Tag Archives: China

Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 25 July 2014

Transformers Imax or 4K

Much has been made of the success of Transformers 4 in China (biggest hit of all time, etc. etc.). But at the risk of coming across all Cassandra, it should be noted that before Transformers 4 and the local hit Tiny Times 3 lit up the mainland box office, the outlook for China’s cinemas was no less glum than the malaise currently gripping the US. Here is what local media had been saying.

While China has experienced several years of high growth, the local cinema industry is facing multiple challenges: the increasing number of cinema, opened more and more concentrated, higher rent, buy shock …… by Chongqing Municipal Cultural Commission (“City Culture Committee”) Recently released in May 2014 theater box office statistics show that the local movie theater in the top 15, most of the cinema box office fell. Daily Reporter each month according to statistics released by the city of Culture Committee found that from January to May, ranking in the top 15 local cinemas, more than half the theater box office fell.

Yesterday Commercial Daily reporter in an interview that, in the case of the city’s theater box office in recent years of steady growth, the major theater theater district has noticed too dense, the rapid growth of the number of the main city theater box office year downward trend, not little theater began adjusting their development plans.  LINK

So over-development is starting to take its toll as noted by the operators of cinemas in the city.

A staff member of Studio City, Metro Plaza, 6th Floor Studios, told Business Daily reporter: “non-weekend day there are more than 200 seats in a movie, only to sell more than 20 tickets, attendance is less than 10%. night is better, but only sold about half. ”

Chongqing, in the end how many cinema? Chinese Commercial News reporters Zuo Ricong and Shi Wenwei Film Department learned that in 2012 the city’s total operating operating theater 85, 2013 rose to 104, as of May of this year has reached 108, which accounted for half of the main city.

Other cities in China are reported the same type of problems.

“At present, most theater Shenyang are losing money.” Person in charge of a theater box office in Shenyang in 2013, said the top five.

Theater insiders, at the cost of the theater, the largest part of the rent, some of the theater’s annual rent of up to five or six million good location, in addition to annual labor costs have more than 100 million, utilities and other expenses are added together, so that up to 7000000, “a movie ticket average fares 31 yuan, can only make a few dollars.”

Reporters Statistics found that the top five of Shenyang theater attendance is not higher than 30%.  LINK

Fortunately Transformers 4 and Tine Times 3 have helped. But they have not altered the underlying problems of over-supply, high rents and low attendance.

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Ireland (Republic) – Box office is in ruddy good health in Ireland, thanks to cross dressing comedian Brendan O’Carrolls’ Mrs Browns Boys D’Movie, which took over a million euros in its opening weekend in the republic. It is second only this year to The Lego Movie and with €3.2 million set to overtake the brick film’s €3.3 million shortly and also become the biggest grossing Irish film of all time.

But the success of comedies ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ and ’22 Jump Street’ left the Irish scene looking far healthier with summer figures up 3.8pc on last year.

The total for the year is also looking good with attendance figures up 2.6pc on last year.

Rentrak EDI, the company that gathers box office figures worldwide, said the strong Irish showing should continue through the rest of the year as a lot of big titles were held back to avoid clashing with the FIFA World Cup.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 4 June 2014

PwC global media 2018

File under ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’ – online film distribution revenue will overtake cinema box office in 2017, according to a new report by PwC. But box office is actually predicted to keep rising, while the real loser will be DVD and Blu-ray. China and 3D also come under scrutiny.

By 2018, electronic home video, which includes subscription video-on-demand services and cable on-demand offerings, will be the main contributor to total filmed entertainment revenue, overtaking the box office by 2017, the study finds. In five years, revenues for the sector will double from $8.5 billion in 2014 to $17 billion by 2018. Though the movie business is clearly an industry in flux, there are bright signs for one of its oldest distribution avenues, the theatrical exhibition industry. Ticket sales are projected to climb over the next five years, with domestic box office revenue climbing 15.9% from $10.8 billion to $12.5 billion. Meanwhile ticket prices will increase by less than a dollar from an average of $8.89 to $9.81 by 2018. LINK

Variety complains that “The study’s methodology is opaque, with PwC reporting that it relied on historical data and proprietary data to come up with its models and forecasts.” (What, as opposed to a crystal ball?) Law & Order Trillium cinema USA (MI) – A man who took a pistol into a cinema and then flashed a fake CIA badge will be sentenced today. Impersonating a CIA agent is a federal offence, just so you know.

Police were called to the theater for a report of a man with a visible handgun, and officers made contact with Delavergne. According to federal court records, the FBI was contacted by the Grand Blanc Township Police Department about the identification. Delavergne allegedly told the FBI agent he went to the theater after work wearing his 9mm pistol and body armor because he did not want to leave them in his car. Federal court documents say he told FBI agents that he had a permit to carry a concealed firearm.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Tuesday 3 June 2014

EBOT entertainment group

The fact that China’s box office is booming is taken as a given, but depending on how you look at the figures, some more troubling aspects shine through.

Grace, vice president of Arts and Consulting Research told the “First Financial Daily” correspondent that although the theater building heat remains the same, since last year the per capita attendance continues to decline, in addition, a monthly box office analysis that the market performance is still potential for the market to fall, should be vigilant.

And despite some big hits like “Monkey King” that does not mean that all months represent unchecked growth. Quite possibly the opposite.

Throughout the first five months of 2014, although they did create the highest grossing single month, but the movie box office market on a monthly count fell. In February this year the market continued to perform eye-catching, with the box office results for the first time pushed the monthly rise to 30 billion yuan; March continued to market the off-season, April decline, down 1% year-on-year, in May performance is not satisfactory, an increase of only 7% . Continued growth in the number of screens, viewing habits in a gradually mature market, the market still appears as a broader market decline, it is worth alert.

Finally, if you look at this from a five year perspective, growth is not close to what it ought to be right now.

For ongoing theater building heat, Hou Tao told reporters, according to Arts Grace Consulting study of the past five years, including tracking attendance of this year, a downward trend in attendance last year, attendance is about 17% below the 2012 level this year half expected 15% to 16% growth in attendance, which is not optimistic.   LINK



Australia – Shazam is looking to extend its cinema partnership model from the US to Australia, doing with Val morgan what it’s done with NCM in the US.

Although Sos concedes the issue of movie etiquette and not using phones or playing audio in theatres is valid, he believes cinema is a lucrative and growing market for brands to engage with audiences through mobile

“We’re so wedded to the device that the idea of turning it off and putting it down for few hours actually scares us so [most people] are trying to do things on the phone before the movie starts,” he said.

“There’s an opportunity to connect through the soundtrack of a movie, introduce direct click-to-buy, as well as connect with advertisers before films start. In that way it’s a natural environment to Shazam. And because it’s unobtrusive its a nice way to engage with content.”  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 2 June 2014

Farewell my concubine opera

“Farewell My Concubine” had its global premiere yesterday at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles; the first ever Chinese 3D opera in Atmos to be shown in cinemas.

Yesterday, appears on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles of a particular landscape, held annually Oscars Dolby theater entrance a few meters of the opera “Farewell My Concubine” eye-catching posters, many pedestrians stopped to watch, even passing The open-top bus passengers have also picked up a camera on Mengpai. China’s first 3D opera film “Farewell My Concubine” overseas premiere was held last night at “the temple” of the Oscars. Dolby Executive Vice President Andy said, “this is not only the first Chinese film premiere held here, it is also the film’s first country outside the United States premiere to be held here.”  LINK

Farewell my Concubine Q&A

Co-star Shi Yihong agrees the whole experience was new and exciting.

“As a Peking Opera performer, being a part of a film is very interesting for me, especially in this amazing 3D project,” Shi Yihong said.

The film is being shown in the US as part of celebrations to mark the 35th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and the US.

It’s hoped that the combination of a 200-year-old Peking Opera and modern 3D technology can help American people better understand Chinese Culture.  LINK

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What Wanda’s IPO Prospectus Tell Us About China’s Cinema Market

Wanda Cinemas

No less than 30 Chinese companies are looking to list on US stock exchanges this year, led by Internet giants such as JD.com and Alibaba. The reason for choosing the likes of Nasdaq is because unlike their Chinese counterparts they don’t require three years of profitability as well as US regulations that allow for different classes of voting stock. In total some USD $36.6 billion has been raised by 140 Chinese companies through U.S.-based initial public offerings (IPOs) since 2000. But one Chinese company that isn’t going down this route is Wanda Cinemas.

As we have already reported, Wanda is planning a two billion yuan (USD $321 million) IPO ahead of a listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. This is likely to make it China’s biggest domestic IPO in 2014, even if it is overshadowed internationally by Alibaba’s U.S. listing. The smaller film distributor and exhibitor Shanghai Film Co. has also announced plans for a 969 million yuan (USD $145 million) IPO. But it is Wanda that we will focus on as it is more of a bellwether on the state of the Chinese exhibition industry.

It is important to remember that one of the reasons Wanda is not seeking a U.S.-based IPO is because it has already listed AMC Entertainment Holdings, which controls the second largest North American cinema chain. This listing raised USD $314 million, i.e. almost as much as the Wanda’s China IPO aims for. The stock done very well since being listed, with shares rising from USD $18.81 to $22.39, after reaching a high of $26.68 in the brief six-month time span in which it has been trading.

Wanda Cinema’s IPO: the Basics

By way of quick recap, WSJ tells us that:

Wanda Cinema Line is controlled by commercial-property conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, which always installs cinemas in the shopping complexes it develops. With that support, Wanda Cinema has expanded into smaller Chinese cities. Dalian Wanda is controlled by its chairman, tycoon Wang Jianlin, who is the country’s richest man. Wanda Cinema Line owned 142 cinemas in 73 cities with 1,247 screens at the end of 2013, its preliminary prospectus said. Its net profit in 2013 rose 55% to 603 million yuan from 388 million yuan in 2012, while revenue rose to 4.02 billion yuan, up 33% from 3.03 billion yuan.

It is worth flagging again the concerns raised in the risk factors section of the prospectus, as highlighted by the WSJ:

China’s largest cinema chain takes a dim view of the domestic movie industry. In the risk factors section, the prospectus notes that “While Chinese films have achieved a certain volume, there are relatively few films of commercial value” and regulations limit foreign film imports. Therefore, Wanda faces risks resulting from the “lack of quality films in China that can really win good praise and reviews and completely satisfy market needs and the cultural demands of viewers.”

So while everyone is celebrating the success of “X-Men: Days of future Past” and “The Monkey King” in the first half of this year, local action epic “The Iceman 3D” underperformed and had to be split into two releases in order to get a decent return on its runaway budget.  Meanwhile, even Hollywood flops like “Transcendence” didn’t perform much better in China. We have also previously flagged up on this site the very real risk of a crash that the Chinese cinema business faces. Read More »

Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 26 May 2014

Monkey King

China is setting a new box office record with ferocious speed that helps cement the view that it will overtake even the US in the foreseeable future as the world’s biggest cinema market.

In the first five months of 2014, Chinese box office hit 10.2B yuan, or about $1.63B, with local movies dominating the market at 56% through May 21. Watchdog SAPPRFT released the figures today via state news agency Xinhua. Those numbers have led analysts to predict total 2014 box office could top out at a staggering 28B yuan, or around $4.49B. That would rep a 24.7% change from 2013 which ended with $3.6B. I say staggering because the numbers really do look wild, but a 24.7% increase would be slightly lower than the 27.5% jump from 2012 to 2013.

But number crunching is not straightforward in terms of calculating when China might eclipse the US.

It’s difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison with 2013 based on the figures released today given that last year the authority provided half-year numbers in July. However, it’s worth noting that it took six months in 2013 for box office to cross the 10B yuan mark. This year, it was less than five. In the first six months of 2013, Chinese films also ruled the box office at about 61%, grossing $1.1B in the semester which had total takings of $1.79B. This was a reversal from the whole of 2012 when, much to the chagrin of SAPPRFT (then SARFT), market share had fallen to under 50% for the first time in four years.  LINK


But all is not well in the Middle Kingdom’s exhibition industry as yet more cinemas are suspended for box office fraud. Far from just being a case of greed, for some cinemas this is the only way to stay in business in a fiercely competitive market.

Seven Chinese cinemas have been banned from screening new movies due to cheating on box office figures, two Chinese film associations announced on Monday.

The cinemas were found to have used a “dual software system” to sell film tickets without registering the real box office gains to a uniform system, according to a statement issued by the China Film Producers’ Association and the China Film Distribution and Exhibition Association.

Such conduct supposedly aims to avoid lawfully sharing box office earnings with filmmakers and other relevant parties.  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


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


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 – Tuesday 20 May 2014

Red London cinema

UK – Is cinema becoming a luxury? By that we mean unaffordable to the average income family? This study makes for worrying reading.

A night out at the cinema is becoming increasingly unaffordable because of rising ticket prices, experts are warning.

The consumer media survey by consulting firm Deloitte found that 70 per cent of people on an annual salary of more than £55,000 go to the cinema at least twice a year — but only 39 per cent of those earning under £20,000 do so.

Since 2007/08, the cost of a ticket has risen 4.4 per cent a year — ahead of inflation, at 3.1 per cent. The average ticket in the UK now costs £6.53, according to the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association. Prices in central London can be around £12.  LINK

In London 27 out of 73 constituencies do not even have a local cinema.

PVR Cinema

India – The newly elected BJP government will have a full IN-tray upon taking office in New Delhi. Here is some sensible advice for them from the head of PVR: scrap the punitive entertainment tax.

While India is the fifth-largest market in the world with box office collections of $1.6 billion, the overall year-on-year growth has been around 9 percent over the last five years, and has been largely driven by multiplexes. In comparison, China’s box office has leapfrogged to $3.6 billion in 2013, representing a year-on-year growth of 27.5 percent. China added approximately 5,000 new screens in 2013 as compared to negative screen addition in India. (It is estimated that 250 new multiplex screens were added but 400 single-screen cinemas shut down in 2013.)

The entertainment tax rates in India are the highest in the world. This acts as a major impediment to the growth of the exhibition industry. Rates are as high as 67 percent in Uttar Pradesh and 45 percent in Mumbai, the movie capital of the country. Consequently, a large portion of theatre ticket receipts go towards taxes instead of being channelled into development of quality exhibition facilities. As a result, most single-screen cinemas are in a dilapidated state because of poor and negative profits. It is imperative that the entertainment tax structure across the country is rationalised by bringing down the rates.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 16 May 2014

NCM logo

USA (NY) - National CineMedia has announced the details of its partnership with Shazam, to create audio-embedded links in its adverts for enhanced content. There are further partnerships with Disney’s Maker Studios and Idea United.

National CineMedia revealed intriguing partnerships with Shazam and Maker Studios today at its upfront event near Lincoln Square in New York. The moves underscore how the cinema ads network increasingly sees itself as a digital company.

As part of NCM’s update to its longstanding FirstLook platform, the Shazam integration is designed to extend advertisers’ reach among smartphone-toting moviegoers. When they observe a sponsor’s FirstLook promo via the mobile app, they can consume and share that content while also making a purchase when it comes to e-commerce pitches.  LINK


Canada - Ticket prices fell in the first quarter of 2014, which is perhaps why Canada’s Cineplex is experimenting with higher charges for some seats and shows.

Later this year, at the Varsity location in Toronto’s Manulife Centre, the company will launch a pilot project in which patrons pay an extra $2-$3 for the prime seats in the middle rows of the theatre.
“We’ve had great success with our UltraAVX cinemas ($3-$5 surcharge) as well as our VIP cinemas ($7-$12 surcharge) which both offer reserved seating; and so people really like that opportunity,” said spokeswoman Pat Marshall.

“It’s really about providing our guests with choices when they go to the movies . . . I sort of position it akin to an aircraft where you have your regular coach seating, then you might want a bit more amenities, so you go into business class, and then you have a first-class.”  LINK

USA - Fandango has added three more exhibitors to its network.

Harkins Theatres, Digiplex Destinations and Premiere Cinemas have joined Fandango’s network of cinema chains, the movie ticketer said Thursday.

The company said that the new agreements will add 1,000 screens to its rolls in a dozen states including California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, New Mexico and Texas. The deals will go into effect this summer.

The online and mobile ticketer now represents more than 24,000 screens domestically.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 9 May 2014

The Cinema Theatre in Rochester goes digital

This small-single screen is one of the last in its area to make the switch to digital. So why aren’t we filing it away further down? Because the area is Rochester, home of Eastman Kodak, aka the Company That Digital Nearly Killed.

The Cinema’s swap this week from film to digital projection marks one of the last area theaters to make that switch. Rochester’s Little Theatre converted to digital last year, as did Avon’s Vintage Drive In. The George Eastman House’s Dryden Theatre added a digital projector last year. Rochester Theater Management — which operates movie theaters in Brockport, Geneseo and Canandaigua — did not return a message seeking comment. But according to its website, all three movie houses also have converted to digital.

And according to the Digital Cinema Implementation Partnership — owned jointly by movie chain giants AMC Entertainment Inc., Cienmark USA Inc. and Regal Entertainment Group — Cinemark’s multiplexes in Gates and Brighton; Regal’s in Henrietta, Greece and Irondequoit; and AMC’s in Webster all have made the digital switch.

As you would expect from the newspaper of industry town hard hit by digital, the article gives a lot of details about the digital switchover. It notes that in the most recent quarter “Kodak’s Graphics, Entertainment & Commercial Films business were down 18 percent from a year ago, with most of that decline due to sliding sales of motion picture film.”

Despite a successful Indiegogo campaign to help buy a new projector the cinema’s manager doesn’t see an upside to digital, just the ability to going back to showing films the same way they were able to 2-3 years ago before prints started drying up. Only now they have to charge USD $1 for each ticket. “It doesn’t increase business one little bit,” he said. “This thing is strictly a cost of doing business.”

Cinema ticket price comparison map

This is a fun and interesting piece of infographics derived from numbeo.com about which countries have the most expensive and cheapest cinema tickets. The most expensive countries, where tickets cost on average more than the equivalent of USD $17.50 are Japan, Switzerland, Norway and Angola, which similarly to Norway is seeing prices pushed up too much by oil finds. (Saudi Arabia is strangely also included in this group, which is peculiar given that the Kingdom officially has no cinemas.)

The cheapest countries are Cuba, Haiti, Guyana, Lesotho, Laos, Iran and Turkmenistan, some of which are perhaps better known internationally for their films than their cinemas. Amazingly Australia falls outside the top tier of expensive cinemas, but probably only just, give the recent controversies about ticket prices.  The full size map can be found here.

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