From Adam Peabody, Burbank, CA:
I recently read the the discussion of the fate of Tom DiCillo's film "Delirious." I thought it was interesting as I too am regularly involved in independent filmmaking. As a result, I frequently have a strong beef with the local cinema chains here In Burbank, California. I live in the central downtown area; a mere stone's throw from Warner Bros., Universal, NBC, etc. Within walking distance, there are 27 screens in three cinemas, all of them AMC theaters.
Now, this is Burbank. "Beautiful downtown" Burbank. This is home to they who make movies. In my apartment complex alone there are at least a dozen writers, actors, grips, electricians (myself included), young producers, and so on. There is a bona fide market for cinema of all budgets in these theaters. However, historically these AMC's show major studio pictures on nearly all 27 screens. More specifically, they will show the same studio picture on at least two, sometimes five screens at any given time.
I have personally written many (read: five?) stern letters to the head office of AMC explaining to them the lack of proper independent films is a mistake. There is a large market for smaller films in Burbank and they are doing themselves a disservice by not showing them. I will not claim responsibility, but I have noticed a small improvement over the last couple of years. That said, I do not recall "Delirious" having shown there.
I think that by and large the companies in control of the large American cinema chains do not pay enough attention to the markets they cater to. A little market research would illuminate a few things. Sure, everyone sees the blockbusters on opening weekends, then ticket sales grind to a sluggish trickle. Perhaps by offering a wider range of films, people might come back? And for that matter, raising ticket prices every six months with the current inflation is highly preventative for many people. The return of a proper matinee pricetag, and some real variety in the shows might help everyone from the head office all the way to the filmmakers.
In the Boston area where I was raised, there are many small cinemas showing an abundance of independent films. My own mother sees far more than I can merely because they are available to her. So my heart goes out to Tom DiCillo and all other filmmakers who feel a lack of recognition by the marketplace.