COLUMN: The realities of a dream job

Movie columnist Jason Asbell says being a cinema programmer is better than being a brain surgeon.

People probably think the life of a cinema programmer is one of life’s pinnacles. Children lump the job in with the dream list careers of firefighter, police officer, president or brain surgeon. Well, I’m here to wake you up, kiddies. Programming product from monolithic studios for a single screen can make you feel like you are at the bottom rung of a crime syndicate.

Recent demands from the mob boss, Mickey Mouse, made a three-week commitment mandatory to open Avengers: Age of Ultron on the break, May 1. In a smaller community with only one screen and a desire to meet the needs of the community, these terms don’t feel unlike those made by a mafia bookie following a request for delayed payment after losing big at the track.

So with Disney and Avengers out, the utopia of an apocalyptic opening of Mad Max: Fury Road on the break, May 15, presents a consolation to recoup some of the hit of our demographic streaming westish for Avengers. All films require a two-week commitment to be opened on the break, but fortunately we are lucky that our film booker finds other theatres in his circuit to take the second week, but with everyone waiting on the Avengers to loosen its reins on May 22, it was also looking like opening Mad Max was also going to be an issue.

Like I said, it is time to wake up, kiddos. However, unlike the president or brain surgeon I am not beneath singing for my supper and sing we shall do. Like a negotiated draft pick, we are trading second weeks with another theatre; our Mad Max for their Pitch Perfect 2.

May has shaped up to be a busy lead-in to the summer blockbuster season and I am happy to say that despite our single-screen challenges, Nelson and area are lined up for a trio of big films over the following three weeks.

Mad Max: Fury Road opens on release May 15 to 21, Pitch Perfect 2 on its second week, May 22 to 28, and for the patient ones, Avengers: Age of Ultron will finally play the Civic starting May 29.

Maybe programmer does belong on that list.

Jason Asbell is the programmer and amateur astronaut for the Civic Theatre.

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