View Full Version : Lucasfilm issues a NO MIDNIGHT SCREENING policy in the USA

04-02-2002, 02:21 PM
Apparently Lucas is really pushing for a unified release on this and will not allow US theatres to hold midnight showings of AOTC.

I, for one, don't really care as I wouldn't be able to attend, but how does everyone else feel about this subject?

04-02-2002, 02:31 PM
Wow, thats some big news. Where did you read that at JediPartnr? You would think Lucas really wouldn't care, since it's still opening the movie on the 16th. Oh well, I don't like going to midnight screenings anyway.


Jar Jar Binks

Lord Tenebrous
04-02-2002, 02:42 PM
I went to a midnight showing for TPM, and I swear, that was really fun. The waiting, the general excitement...

But now I guess I'll go to the 12:30 pm showing. The time generally reserved to the lethargic old people in the area. :(

04-02-2002, 02:43 PM
I think that really sucks!! I saw TPM at a midnight show and had a blast, and I was really looking forward to doing it this time around. Well I guess it really wont make too much of a difference in the end because we will all be out seeing it that day anyway.
Oh well, first matinee is mine!!

04-02-2002, 02:51 PM
Who knows if it's true... but here it is!

04-02-2002, 03:17 PM
Still sounds fishy. Who knows. If the AOTC toys came 4 weeks early then I am sure some theaters will say to Hell with them and show it anyway. I too loved the midnight show of TPM. People went nuts. There was a stanging ovation when the Lucasfilm logo came up and agian when R2 made his first apperance. You don't get that kind of reaction at a 7:00 show.

04-02-2002, 03:19 PM
And me and a few of my buddies went dressed in our costumes. Man that brings back some memories! I probably wont do that again this time, but just the fact that it is such a great experience.
And besides, midnight is May 16th, so how can LucasFilm say they cant show it then??

Mandalorian Candidat
04-02-2002, 04:35 PM
Wow, that's a really lame excuse. Who cares what time the freaking movie comes out? If he really wants a simultaneous worldwide premier, wouldn't that mean that the first show would start at the same moment all across the world. For example, EST-6 pm, CST-5 pm, MST-4 pm, PST-3 pm, etc. to keep everything "even."

I'm sure the people in Outer Mongolia won't care that Joe Blow in Amarillo, TX is staging a midnight showing ten hours before they get to see it.

Sniff, sniff...is this a McCallum idea? :rolleyes:

04-02-2002, 04:40 PM
Yeah, its McCallum who is doing this to us.
"I recognized his foul stench when I was brought on board."

Bel-Cam Jos
04-02-2002, 05:52 PM
Isn't May 16th a Thursday? I thought it was supposed to be on Friday or Wednesday (sorry if I've missed a previously-mentioned topic). So, is midnight on the 17th still the 16th to some people?

"Dis'n nuttsen!"

04-02-2002, 06:31 PM
Yep it's a Thursday.

Doesn't really matter to me if it's shown on midnight or not because I've got enough trouble sleeping with minor insomnia, I don't need to come home from seeing a new Star Wars film and try to sleep which would mean just useless tossing and turning in bed. :p

hango fett
04-02-2002, 06:38 PM
maybe he mean 12:00...not 12:01....because my dad HAS the ticket stub from the "midnight" viewing of TPM and it says 12:01am

who knows...

04-02-2002, 07:56 PM
I hope this news isn't true. Going to TPM midnight showing was amazing. Plus most people like seeing movies more at night anyway. When I went during the day like around 10 am the day TPM was released there was hardly anyone there. No one really goes to the early movies, usually only old people go during the day.

04-02-2002, 09:12 PM
I go to the theatres in the day because there are fewer of those stupid kids in the audience... you know the ones I'm talking about. The ones who didn't know they were in a public place and not in their own living rooms. They talke and talk through the whole thing, thus ruining the whole theatre going expeience for those who have more sense, upbringing and class!

04-02-2002, 09:42 PM
Not to mention at midnight showings you get those "holier than thou" fans that are so arrogant and critical towards star wars because they have nothing better to do with there lives. You know who I'm talking about. Man I hate those people.... they take all the fun out of being a fan.

04-02-2002, 09:45 PM
trying to prohibt midnight showings is ridiculous. I saw TESB at the opening night midnight showing, and the line was literally around the block from the theatre. the crowd energy was amazing. the only reasons I can think of for Lucas floating this idea are:
1. he's not serious about it and just trying to drum up some free publicity (a stupid idea, since star warz films are NEVER hurting for buzz)
2. he's concerned the film may be a real dog and wants to minimize any bad word of mouth spreading before Friday night and spoiling the weekend receipts (also an idiotic idea, since the film looks much better than EP1, based on the early previews).
3. I'm not sure how this works, but if midnight Thursday showings are not counted into opening weekend receipts, then maybe it's an attempt to force the moviegoers to buy tix later, when the receipts Would be counted into the opening weekend numbers. That would be stupidly egotistical, if Lucas denied midnight showings just to try to set a box office record.

if anyone figures out the real story, please post here.

04-03-2002, 03:37 AM
The whole idea of a simultaneous release in the true sense of the word is ridiculous. They might be wiser to let the shows start at midnight and run through the day. That way, more people have a chance of seeing it on "opening day." Whatever, I'll wait a few extra hours.

Silly :stupid:

Rollo Tomassi
04-03-2002, 08:59 AM
So what's the penalty for showing it at midnite? And how can they enforce it? "If you show it at midnite we won't send you the print of the...uh...nevermind..."

I think Rick Mc needs to understand the differences between production, distribution, and presentation. After a theatre pays for a print, they can show it any time of the day of release they want.

Whatever, my theatre doesn't show midnite movies anyway, but...(Ahem) I will be viewing a "test screening" of the movie at midnite to make sure the print is "in pristine condition" for movie goers the next day.:D

04-03-2002, 09:52 AM
This "no midnight showing" thing is only in the USA, right? It's got nothing to do with cinemas in Britain?


04-03-2002, 09:55 AM
Now the theatre operators are asking "who does Lucas think he is- dictating when we can or cannot show his film?"

I kinda figured this would eventually happen. Mass revolt by the operators and midnight showings abounding. I threw this out on the boards just to see what opinions people had to Lucasfilm's position on midnight screenings.

04-03-2002, 12:35 PM
Sometimes I think Lucas has gotten out of touch with his fans. He knows that people deifnately want to go to the midnight showing, but then issues this stupid statement. Why? What reasoning is behind it?

I agree with Rollo. I don't think that Lucas can stop theatres from showing it at midnight. Technically it is the next day and besides, what is Lucas going to do, go to all the 2,500+ theatres showing this movie and stop them. I doubt it.

Come on George. Get back in sync with the fans. Stop doing stuff that only makes you look bad.

04-03-2002, 01:08 PM
I also argee, George can't stop cinemas from showing the movie at midnight, but how many are actually not going to do what he says - it's George Lucas!!!
There would probably be a few cinemas showing at midnight but finding out which ones would be like searching for a needle in a hay stack. Then getting tickets would be even harder.

I'm just glad I live in the UK...:)


hango fett
04-03-2002, 04:22 PM
if they don't have it at midnite...he's(lucas) will probably be hearing about it the minute the movie thearters get the movie. "i'll show it when i want, mister hi-and-mighty!" thats whats gonna happen.......

i really want to see it at midnight because my dad saw TPM at midnight and said it was great!

(come on georege! think of the fans!)

04-03-2002, 11:12 PM
For ep 1, Lucas made demands on theaters to show the movie for a minimum of 8 to 12 weeks depending on theater and to have it playing at all normal hours - he had all the theaters sign the contracts beforehand or he wouldn't give them the film. Weeks before Ep 1 was released, the Mann Chinese and Mann Westwood (2 of the largest and most popular one-screen theaters in Los Angeles) signed contracts for different movies to be shown in their theaters 4 or 5 weeks after Episode I came out. When Lucas heard about this, he was going to pull Ep 1 from the Chinese and Westwood completely, and even made a deal to have another Hollywood-area theater (the independant Vista theater, one of the best restored theaters in LA) show the movie instead of the Chinese, but then Lucas heard about the month-long waiting-in-line folks at both theaters and let Ep 1 go to those theaters without the contracted 8 weeks, and the poor Vista theater also had the movie and had to stay open during weekday afternoons, which they normally don't do because there isn't enough demand in the area, for 8 whole weeks.

Between that and the fight between Lucas and Mann theaters over the Christmas charity screenings which caused Lucas to remove Ep 1 from all Mann theaters from the charity screens, you'll see a pattern of animosity that is now quite a battle.

It appears now that Lucas will not give Episode II to the Mann Chinese this year, instead opting to have the Pacific (aka Disney) owned El Capitan theater show the movie in DLP digital projection (the El Capitan is literally right across the street from the newly renovated into a craphole "Grauman's Chinese").

This proves that Lucas does have power among the theater owners still, those that break the agreement may get the film yanked or simply not get a chance to show Episode III.

04-04-2002, 01:37 AM
Interesting JediTricks. Thanks for sharing.

I went to the 12:10 showing of The Phantom Menace, and then saw the 3:15 a.m.

My movie theater was showing the film in at least 5 screen rooms for nearly 24 hours that day. I think the 3 am was the last show, then they started up again at 11 am, but even that 3 o'clock was sold out.

Mission Valley AMC Theaters, Mission Valley Mall, San Diego, CA.

All the people in costumes with lightsaber duels going on was a lot of fun. People also wore their lanyards from the Denver Celebration One, proudly displayed like veterans' dogtags!

Man was it fun - a show for just the DIE-HARDS! (and I did have to see it twice, back-to-back because I watched TPM the first time and went "what the F...?!!" I'd read the book beforehand and the Gungans and especially the Trade Federation weren't THAT stupid the way I imagined them. So the second viewing really helped me conclude I liked TPM, it's faults aside.

Rollo Tomassi
04-04-2002, 02:12 PM
That is interesting JT, but I don't see what it has to do with Midnite showings. if the El Capitan gets the film instead of Chinese, who cares if they show it at midnite or 4:00 in the morning, or wait until 7:oo the next night? And what does ANY of that have to do with theatres in Omaha, and Cleveland, and Topeka wanting to show it at midnite? And if a movie is not drawing in business, why would he care if it's in the biggest theatre or if it's showing matinee shows? We moved TPM out of our biggest theatre after four weeks. It just wasn't pulling as much business as more recent movies playing in smaller theatres and they were selling out and we were losing money. So we moved it, and Lucasfilm/Fox didn't do a thing about it. It's all bluff. They also said if we didn't return all the trailers, we wouldn't get the film, but a guy who worked at the theatre swiped one of the trailers and later sold it to me eight months down the road. Guess what? We still got the print.

He also wanted, in addition to the ridiculously high percentage of the ticket sales, a portion of our consession stand profits. My company told him where he could stick that idea, but I know there were some chains who went along with it.

If I didn't know better, I'd say there was a rider in the contracts that says if the movie isn't performing up to snuff, then its voided. George can't justify another company losing profit just because he wants his movie in the best venue for ungodly amounts of time. The average lifespan of a film is three weeks and he wanted three MONTHS?!?! Whatever. Get a clue George.

04-04-2002, 03:23 PM
Originally posted by Rollo Tomassi
He also wanted, in addition to the ridiculously high percentage of the ticket sales, a portion of our consession stand profits. My company told him where he could stick that idea, but I know there were some chains who went along with it.

That's pretty sleazy. I wonder if Spielberg got a cut of the :mad:$3.50:mad: I payed for a bag of Reese's Pieces during E.T. ? :D

04-04-2002, 05:29 PM
He also wanted, in addition to the ridiculously high percentage of the ticket sales, a portion of our consession stand profits. My company told him where he could stick that idea, but I know there were some chains who went along with it.

sheesh! if this is the direction the power players in the industry are heading, it may only be a matter of time before it becomes the standard. let's hope the theatre chains squash such heavy-handedness before it takes a foothold.

I can't imagine the theatres getting away with passing any more costs along to the consumers. we're already past the pain threshold on concession prices. I rarely buy any food at the theatre any more, but feel like a felon for having the audacity to smuggle in a 40 cent snickers bar or a 99 cent bag of peanuts or God forbid, a can of soda pop. it chaps my butt to think of paying the theatres seven bucks for a bagful of ten cents of dry salt disguised as popcorn and a soda cup so full of crushed ice, it's more snow-cone than drink. I understand the theatres have to make a profit, and they're paying a lot more in royalties, or whatever you call the money they pay for showing the films, but there has to be a limit to how far the public will bend over.

What are your realistic thoughts, Rollo, on whether extorting points off the concession take will become an accepted practice by studios/producers?

Rollo Tomassi
04-04-2002, 06:33 PM
I think NATO (Nat'l Org. of Theatre Owners) know where there bread is buttered and you'll have to pry concession profits out of their metaphorical cold, dead fingers.

Here's a quick fiscal course in film industry profits. The theatre chain pays for the print of a film, usually between $10,000 and $20,000 depending on the film, the chain, and the studio/distributor. It then breaks down on a sliding scale of the studos take vs the theatres take. The opening week earns the studio between 70% and 90% (Uncle George actually got 100% for opening weekend and 95% for the rest of the week:mad: )of the profit and the theatre gets the balance. As the weeks go on, the studios percentage drops and the theatres go up. This explains why some films end up in theatre so long and others leave quickly. Once a film gets over it's "hump" it becomes a cash cow. LOTR has been at our theatre for 16 weeks because it's more profitable for us to sell 15 seats to that, than say 50 to Time Machine or a full house of Sorority Boys. After a film leaves, we send the print (full of scratches and dirt) back to the distributor and they give us "credit" towards the next film, but nowhere near as much as the initial $10K. Clearly this is skewed heavily in favor of the studio.
So theatre chains make their profit at the concession stand. I'm rather proud of our chains prices compared to the Nat'l Amusement theatres in nearby Davenport and Cedar Rapids. ($2.89 for a 44oz large drink? Compared to $4.00 for a 32oz "large" at other places? 0r $4.20 for 170 oz of popcorn vs $6.00 for a smaller bag elsewhere?) but I digress, I'll be the first to admit theatres gouge customers for concession stand food. I refuse to buy it, that's for darn sure. But as the only chance to make a profit, I can see their point. You HAVE to buy a ticket to see a movie, but the concession stand is an optional. And those high prices take into account that others are sneaking food in. They take into account that you leave your trash on the floor of the auditorium because you are paying for someone else to pick it up. Heck, you are paying some one to GIVE it to you. And your concession sales are actually keeping the cinema open in the first place. If no one bought concession, do you think the theatre would stay open for you to watch Blade II?

So I don't think the theatres will be so willing to give up their last profit margin maker. If the studios cross that line, then they might as well start thier own chains, but the Vertical Integration laws passed in 1948 made that illegal;) See I DID learn something in college...:)

04-04-2002, 08:50 PM
That is ridiculous. The concesion stand has absolutely NOTHING to do with the film or the studios. Besides how could GL justify taking a profit of concessions. At a huge multiplex not everyone will be going to see SW, so how is there any way to keep track of it. Plus isn't SW going to make a TON of money anyway. GL is already a millionaire, so why does he need more money. It isn't like he is going to run out anytime soon. He already gets a TON of money for the licensing rights for comics, books, T-shirts, action figures, toys, costumes, etc... so why does he feel like he needs more money? I start to feel less and less respect for GL every year because of some of the things I hear about within the industry. I hope this rumor isn't true.

04-04-2002, 10:34 PM
Originally posted by Rollo Tomassi
That is interesting JT, but I don't see what it has to do with Midnite showings. if the El Capitan gets the film instead of Chinese, who cares if they show it at midnite or 4:00 in the morning, or wait until 7:oo the next night? And what does ANY of that have to do with theatres in Omaha, and Cleveland, and Topeka wanting to show it at midnite? And if a movie is not drawing in business, why would he care if it's in the biggest theatre or if it's showing matinee shows?What it has to with this midnight showings thing is that A) people ARE interested in midnight shows; and B) Lucas DOES have the power to make things difficult for theaters if they don't comply.

I could say that Lucas cares about all this stuff because he's concerned about the public image of his independent movie, or I could say that Lucas cares about this because he wants things to be the highest quality possible for the fans, but the truth of the matter is most likely that he's a rich powerful megalomaniac.

I think 3 weeks isn't enough time for a SW movie to be in theaters, though 3 months might be excessive if it's doing poor business by the middle of the run.

Rollo, there's a studio that owns a theater chain, Disney owns Pacific Theaters.

04-04-2002, 11:18 PM
from SithDroid:

...GL is already a millionaire

I'd guess he may even be a Billionaire ??

04-04-2002, 11:22 PM
A two-billionaire, actually.

04-05-2002, 12:08 AM
you got me curious, JT.
according to Forbes list of richest people in 2002, George Lucas (http://www.forbes.com/lists/results.jhtml?passListId=10&passYear=2002&passListType=Person&searchParameter1=&searchParameter2=&resultsHowMany=25&resultsSortProperties=%2Bnumberfield1%2C%2Bstringf ield1&resultsSortCategoryName=rank&fromColumnClick=&bktDisplayField=&bktDisplayFieldLength=&category1=&category2=&passKeyword=&resultsStart=126) is the 127th richest person in the world, with 3 billion dollars. Spielberg (http://www.forbes.com/lists/results.jhtml?passListId=10&passYear=2002&passListType=Person&searchParameter1=&searchParameter2=&resultsHowMany=25&resultsSortProperties=%2Bnumberfield1%2C%2Bstringf ield1&resultsSortCategoryName=rank&fromColumnClick=&bktDisplayField=&bktDisplayFieldLength=&category1=&category2=&passKeyword=&resultsStart=176) is #191, with a paltry 2.2 billion (what a loser!).
Bill Gate$, of course, it the Big Kahuna, with $52.8 billion.

Hmmm, how much popcorn would we all have to buy to give G-Lu a run at Gate$ title?

04-05-2002, 12:30 AM
Swaffy, thanks for finding that, my numbers were pre-Ep1 and I forgot how long it's been since I heard that 2 billion dollars number.

As for catching up with billy boy, if we're talking about a super-tub of popcorn at $4.50 each, we'd only have to buy a total of 11 billion tubs of corn (assuming Lucas gets the gross skim off that and not a lower net amount). ;)

04-05-2002, 12:35 AM
You have to remember though, that on the Forbes rich-list, a lot of that money that people like Bill Gates have, isn't real money. Bill Gates may have $52.8 Billion in net assets, but I think he only has really a few billion in actual cash. Which is still a lot, don't get me wrong. But to say he has $52.8 billion dollars isn't actually true. Most of it is stock shares and Microsofts assets, etc.

04-05-2002, 01:42 AM
Originally posted by SWAFMAN
I rarely buy any food at the theatre any more, but feel like a felon for having the audacity to smuggle in a 40 cent snickers bar or a 99 cent bag of peanuts or God forbid, a can of soda pop.

There's something funny about a near silent theater with dimming lights when . . . CRACK someone opens a can of soda. :D

04-05-2002, 02:34 AM
'specially when it's really a BEER!
(ah, memories of first-run Monty Python flicks, and mis-spent youth!)

Rollo Tomassi
04-05-2002, 08:33 AM
The "Paramount decision" in the late 40's /early 50's forced Studios to break up their production/distribution/ presentation monopolies and divest major portions of their theatres to separate corporations. They could still own theatres but not huge chains of 200-300 like they used to. Of course, the Telecomunications Act 0f 1996 changed all this again and the six biggest media companies all own stock in each other anyway, so it's a moot point.

SWAFFY, my daughter saw your little avatar and pointed at it and said, "That's YOU, Daddy!" so I guess we look alike when we are half an inch tall.;)

04-05-2002, 01:09 PM
Odeon cinemas in the UK have announced that they will be showing the movie at 12:01am on the morning of 16th May so I'm glad that the "No midnight screening" thing doesn't apply here :).