. It took serious understanding to be behind the glass, but now it requires pushing a few buttons and reading an Archie comic.

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