Look, I’m well aware it’s not coal mining but this job can be incredibly frustrating at times. I have to live in a perpetual sort of Mystic Meg trance.
An important part of my job is knowing what films are coming and furthermore what films are most likely to appeal to the good citizens of Uckfield and the surrounding district.
In the absence of a film with Judi Dench and Colin Firth making a nude calendar while stuttering Abba songs on a sinking boat, I have to make an educated guess at what you all might want to see.
Not only that, I have to guess how long you might want to see it for. Patrons around here can be notoriously slow at getting round to seeing a film sometimes.
I’ve often seen diaries at twenty paces in the foyer. As long as the matinée on Thursday doesn’t clash with Mrs Barrington’s bridge game we might sell a few tickets.
Then consider the large number of films released, particularly at this time of year, add in the distributors reluctance to talk about sharing shows with other films after the first week and you can see how even Nostradamus’ legendary skills might be stretched to the limit.
Of course it’s all dead easy if you’ve got 46 screens. What do multiplex bookers do all day? There can’t be a great deal of skill in just booking everything. I suppose they have to say no to anything with subtitles or a budgets under £2 million, which probably wears them out a bit.
As we only have three screens, during the summer season there are any number of permutations and I’ve not got it entirely right this year.
We missed out this weekend on Rise of the Planet of the Apes and more surprisingly The Smurfs movie. I’ve had more than a few exclamations of surprise and dissapointment we aren’t playing these films so by way of explanation and to give you an insight into how all this works let me explain.
When putting the bookings together some weeks ago I had to consider a number of possibilities, not least that Hary Potter needed a clear run, I also had more faith in Cars 2 than it ultimately deserved.
Bridesmaids had much stronger legs than anticipated and I also thought that Super 8 was going to do better than it has.
When I looked at Apes a shudder ran down my spine. The Tim Burton film from several years ago absolutely tanked in Uckfield so with the might of my business accumen I assumed it was one less titile to worry about. Considering The Smurfs I think my age played against me. I remember them the first time round and how much we hated them.
That was stupid. Nobody with any critical faculties whatever would ever defend Alvin & The Chipmunks as a great movie, but those films were huge. The Smurfs movie is very similar and I should have realised that. Daft schoolboy error.
So, Harry Potter aside, we had a rather rough weekend, I imagine every other cinema in the land was partying all night on the spectacular grosses from the two films I left out.
I’ve been really cross with myself all week.
What makes this business brilliant though, is we constantly change what we’re selling. So however spectacularly I can get it wrong sometimes, something will come along and save me.
We’re already looking forward to great business on The Inbetweeners movie, which I admit I had doubts about but the advance sales are very good indeed.
You truly never can tell. However hard you polish your crystal ball.