Letters: Star Wars, box office and cheese

Feature Den Of Geek 4 Jul 2014 - 06:13

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.

Underappreciated lists

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 Mort-Adams

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).

Send your letters to denofgeek@yahoo.com. Or write to Den Of Geek, Dennis Publishing, 30 Cleveland Street, London W1T 4JD. Please enclose a stamped addressed envelope if you want us to send you your letter back once we've read it.

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Disqus - noscript

That was great! Had been wondering about how on earth movies made money from Cineworld Unlimited the other day, and have naturally always been curious about Ryan's favourite cheese. Great idea, well executed, dudes!

Good choice of cheese! Love me a bit of manchego.

I had you down as a brie man. It's like I don't even know you anymore.

You've talked a lot of cheddar in this article.

Coming Soon: Den of Geek's Recipe Corner.

Or, a better title - Den of Eat.

If it helps I listened to some Reef while I read this.

Dear Den of Geek,

I can't beat Robotnik on the Labyrinth Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog. Any tips?

Thank you,
Matt (8 years old + 20)

Dear Den of Geek,

Why-oh-why-oh-why have you decided to include a letters page. I don't pay my licence fee for this rubbish. What's next? Fax of the week?

Your sincerely,

Disgruntled of Sodding Chipbury

PS I hope you are reading this letter in a smug actor voice in your head

PPS only joking, I quite like it

Needs a disclaimer that says "we can only return your artwork if you enclose a self addressed email"

I've been thinking about the Cineworld cards recently too and would be really interested in more detail regarding this. Do the bigger films get a bigger share? And does my decision to see/not see a film using the unlimited card make any difference to the film's success, or is my share of the ~£15 allocated regardless of how many unlimited card holders actually end up seeing each one?

It would seem like a shame to me if the preferences of a relatively keen cinema going audience actually end up not influencing decisions regarding future sequels/rip-off's. As you have to see at least 2 films a month to justify the card (and many people I know with the card can go 10 times or more in some months), you can assume a degree of cinema literacy from this audience that arguably should have a significant effect on the cinematic Zeitgeist.

Standard Unlimited tickets are processed at £3 - this is then treated like any other ticket sold and distributed between cinema and distributor accordingly. (the amount is, IIRC, £4.50 for 3D and £5.50 for IMAX shows.) Obviously the system is dependent on infrequent users and snack buyers subsidising unprofitable movie addicts.

If you didn't watch a film with your Unlimited card, you didn't contribute to its box office.

Move faster. If I remember correctly, the point isn't to beat him, it's just to not die. Then you win.

Is this going to be a weekly thing?

Ah, I've just realised (thanks to your reply) that I slightly misinterpreted the initial response. Thanks for clarifying!

Every couple of weeks probably. We'll see how we go!

This is why I love Den of Geek.

A proper old-fashioned letters page would have a star letter/letter of the week!

Oh god... A letters page is so cheesey!

Alright , alright.... I'm sorry but everyone missed it.

I'll send a letter of apology .

Theres not much point in getting an unlimited card anymore, Cineworld have ruined their experience by introducing allocated seating. With Unlimited you'll end up sitting in poor view areas of the screen

Can you not still book online in advance though? I haven't actually been able to since the new system came in (as a result of having my one "advanced booking" locked up for the upcoming secret screening, which is a separate problem), but even before that, my local cinema had allocated seating for all D-box screens. And we just dealt with it - and took advantage of it even.

If you take the care to book in advance, and use the online system, you get your absolute pick of the screen. And even if you don't, the staff at my local still have the choice of where in the screen they will put you - at the very least, they ask "front, middle or back", and most will show you the touchscreen/a printed map and ask where you want to go.

I understand why people have issues with the system if you wander in and let them put you where they want - but it's easy to game to your advantage. Even if you do see a film on a relative whim, just download the app and book your chosen allocated seats "in advance" using that before you start travelling to the cinema. Or talk to the staff - if your polite, they won't mind being asked to be put somewhere with a decent view.

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