Swedish Subtitling of Swedish Films Causes Controversy

Turist Force Majeure

Also available in Swedish in Sweden

From today all Swedish film screened by Sweden’s largest cinema chain SF Bio will be subtitled in Swedish. Yes, all.

While foreign films have always been subtitled rather than dubbed in Sweden (except animation for children), the decision to introduce same-language subtitling for ALL screenings of ALL films has caused controversy in the country that prides itself on being progressive in film matters.

While the move is aimed to improve access for those with hearing problems, the decision has not been universally well received.

This is the message on the homepage of SF Bio:

News! As of December 19 SF Bio will also be showing all Swedish films with Swedish subtitles. This is to facilitate for all those who have difficulty understanding what is said in the films.

In Sweden there are over 1 million people who have some form of hearing loss. For these people, it has been difficult to go to watch Swedish films when they had trouble hearing the dialogue, and it has been confined to a few screenings with Swedish subtitles. Now we want to improve accessibility for all and will henceforth show all Swedish films with Swedish subtitles.

Movies with foreign dialogue is subtitled almost without exception in Swedish, but for those who have difficulty understanding the dialogue on Swedish films are also shown some films with Swedish dialogue also with Swedish subtitles. The range of subtitled movies for various reasons been limited, but a selection of films are produced with Swedish subtitles.

The switch to all-subtitling was supposed to have taken place on 5 December, but got postponed for two weeks for ‘logistic’ reasons, as explained in the Swedish newspaper for the deaf community.

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Cinema Concessions Calorie Count Coming in 2015 – NAC Responds

Popcorn calorie count

When you go to see “Star Wars VII: the Force Awakens” at a Regal Cinema next year you will have the choice of watching it with a 960 calorie large tub of popcorn (with optional 260 calories “buttery” topping), a 500 calories 54 ounces soda, a 650 calories hot dog or perhaps a 716 calories nachos with cheese. Or if you prefer Marcus Theatres’ Big Screen Bistro, perhaps a glass of Sycamore Lane Chardonnay at 123 calories with a 12″ Pepperoni Special pizza at 215 calories per slice or 1,720 for the whole pizza.

That is because from 1 December 2015 all US grocery and convenience stores, fast food restaurants, amusement parks and, yes, cinemas with 20 or more locations will be required to display calorie information next to each item on their menu. This is the result of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration rule linked to the Affordable Care Act, also known as ‘Obamacare’.

Here is what the FDA News Release had to say on the issue:

The menu labeling final rule applies to restaurants and similar retail food establishments if they are part of a chain of 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name and offering for sale substantially the same menu items. Covered food establishments will be required to clearly and conspicuously display calorie information for standard items on menus and menu boards, next to the name or price of the item. Seasonal menu items offered for sale as temporary menu items, daily specials and condiments for general use typically available on a counter or table are exempt from the labeling requirements.


The menu labeling final rule also requires covered establishments to provide, upon consumer request and as noted on menus and menu boards, written nutrition information about total calories, total fat, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber, sugars and protein.

Vending machines have an additional year to comply with these requirements. But are cinemas ready for this?

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Daily Cinema Digest – Thursday 18 December 2014

Kim Jong Il puppet

“The Interview” may have been pulled from cinemas, but that won’t stop this freedom-loving Texan cinema chain from showing a Hollywood film making fun of North Korea’s leaders.

The Alamo Drafthouse in Texas was one independent cinema willing to brave the threat and show the film regardless, it said. But now that it has been cancelled, they have decided to put on a showing of Team America instead.

The cinema hailed that movie – which is about a North Korean plot to destroy the world – as “THE GREATEST MOVIE MADE ABOUT AMERICAN PATRIOTISM EVER”.

The showing on 27 December will be a free-to-attend, sing-along affair, and the cinema says it will be providing enough red, white and blue paraphernalia for everyone.  LINK

Russian cinema

Russia – The collapsing rubel is having an effect on Russia’s multiplexes, forced to seek changes to the terms of their leases.

Russian cinema chains are calling on owners of shopping malls where their theaters are located to adjust rental contracts against the backdrop of the weakening ruble, which threatens to drive them out of business.

Several large cinema chains, including Cinema Park, Karo Film, Kinomaks and Formula Kino, have sent an open letter to mall owners, requesting that rental contracts, in which rent is normally stipulated in U.S. dollars, be revised and rent fixed in rubles.  LINK

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Number of New Cinemas in China is Up – But so is Box-office Fraud

China box office fraud

Last week saw the publication of two reports, both of which pointed to upward trends in the Chinese exhibition industry. But while the first pointed to a growth in the number of new screens, the second pointed to an increase in the instances of box office fraud.

report by Yi En Consulting has shown that as of 30 November, the total number of cinemas and multiplexes in China amounted to 5,540 with a total of 23,349 screens. This has led to a lot of end-of-year analysis and prognostication, coming as it does also close to the re-filing of the Wanda Cinemas IPO prospectus.

The number of new cinemas in Mainland China doubled in January-November 2014 to 957 compared to 476 in the same period last year. Beijing Daily looks at the key players (Wanda, Poly, Bono, etc.) and the dynamics shaping this market, where more players are looking to follow Wanda’s IPO lead.

Beijing Daily reporter learned that this year, in addition to already listed Wanda Cinema, the other cinema companies are also in preparation or wait listed. The first is the original plan and Wanda Cinema accept China Securities Regulatory Commission reviewed the same day in Guangzhou Jinyi Film and Television Media Co., Ltd., but the presence of a false prospectus of the eligibility conditions have been canceled. At the same time, the industry ranked second in the Shanghai Film Co., previously disclosed on April 18 prospectus, to be listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, while China Film Corp. also announced June 16 the prospectus, and most raised Uses of funds are investment projects cinema. In addition, the industry said, ranked fourth in the Guangdong market, the earth also has the listing.

The role of 3D and Imax/PLF (premium large format) films has also been significant in 2014.

According to public information, as of the end of October this year, the country released 52 million at the box office over the movie, 26 movie for 3D movie, half of the total box office revenue, 3D movies have occupied half of China’s film market. With such a huge market demand, the theater in order to attract customers have increased construction of 3D auditoriums. A film industry insider talking to Beijing Daily, told reporters: “Look at the Beijing movie theaters, an average ticket 2D movie ticket is 50 yuan, and a 3D movie ticket fares usually more than 100 yuan, the theater in order to the difference will be considered to improve the middle by large screen IMAX auditorium box office. ”  LINK

In the second article, turning its attention to the future, the focus is on the growth in the Tier Two and Tier Four cities.

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Sony Hackers Crossed A Line By Threatening Movie Theatres

The Interview Premiere

Though most of the entertainment industry and business world has been riveted to every breaking development of the Sony Pictures hack, we have purposely refrained from writing anything about it. That was until the perpetrators of the cybercrime threatened movie theatres showing an upcoming Sony film release with terrorist acts.

Yesterday morning, in what has become an almost daily ritual since news of the Sony hack first surfaced the group taking responsibility for the cyber attack, who call themselves the Guardians of Peace, sent an email which threatened:

“We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.”

The email went on to state that “The world will be full of fear” and referenced the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. It suggested, in no uncertain terms, that moviegoers should stay away from movie theatres screening “The Interview” and those that live near such cinemas should evacuate their homes. No specific reason was given, however since the hack against Sony Pictures first occurred it has been widely speculated that North Korea might be responsible for the attack in retaliation for “The Interview”, a film Sony had scheduled to open Christmas day. The comedy featuring Seth Rogen and James Franco centers around a plan to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

As a media outlet focused on the motion picture exhibition and distribution industries we were among those who received the hacker’s daily emails. Over the past few weeks we could have used this site to dissect the notes of countless DCI meetings from the past ten years or even highlight the terms of Sony’s various virtual print fee (VPF) agreements, details of which were contained in the staggered distribution of Sony’s data. However, there is a reason such information was meant to be kept confidential and its publication serves no greater public need. As well, the commercial matters being discussed within such documents is ancient history and any interest in them would be purely academic at best. That our silence came with the advantage of not publicizing the hackers or their crime was an added bonus.

But when the perpetrators took aim at the general public, threatening innocent people in a venue this particular media outlet considers a place of secular worship, they crossed a line that even the most malicious hackers know to avoid. Virtual thievery in the anonymity of cyberspace gives victims the false sense they are not in direct danger of physical harm. Threatening terrorist acts upon specific people or places in a world still smarting from an endless string of such events panics a public with feelings of immediate personal danger. That’s what makes such threats so affective and why the Sony hackers’ intimidation of movie theatres is far more damaging than any of the data they leaked.

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China Cinema Digest – Wednesday 17 December 2014

Imax China 200 screens

Imax has crossed 200 screens in Mainland China following the latest deal announced with Wanda Cinemas.

IMAX and Wanda Cinema, announced today that the company, along with Wanda Plaza is located in Hangzhou Gongshu Wanda IMAX theater opened, IMAX theater in China’s total reached 200. Wanda Cinema is one of the first partners to IMAX theaters in China. Currently, Wanda Cinema has become the company’s largest IMAX cinema partners in the international market, the commitment to build a total of 210 IMAX theaters.

In 2001, China’s first IMAX theater opened in Shanghai Science and Education, which marks the formal entry into the Chinese market IMAX Corporation. In 2004, IMAX company opened its first commercial IMAX theater in China. At present, China has become the world’s second largest IMAX market, a total of more than 400 IMAX commercial theaters, 179 of which have been opened. After all screens installed, IMAX theater network will cover commercial 122 cities in 30 provinces of China.  LINK

Luxe RealD
RealD announced at CineAsia a three-screen deal with Broadway Cinema for its Luxe PLF brand. This is the first deal in China and heats up the competition with Imax, China Giant Screen and own-brand PLF operations.

Global 3D and visual technology company RealD Inc. (NYSE: RLD) and leading Hong Kong and Chinese theatrical exhibitor Broadway Circuit announced today an agreement to install 3 “LUXE: A RealD Experience” (LUXE) auditoriums in Broadway’s cinema locations in mainland China. Introduced by RealD in 2013 as a new Premium Large Format (PLF) initiative, LUXE auditoriums will be installed at Broadway locations in Tianjing, Chengdu and Guangzhou, with the Tianjin location expected to open in May 2015. All 3 LUXE auditoriums opened at Broadway locations will feature RealD 3D projection and a RealD Precision White Screen.

“As a leading circuit in the rapidly growing and highly competitive China market, we have been looking for the best possible cinema setting for our moviegoers,” said Tessa Lau, CEO of Broadway Circuit. “We find LUXE a perfect match. We see it as an initiative to define our 2D and 3D premium offering. We are pleased to partner with RealD to jointly provide our audiences a unique, fully immersive experience.”  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 15 December 2014

Wanda Cinema Line Logo

AAM Arts Alliance

Perhaps the biggest news announced at CineAsia was Arts Alliance Media partnership with Wanda Cinemas. It would be good, however, to have a bit more specifics on what exactly the deal entails for both parties.

The partnership will see AAM serving as a primary technology partner to Wanda with the aim of creating efficiencies, increasing revenues and improving customer experience across all of Wanda’s cinema operations. The partnership covers both existing business and future developments.

John Aalbers, Chief Executive Officer of Arts Alliance Media commented “I am delighted to announce this wide-ranging, strategic partnership with Wanda Cinema Line. The initial deal represents one of the most significant in cinema software history. What is even more exciting is that Wanda is a global player with big ambitions and we, at Arts Alliance Media, are going to be right there with them making it happen. Being able to work with such a visionary and strategic partner is very exciting, as it will help keep both companies at the forefront of innovation in the rapidly changing cinema industry for years to come.”  LINK

Orange Wednesdays

UK telecoms operator EE is ending its cinema sponsorship deal after more than a decade, though a new sponsor partner is likely to replace it.

Mobile company EE is to end long-running 2 for 1 cinema deal Orange Wednesdays in February 2015 after the company and cinemas could not agree a commerical deal.

An EE spokesperson said take up of the once “massively successful” offer had declined in recent years due to changing viewing habits:

“Orange Wednesday launched over a decade ago and at its peak was a massive success,” read the statement. “After 10 great years our brand has changed and our customers’ viewing habits have also evolved so it’s time to move on.  LINK

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CJ@CineAsia CineAsia Universty – Architecture


In an effort to provide updates on the CineAsia 2014 conference and trade show presently taking place in Hong Kong SAR, this post was written live, and in the present tense, during one of the conference’s presentations. Comments attributed to speaker(s) are paraphrased unless denoted specifically by quotation marks.

Mike Cummings, Principal, TK Architects

Mike opens by saying thanks CineAsia for including architecture in CineAsia university. “How do we continue to raise the level of cinema going experience?” he asks. “By using set design principles. There is a comfort sitting in the home,” so there is a challenge to get people to leave their couch. “As Jim Cameron said he doesn’t care if people watch his films third or fourt time on a smartphone, but first time should be in the theatre,” Mike observes.

Set design – what designers can do to enhance the experince. Make the lobby a key component of the experience. Make the lobby part of the show.

Style and atmosphere is one aspect – realistic, minimalist, traditionalist, luxurious, classic or contemporary.
Tone is another, colour, shape, rythm of visual elements.
Theme – favourite one for architects. Use central metaphore, such as ‘digital glamour’ and another is ‘luxury inside’ – probe deeper to find true beauty.
Visual Cues – [this presentation should really be seen with the great pictures Mike is using to illustrate each point.]
Seating groupings (better yet, ‘activity groupings’) – Think of different places and how people congregate.
Interactivity is the last principle – a whole group of consumers will not be happy with passively watching a film for two hours. So how to cater to them.

“Bringing it all together – with also music, sounds, props you can create a whole new kind of movie experience. Thank you.”

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CJ@CineAsia CineAsia University – Lasers


In an effort to provide updates on the CineAsia 2014 conference and trade show presently taking place in Hong Kong SAR, this post was written live, and in the present tense, during one of the conference’s presentations. Comments attributed to speaker(s) are paraphrased unless denoted specifically by quotation marks.

Bill Beck, The Laser Guy, Barco

Having confirmed that his business title really is ‘The Laser Guy’ Bill begins, “today I’m going to explain ‘why’ Barco laser.” Mentions the press release yesterday with the milestone of 50,000 Barco screens and Barco also market share leader in laser cinema.

From components to integration.
- First high brightness laser projector 2005,
- First and only cinema-optimised laser projector,
- First and only Integrated cinema media processor 4K3D at 60fps,
- First commercial integrated 6P laser projector.

Also award winner – Lumiere 3D AIS Award and BIRTV 2014 Grand prize.

“Most important point: no lamps. Will save the cost of 120 lamp changes. Super bright at 60,000 lumens. 6 Primary Barco Laser3D that works with all major 3D systems. Also integrates Barco Alchemy cinema processor. We call it integrated because light source is inside projector. Most safe and highest efficiency because the projectors are directly combined. Engineered and testedfor 30,000 hours. 63% more energy efficient than Xenon projector.”

Inside it is 6 Primary Laer3D sets – two each of red, green and blue. Bright, smooth and beatiful colour picture. Works with silver, matt, screen and active or passive 3D glasses. “Clean & Green” is the motto. Over 30,000 hours lifetime it provides 54,000 AVG lumens. Lifetime saving of 150,000 KwH savings over lifetime.

Improve audience experience – Improve exhibitor profitability. Dovetails with Escape, AE, Cinema Barco.

Commerciallly availlable and delivering globally. Installations in China, Europe and the Americas.

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CJ@CineAsia CineAsia University – Immersive Seating


In an effort to provide updates on the CineAsia 2014 conference and trade show presently taking place in Hong Kong SAR, this post was written live, and in the present tense, during one of the conference’s presentations. Comments attributed to speaker(s) are paraphrased unless denoted specifically by quotation marks.

This ICTA organised session s part of their out-reach and education effort for the industry. Micheal Archer, [above, no longer Doremi but] Dolby does the welcome and introduction.

Dan Jamele, VP and CTO, MediaMation

“We started out in special attraction and now we are entering cinema. Cinema traditionally catered to two senses – sight and hearing. We offer two additional, touch and smell (as of yet we don’t do smell).” That’s how Dan starts his presentation. Each speaker is restricted to just five minutes, so each session is no more than 15 minutes. Short and snappy.

Dan runs through the company essentials. Pivately owned company. Worked with Disney, Legoland and other theme park partners. 9,488 seats, 122 sites, 30 countries installed based. Cinemex, Cine Colombia, City Cinema in Oman. Apprived and worked with all the Hollywood studios.

4D client base breakdown:
3D upcharge 69%
2D upcharge 17%
Incremental 13%
Repeat 1%
“So 14% is customers you wouldn’t get at all,” Dan says, reffering to the last two categories put together.

Grown from 14 films in 2013 to 38 this year. “2015 is going to be a good year for films that go well with 4D.”

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