Category Archives: Daily News Roundup

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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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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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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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 8 August 2014

China online cinema ticket machines

Wondering about the above picture? That’s no less than ten (10!) different ticketing machines in the lobby of a cinema in Beijing. Online ticketing has exploded in China along with the growth of multiplexes, Imax screens and attendance. But it is not what you are used to in the West with one or at most two operators in addition to the cinema handling online ticketing. Different prices and different service levels means that there is a lot of competition in this field, which is only set to grow.

According to Art Consulting released data show that in 2013 Chinese film market grossed 21.7 billion yuan [USD $3.5 billion], the total volume of transactions reached buy movie tickets online 3.64 billion yuan [USD $562 million], accounting for 16.8%; market size of online movie ticket seat selection broke through the 1.2 billion yuan [USD $195 million], accounting for 5.5% of the overall size of the market. 2013 National viewing trips 620 million, of which up to 129 million people online ticketing, accounting for 21%. At the same time, the country has opened online seat selection feature close to 30% of the national cinema theater data.

Insiders predict that the next three years, the national online movie ticket in the domestic share of total box office or over 50%. U.S. group net Xu Wu, director of the opal film products more optimistic data from May this year it seems, online ticket market share has more than 30%, with a few important files and the second half of the summer schedule of the national archives, Lunar New Year stalls, etc. heat the film to enhance the overall market is expected by the end of this year, the national online ticket market share will exceed 50%. “This is an explosive growth in the market, cat’s-eye movies formally launched in January 2013, the sales volume in May this year compared to last year has increased by nearly five times.” Xu Wu said.  LINK

Online ticketing brings convenience such as seat selection and for films such as ‘Transformers 4′ the rate of online tickets sales was a high 40%. Perhaps more interestingly, the avrage ticket price of tickets sold online56 yuan, compared to average national ticket price of 20 yuan, highlighting the domination of sales in multiplexes and Imax/CGF PLF screens in Tier 1 & 2 cities. While online tickets also offers operators the chance to gather data on customers there are fears in the industry of a new round of price wars. Those ticket machines aren’t just fighting for floor space.

9900 Wilshire

USA (CA) - Fresh news that Dalian Wanda, the parent company of US exhibitor AMC, is planning to build a HQ on 9900 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. The company has already donated USD $20 million to the AMPAS (Oscar) Museum.

Dalian Wanda Group, which controls the second-largest US cinema chain, won the bid for a piece of land in Los Angeles as the Chinese company sets its sights on Hollywood.

Wanda, the Chinese developer controlled by billionaire Wang Jianlin, plans to invest US$1.2 billion (RM3.85 billion) after beating more than 10 bidders for the 32,000 sq m plot in Beverly Hills, the company said in a statement on its website.

Wanda plans to set up an office in the city and help China’s entry into Hollywood’s film industry, it said.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Thursday 7 August 2014

Berr in cinema

The City Council of Bristol, Tenn, recently voted 3-2 in favour of allowing beer sales in the local cinema, clearing a first hurdle and in line with a larger national trend.

National Association of Theatre Owners Director of Media and Research Patrick Corcoran said wine, cocktails and suds in the cinema are becoming another selection at the concession stand at theaters across the U.S.

At last count, nearly 900 movie houses — including ones in nearby Asheville and Knoxville — have alcohol alongside the popcorn and Goobers in food vending areas or in restaurants confined within the theater, which allow consumers to take their meals and spirits in to see the show.

“It’s moving more into the mainstream as some of the larger theater companies are getting into it,” Corcoran said. “There’s a growing adult market. The percentage of the older population is growing and theaters are looking for better ways to attract that demographic. One of those is through alcohol sales and dine-in theaters.”  LINK

An interesting footnote is that one Hollywood studio was initially dead set against the idea of beer in cinemas. Have you already guessed which one?

Corcoran said independent movie theaters and larger chains began selling beer and wine in the mid 1990s, leading the Walt Disney Co. to not release its films to some locations because they did not want their family films associated with the sale of alcohol. Disney later relented after sales became successful in those areas with the beer concept.

Cineplex

Canada – Cineplex has announced its quarterly figures and Canada’s largest exhibitor noted year-on-year growth, but it as mainly the in-organic (screen acquisition) kind and the company is not immune to the malaise that is gripping the box office south of the border.

“Total revenue for the second quarter of 2014 increased 7.2%, or $21.9 million compared to the prior year, due largely to the 2013 acquisitions of 24 Atlantic theatres and digital signage company Cineplex Digital Networks,” said Ellis Jacob, President and CEO, Cineplex Entertainment. “The box office was impacted by the underperformance of a number of big summer titles and the shifting of release dates on certain films which resulted in a same store decrease in box office revenues of 4.2%, compared to the prior year quarter.”  LINK

The silver lining was “diversification in related businesses including media, digital commerce, gaming, food service and alternative programming” to counterbalance under-performing films, plus the SCENE loyalty program reached 5.8 million members (an increase of 200,000 members in the quarter).

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 6 August 2014

United Cinema Japan

Often the overlooked cinema major in Asia, the Japanese cinema market is still dynamic, as witnessed by this $100m acquisition of United Cinemas, with its 36 cinema complexes.

Convenience store operator Lawson Inc. announced Wednesday it will acquire United Cinemas Co., a Tokyo-based cinema complex operator, in a deal estimated at more than ¥10 billion [USD $97.9 million].

Lawson will buy all shares in the holding company of United Cinema from the existing shareholders, including private equity fund Advantage Partners LLP.

Lawson sells entertainment tickets and music and video software through Tokyo-based subsidiary Lawson HMV Entertainment Inc.

Following the acquisition, goods now handled at the Lawson stores and through the Lawson HMV service will be sold at United Cinema complexes. Lawson will also launch campaigns involving both the retail and cinema operations.  LINK

Sun Xiaobin

China - The Chinese are hard at work developing their own laser light cinema projector technology AND immersive audio technology. We’ve written about this company before and it is worth keeping your eyes on them.

In the end of 2013, Chen Xing Technology launched worldwide pioneered laser giant screen showing the overall high quality solutions Cinelab laser DMR program uses these “future technology.” In this scenario, Chen Xing laser giant screen all equipped with RealD 3D systems in the 21-meter-wide common metal curtain achieve ultra-high brightness 3D 9 FL, in order to set a new benchmark for the industry, providing data and technical practice experience, through Cinelab laser DMR’s 3P laser projection system, people will eventually be able to watch the show to meet the brightness level of quality 3D movies.  LINK

If making a laser projection Imax-like 4K projector wasn’t enough, they also seem to be hard at work to create a local Chinese version of Dolby Atmos, according to this article.

Cinelab laser IMAX sound system is also new design concept, the most classic Dolby (ATMOS) and Chen Xing Technology panoramic sound technology with independent intellectual property Cinelab super 5.1,15.1 and 17.1 stunning combination of sound, to get rid of the shackles of sources, perfect interpretation of Dolby (ATMOS) panoramic sound studio truest sound.

Currently Cinelab laser DMR has entered a number of cities in the country, providing excellent viewing experience for fans around. Fuzhou Swiss Wan Star International Studios, for example, changing the first day of release 4, laser DMR Hall box office reached 250,000 yuan, laser DMR Hall 443 full.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Tuesday 5 August 2014

Carmike Cinema logo

USA – Carmike has released its quarterly figures and discussed them in a conference call. Overall the company claims to be weathering the downturn pretty well, despite a drop in profits of over 50%, with a strong recent focus on M&As. Here is what S. David Passman III, the company’s President and CEO had to say.

Carmike once again outperformed the overall domestic box office in revenue and attendance during the quarter, which was a challenging period for the U.S. market, due to very strong box office results posted during the second quarter of 2013. Despite the domestic industry decline of almost 7%, Carmike’s admissions revenues actually increased by 7% during the three month period, and our total attendance grew 4%.

On a per screen basis, our box office receipts declined less than 1%. In fact, Carmike’s per screen performance was nearly 600 basis points better than the overall industry. As I have said in the past, while the film slate will vary from quarter-to-quarter, our expanded scale and companywide emphasis on customer service excellence, combined with our growing circuit of high quality theater, remain important factors in our ability to generate favorable operating results over the long term.  LINK

barco_logo

Brazil – Barco is the projector supplier for the recent Doremi/Quanta deal that we wrote about yesterday. Some insights into the market from the press release.

Digital cinema expert Barco is proud to announce that it has recently closed a deal with integrator Quanta DGT to supply 500 digital cinema projectors to theaters in Brazil through a Virtual Print Fee (VPF) financing model. Many of the largest cinema exhibitors – Cinesystem, GNC, Cine Sercla, CineShow, CineArt, AFA Cinemas, PlayArte, Arcoplex, Cinematográfica Araujo – and dozens of small exhibitor groups have chosen to go digital with Barco digital cinema projectors.

While Brazil is the world’s tenth most important cinema market in admissions, the digitization percentage has been quite low for a long time: only around 38% of the 2,500 screens were digitized by the end of 2013. Recent public policies encouraging exhibitors to digitize their screens, including the VPF program, are taking hold and over 70% of the country’s exhibitors have already joined the program. Many of them rely on the support of system integrator Quanta DGT who, together with global digital cinema leader Arts Alliance Media have VPF agreements with the Hollywood studios to fund the rollout of digital cinema across Latin America.  LINK

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