Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 29 August 2014

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The poor US box office is the story of the summer. Weak slate or cyclical? Variety crunches the numbers, compares winners & losers and weighs the opinions. The good news is that “summer” matters much less than it used to and true to John Fithian’s wish, studios are now looking at a 12 month window of opportunity.

Despite an August thaw that saw “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” shatter expectations, the summer box office will likely finish at its lowest point in eight years. Ticket sales are running 15% below last summer’s.

Thanks to the magic of CGI, cities crumbled on a weekly basis, defended by a rotating band of masked superheroes. But are these scorched movie metropolises a metaphor for a business being bombarded by newer, snazzier forms of non-theatrical entertainment, or is this a momentary stumble for an industry that’s still soaring?  LINK

Seeking Alpha has its take on the summer and it leans towards the ‘secular decline’ camp.

Box office debate: Secular decline or smashing 2015 on tap? • 8:59 AM

Clark Schultz, SA News Editor

- Cowen Research analyst Doug Creutz thinks the soft summer box office season this year is evidence of a secular decline in domestic attendance as viewing habits evolve.
- The analysis runs counter to the line of thought of some media analysts who think a weak and uninspiring summer slate is the culprit.
- Creutz points out that the number of summer releases is in-line with historical averages, while box office bulls note tent-poles are spread out throughout the year more than in the past making the summer compare tougher.
- On tap in 2015: Blockbuster releases next year include Star Wars: Episode VII (Lucasfilm), Avengers: Age of Ultron (Marvel), Fifty Shades of Grey (Universal), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (Lionsgate), The Good Dinosaur (Walt Disney Pictures), Bond 24 (Columbia).

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On a brighter note, Italy was up in the first quarter this year compared to same period 2013. (No idea why they are flagging Q1 but not Q2.)

Italy was the only big EU market to grow in box office gross and admissions in 2013. Policy differences between Italy and Spain, discussed in the Q1 2014 Distribution Report, account for most of the box office and production growth.

- 30.3M Italians attended the cinema in Q1 2014, compared to 26.8M in Q1 2013.  LINK

Yet The Telegraph reports that there are fears that the Italian film industry is ‘going into a steep decline’ as only three of the 31 titles in competition at this week’s Venice Film Festival are Italian.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Thursday 28 August 2014

Maze Runner

Fox’s The Maze Runner will be the first film released in Barco’s Escape triptych-screen format. The film will be released exclusively in five Cinemark locations, two in California and one each in Florida, Texas and Illinois before it is released later in Europe at Brussels Kinepolis Escape Theatre and possibly elsewhere. (BTW Great pairing: Maze + Escape – see what they did there?)

In the case of The Maze Runner, the film was shot in a traditional way, before the decision to use Escape was made. The center screen will display the live-action film, and imagery on the side screens will be extensions of the scenes — i.e., a larger maze — created using visual effects.

“Based on the speed we needed to get this to market and the creative challenges, we tried a new way of rendering and creating the material,” Ted Schilowitz, who is Barco’s “CinemaVangelist” and also works as a futurist at Fox, tells The Hollywood Reporter. This pipeline was built around a Crytek gaming engine for rendering, and computing hardware from Devil & Demon (Schilowitz is president of D&D). The artists worked inside the D&D mobile production unit dubbed Devil’s Playground. (Schilowitz says this sort of setup might also be useful to the struggling VFX industry because “we need to better the tool set so people can be more profitable with their work.”)  LINK

Germany painted posters

The art of big painted billboards in cinemas rather than posters is perhaps most associated with countries like India, but it is still practised in Germany in places such as München, the Yorck cinema in Berlin and this one in Bremen.

Every second weeks she provides a new poster to the Shauburg cinema. 400 to 500 Euro is what the cinema in the trendy Steintor-quarter pays each time for this unique film advertising. “The distributor covers part of the costs. But the main part is paid by us,” says managing director Robert Erdmann. Wulfers cannot live from her dream job alone . Hence she also earns money as a freelance graphic designer and teaching painting classes at the community college.

For her Munich colleagues René Birkner it is the other way around. For 27 years he has been reproducing film posters for three movie theaters in the Bavarian capital. Approximately 40 square meters in size alone is the huge billboard of the movie theater at Sendlinger Tor. To fill it, the 58-year-old must work night shifts regularly. “I feed my family this way.” The rest of the time he paints abstract images. “This is my passion.” LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 27 August 2014

IBC Big Screen Experience

The Netherlands – 4K will be a major topic at the upcoming IBC (show – not ice bucket challenge), with awards just announced for the 4K transmissions by the Vienna State Opera and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Be sure not to miss this year’s IBC Big Screen Experience – bigger and also free for everyone attending this year.

Dramatic advances in media technology bring new opportunities to engage with audiences and to extend the reach of an event around the world. At IBC2014, two very different projects will be recognised with prestigious awards. Innovations in coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup will receive the Judges’ Prize, and a Special Award will go the one of the world’s greatest opera houses, the Wiener Staatsoper – Vienna State Opera.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil was hailed as both a sporting and a media success, with close to a billion people worldwide watching the final between Argentina and Germany. They watched in on air and online, in formats from 4k and 8k Ultra HD to mobile phones and tablets.  LINK

Want to know more about 4K a.k.a. Ultra-HD? Check out this website, which scrolls like a powerpoint. Interesting and informative.

 

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France – People fainting and being taken to hospital is what producers of schlock horror B-movies used to promise in the 1950s. But apparently that is just what happened at a French Film Festival in Angouleme.

Participants of the International Francophone Film Festival in Angouleme French were not ready for it. Already after a quarter of the film “Little Queen” in the audience prevailed movement through drastic scenes of blood transfusion. People fainted, and one of the spectators was transported to the hospital. The session was stopped and the cinema evacuated.

The film “La Petite Reine” (French for “Little Queen”) tells the story of a Canadian Genevieve Jeanson, who was a cycling champion. The film shows a scene where the heroine is transfusing blood. Participants of the festival were not made ??aware of the dramatic scenes.

After the first unsuccessful attempt to view the film, the organizers decided to postpone it for tomorrow. This time, every viewer will be informed about what we see on the screen, and in addition there will be doctors in the hall.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Tuesday 26 August 2014

Quad Cinema New York

USA (NY) – Manhattan’s arthouse Quad Cinema has been sold and it could frankly not have asked for a better new owner.

At first, news that the revered Quad Cinema in New York’s Greenwich Village had been sold to a real estate magnate caused us alarm. But it turns out that Charles S. Cohen, in addition to being the president and chief executive of Cohen Bros. Realty Corp., is also a major supporter of great film, both as a distributor and as a historian.

Cohen is a film producer and distributor through the Cohen Media Group, which has distributed films such as “Le Chef,” “Chinese Puzzle” and “Farewell, My Queen.” Cohen also runs the Cohen Film Collection, which includes 700 film titles, including classics by Jean-Luc Godard, D. W. Griffith, Alfred Hitchcock and Buster Keaton.  LINK

Cinema Popcorn Buckets

Europe is behind the US when it comes to the sophistication of the popcorn market. Gourmet flavour and so-called healthy-option popcorn apparently represent untapped markets according to a new report.

Global launches of popcorn rose over 8% in the 12 months to the end of June 2014. The large and mature US market was the leading individual country, accounting for over 20% of total introductions. But this was behind Europe, where the large number of countries involved took its share to 36%, according to data recorded by Innova Market Insights.

Meanwhile, gourmet lines, already established in the USA, are starting to make their way across the Atlantic, bringing a whole raft of more complex flavours and moving the sector away from its traditional ‘cinema’ image and a simple sweet or salty flavour choice.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 25 August 2014

Cineworld Telford

First Cineworld got in trouble with some vocal customers for introducing allocated seating. Now marketers are complaining that the cinema is keeping house lights on during the running of the adverts.

Darren Hayday, marketing consultant at Competitive Edge Marketing and former “loyal customer of Cineworld” after taking issue with the policy, says the decision to keep lights up instead of using ushers to guide customers to their seats is a problem for marketers.

He adds: “What on earth is the point of a brand manager choosing this medium to target a captive audience when to try and cut costs the cinema chain introduce this process which doesn’t benefit anyone other than senior management?”

One client-side marketer and Cineworld customer told Marketing Week: “Cinema is one of the last remaining opportunities for a fully engaged ad audience and when you factor in the site-specificity of movie trailers made especially for cinema audiences, [keeping lights up] is doubly concerning.”  LINK

Imax China

China – The importance of China to Imax was highlighted again this past weekend at the Changchun Film Festival, with the country set to overtake the United States in the next few years. Sadly can’t embed the video, so please follow the link.

August 22, the 12th Changchun Film Festival “IMAX Vision” screening unit was officially launched, Managing Director, Asia Pacific attended the launching ceremony of IMAX Corporation sand Wande said that about three years, IMAX number of IMAX theaters in China will reach about 400, then this figure will exceed North America. China is expected to become the world’s largest IMAX market.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 22 August 2014

China cine ad

Cinema advertising is experiencing major growth in China, with a 33% year-on-year increase even as the spot-per-screen-per-play cost has fallen from 16 yuan [USD $2.60] in 2011 to 12 yuan [USD $1.95] this year. As so often we are indebted to EntGroup for this data and analysis.

Due to the favorable impact of the film market, the size of 2014 Chinese cinema advertising revenues reflect the former is expected to reach 1.6 billion yuan [USD $2111 million], the growth rate will reach 33%. The past few years, reflecting the former theater advertising revenue trends can also be seen in 2011 before the outbreak of the advertising market is reflected, after two years the growth rate has declined, mainly due to the investment boom in theater construction has gradually become more rational, the number of screens growth rate slowed down, limiting the size of the market before the theater reflect the extensive expansion. In this stage, the theater before the advertising operator also reflect efforts to tap the market potential, try to change the direction of the intensive cultivation, in order to further improve the cinema advertising market size before mapping.  LINK

Indian cinema advertisers

Cinema advertising has also been making great strides in India and afaqs! has an in-depth article providing excellent overview and lots of data about the whole Indian cinema and cinema advertising market. Recommended reading.

Onscreen ads are still the most preferred among brands. A multiplex plays an average of 23 ads (30 seconds each) or 12-15 minutes of advertising. The rate differs from chain to chain and could range from Rs. 7,000-20,000 [USD $115-330] for a 30-second ad. When it comes to off-screen models, poster branding costs between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 30,000 [USD $248-496] a month per poster box while a standee costs around Rs. 18,000-25,000 [USD $298-414].

Brands are now beginning to opt for quarterly, semi-annual and annual deals. A niche or an upmarket product goes for screens attracting the SEC A+ audience, while a mass product goes for SEC A, AB screens. Says Shirish Srivastava, senior vice president – marketing & sales at Reliance MediaWorks, ”Today, 50 per cent of brands opt for the annual deals.” It insulates the brand from box-office failures.  LINK

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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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