Tag Archives: 3D

Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 14 April 2014


The Wrap takes a look at the growth of ’4D’ offered by the likes of D-Box, CJ 4DPlex and MediaMation and whether there is a business case for it. Not if it shakes the popcorn out of the tub, it seems.

Indeed, some theater owners have experimented with the technology, only to decide that it is best served up in small doses. Rolando Rodriguez, president and CEO of Marcus Theaters, installed 30 motion seats in one of his fifty theaters. While the seats are popular features when paired with big-budget blockbusters, he has decided not to invest in the technology. The $8 surcharge the 4D seats carry limits their appeal, he said.

“We’re investing in other amenities that play better with our customers,” Rodriguez said. “We’re pleased with the performance, but from our perspective, investing in things like large screen theaters and in-theater dining is more important.”

But other exhibitors and manufacturers counter that this is more than just a novelty act.

“We’re finding that people turn into aficionados,” Michel Paquette, vice-president of marketing of the 4D manufacturer D-Box Technologies, said. “Once people try it, if they like it, they usually get hooked.”

Likewise, Heath Thomas regional manager of the Goodrich Quality Theaters, has placed 4D seats in 16 locations and reports they are a big hit with audiences between the ages of 18 to 30.  LINK

 Odeon logo

UK: UK/European cinema major Odeon-UCI saw its revenue and profit drop sharply in the past year, dragged down by the lack of a Skyfall-size hit and by its Spanish arm.

Odeon’s earnings before interest, tax and other charges dropped by 24 per cent to £69.2m while sales fell five per cent to £706.7m.

In Spain, where Odeon operates 43 cinemas, Odeon’s market volume fell 15 per cent last year.

“In 2014, there are some early signs that the economy may be turning: unemployment has started to fall slightly and retail sales have started to grow,” Odeon said, adding that it has now grown its Spanish market share to 21 per cent.  LINK

Odeon’s results do not include its property arm.

NCR logo

USA: Marcus Theatre is deploying the full range of services offered by NCR Cinema software.

NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR), the global leader in consumer transaction technologies, today announced that Marcus Theatres®, a division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE:MCS), has now deployed NCR’s full suite of cinema and restaurant solutions to improve its business operations and enhance its customers’ movie experience. Marcus Theatres has been a long-time customer, using NCR’s mobile and fixed point-of-sale (POS) systems, indoor kiosks, takeout and delivery software and NCR MovieTime mobile application.  LINK

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BREAKING NEWS: Wanda Breaks Embargo on Deal For 780 New RealD 3D Installations

Wanda breaks RealD embargo

CELLULOID JUNKIE EXCLUSIVE: It seems that China’s Wanda – the world’s biggest cinema operator and owner of American multiplex chain AMC – has broken its own embargo on an announcement for an expanded deal with 3D vendor RealD.

It looks like this deal was set to be announced on Monday next week (24th of March), which is the international day of CinemaCon and the day these type of deals typically get announced.

The statement (translated by Google) reads:

March 24, Wanda Cinema 3D images with the world-renowned technology provider RealD jointly announced that the two sides will continue cooperation agreement, Wanda Cinema will install 780 sets of RealD 3D equipment in the next three years, placed in Wanda Cinema The 3D movie hall. Plus 800 sets of equipment currently installed Wanda Cinema, RealD equipment Wanda total installed throughout China will be more than 1500 sets.

RealD is currently the world’s most widely used 3D cinema projection technology. As of March 4, 2014, there are 74 countries worldwide, more than 25,049 screens in 1,000 theaters install RealD 3D projection equipment. Brightness RealD 3D theater system is twice that of other 3D technologies, and have screened the film features a high frame rate.

The fact that the story (press release?) is dated March 24th means that it was most likely to be on hold until that date, but somehow the Chinese version was posted on Wanda’s website too early.

If this is the case, this is a serious slip-up as RealD is a publicly listed company and a big deal like this could give its share price a bounce. Wanda had a previous deal in place with RealD from 2010 for 500 screens.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 17 January 2014

The Odeon cinema in Leicester Square

UK: The head of Odeon-UCI, europe’s largest cinema group is stepping down. “Sky News understands that Rupert Gavin, who has run the privately-owned group for eight years, is to leave a year after its owner abandoned its latest attempt to sell the company. Mr Gavin will be replaced by Paul Donovan, a former executive at Vodafone and Eircom, the Irish telecoms group.” With Cineworld’s Steve Wiener having announced that he is leaving prior to the announcement of the merger with CCI, this leaves Vue’s Tim Richards as the doyen of the UK exhibition business. However, “Mr Gavin would become an adviser to Terra Firma and join the board of Garden Centre Group. The outgoing Odeon UCI boss will also spend more time at Incidental Colman, his privately-owned theatre and entertainment group.” Link.

India: Youth killed after fight in cinema. “The youth was fatally stabbed by a group in the aftermath of a quarrel which broke out while watching newly-released Tamil film ‘Veeram’ on Wednesday. In the clash that ensued on a playground, two others sustained injuries and were hospitalised.” Link.


Int’l: Harkness has released the third iteration of its popular screen calculation tool – as an app. From FJI: “The Digital Screen Calculator is a free utility on iOS, Android and through the Harkness website that allows engineers and exhibitors to ensure that digital-cinema investments are fully optimized. The tool calculates the capabilities of equipment choices and provides recommendations on projector, lamp and screen choices based upon chosen screen size and light levels for 2D and 3D. It also calculates theoretical operating costs and shows how screen choice might reduce these dramatically.” Link.

China: Parents are pushing for better 3D glasses for children. “Some parents said they were more concerned about hygiene and worried about infectious diseases. Moreover, all 3D glasses in cinemas are the same — too heavy and big for children. Local cinema houses said smaller-sized 3D glasses are available in certain theaters. They said parents can buy small 3D glasses for children.” Link.

Poland: “Orange Poland continues the series of Kino Orange cinema travelling over Poland to bring cinema to municipalities which do not have any. In January, it will bring five premiere films, of which two in 3D. Kino Orange is a joint project of the company Outdoor Cinema and Orange Poland.” Technology used is NEC projectors and XpanD 3D glasses. Link.

Netherlands: Games on the big screen. “On January 25, five students of the Hanze University Groningen will organize the event FIFA 14 in the Wolff Cinema in Groningen. 100 participants will be playing the football game FIFA 14 from 12:00 to 19:00 for a chance to win the tournament title.” Link.

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Can RealD Rival IMAX In The Premium Large Format (PLF) Market?

With Cinema Europe currently underway in Barcelona, two trends for premium cinema experiences that pull in opposite direction are hot topics for exhibitors gathering in Spain. The first is towards smaller, intimate venues that typically serve fine food and wine, as exemplified by The Electric in London or the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas. But it is the super-sizing of cinemas in a bid to compete with IMAX and its ability to charge premium ticket prices that is attracting the most attention right now. And RealD wants to be the centre of that action.

With cinema admissions in most of Europe static or even down and 3D seeing its lowest admission figures yet in the US this week, the hunt is on for how to squeeze more out of the people that still go to the cinema. This is where the success of IMAX comes into play, with exhibitors either partnering the large format (LF) player or launching their own premium experience auditoriums, to be able to charge a premium above that of 3D. The track record of exhibitors that have launched their own IMAX-like screens has been mixed, with social media in particular abuzz with patrons venting their unhappiness about large screen up-charges. This blog called AMC’s ETX ‘an Excuse To charge Extra’ and is no less kind about Regal’s RPX.

With Digital 3D being a key part of the PLF experience, RealD has spotten and opportunity to try to create a branding on behalf of exhibitors. From their press release:

At a special presentation to European cinema exhibitors at CineEurope, RealD Inc. (NYSE: RLD) today introduced “LUXE: A RealD Experience,” a premium large format (PLF) initiative aimed at unifying the exhibition community under a single brand with a goal of becoming synonymous with the ultimate out of home entertainment experience. Minimum standards will assure all “LUXE: A RealD Experience” auditoriums feature massive screens, ultra bright 2D and 3D, enveloping audio and luxury seating for a premium movie-going experience. “LUXE: A RealD Experience” auditoriums will provide full flexibility with content, allowing exhibitors to show any movie at any time for optimized profitability.

The code words are clearly audible dog whistles for cinema owners. The first sentence effectively says, “you have largely failed with your efforts of creating in-house PLF brands that can take on IMAX.” The second sentence says, “too many of the PLF auditoriums have been poor IMAX-lite causing consumer backlash.” The third sentence is the most critical, because it tells cinemas not to tie themselves in with IMAX’s restrictive licence terms – “you will have to pay a licence fee to RealD, but it will be less than what you would pay IMAX and we also won’t tell you which films to play and for how long.” Not surprisingly the effort has won the backing of the studios, who are keen on premium ticket pricing, but not on IMAX dominating the market. [NB: The first point was made even more strongly in the ScreenDaily interview, where Mayson is quoted as saying, “There are more than 50 PLF brands worldwide. We’re trying to unify those brands on the grounds that it’s easier to create awareness around one experience."]

Bob Mayson is quoted in the Hollywood Reporter on the technical specifics:

“LUXE comes in response to our exhibitor customers, who are seeing increasing demand for premium cinema offerings but really want a single identifiable brand that will be a guarantee of quality to their customers,“ Robert Mayson, Managing Director of RealD Europe told The Hollywood Reporter. According to Mayson, the technical standards, which include wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling screens of at least 16 meters (52.5 feet) in width; 3D sound; auditorium rakes and a screen brightness for 3D projections about twice the current norm, means LUXE will be an elite standard. “We are talking about the top five percent of cinemas, there will be many theaters that won’t have the capacity or the physical dimensions to qualify,” he said.

Note in particular the mention of ’3D audio’. RealD is careful not to pick a winner in the fight between Dolby’s Atmos and Barco’s Auro and would most likely prefer to see an open standard, as called for by NATO and UNIC [Dolby’s Artmos in its RPX screens, 3D audio will together with a big screen and bright projection be a cornerstone of the PLF experience. Though for exhibitors not willing to install two projectors, whether Sony or DLP, the equation will not truly be completed until the arrival of laser projection.

The next thing to note is the territories where this system will launch. THR identifies this as, “RealD plans to roll out the new LUXE initiative in Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Africa. Europe in particular has seen strong growth in the premium segment of the cinema market.” Screen meanwhile lists, “Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Bulgaria, Romania and the Balkans.” The thing to note is that it is the emerging markets that are of particular focus, which is why we get a quote from “Paul Heth, CEO of Karo Film, a leading cinema chain in Russia.” These are the markets that have not attempted a PLF brand on their own and that will build new multiplexes, so that the system does not have to be retrofitted into existing multiplexes. RealD is thus unlikely to try to persuade existing cinema clients in North America and Western Europe to ditch their own in-house PLF brand in favour of LUXE.

While IMAX is built on great technology and offers (depending on the site) a terrific viewer experience, there is nothing about it that cannot be replicated with todays digital technology – unlike the analogue 70mm systems of olden days. What sets it apart from in-house PLF screens is thus one thing: branding. IMAX has done a terrific job of re-positioning its brand from 60 minute documentaries for school groups that put bums on seats Monday through Friday 9am until 5pm, to one where people book tickets weeks in advance to catch the latest Hollywood blockbuster on the opening weekend. This despite the backlash of the ‘IMAX-lite’ entry into the multiplex market a few years back. Vue Xtreme and Regal RPX have simply not been able to match the branding power of IMAX. RealD too has some cleaver technology, including launching the brighter screen this week, but there is nothing inherently unique about circular polarization 3D at the heart of their solution. The truth is that RealD too is about branding. Just like IMAX it charges a licence fee. Just not as much or with terms perceived as equally restrictive. If RealD succeeds with LUXE – and it stands a better chance than in-house PLFs – it is because the company understands IMAX and what makes it a success all too well.

Apollo Gets More From Sony and Vista

Apollo Cinemas More Campaign

Over the past week Apollo Cinemas has decided that more is… well, more. The United Kingdom’s sixth largest exhibition chain is partnering with Sony Digital Cinema to bring more 3D alternative content to its customers and they have selected Vista Cinema Software to increase their overall operational effectiveness.

Apollo launched the More campaign to offer content from partners such as The Royal Opera House, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the English National Opera. Performances will be offered in what is being described as “super high definition live 3D” using Sony’s 4K projectors. The circuit is also planning to show sporting events such as rugby, football and tennis, as well as concerts and music festivals.

Apollo has held their first live 3D event earlier this month when pop star Avril Lavigne debuted her new album at the chain’s cinema in London’s Piccadilly Circus. Lavigne was on-hand for a question and answer session after the video screening. In March, Apollo will be showing a 3D film version of the opera “Carmen”. The George Bizet opera was filmed during performances at the Royal Opera House.

The deal seems somewhat inevitable since Apollo signed up with Sony as their digital cinema deployment entity in 2009. The theatre chain’s press release didn’t specifically detail how Sony was enabling them to bring 3D alternative content into their theatres beyond providing the equipment that makes it all possible. In fact, Nicole Oakley, Marketing Manager at Apollo Cinemas said just that:

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Prince William’s Royal Wedding May Be Broadcast In 3D

Queen Elizabeth.jpg

Queen Elizabeth Watching Coronatin In 3D

When I first heard that Prince William and his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton had become engaged to be married I certainly never thought I’d be writing anything here about their wedding. But when it was announced that the couple wanted their royal wedding to be a “people’s event” rumors soon began to circulate that the ceremony would be broadcast in 3D.

The BBC, Sky TV and Virgin are reportedly in discussions to capture the event live in 3D when it takes place in Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011.

This wouldn’t be the first time the British Royals were filmed in 3D. In November of last year Channel 4 aired unseen color footage of Queen Elizabeth’s 1953 coronation which had recently been discovered in the archives of the British Film Institute.

But don’t get too excited. As Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision clarified in the Daily Mail, despite all the interest in 3D, no plans have been solidified yet:

“We are already planning with the other broadcasters so I know about the 3D thing as well. That is obviously of some interest but our responsibility is to bring things everybody can see on air and 3D has a very limited footprint.”

It is highly likely that limited “footprint” will include cinemas capable of screening a broadcast in 3D, which makes the story appropriate for an entry on Celluloid Junkie. Besides, who could resist posting a photo of the Queen of England wearing those snazzy 3D glasses?

Goooaal! Cinedigm Scores With 3D FIFA World Cup Final

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This past Sunday Cinedigm, a leading North American digital cinema deployment entity, achieved another live event milestone and I was there to witness it first hand. As we reported back in June, Cinedigm partnered with Sensio Technologies to bring the FIFA World Cup Final live and in 3D to theatres throughout the United States and Canada.

Event Details
At the time there was some uncertainty as to how many theatres were to show the FIFA World Cup matches and where they would be located. In total 25 FIFA World Cup matches were shown live in 3D at 475 venues in 33 different countries accounting for 4,500 screenings.

Cinedigm was given permission directly from FIFA to show the matches at 15 locations and theatres in Arizona, California, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ontario Texas and Virginia were selected. Another 15 locations were allocated to NCM Fathom.

Originally Cinedigm intended to show both the semi-final matches as well as the championship game, which pitted Spain against The Netherlands. Instead they chose to hold screenings only for Sunday’s final in order to have one marquee event. The feed for the event was supplied by ESPN, which was capturing the match in 3D for its new 3D network.

From what I was told ESPN wasn’t too pleased about the final being broadcast in cinemas.

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Shoe Retailer Jumps On 3D Bandwagon With Spoof

John Fluevog 3D Sale.pngIf you were wondering what kind of impact the recent rash of 3D film releases has had on the general public, you need look no further than Fluevog Shoes. The Canadian shoe designer John Fluevog, whose footwear is often deemed trend setting, sent out a promotional email on Friday in which the subject line read – John Fluevog Thinks You’re Awesome In 3D.

Though messages like this that land in my inbox are automatically labeled “Bacon” and are often summarily deleted after a cursory inspection, I actually clicked on this one. I admit after reading the subject I was curious as to how a Canadian shoe designer whose shoes are sold in tiny, upscale boutiques could have anything to do with 3D.

The email contained the graphic above announcing an anniversary sale and was accompanies by the following text:

People said it couldn’t be done… launching a shoe company built on unique design and genuine appreciation, nurturing and developing it for 40 years, and then offering it in 3D! Well, consider that bridge crossed, that stone overturned and that box ticked. Welcome to the 40th Annual John Fluevog Thinks You’re Awesome Sale in 3D!*

The asterisk at the end of the last sentence is defined at the bottom of the email with the disclaimer “3D available only in store”. Keep in mind, this is coming from the same designer who emblazons angels on the soles of his shoes and whose company’s tag line is “Unique Soles For Unique Souls”.

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Why U.S. Exhibitors Are Raising 3D Ticket Prices

Tickets Box Office.jpgSooner or later it was bound to happen. After all, 3D movies have topped the North American box office for nine out of 13 weeks this year. And 3D films like “Avatar” and “Alice In Wonderland” have generated record breaking grosses, far beyond industry expectations. With more and more moviegoers showing up for 3D content, it should come as no surprise that at some point the public, not to mention the media, was going to start noticing the extra USD $3 they were forced to pay for the latest multi-dimensional blockbuster. In fact, after this past week the industry may begin to face some consumer backlash at the 3D surcharge, especially since a handful of large U.S. theatre chains raised 3D and 3D Imax ticket prices as much as 26% in some locations.

We’ll get to a few reasons as to why exhibitors might be raising ticket prices during an economic recession and what it might mean for the industry as a whole before the end of this post, but first lets go over the history of this recent increase.

Lauren A.E. Shuker and Ethan Smith of the Wall Street Journal were the first to report the price hikes on Wednesday, causing a rash of similar news stories to surface by Friday. The original source of the news about price increases came from a research report released on Wednesday by Richard Greenfield, a media analyst for BTIG, an institutional brokerage and financial services company.

Mr. Greenfield surveyed 10 random theatres in major cities throughout the U.S. and found that on average 2D adult ticket prices rose 4.1% (USD $0.42), 3D non-Imax adult ticket prices increased 8.3% (USD $1.13) and 3D Imax adult tickets were up 9.9% (USD $1.50). Most of the new prices, which varied by theatre took affect on Friday, just in time for the release of Dreamworks Animation’s “How To Train Your Dragon”.  Read More »

3D is a Wonderland For “Alice” and Exhibitors

ALICE IN WONDERLANDIt’s fitting that on the eve of theatrical exhibition trade show Showest—and as DCIP claimed its long-awaited funding—Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” topped the weekend box office during its second week in release and demonstrated the continued strength of 3D.
Alice earned an estimated $62 million, extending its domestic haul to $208.6 million, according to weekend box office figures announced Sunday by Rentrak and its Box Office Essentials theatrical box office data collection and analytical service.
Tim Burton’s fantasy played in 3,728 locations, and of course included a digital and Imax 3D release.
Many insiders believe this wildly successful start—Burton’s most successful do date—is t least in part due to the “Avatar effect.” And insiders suggest that 3D can account for roughly 80% of the “Alice” box office figures.
But “Alice” is not likely to benefit fully from this bump, as Dreamworks Animation’s “How To Train Your Dragon” is set to open March 26, taking the majority of the 3D screens. This of course is not a new concern, but it only becomes more pronounced as box office numbers climb to record heights and tentpole titles demonstrate staying power.
“Dragon” of course has a similar problem, with the opening of the 3D “Clash of the Titans” on April 2, when the industry will get its first look at a film entirely converted to 3D by Prime Focus.
“Alice” was lensed in 2D, and the live action scenes were converted to 3D by companies including In-Three and Legend Films. The film’s lead VFX house, Sony Picture Imageworks, handled the 3D conversion for the CG Wonderland environment that makes up the majority of the run time.
According to Rentrak estimates, the top five in the domestic market included the debuts of “Green Zone” with $14, 5 million, “She’s Out of My League” with $9.6 million, and “Remember Me” with $8.6 million. “Shutter Island” rounded out the top five with $8.1 million, giving the film a new domestic total of $108 million. “Avatar” continued to perform, earning an estimated $6.6 million, for a new domestic total of $730.3 million.