Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two Releases To Ponder Concerning Warner On Wednesdays

Below are two press releases concerning the Warner on Wednesdays showing of films at the historic Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro.

Because I sit in the ticket booth outside the theatre which was opened in 1931 I can attest that the second week of the schedule brought in far more audience members than the first week and hopes are that the crowds will grow larger with every week's film.

Now here is something really unusual about Warner On Wednesdays; paying just $10.00 is better than free!

Here are the details of how that can be.

Regular admission prices for tickets is just $3.00 per ticket. That would be a whole lot more than the hundreds of complementary tickets that have been passed out but even free costs more, if you want popcorn and sodas.

Let's say you and a friend come to the theatre and want two $3.00 tickets. You hand me $6.00 and you get two tickets.

You go to the consession stand and pay $3.50 each for two small popcorns and $2.50 for two small sodas.

Heck, the prices for popcorn and soda beats the stuffing out of regular theatre prices to begin with.

So, you total up the tickets, the popcorn, and the soda. You just spent $18.00 for two tickets, two popcorns, and two small sodas.

Let's say you use two complementary tickets. O.K., that knocks off $6.00 and you still see the movie and enjoy the grub for $12.00.

Think you are smart? How about I sell you a $10.00 special?

That two tickets for the movie, two small popcorns, and two small sodas for just $10.00!

See, that beats free if you want the popcorn and soda.

There are still some complementary tickets roaming around. If you don't want popcorn or sodas, try to find them.

So now here are the two press releases.

Warner Grand Theatre on Wednesdays Proves To Be Popular With the People of San Pedro

Warner On Wednesdays (WOW) a summer film festival - has brought in the crowds and grows in popularity in Downtown San Pedro. 

WOW - Warner On Wednsdays in San Pedro


PRLog (Press Release)Jun 25, 2009 – In researching the genesis of Warner On Wednesdays (W.O.W) we spoke to producer, Ray Buffer who remarked, "in my time in San Pedro I have encountered a number of people who have told me that they had never been to Warner Grand Theatre, which surprised me.  What I learned is that many have had the perception that it is a 'uppity' place where they may not be comfortable - many people were not connecting to the place because the material presented was not known to them, and the price - not attractive." 

Buffer continued, "I had been thinking about a way to get more footsteps in the theatre for sometime, and I met with Dave Lynch, owner of Sacred Grounds Coffee House, over lunch.  We discussed the economy, and the infrequent events at Warner Grand Theatre.  We discussed ways to stimulate concession sales even if it meant producing an event ourselves.  We talked about doing a series of 2nd run movies - films that were fairly new, and may just be coming out on DVD.  Why rent the film and watch it at home, when for the same price (or less) you can enjoy it on the big screen watching a 35 MM print?  I spoke with Lee about doing a series of films and what 'day' would be good for the theatre.  We looked at the schedule and saw that Wednesdays and Thursdays were generally available, but Thursdays were less available.  Lee told me that John Delgado, president of Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council had wanted to do a series of films for sometime, but things may have stalled.   So I met with John and shared my reasons for wanting to do a Summer festival:  get people into the theatre for the first time by making it affordable and mainstream and perhaps after the audience gets comfortable, they will come see other events at Warner Grand Theatre.  John's reasons were to offer low cost entertainment to his constituents and perform outreach for Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council - he also wanted to see the Warner become a more popular venue for locals like it was when he was kid.   We also shared the desire to invigorate business in downtown San Pedro on Wednesday nights.  John agreed to work together and approach various councils for funding and I got to work on the film selection, bookings, and marketing.  When we settled upon Wednesdays, I came up with "Warner On Wednesdays" (WOW) for our concept and produced posters and materials.  As additional sponsors came aboard, fully committed, we revised materials to include them." 

Buffer explained, "in May, The PBID and Chamber produced an event tied in with the Mayor's Day of Service called Super Service Saturday.  I assisted them with title concept and marketing and by booking Superman Returns for a 4PM showing at Warner.  This was where we first mentioned Warner On Wednesdays, and Superman Returns was fairly well attended despite a late marketing attempt.  The event showed me that people who had never been to the theatre could be attracted for free.  So in exchange for financial support, our sponsors were provided with "free" tickets that announce their sponsorship of the event and extended free admission to the holder courtesy of the funding organization.  In addition we were selling $3 tickets at the door, and $10 tickets that included admission, sodas and popcorn for 2." 

Buffer expounded, "if the series ultimately proves to be successful, then we would like to continue it either as a Summer Series of 12 films, or as a year round Wednesday event.  Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council has provided 85% of the theatre costs, with Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council coming in with 10%, the other 5% of the theatre costs, the film rental, delivery and license fees, and marketing/ticket costs are covered by The Relevant Stage and Sacred Grounds.  Revenue goes to mitigate costs, and any excessive profits go back to perpetuate more 'WOW' in the future." 

When asked about the costs of this Summer film festival, Buffer answered, "one way TRS is attempting to make sure all the costs are paid for WOW, is by selling preshow on-screen advertising.  For $360 (about the cost of a movie license and rental) a business or organization gets their slide shown 3 times or more accompanied by 15 seconds of voice over, before each screening.  That amounts to 72 impressions over the 12 film series, which breaks down to just $5 per ad." 

Buffer credits the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs for working to make sure this community partnership came to fruition, "Lee Sweet, General Manager of the Warner Grand Theatre which is owned by City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs has been invaluable in helping us navigate our way through this first series.  He has dealt with all the movie companies - and it is no small feat to book 12 films from nearly as many film companies all within a fairly compact window of time, and juggle scheduling personnel of the theatre, including a projectionist for something the theatre has not seen regularly in a while: back to back film screenings - especially on a weekday." 

Buffer advised, "the screenings at 6PM and 9PM hopefully allow those who are retired, out of school, and working from 9 to 5, equal opportunities to take in a WOW film, and eat in downtown San Pedro.  We have seen with just the first two films, over 600 people come in to the Warner Grand Theatre on a Wednesday night!" 

Buffer concludes, "we hope that people will seize the opportunity to get engaged with the Warner Grand Theatre through this affordable series.  Movie theatres typically make their money through concession sales, and with Dave Lynch's recently expanded menu of including hotdogs, and the convenience of buying beer and wine, fresh cookies, popcorn, sodas and candies - we hope that audiences who get to see the movie for free or even for only $3, will be inclined to spend more liberally at the concession stand.  Its great to see the community gather in such a beautiful theatre, and use it the way it was intended by its creators".

The Relevant Stage Theatre Company performs in residence at The Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, CA. TRS' mission is to challenge hearts, engage minds and expose truths. TRS tells relevant stories about the contemporary world we share.

Warner On Wednesdays (WOW) is produced through a community partnership between TRS, DCA, Sacred Grounds Coffee House, Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council, and Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council.


THE WIZ starring Michael Jackson, to be Screened in San Pedro on August 19th as part of Warner On Wednesdays

2009-06-26 06:47:05 - "The Wiz" can be seen Wednesday, August 19 at 6PM and 9PM at Warner Grand Theatre for only $3, or for $10 you can get two drinks, two popcorn and two tickets. See Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow in a big 35MM print just as audiences saw it 31 years ago.

The Wiz is a 1978 American musical film produced by Motown Productions and Universal Pictures, and released by Universal on October 24, 1978. An urbanized retelling of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz featuring an entirely African-American cast, The Wiz was adapted from the 1975 Broadway musical of the same name. The film follows the adventures of Dorothy, a shy schoolteacher from Harlem, New York who finds herself magically transported to the wonderland of Oz — which resembles a fantasy version of New York City. Befriended by a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a Cowardly Lion, Dorothy travels through the world of Oz to seek an audience with the mysterious "Wiz", who they say has the power to take her home.

Produced by Rob Cohen and directed by Sidney Lumet, The Wiz stars Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Theresa Merritt, Thelma Carpenter, Lena Horne, and Richard Pryor. The film's story was reworked from William F. Brown's Broadway libretto by Joel Schumacher, and Quincy Jones supervised the adaptation of Charlie Smalls & Luther Vandross' songs for film. A handful of new songs, written by Jones and the songwriting team of Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, were added for the film version. The film received four Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Original Music Score and Best Cinematography.

Michael Jackson, a former Motown star who by the start of development on The Wiz in 1977, had left Motown for Epic Records with his brothers The Jacksons, was cast as the Scarecrow. Jackson was dedicated to the role, and watched videotapes of gazelles, cheetahs and panthers in order to learn graceful movements for his part. Critics noted that Jackson possessed "genuine acting talent" and "provided genuinely memorable moments." Of the results of the film, Jackson stated: "I don't think it could have been any better, I really don't." In 1980, Jackson stated that his time working on The Wiz was "my greatest experience so far...I'll never forget that."

Warner On Wednesdays had already scheduled "The Wiz" as part of its Summer Film Festival of affordable for films for families. The selection is made poignant by Jackson's sudden passing. On Wednesday, August 19, There will be two showings of "The Wiz" at 6PM and 9PM at Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th Street, San Pedro. Come see Michael Jackson's film acting debut, on the big screen for this rare opportunity. Visit: for more details.

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