Shut Up and Shoot Me

Reading the Czech press lately, you have to wonder if maybe all the country's small exhibitors need to be put out of their misery. On Saturday, the Central Bohemia edition of Mladá fronta Dnes published the latest in a series of stories about the woes of small movie houses. No earth-shaking reporting here, just a round up of what some local exhibitors are experiencing. Here's the full text in Czech.

The story reports that the little guys' box-office numbers are way down and have been falling for a long time. They're trying to lure viewers back by investing in new comfy seats, sound systems and air-conditioning. A lot of these little cinemas are municipally owned and are accustomed to being subsidised (ah, socialism). Some towns are shutting their movie houses down, while others, like Kraslice, are downsizing.

Only one exhibitor interviewed for the story, Pavel Volf, one of the operators of the Hutník cinema in Kladno, blames a poor crop of titles. Several exhibitors name Román pro ženy and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as the best-attended films of the year.

Volf says his theatre is considering offering DVD rentals and asking local firms to subsidise tickets as a benefit for their employees. Suggestion: Hand out seat cushions. And free beer.
Or maybe loaded pistols.


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