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Empire Theatres have trouble with their screenings 

Coast reviewers stymied three times in seven days due to projector issues

click to enlarge The Oxford circa 1957, courtesy of the Nova Scotia Archives
  • The Oxford circa 1957, courtesy of the Nova Scotia Archives
We here at The Coast love movies, and the we presume the good people at the local branch of the national cinema chain Empire Theatres do too, or why would they be in the business of offering them for our enjoyment? They have a monopoly on first run cinemas in Halifax, so they must really love movies to want to show them all. We certainly appreciate that kind of enthusiasm.

Last week our reviewer Matthew Ritchie went to Dartmouth Crossing to see a Friday afternoon showing of The Devil's Double but couldn't due to a projector malfunction. He was told it wouldn't be fixed until after the weekend. Then he was fortunate enough to go to an advance midweek screening at Bayers Lake of The Killer Elite, a film opening Friday, September 23. It took two-and-a-half hours for the Empire folks to get the projector working. (They kindly offered Ritchie free popcorn to enjoy during his wait.) And then this afternoon, Matt Semansky went to Park Lane to see Straw Dogs, but due to another projector issue the film started 40 minutes late, which screwed his schedule and he had to bail. He'll make another effort to see it later in the weekend.

Semansky inquired about the technical issue before he left. "I was told by an employee that they have old projectors that they're not willing to replace because sometime in the near future they'll be getting digital ones," says Semansky.

So, we have to conclude they have the funds to refinish the exterior of the Oxford, but not replace clunky projectors? Perhaps it's a more complicated issue than it seems to us film lovers just sitting in the dark, with prices for movies going up all the time (especially for anything in 3D), but it seems to us that Empire's priorities are out of whack if their resources aren't being put towards the product they are offering, the film projection itself, rather than the exterior packaging of their buildings. (As much as we think The Oxford Cinema is awesome.)

As fellow film lovers, we wonder what they're thinking. And when those digital projectors will be installed.



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