Category Archives: Daily News Roundup

Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 26 January 2015

Imax Carnival Vista

USA – Given how large cruise ships have become it was inevitable that sooner or later one of them would get an Imax cinema.

Carnival is partnering with entertainment innovator IMAX® to bring the world’s most immersive cinematic experience to sea with the first-ever IMAX® Theatre on a ship. Guests will take in the latest Hollywood blockbusters, IMAX classics and IMAX documentary content on a screen that’s three decks high. Next door at the Thrill Theater, moviegoers can enjoy a multi-dimensional special effects experience. Both are part of the Carnival Multiplex, a first at sea for film fans, complete with concession stand offering popcorn and movie snacks. The Warehouse, featuring a variety of video and arcade games, is located adjacent to the Carnival Multiplex.

The largest ship in the fleet, Carnival Vista will measure 133,500 tons, 1,055 feet long and have a guest capacity of 3,936 (based on two per cabin). The new vessel will debut May 1, 2016, with a 13-day cruise departing from Trieste, Italy — the first European voyage for Carnival in three years.  LINK

Theory of Everything

Having evicted a man in a wheelchair last week, Odeon is then unable to provide access to a screening of “The Theory of Everything” for – wait for it – a boy in a wheelchair.

An Odeon cinema in Harrogate has told a disabled boy that they couldn’t accommodate his wheelchair for any of its nine weekend screenings of Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything – including ones on national Disabled Access Day.

His mother Kelly told the Mirror: “He said to me the film was supposed to inspire people but how can somebody in a ­wheelchair be inspired if they can’t see it? I cried when he said that.” The boy, 12-year-old Joe France, said that he was “disappointed”, as “Stephen Hawking is one of my top three heroes. I thought it was going to be a very special day.”  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Saturday 24 January 2015

Art House Convergence

Since 2008, just before the Sundance Film Festival begins in mid-January, art house cinema operators from around North America (and beyond) have been gathering for Art House Convergence. The conference is held over four days in Midway, Utah, not far from Park City where Sundance takes place.

A record 500 attendees showed up for this year’s event, representing independent theatre operators, non-profit cultural centers, distributors, and the many companies that support and work with art houses (think Vista Entertainment Solutions, NEC, Ymagis, Sonic Equipment, etc.). There was more information and news coming out of Art House Convergence this week than we can possibly cover here in the digest, so we’ll be following up on many of the leads gathered there over the coming weeks. Instead, we’d like to focus on two corporate announcements that got those at the confab buzzing.

First up was Tugg, the on-demand-movie service that allows audiences to request screenings of titles at a given movie theatre on a specific date. If enough audience members sign-up ahead of time, the film is booked and played. The three year old start-up is now partnering with New Balloon, which is being described in the media as a cross-platform media venture whose purpose is “advancing innovative storytelling technologies”. If that sounds rather subjective, or confusing, then you’ll likely be thrown by how Anne Thompson of Indiewire describes the initiative the two companies are teaming up on:

They will form a multi-million dollar Event Cinema Fund. Through the fund, both companies will provide high-impact investment capital, expertise, and other resources toward marketing and distributing culturally significant films.

Our suggestion is to read Thompson’s piece on the announcement. It’s filled with the usual buzz phrases found in such announcements like “enhance traditional release strategies”. This is no fault of Thompson, as companies often struggle to convey these types of hybrid, experimental efforts when talking to the media and thus often fall into the trap of using such language.

Thompson, who was one of the keynote speakers at this year’s Art House Convergence (and deservedly so), also reported on a more straightforward bit of news about content distributor Emerging Pictures, which was acquired by 20 Years Media Corp., a digital media company based in Vancouver.

I ran into Ira Deutchman, co-founder of Emerging Pictures as well as chairman of the film program at Columbia University School of the Arts, on the first day of Sundance. He explained the deal was meant to give Emerging Pictures the deep pockets required to take the company to its logical next level. Having helped overcome the many digital distribution hurdles alternative content and niche films often face, the next obstacle Deutchman believes will be marketing.

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China Cinema Digest – Thursday 22 January 2015

Wanda Cinema Line Logo

Sina Finance highlights three pertinent questions about Wanda Cinemas raised during the ‘road show’ ahead of the company’s IPO.

Concerned about the point two: how to face the the new media shocks?

In the conference, another concern is that the new media development, Wanda Cinema traditional marketing model of how to face the competition…

In this regard, Zeng-Mao also said that at present the company a single month counter ticketing and network ticketing of the proportion of month 6: 4, 2013 box office income share 76.74%, network sales at present in a single month accounting for about 40%, network sales accounting for showed a gradual upward trend, company there are Wanda movie network, Wanda movie APP such as its own electronic channels, at the same time also, and domestic professional network of ticketing website cooperation.

At present, Wanda Cinema uses a “cinema system” model of development, Ye Ning said Wanda Cinema business uses a pure asset coupling mode, is currently well-known theaters in only one using the model of the company.  LINK

China cinema box office split

On the occasion of Wanda Cinema’s IPO a good in-depth overview of how the cinema market works in China and Wanda’s role, down to specifics of revenue split and tax, is provided by Win Business Network . Several pages long, but worth reading in full.

Cinemas implement licensing system, the relevant policies and regulations, 15 or more in assets and the distribution for the film in theaters as a link to the different provincial regions, provinces can set up a cinema company. As of the end of 2013 there were 45 theaters license.

Unity in accordance with their respective cinema theater company plans to row reflect the showing of the film.

American film industry chain is the core part of the copyright, movie box office revenues accounted for 30% of the film side (producers and issuers) income is less than, in addition to creating revenue through digital television, Internet video, brand licensing, and other aspects of overseas exports . Because domestic copyright, among other factors, led to 85% of the producers are the cinema box office revenue contribution.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 19 January 2015

Microsoft smartphone cinema

Has Microsoft discovered a way to make smartphones less annoying in cinemas? For those who can’t bear to switch them off for a couple of hours, this could be the solution.

A patent granted to Microsoft this week could automatically adjust the settings on your phone to make it less annoying in movie theaters.

Granted on January 13, the patent details an “inconspicuous mode” which would automatically adjust brightness, mute sounds and offer reduced information on the lock screen when the owner goes to the theater or is about to head to bed.

Inconspicuous mode would be triggered using sensors on the device when visiting a venue like a movie theater, or could be manually enabled by the user.  LINK

regal-entertainment1

USA – Regal is not for sale. The company has decided against putting itself up for sale. It always seemed unlikely, more like a distraction from two consecutive quarters of bad growth.

Regal Entertainment Group, which operates the nation’s largest theater chain, is no longer looking for a buyer, the company said Thursday.

The Knoxville, Tenn.-based chain announced that its board of directors has “determined that a sale of the company would not be in the best interest of shareholders at this time,” according to a statement. “The board, consistent with its fiduciary duties, remains committed to evaluating any alternatives that would enhance shareholder value.”

Regal said it arrived at its decision after examining strategic alternatives with the advice of Morgan Stanley & Co.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Thursday 15 January 2015

Cineworld lesbians

UK – Cineworld clearly has to work on more LGBT awareness (not to mention common sense) for its staff, after a lesbian couple were evicted for (wait for it) using the Ladies toilet. A £20 voucher and two free tickets hardly seem like an adequate apology for treating paying customers this way.

A lesbian couple were kicked out of the ladies’ toilets during a trip to the cinema because the security guard thought they were men.

Tracey Seaton and Keira Williams had just popped to the toilet after watching a film at Cineworld in east London.

But a guard followed them in and forced them to leave after insisting they were men.  LINK

Odeon wheelchair evict

UK – Meanwhile Odeon staff evicted a disabled man because a few people complained that his ventilator was making too much noise. Seriously, do UK cinemas feel that they have too many patrons to go throwing out ticket-paying customers like this? I mean it as a serious question. Tell me your views in the ‘Comments’ section below, please.

A cinema-goer with Duchenne muscular dystrophy was thrown out part way through a film after complaints his life-saving ventilator was a “noise nuisance”.

Richard Bridger, 31, was asked to leave an Odeon cinema in Epsom, Surrey, as he watched Taken 3, the Liam Neeson thriller, with his carer.

It happened just a week after volunteers from the Motor Neurone Disease Association were allowed to make bucket collections at the cinema, which is screening the film about the wheelchair-bound science genius Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 14 January 2015

AMC Wanda logo

USA (NV) – Is AMC going to ditch Imax for Dolby Cinema? Of course not, but this and other nuggets emerge from a Citi Global Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference transcript with AMC’s Craig Ramsey, EVP and CFO, where he talks about the company’s five different strategies.

But to my point about our proprietary brands, I want to do a plug on — and we love IMAX. I’m not being negative against IMAX, because it’s been a great partner. But if you think about it, really there’s only one party that needs to make the decision on the proprietary brand whether a film is in the big auditorium with the big-screen, the big seats, and the Dolby Atmos sound system that you’ve spent a ton of money on, and it’s us. Because you don’t have to reformat that film.

And so you can deliver, I think, an IMAX-like experience over a broader range of product. Some that hasn’t been. So I think the growth opportunity, at least for us, we’ve got 17 of our private label and I think we have a big growth opportunity in more rollout of our AMC Prime proprietary product. In some cases where we also have IMAX, because the two can be complementary. LINK

Worth reading in full – this is after all the exhibitor that has 67% of the screens of Regal but generates 90% of the revenue that Regal does. Read about the ‘recliner’ strategy. Nothing is more important in the US exhibition business right now than seating. Repeat: nothing. Not even Imax/Dolby Cinema.

I don’t know if you’ve been — we operate — I said 344 theaters. 55 of those theaters we have remodeled, which has included taking out two-thirds of the seats. Where we had three seats, we have one. And that one is a plush, automatic, motorized recliner, which gives the moviegoer seat east and west more room, and north and south more room. We’ve — it’s been an unbelievable positive response from the guest, more privacy, greater comfort.

What you may be thinking well, but you’ve taken all that capacity out of the auditorium. You probably are missing some attendance because of the sellouts.

On the whole, our industry operates on about 11% capacity utilization. There’s a lot of room in this business to take seats out and deliver a better guest experience through a better seat. Recliner reseats, take two-thirds of the seats out, and attendance on average in these theaters has increased 50%. In an industry that is experiencing declining attendance, our recliner reseat theaters are growing attendance by 50% year over year. Pretty dramatic.

cineworld-logo.jpg

UK/Europe – Cineworld’s diversification strategy of spreading out across Central and Eastern Europe (and Israel) seems to be paying off in offsetting declines in cinema going in the UK, where higher ticket prices still kept profits ticking.

Cineworld has unveiled a blockbuster trading update, saying its full-year earnings will be at the top end of analysts’ expectations after it managed to persuade British cinema-goers to spend more on their tickets.

The company said that while admissions in its UK & Ireland business declined by 3.7 per cent during the year, this was offset by growth of 4 per cent in the average ticket price.

Visiting cinemas is not a declining trend across its entire business, however.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 12 January 2015

Glitz Cinema

India – Carnival group has acquired small Indian multiplex operator Glitz, having previously bought most of Big Cinemas.

After buying Anil Ambani’s Big Cinemas, the Carnival Group has picked up elder brother Mukesh Ambani’s majority stake in Stargaze which operates the multiplex chain “Glitz” for an undisclosed amount. Network 18 Media and Investments Ltd, on Thursday said its venture capital unit, Capital 18 has sold nine operational screens in Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh, Uttaranchal and UP and one non-operational screen. Network 18 has sent a brief notice to the exchanges. The latest acquisition take the Carnival group ,which has over 300 screens, closer to their top competition PVR which still leads at 462 screens. Around two weeks ago, the Shrikant Bhasi-led Carnival acquired Big Cinemas for around Rs 700 crore.  LINK

 There will be blood

USA – Will cheaper oil/petrol prices lead to more discretionary income and more cinema visits? This Seeking Alpha analyst thinks so.

The stunning collapse in the price of oil can be considered a “tax cut” that will allow for additional spending. To quantify the impact, it is expected that the average family will see an additional $500 in funds which can be earmarked as they see fit. With wage growth virtually stagnate over the past few years; the relief on the consumer due to lower energy prices will be welcomed. In my view, an investable trend has emerged where a clear path for higher discretionary spending. Unlike in recent times, I expect consumers to continue to be cautious with their spending and expect some of the funds to be earmarked for savings and debt reduction which will consume a portion of the savings. With this backdrop in mind, the stronger plays will be those companies that offer affordable luxuries to the masses. The theatrical exhibition chains neatly fall into the above definition as their product is affordable and offers a bit of an “escape” from the everyday routine. In the article below, I will detail the investment case for AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE:AMC).  LINK

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China Cinema Digest – Friday 9 January 2015

away with bullets

China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) has taken note of the danger to the cinema experience if films are shown in poor conditions, such as insufficient brightness (particularly for 3D) and poor audio. It has therefor put cinemas in notice, as well as giving audiences a way to complain (call Tel: 010-82024005 13901121804). If only other countries film and cinema bodies (France’s CST notwithstanding) were as forward looking. The first paragraph ought to be gold plated.

Bulletin

[If] film screenings technical quality can not be effectively guaranteed, it will harm the legitimate interests of moviegoers and film copyright holders, and film digitization has brought technological achievements do not match the long run, is not conducive to the sustainable development of the film industry, and will lead to the theater in market lost credibility. In order to further improve the quality of film screenings, are hereby notified of the following matters:

First, the film shows the vitality of the quality of films, the movie business is a concrete manifestation of good faith, must lead to radio and television departments at all levels and industry associations, cinema, cinemas highly valued, not for any reason reduce film screening criteria.

Second, each company must immediately cinema this notice will be forwarded to the respective theater, and the organization of specialized personnel to show the quality of the census, for the existence of film screenings quality is not up to the standard of the phenomenon must be promptly corrected. Each theater should seriously organize self, responsibility to the people, for the presence of screening quality problems, to identify the reasons for immediate rectification.  LINK

Wanda Group

Photo credit: Caixin Online

Are the wheels starting to come off the Wanda bandwagon even before the cinema IPO? In an article titled ‘Hong Kong-Listed Wanda No Longer Boy Wonder’ by Beijing-based Caixin Online it is pointed out that the Dalian Wanda Commercial Property IPO was expected to raise USD $5 billion to $6 billion but only $3.71 billion. Yet it is the anecdotal evidence that indicates that all is not well with the cinema portfolio either:

A recent business trip experience for a Hong Kong investment banker, who chose not to be named, highlights oft-heard concerns about Wanda’s future. The banker traveled to a Wanda resort in the seaside city of Sanya, in the island province of Hainan, with plans to stay three nights.

But the banker checked out after just one night at the Wanda Culture Center at Haitang Bay because, he said, the place was as lonely as a ghost town. Moreover, he said, in Sanya he saw an upscale, Wanda-owned movie theater that seemed much too remote to draw cinema-goers.

“It’s hard to imagine movie-goers going there because taxi drivers refuse to take you unless you pay a higher fare,” he said.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 7 January 2015

Game of Thrones IMAX

The two last episodes of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” plus a new trailer for the upcoming season will screen in Imax. The show previously screened pre-release episodes theatrically, but that was ‘only’ George R.R. Martin’s own Cocteau Cinema in Arizona.

HBO and Imax have struck a deal to make “Game of Thrones” the first TV series to grace the theatrical distributors’ big screens.

An exclusive season five trailer, as well as the final two episodes of the fourth season, will get an unprecedented run Jan. 23-29 at 150 theaters in top markets across the U.S.

While the visual spectacle of the HBO hit makes it a natural for the large-screen treatment, “Thrones” will be digitally remastered to fit the Imax format.  LINK

Gravity 3D piracy Ciprian

UK – A film student who took a home-made 3D camera rig into a 3D screening of “Gravity” has been cleared of trying to pirate the film.

A film student has been cleared of trying to make a 3D pirate copy of the film Gravity at a Birmingham cinema – after a judge decided there was no evidence he had intended to defraud anyone.

Mr Recorder Nolan QC directed a jury at the city’s crown court to find Ciprian Florea not guilty of making and possessing a 3D camera with intent to commit fraud.

And the judge was critical of the decision to bring the case against the Birmingham City University film technology student in his third year.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – post-Christmas/New Year roundup

Happy New Year to all our CJ reader and may 2015 be a good year for cinema everywhere. Other then the circus surrounding the release of “The Interview”, here are some of the other cinema-related news you may have missed over the holidays.

CGV logo

South Korea: A not-so-Merry Christmas for South Korea’s exhibition majors. We have highlighted allegations of anti-competitive behaviour before and it finally seems to have caught up with them.

CJ-CGV was fined $2.9 million and Lotte Entertainment fined $2.1 million by the country’s Fair Trade Commission.

The fines were imposed after the FTC earlier rejected the two companies’ attempt to obtain a ‘consent decree’ – an offer of voluntary restitution by a guilty party – was rejected.

The FTC said that the two chains had favoured the releases of movies handled by their affiliated distribution companies, by giving them wider releases and longer theatrical runs.  LINK

Megabox

Staying in Korea, not content with buying up cinemas in the /USA and Australia, investors from China (PRC) have bought the third-largest exhibitors in South Korea. Who didn’t get fined.

A Chinese consortium has signed a contract to buy Korea’s No. 3 multiplex cinema operator Megabox, according to reports Thursday.

Megabox is 50 percent owned by Korea Multiplex Investment, a private investment body led by Macquarie Funds and a group of investors.

JContentree Corp., a media group, also holds a 46.3 percent stake in the multiplex cinema operator, with other minor investors holding the remaining shares.  LINK

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