Posted on 03 April 2014.
The smell of salt and sweet butter fill the theater, various conversations turn words into mumbles of sounds, with occasional crunching sounds of candies and popcorn and slurping of drinks. The lights darken and everyone goes quiet, expect a few whispered side conversation followed by ‘shhh.’ The movie begins.
This is a typical scene at movie theaters, however, the Globe is not full of eager moviegoers, and with such low attendance it’s struggling to break even.
With the exception of 2013, the Globe hasn’t had a profitable semester since its opening in 2002.
“There have been countless amounts of times when we have shown movies for four, six, 10 people,” said Keith Brakel, director of Conference Services that oversees Barnes Student Center.
“One” said Brakel and Lydia Porter (sr), manager of the Globe, in unison.
Porter said the main goal of the Globe is to pick movies students want to see. The Globe is a student managed venue, with multiple volunteers running the show, according to Porter and Brakel.
Globe management was very optimistic about student attendance this year after the first successful profit year of 2013. However, students’ support has not been with the Globe this year, according to Brakel.
Animated movies are without a doubt the highest grossing movies, according to Porter. “Tangled,” “Wreck it Ralph” and “Despicable Me 2” had some of the highest earning showings over the past two years. “Frozen” became the Globe’s highest grossing film in its history, selling 1,283 tickets spring 2014.
During the 2014 school year, the Globe management showed movies they believed college-aged students would really want to see. New releases such as “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug” and “Iron Man 3” cost approximately $1,200 for a two-day copyright.
The Globe seats 198 people for a sold-out show and sells $2 student tickets. “Iron Man 3” had an attendance total of 267 people spanning six showings, earning the Globe approximately $540.
The Globe has lost money on all non-animated movie showings, according to Porter.
“It’s just the way the Globe is,” Porter said. “There is really no way for The Globe to make money, because the movie’s copyrights are so high.”
Porter’s job is to bring the student perspective into selecting movies. She evaluates nearly every movie that comes into theaters, looking at ratings, content and box office numbers. Porter also listens to student conversations around campus before recommending movies to Brakel.
After Porter recommends a variety of movies, Porter and Brakel discuss various aspects of the movie. The goal of the dialogue between the two is to create conversations similar to what students may talk about after seeing the film. Once Brakel approves the movie, Vice President for Student Development Michael Moffitt’s seal of approval is the last step before purchasing the rights to the movie in question.
Students may wonder with the recent change in IWU’s media policy, will the Globe began showing R-rated movies?
“No it will not,” Porter said.
“Everything we do in the Globe is a reflection of the university,” Brakel said. “So we are always conscious of that fact and sensitive to it.”
Porter added IWU has the Film Society, which is more equipped to present and have discussion on R-rated movies. She described The Globe as a place where students can just hang out, relax and watch a movie.
Next year, the Globe will evaluate finances, including ticket and concession prices, according to Brakel. Management will also evaluate how many newly released movies the Globe is able to show, in light of the lack of student support.
“The Globe is such a prominent fixture in the Mallway. It’s the meeting for everything,” Porter said. “Students’ decision to come or not come to a movie is crucial. It’s important. Coming, supporting our business. We need you and we need your investment.”