Daily Cinema Digest – Saturday 22 November 2014

Google trailer study

A study by Google called “Behind the Box Office: What Influences the Films We See” has found that trailers are by far the biggest determinant of what movies moviegoers chose. While the study come out in favour of YouTube, the infographics still has plenty of interesting facts and conclusions.

Google conducted a study, analyzing nearly two years of search data, to determine what makes frequent moviegoers choose which movies they’ll see. As you may have guessed, the carefully composed missives of yours truly (and my critical brethren) don’t really figure into the equation. But frankly, neither do filmmakers, actors, or even word-of-mouth. No, the biggest influencer is the movie trailer(which might help explain why there’s six or seven of them before every feature nowadays).

The study, which Google conducted with Millward Brown Digital, was focused on “how moviegoers research and choose the films they watch.” Unsurprisingly, they’re trumpeting the prominence of Google-owned YouTube, noting that four out of five moviegoers “use video sites to look for more information about a film” (well, duh). Thirty-nine percent report the official movie trailer influences their decision most — a factor more than three times as important as the runner-up, “information on the cast” (11 percent). “A friend’s opinion” is third (with eight percent).  LINK

Cnc France youth cinema study

France – Yet the Google study above is contradicted by another study by the French audio-visual authority CNC, that finds that word-of-mouth is the most important factor, at least amongst youth, but only by a small margin. Young people also tend to decide on the day of the movie visit what film to watch, which sets them apart from the rest of the cinema-going population. Very detailed study that points to clear generation differences and importance of social media.

When asked about the information channels to choose a movie, young people aged 15 to 24 cite, in order of importance, word-of-mouth, oral or via social networks (58.6%), the extracts trailers or seen on television (56.8%), trailers views cinema (56.4%).

Conversely, they are 17.8% cited advertising or articles in the press and 29.4% the criticism in the media, according to studies of the National Film Centre, based on surveys of Médiamétrie or Harris conducted with several thousands of people throughout the year.

The entire population, she favors ads on TV (51.6%) and word-of-mouth (47.5%). 32.5% rely on critical to their choice.

Unsurprisingly, social networks and video sharing sites, like YouTube or Dailymotion, playing a growing role for youth to learn about film releases.  LINK

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China Cinema Digest – Friday 21 November 2014

Interstellar poster China

“Interstellar” had a good week at the Chinese box office, boosted by Imax showings and holding off competition from both domestic comedies and Madagascar penguins.

Interstellar took $42.33 million in its first five days in China, dominating a week in which Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic went head-to-head with Johnnie To’s romantic comedy Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2 and DreamWorks Animations’ Penguins of Madagascar in the world’s second largest movie market.

Starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway as astronauts trying to save the human race, with an ensemble cast that also includes Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine, Interstellar racked up 7.14 million admissions from 149,316 screenings, according to the research outfit Entgroup.

That was fewer screenings than the second-place movie in the week to Nov. 16, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2, but the space film also showed on 170 Imax screens in China, which gave box office a major lift.  LINK

You might also be interested in this article about advance online ticketing sale for “Interstellar”, which set a new record.

China Imax

The success of Imax and Premium Large Format films in China prompts Broadcast HC 360 to look at the technology behind Digital PLF, both Imax and its domestic Chinese competitors.

Relative to the IMAX “silent like gold,” the theater construction market is more lively. Cinema operators to invest and build its own brand for use in its own theater, the movie started issuing investment Poly Films, is the development of a domestic IMAX DMR system POLYMAX Poly; Wanda independent development of the giant screen projection system “X-Land “; and in digital cinema technology research-based science and technology enterprises Chen Xing Digital technology introduced in 2013 Cinelab laser IMAX screenings of high-quality solutions. These domestic IMAX brand is undoubtedly herald the birth of the modern multiplex cinema building, will move towards high-quality IMAX hall main trends.

And particularly worth mentioning is Cinelab IMAX innovative laser from the light source to the electro-acoustic to build sound, IMAX is a qualitative leap in technological development milestones. IMAX movies the same environment and needs two Barco 2K projectors can only support up to 2K mode with a resolution of 2048 x 1080 pixels, a contrast ratio of 2000: 1, Cinelab laser IMAX system simply uses a laser IMAX Simply using a Christie 4K projector with a resolution up to 4096 * 2160 pixels, with a 2100: 1 contrast ratio, while the same effect, it is easy to see, Cinelab laser relative to the giant screen IMAX giant screen, the screen resolution increases four times, four times the clarity also increased. Given the high brightness laser light source in the screening process 2D center maximum brightness of up 40FL, and IMAX is 15FL, IMAX 2D laser brightness increased 2.67 times, and further optimize the viewers 2D viewing experience.  LINK

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Smartphones Are Killing the Cinema Experience

TCL Chinese

Last week a man got maced in the face for asking a fellow patron in a cinema to turn off their smartphone during the screening of a film. What is shocking is not that the attacker was a woman, or that it happened during a screening of an art-house film, or that the woman was escorted off the premises rather than arrested.

No, the single most shocking thing is the defending silence from the cinema industry in the face of such an attack. Not only have no lessons be learned since the fatal shooting earlier this year over an argument over smartphone use in the cinema, but there appears to be no willingness to tackle this issue.

The use of smartphones in cinemas is killing the cinema-going experience more effectively than camcorder piracy. Let me repeat: smartphones use in cinemas is killing the cinema-going experience more effectively than camcorder piracy.

If it is not tackled it will contribute to the further decline of cinema attendance. There is an urgent need for concerted industry action. Sadly, there appears to be a lack of leadership and willingness to challenge prevailing social norms.

An Attack at the Epicentre of Films

The attack itself took place in the heart of Hollywood, at a screening of a film considered an awards contender at an iconic cinema located just a block away from the Dolby Theatre (formerly the Kodak Theatre) where the Oscar statuettes will be handed out in a few short months.

The man was at an American Film Institute screening of Mr. Turner when he asked a woman to stop using her cell phone, an eyewitness told Mashable. After asking several times, he tapped the woman on her shoulder. The woman had a violent reaction to the shoulder tapping, and stood up, turned on her phone’s flashlight app, screamed at the man and threatened to call the police.

People asked her to turn off the phone, but she began going through her bag and produced a bottle of mace. She used the mace on the man, who left the theater with a companion. The woman continued to watch the movie, which never stopped playing, until security escorted her out about 20 minutes later.  LINK

It boggles the mind that the alleged attacker would sit down to continue enjoying the film after she had temporarily blinded a fellow cinema goer.

But more troubling is that the management in the cinema apparently did not see fit to call the police or escalate the matter, but simply escorted the woman off the premise. No word on whether she was refunded the cost of her ticket on her way out.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 19 November 2014

What we did on our holiday

The UK CEO of Lionsgate has suggested cinema ticket prices should be lower for (small) British films than for (big) Hollywood blockbusters. This has been suggested before, but always met with resistance. Rather than Brit films becoming cheaper, expect big blockbuster prices to go up. But don’t expect Lionsgate UK CEO one out and advocate that.

Lionsgate UK CEO Zygi Kamasa has called for greater flexibility of cinema ticket-pricing, as a way to stimulate admissions and increase demand for British films.

“Exhibitors have to do something drastic in 2015 and beyond to counter the decline in admissions,” he told ScreenDaily.

“One way to do this could be to implement more price flexibility. Why is Marvel’s Avengers, for example, the same price as a film such as What We Did On Our Holiday?”  LINK

Kiss India Bollywood PVR

India – We contacted PVR to verify the claim made in this article but nobody has responded to our query.

When all is said and done about the moral policing along with the Kiss Of Love campaign here is something new. To steer clear of any indecency in the cozy and dark movie theatres PVR Cinemas have come up with a new technique. As per the reports, PVR Cinemas will be installing night vision cameras in all of their chains so as to bring down the incidents of public display of affection (PDA).

Although the news has not yet been confirmed, but this might turn out to be one of the grave changes till now. So if you are used to making out and feeling each other up in the dark surrounding of movie theatres, not anymore will you be able to do so. This will be a fresh change in the decency check for all the movie goers. But then again, maybe not! What do you think about this?  LINK

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Does Hangzhou Point to Bubble in China’s Cinema Market?

Broadway Hangzhou IMAX

Broadway Cinemas (IMAX) in Hangzhou

Talk about China overtaking United States’ cinema box office within a few years is predicated on the growth rate of the past couple of years continuing in an unbroken upward line. Yet too little attention has been paid to whether growth in multiplexes, screens and seats is outstripping demand for tickets.

Tier 2 City Focus

On-the-ground reports from markets outside of China’s half a dozen Tier 1 cities (Beijing, Shanghai, etc.) are starting to suggest that overbuild has resulted in blockbusters increasingly playing to empty auditoriums. Hangzhou is one such market.

According to Wikipedia, “Hangzhou is classified as a sub-provincial city and forms the core of the Hangzhou Metropolitan Area, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in China,” with Hangzhou prefecture having a registered population of 8.7 million inhabitants. It is considered a Tier 2 City, a group of around three dozen Mainland metropolitan areas increasingly targeted by investors, developers and multinationals in recent years. And as WSJ put it:

When it comes to China, the commonly used term “second-tier cities” is a misnomer, says Robert Lawrence Kuhn, an investment banker and author of How China’s Leaders Think. The so-called “second-tier” cities should actually be called “first-class opportunities,” given that these cities have been growth engines of the Chinese economy, boosted by huge amounts of investment, new infrastructure and an influx of new talent.

Multiplexes are at the forefront of these developments in Tier 2 cities, in some ways epitomising it as they combine entertainment, real estate and retail in one location.

Yet after several years of intensive development and investment, worrying signs of over-supply are starting to emerge, as indicated in the article quoted in Sina.com.cn from Qianjiang Evening News, headlined, “Hangzhou total of 49 cinemas, average of one theater added monthly.”

Hangzhou Cinemas: “Too Dense” – But Still Growing

The article points out that just in the last two months of this year will see the opening of a Jin Yi multiplex, a Wanda multiplex and a Shi Xiang Road multiplex – and this on top of an already saturated market.

The article then points out that in a five kilometer (3.5 miles) area there are five multiplexes, and that with 10 more multiplexes slated for 2015 it will be “too dense” and that next year many cinemas will “barely” get by.

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YouTube Now Supports High Frame Rate Playback (Sort Of)

YouTube Preview Image

Back in 2010, as debate raged over whether 4K was really necessary in movie theatres (it depends) and if consumers would ever adopt 4K television sets (they’re starting to), YouTube announced they would begin support of 4K video uploading and playback. The debate wasn’t entirely squelched though until Netflix began streaming content in 4K earlier this year.

YouTube may be squashing yet another film industry debate, this one over the benefits of content created and shown in high frame rate (HFR).

To date, the only feature film to be shot and released in HFR is Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”. The franchise was both captured and projected at 48 frames per second (fps). There have been only a few filmmakers who have since suggested they wish to shoot HFR at higher speeds, notably James Cameron. This is likely due to the lukewarm reception HFR versions of “The Hobbit” received as well as an uncertainty over the install base of HFR-capable digital projectors.

Though the merits of HFR are still being questioned for theatrical releases thanks to a perceived lack of audience interest, a couple of months ago YouTube announced they would begin support of 48 and 60 fps video. Almost immediately YouTube began testing HFR playback with limited groups, however at the end of October the feature was opened up to all users.

There is a bit of noteworthy fine print on the feature as it is currently offered. For instance, the only way to watch video played back in 60 fps is to view it in HD by selecting the 720p and 11080p from the settings drop down of each video. As well, the only web browser capable of showing 60 fps is Chrome, though support for additional browsers is forthcoming.

Oh, and one last thing… YouTube will be in charge of deciding what videos will be given the 60 fps treatment. For now they want to limit its use to videos that are considered “motion intense”. They may as well have just said, we’re doing this for video game footage. Most PC and console games run at 60 fps and look choppy when played back at the standard 24 fps. Playing back video at a higher frame rate gives viewers the same experience and perspective as the person actually playing the game. I’m sure you’ll agree the sample video shown above looks crisp, clear and with smooth, fluid movement.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 17 November 2014

Cinemaxx

Germany – Cinema majors Cinemaxx and CineStar have formed a joint venture to promote cinema for business use. Not sure how far beyond regular cinema advertising this goes, but there is talk of “360 degree cinema communication.”

The company CinemaxX and CineStar planning a joint company for the holistic cinema marketing. This was confirmed by a CinemaxX spokeswoman to Hamburg Media Magazine ‘New Business’ (www-new-business.de). The two German cinema providers want so combine their reach, “to business customers providing an easier entry into the world of 360 degree cinema communication”.

The company would be open for the market to other cinema enterprises in Germany, says CinemaxX. Offices in Berlin, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt are planned to headquarters in Hamburg. Currently, a fusion legal review of the project by the Federal Cartel is taking place.  LINK

reald-3d-glasses

USA (CA) – A long interview between Forbes’ Mark Hughes and former head of 2D-to-3D conversion company Legend3D Dr Barry Sandrews. The fact that both are bullish about the prospects of 3D is no surprise, given the title ‘Why 3D Will Dominate Cinema In The Future,’ but the article makes several good points.

It’s particularly notable that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was able to pull down $709 million worldwide due to a large amount of help from 3D that was best of any superhero film that’s been made, allowing it to rank as one of the year’s top-grossing films despite mixed reviews and the press focusing on a lot of negativity in reporting on the film (my own reaction to the film was decidedly more positive, as my review makes clear).

The next several years will see an expansion of 3D’s power at the global box office, with a series of brand new Star Wars films, Avatar sequels, and a huge growing slate of franchises and sequels in the popular superhero genre now that DC and Marvel characters will parade across the big screen at a rate double that of previous years (a total of more than 25 different superhero franchises will actively exist by 2020, as incredible as that seems). More than 70 3D films hit theaters in 2015 and 2016. And despite a modest leveling off of domestic audience attendance at 3D cinema since its modern reintroduction, it has held steady at home while foreign audiences continue having enormous appetites for the format. China in particular seems to love 3D.  LINK

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New MPAA and NATO Wearables Policy Is As Much About Social Norms As It Is About Piracy

Sergey Brin Wearing Google Glass

Google’s Sergey Brin shows off Google Glass

In his classic 1835 treatise on American society, Democracy In America, french historian Alexis de Tocqueville wrote “Laws are always unstable unless they are founded on the manners of a nation; and manners are the only durable and resisting power in a people.”

This passage sprang to mind as I read the anti-theft policy update issued jointly on October 29th by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO). The new policy focuses on wearable devices like smart watches and Google Glass, the latter being an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) that attaches to prescription or custom eyewear. Many of these devices are equipped with a camera and thus the reason the MPAA and NATO felt obliged to revise the policy. Their statement read as follows:

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have a long history of welcoming technological advances and recognize the strong consumer interest in smart phones and wearable “intelligent” devices. As part of our continued efforts to ensure movies are not recorded in theaters, however, we maintain a zero-tolerance policy toward using any recording device while movies are being shown. As has been our long-standing policy, all phones must be silenced and other recording devices, including wearable devices, must be turned off and put away at show time. Individuals who fail or refuse to put the recording devices away may be asked to leave. If theater managers have indications that illegal recording activity is taking place, they will alert law enforcement authorities when appropriate, who will determine what further action should be taken.

The two organizations already had a standing policy against the use of mobile phones in theatres. It is simply being extended now to encompass wearable devices. You might even say the decision was a “no-brainer” accept for the confusion that might occur in reference to the cinema patron who decides to use “no brain” by wearing such a device into an auditorium in the first place.

Unfortunately people do indeed wear electronic devices into cinemas as was demonstrated in January when a moviegoer in Columbus, Ohio was detained by federal authorities for wearing Google Glass during a showing of “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”. The incident occurred when alert theatre personnel at the AMC Easton 30 noticed a patron wearing the “recording device” during the screening and contacted the MPAA, who in turn notified the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees movie theft.

Much in the way there were recently fuzzy policies and procedures on how to treat Ebola patients in the United States, there were no guidelines back in January for cinema operators on how to handle patrons with wearable devices such as Google Glass. It took the trade organizations a notably long time to update their anti-theft policy afterwards, however this may have more to do with the MPAA’s working relationship with Google and their desire to maintain it.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 14 November 2014

Cinema Park

Cinema Park, Russia’s biggest cinema chain, has just been bought by a 19-year old college student for USD $385 million. Proof that Russia is a land of bold young Internet entrepreneurs buying into traditional media or a crony capitalist nepotistic kleptocracy? You be the judge.

 

Said Kerimov, a student at top Moscow State Institute of International Relations, is the son of Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, a member of Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council.

Kerimov, is a student MGIMO, at the university is known in its Russian acronym, an institution with a reputation for training future businessmen and diplomats.

Kerimov junior’s offer of $385 million (19 billion roubles) for Cinema Park, has been accepted by Interros, the industrial group controlled by Vladimir Potantin that owns the chain along with other media interests.  LINK

RealD

The patent war between RealD and MAsterImage rumbles on.

On November 7, 2014, RealD Inc. of Beverly Hills, California (“RealD”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that MasterImage 3D, Inc. of Sherman Oaks, California and MasterImage 3D Asia, LLC of South Korea (collectively, “MasterImage”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain three-dimensional cinema systems and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,905,602 (the ’602 patent), 8,220,934 (the ’934 patent), 7,857,455 (the ’455 patent), and 7,959,296 (the ’296 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”)….

In the complaint, RealD states that MasterImage imports and sells products that infringe the asserted patents. The complaint specifically refers to the MasterImage-Horizon3D digital cinema system and MasterImage-Horizon3D dual digital cinema system as infringing products.  LINK

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China Cinema Digest – Thursday 13 november 2014

China Film Group La Paking

Hollywood is looking to make more money out of China than the import-restricted and revenue split-skewed arrangements currently allow. So why not expand merchandising? Just check the Fast & Furious Experience in last week’s China Cinema Digest to appreciate the opportunities.

The head of China’s powerful state-run movie enterprise that supervises film imports wants to strengthen ties with Hollywood by selling merchandise in that country’s theaters.

La Peikang, chairman of China Film Group, has launched a new initiative aimed at spurring consumer product sales at theaters in China’s fast-growing exhibition sector.

To test the project, the group has already selected 1,500 top-ranked theaters in China that will have their own shops selling movie-themed merchandise, such as toys, clothing, games and DVDs, La said in an interview with The [LA] Times.  LINK

China youth

An editorial in The Workers Daily asks whether blockbusters pandering to “small town youth” is detrimental to Chinese cinema. In doing so it also highlights that “domestic movie box office increase is largely thanks to the gift of theater expansion, rather than to improvement in their quality.” The piece asks some very pertinent questions about demographic and geographical realities will undermine continuous cinema expansion as it goes beyond Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities in more rural markets. Worth reading in full.

In fact, it seems gratifying box office figures have confirmed the doubts. Foreign films in China last year, 41% of the box office take football, though not more than half, but to enter the mainland theaters are only 60 foreign films of last year, and the year of production of 638 feature films into theaters have 245. There are 60 foreign films at the box office over 27 million, and 245 domestic movie box office over billion were only 33.

Faced with such a market, a lot of film industry practitioners to second and third tier cities moviegoers that “small town youth” as the future of the film industry’s main viewing groups, because in the second and third tier cities cinema showing growth spurt. When in 2012, the national new screen 3832, 60% of the distribution in the second and third tier cities and county-level cities, four cinemas in 2013 reached a new three-digit number of theater tier cities, many in a two-tier cities years, it has gone through several screens from the single digits to double-digit upheaval.

Small city into the “theater of the times”, making the share of the domestic film industry has changed, northward four first-tier cities of Guangzhou-Shenzhen country’s total box office share has dropped from 32.8 percent in 2008 to 25.8 percent in 2012. Economic development so that “idle rich” and “small town youth” willing to purchase movies, videos and many second and third tier cities will also be used as pre-marketing focus.  LINK

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