Monthly Archives: August 2009

NATO Nabs Mitch Neuhauser For Trade Show

nato-logoEver since March of 2008 when the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) announced that they would be holding their own trade show in 2011 just before NAB the question has been, who will the organization get to put the event together.  Speculation was that Bob and Andrew Sunshine who have been producing NATO’s official trade show, ShoWest, since 2001.   After all, the Sunshine’s, who originally started out as the Sunshine Group Worldwide before being sold to Nielsen, have tons of experience organizing annual exhibitor conferences such as ShowEast, Cinema Expo and CineAsia.

Such a guess would not have been far off given that earlier today NATO announced they had hired Mitch Neuhauser to be the Show Manager of their official trade show, the first of which will be held in March of 2011.  Presently, Neuhauser works with the Sunshines as Vice President of Nielsen Film Group.  He is also already involved with NATO in some capacity as the assistant executive director of NATO of New York.

If you’ve ever been to any of the four trade shows Nielsen holds for exhibitors and distributors each year than you definitely know who Neuhauser is.  Read More »

Fancy Heading Up UK’s Digital Cinema Group?

cea-logoThe UK’s Cinema Exhibitors’ Association (CEA) had previously announced that they are setting up an organization to support small-to-medium sized exhibitors in the switch to digital, along the lines of the semi-hibernating Cinema Buying Group (CBG) of NATO. CEA’s CEO Phil Clapp commented at the time that:

many [cinemasl also recognise that they are extremely unlikely to be able to secure funding deals to allow them to convert on their own. We strongly believe that the proposed funding group may be the only option to achieve this for a significant majority of small and medium-sized cinema operators.

Now the time has come to appoint someone to head up this mission. From the announcement:

As detailed in an advert appearing in the next edition of Screen International, the CEA is looking to recruit – initially on a six month contract – an individual with the following qualities:

  • Experience of work in film distribution and/or exhibition at a senior level, with an understanding of the key industry issues and processes between the two sectors;
  • Experience of digital cinema contracts and/or deployment;
  • Knowledge of the major US studios and international distributors, including the key decision-makers on issues around digital cinema;
  • Proven negotiating skills; and
  • Experience of running an organisation at director or a similar senior level.

Key initial tasks for the successful candidate will be to: establish the necessary business, governance and financial structures for the group; undertake an analysis of the current market for digital cinema in relation to group members; and, through discussion with potential funding partners and others, to identify those approaches which might provide a ‘best fit’ for group members with regard to financial support.

It may be somewhat optimistic to think that this can be achieved in six months, but the contract does have an extension option. Expect whoever is appointed to be spending a lot of time on a plane somewhere between Heathrow and LAX.

Summer B.O. Blame Game Has Already Started

Apparently the stars are to blame for not delivering more hits this summer, which appropriately enough finished this past weekend with the star-less sci fi film District 9 taking the top spot. Not that it was a bad summer, since early reports indicate that there is a year-on-year increase for 2009 so far. It is just that the hits were not delivered by the actors with $20m pay packets, according to the New York Times:

The gradual trend away from big-star vehicles in the summer has been under way for years.

At the start of the decade, summer still belonged to names: Cruise (“Mission Impossible II”), Crowe (“Gladiator”) and Clooney (“The Perfect Storm”) were the top three in 2000. But the three biggest films of this summer season, a crucial period from May 1 to Labor Day that typically accounts for 40 percent of annual ticket sales, have been “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” “Up” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”

The fading ability of Hollywood stars to command box-office attention, and why that is happening, has been a perennial topic in Hollywood. And economists and academics have long argued that marquee names are not worth their expense.

The biggest names attached to those films: Shia LaBoeuf, Ed Asner and Daniel Radcliffe.

So are the studios going to stop using stars? No, they will simply ask them to take a pay cut as they always have. And further into the article the blame falls on social networking and Twitter – as discussed below.

Twitter’s Instant Reviews Has Hollywood Worried

A little bird told us that the Hollywood studios are starting to take note of the impact instant 140-character-or-less reviews can have on the box office prospects of a newly released films. Well, actually, it’s a Washington Post articles that examines what impact if any Twitter had on the mixed fortunes of film like  Brüno and G.I. Joe. From the article:

“I think Twitter can’t be stopped,” says Stephen Bruno, the Weinstein Co.’s senior director of marketing. “Now you have to see it as an addition to the campaign of any movie. People want real-time news, and suddenly a studio can give it to them in a first-person way.”

Eamonn Bowles, president of Magnolia Pictures, says studios are worrying about a time when “people will be Twittering during the opening credits — and leaving when they don’t like them.” But he also warns, “The next step [for the Twitter Effect] is for studio marketing to manipulate it.”

While Twitter is no doubt having some impact, Boxofficemojo.com‘s president injects a note of realism into the debate at the end of the article:

“Revolutionize moviegoing? No,” he said. “But all the tiny little bits together [Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and others] can add up to something meaningful.”

A sample of Tweets of Quantin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds from today:

Akilah_Zomg Inglourious Basterds was fantastic! Love love love love, go see it!

Thenatt Inglourious Basterds FANTASTIC!!! Go watch it!!! I clapped!! I never clap LMFAO….

RobertDonohue Inglourious Basterds. Not what I expected. Still very good. I must say I enjoyed District 9 more. I wish there were more basterds scenes.

aprilismissing So Inglourious Basterds is the best movie I’ve seen in quite a long time. Def. catching it again this weekend.

taylorisgreat inglourious basterds totally scalps district 9. read em n weep.

So it seems that early Twitts are greater fans of QT than critics.

Box Office Review-Sunday 16 August “District 9 Is No. 1″

The Peter Jackson-produced scifi release “District 9” from TriStar debuted in the North American box office’s top spot this weekend, with an estimated $37 million.
In its second week, Paramount’s “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra” was behind it with an estimated $22.5 million; and Warner Bros.’ “The Time Traveler’s Wife” debuted at number three with an estimated $19.2 million.
Another debut in the North American box office this weekend was animation great Hayao Miyazaki’s magical “Ponyo,” released this weekend by Buena Vista, which played in 927 theaters and earned an estimated $3.5 million.
Sunday estimates also suggest that Disney’s “G-Force” added $6.9 million to its gross for a new total of $99 million.
As the 3D guinea pigs of “G-Force” approach $100 million, the final 3D movies of the summer are about to open. Disney’s sports feature “X Games 3D: The Movie” debuts on Aug. 21, followed by Warner Bros./New Line’s thriller “The Final Destination” on Aug. 28.
There are a little more than 1600 3D ready d-cinema theaters in North America and that count has been a factor to watch all summer. Disney’s “Up” surrendered most of its 3D-ready theaters on the weekend that the next 3D release, Fox’s “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” opened. And “Ice Age” did the same when “G-Force” debuted. North American theater owners charge a premium of roughly $2 to see a movie in 3D.

Celluloid Junkie Set To Resume Posting

For those of you who have been following our posts here on Celluloid Junkie you no doubt have noticed that we have been quite silent of late.  All it takes is a quick look at our archives to see that we didn’t post anything in the entire month of July.  Even casual readers of the blog will notice the huge gap in posts over the past couple of weeks.

Well, we now wanted to fill you in on the reason for our brief absence.

As many of you know, Celluloid Junkie is an extra-curricular activity for everyone who contributes.  When we aren’t posting updates on the latest industry news we are all working diligently at our day jobs within the industry.  At times, one or the other of us will be too busy to post anything on CJ and other contributors work to pick up the slack.  The month of July proved especially difficult with all of our contributors finding themselves inundated with work that actually pays them.

We have also spent time formalizing our editorial policy.  We strive to be a positive and informative voice for those working in the exhibition and distribution space by extending the conversation to an online environment.  The goal of CJ has never been to “break news” like our TI 4K story, though we don’t mind it when members of the industry allow us to do so and are quite proud of such posts.  Our intent has always been to keep those who need such information up to date with the latest industry developments and to provide critical analysis at a time of fast moving development. Read More »

London Eye Sees 4D Cinema

45Merlin Entertainment’s London Eye is adding 4D cinema, with a new screening venue and debut short movie.

Designed to excite London Eye-riders, a short movie was written and directed by Julian Napier and stereo 3D produced by Phil Streather, CEO of 3D company Principal Large Format. The film was produced by Centre Screen Productions in association with Principal Large Format and Pablo Post.

“Having a purpose-built theatre for a 3D or 4D film is perfect because getting a film like this right relies a lot on the theatre geometry,” Streather said in a released statement. “The distance of the audience from the screen and the size of the screen itself have an enormous impact on the experience. Knowing the exact dimensions of both the screen and the theatre before we started production meant that we could craft a film that would perfectly fit the space.”

The focus of the four-minute film is a little girl on a day trip to London, whose view of the capital’s many tourist sites is obscured by people and buildings, until she arrives at the London Eye. Read More »

Prime Focus Restructures Management; Adds Rob Hummel

rob hummelIndustry vet Rob Hummel—who most recently served as president of digital cinema at Dalsa—has been named CEO of Hollywood-based postproduction house Post Logic Studios, a division of India’s Prime Focus.

Post Logic’s Larry Birstock is vacating this position to move into an international role within the organization as president of Prime Focus Global Integration.
“Rob’s deep industry experience and long-standing relationships with Hollywood studios will be an enormous asset to Post Logic Studios and the Prime Focus companies,” said Namit Malhotra, founder and global CEO, Prime Focus, in a released statement. “We’re also thrilled that Larry has moved into a strategic global role within Prime Focus to help us more tightly integrate sales and operations across facilities in India, the UK, Canada and the US.”

Prior to his tenure with Dalsa, Hummel served as SVP, production technology at Warner Bros. There, he oversaw digital restoration work on such films as “Gone With The Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz.” Before joining Warner Bros., he held positions including SVP, digital cinema for Sony Corp.; EVP, digital development for Technicolor, and head of DreamWorks Animation Technology, during which time he oversaw the building of the company’s animation technology infrastructure. Hummel also held positions in postproduction, Imagineering, and TV animation at Walt Disney Studios.

Box Office Review-Sunday 9 August “G.I. Joe” Opens With $56.2 Million”

gimovieParamount’s big budget “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra” opened with an estimated $56.2 million in the North American box office this weekend, giving it the top spot. Sony’s debut “Julie and Julia” finished second with $20.1 million.
Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer’s live action/CGI “G-Force”—a digital 3D release—finished third in its third week with an estimated $9.8 million, bringing its estimated domestic total to $86.1 million.
Disney continues to hold the majority of the just over 1600 3D-ready digital cinema venues in the market, and estimates suggest that 3D accounts for more than half of the gross.
sea3d1Estimates suggest that the weekend top five was rounded out by Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” with $8.9 million and a total gross of $273.8 million; and Universal’s “Funny People” with nearly $7.9 million for a new total of $40.4 million.
There are a few more weeks to go before the final summer 3D releases arrive in theaters. Disney’s “X Games 3D: The Movie” opens Aug. 21, followed by Warner Bros./New Line’s “The Final Destination” on Aug. 28.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros. and Imax announced last week that “Under the Sea 3D” will be rereleased in select Imax theaters on Aug. 19.
Last February, “Under the Sea 3D” opened in 49 Imax theaters domestically and three locations internationally and has since grossed more than $15 million in worldwide box office. “Under the Sea 3D” follows 2006’s “Deep Sea 3D,” which has topped $80 million in worldwide box office receipts.