Tag Archives: Alamo Drafthouse

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 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 – Tuesday 8 July 2014

Gerry Lopez, CEO of AMC Entertainment

Gerry Lopez, CEO of AMC Entertainment

Today’s big news is AMC spending USD $600 million on upgrading its cinemas, primarily introducing bigger and more comfortable seats. The strategy has been flagged before but now everyone is following. It is effectively an admission of defeat in terms of ever hoping that attendance figures will improve. Now it is about extracting as much revenue from the few people that still go to the cinemas (NB: though attendance is up in the renovated screens, but unlikely to boost overall national figures). WSJ has a good analysis:

The nation’s second-largest movie theater chain is spending hundreds of millions of dollars outfitting a number of theaters with La-Z-Boy-type seats that fully recline—a conversion that removes up to two-thirds of a given auditorium’s seating capacity. It’s a less-is-more approach to a business that has long thought bigger was better.

But AMC’s counterintuitive success with the program has converted skeptical competitors and become integral to the company’s pitch to new investors.

The conversions are AMC’s highest-profile campaign since it was purchased for $2.6 billion by China-based Dalian Wanda Group Corp. in 2012 and went public last December. The company plans to spend about $600 million over the next five years to “reseat” 1,800 of its nearly 5,000 screens. The renovations typically cost $350,000 to $500,000 per auditorium, with landlords often shouldering some of the cost. LINK

The WSJ blog also has a good point that you wio’t be finding this in the biggest cities (NYC and LA) as rent is too high already.

The conversions highlight a liability facing the country’s biggest film exhibitors: a supply of outdated theaters that rarely sell out, yet would be costly to tear down and rebuild.

Attendance in renovated AMC auditoriums has leapt 80%, on average, despite the drastic reduction in capacity to sometimes fewer than 70 seats. The company declined to say what the average before-and-after attendance numbers were, though Mr. Lopez acknowledged that the biggest attendance boosts would come in theaters that were weak performers, some of which were losing money. LINK

Event Cinema

Argentina: As the World Cup approaches its conclusion, one country is going all out to show the key game on the big screen. No, not the UK, but rather its old foe Argentina in their game against Germany tonight.

Over 100,000 people across Argentina have watched their national team compete in the 2014 World Cup at movie halls, which broadcast the games.

The National Cinema and Visual Arts Institute (INCAA) said in a statement that it has made 38 movie halls available for screenings of national team matches, featuring star footballer Lionel Messi, Xinhua reported.
Argentina Saturday defeated Belgium 1-0 to advance to the semifinals against the Netherlands in Sao Paulo Wednesday. The two nations haven’t disputed a World Cup semifinal since the 1990 edition in Italy. LINK.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 11 June 2014

Carmike share price

Carmike Cinemas’ share price is up 166% in the last two year, but that’s not necessarily a good thing, according to research analyst Gary Bourgeault. This long article looks at Carmike’s rollup and acquisition strategy, whether it will be bought by a larger competitor and what price is right.

Carmike has chosen to grow via acquisitions, contrary to its competitor AMC Entertainment (AMC), which is focusing primarily on quality rather than quantity. Nonetheless, Carmike has been able to grow revenue and earnings per screen while adding more theaters to its circuit.

Now, the question is whether or not the acquisition strategy and performance of its individual theaters is reflected in the share price, or the company has heated up too much and is overvalued.

Another catalyst to contemplate is that Carmike is considered a prime candidate for acquisition, as it moves toward its goal of owning 300 theaters and 3,000 screens. At the rate it’s growing in this consolidation atmosphere, I think part of the reason for the surge in share price is the inclusion of the possibility of being acquired by one of its larger rivals.  LINK

Just as with his incisive piece of analysis about AMC, I urge you to read this article in full.

Bow Tie Cinema Schenectady

USA (NY) - Physical attacks on people trying to enjoy a film without others talking are not being taken seriously enough. This dad was attacked by eight people. Will it take another shooting? Justice has definitely not been served in this case. You can read here what originally happened.

In the case of last summer’s vicious attack at the Bow Tie Cinema by a gang of teenagers on an innocent father trying to enjoy a night out with his daughters and their friend, justice for the victims is nowhere in sight.

During the June 28 incident, a Niskayuna man suffered a severe concussion, a broken hand, a damaged tooth and other scrapes after being repeatedly kicked and punched by a group of out-of-control teenagers. One of the man’s daughters also was punched in the face and had her cell phone stolen.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 21 May 2014


4DX advert

Rolling Stone magazine has an overview of what you can expect from the 4D movie going experience. Quite detailed and analytical, cutting through a lot of preconceptions without too much hype.

Most U.S. journalists have only participated in brief 4DX demos, but Rolling Stone was given the opportunity to test-drive a full feature — thus it’s appropriate that our film was a 4D-enhanced version of Need for Speed, the car-crazy Aaron Paul action-thriller. We were curious how the high-octane/low-IQ movie would work with a 4DX upgrade. Here are 8 takeaways from the experience:

It’s incredibly jarring to be in a seat that jerks around
Need for Speed’s first major action sequence — an illegal nighttime drag race — kicks off with a foot slamming down on a gas pedal, and just then your chair lurches back, creating the sensation that you’re in the car. From there, the motion of your chair mimics every turn of the racers’ steering wheels. There’s no escape; you’re part of the film.  LINK

Cine-Sation

And if you can’t afford the pricey 4DX solution, there is a cheaper alternative now, this one also from Korea.

Moving Image Technologies (MiT) is proud to announce its partnership with leading seating effects technologist ACOUVE Inc. of Korea. MiT will bring the ACOUVE state of the art seating effects system to North and South American cinemas, providing sales, marketing, installation, technical support, warranty and distribution for CINE-SATION.

Joe Delgado, EVP Sales and Marketing for MIT says “We’ve explored the value add landscape for cinemas and concluded that the exhibition industry is doing an incredible job of providing an amenities-driven experience with larger screens, more luxurious seating, immersive sound, and of course the best in Digital 2D and 3D presentation.  LINK

Business

Alamo Drafthouse open tap

USA (TX) – Selling alcoholic beverages in cinemas is up against different by-laws in different states. Alamo Drafthouse is trying to help change the law in Texas.

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Katy is hosting a fundraiser Wednesday night for Open The Taps, the advocacy group for craft beer drinkers that is helping push the Texas Legislature toward loosening many of the restrictions that affect how our favorite beverage is made and sold in the state.

Alamo has a dog in this fight. The cinema, like all Texas businesses that hold a license to sell liquor in addition to beer and wine, is prohibited from selling to-go jugs of beer poured from their own taps. These growler sales are growing in popularity, and Alamo would like to be able to fill them and sell them the same way that bars with a beer-and-wine-only license can.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 14 May 2014

Tim League

An in-depth interview with Tim League, founder and CEO of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a true pioneer in the American exhibition industry. Very disarming and insightful.

How did the dining experience while watching a movie come about?
There was a theater in Portland [Ore.]that did beer and food service in the theater, and we really liked it. … So, yeah we completely blatantly ripped it off from another theater.

Why do you think the cinema eatery concept has been so popular?
Traditional movie concessions work for a certain group—sometimes you want a Coke and a popcorn. But our audience is a little older just by the nature of what we do, and so it’s a great date experience where you can compress eating and going to a movie into two hours and minimize the babysitting time.

How did you start the whole concept of making themed nights in which the food reflects the movie?
I think that just comes with me being a movie fan, and I like to throw events and parties. So it just seemed a natural fit. … The idea of making the experience special and offering people something they can’t get anywhere else was very early on part of our marketing strategy to build loyalty.  LINK

 

RealD

Italy – RealD has signed a deal with Italian exhibitor The Space Cinema to increase the latter’s 3D screens by 40%.

RealD Inc. (NYSE: RLD) and leading Italian theatrical exhibitor, THE SPACE CINEMA, announced today an extended agreement to install an additional 40 RealD 3D Cinema Systems at THE SPACE CINEMA locations throughout Italy. When combined with the approximately 100 RealD 3D equipped THE SPACE CINEMA auditoriums today, the number of RealD 3D installations across THE SPACE CINEMA locations will be in total more than 140. New RealD Cinema System installations have begun and are expected to be completed by this summer.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 7 May 2014

French cinema box office 2014

Cinema attendance is up in the first four month in France. Let’s hope this is the start of a Europe-wide trend.

April 2014, the attendance of cinemas rose +15.4% vs. the same period in 2013, to 19.13 million entries, according to estimates of the National Film Centre and Moving Image Centre (CNC) . In the first four months of 2014, and 75.67 million viewers who were registered, 17% more than in January-April 2013. Market share of French films is estimated at 46 6% in the first four months of the year (vs 40.9% in January-April 2013) and the American films to 42.5% (vs. 47.5% in January-April 2013). Over the past 12 months, the market share of French films is estimated at 36.3%, that of American films to 51.7% and that of other films to 12.1%.  LINK

New Mission Theatre

It seems that San Francisco is welcoming Alamo Drafthouse taking over the iconic New Mission Theater cinema with open arms.

There was a flurry of excitement among the film crowd in January 2013 when the Planning Commission approved the $10 million renovation of the long-shuttered, 2,021-seat New Mission Theater at 2550 Mission. At that same time, the Alamo Drafthouse — an Austin-based franchise which describes itself as “a lifestyle entertainment brand with an acclaimed cinema-eatery,” with locations as far-flung as New Braunfels, Tex., Yonkers, N.Y., and Kalamazoo, Mich. — formally announced it was slated to open the rechristened Alamo Drafthouse New Mission “in the third quarter of 2014.”

It was especially exciting for those of us who nerd out about the number of movie screens in town. In last year’s big Summer Movie issue, I calculated that San Francisco had 75 movie screens spread among 18 theaters. That number is now up to 77 screens among 18 theaters, thanks to the Embarcadero’s spiffy renovation last fall, and the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission would bump us to 82 screens among 19 theaters.  LINK

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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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