volcanohunter

2014-15 Ballet in Cinema - North American screenings

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Well, I know that the 'Cumberbatch effect' drove a lot of attendance recently, but that might just be Seattle...

I don't know that local dance organizations perceive these broadcasts as big competition -- around here, it just seems like no one has thought to put it all together.

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I can only speak for myself, but what usually prompts me to see a filmed version of a play is the play itself, not who is performing in it. It's entirely possible that James Franco does not have the appeal of Benedict Cumberbatch--honestly, I haven't the faintest--but a few days ago Franco and his colleagues in Of Mice and Men drew just over a dozen people to the cinema. Two days later a cast of actors unfamiliar to me got about the same number of viewers for Henry V at a rival multiplex. Granted, Of Mice and Men was playing at two locations on a Thursday evening, with encore screenings yet to come, while Henry V was a single screening on midday Saturday, which are all important factors to consider, but my experience suggests that the dozen or so people in attendance is pretty typical, movie actors or no.

There are plenty of marketing problems to go around. The screening of Henry V was preceded by a trailer for the Globe on Screen series. While there is certainly nothing wrong in reminding viewers about forthcoming showings, the fact is that those present already knew about the series, they wouldn't have come otherwise. What wasn't advertised were the forthcoming screenings from the Royal Opera House by the same movie chain, even though the Globe and the ROH have the same distributor. This was a lost opportunity. Of Mice and Men was preceded by a trailer for the Bolshoi's presentations, but it failed to take into account that in Canada the next screening, The Pharaoh's Daughter, would be showing a few days earlier than trailer implied. This also isn't great marketing.

I certainly hope that ballet companies aren't throwing up roadblocks to marketing ballet screenings, but I am at a loss to explain why the relevant screenings are being advertised with local opera companies and dramatic theaters, but not through local ballet troupes.

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Argh! The program of the National Ballet of Canada includes an ad from the Cineplex chain for its series of art exhibit films, but not its ballet series. No doubt many of the NBoC's patrons already know about the ballet screenings, but surely there are at least a few who may be new to all this. Madness.

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Today I was at a well-attended screening from Shakespeare's Globe, and while the trailer reel advertised only forthcoming screenings from the same series, everyone coming into the movie theater was handed a little stack of shiny new flyers and brochures about its other cultural offerings. That's some sort of progress.

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