Tag Archives: Cineworld

CJ@IBC ‘Event Cinema – more than just TV on the Big Screen’

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The burgeoning field of event cinema (nee ‘alternative content’) is highly topical for the IBC Big Screen Experience, as the larger IBC conference straddles the worlds of content produced, distributed and displayed for all size screens. In the interest of full disclosure, I was one of the co-producers for this session, though more credit should go to my co-producer Peter Wilson who did the greater job of assembling the crack team of speakers and practitioners.

The session was developed in close co-operation with the Event Cinema Association (ECA), which in the last 18-24 months has become a major force for the event cinema industry in terms of giving it a voice, focus and profile internationally. ECA has its own event on 16 October in London, so IBC was very fortunate that Peter and Melissa made time so close to their own big day.

The session is chaired by event cinema legend Mark Schubin (Schubin’s Cafe, USA), who has been the technical Wizard behind the curtains (actually in the OB van) of the Metropolitan Opera since its first live cinema transmission and also the world leading expert on the history of electronic opera (and its relation to baseball).

The session has several distinguished speakers, lots of content and (of course) barely enough time to do it all ful justice, despite Schubin doing a great job of keeping everyone to their time. Please pardon spelling errors as I’m doing tripple duty of reporting, tweeting and floor managing at the same time.

The session was opened by Melissa Cogavin (nee Keeping, Managing Director, Event Cinema Association, UK) who played the event cinema trailer that showcased the range and depth of what’s been in cinemas in the last 12 months: ‘Your Cinema – Event Cinema’. She began by asking what “alternative is, givent that event cinema was previously known as ‘alternative content’.'  She noted that 1,500 cinemas showed Doctor Who and grossed over GBP 10 million. “Event cinema is the fastest growing category at the box office. It is headed for being a billion dollar business,” she said. “For something considered ‘alterntive’ that’s pretty amazing.” She talked about ‘demystifying’ the process, to which end they (ECA) are publishing the technical handbook this autumn. 

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 12 September 2014

As you may have noticed Patrick von Sychowski is in Amsterdam attending IBC which means you must suffer my attempt at putting together a Daily Cinema Digest.  Be sure to check out all of Patrick’s coverage of IBC after catching up on the day’s (or in this case, week’s) cinema news.

Big Cinemas

Hey, remember when North American exhibitors built way too many multiplexes during the 1980′s and 90′s over extending themselves to such a degree that during the early 2000′s the industry began to consolidate with cinema chains buying each other out or merging?  Well, it seems this is a trend that might be hard to avoid.  India has been going through a huge multiplex boom over the past decade and now it seems has entered the consolidation phase of the business cycle.  Rumors are afoot that Carnival Films is in negotiations to acquire the majority of Reliance MediaWorks theatre chain Big Cinemas.  This would be the third such merger or acquisition for India’s exhibition industry in as many months:

Inox Leisure, India’s second largest multiplex operator, acquired Delhi-based Satyam Cineplexes Ltd for nearly Rs.240 crore, paying Rs.182 crore in cash and taking over its debt in a deal that expanded Inox’s presence to 50 cities, with 91 multiplexes and 358 screens; and Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL) sold its multiplex business Broadway Cinemas to Carnival Cinemas for an undisclosed amount.

If the deal goes through Carnival would end up with 280 screens.  That really seems to be one of the main reasons for all the mergers and acquisitions; more screens a bigger market share of the box office and thus more leverage when negotiating with film producers and distributors over film rental.

According to the omnipresent anonymous source “familiar with the situation” Reliance isn’t looking to completely exit exhibition:

“The contour of the final transaction is yet to be arrived at, but Big Cinemas will not entirely exit the business. It will form a strategic alliance with an existing cinema exhibition chain that will run the daily operations and it will receive proportionate revenues from them as part of the partnership. Reliance MediaWorks will also invest in the venture as part of its growth strategy because it believes there is growth potential in this business.”

Don’t expect the consolidation of the Indian exhibition industry to slow down anytime soon.  Jehil Thakkar, head of the media and entertainment practice at KPMG, told LiveMint:

We certainly do see the cinema multiplex industry continuing to consolidate inorganically as the real growth opportunity lies there… Most of the big players are seeking inorganic growth options and scale is a very important part of this business.”

I just love that word “inorganic”.  Do you think since organic products usually cost more at stores that inorganic ones would cost less?  If so, maybe Carnival could get a discount on Big Cinemas since it would technically be considered “inorganic growth”.  LINK

Megabox

South Korea – The sale of exhibition circuits isn’t limited to India.  Over in South Korea an investment group is looking to cash out on their seven-year investment in Megabox.  Korea Multiplex Investment Corp.

Inside, though anonymous, sources have told various media outlets that backers Korea Multiplex Investment Corp., whose shareholders include the National Pension Service, Public Officials Benefit Association and Military Mutual Aid Association, are pushing for a sale of the company and have been reaching out to potential buyers.

Megabox is one of South Korea’s largest multiplex operators controlling 21% of the screens in the country as of last year. That figure is third to CJ CGV which operates 43% of screens and the film division of Lotte Shopping Company which controls 32%. Korea Multiplex, which owns 50% of Megabox (Jcontentree Corp. holds a 46% stake in the exhibitor), is hoping the circuit will sell for as much as 13 times its current earnings.

In 2013 Megabox netted KRW 25.6 billion (USD $24,745,216) on KRW 206.1 billion (USD $199,218,321) in revenue.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Thursday 4 September

 

IBC

IBC is less than a week away and the IBC Big Screen Experience (free for all attendees!) will hear an urgent appeal for digital cinema manufacturers, exhibitors and others to resolve the vexing issue of software upgrades.

John Hurst, co-founder and CTO of CineCert, LLC internationally recognized developer of D-Cinema technology based in California, will be presenting at the Global D-Cinema Update Session at IBC a call to action to all digital cinema stakeholders to resolve delays in deployment of software upgrades on installed digital cinema systems globally.

During the session hosted by the European Digital Cinema Forum (EDCF), panelists will discuss the effect of out of date software on global cinema operations and the barriers to upgrade which keep many cinemas on legacy versions. John Hurst will explain the importance of upgrading software on legacy systems and will explore barriers to upgrades including the financial and operational issues that are preventing cinemas from deploying new versions.  LINK

Paragon Theatres

A fascinating look at one of the true pioneers in terms of VIP food cinemas. I had read that for a long time Disney held out against cinemas serving alcohol, but didn’t know that Paramount was the first studio to program films in cinemas that did.

In 1993 on Marco Island, restaurateur Nick Campo and his partners built a movie theater so different it would be 10 years before the National Association of Theatre Owners gave the theater, and its emulators, a category: first-run food theaters. Although food had been served at showings of old movies in retrofitted, abandoned theaters in college towns, Marco Movies was the first theater in the country that was purpose built specifically for serving quality food to audiences in posh auditoriums during showings of first-run films.

The concept proved so successful that Campo and his partners built the Beach Theater on Fort Myers Beach in 1999. But first, the partners had to overcome resistance from the studios. Campo said that at the time his Marco location opened, the contract that theater owners had to sign to obtain first-run movies from the studios stipulated no food or alcoholic beverages could be served. He said Paramount Pictures was the only studio that didn’t have the prohibitive clause, so he started by showing Paramount films.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 25 August 2014

Cineworld Telford

First Cineworld got in trouble with some vocal customers for introducing allocated seating. Now marketers are complaining that the cinema is keeping house lights on during the running of the adverts.

Darren Hayday, marketing consultant at Competitive Edge Marketing and former “loyal customer of Cineworld” after taking issue with the policy, says the decision to keep lights up instead of using ushers to guide customers to their seats is a problem for marketers.

He adds: “What on earth is the point of a brand manager choosing this medium to target a captive audience when to try and cut costs the cinema chain introduce this process which doesn’t benefit anyone other than senior management?”

One client-side marketer and Cineworld customer told Marketing Week: “Cinema is one of the last remaining opportunities for a fully engaged ad audience and when you factor in the site-specificity of movie trailers made especially for cinema audiences, [keeping lights up] is doubly concerning.”  LINK

Imax China

China – The importance of China to Imax was highlighted again this past weekend at the Changchun Film Festival, with the country set to overtake the United States in the next few years. Sadly can’t embed the video, so please follow the link.

August 22, the 12th Changchun Film Festival “IMAX Vision” screening unit was officially launched, Managing Director, Asia Pacific attended the launching ceremony of IMAX Corporation sand Wande said that about three years, IMAX number of IMAX theaters in China will reach about 400, then this figure will exceed North America. China is expected to become the world’s largest IMAX market.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 18 August 2014

James Holmes

Cinemark will also be on trial for the deaths resulting from the shooting and killing of 12 people by alleged mass-killer James Holmes, after a Colorado judge threw out Cinemark’s attempt to have the wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits dismissed.

U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson on Friday rejected a motion for summary judgment filed by lawyers for Texas-based Cinemark USA to dismiss the lawsuits.

Nearly 30 victims or the families of those killed or wounded in the rampage have sued Cinemark, owner of the theater complex where the massacre took place.

In general, the lawsuits claim Cinemark had lax security at its theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora when a gunman opened fired during a midnight screening of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.”  LINK

Cineplex adults-only VIP cinema

Cineplex has opened Canada’s first adults-only multiplex. I wonder if it is also a way to get around liquor licence restrictions, as booze is served there, since no underage are admitted. But Cineplex has long been a pioneer, including supposedly the first one to introduce the concept of VIP cinema in Canada 15 years ago.

Cineplex VIP Cinemas Don Mills, Canada’s first theatre built just for 19-plus audiences, opened Friday in the former McNally Robinson Booksellers at the Shops at Don Mills.

The theatre, its adult status born of being licenced for beer, wine and liquor, has five auditoriums with reserved seating in oversized chairs with extra legroom — including two rooms with oversized faux leather seats that recline at the touch of a button and Dolby Atmos digital surround sound. There’s also valet parking.

“There’s a feeling of feeling of intimacy. You feel like it’s a special environment,” said Ellis Jacob, president and CEO of Cineplex Entertainment of the outlet he calls “the most refined movie theatre in North America.”  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 11 August 2014

Vista Veezi ticketing software

New Zealand – Ticketing software company Vista is off to a good start after debuting on the Kiwi boeurse.  

Shares of Vista Group International rose as much as 8.1 percent on their NZX debut, after the cinema software and analytics company raised $92 million in an initial public offering to pay existing owners and fund global growth.

The shares recently traded at $2.53, touching a high of $2.54, after an IPO at $2.35, giving the company a market capitalisation of $201.9 million between Pacific Edge and Hallenstein Glasson Holdings. Some $51.7 million of the funds raised went to existing owners who retained a 47 percent stake, while $40 million in new capital was raised to drive its international growth plans.  LINK

Tricycle Theatre

UK – A troubling decision by a London-based cinema Tricycle Theatre to expel the UK Jewish Film Festival, because of current events in Gaza and a grant from the Israeli Embassy.

The chairman of the UK Jewish film festival has spoken for the first time about the row that led to it being withdrawn from a north London theatre, and said he felt “sick to my teeth” when the theatre’s director demanded to scrutinise the list of films to be shown.

“This was most definitely the thin end of the wedge. Who is she to say this film is right and this film is wrong? We have our own creative curator and our own 15,000 attendees. Why am I having to defer to her about what films she can defend?” said Stephen Margolis, chief executive director of the festival.  LINK

Cineworld Cinema City

UK – Despite a slow summer, with sports and good weather conspiring to keep cinema goers away, Cineworld has managed to post good numbers, helped by the merger with Cinema City.

Hits such as The Lego Movie helped, but Cineworld also has its merger with Cinema City to thank for an expected sharp increase in half-year profits to £20million.

Cineworld’s UK and Ireland box office revenues were down by 0.6 per cent in the year to the week before the end of July, but its total box office revenue was up 27 per cent compared to the same time last year.

This was due to the acquisition of Cinema City, a cinema business based mainly in central and eastern Europe, in February. Cineworld’s first half profits are expected to be up 13 per cent when it releases results on Thursday, reckons investment bank Numis.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 8 August 2014

China online cinema ticket machines

Wondering about the above picture? That’s no less than ten (10!) different ticketing machines in the lobby of a cinema in Beijing. Online ticketing has exploded in China along with the growth of multiplexes, Imax screens and attendance. But it is not what you are used to in the West with one or at most two operators in addition to the cinema handling online ticketing. Different prices and different service levels means that there is a lot of competition in this field, which is only set to grow.

According to Art Consulting released data show that in 2013 Chinese film market grossed 21.7 billion yuan [USD $3.5 billion], the total volume of transactions reached buy movie tickets online 3.64 billion yuan [USD $562 million], accounting for 16.8%; market size of online movie ticket seat selection broke through the 1.2 billion yuan [USD $195 million], accounting for 5.5% of the overall size of the market. 2013 National viewing trips 620 million, of which up to 129 million people online ticketing, accounting for 21%. At the same time, the country has opened online seat selection feature close to 30% of the national cinema theater data.

Insiders predict that the next three years, the national online movie ticket in the domestic share of total box office or over 50%. U.S. group net Xu Wu, director of the opal film products more optimistic data from May this year it seems, online ticket market share has more than 30%, with a few important files and the second half of the summer schedule of the national archives, Lunar New Year stalls, etc. heat the film to enhance the overall market is expected by the end of this year, the national online ticket market share will exceed 50%. “This is an explosive growth in the market, cat’s-eye movies formally launched in January 2013, the sales volume in May this year compared to last year has increased by nearly five times.” Xu Wu said.  LINK

Online ticketing brings convenience such as seat selection and for films such as ‘Transformers 4′ the rate of online tickets sales was a high 40%. Perhaps more interestingly, the avrage ticket price of tickets sold online56 yuan, compared to average national ticket price of 20 yuan, highlighting the domination of sales in multiplexes and Imax/CGF PLF screens in Tier 1 & 2 cities. While online tickets also offers operators the chance to gather data on customers there are fears in the industry of a new round of price wars. Those ticket machines aren’t just fighting for floor space.

9900 Wilshire

USA (CA) - Fresh news that Dalian Wanda, the parent company of US exhibitor AMC, is planning to build a HQ on 9900 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. The company has already donated USD $20 million to the AMPAS (Oscar) Museum.

Dalian Wanda Group, which controls the second-largest US cinema chain, won the bid for a piece of land in Los Angeles as the Chinese company sets its sights on Hollywood.

Wanda, the Chinese developer controlled by billionaire Wang Jianlin, plans to invest US$1.2 billion (RM3.85 billion) after beating more than 10 bidders for the 32,000 sq m plot in Beverly Hills, the company said in a statement on its website.

Wanda plans to set up an office in the city and help China’s entry into Hollywood’s film industry, it said.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 21 July 2014

dcinex logo

EVS is getting out of the digital cinema business (almost). Having launched a digital cinema server business and set up integrator XDC (later renamed dcinex) almost 15 years ago, the manufacturer is returning its focus to its core broadcast equipment business.

No need for lengthy analysis, other than to note that EVS probably held off longer than it wanted too, isn’t seeing very much return on its overall investment and will not quite be rid of the digital cinema connection until it disposes its newly gained Ymagis shares and bonds. The press release tells us that:

Under the agreement, EVS will receive at the closing:

  • EUR 2.1 million in cash
  • 288,851 new Ymagis shares
  • EUR 6.4 million in Ymagis bonds, which have a maximum maturity of 5 years. These bonds are associated with warrants.
  • In total, the approximate aggregate value of the different components (at last closing Ymagis share price of EUR 7.90) represents around EUR 10.8 million for EVS. On March 31, 2014 dcinex was valued at EUR 7.9 million on the EVS balance sheet.

In addition, dcinex will reimburse the currently existing shareholders’ loans. Today, the loan granted by EVS (including interests) amounts to EUR 1.5 million.  LINK

With digital cinema deployment coming to and end in western Europe (still some mopping up in southerns and eastern Europe), Ymagis can now focus on being a pure service company. Given that digital cinema is a small market with tight margins we should expect yet more consolidation.

Cineworld Ashford Kent

Cineworld has introduced allocated seating in UK, which has lead to confusion and criticism from some customers. A poll of 2,000 readers of a local paper in Kent saw 67% vote ‘NO’ to the allocated seating policy and some customers are threatening to cancel their Cineworld Unlimited. The multiplex chain is alone amongst the major operators in the UK in offering a monthly card allowing unlimited* movie viewing.

Critics said problems with the new system include confusion over row and seat numbers, people ignoring rules, arguments and problems with booking tickets online and the website crashing. Yesterday, KentOnline revealed an argument had broken out during a screening of Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie in Ashford when a group of five sat in the seats booked by other customers. Little Burton resident Kirsty Poynton said the beginning of the film was interrupted due to the disagreement. She said: “There was an argument between a large group of people at the screening.  LINK

But Cineworld is standing its ground with the new policy and a spokesperson quoted as saying, “The decision to introduce allocated seating was made following extensive consultation with cinema users. Whilst we recognise this has not been a popular decision with some customers, the overall and majority of feedback from customers visiting our cinemas has been positive.” (*Terms and Conditions apply – of course). Read More »

Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 7 July 2014

Lotte Super Plex G Is The World's Largest Cinema Screen

What is the largest cinema screen in the world? According to Guinness World Records it is now in the tallest building in South Korea. So that’s officially official.

The screen of the multiplex cinema which will open at the Lotte Cinema World Tower, boasts its unparalleled size in the industry: With 622 seats — the largest available number of seats for a screen, the Super Plex G is an ultra large theater which looks like a two-storey opera theater in appearance. In its 34 meters wide and 13.8 meter long screen, 34 adults can lie on it together.

On July 3, a special ceremony was held to commemorate the recognition of the largest screen “Super Plex G” at Lotte Cinema World Tower by the Guinness World Records that confirmed the huge screen has been qualified as the world’s officially biggest screen. LINK

USA: THR asks what is behind the underperforming summer box office in North America, which is down nearly 20% up to the 4th of July holiday. Underperforming titles seem the culprit and no blame apportioned to World Cup (unlike Europe and Latin America).

What’s behind the summer drought? Hollywood studio executives and box office observers blame a lack of mega-grossing tentpoles, a dearth of doubles and triples and no huge animated family film. In other words, a number of films have underwhelmed (or bombed), including Fourth of July R-rated comedy Tammy, which posted a five-day debut of $32.9 million, Melissa McCarthy’s lowest recent opening (as a way of comparison, fellow R-rated comedy Neighbors launched to nearly $50 million in May).

Revenue for Fourth of July weekend hit only $130 million, down 44 percent from last year’s $229.8 million haul. Granted, the holiday fell on a Friday this year, a disadvantage, but revenue managed to reach $160.2 million in 2008, the last time the Fourth was a Friday. One reason for the dramatic downturn is that no big tentpole rolled out, probably because no one wanted to open in the wake of Transformers: Age of Extinction, which debuted June 27. LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Thursday 3 July 2014

Wanda Cinema Line

There can only be one story to top the Daily: Wanda Cinema Line being denied an IPO at the Shenzhen stock exchange by Chinese regulators. The reason given was insufficient documentation. It is far from alone to have suffered this ignominy as China Securities Regulatory Commission have rejected 597 out of 637 applications as of the half-year mark, with only 40 approved. THR’s Cliff coonan has done a terrific job of summarising the details, so I won’t rehash them. Read his article instead first.

Two points to be considered instead. The first is where does Wanda Cinema Line go now? The listing will go ahead, they have been quite clear about it. Wang Jianlin previously told Xinhua news agency:

“As long as we make profits, we can go public anywhere and on any platform. If mainland China doesn’t allow us to go public, then we can pack up our capital and go public in HK. We have all sorts of platforms,”

But Hong Kong is not as attractive a proxy stock exchange for China as it once was. Expect there to be furious courting by Singapore’s stock exchange going on right now. And if not Asia? New York is most likely out because AMC is already listed there and it would look strange and create problems to have two related yet separate cinema companies on the same exchange. My bet is London if Wanda decided to look outside of its own territory.

It is important to remember that Wanda has to be understood as a real estate company above all. Through a combination of luck (good timing) and clever strategy, the company did unexpectedly well with its AMC listing, doubling in value in just over a year. There is thus immense pressure for Wanda Cinema Line to follow the same path.

But the second point is that the Chinese cinema market continues to grow, but the fundamentals remain murky and the outlook troubling. Wanda’s cinema business will pull through any crash or slowdown in the Chinese exhibition market (for reasons we have written about earlier), but the fact that it was not able to get approval for an IPO in its home market is still troubling.

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