AMC Theatres Have Terrible Projection

Cross-posted from Jay’s personal blog, Visit for more reviews of poorly-projected first run films!

Why do I have to visit a film festival or a home theatre to watch a movie projected properly? I’m sick of going to AMC Theatres and paying a premium for movies that are poorly projected.

AMC Kennedy Commons 20 is consistently bad when it comes to poor projection and they have the most expensive ticket prices in the city at $12.50! Last year I watched No Country For Old Men and their theatre and the experience was awful. The entire length of the film was slightly out of focus, projected on a five degree angle and had a bright flicker all the way through. One patron stood up and yelled that he was getting his money back.

I left the theatre to find a manager and complained about the projection as well. He gave me a couple of free passes and admitted that there was a problem with the projector. Instead of canceling the screenings until the projector could be fixed AMC just carried on like everything was fine and probably figured that the stupid public would never notice.

Yesterday I watched Valkyrie at AMC Whitby 24. The entire freaking movie was out of focus! What the hell is wrong with AMC? What’s wrong with the audience that they put up with this crap?

Disappearing Projectionists

Part of the problem is that most movie houses aren’t using projectionists anymore. According to Torontoist, AMC’s newest theatre at Yonge and Dundas has 24 screens with more people running the concession stand than the projectors:

Instead of projectionists, there are one or two non-union workers overseeing all 24 screens from a single console; their duties are essentially limited to pressing a “play” button and being aware of any error messages that might pop up.

To be fair to AMC, most movie theatres are guilty of poor projection and sound. I don’t know how many out of focus documentary films I’ve watched at the Bloor Cinema. They have a speaker on the east wall that has been crackling for the past 3 years as well. Maybe I should complain more, but I don’t think the theatre owners care.

First Run Films

Why should I pay $12.50 to watch a film and another $10 for popcorn when I can watch a movie in Blu-ray at home that has more clarity than anything I’ve seen in any movie theatre to date? First run films. I like to see movies when they are first released and unfortunately that means lousy projection at the cineplex. You might think that digital projection is the answer but read You Pay Thirteen Bucks, And What Do You Get?

I suppose I could download the screeners that are floating around on the BitTorrent sites but I prefer quality over crap. Most of the DivX movies that are “free” suffer from really poor quality, lack of surround sound and audio drift. I can’t watch a movie that sounds like a poorly dubbed martial arts movie. And not to sound self-righteous but there is also the whole piracy thing. If people continue to steal movies the industry will continue to suffer but that’s another rant.

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One Response to AMC Theatres Have Terrible Projection

  1. John Ottman says:

    I feel your anger! I find that inexcusable. It’s been a pet peeve of mine for years. However, hopefully not too far in the distant future, it will be solved when theaters are all digital. This way Helen Keller can be in the projection booth, and it will look flawless and exactly as the film-makers intended. The digital theaters I’ve been in are such a pleasant experience – no dreading that a reel change will knock the film out of focus or anything. I have a pet peeve regarding sound standards though. I find that many times the sound on the film is not at the optimum level because many theaters will lower the settings for the loud trailers. When the film plays, it’s too low. Whatever the problem, there needs to be exacting sound standard just as there will be with digital picture, so that no matter where the film is showing, EVERYone will have the same movie-going experience.

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