Tag Archives: AMC Theatres

Exhibitors Pin Their Hopes On Promotional Giveaways For Disney’s “Maleficent”

Regal Entertainment's Maleficent Giveaway

If Disney’s “Maleficent” fails to generate box office returns when it opens on May 29th it certainly won’t be due to a lack of marketing campaigns touting promotional giveaways. At least that’s the case in North America where the studio has partnered with two of the world’s largest motion picture exhibitors to run opening weekend promotions for the big budget movie which focuses on the villain from “Sleeping Beauty”.

Moviegoers buying a ticket to “Maleficent” at Regal Cinemas during opening weekend will get a free poster for the movie. It’s not clear from their promotional artwork (pictured above) or website whether the poster being given away is the official one sheet or if it’s a special poster created specifically for the Regal give away. Ironically, should the movie turn into a smash hit, it will be the latter which becomes more valuable in secondary markets such as eBay, since presumably such posters would only have been produced in limited quantities for the Regal promotion.

AMC Stubs Maleficent Pin Giveaway

That is the very approach being taken by AMC Theatres, which is using its “Maleficent” promotional giveaway as a springboard for a contest driven by social media. Anyone seeing the movie at an AMC cinema during its first few days will walk off with a collectible pin from “Maleficent” made exclusively for the exhibitor’s campaign. In an attempt to incorporate its own marketing push on top of the promotional giveaway, AMC is asking patrons to share pictures of themselves with their “Maleficent” pin on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. One winner will be selected to receive a USD $25 AMC gift card from those that submit selfless with the hashtag #shareAMC and #maleficent. This type of effort is meant to spark a network effect that builds awareness of the new release and ultimately the cinema chain.

AMC is also feeding into a tradition that has cropped up around the Disney brand over the years. Many die-hard Disney fans have taken up the hobby of collecting and trading collectible pins that feature characters, rides, attractions, etc. from the company’s movies and theme parks. Disney not only sanctions the practice, but encourages it by selling each collectible pin only for a limited time. Visit any of Disney’s theme parks and you’ll see loads of people walking around with pins that sometimes go back decades. Park cast members (as Disney refers to its employees) often have pins stuck to the lanyards holding their staff badges.

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AMC Theatres Expands Content Marketing Efforts With “Versus”

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AMC Theatres is taking a page out of the latest marketing play books with its new online series “Versus”. The first episode was posted to their website, via YouTube, on Tuesday, January 28th.

The show is hosted by blogger John Campea and the format centers around two opposing advocates defending their viewpoints on a hotly contested issue. At least that’s Campea explains it. Not sure determining who gives the better super hero performance, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man or Christian Bale as Bat Man, is an issue that is either hot or all that contested. Even so, “Versus” marks AMC’s latest attempt at content marketing.

If you haven’t heard the phrase “content marketing” yet, I can assure you that will change soon enough. By the end of 2014 you’ll be bombarded with so much content marketing the mere mention of the practice might send you running in the opposite direction. You know, kind of like the way traditional marketing does now.

That’s actually why content marketing was born in the fist place; consumers stopped responding to traditional marketing methods, so corporations began to attract their attention by producing and distributing relevant and informative content. The marketing technique requires the creation of media such as e-books, blogs, magazines, videos, podcasts, etc. that enhance the entire category in which a company operates.

Some classic, often cited, examples of content marketing include the Lego Club and its associated magazine, which help promotes Lego and the Cleveland Clinic’s Health Hub, an online health resource published by the academic medical center. Probably the paradigm that sets the bar for most content marketers is the Red Bulletin, a magazine for adventuresome thrill seekers published monthly by Red Bull, which manufactures an energy drink. Red Bull has proven that the readership of the Red Bulletin matches the demographics of the customers they are trying to acquire. It’s also served to raise the public’s awareness of the brand itself.

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AMC Theatres Offers Federal Employees Free Popcorn

AMC Federal Employee Popcorn Promotion

Coming up with some unique angle on AMC Theatres free popcorn deal for federal employees is nearly impossible. Over the last 24-hours apparently every media outlet worth their salt (pun intended) must have been required to write nearly identical pieces on the cinema chain’s altruistic announcement.

We at least have an excuse for covering the four paragraph press release from AMC Theatres; Celluloid Junkie is specifically focused on motion picture exhibition and distribution. After all, a bucket of popcorn serves as our logo.

This is actually a devilishly brilliant move by AMC on a couple of fronts. First off, their press release was picked up by the likes of CNN, the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post and… well, us, of course. By having the popcorn promotion piggy back off a hot political current event AMC’s media hits were off the charts. Secondly, many of the federal employees AMC is hoping to reach with the announcement have been sidelined since Tuesday by an unpopular government shutdown due to budgetary reasons. There are at least 800,000 furloughed workers who suddenly find themselves with some extra time on their hands. AMC is simply offering government employees one suggestion for any newfound, though unwanted, time off.

AMC didn’t exactly try to hide the fact that they are exploiting the situation. John McDonald, executive vice president of Operations at AMC, came out and admitted as much when he said:

“There are hundreds of thousands of federal workers whose lives are being impacted. While we can’t do anything to resolve gridlock in Washington D.C., we can provide a few hours of entertainment, and free popcorn, while they wait to get back to work.”

I suppose it’s a little much to suggest the promotion might even help sustain the economy during such trying times. But wouldn’t it be great if it could?

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Exhibitor Loyalty Programs Are Now Offering Free Digital Downloads

Regal Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs Download Promotion

Two marketing emails from large cinema chains appeared in my inbox during the month of September both of which proved effective, at least for me. Rather than quickly scan them before relegating them to the trash bin, I actually took the rare step of following their calls to action. Maybe you’re wondering what promotional wizardry got me to respond to a marketing email. Or perhaps, you haven’t even made it this far into the story because, much like marketing emails, you stopped reading after the first two sentences.

The first email (shown above) was sent by Regal to members of the circuit’s Crown Club loyalty rewards program. It arrived with the subject line “Free Movie Download With Cloudy 2 Ticket Purchase!” While I had zero intention of seeing “Cloudy 2″, the offer stood out in my mind to such a degree that when my daughters asked if I would take them to see the movie last weekend, I didn’t hesitate to say yes (much to their surprise and joy).

As the lights dimmed and the trailers began I realized the only reason I agreed to see the film at all was due to the promotional offer. Of course, I silently assured myself that it was also to spend time with my daughters and to give them an unexpected treat.

The offer from AMC (shown below) was even better because it didn’t require customers to make a direct purchase. The company sent out an email to members of their Stub’s loyalty program with the subject “Special STAR TREK gift for members only!”. Inside was an exclusive member offer to download the 2009 “Star Trek” film from iTunes as part of a marketing campaign to promote the release of “Star Trek Into Darkness” in the iTunes store.

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AMC Promotes New Fallbrook 7 Through Its Rewards Program

AMC Stubs Fallbrook 7 Promotion

AMC has found an interesting way to promote both the opening of a new theatre and, at the same time, its loyalty rewards program. In advance of opening the newly renovated AMC Fallbrook 7 complex, the cinema chain has invited members of its AMC Stubs program to attend an evening of free screenings at the theatre this Friday, September 27th.
First, a little history on the re-opening of the Fallbrook 7.

AMC took over the theatre at the Fallbrook Center in West Hills, CA earlier this year when Laemmle Theaters abandoned the site after deadlocking on a new lease agreement with the mall’s owner, Chicago-based General Growth Properties. When Laemmle originally made public the closing of the Fallbrook 7, which is a few miles from my home, I suspected the property owner may have been hoping to attract an exhibitor with deeper pockets. Sure enough, within two weeks of Laemmle’s announcement, AMC Theatres swooped in and took over the lease.

Moviegoers who patronized the Fallbrook 7 regularly, many of them senior citizens, were disheartened to hear of Laemmle’s plans, since it was one of the only cinemas in the west San Fernando Valley to play arthouse titles. An older theatre, it was also known for sometimes scratchy projection and sloped floors. Upon announcing their intention to take over the multiplex, AMC tried to assuage any fears longtime customers might have as evidenced by Mark McDonald, the circuit’s executive vice president of development, telling the Los Angeles Times:

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Can Movie Theatres Be Used As Emergency Storm Shelters?

Hurricane Sandy

What has been dubbed Superstorm Sandy will go down in history as one of the most devastating weather events in United States history. Arguably the most destructive storm since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it has left dozens dead, thousands homeless and millions of residents in New York and New Jersey without electricity. Though far less important in the grand scheme of the event, it has also shuttered hundreds of movie theatres along the eastern coast of the country for the past three days.

The strong winds, heavy rain and flooding brought New York City to a screeching halt Sunday evening with public transportation suspended indefinitely. Cinema owners also ceased operations with the likes of AMC, Clearview and Regal letting their screens go dark as early as three o’clock on Sunday. The move was meant not only to protect patrons, but also theatre employees who might otherwise have been trapped at work.

Much has been made about the adverse affect Sandy has had on box office receipts, especially on Sunday’s returns. But as film sprockets and reels have given way to digital bits and hard drives throughout the industry, little has been mentioned about the issues faced by modern-day cinemas.

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It’s Official – DCIP Gets $660 Million In Funding

DCIP + Money.jpg

A boisterous cheer erupted this morning during the Inter-Society Digital Cinema Forum (ISDCF) meeting when the proceedings were interrupted with news that Digital Cinema Implementation Partners (DCIP) had just officially announced they had received their financing. Indeed, DCIP published a press release stating that they had raised USD $660 million in financing. The funds will be used to roll out digital cinema in North America’s three largest circuits; AMC Theatres, Cinemark and Regal Cinemas.

As we previously reported when it was still a widely circulated industry rumor, DCIP’s financing will come in the form of USD $445 million in senior bank debt, USD $135 million in junior capital and USD $80 million in equity from the theatre chains themselves. JPMorgan assisted DCIP in raising the money which is being supplied by a who’s who of financial institutions including Bank of America, Barclays Bank, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, GE Capital, Morgan Stanley and the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

There are sure to be tons of news stories generated by DCIP’s announcement, especially since it will allow media outlets to wave around the trendy “3D” phrase in hopes of attracting a few extra eyeballs. The reports will cite that nearly 14,000 screens throughout North America will be converted to digital by AMC, Cinemark and Regal who formed DCIP as a joint venture in 2007. (Truthfully, it’s probably more like 10,000 screens when all is said and done). No doubt they may even go so far as to pull press release quote from Travis Reid, DCIP’s CEO, which states:

“We are excited that with the continued support of our owners, studio partners and financial advisors we have completed this critical step in our process. Over the next few years, we’ll be aggressively implementing the transition to digital technology in theatres across North America. Guests will enjoy enhanced presentation and additional entertainment options at their favorite theatres as Exhibitors and content providers capitalize on the flexibility enabled by digital technology, including many upcoming releases using digital 3D. Having this substantial financial package and our studio partnerships in place, we’re pleased to launch this new era of technology to guests looking for an exceptional out-of-home experience.”

Check out the way Mr. Reid so adeptly snuck the word “capitalize” into that quote. Pretty slick. It’s funny though, because I always imagined his press release quote would read more along the lines of:

“Phew! That was harder then it needed to be and dare I say it’s about time we landed some money. Thankfully I will no longer have to answer questions every other week about when DCIP will be getting its financing.”

Since the mainstream media will take care of all the cheerleading about how 3D will soon be coming to a theatre near you, I figured it might be interesting to further explain the types of financing DCIP is getting. I mean what’s with all these terms like “senior debt” and “junior capital”? Does the senior debt have offspring named after it? And does the junior capital have a father with the same name? Read More »

Odeon, Italy and AMC Reach Deal With Disney On “Alice”

Alice In Wonderland - Alice.jpgExecutives at Walt Disney Studios must be breathing a huge sigh of relief having reached a deal with Odeon Cinemas in the United Kingdom and Italian exhibitors to show their upcoming tentpole release “Alice In Wonderland”. Additionally, Disney reached an accord with AMC Theatres to show the Tim Burton helmed film in North America when it is released on March 5th.

After announcing their plans to release “Alice In Wonderland” on DVD in June, just three months after its theatrical release rather than the usual four months, Odeon, the U.K.’s largest cinema chain, publicly threatened to boycott the film. So did exhibitors in Italy. AMC never made any public statements about a boycott, but delayed signing any agreement to show the film. Most of the details about the agreements were kept private by both parties, but according to a story in Variety, here is what we know:

  • In the U.K. Disney will not begin advertising the DVD until six to eight weeks after the film hits theatres.
  • In Italy, Disney will release three big movies during the summer, rather than waiting until fall. Traditionally, the summer box office grosses have been tepid compared with those in autumn. “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” will open on August 20th, while “Toy Story 3″ and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” will also open have summer playdates.
  • Disney has extended the release of “Alice In Wonderland” on DVD from 12 weeksafter its theatrical to 13.

In the U.K., assurances were given that the studio won’t begin advertising for the DVD until six or eight weeks after the theatrical bow. It’s likely that exhibs elsewhere asked for the same terms.
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More Rumblings About DCIP’s Financing

dcip.jpgLast week both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported that an announcement from Digital Cinema Implementation Partners about their financing was imminent. The opportunity to play 3D content will certainly be welcomed by AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark, however from the way the two newspapers covered the story you might get the impression it was the only reason. The financing would allow Hollywood studios to “roll out more 3-D movies in the wake of the success of James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’” wrote the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times said the “money would allow future 3-D film releases”.

Both media outlets seem to have gotten their hands on some internal briefings or at the very least seen an early draft of a press release as they have updated some of the details from previous reports about DCIP’s financing. A more exact figure of USD $660 million was cited by both papers which is down from the original USD $700 million rumor which was first floating around. As well, the number of screens has been upped to 14,000 from 12,000 with the Wall Street Journal putting the number of actual theatre sites being converted at 1,100. The New York Times laid out the details as follows:

According to a draft announcement making the rounds in Hollywood, the new financing, arranged by JPMorgan and Blackstone Advisory Partners, would total about $660 million. Of that, $445 million is expected to come from senior bank debt, $135 million from what is described as “junior capital” and $80 million from equity contributed by the member theater circuits. Nine banks, including Bank of America and Citibank, are part of the lending group. Blackstone raised the $135 million from other investors.

I always find it amusing to see how mainstream media covers the transition to digital cinema in reporting such news. The Wall Street Journal piece states:

In a digital conversion, theaters rip out old celluloid film projectors, and stop receiving weekly shipments of large film canisters. They instead use fiber optic lines to transfer huge digital film files.

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A Recap Of Disney’s Adventures With “Alice”

Alice In Wonderland.jpgSurely Walt Disney Studios was hoping their upcoming release “Alice In Wonderland” would generate a lot of media attention before it hits theatres on March 5th, though they probably weren’t trying to create the kind of buzz the picture received over this past week. Theatre owners in North America and Europe protested when the studio announced it would move up the DVD release of the movie to early June, just three months after Tim Burton’s adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic is distributed theatrically.

The announcement was made on February 8th by Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, during an earnings call and seemed to come as a surprise to many. A surprising number of newspapers, websites and radio shows beginning running numerous stories about the dispute just two days later and through the course of last week. In fact, the Los Angeles Times managed to sum up the latest battle over movie release windows rather nicely:

The flare-up illustrates how an arcane topic once only of interest to Hollywood executives can affect moviegoers around the world.

The L.A. Times, along with The Wrap, touched on the fact that studios have been meeting with key North American exhibitors (probably Regal Cinemas, AMC Theatres and Cinemark) to negotiate a deal on shortening theatrical release windows. These meetings weren’t done surreptitiously. In January John Fithian, President of the National Association of Theatre Owners, told attendees of the International Cinema Technology Association’s tech conference that theatrical windows would be changing to help studios maximize revenues from home releases:

“As a person who represents the cinema industry I’m not going to tell you that we’re very happy that that model is going to change, but it has to. But it has to change logically and it has to change with studios and exhibitors sitting down together and analyzing the models. It’s not a great secret, this is happening. Leading studio executives, leading cinema representatives are talking about what these models should look like. The good news is we’re all at the table talking. That’s much better and much more cooperative than if studio x decided just to abandon the model and release a major picture in the cinema and in the home roughly at the same time. That’s not going to happen. What’s going to happen is some scientific thinking and some research and a deliberative process to maximize the model for the studios without killing the model for exhibition.”

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