Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2010 By the Numbers & A Reprieve for the Viz

When I count up all the films I see in a year, I feel like a shopaholic confronted with his or her credit card bill.

I saw 382 "films" on a theater screen in 2010. For these purposes, a film is not just a feature length film but also includes programs (typically from film festivals) which consist of mutlitple short films. If it was categorized as a single program in a festival guide, it counts as one film entry on my list. Conversely, I saw several programs which consisted of a short film and a feature length film. For my counting purposes, those are counted a single film entry.


The top 10 venues in which I saw films in 2010 were:

1) Roxie Theater (97 films) - primarily the result of four film festival - San Francisco Indiefest, I Still Wake Up Dreaming, Another Hole in the Head and Not Necessarily Noir. The number includes both the Big Roxie and Little Roxie.

2) Pacific Film Archive (71 films) - more than half of my visits were for the Kurosawa series, Italian Neorealism series and the Asian American Film Festival.

3) Castro Theater (62 films) - I saw 30 films between Noir City 8 and the 2010 Silent Film Festival.

4) Viz Cinema (41 films) - I saw 18 films from various Ozu, Mizoguchi and Kurosawa series and 9 films at Another Hole in the Head.

5) Landmark Theaters (17 films) - nine films at the Lumiere, four at the Embarcadero, three at the Opera Plaza, one at the Bridge and zero at the Clay.

6) 4 Star (16 films) - I saw seven films as part of the Chinese American Film Festival. Interestingly, I did not watch any films at the Presidio or Marina, the other theaters affiliated with Lee Neighborhood Theaters.

7) Sundance Kabuki Cinemas (15 films) - All 15 films were part of the 2010 SF International Film Festival.

8) Red Vic (10 films)

9) Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Stanford Theater (9 films each)

In 11th place was the Balboa Theater (6 films). I also watched seven films at various theaters in the Las Vegas area where my father has retired.


On 250 days in 2010, I saw at least one film.

My maximum was four films during a single day. I did that four times in 2010. On Sunday, February 14 (which was the day before Presidents Day), I saw a Frank Capra film at the PFA and then went to see three films at the Roxie as part of IndieFest.

During the Silent Film Festival, I saw four films at the Castro Theater on Saturday, July 17 and another four on Sunday, July 18. A week later on July 25, I saw two films at the Castro as part of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and two films at the Viz as part of Another Hole in the Head.

On 21 days, I saw three films. On 78 days, I saw two films. On 147 days, I saw one film.


In 2010, I spent $2,777.77 for admission to the 382 films. That averages out to $7.27 per film. I paid for three films which I was not able to attend due to traffic, last minute work obligations and illness, respectively. That would have lowered the average to $7.21.

That compares to $2,390.76 to see 348 films in 2009 which averages to $6.87 per film. I'm not sure why the average increased by over 5% in 2010. I saw more films at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 2010. That doesn't explain it all though. I also bought a festival pass to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in 2010 which I had not done in the past. I saw more films and lowered the average cost in 2010 vs 2009 but the average cost of the SF Silent Film Festival was over $12 per film so that raised the total average price.


After writing that Viz Cinema is closing, I read that "VIZ Cinema won't cease its operation. Just programming policy will be changed." That is from a tweet sent by Viz Cinema and directed to Brian Darr who writes Hell On Frisco Bay.

That sounds a little ominous. "We had to destroy the village in order to save it." Until confronted with evidence to the contrary, I'll take this as great news. I hope the programming policy will continue to accept the discount tickets I have at home.

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