I know this from first-hand experience also. I spent 9 years working for a smaller theater company, starting at the bottom doing slave labor for minimum wage but was promoted to projectionist a year later. It was the most rewarding job I've ever had, but the pay was awful. I certainly didn't do it just for the money, and getting to see every movie for free was a major plus (in 10 years total I was the ONLY person I knew of who saw literally EVERY movie- even for free, most of the other people who worked there did not find it worth the time to see everything), but there were some times when I barely had enough money to eat every day and I ended up having to work a second job just to pay my rent and not starve to death. I kind of resented this when the actors I was putting up on the screen were making millions; I think I deserved a little bigger piece of that than what I was getting. After realizing I wasn't going to get any further (and a new general manager who was a real bitch) I applied for and got a management job with Regal Cinemas which had opened a new theater in the area (*cough*calledtheNatomasMarketplace16*cough*). It was like a dream come true- I had about twice as many screens to take care of than before, and I was paid a lot better and got benefits too. Though I only stayed there a year, I enjoyed it even more than the previous theater I had worked at. I realized the company didn't give a damn about good presentation though- there were sound problems in almost every auditorium that had gone unnoticed, with a little research on my own I was able to fix them. There was a technician who came out every few months to "service" the theater, but he had let the place stay open for a year without noticing the sound problems- I had about as much confidence in him as I did the average Circuit City repairman. I got to read online comments from customers about the theater, and one said that they were pleased at how much the theater had improved from when it had first opened- I like to think I had a lot to do with that. There were some truly idiotic policies at that company though. Although they apparently had no standards in place for a good presentation, they DID have a policy that the green "All Audiences" sections at the beginning of previews be cut off. Nobody could give me a definite reason for this except that it had to be done, and it looked terrible. A lot of trailers had their first lines of dialogue cut because of it. Since nobody at the theater seemed to care, I called some of the movie studios (their numbers are usually included when trailers are sent) and asked if we were even allowed to be cutting their trailers. This got the theater company in trouble with at least one studio, and suddenly the policy was changed. I got a lot of resentment for this though because I had made the company look bad (even though it wasn't MY policy), and that if I'd wanted the policy changed I should have gone through the people at the company first. If I had to do it again, I probably would have handled it differently, but I maintain that they should have already known that what they were doing was wrong, and I was simply going insane having to purposely make my presentation look like I didn't know how to put trailers together. Anyways, I apologized to the people I worked with directly and told them I just wanted the theater to have the best presentation possible. Here's what made me leave though: 14 out of the 16 screens there are common-width, which means 2.35 movies are essentially "letterboxed" on the 1.85 screen, though most people won't know this because masking comes down from the top and up from the bottom to hide the unused area. Usually, the masking doesn't change when there are customers in the theater to see it, so they don't know how it works. While I'd prefer screens not be built like that, at least it was better than just cropping everything to the same ratio like some 70s-era mall theaters did. Anyways, this was all fine and good. but one day I was told that I would have to change the automation settings so that the advertising slides shown in between shows could always be shown on the "bigger" screen, so at start time the masking would come down, then it would go back up at the end of the show. I was strongly opposed to this, since I believe the masking should never move when there are people around to see it (unless you have a double feature of one flat and one scope movie, in which case it can't be helped). I felt this would start the show on a sour note, as the audience would be watching the slides on the 1.85 screen (I don't think advertising of ANY kind should be shown in theaters, but that wasn't my call to make) then have the screen get smaller when the actual movie started. On top of that, usually the first thing to be shown once the masking changed was a commercial presented with black area on the SIDES of the picture! Beforehand, I simply have the masking remain in place and showed the slides on the smaller screen. I was told that I would be fired if I didn't set the system up to do this however- I couldn't believe they had the balls to tell me that after all the problems I had fixed in less than a year. There was no way I could fight this, and I knew that they were planning on replacing the slides with digital media projectors which is what they now use to show "The 2wenty", so they would probably make this an even bigger concern by then. It was clear that they were more concerned with shoving advertising down the customers' throats than they were with the actual movie, and while I made it a point not to argue about how they made money I felt having the masking change for it was going too far. I got another job in a different field, and I told the Regal people why I was leaving. All I got was a shrug. Over a year later I got a free pass from my new job to see a sneak preview at this theater I used to be the booth manager at, and suffice it to say there were problems. Not just with the free showing I saw, but I checked a couple other screens on the way out and they had bad things going on too. Last year, ironically enough, Regal bought the smaller company I had worked for previously. Last year I decided I missed the theater business and tried to get back in, applying at another company's theater *cough*CenturyTheatres*cough*- I gave them a nice cover letter explaining my philosophy on presentation quality, and didn't expect any problems since this company publicly states the fact that they don't show commercials (they do show slide ads, but much less intrusively than Regal does.) I got called in for an interview, and I expected the only problem I might run into would have to do with how much they might pay me. Much to my shock, I was told that they didn't hire people to be managers or run their booth right away- I would have to start all over doing the minimum-wage floor staff work, and possibly get promoted in a few months. Apparently having 8 years prior projection experience meant NOTHING, and the people they did have running the movies had room for improvement. I might have been willing to do the floor work for a few months, but I just could not afford to leave my current job to make minimum wage. I went home speechless, I then sent my resume and info to the company's home office to let them know I would still like to work for them and that I could do great things for their company, but I never heard a word from anyone. I then decided I was happy enough at my current job and not to pursue it any further- they didn't deserve me if they were willing to let me walk away from them like that in the first place. I'm not sure I would be appreciated if they did hire me either. So that's my beef with the theater business- common sense takes a back seat much of the time. I've always believed if you have a consistently great presentation, people will come back (and spend money) no matter how bad the movies might be. Most theater companies simply cannot comprehend that concept however. And dammit, you people better read this post because I stayed up over an hour later than I should have writing it!!