Tag Archives: Alamo Drafthouse

Daily Cinema Digest – Thursday 10 April


Kulturhuset stockholm

Three stories from my native country Sweden, to start off the Daily today. Click on the link if you are using Chrome browser (as 35.40% of you are) and you get the option of an automatic translation.

Stockholm’s Culture House is taking back the running of its small in-house cinema from SF Bio. More varied film selection and ticket prices are to be expected.

Kulturhuset tar över Klarabiografen från SF vid årsskiftet. Nu väntar en storsatsning på kvalitetsfilm och språklig mångfald sju dagar i veckan – till varierande biljettpriser.

I måndags sades avtalet med SF upp. Det går formellt ut sista december i år. På nyårsdagen 2015 inleds den nya bioverksamheten i Kulturhuset Stadsteatern på våning 2.  LINK

The decision to hand over the running of the cinematheque had previously been heavily criticised by the Swedish Film Institute and other cinema chains.

SF Bio popcorn

Concessions – SF Bio is revamping its concessions menu: by changing the name of combo deals, abolishing ‘up-sizing’ and increasing the price by SEK 5 (USD $0.77).

Mellanläsk. Stor popcorn.

I SF Bios kassasystem heter den beställningen ”Klassiker mellan+” och kostar 64 kronor för kunden.

Men från och med 14 april ska en mellanläsk och en stor popcorn kallas ”Superklassiker” och kosta 69 kronor, enligt ett internt mejl som Nöjesbladet tagit del av.  LINK

Bio Maxim

Cinema Opening/Closing – The Bio Maxim cinema in Helsingborg is NOT closing, but the the landlord will be taking over the running from the current operator who is unable to make the switch to digital.

Ryktet om Bio Maxims död är betydligt överdrivet. Ägaren Max Klintman har visserligen gett upp men nu lovar Peter Billquist, vd i bolaget som äger fastigheten: “Jag ska se till att Landskrona har en bio även i framtiden”.

I dagarna stod det klart att Bio Maxims ägare Max Klintman efter en längre tids ojämn ekonomisk kamp kastar in handduken. Gjorda investeringar och nödvändiga framtida investeringar blir alltför kostsamma. Därmed skulle ridån på Maxim gå ner för sista gången i slutet på april.  LINK

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How Cinema Dining Conquered the World (And Soon New York Too)

Upscale Cinema Concessions

When Jeffrey Katzenberg is quoted as saying, “I am one hundred percent sure that these theaters are the future of movie-going,” you assume that he is talking about 3D, maybe with HFR and Immersive Audio. But in the case of this article in WSJ he is talking about another phenomenon that has grown in the shadow of digital – cinema dining.

Call it ‘bijou cinema’, ‘CinéBistro’ (™), or ‘CineDine’ (also ™), it is a phenomenon that rivals Imax for growth and even outpaces Immersive Audio installations. “These new theaters really up the quality of experience because they require a high degree of service that movie theaters have lost,” is Katzenberg’s opinion and the numbers seem to back him up.

By 2011 there were 300-400 such establishments in the US and today the figure is likely to have doubled, with the phenomenon starting to catch on overseas. As NATO President John Fithian said in his 2013 keynote speech at CineCon:

“The traditional popcorn and a Coke constitute our biggest sellers. But many modern cinemas offer additional items, such as salads and burgers, finer dining menus, and adult beverages. In many locations, it’s no longer “dinner and a movie”. It’s “dinner at the movies.”

By that he didn’t mean the perpetually re-heated hot dogs and nachos with a sticky yellow substance on them characterised as ‘cheese’. Taking its cue from the airlines industry, First Class has now arrived in the multiplex.

Cinema Fine Dining

There are two divergent trends when it comes to premium cinema experience, typically built around fine dining. The first is dedicated stand-alone cinemas with only one or a few screens that typically show art house or niche films, sometimes mixed with popular and family fare. These cinemas had traditionally had a bar that permitted the selling of alcoholic beverages or at least a premium coffee counter, which over time expanded its offering and migrated them into the screening room itself.

Famous examples of this are Alamo Drafthouse, which was founded in in Austin, Texas in 1997 and has now spread to nine locations. As the company’s Wikipedia page notes:

The company began as a second-run movie theater, and distinguished itself by the food and drink service offered inside the theater, including cold beers. The seating is arranged with rows of cabaret style tables in front of each row of seats, with an aisle between each row to accommodate waiter service. Customers write their orders on slips of paper, which are picked up by black-clad waiters.

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Studios Find A Backdoor Into Shorter Theatrical Release Windows

Major Studio Release Windows

History may remember this past summer’s blockbuster season more as the one when studios successfully shortened the theatrical window by three weeks, rather than as the one in which numerous $200 million tentpole films failed at the box office. Sure, the latter seems to be getting all the press right now, but it’s the former that may prove to have a longer term impact on the industry.

Back in June, Sony and Disney made headlines by announcing they would experiment with streaming movies online while the films were still playing in theatres. Movies like “Django Unchained,” “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Brave” were all available for streaming before their theatrical runs were over. In case you’re wondering why you never saw them on Netflix or your local video-on-demand service, the pilot program took place in South Korea to test market feasibility and adoption. South Korea was a perfect target destination for such a pilot; not only is it the eighth largest film market in the world, it is also the currently the home of the fastest overall Internet connectivity on the planet. Make no mistake, if the trial proves a success, we will see theatrical releases streamed into the home in Europe and the United States.

Amazon, iTunes & DVDs

Much in the way television production companies have turned from traditional cable networks to services such as Netflix with shows like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black”, movie studios have found a way to circumvent the DVD/Blu-Ray distribution chain (and its accompanying restrictions) by releasing films on iTunes and other VOD outlets before physical copies ever hits retail stores.

MacRumors reported in August that Paramount Picture’ “Star Trek Into Darkness” got an early release on iTunes and Amazon weeks before DVD or Blu-Ray. Movie fanatics with beefier ISP connections from providers like HughesNet and Verizon have bandwidth fast enough to watch Blu-Ray quality streams at the click of a button; no buffering required. “Star Trek Into Darkness” is one of the bigger titles to get an early online release and given how successful it’s been, will hardly be the last.

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AMPAS and BAFTA Get On The Tribute Poster Bandwagon

Lincoln Tribute Poster

Ever since they first started appearing back in the mid-2000′s, I’ve been a big fan of what has come to be known as “tribute posters”. The trend seems to have been started by the Mondo Gallery in Austin Texas, a subsidiary of Alamo Drafthouse, the independent spirited cinema chain based in the same city.

Mondo commissions graphic artists and illustrators to create posters for movies both old and new film releases. Artists such as Martin Ansin, Shepard Fairy, Tyler Stout and my favorite Olly Moss create highly stylized one sheets for classics such as “Repo Man“, “Back to the Future” and “Psycho”, as well as new releases such as “The Cabin in the Woods” (done in an Escher style), “Looper” and “The Dark Knight Rises“.

Mondo came up with the idea of re-crafting movie posters back in 2005 when Alamo Drafthouse needed artwork to promote its “Rolling Roadshow“, one-off screenings of movies in the locations where they are actually set. For instance, “Escape From Alcatraz” was shown on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco.

From those beginnings the business has grown to such an extent that Mondo now has the rights from LucasFilm to re-imagine all the “Star Wars” posters. When their limited edition posters go on sale they usually sell out within minutes. (It’s easier to score tickets to a Justin Bieber concert via Ticketmaster). Then in 2011 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences partnered with Mondo to archive the company’s artwork in the Margaret Herrick Library.

Now the Academy is taking a page out of Mondo’s book and producing their own batch of tribute posters for this year’s Best Picture Oscar nominees. They’ve hired a bunch of up-and-coming artists from around the world to create each poster; Matt Owen (“Amour”), Anthony Petrie (“Argo”), Rich Kelly (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”), Mark Englert (“Django Unchained”), Phantom City Creative (“Les Misérables”), Tom Whalen (“Life of Pi”), Jeff Boyes (“Lincoln”), Joshua Budich (“Silver Linings Playbook”) and Godmachine (“Zero Dark Thirty”).

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Alamo Drafthouse Anti-Texting PSA Goes Viral

The Alamo Drafthouse has gained quite a reputation over the past couple of years as one of the countries best movie theaters. Entertainment Weekly hailed it as the best movie theatre in America and Wired.com went a step further by calling it the “Coolest Movie Theater in the World”. Besides being known for an eclectic mix of programming which is served up alongside beer and barbecue, founder Tim League has also built the Alamo Drafthouse’s reputation through Fantastic Fest, an annual film festival specializing in horror, action, fantasy and science fiction titles.

But if you ever get a chance to visit the Alamo Drafthouse, you may not want to reach for your mobile phone whether it’s to make a phone call or text a friend.

Earlier this week the Alamo Drafthouse gained even more notoriety after a creative anti-texting public service announcement turned into a YouTube viral video. According to a post on the theatre’s website, a patron had to be expelled from the Drafthouse recently after she wouldn’t stop texting in the middle of a movie. Even though the Alamo Drafthouse has a strict zero tolerance policy when it comes to talking or cell phone use during movies, the moviegoer continued to text after being given two warnings to give her thumbs a break. So, Drafthouse employees tossed her to the curb without a refund.

Apparently, the audience member was none too pleased at this turn of events and called the Drafthouse to leave a profanity laden voicemail. The audio from the voicemail turned out to be the perfect soundtrack for League’s PSA, which can be viewed above or on YouTube. (Warning: The patron’s choice of language makes this video a textbook definition of NSFW – Not Safe For Work).

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