Letters: Star Wars, box office and cheese
Welcome to the first Den Of Geek letters page! You've written in, we've answered...
The story so far: a week or two back, we posted that we were starting an old-fashioned letters page. The idea is that you can write in to us about anything you like, and we'll print a selection each week or two. We did not think you would like the idea very much. Turns out, some of you did.
With apologies to the many letters we've not been able to feature - we will try and keep these to the length of a magazine letters page - here's the first batch.
I love the articles you write about underappreciated/obscure films (through which I have discovered the amazing Ghost World) and I was just wondering when you will begin doing these lists again? (Also would it be possible to do a list of underappreciated action films? I would have said do a list of underappreciated Jason Statham films but the answer is there aren't any)
Simon writes: We took the underappreciated lists through to 2011, and got a little stumped by 2012, because it didn't seem we'd left enough time for some lesser known movies to bubble to the top. We will do more underappreciated lists - we love being able to salute movies, games and shows that don't ordinarily get much attention - but we'll be varying them up a bit.
Also: every Jason Statham film is underappreciated. The man only got invited to join the Academy last week....
Star Wars: Episode VII
I was wondering what your thoughts are regarding Star Wars: Episode VII - are you excited? Trepidatious? I ask as, at times when reading Star Wars articles on the site, I get the feeling you guys aren't overly excited for the film - not sure why so feel free to disregard that as I could be completely wrong there.
Ryan writes: We're extremely excited for Episode VII, and yes, maybe just a little bit trepidatious. The problem we have sometimes is that, with the sheer volume of rumours, gossip and leaked images pouring out of its production, we have to constantly decide what we should and should not put on the site.
Speaking personally, as the kind of Star Wars fan who has loads of figures and other memorabilia crowded into his spare room, I'd rather not have the film spoiled so early by seeing a load of leaked images of ships and creatures - which is why we opted not to publish a batch of candid stuff that appeared on the internet a few weeks ago.
To be a bit more concise about it, we're trying to approach the build up to Episode VII cautiously until more concrete, official details emerge - that way, we can enjoy and react to the build-up to Episode VII's release as fans as well as caffeine-addled writers for the site!
Calculating box office
This letter started with some nice stuff about us, but we're a bit shy. So, with due thanks to Simon Mort-Adams, we've cut to the question...
Now to the reason behind my 'letter' to you. It's long been a puzzle to me as to how the weekly cash income of a movie is decided. I understand that if a movie opens to an £55m opening week etc, but how is this calculated? Is it simply a measure of how many tickets have been sold, or is it an actual cash figure that's been collected from all cinemas across the land and collated into one final number?
What account is taken of 'Orange Wednesdays' in these figures? I'd imagine there's a significant (although relatively small) percentage of bums on seats that haven't paid a penny to be there. Do these count towards the final weekly figures?
And what about the World of Cine Unlimited cards. I've regularly kicked the crap out of my card before now and seen up to 10 or 15 movies in a month. All I've paid is my ~£15 per month to the global conglomerate, so is my attendance of said movies also included in these figures? If so, how? Do Cineworld pay the studios an amount depending upon numbers of bums on seats etc?
Simon writes: Absolutely no idea. Next.
[Simon realises this is going against the idea of the letters page. He thus gets in touch with a lovely person from Rentrak UK - a firm that has been compiling box office statistics for the UK and Ireland since 1991. Said lovely person knew the answer. Here it comes...)
Rentrak UK writes: We collect box-office grosses (actual ticket sales) from all cinemas across the UK & Ireland, every day; these are collated to make one overall weekend total. Orange Wednesday ticket sales count for the amount of money actually paid - the free ticket doesn't count for anything. Use of an 'unlimited' card like Cineworld's contributes a set amount towards the total, which is agreed for each film between the circuit and the film's distributor. In some countries, they collect admission figures (number of tickets sold), but not in UK & Ireland.
Long time reader, first time writer, Love the site. I just have one question for you - what's your favourite cheese?
Jimmy (aged 33)
Ryan writes: To paraphrase Will Rogers, I never met a cheese I didn't like. Unless it's one of those really, really smelly ones. I usually go for the more delicate, harder cheeses - manchego (from La Mancha, Don Quixote's old stomping ground) is a particular favourite at the moment, with a lovely smooth consistency and light yet distinct flavour. A bit of manchego melted on toast is a true lunchtime delight. Or try it in a crisp salad, with a few walnuts tossed in and a bit of olive oil drizzled on top. Heaven!
Simon writes: Ryan does a mean line in recipes. Feel free to write in and request them. He's keen to oblige. (What?! - Ryan.) (Go with it, otherwise we'll get asked more tricky questions like that box office one - Simon).
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