Future of Cinema Advertising on Show at SAWA Cannes Lions 2014

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The Screen Advertising World Association (SAWA) held its annual showcase of Cinema Advertising innovation at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2014 on Monday 16 June. For those of you unable to attend (perhaps understandably, as CineEurope kicked off the same day), we bring you a report of what was said and shown.

The theme this year was “Back to the Future”, in honour of the imminent key year of 2015 that featured in all three films of the trilogy, which is also predicted to be the biggest year in box office history. As Cheryl Wannell, General Manager of SAWA pointed out in a pre-show interview, “there is no better time to use the cinema medium.

SAWA together with its sponsors pulled out all stops to stand out in the crowded Cannes Lions schedule, not least attracting attention by hiring one of the original DeLorean cars from Universal and parking it in front of the Palais. Delegates filled out the Estrelle auditorium in the Palais De Festivale as the music and trailer from Back To The Future (BTTF) played.

The regular MC channelled Doc Emmet Brown from the films and with an electric arc flash opened ‘the portal to the future’ that is cinema big screen, in terms of showcasing innovation. Speaker after speaker would return to this point, that innovations are often imagined in films before the become reality as real life technology. Nothing matches cinema’s ability to inspire innovation, as the audience was about to be told and show.

First up was a clip reel combining gadgets and technologies such as interactive driving maps, hand-held communicators, swipeable surfaces and voice controlled computers from films such as James Bond, Star Trek and Minority Report, coupled with adverts from companies such as General Motors, Samsung, Microsoft and Apple that had brought these technologies to life.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 20 August 2014

AMC Imax

AMC and Imax have signed a deal to deepen their business ties. What this signifies is that AMC and Wanda Cinemas, while technically different companies (though with shared ownership) are increasingly becoming indistinguishable with regards to cinema business policies. I bet they even buy popcorn kernels from the same vendor, even if they don’t put out press releases about it.

IMAX Corporation IMAX, +2.03% (IMX) and AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. AMC, +1.43% today announced an expansion of the companies’ existing joint revenue sharing arrangement with the addition of 11 IMAX® theatres. The theatres, which will carry 13-year lease terms from the date of installation, are expected to be installed in 2015 in cities that include Chicago, New York, Newark and Phoenix. Today’s agreement brings AMC’s total IMAX commitment to 159 theatres and reinforces its position as the largest IMAX exhibitor in North America.  LINK

Rakesh Kumar CBFC

India’s much reviled Chief Censor has been indicted for corruption. You couldn’t make this up, but it highlights what a rotten mess Indian bureaucracy is when a ‘babu’ with a railway background (!) is put in charge of a body like the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). It is worth remembering what a let’s-clean-up-this-cinematic-filth-style moralist Kumar was when he was first appointed to the job.

The CBI arrested Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) CEO Rakesh Kumar in an alleged bribery case on Monday.

Last week the CBI had registered a case against Kumar and also arrested an authorized censor agent and an advisory panel member of the CBFC for demanding a Rs 70,000 bribe on the behalf of the CEO to urgently clear a film from Chhattisgarh.

The CBI had conducted search on Kumar’s residence last week and had recovered Rs 10.50 lacks cash, gold jewellery and property documents.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 18 August 2014

James Holmes

Cinemark will also be on trial for the deaths resulting from the shooting and killing of 12 people by alleged mass-killer James Holmes, after a Colorado judge threw out Cinemark’s attempt to have the wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits dismissed.

U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson on Friday rejected a motion for summary judgment filed by lawyers for Texas-based Cinemark USA to dismiss the lawsuits.

Nearly 30 victims or the families of those killed or wounded in the rampage have sued Cinemark, owner of the theater complex where the massacre took place.

In general, the lawsuits claim Cinemark had lax security at its theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora when a gunman opened fired during a midnight screening of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.”  LINK

Cineplex adults-only VIP cinema

Cineplex has opened Canada’s first adults-only multiplex. I wonder if it is also a way to get around liquor licence restrictions, as booze is served there, since no underage are admitted. But Cineplex has long been a pioneer, including supposedly the first one to introduce the concept of VIP cinema in Canada 15 years ago.

Cineplex VIP Cinemas Don Mills, Canada’s first theatre built just for 19-plus audiences, opened Friday in the former McNally Robinson Booksellers at the Shops at Don Mills.

The theatre, its adult status born of being licenced for beer, wine and liquor, has five auditoriums with reserved seating in oversized chairs with extra legroom — including two rooms with oversized faux leather seats that recline at the touch of a button and Dolby Atmos digital surround sound. There’s also valet parking.

“There’s a feeling of feeling of intimacy. You feel like it’s a special environment,” said Ellis Jacob, president and CEO of Cineplex Entertainment of the outlet he calls “the most refined movie theatre in North America.”  LINK

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When Reporting On Piracy Becomes Ethically Irresponsible, If Not Illegal

Expendables 3

I have been waiting for this day for what feels like an eternity. Today, August 15th 2014 is the day “The Expendables 3″ hits movie theatres worldwide. No, I have not been waiting two years since the “The Expendables 2″ was released and earned more than USD $300 million in worldwide box office. I’ve never even seen the first two ensemble action films in the franchise.

I’ve been eagerly anticipating the opening day of “The Expendables 3″ since precisely July 28th of this year. That’s the day I learned a high-quality version of “The Expendables 3″ was leaked online from an article on the technology blog The Verge. The article, written by the website’s assistant managing editor, David Pierce, was headlined “I torrented ‘The Expendables 3′ and I’m still going to see it in theaters“.

Putting aside the legality of Mr. Pierce’s actions for a moment, the article made me question whether it is ethically irresponsible to report on such matters. Freedom of the press laws may “allow” media outlets and journalists to report on pirated titles without becoming financially culpable for a producer’s losses due, though doesn’t such activity actually publicize the availability of specific content, thus increasing illegal downloading and ultimately the economic damage it causes?

It may seem like there are no easy answers to such questions, however in an age where theft can be conducted anonymously from the privacy of one’s own residence, what at first appears to be a gray area with murky boundaries comes into focus as one that should leave no room for confusion whatsoever. To help make our point we thought it best to wait until after “Expendables 3″ was released worldwide to publish this post.

To be sure, those of us who live in countries with a free and open press do not wish to hinder one of the most important tools in disseminating ideas and knowledge, as well as one of the most effective methods for keeping overreaching governments, corruption and wrongdoing in check. This is why I would have expected trade publications such as Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and The Wrap to run stories about “Expendables 3″ leaking online, which they all eventually did.

In fact, looking at when each of these outlets began covering the story, and the angle they took in their articles, speaks volumes about what they hoped to gain by doing so and who truly pays their bills.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 15 August 2014

China Film Giant Screen

China’s Entgroup Consulting has released an investment report on the Chinese exhibition business. While current growth is strong (14.5 screens per day), the report predicts that “the future number of Chinese cinema will be flat to down” and that there will be significant industry consolidation with just five to ten major players. Overview of report can be found here.

Arts and Grace advisory issued “2013-2014 Chinese Theater Investment and Development Report.” The report shows that Chinese cinema audiences growing at an annual rate of more than 30% of rapid growth. Data show that in 2013 China’s sustained rapid growth in the development of the theater, the new theater within the range of 903 theaters nationwide, up to 4583 the total number of cinema. The number of new screens for 5280, the new daily average 14.5 screen. Cinema growth rate dropped 6.9 percent compared to 2012, was 24.5%; screen count growth rate was 40.3%, down 1.0%. Arts and grace that the current investment market there are still many theaters are not rational investment, the future number of Chinese cinema will be flat to down. In the long term, the integration of acquisitions become inevitable between theaters, a few years later, eventually in the formation of 5 ~ 10 large-scale leading theaters.  LINK

New York Indian cinema audience

The New York Times looks at what small cinema in New York City’s boroughs are doing to stay open and attract customers – lower prices and more mixed programming seems to be key. It also features our favourite NYC cinema, the Nitehawk.

Independent movie theaters are an endangered lot as they compete with corporate multiplexes while facing declining ticket sales and the prohibitive cost of converting to digital projection. Many independent theaters have closed in recent years.

For those that remain, staying in business means coming up with creative ways to put people into theater seats, particularly in the boroughs outside Manhattan.

“There’s a very diverse ecosystem of theaters and some interesting things going on,” Matthew Viragh, the founder of Nitehawk Cinema, said.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Thursday 14 August 2014

Kino Femina in Warsaw

Polas are increasingly turning their backs on multiplexes in favour of smaller cinemas – preferring cheaper tickets, fewer adverts and more varied programming – according to the latest data from the Polish Central Statistical Office.

The share of the largest, multiplex cinemas has declined from 58.1 percent in 2012 to 55.2 percent last year.

Smaller cinemas are slowly gaining ground. Those with three to seven screens now have 30 percent of the market, compared to 27.4 percent in 2012.

The smallest venues, with one or two screens, have increased their market share from 14.5 percent to 14.8 percent. This translates into some 100,000 viewers more year-to-year.

The upward trend is also visible in the number of smaller cinemas. In 2013 there were 58 of the smallest ones in Poland, compared to 51 in 2012 and just 6 in 2001. LINK

Huayi Brothers Media

China – Having only bought into the cinema market last September, Huayi is selling out and more than doubling its money.

Huayi Brothers Media has agreed to sell its 20% stake in Jiangsu Yao Lai Studios Management, a regional cinema operator.

Huayi is selling to Songliao Automobile and will receive RMB464 (US$75 million) for the stake.

Jiangsu Yao Lai will remain 60% controlled by Beijing Sparkle Roll company.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 13 August 2014

Alamo Drafthouse Downtown LA

Alamo Drafthouse is coming to downtown Los Angeles.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the quirky Austin-based theater chain known for its beer and food service, is expanding into downtown Los Angeles.

The cinema chain, which specializes in independent and repertory films, will open its first L.A. theater at 7th and Flower streets next year, company executives said. Alamo has developed a cult following for its special events, in-seat food and drink service, and themed movie nights.

The Alamo Drafthouse Downtown will have nine screens and seat about 800 people. It will be a high-profile tenant for the mammoth redevelopment project named the Bloc, catering to the expanding population of downtown residents.  LINK

It is heating up the cinema competition in the City of Angels, taking on the nearby Downtown Independent, the Sundance Cinemas in West Hollywood and ArcLight Cinemas, which is expanding to Santa Monica next year, as well as majors such as AMC, Cinepolis and the neighbouring Regal Cinemas L.A. Live Stadium 14.

Perth rooftop silent cinema

Australia – A Perth car park roof is set to get an outdoor cinema with a difference – you will need headphones. Interesting idea.

PERTH’S first “silent cinema” will open on the rooftop of a rundown multistorey car park on Scarborough Beach, under revised plans.

Concerns about noise means moviegoers will be provided with wireless headphones at the proposed Sunset Boulevard outdoor cinema.

Plans for the rooftop venue — which also includes a beach club bar, cafe and pilates/yoga studio — were rejected by the City of Stirling last November.

The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, the State Government’s redevelopment agency, has since gained planning control for Scarborough Beach.  LINK

(The concept cinema seems to be showing a black & white version of ‘Dr. No’. Interestingly one of the first major decisions about the first ever James Bond feature film was to shoot it in colour).

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China Cinema Future – Barrage 2: Return of the Tucao

Cinema barrage

We were quite overwhelmed by the response to last week’s article about how China is inventing the future of cinema with the concept of ‘barrage’. (Thank you for all the tweets, Facebook posts, emails, LinkedIn mentions and other shares.) So we have decided to do what Hollywood always does when it has an unexpected hit on its hands, which is to quickly rush out a sequel.

The cinema barrage concept also stirred a lot of interest in China (we’ve found no less than 353 articles). In the last piece we focused on the trial involving The Legend of Qin (a.k.a. Qin’s Moon). This time we look at the other film to have tried this concept in a slightly different format at the same time, Generation 90 blockbuster Tiny Times 3.0.

Putting it all on the screen

Unlike the Legend of Qin special ‘barrage’ screening you can see from the picture above that for Tiny Times 3.0 the barrage was overlaid on the main screen showing the films, rather than projected onto the walls on either side of the screen. This makes the tucaos harder to ignore, so it is obviously only something for those cinema goers who seek out this activity, rather than casual cinema goers.

Call it striking up a conversation with the auditorium or turning the cinema screen into a graffiti wall for people to sign temporary messages.

JRJ.com interviews Wang Jun, who was responsible for the Tiny Times 3.0 barrage trial.

Mr Wang was keen to point out that this was an early experiment and is not something that should be expected to be rolled out to every screen any time soon. But the first question was about the equipment and cost.

Wang says that “the barrage is not complicated. There are numerous equipment package available now that add up to about 100,000 yuan [USD $16,240].” He then goes on to elaborate:

First, the film technology currently requires a digital movie player is a secret key [KDM?]. Simultaneous subtitles during playback and video cannot be implemented under the current terms from the policy. This broadcast mainly relies on our software. Only a screening device hardware is not speculation that the two were a movie projector screen with a barrage content superimposed on each other.

The current software was designed for 200 simultaneous participants, which Wang admits is a problem when you have sold 250 tickets. Questioned about whether the wifi network can handle that many simultaneous streams, Wang points out that because these are only short messages there is actually relatively little data being handled.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 11 August 2014

Vista Veezi ticketing software

New Zealand – Ticketing software company Vista is off to a good start after debuting on the Kiwi boeurse.  

Shares of Vista Group International rose as much as 8.1 percent on their NZX debut, after the cinema software and analytics company raised $92 million in an initial public offering to pay existing owners and fund global growth.

The shares recently traded at $2.53, touching a high of $2.54, after an IPO at $2.35, giving the company a market capitalisation of $201.9 million between Pacific Edge and Hallenstein Glasson Holdings. Some $51.7 million of the funds raised went to existing owners who retained a 47 percent stake, while $40 million in new capital was raised to drive its international growth plans.  LINK

Tricycle Theatre

UK – A troubling decision by a London-based cinema Tricycle Theatre to expel the UK Jewish Film Festival, because of current events in Gaza and a grant from the Israeli Embassy.

The chairman of the UK Jewish film festival has spoken for the first time about the row that led to it being withdrawn from a north London theatre, and said he felt “sick to my teeth” when the theatre’s director demanded to scrutinise the list of films to be shown.

“This was most definitely the thin end of the wedge. Who is she to say this film is right and this film is wrong? We have our own creative curator and our own 15,000 attendees. Why am I having to defer to her about what films she can defend?” said Stephen Margolis, chief executive director of the festival.  LINK

Cineworld Cinema City

UK – Despite a slow summer, with sports and good weather conspiring to keep cinema goers away, Cineworld has managed to post good numbers, helped by the merger with Cinema City.

Hits such as The Lego Movie helped, but Cineworld also has its merger with Cinema City to thank for an expected sharp increase in half-year profits to £20million.

Cineworld’s UK and Ireland box office revenues were down by 0.6 per cent in the year to the week before the end of July, but its total box office revenue was up 27 per cent compared to the same time last year.

This was due to the acquisition of Cinema City, a cinema business based mainly in central and eastern Europe, in February. Cineworld’s first half profits are expected to be up 13 per cent when it releases results on Thursday, reckons investment bank Numis.  LINK

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Powell’s Finds Its Sweet Spot With Outdoor Movie Night

Powell's Sweet Shoppe in Burlingame, CA

Powell’s Sweet Shoppe in Burlingame, California Promotes Its Outdoor Movie Night

Summer break is shortly coming to an end for school children in the United States. Very soon this year’s trips to the beach, summer camp and the county fair will be but memories. For my two daughters, aged eight and nine (and-a-half) years old, that means it’s time for the annual August visit with their grandparents in San Mateo, California.

This time around my daughters are particularly looking forward to spending a week at “pony camp” where they will ride, groom and care for their very own (though borrowed) pony. As fun as miniature equine can be, my daughters always look forward to one specific activity when visiting their grandparents; a trip to Powell’s Sweet Shoppe in Burlingame.

Powell’s is a franchised candy store with retail stores in 14 California locations as well as single outlets in both Idaho and Oregon. Powell’s isn’t geared just toward kids. Each store is designed to stir up emotions in every adult that sets foot inside. Dozens of bins filled with every sweet treat or candy imaginable are meant to create the perfect sense of nostalgia as one searches for their favorite candy from when they were a youngster.

As the company’s website explains:

Everyone has an extremely vivid and pleasant memory of where they went as a child to get their favorite candy – whether it was the corner store or their Grandma’s candy dish. Powell’s Sweet Shoppes are a nostalgic re-creation of that classic and bygone era. On the surface we sell ice cream and sweets, but you don’t have to stand in the Shoppe too long before you realize that what we really offer are memories.

Upon arriving this week I noticed a hand painted sign on Powell’s window promoting an “Outdoor movie night”. Needless to say, I was curious and went inside to learn more.

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