Tag Archives: Dolby

Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 29 October 2014

Regal cinemas

“Psst, wanna buy a cinema?” That seems to be the not-so-subtle message from Regal, the largest cinema chain in the United States, which unexpectedly put a ‘For Sale’ sign on the front door. Speculations immediately focused on Alibab’s Jack Ma, though my gut instinct is that he won’t be following in the footsteps of Wanda/AMC, primarily because his background is not real-estate and there are no obvious Chinese-US synergies to be had from such a deal. A sovereign wealth fund if not VC outfit is more likely to be checking Regal’s numbers right now. Variety covers all the other angles.

Regal CEO Amy Miles was tight-lipped about the issue on an earnings call Monday with analysts and media, only offering that the company’s board felt it was “an opportune time to conduct a thorough review of our options.” But in an interview with Variety for a lengthy profile earlier this month, Miles may have inadvertently explained why Regal shifted from bidder to acquisition target.

“We’re all excited about the years 2015, 2016 and I’m going to be aggressive and say even 2017,” she told Variety at the time. “I think that (in the) environment of very healthy strong box office, it’s a natural time to think, ‘OK that might be a good time for an individual to exit.’ Value maximization happens in that environment.”  LINK

Dolby Doremi Logo

The European commission has give its go-ahead to the Dolby-Doremi merger. The approval was expected but was most likely sitting in the IN tray of some EU bureaucrat away on holiday, or it might have gone through earlier.

Dolby Laboratories (DLB.N) on Monday received EU clearance for its acquisition of digital cinema technology group Doremi, the European Commission said.

The Commission, which acts as the competition watchdog in the 28-member bloc, said that while there was overlap between the two companies in the digital cinema servers business, the merger did not distort the market.

“The proposed transaction would not lead to any anti-competitive effects because of the presence of alternative suppliers, the fast-moving nature of the market and the ease of switching for customers,” the Commission said in a statement on Monday.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 24 October 2014

Ymagis and dcinex

The acquisition of dcinex by Ymagis has finally been approved by shareholders. This is the single largest and most important digital cinema consolidation in Europe as dcinex/Ymagis is without a pan-European competitor of similar size, facing instead competition on the national levels. From the translated French-only press release.

“We are convinced that the combination between dcinex Ymagis and will in the short term, create synergies creating value for all shareholders Ymagis” says Bart Diels, outgoing Chairman of the Board of Directors and Partner of dcinex GIMV (1).

Creation of the European leader in digital technology for the film industry

With the acquisition of dcinex, Ymagis performs an operation that will create a European leader in the provision of financial services and technology to the film industry.

Following this acquisition, Ymagis becomes:

The financier No. 1 Park cinemas in Europe deployed VPF contract with nearly 5800 auditoriums in 14 European countries;

The European leader in the sale and installation of cinema equipment operators with a share estimated at 20% of the European market;

Operator No. 1 st European network routing dematerialized content, with more than 3200 theaters in 15 countries connected in Europe;

Technical partner No. 1 Park cinemas in Europe as outsourcing and maintenance contract with nearly 7200 screens (about 36 000) under contract in 21 countries.  LINK

Dolby Logo

Dolby – Quarterly earnings from Dolby show revenue at USD $227 million, which was slightly above their own projections and full year-on-year revenue is up 6%.  Licensing revenue outweighs product and services revenue by more than 11:1 (USD $208.9 million to $18.1 million), so don’t be surprised that Atmos was not the first thing discussed in the earnings conference call (transcript courtesy of SeekingAlpha). They do say that “The amount of revenue we get from the Doremi acquisition in Q1 will depend on the actual timing of the close,” which is still pending approval in Brussels.

Turning to cinema. We’ve seen tremendous growth with Dolby Atmos, increasing our screens by 150% this year to over 750 screens committed globally. Providing content to these screens is a key focus, and we now have more than 200 titles released or announced in Dolby Atmos; which includes content from all of the major studios. 14 of the 15 highest grossing titles in 2014 were in Dolby Atmos and we have a strong slate for the rest of the year, including The Hunger Games: Mockingjay and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 24 September 2014

Iosono lab

IOSONO – when 11.1 speakers just ain’t enough.

Barco is doubling down on its immersive audio efforts by hiring away IOSONO’s audio team and setting up what is now called Barco Audio Technologies [BAT?]. This could potentially mean moving away from a dependance on the Auro brand and Auro Technologies partnership, though the latter is quoted on how thrilled they too are about the new corporate sibling’s arrival.

With 500 screens committed or installed, Barco is now ready to take immersive sound to the next level. The digital cinema leader is adding the team of 3D audio expert IOSONO and its assets to the Barco family to further enhance and customize its object based immersive sound technology. In this way, it wants to help cinema exhibitors bring even more magic to the movie-going experience.  LINK

And since Barco does not have any film immediately lined up to follow “The Maze Runner” for its Escape triptych-screen it is venturing into event cinema, by announcing a concert film with Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett.

Barco will collaborate with Universal Music/Interscope Records and recording artists Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga to bring their performance at the Grand Palace in Brussels into Barco Escape theaters in early 2015.

The performance will be filmed today specifically for the Barco format, the day before Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s “Cheek to Cheek” album of jazz and popular standards is set to release worldwide.  LINK

Everstone

The interest in India’s multiplex business is heating up, with yet another private equity company talking to two multiplex veterans about setting up a new cinema venture called Cinemasia, that could be looking beyond just India.

Private equity fund Everstone Capital may team up with two individuals with experience in the entertainment industry to start a venture called Cinemasia, three people familiar with the development said. Everstone is in talks with Shravan Shroff, the former promoter and managing director of multiplex operator Fame India Ltd, and Pramod Arora, who recently quit PVR Ltd as group president, the people said on condition of anonymity.

And:

This would be Everstone’s maiden venture in the multiplex business, which has already attracted other private equity funds. Renuka Ramnath-promoted Multiples Alternate Asset Management Pvt Ltd and L Capital Asia, the third party private equity fund of LVMH Group, backed PVR Ltd to acquire Cinemax India Ltd in November 2012. Before selling off Fame, Shroff also raised capital from India Value Fund and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd.  LINK

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CJ@IBC ‘High Dynamic Range imaging – contrasting views?’

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The quest for better-(not-just-more)-pixels is a big theme at this year’s IBC conference – primarily for television but with major implications for film and cinema too. For anyone thinking of buying a 4K/UHD TV, this is the session that tells you to wait until more than just the resolution of the big television sets improves.

Session chair Alberto Morello (RAI, Italy) calls this one of the “most interesting development in the evolution of video.” He singles out (more) pixels, (higher) frame rate and HDR (high dynamic range) as the things that “will give pleasure” to our viewers.

Touradj Ebrahimi (EPFL, Switzerland) goes up to the podium first to present an overview of the topic. He starts off by confessing to being an IBC virgin, but being ‘impressed’. Prof Ebrahimi stresses the importance of being able to measure to quantify improvements such as HDR.

Tests used Dolby Pulsar Display 42″, calling Dolby their “good friend” who “defined past, present and probably future” of high quality innovation. For content they “begged again” and Dolby provided that as well. Test material was shown sequentially and side-by-side in four different grades/mappings (4,000, 1,000, 400 and 100 nit). Appropriately one of the pieces of content was “Star Trek: Into Darkness”, but he wasn’t authorised to show that to us.
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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 5 September 2014

Selfridge cinema

London’s luxury department store Selfridges (star of the ITV drama series about its eponymous American founder) will be one of the first stores in the world to have its own in-house cinema. We like the look of it so much that we even break our usual policy of only posting on photo per story to show you both the outside (above) and inside (below) – so no artwork for China BO.

Selfridges opens the world’s first department store cinema in its iconic Oxford Street store today, which will screen classic and contemporary films.

Selfridges has teamed up with the independent chain Everyman to install the 60-seat 3,500 sq ft experience, located on the store’s lower-ground floor.

The cinema, which will be at Selfridges until spring 2015, will initially screen films selected by designers from the store’s Masters campaign, which showcases the work of 12 influential designers such as Paul Smith, Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta.  LINK

Selfridge cinema

China (PRC) – Chinese Mainland box office it set to pass USD $5 billion this year, according to THR.

China’s box office has just passed the key 20 billion yuan ($3.26 billion) threshold, a full three months faster than last year, and is already swiftly approaching last year’s $3.55 billion total.

With a raft of major Hollywood and domestic titles still to come this year in the world’s second-biggest film market, box office is on track for $5 billion in full-year 2014, according to M1905, which is the official website of the state broadcaster’s movie channel, CCTV6.

It took 246 days to break through the 20-billion-yuan marker, which is 96 days faster than last year.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Tuesday 26 August 2014

Quad Cinema New York

USA (NY) – Manhattan’s arthouse Quad Cinema has been sold and it could frankly not have asked for a better new owner.

At first, news that the revered Quad Cinema in New York’s Greenwich Village had been sold to a real estate magnate caused us alarm. But it turns out that Charles S. Cohen, in addition to being the president and chief executive of Cohen Bros. Realty Corp., is also a major supporter of great film, both as a distributor and as a historian.

Cohen is a film producer and distributor through the Cohen Media Group, which has distributed films such as “Le Chef,” “Chinese Puzzle” and “Farewell, My Queen.” Cohen also runs the Cohen Film Collection, which includes 700 film titles, including classics by Jean-Luc Godard, D. W. Griffith, Alfred Hitchcock and Buster Keaton.  LINK

Cinema Popcorn Buckets

Europe is behind the US when it comes to the sophistication of the popcorn market. Gourmet flavour and so-called healthy-option popcorn apparently represent untapped markets according to a new report.

Global launches of popcorn rose over 8% in the 12 months to the end of June 2014. The large and mature US market was the leading individual country, accounting for over 20% of total introductions. But this was behind Europe, where the large number of countries involved took its share to 36%, according to data recorded by Innova Market Insights.

Meanwhile, gourmet lines, already established in the USA, are starting to make their way across the Atlantic, bringing a whole raft of more complex flavours and moving the sector away from its traditional ‘cinema’ image and a simple sweet or salty flavour choice.  LINK

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Future of Cinema Advertising on Show at SAWA Cannes Lions 2014

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The Screen Advertising World Association (SAWA) held its annual showcase of Cinema Advertising innovation at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2014 on Monday 16 June. For those of you unable to attend (perhaps understandably, as CineEurope kicked off the same day), we bring you a report of what was said and shown.

The theme this year was “Back to the Future”, in honour of the imminent key year of 2015 that featured in all three films of the trilogy, which is also predicted to be the biggest year in box office history. As Cheryl Wannell, General Manager of SAWA pointed out in a pre-show interview, “there is no better time to use the cinema medium.

SAWA together with its sponsors pulled out all stops to stand out in the crowded Cannes Lions schedule, not least attracting attention by hiring one of the original DeLorean cars from Universal and parking it in front of the Palais. Delegates filled out the Estrelle auditorium in the Palais De Festivale as the music and trailer from Back To The Future (BTTF) played.

The regular MC channelled Doc Emmet Brown from the films and with an electric arc flash opened ‘the portal to the future’ that is cinema big screen, in terms of showcasing innovation. Speaker after speaker would return to this point, that innovations are often imagined in films before the become reality as real life technology. Nothing matches cinema’s ability to inspire innovation, as the audience was about to be told and show.

First up was a clip reel combining gadgets and technologies such as interactive driving maps, hand-held communicators, swipeable surfaces and voice controlled computers from films such as James Bond, Star Trek and Minority Report, coupled with adverts from companies such as General Motors, Samsung, Microsoft and Apple that had brought these technologies to life.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 15 August 2014

China Film Giant Screen

China’s Entgroup Consulting has released an investment report on the Chinese exhibition business. While current growth is strong (14.5 screens per day), the report predicts that “the future number of Chinese cinema will be flat to down” and that there will be significant industry consolidation with just five to ten major players. Overview of report can be found here.

Arts and Grace advisory issued “2013-2014 Chinese Theater Investment and Development Report.” The report shows that Chinese cinema audiences growing at an annual rate of more than 30% of rapid growth. Data show that in 2013 China’s sustained rapid growth in the development of the theater, the new theater within the range of 903 theaters nationwide, up to 4583 the total number of cinema. The number of new screens for 5280, the new daily average 14.5 screen. Cinema growth rate dropped 6.9 percent compared to 2012, was 24.5%; screen count growth rate was 40.3%, down 1.0%. Arts and grace that the current investment market there are still many theaters are not rational investment, the future number of Chinese cinema will be flat to down. In the long term, the integration of acquisitions become inevitable between theaters, a few years later, eventually in the formation of 5 ~ 10 large-scale leading theaters.  LINK

New York Indian cinema audience

The New York Times looks at what small cinema in New York City’s boroughs are doing to stay open and attract customers – lower prices and more mixed programming seems to be key. It also features our favourite NYC cinema, the Nitehawk.

Independent movie theaters are an endangered lot as they compete with corporate multiplexes while facing declining ticket sales and the prohibitive cost of converting to digital projection. Many independent theaters have closed in recent years.

For those that remain, staying in business means coming up with creative ways to put people into theater seats, particularly in the boroughs outside Manhattan.

“There’s a very diverse ecosystem of theaters and some interesting things going on,” Matthew Viragh, the founder of Nitehawk Cinema, said.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 1 August 2014

Secret Cinema

Great Scott, they did it in the end! Secret Cinema’s delayed Back to the Future event went off yesterday without a problem. The company’s founder had a few words of contrition before the start of the film, as reported in The Guardian.

“I was always confident we would pull this off, thought to be fair I was confident we would open last Thursday and I really pushed the timing. I look back and I think, I made a mistake. When you work in theatre, when you work in events, you are always close to the wire, whatever happens, but this was a massive show. The issues I had with the reports saying that we weren’t ready, well, we were ready to open but the technical aspects – and I think when people come they will really see them, because it’s quite a complex show – were the things we just had to work on.”

He added: “Hands up, Secret Cinema has grown really fast and with this show it was always going to be something quite special, and we had to aim high because I can’t take on a film that is loved to such a degree and not aim high. A lot of people say, well, Secret Cinema is not that secret anymore, but for me the idea is that you build a community of people who like to explore and have adventures and become other characters and live through their favourite films.”  LINK

Secret Cinema Back to the Future

The Guardian even sent along its film reviewer to get his take on the whole experience.

Well, maybe Secret Cinema was having its Eric Stoltz moment: I like to think the delay was an elaborate postmodern joke about the fact that Back To The Future was originally cast with Stoltz in the lead role – an actor who was sacked after five weeks because he wasn’t funny enough – and filming had to start all over again with [Michael J.] Fox.

As a Secret Cinema virgin I found the event engaging and entertainingly bizarre: faux-American and yet very English in all its fancy-dress eccentricity. It isn’t exactly an immersive, wraparound experience – you could get that better by seeing the film at an old-fashioned cinema showing. But it turned into an impressive festival of fan love, a Comic-Con-ish event in which so many audience members dressed up in 1950s clothes which were as authentic as those of the actors employed by the production, that everyone was a co-contributor: it was virtually a user-generated live event.  LINK

But Peter Bradshaw saves his best observation for the penultimate paragraph, and it is one worth highlighting: “I’m not sure exactly what Secret Cinema seriously offers the business of film distribution and exhibition – but in our digital downloading age, we increasingly yearn for live events, real communal happenings, and Secret Cinema caters to that.

China cinema food safety

China – Food safety remains a hot topic in China and cinema concessions are not exempt. Looks like there are quite a few shortcomings, based on this survey by Wenzhou City Market Supervisory Authority and the released ”Wenzhou City in 2014 circulation theater food quality sampling Table”

Recently, Wenzhou City Market Supervisory Authority in Lucheng, Ou Sea, Bay, Ryan and other counties (cities, districts) of the meat market, preserves, puffed food, soy and other special quality to carry out monitoring activities. The random sampling of settled include Wanda Cinema, Cinema of New China, including 20 White Deer Studios theater food distributor sold a total of 83 batches of food, which qualified 58 batches, pass rate 69.88%. Among them, a new era of Movie World, Wanda Cinema, Hang Lung Studios, Yongjia National Theater, Pingyang Studios theater settled within this five dealers sold food subjects were qualified, especially Wanda Cinema, Hang Lung Studios The two theaters, a maximum number of subjects and all batches of food were qualified.

“From the sampling results, the total number of [sample bacterial] colonies failed, the amount of sulfur dioxide exceeded, peroxide value substandard, colorants substandard food distributors theater is settled within several major problems exist in the sale of food.” According to market oversight City Food at the relevant staff of the Authority, said the total number of [sample bacterial]  colonies exceeded easily cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal infections. Sampling of substandard fruit preserves mostly inferior raw materials, some unscrupulous manufacturers to sell to make candied fruit lover, harmful sulfur dioxide added during processing. Part of the informal food manufacturers using peroxide value has exceeded the raw material for the production of edible oil or cooking oil stored improperly or stored too long, the consumer consumption will lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, and even liver damage.  LINK

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Quarterly Earnings: Regal, Imax and Dolby

 

Quarterly figures have been arriving thick and fast this week. We look at three key cinema companies: Regal Entertainment, Imax Corporation and Dolby Laboratories.

regal-entertainment1

The world’s largest cinema operator announced its quarterly figures and they were not what the analysts had hoped for, with revenue of USD $770.3 million, down 8.5% year-on-year and misses expectations by USD $41.41 million. There was a dividend of USD $0.22 per share. The CEO put a brave face on the drop and found a silver lining to highlight, though I’m not sure about her positive take on this year’s BO potential.

In a challenging summer box office environment, the growth in our average concession sales per patron and our focus on controlling variable costs helped drive Adjusted EBITDA margin of over 19%, stated Amy Miles, CEO of Regal Entertainment Group. With year-to-date industry box office results on par with last years record setting pace and an exciting film slate in the back half of the year, we are optimistic regarding the potential for further box office success in 2014.  LINK

In the earnings call that followed there was an acknowledgment of the harsher realities faced this summer but also some historical perspective by Ms Miles.

When viewed from a broader perspective, this year’s second quarter industry box office revenue was in line with the historical average for the last 5 years. On — one other item of note as it relates to the second quarter box office performance, we were again encouraged by the studios’ willingness to expand the summer box office season by delivering high-profile films throughout the quarter. Difficult comparisons aside, we continue to believe that a diverse film slate and a well-spaced release calendar increase the long-term potential for box office success for us and our studio partners.  LINK

Concessions, better consumer amenities, premium seats as well as Imax/RPX (premium large format) screens are the key to riding out the financial troughs.

And finally, the early returns on our initial investments in luxury, reclining seats are very promising, and in most cases, ahead of our expectations. We have fully converted 5 locations with 46 screens and are on track to complete 25 locations with 275 screens by the end of the year. As a reminder, this concept is not right for every location. Many of our theaters are simply too busy to sustain the seat loss that results from the installation of the larger recliners.

But in some situations, where the theater has been impacted by competition or simply nearing the end of its useful life, a return-minded investment in reclining seats can rejuvenate and potentially even extend the life of an existing theater. Based on the early success of these auditoriums, we believe we will have further opportunities to invest in our asset base in both 2015 and ’16. We remain excited about the potential for growth and financial returns associated with these initiatives and look forward to updating you as they progress.  LINK

Other insights: average ticket price was up by USD $0.05, premium screens attract 17% of box office, operating expenses were down by 1% (“due primarily to decreases in attendance-driven theater-level cost and lower payments associated with premium format revenue”), New York City and Washington D.C. were down by more than the market average, while alcoholic beverage serving was up from 31 to 39 locations. Interestingly the company doesn’t think it is possible to cut staffing levels any more than they already have.

Obviously, we’ll always look to reduce costs where we can in a low-attendance environment, and I think our managers and our field personnel will continue to do a great job doing that. But to ask them to do a lot more than that I think is going to be tough for us.  LINK

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