big screen shenanigans

There are holes in Landmark Theatres' script. The cinema chain has pledged to dribble $150,000 into their sticky, dilapidated buildings.

There are holes in Landmark Theatres’ script.

The cinema chain has pledged to dribble $150,000 into their sticky, dilapidated buildings.

It comes after public scrutiny of the poor state of the operations sparked angry phone calls and the formation of a Facebook group, “Cinemas in Whitehorse SUCK! Shame on you Landmark” which quickly grew to 149 members.

Windows were broken and not fixed, water from bathrooms ran down the Yukon Theatre’s walls and there were repeated sound and film problems.

Last winter the heat didn’t work, recently the box office cash registers couldn’t provide change, the seats weren’t properly bolted to the floor … the problems went on and on.

After that, Nathan Cooney, the company’s director of operations, came North to inspect things, pronounced them bad and announced it will spruce things up a bit.

For people who like to see movies on a big screen, this is welcome news.

But there were disturbing messages sprinkled amongst Cooney’s remarks.

Hiring Whitehorse residents with no movie experience was a mistake, he said.

The company has burned through three managers in three years, and many problems could have been resolved with proper staff training.

It was almost as if Cooney was suggesting problems lay with the local residents’ ineptitude, not with the company’s perfunctory approach to its Whitehorse operations.

Apparently, Landmark needs to be reminded that responsibility for the hiring of staff, their training and their inability to pry loose some money to fix windows, doors, cash registers, seats, carpets, and heating systems, among other things, all stretches back to head office in Calgary. In short, you get what you pay for—and Landmark was running things on the cheap.

After years of neglect, the town shamed the company into action.

However, it is still not proceeding with construction of a new, long-promised cinema complex, which is really what the town needs.

Instead, it is slapping a little paint on the walls, cleaning the carpets and floors and tightening some bolts. A manager is spending some time in town training staff.

The cash infusion is sorely needed and long overdue. It represents the least Landmark could do.

“We didn’t want to go halfway with it,” said Cooney. “We want to regain customers’ trust.”

Well, in fact, they are just going halfway with it.

Whether it’s enough to regain customer trust remains to be seen. (Richard Mostyn)