Gallagher film series opens with difficulties
With a low first-night attendance and a canceled second show, the first week of the Gallagher Film Series hasn't had a smooth transition to the Social Sciences building.
"The Matrix" opened last Wednesday to only 60 students, but Bill Fannin, Gallagher Theatre manager, said he is confident that once all the glitches are worked out, the attendance will reach the numbers that the old theater maintained.
Due to the Memorial Student Union construction, the theater and its tradition of discount movies on campus has been temporarily moved to the Social Sciences auditorium, room 100.
But technical problems had the program's managers concerned.
"We haven't been able to integrate our sound system with the one already in the auditorium," Fannin said. "Eventually we hope to have stereo quality sound."
Mindy Griffith, student programs coordinator, blamed the low attendance on advertising.
"A normal evening at the Gallagher averaged around 150 students in attendance an evening," she said. "We weren't very confident that the projector would work. So we advertised tentatively."
Now that everything is working, Griffith said they are planning to begin advertising since they no longer have the marquee that was in front of the old theater.
Student Programs plans to distribute calendar cards that list the upcoming shows.
"They are going to have to come up with more creative ways to advertise," Fannin said.
Program managers said they hope to ease student concerns about the closed theater.
"Some students were worried that when the Gallagher was closed that they would no longer be able to see movies on campus at discount prices," Griffith said.
Tickets cost $2.50 and the show times are 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Show times for the later show may vary slightly depending on the length of the feature.
Student Programs officials said they hope to keep having midnight showings of classic films and student favorites like "The Breakfast Club," Griffith said.
During the summer, they searched for a new location to house the Gallagher Film Series.
"Many locations were considered but none had the size and screen that are needed to house the series," Griffith said.
The Social Sciences auditorium can hold about 500 students. The only attribute that the new location lacks is a concession stand.
"Since it is a classroom, it can't have a place to sell popcorn," Griffith said.
The technical problems have included the balance between background sound and dialog.
"We've had some technical problems. They still need to tweak the sound," said former UAB film chair Richard Busch.