Government arts spending fails again

Edmonton has a new 4-D theatre.

Apparently, the province has this cool, state-of-the art 4-D theatre.

But it seems almost no one has heard about it.
4-D? What's that?
Your first question might be, in a three-dimensional world ... what the heck is the fourth dimension?

Italian mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange might have said - "time."

But this is Alberta, so the answer has to be … "snow."
Oh, so this is a story about the rebuilt Capitol Theatre, completed in 2011?
That's right. Down at the Federal Building on 107th Street, the Pehonan theatre is showing an 11-minute educational film about the history of Alberta, where in addition to the three dimensions of traditional Euclidean geometry, the fourth dimension really is snow.

And wind.
So they're also showing that Northern Light film which plays at the Capitol Theatre?
The province spent $808,000 to make the film and build the theatre, which seats from 80 to 120 people, depending on the configuration.

About 1,600 people have seen the film since it started playing at the start of July.
Wait, so this is a similar theatre, showing a similar film, but rather than being free with park admission created and produced by a non-profit agency the province blew almost a million bucks producing an imitation video?

Uh, pretty much, yeah.

1,600 people sounds fairly unimpressive. I saw that many people at Windemere Theatre for the opening of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 in April.
Chapman said the budget for promotions has been kept to a minimum.

"We put our money more into our programming," he said. "What we're trying to do with all of our programming here is get people involved in the democratic process, and help them understand what the parliamentary process is.

"And so, being immersed in that and feeling it and sensing it, just takes it to a whole other level."

Chapman said the Legislative Assembly of Alberta Visitor Centre, which includes the theatre, a retail store and an art gallery, plans in the future to work with Travel Alberta and have a social media campaign.
In this day and age who makes a film and forgets to have a promotions budget?

The answer, of course, is government. Promotional expenditures on major Hollywood films (dubbed P&A in the industry) averaged $37M per film in 2009. Just on U.S./Canada marketing advertising made up 34-37% of the cost of the film -- and that was in 2009. I'm not sure it would have gotten better.

This isn't to say that the province should be spending another $474,000 marketing their promotional film, and from the information the CBC provided it's going to be hard to decide how much of this was wasted on the movie itself and how much on the renovated theatre. What with the Sky Palace debacle, you'd think the media would be more interested in wasteful renovations.

Still, Edmonton already had a 4-D theatre, one that probably deserves a bigger promotional budget and shouldn't be ignored by the CBC.

Bonus Capitol Theatre feature: The 1956 sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet will be showing at the Capitol on Friday July 30th.