Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Disappointing audience for new indie cinema

The Palace Cinemas complex in downtown Windsor is having problems filling its seats for its new art house series. The Palace should be much applauded for bringing the series. It’s been a long time since Windsor had any sort of repertory theatre. Remember the – in my view – greatly lamented Windsor Film Theatre down by the university which closed – when, more than a decade ago?....Theatre manager Andy Stockwell says a couple of the films of the series that started screening in March have had good audiences. These were the Oscar buzz ones like Young Victoria and The Hurt Locker. (Finally, those who missed it first time around could actually see what all the huge Oscar fuss was about, right?). But others haven’t fared as well. Among the screenings have been everything from Me & Orson Welles (Richard Linklater 2009) to Michael Hoffman’s The Last Station (2010) with Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren and Paul Giamatti, to Precious (Lee Daniels 2009).....”They don’t do very well, unfortunately,” says Stockwell, manager at the Palace’s sister Lakeshore Cinemas but who is overseeing the art series.....There hasn’t been a great deal of advertising. Stockwell says info about the series has been mainly word of mouth, an ad in the St. Clair College newspaper The Saint, and flyers distributed in downtown coffee shops and at the university and college.....This week The Cove (Louie Psihoyos 2009) and Antichrist (Lars von Trier 2009) are being screened. Next week Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (2009) and Margaret Pomeranz’s The Prophet (2010) will screen.....Stockwell has no problem getting the films. He orders from Independent Booking and Theatre Services in Cambridge, Ont. which books films into more than 300 theatres across N. America.....Ticket prices are cheap in keeping with the Palace’s overall discount box office: $6.50 adults and $4.20 seniors, kids and for weekend matinees.....The independent series may be pressed a bit as summer comes on. Distributors can demand summer blockbusters run for a minimum number of weeks, squeezing out other films, esp indies.....Those in Windsor (and Detroit for that matter, since Motown can also use a more robust indie cinema scene – no offence to the DFT, Landmark’s Main & Maple, and Burton Theatre) who love art house films and support events like the Windsor Intl Film Festival, should get out and support the Palace.....It’s only ours to lose...... for the schedule.....

1 comment:

  1. The lack of publicity is the problem. Getting the Palace a Facebook page so they can communicate with the audience would be a start. I can't imagine them doing any less than they have done now. Also, Parnassus already played in Windsor at SilverCity. They might stand to do better business with some better choices as well - the real gap is between the commercial stuff every other theatre shows and the esoteric material WIFF brings to town - the indies with some commercial clout (and, often times, the best films IMO) never make it here. Jim Jarmusch's last film, The Limits Of Control, for example, somehow never made it to Windsor because it wasn't commercial enough for the Mall and it wasn't low profile enough for WIFF.