The inherent danger and beauty of the Internet is that it just happens to contain pretty much all of the information in the world ever. And every so often you stumble upon some information that you weren’t expecting to find because it was simply something that you never thought about until the information was presented to you.
In August, I was looking to see when the latest Kevin Smith film, Red State, was going to be released in Ireland. Staggered releases are one of my pet hates and because of the way Kevin Smith was distributing the film, the release was more staggered than most. So the only source that I trusted to give me an accurate date for release was the IFTN, the Irish Film and Television Network. The Network is pretty much the place to go for anything to do with the film industry in Ireland. And due to an errant mouse-click, I found out that it also gives some fairly comprehensive information and statistics on the Irish Box Office. One of the most unexpected and interesting bits of information that I found on the Box Office page was the number of cinema screens in the Republic of Ireland. According to the site, there are 430 cinema screens in the Republic of Ireland.
I didn’t really think too much about it at first, but in the back of my mind over the next couple of days, I was trying to work out how hard it would be to see a movie on all of those screens and exactly where those screens were. So, just as an exercise I did a bit of research using a pretty reliable iPhone App that lists the names of the cinemas in every county in Ireland. It didn’t take me too long to work out that the total of 430 screens was in fact going to be pretty accurate. And after I happened to mention that fact on Facebook, it took even less time for me to decide that I should see a movie on every screen in the Republic of Ireland.
After that decision was made, the research was kicked up a notch. I had to find out exactly how many screens there were in each and every cinema around the country. Dublin was easy. After about an hour I was able to account for each and every one of the 125 cinema screens in the county of Dublin. Some of the more… rural parts of Ireland were harder to get concrete information on. I knew for certain that I had the names of all of the cinemas but trying to find information on how many screens were in each cinema could be hard to come by, especially when phone lines only consisted of automated recordings. But after a lot of searching, a lot of patience, and a certain amount of swearing at my iPhone, I could say with a degree of certainty that there were in fact 439 cinema screens located around the Republic of Ireland.
Initially, I was taken with the idea of doing an average of one cinema per day but that idea went out the window as soon as I thought seriously about it. Apart from the fact that I work a full time job, I have three weddings to go to next year that are all overseas, so 439 movies in 439 days just isn’t realistic. But 439 movies in 500 Days might be a little bit more realistic. The 61 “spare” days will be Intermission Days. They’ll be the days when I can’t make it to a new screen, the days when I can’t afford to go to the cinema, the days when I’m too tired after work, and they’ll be the days when I’m just not in the country. Intermission Days will ebb and flow during the 500 Days as I skip the cinema some days and I see three movies on other days. But what will remain the same is the challenge to see a movie on every cinema screen in the Republic of Ireland within 500 days. And that’s how 500 Days of Cinema was born.
Throughout the journey of 500 Days of Cinema, I’ll be recording everything and posting it on the 500 Days blog, located at simon-fitzgerald.blogspot.com, and I’ll be updating my adventures here on Fandomania once a week for your convenience.
As I type this, I’m on Day 16 and I’m waiting to go to see a movie in the fifteenth screen. It’s been an enjoyable adventure with some old, beloved movies and some new ones too. I’ll give a report of how things are going next week, and maybe even admit that I got talked in to going to see Twilight as one of the movies I’ll be reporting on during the 500 Days.