Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 1 August 2014

Secret Cinema

Great Scott, they did it in the end! Secret Cinema’s delayed Back to the Future event went off yesterday without a problem. The company’s founder had a few words of contrition before the start of the film, as reported in The Guardian.

“I was always confident we would pull this off, thought to be fair I was confident we would open last Thursday and I really pushed the timing. I look back and I think, I made a mistake. When you work in theatre, when you work in events, you are always close to the wire, whatever happens, but this was a massive show. The issues I had with the reports saying that we weren’t ready, well, we were ready to open but the technical aspects – and I think when people come they will really see them, because it’s quite a complex show – were the things we just had to work on.”

He added: “Hands up, Secret Cinema has grown really fast and with this show it was always going to be something quite special, and we had to aim high because I can’t take on a film that is loved to such a degree and not aim high. A lot of people say, well, Secret Cinema is not that secret anymore, but for me the idea is that you build a community of people who like to explore and have adventures and become other characters and live through their favourite films.”  LINK

Secret Cinema Back to the Future

The Guardian even sent along its film reviewer to get his take on the whole experience.

Well, maybe Secret Cinema was having its Eric Stoltz moment: I like to think the delay was an elaborate postmodern joke about the fact that Back To The Future was originally cast with Stoltz in the lead role – an actor who was sacked after five weeks because he wasn’t funny enough – and filming had to start all over again with [Michael J.] Fox.

As a Secret Cinema virgin I found the event engaging and entertainingly bizarre: faux-American and yet very English in all its fancy-dress eccentricity. It isn’t exactly an immersive, wraparound experience – you could get that better by seeing the film at an old-fashioned cinema showing. But it turned into an impressive festival of fan love, a Comic-Con-ish event in which so many audience members dressed up in 1950s clothes which were as authentic as those of the actors employed by the production, that everyone was a co-contributor: it was virtually a user-generated live event.  LINK

But Peter Bradshaw saves his best observation for the penultimate paragraph, and it is one worth highlighting: “I’m not sure exactly what Secret Cinema seriously offers the business of film distribution and exhibition – but in our digital downloading age, we increasingly yearn for live events, real communal happenings, and Secret Cinema caters to that.

China cinema food safety

China – Food safety remains a hot topic in China and cinema concessions are not exempt. Looks like there are quite a few shortcomings, based on this survey by Wenzhou City Market Supervisory Authority and the released ”Wenzhou City in 2014 circulation theater food quality sampling Table”

Recently, Wenzhou City Market Supervisory Authority in Lucheng, Ou Sea, Bay, Ryan and other counties (cities, districts) of the meat market, preserves, puffed food, soy and other special quality to carry out monitoring activities. The random sampling of settled include Wanda Cinema, Cinema of New China, including 20 White Deer Studios theater food distributor sold a total of 83 batches of food, which qualified 58 batches, pass rate 69.88%. Among them, a new era of Movie World, Wanda Cinema, Hang Lung Studios, Yongjia National Theater, Pingyang Studios theater settled within this five dealers sold food subjects were qualified, especially Wanda Cinema, Hang Lung Studios The two theaters, a maximum number of subjects and all batches of food were qualified.

“From the sampling results, the total number of [sample bacterial] colonies failed, the amount of sulfur dioxide exceeded, peroxide value substandard, colorants substandard food distributors theater is settled within several major problems exist in the sale of food.” According to market oversight City Food at the relevant staff of the Authority, said the total number of [sample bacterial]  colonies exceeded easily cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal infections. Sampling of substandard fruit preserves mostly inferior raw materials, some unscrupulous manufacturers to sell to make candied fruit lover, harmful sulfur dioxide added during processing. Part of the informal food manufacturers using peroxide value has exceeded the raw material for the production of edible oil or cooking oil stored improperly or stored too long, the consumer consumption will lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, and even liver damage.  LINK

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How Do You Make Marketing Movies Via Social Media Sexy? Ask Beyonce

This is one of those “in case you missed it” posts.

We have previously written about the use of social media in the marketing of movies and television. Yet, I can’t recall ever detailing the use of social media to promote the upcoming release of marketing material such as a trailer. Likely that’s because the most obvious examples would be banal Twitter posts announcing when a film trailer is debuting on YouTube.

However, the pop star Beyonce has managed to make teasing the launch of a movie marketing campaign via social media a lot sexier, as anyone who has ever seen her perform might expect.

On July 20th the pop singer posted a 15-second teaser to her Instagram account of the trailer for “Fifty Shades of Grey”, the film adaptation of the best selling erotic novel by EL James. Put another way, Beyonce published a teaser trailer for the trailer of a feature film. We can’t help but wonder if that’s a first.

Fifteen seconds is the maximum length Instagram allows for video clips, but Beyonce demonstrates her mastery of such social mediums by proving that, if done right, that is more than enough time to peak one’s curiosity and anticipation.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Thursday 31 July 2014

Inox Sathyam

India’s No. 2 cinema chain Inox is acquiring its smaller rival Sathyam for INR 1.82 billion (USD $30m), in a deal that harbingers further multiplex consolidation. Understandably there is a lot of coverage in Indian media, but by far the best article on the subject is Patrick Frater in Variety; once again the gold standard of media-related journalism. His take is that it points to structural weaknesses in a market where growth through acquisition is the only option when organic growth is proving hard to achieve.

The exhibition scene in India is a complicated one. While most analysts suggest that the country is fundamentally under-screened, which deprives the industry of theatrical revenue, consolidation is proving easier to achieve than organic growth.

Land ownership issues and limitations on the modernization of the retail sector have severely crimped new cinema construction and most companies’ forecasts of growth have proved wildly optimistic.

The majority of cinemas in India remain privately-held single screeners, but they have a slowly declining economic importance. Multiplexes currently account for only 25% of cinema screens, but some estimates say that they account for 70% of gross revenue. (Absolute numbers of tickets sold appears to be declining in India, but ticket prices in multiplexes are significantly higher than that in smaller complexes.) That in turn gives an incentive for well capitalized companies to pursue a multiplex growth strategy – albeit one driven by acquisitions.  LINK

Yet the news led to a rally in Inox shares and more acquisition could be ahead. Expect an announcement on Big Cinemas in August.

Investors are aggressively buying shares of Inox Leisure as it is strengthening its position in North India by acquisition. The stock soared 7.5 percent intraday on Thursday after it announced to acquire Satyam Cineplexes for Rs 182 crore. Post the proposed acquisition, Inox will be present in 50 cities with 91 multiplexes and 358 screens…

Deepak Asher, Director, Inox group said, “It has been our strategy to expand our multiplex business both organically and inorganically over the years. With this acquisition, we will strength en our position further in the industry as well as in the country, especially North India.”  LINK

PVR Cinema

India – PVR may have lost out in the battle for Sathyam (if there was a battle), but the company that defined multiplexes in India is not resting on its laurels. PVR Group President Pramod Arora has been criss-crossing the world to seek inspiration for the company’s Superplexes. An article that is worth reading in full, not least as it lifts the lid and provides a great level of detail about PVR’s plans. Did you know, for example, that PVR’s mobile app uses predictive intelligence? A treasure trove of information.

“As plans for the Superplex were drawn, I visited every cinema hall in every part of the world to experience the best practices that we can pick up. At the end I realized cinema industry may not be the correct industry to look at. By looking at the cinema industry we realized that either we were ahead of what others were doing or at par with what they were doing,” says Arora.

Arora turned elsewhere for insights. “In terms of benchmark we decided to compare ourselves to the hospitality industry and also looked at companies like Apple. People say there are no similarities between Apple and the cinema industry but there are immense commonalities.

Arora says the trick lies in making sure the consumer is deriving satisfaction from the product you are selling in the minimum possible time and how a company is able to retain the consumer, once he is serviced, for the maximum possible time. “In this minimum and maximum lies your ability to monetize and this is what we are trying to master. For us it was picking up the thread from various industries across the globe,” says Arora.  LINK

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AMC Q2’14 Results: Revenue Down But Focus On Re-Seat, Imax, AMC Prime, F&B and Internet Ticketing Steady

AMC Wanda logo

AMC has released its quarterly figures and it was a dark cloud but with a silver lining. Revenue was down nearly five per cent (4.7%), dragged down by a 7.1% drop in admissions and despite average ticket price being up to an average of USD $9.55, with Imax and F&B (food & beverage, i.e. concessions) as the main good news. The press release highlighted this other significant milestones.

“In spite of some tough comparisons, we enter the second half of the year building momentum behind our continuing transformation of the AMC guest experience. Our five strategic action fronts continue to deliver innovation, additional revenue opportunities, improved profit flow-through and better-than-industry results,” said Gerry Lopez, AMC president and chief executive officer. “Our vision for the circuit is working and is long-term, and we’re keeping our focus on it.”

“Our comfort and convenience, and enhanced food and beverage initiatives drive significant benefits for our guests and the Company, and are helping us outperform our peers. One of the newest, best examples is open source internet ticketing. After rolling out our own ticketing engine in April, tickets to an AMC theatre are now both easier to get and available in more places on the web than any of our competitors’. So far, we’ve seen a 45 percent increase in online ticket revenues this year, and have sold approximately 13 million online tickets this year. ”  LINK

The conference call provided some ‘drill-down’ details, particularly for topics such as AMC’s re-seating (swapping regular seats for larger and more luxurious premium seats).

Let me briefly give you an update on the significant progress we have made on a few of our strategic action fronts. First, comfort and convenience remains a key focus as we continue with our recliner reseats. There are 505 screens at 44 locations; I said 505 screens at 44 locations that we have deployed to-date, delivered admissions revenue per screen growth of 33% more than doubling of the EBITDA in the second quarter of 2014.

To be sure, the solid top-line per screen growth and more than doubling of EBITDA in a period where industry admissions revenue was down 6.5 points, says we are dramatically significantly outperforming and our strategy is working. That 33% per screen admissions growth was nicely balanced as well, with 21 points coming from attendance and 10 points coming from average ticket price increase.

We believe that this type of balanced growth clearly illustrates the tremendous power of our re-seat program and their customers are not solely driven by this slate of movies, but also the experience of seeing those movies in the comfort and style of an AMC theater.  LINK

Lopez also highlights the 69% top-box get satisfaction scores, calling it “not only the highest in the circuit, but in a class by themselves when it comes to retail enterprises.” Coupled with the improved on-line ticketing and an average concession spend per customer of USD $4.22, the message is clear: even if Hollywood delivers a poor slate of film, we are getting good at extracting more money from the people who do still go to the cinema.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 30 July 2014


ADA headline

Guidelines have now been published for what American cinema need to do to comply with disabilities and access regulation, or, ‘Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Under Title III of the ADA to Require Movie Theaters to Provide Closed Movie Captioning and Audio Description’. This is a major hot potato and anyone with an interest in the exhibition industry in North America needs to pay close attention. [Thank you to MKPE for flagging up this one.]

The Department is proposing to provide a consistent nationwide standard for movie theaters to exhibit movies with closed movie captioning and audio description for all showings of movies that are available with closed movie captioning or audio description. This proposed rule would impose no independent obligation on movie theaters to add captions or audio description to movies that are not already available with those features.

Title III of the ADA requires movie theaters and other public accommodations to provide effective communication through the use of auxiliary aids and services. This rulemaking specifies requirements that movie theaters will need to meet in order to satisfy their effective communication obligations to persons with hearing and vision disabilities.  LINK

Wang Jianglin, chairman and founder of Dalian Wanda Group

China – What was the real reason for Wanda’s Chinese IPO being ‘aborted’ at the last minute? I have heard some interesting theories that point to specific motives, while eastmoney.com weighs in with interesting analysis and numbers. It is worth reading the article in full to understand the cinema situation in China and Wanda’s role.

According to previously disclosed in the prospectus, Wanda Cinema plans to issue no more than 6000 million shares, to raise funds to 2 billion yuan. Of which 1.6 billion yuan will be used for the construction of a new round of theater. According to the plan, 2014 Wanda Cinema will open 40 new multiplexes, and operating income of 4.83 billion yuan. If successful listing, in addition to capital good, will get “domestic theaters first unit,” the name of the head.

The main reason was listed Wanda Cinema “Abort” is not timely updated application materials. A source close to Wanda senior analyst said: “Such a small ‘mistake’ may indicate Wanda Cinema has re-listed strategic planning, it is possible to consider changes in the overseas market.”

Several other “cinema first unit” of potential contenders, this has been “suspended”, including the shadow of the shares, Jin Yi Film. Wanda and the two are old rivals. 2013 three cinemas respectively 14.52%, 8.65%, 7.08% market share ranked first, second and sixth.  LINK

Metro cinema Mumbai

India – Apparently there is a race on who will take over Reliance ADAG’s BIG Cinemas. It has some crown jewel properties (like Metro above) but was also dragged down by some single and double screens that were far less profitable, so expect there to be fierce negotiating taking place. Notice that Inox and PVR are not mentioned in the article. They are presumably less keen/desperate.

Mumbai’s Carnival Cinemas, Malaysian private equity fund Navis Capital and Delhi’s Satyam Cineplex have joined the race to merge with Reliance MediaWorks’ film exhibition brand, Big Cinemas. Business Standard had reported earlier this month Big Cinemas, which operates 280 film screens across the country, was in talks with rivals PVR Ltd and Inox Leisure for a merger into one mutliplex chain in which Reliance MediaWorks would have a minority stake. The strategy is part of the Anil Ambani company’s plan to exit non-core businesses and reduce debt. After the merger, the film exhibition business will be handled by Reliance MediaWorks’ partner. Carnival Cinemas recently acquired HDIL’s multiplex chain, Broadway Cinemas, for Rs 110 crore.  LINK

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Giving the Simons IMAX Theatre at the New England Aquarium a Closer Look

Simons IMAX Theatre

The Matthew and Marcia Simons IMAX Theatre at the New England Aquarium (Photo: J. Sperling Reich)

Those of you who follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram are probably aware I’ve been in New England over the past two weeks. (Thus the lack of posts from me). Specifically, I was in Boston.

While there I stumbled upon the Matthew and Marcia Simons IMAX Theatre at the New England Aquarium. Though “stumble upon” is hardly the proper expression and can only be used in the most figurative sense since the theatre is enormous and hard to miss. That’s kind of the point of this post.

I happened to be dining at Boston’s world famous Legal Sea Foods at Long Wharf just across the street from the aquarium and snapped a few photos of the asymmetric metallic exterior. I figured I could dash off a quick post featuring the photo with a humorous caption along the lines of “Is it just me, or is there something fishy about this IMAX theatre?”.

Upon downloading the photo from my camera I began to wonder who designed the theatre’s rippling metal exterior, as it reminded me of some of architect Frank Gehry‘s more recent work, such as Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles or the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain. I hope the good folks at Verner Johnson, Inc. don’t mind that I mistook their work for Mr. Gehry’s.

Actually I’m glad my curiosity led me to investigate the Simons IMAX Theatre further to discover Verner Johnson, the only architectural firm in the United States that specializes solely in planning and designing museums. I’m surprised I wasn’t aware of them already since they have designed at least 15 IMAX theatres for museums and science centers throughout the U.S. (and even one in China).

What’s noteworthy about the Simons IMAX Theatre, and the reason I chose to expand this post beyond my questionably humorous caption, is an important feature of the auditorium that might otherwise go unnoticed; its ability to market both the aquarium and IMAX.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Tuesday 29 July 2014

BTTF tickets Secret Cinema

The cancellation of the opening week of Secret Cinema’s ambitious Back to the Future event has spilled over from the trades into mainstream press. Though not the first cancellation (both Brazil and its Australian opening were delayed) this is bigger and potentially much more damaging given the social media backlash. Buzzfeed was not impressed. The organisers continue to be silent on the exact causes of the cancellation/delay.

Doubtless there are thousands of disappointed Back To The Future fans who are wishing the creators of Secret Cinema would get in their on-set DeLorean and travel back to the point before they cancelled their first week of shows.

But for founder Fabien Riggall, the “very complicated myriad series of challenges” that led to his decision have not only been obstructive, but they have left him “heartbroken” in knowing he has let his audience down.

Mr Riggall has remained tight-lipped on the exact reasons behind the decision to cancel first Thursday’s, and then Friday’s show, which he says is for the benefit of the near 65,000 still due to attend throughout August, as the “challenges” are directly related to the material and performances that people have paid £53 each to see.  LINK

British consumer advocate publication/website Which? has even weighed in on the matter:

A Which? spokesperson said: “As a minimum consumers are entitled to a full refund of the face value of the ticket if an event is cancelled or rescheduled.

“However consumers may also be able to claim for additional reasonable losses if the cancellations were avoidable, so Secret Cinema need to explain what the issues are and make sure consumers are not unfairly left out of pocket.  LINK

Here is a background article by a journalist who was given a tour of the set prior to the opening night/week cancellation.

Event Cinema

Hele mirren The Audience Queen

UK – Event Cinema is making a notable contribution to theatre earnings, according to the recently published BFI report, generating GBP £7.2 million from just 14 shows for National Theatre Live. It has quickly overtaken opera as the most revenue generating event cinema genre.

The data, which is included in the British Film Institute’s Statistical Yearbook, shows that the takings from live theatre screenings represented the largest share of the £18.3 million of total box office takings from 111 events that were screened during the year. These include opera performances, comedy and concerts…

The BFI report noted that opera has proved consistently popular, with 44 screened last year, generating £4.8 million from a select number of participating cinemas.

Ballet took £2.1 million, classical music £900,000, popular music £500,000 and comedy £100,000. The other two non-theatrical categories were film documentaries, which generated £2.2 million, and museum exhibitions, which took £900,000.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 25 July 2014

Transformers Imax or 4K

Much has been made of the success of Transformers 4 in China (biggest hit of all time, etc. etc.). But at the risk of coming across all Cassandra, it should be noted that before Transformers 4 and the local hit Tiny Times 3 lit up the mainland box office, the outlook for China’s cinemas was no less glum than the malaise currently gripping the US. Here is what local media had been saying.

While China has experienced several years of high growth, the local cinema industry is facing multiple challenges: the increasing number of cinema, opened more and more concentrated, higher rent, buy shock …… by Chongqing Municipal Cultural Commission (“City Culture Committee”) Recently released in May 2014 theater box office statistics show that the local movie theater in the top 15, most of the cinema box office fell. Daily Reporter each month according to statistics released by the city of Culture Committee found that from January to May, ranking in the top 15 local cinemas, more than half the theater box office fell.

Yesterday Commercial Daily reporter in an interview that, in the case of the city’s theater box office in recent years of steady growth, the major theater theater district has noticed too dense, the rapid growth of the number of the main city theater box office year downward trend, not little theater began adjusting their development plans.  LINK

So over-development is starting to take its toll as noted by the operators of cinemas in the city.

A staff member of Studio City, Metro Plaza, 6th Floor Studios, told Business Daily reporter: “non-weekend day there are more than 200 seats in a movie, only to sell more than 20 tickets, attendance is less than 10%. night is better, but only sold about half. ”

Chongqing, in the end how many cinema? Chinese Commercial News reporters Zuo Ricong and Shi Wenwei Film Department learned that in 2012 the city’s total operating operating theater 85, 2013 rose to 104, as of May of this year has reached 108, which accounted for half of the main city.

Other cities in China are reported the same type of problems.

“At present, most theater Shenyang are losing money.” Person in charge of a theater box office in Shenyang in 2013, said the top five.

Theater insiders, at the cost of the theater, the largest part of the rent, some of the theater’s annual rent of up to five or six million good location, in addition to annual labor costs have more than 100 million, utilities and other expenses are added together, so that up to 7000000, “a movie ticket average fares 31 yuan, can only make a few dollars.”

Reporters Statistics found that the top five of Shenyang theater attendance is not higher than 30%.  LINK

Fortunately Transformers 4 and Tine Times 3 have helped. But they have not altered the underlying problems of over-supply, high rents and low attendance.

YouTube Preview Image

Ireland (Republic) – Box office is in ruddy good health in Ireland, thanks to cross dressing comedian Brendan O’Carrolls’ Mrs Browns Boys D’Movie, which took over a million euros in its opening weekend in the republic. It is second only this year to The Lego Movie and with €3.2 million set to overtake the brick film’s €3.3 million shortly and also become the biggest grossing Irish film of all time.

But the success of comedies ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ and ’22 Jump Street’ left the Irish scene looking far healthier with summer figures up 3.8pc on last year.

The total for the year is also looking good with attendance figures up 2.6pc on last year.

Rentrak EDI, the company that gathers box office figures worldwide, said the strong Irish showing should continue through the rest of the year as a lot of big titles were held back to avoid clashing with the FIFA World Cup.  LINK

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Quarterly Earnings: Regal, Imax and Dolby


Quarterly figures have been arriving thick and fast this week. We look at three key cinema companies: Regal Entertainment, Imax Corporation and Dolby Laboratories.


The world’s largest cinema operator announced its quarterly figures and they were not what the analysts had hoped for, with revenue of USD $770.3 million, down 8.5% year-on-year and misses expectations by USD $41.41 million. There was a dividend of USD $0.22 per share. The CEO put a brave face on the drop and found a silver lining to highlight, though I’m not sure about her positive take on this year’s BO potential.

In a challenging summer box office environment, the growth in our average concession sales per patron and our focus on controlling variable costs helped drive Adjusted EBITDA margin of over 19%, stated Amy Miles, CEO of Regal Entertainment Group. With year-to-date industry box office results on par with last years record setting pace and an exciting film slate in the back half of the year, we are optimistic regarding the potential for further box office success in 2014.  LINK

In the earnings call that followed there was an acknowledgment of the harsher realities faced this summer but also some historical perspective by Ms Miles.

When viewed from a broader perspective, this year’s second quarter industry box office revenue was in line with the historical average for the last 5 years. On — one other item of note as it relates to the second quarter box office performance, we were again encouraged by the studios’ willingness to expand the summer box office season by delivering high-profile films throughout the quarter. Difficult comparisons aside, we continue to believe that a diverse film slate and a well-spaced release calendar increase the long-term potential for box office success for us and our studio partners.  LINK

Concessions, better consumer amenities, premium seats as well as Imax/RPX (premium large format) screens are the key to riding out the financial troughs.

And finally, the early returns on our initial investments in luxury, reclining seats are very promising, and in most cases, ahead of our expectations. We have fully converted 5 locations with 46 screens and are on track to complete 25 locations with 275 screens by the end of the year. As a reminder, this concept is not right for every location. Many of our theaters are simply too busy to sustain the seat loss that results from the installation of the larger recliners.

But in some situations, where the theater has been impacted by competition or simply nearing the end of its useful life, a return-minded investment in reclining seats can rejuvenate and potentially even extend the life of an existing theater. Based on the early success of these auditoriums, we believe we will have further opportunities to invest in our asset base in both 2015 and ’16. We remain excited about the potential for growth and financial returns associated with these initiatives and look forward to updating you as they progress.  LINK

Other insights: average ticket price was up by USD $0.05, premium screens attract 17% of box office, operating expenses were down by 1% (“due primarily to decreases in attendance-driven theater-level cost and lower payments associated with premium format revenue”), New York City and Washington D.C. were down by more than the market average, while alcoholic beverage serving was up from 31 to 39 locations. Interestingly the company doesn’t think it is possible to cut staffing levels any more than they already have.

Obviously, we’ll always look to reduce costs where we can in a low-attendance environment, and I think our managers and our field personnel will continue to do a great job doing that. But to ask them to do a lot more than that I think is going to be tough for us.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Thursday 24 July 2014

Sex Tape header

The summer isn’t over but already it seems that last rites and post-mortem are being performed on what has been a disappointing box office season, at least in the US. Thank goodness there is China and other emerging markets to cheer up Hollywood, though this is cold comfort for US-based exhibitors. Apparently its men’s fault for staying away in droves.

Less than six weeks before Labor Day, hopes for recovery at the North American summer box office have evaporated. The season is expected to finish down 15 to 20 percent compared with 2013, the worst year-over-year decline in three decades, and revenue will struggle to crack $4 billion, which hasn’t happened in eight years. As a result, analysts predict that the full year is facing a deficit of 4 to 5 percent.


Although there have been no Lone Ranger-size debacles, for the first time since 2001 no summer pic will cross $300 million domestically (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Maleficent and Transformers: Age of Extinction hover near $230 million). May kicked off with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 earning $200 million less domestically than 2013′s Iron Man 3; by July 20, the divide had swelled to nearly $690 million as revenue topped out at $2.71 billion, down 20 percent compared with the same period last year.  LINK

Could it be partly because US ticket prices are up compared to Q1 this year (but down compared to Q4’13)?

The average cost of going to the cinema in the U.S. rose to $8.33 in the second quarter of 2014 as the summer season kicked into high gear, according to the National Association of Theater Owners.

That’s up from $7.96 in the first quarter of the year, when there were fewer 3D tentpoles.
However, it was notably down from the second quarter of 2013, when the average movie ticket price clocked in at $8.38 (the reason for the year-over-year decline could include fewer 3D tickets being bought overall as the appetite for the format wanes).  LINK

 Screen Australia chief executive Graeme Mason

Australia - Federal budget cuts means that Screen Australia has to cut staff by one-tenth and decrease funding for cinema-related projects.

Chief executive Graeme Mason has announced plans to save more than $5 million this financial year, including up to $3 million in development and production investment and another $1 million by cutting staff from 112 to 100.

Faced with a $38 million cut over four years in the May budget, Screen Australia will also reduce what it spends to help a film’s cinema release – so-called ”print and advertising” support – and end direct funding of such industry training organisations as Sydney’s Metro Screen, Melbourne’s Open Channel and Adelaide’s Media Resource Centre.  LINK

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