Tag Archives: IMAX

Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 14 April 2014

4D_4DX_rumble_seat

The Wrap takes a look at the growth of ’4D’ offered by the likes of D-Box, CJ 4DPlex and MediaMation and whether there is a business case for it. Not if it shakes the popcorn out of the tub, it seems.

Indeed, some theater owners have experimented with the technology, only to decide that it is best served up in small doses. Rolando Rodriguez, president and CEO of Marcus Theaters, installed 30 motion seats in one of his fifty theaters. While the seats are popular features when paired with big-budget blockbusters, he has decided not to invest in the technology. The $8 surcharge the 4D seats carry limits their appeal, he said.

“We’re investing in other amenities that play better with our customers,” Rodriguez said. “We’re pleased with the performance, but from our perspective, investing in things like large screen theaters and in-theater dining is more important.”

But other exhibitors and manufacturers counter that this is more than just a novelty act.

“We’re finding that people turn into aficionados,” Michel Paquette, vice-president of marketing of the 4D manufacturer D-Box Technologies, said. “Once people try it, if they like it, they usually get hooked.”

Likewise, Heath Thomas regional manager of the Goodrich Quality Theaters, has placed 4D seats in 16 locations and reports they are a big hit with audiences between the ages of 18 to 30.  LINK

 Odeon logo

UK: UK/European cinema major Odeon-UCI saw its revenue and profit drop sharply in the past year, dragged down by the lack of a Skyfall-size hit and by its Spanish arm.

Odeon’s earnings before interest, tax and other charges dropped by 24 per cent to £69.2m while sales fell five per cent to £706.7m.

In Spain, where Odeon operates 43 cinemas, Odeon’s market volume fell 15 per cent last year.

“In 2014, there are some early signs that the economy may be turning: unemployment has started to fall slightly and retail sales have started to grow,” Odeon said, adding that it has now grown its Spanish market share to 21 per cent.  LINK

Odeon’s results do not include its property arm.

NCR logo

USA: Marcus Theatre is deploying the full range of services offered by NCR Cinema software.

NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR), the global leader in consumer transaction technologies, today announced that Marcus Theatres®, a division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE:MCS), has now deployed NCR’s full suite of cinema and restaurant solutions to improve its business operations and enhance its customers’ movie experience. Marcus Theatres has been a long-time customer, using NCR’s mobile and fixed point-of-sale (POS) systems, indoor kiosks, takeout and delivery software and NCR MovieTime mobile application.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 9 April 2014

ArcLight Santa monica

Normally we bury cinema openings further down in the Daily, but this merits top billing.

Back in January we wrote about how premium cinema operator ArcLight had set its sights on Los Angeles’ Santa Monica market and whether this would create a screen glut.

Now news reaches us that ArcLight is already planning a second multiplex in downtown Santa Monica, which would include an Imax screen.

ArcLight Cinemas is in negotiations with City Hall to put a theater on the land where Parking Structure 3 currently stands — on Fourth Street at Arizona Avenue, said Andy Agle, director of Housing and Economic Development.

A preliminary agreement that would allow ArcLight to start drawing up official plans could go before City Council later this month.

At that same meeting, council will consider final approval of another ArcLight theater proposed for the third level of the Santa Monica Place mall. Those plans have been in the works since last year. The Santa Monica Place theater could include up to 13 screens and 1,500 seats.  LINK

Meanwhile other cinemas in the area, such as Laemmle, are reducing seating capacity and expanding concessions and cafe areas instead. AMC is also expected to reduce the number of seats.

Business

Russian cinema

Russia: Rather than introducing a quota on foreign films, as had been previously mooted, it looks like Russia will instead introduce a levy this summer.

The government plans to popularize Russian films on the home market by introducing extra charges for Western movies and granting tax breaks to domestic ones may do no more than mildly handicap foreign competitors while failing to meet the industry’s underlying needs.

The suggestions, published Monday on the government website, are directed at increasing the presence of Russian films in theaters, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a meeting of the council on the development of national cinema in late March during which the measures were discussed.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Tuesday 8 April 2014

Imax China

Imax is to sell 20% of its China business to two Chinese-based entities in return for USD $80 million and a firmer foot hold in the world’s soon-to-be largest cinema market.

IMAX Chief Executive Richard Gelfond said in an interview that investment fund China Media Capital and private-equity firm FountainVest Partners would pay $40 million each for 10% stakes by early 2015. He said the deal gives IMAX local partners who will open up expansion opportunities in one of its most important markets.

The investors will shepherd a public offering of shares of the China operation, IMAX China Holding Inc., in the next five years, Mr. Gelfond said. IMAX China will be paying IMAX Corp. an ongoing trademark and licensing fee for the right to use the IMAX trademark in China, a spokeswoman said. IMAX China is aiming to list in Hong Kong but will be positioning itself to list on other China exchanges, such as in Shanghai, in case that doesn’t work out or a better opportunity arises on the mainland, a spokeswoman said.  LINK

Not only will this allow for expansion in China, but Imax must also be hoping to neutralise the nascent threat from CFGS - though this is not mentioned in the above article.

NAB

Barco laser projection

USA (LV): Lasers are coming! This follow-up article from David Keene provides excellent insights from the pre-NAB Cinema Summit on what is happening on the laser front.

The first shots were fired on Saturday, in the session “Laser Illuminated Projectors: What’s New and When Will They Arrive? Bill Beck, President of BTM Consulting moderated panelists Pete Ludé, CTO of Mission Rock Digital; Goran Stojmenovik , Product Manager Laser Projection, Barco; Richard McPherson of NEC Display Solutions; and Don Shaw, Senior Director of Product Management for Entertainment Solutions at Christie.

The panel was straight forward– not your typical panel involving a lot of speculation and vague talk of coming solutions. It was three major projector manufactures explaining their new Laser projectors. And surprisingly, this was not a “me too” exercise: each company is launching a very different kind of Laser projector and/or 3D solution into the market this spring.  LINK

You Will Be Amazed To Find Out What The Differences Between The Different Laser Projector Solutions Are!

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 4 April 2014

Dreamloungers

We have written a lot about the cinemas in Fargo, North Dakota in the Daily before (here, here, here and here), but it is an interesting microcosm of the evolution that the US exhibition industry as a whole is going through.

This article highlight changes that three of Marcus Theatres’ Fargo properties are undergoing.

Century Cinema

The current big screen at Century Cinema, located at 3931 9th Ave. S.W., has just been converted to an Ultra Screen DLX with Dolby Atmos Sound.

That auditorium and all of the other auditoriums at Century Cinema are getting new DreamLounger chairs. According to Menefee, the chairs allow for full reclining, “Just like you’d have at home.”

The size of the DreamLoungers mean each auditorium at Century Cinema will see its seating capacity drop by about 40 percent, but Menefee said the popularity of the chairs should keep auditoriums full.

So fewer seats but higher comfort (and ticket price?) for the new seats in this USD $1.2 million upgrade

West Acres Cinema

As part of its makeover of the West Acres Cinema, Marcus Theatres is pursuing a liquor license for the site. If approved, the company plans to build a Take Five lounge where adult beverages would be served.

When the idea for a theater drinking lounge was discussed earlier this year at a liquor control board meeting, a number of city officials and city residents expressed doubts about the plan.

Menefee said if the lounge plan is approved, West Acres Cinema also will get a Zaffiro’s Express, a small restaurant that will serve pizza, sandwiches, salads and desserts.

So bar and cine-dining are on the menu in this $700,000 upgrade.

Safari Theater

Last year, Marcus Theatres indicated the Safari 7 Cinema, located at 925 30th Ave. S., in Moorhead, was up for sale.

The theater shows second-run movies on 35mm film at discounted prices.

Marcus Theatres was looking to sell the property because it did not want to incur the cost of upgrading the theater to show movies in digital format.

At present, the property is not for sale, and Marcus Theatres is in the process of reviewing possible enhancements for the theater, Menefee said.

What those improvements are Marcus won’t reveal just yet, but to keep going it will need digital projectors.

Business

Hayden Orpheum in Cremorne

Australia: Cinema tickets are getting more expensive Down Under. But there is also a growing trend towards discounting in order to drive sales.

In what could a psychological barrier for movie-goers, the top price of an ordinary cinema ticket has hit $20.

Two Sydney cinemas have pioneered the price increase — the Cremorne Orpheum and Palace Norton Street in Leichhardt — and others are expected to follow around the country soon.

“It’s just a question of a short period of time,” said the chief executive of Palace Cinemas, Benjamin Zeccola, who blamed increases in wages, rent and maintenance and energy costs.

“Ticket prices need to keep pace with rising costs. It’s horrendously expensive running cinemas.”  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Thursday 3 April 2014

Noah and Captain america

NATO President John Fithian was vocal at CinemaCon about getting studios to spread the releases more widely than just the summer and holiday windows. This year it looks like he is getting his wish, with summer already starting in April with films like Noah, Captain America 2, Rio 2 and Transcendence.

As Bloomberg news notes in an article with the telling title ‘Studios Dodge Slugfest Opening ‘Captain America’ in April‘:

The studios are angling to avoid a repeat of last summer, when too many big-budget films came out at the same time. While industry sales set a record, the releases cannibalized each other. By staggering them, studios and exhibitors limit head-to-head competition for target audiences and cut the risk a costly picture will be overshadowed too quickly.

“What you are seeing this year is absolutely a conscious move to space out releases,” Jeff Goldstein, executive vice president for domestic distribution at Warner Bros., said in an interview. “It is an important change.”

Exhibitors are also keen to stress the benefits that an extended release schedule brings.

“You’re always going to want certain films to be in that key summer period, because children are out of school and you want that repeat business,” Amy Miles, chief executive officer of Regal Entertainment Group, the No. 1 U.S. cinema chain, said at a Deutsche Bank conference last month. “But I do think the studios are getting better from a scheduling perspective.”

However, it is worth remembering that with international markets (read: China) growing in importance, the US ‘summer window’ is becoming less significant for Hollywood studios keen on big global returns for their films.

Security

Prasad Imax Hydrabad

India: Exposing lax security at malls and cinemas in India, an undercover investigation in Hydrabad saw teams being able to smuggle guns into Prasad’s Imax cinema:

The decoy teams deployed by the central zone police of Hyderabad exposed security loopholes at several busy multiplexes and shopping malls in city on Wednesday. According to Central Zone DCP VB Kamalasan Reddy, the decoy teams managed to enter Prasad’s I-Max multiplex at Necklace Road, Big Bazar shopping complex in Abids and several other places in the city with guns. “We have found out that the screening of customers at certain shopping malls and multiplexes is not up to the mark and notices will be issued to the managers of these places immediately,” the DCP said.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Tuesday 1 April 2014

YouTube Preview Image

Celluloid Junkie can exclusively reveal that Christie Digital is planning to counter Barco’s tri-screen ‘Escape’ system, launched at CinemaCon, by resurrecting the ‘Polyvision‘ triptych format invented in the 1920s that predates Cinerama.

Though not formally announced yet, we understand that Christie’s Polyvision 2.0 will be used at NAB next week to show a digitally restored version of Abel Gance’s silent masterpiece Napoleon, which first used the format in 1927 for the film’s final battle sequence (see video above).

Speaking off the record, my source at Christie tells me that:

This will be the ultimate immersive experience that will even leave Occulus in the dust. We’ve had tremendous interest already and fully expect Christie-Polyvision to overtake IMAX installations by this summer, when Napoleon will be re-released on a wide scale. We see the film as having the combined appeal of The Artist, Avatar and The Hobbit – not least given its five-and-a half-hour running time and unique digital 0.0 sound mix.

Combined with the digital Polyvision 2.0 launch, Christie is expected to name the Honorary Academy Award recipient, film historian and archivist Kevin Brownlow as the company’s in-house ‘Retrologist’. My source tell me that Brownlow will dig through film archives and museums to uncover more cinema technologies of the past for the future.

We understand that the development came after a protracted internal battle in Christie between those who favoured the digital triptych solution and others who favoured an Imax-size quad-screen solution, which would have been used to show Mike Figgis’ film Timecode (2000) all-year round. Mark this historic date in your calendar!

Digital Cinema

Malaysia: No joke this one; a judge in Malaysia has given the go ahead for Malaysian cinema operators to challenge the ban from local film body to charge local film producers virtual print fees (VPFs). This has been going on since 2 October last year and creates a problematic precedent given Hollywood studios’ most favoured nation (MFN) clauses in most VPF agreements.

The High Court(Appellate and Special Powers) granted leave to the Malaysian Association of Film Exhibitors(Mafe) to proceed with judicial review against the National Film Development Corporation(Finas) over Finas’ decision to prohibit Mafe from imposing virtual print fee(VPF) on local film producers.

Judge Datuk Zaleha Yusof made the ruling while in chambers today. She made no order to cost and fixed April 15 for case management.  LINK

Accessibility

Muppets most wanted

UK – Tomorrow (2 April) is World Autism Day and Vue Worcester and Bolton are two of (hopefully) many cinema that will celebrate it by hosting a special autism-friendly screening of Muppets Most Wanted with dim lights, low sound and no adverts.

Robert Wilkins, general manager at Vue Worcester, said: “At Vue Worcester we are dedicated to providing all our customers with the best cinematic experience possible.

“We are therefore delighted to be bringing The Muppets Most Wanted autism friendly screening to our customers to mark World Autism Awareness Day and aim to provide cinema goers with an enjoyable experience specifically tailored to their needs.”  LINK1 and LINK2

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RoboCop’s 3D Success in China Spells Trouble for Imax

robocop10

The 10-day haul of RMB 76.3 million (USD $42 million) of RoboCop in China spells major challenge for Imax, as it affirms the arrival of its biggest potential rival on the large format (LF) and 3D scene in China and possibly beyond.

Much like Robocop vs. Enforcement Droid Series 209 in the original film, this will be an un-even match where the largest firepower will not necessarily win out over the smaller new rival. As LA Times notes, “Jose Padillha’s remake may yield more in China than it has in the U.S. and Canada, where it has made $54 million since its mid-February release.” A large portion of this comes from the cinemas showing it in 3D (the only country in the world to show it this way) and on large format screen – though crucially not Imax screens but ones from China Film Giant Screen (CFGS).

Background

In order to understand the challenge that CFGS poses to Imax it is important to know a bit about the history of LF film and cinema. The format was effectively invented by Canada’s Imax and showcased at the 1970 Osaka Expo. Because of the inherent limitations of 70mm films, feature films were not practical, which is why it tended to focus on documentaries about Africa or Space Station for school classes and museum visitors. Imax’s only real competitor during this time was Iwerks Entertainment, though the latter was mainly focusing on specialty venues and virtual reality theatres.

In 2001 Imax was nearly wiped out by the spate of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filings from US cinema chains that saw long-term deals with the Canadian firm cancelled. Imax slowly re-built itself with a focus on feature films and courting Hollywood for first-run releases converted for the LF screen using the in-house DMR process.

Imax struck gold with Polar Express in 3D and soon started focusing more on multiplexes while rolling out new digital projection technology that did away with the 70mm limitations. Because many cinema chains objected to Imax’s terms, they created own-brand LF screens, with names such as Cinemark’s XD, Regal’s RPX, AMC’s ETX, Carmike Cinemas’ BigD and VueXtreme. 3D vendor RealD also tried creating a unifying brand with the Luxe. However, none have created the same inelastic demand at a premium pricing point that Imax achieved. Then along came CFGS.

china_film_giant_screen

CFGS is challenging Imax on two fronts with the RoboCop release. The first is the 2D-to-3D conversion, which was undertaken in-house by Cubic Pictures for a China-only 3D release.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 5 March 2014

Definitive-Technology-SoloCinema-XTR-Review-subwoofer1

The issue of sound levels in cinemas is increasingly becoming a legislative issue. Not long after rules limiting cinema sound were introduced in the Belgian region of Flanders, legilsators in the US state of Connecticut look set to follow.

Movie cinema executives are urging lawmakers to oppose a bill that would establish a maximum decibel level inside Connecticut theaters.

Joseph Masher, the chief operating officer for Bow Tie Cinemas, said Tuesday his company has not heard complaints about loud films or movie trailers since it installed digital equipment. Rather, he said they received complaints about two films not being loud enough for customers.

The legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee is considering a bill that would prevent theaters from showing a film or preview that exceeded 85 decibels. A decibel is a unit used to explain the intensity of a sound wave.

As my colleague Julian Pinn points out: “The 85 decibel to which Mr Masher is referring is not the same decibel; it is the level reached with a short term mean when replaying test noise used to align the system to the said reference. It is not the level of the movie content itself. Again the press have mixed up decibels levels and not helped the clarity of this complex topic.” However, this issue does not just potentially affect feature films but also adverts, trailer and event cinema.  LINK

Business

USA: Carmike Cinemas has reported their Q4 financial results and the CEO is putting a positive spin on them, even though net income for the quarter was down to $3.9 million ($0.17 per share), compared to $91.6 million ($5.19 per share) in the same quarter of last year.

Carmike Cinemas’ President and Chief Executive Officer David Passman stated, “We are pleased to report that Carmike has once again outperformed the industry in several key metrics, including admissions revenue per screen and attendance per screen. Admissions revenue per screen increased more than 6% over the prior year period, well ahead of the industry box office increase of approximately 1%. Attendance per screen increased by over 3% while industry attendance declined almost 3%. Carmike’s success was largely propelled by the addition of more than 500 screens to our theatre circuit over the past two years through the Company’s successful M&A program. Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter reached record levels at $33.7 million.  LINK

Mexico: Christie Digital has picked up another digital cinema projector contract in Latin America.

Cinemagic, a cinema chain focused on building cinemas in towns between 50 and 70 thousand inhabitants of Mexico, and Christie®, the dominant brand in the global digital cinema projection market, today announced the joint digitization of 70 screens currently operated by Cinemagic in Mexico.

Christie will supply an assortment of Christie Solaria® One+ and Christie CP2220 projectors to the Cinemagic complexes, facilitated by Scrabble Entertainment, an international deployment entity whose financing of DCI-compliant digital cinema projector conversions helps all manner of cinemas make the move to digital technology.  LINK

Russia: Imax is expanding its footprint in Russia:

IMAX Corporation and MORI CINEMA, one of Russia’s fastest-growing exhibitors, today announced an agreement to install five IMAX® theatres across Russia. Under the terms of the agreement, four of the IMAX theatres will be installed in new construction projects in the cities of Irkutsk, Murmansk, Archangelsk and Moscow, with one retrofitted theatre to be installed in Togliatti. This agreement brings to six theatres MORI’s total IMAX® commitment.  LINK

Thailand: The largest Thai cinema ad company, Major CineAd (part of Major Cineplex Group), is trying new ways to target a larger client base through sponsorship in films made by its sister companies.

In line with the film industry’s growth, the country’s largest cinema-chain operator expects its cinema ad unit will see an increase of between 10 per cent and 20 per cent in advertising revenue from the Bt1.07 billion generated last year.

Nithi Pattanabhakdi, chief media officer at Major Cineplex Group and also head of Major CineAd, said yesterday that his company had teamed up with M Pictures, M39 and Talent 1 to offer synergy packages for businesses that want to be part of film production through sponsoring, product tie-ins and creating branded content.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Tuesday 4 March 2014

“A grocery store and a cinema are two things that are a foundation for good downtowns.” – David Gordon, professor at School of Urban and Regional Planning at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada

Prima Cinema

We don’t normally cover home cinema here at Celluloid Junkie, but when Imax and Prima Cinema start delivering first-run films directly to the homes of the 1%, it is worth taking notice. Imax had previously announced intention to target home, though it was expected to focus on the elites in emerging markets like China, but have already completed their first US installation:

Mega-movie giant Imax Corp. installed its first signature curved, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling screen in a home theater in Los Angeles in November. The cutting-edge system, including 4K ultra-high-definition technology — four times more crisp than high definition, or HD — and laser-aligned surround sound, starts at $2 million. … Some homeowners may erect a separate building specifically for the home theater, as was the case with the one installed in November. But, typically, there’s no space crunch. “We’re catering to a fairly elite crowd who generally do have enough space within their existing home — or they’re in the process of building a new home,” Lister said.

No surprise there. Meanwhile the first-run-movies-to-the-home operator Prima Cinema (in which Imax recently acquired a stake) has so far only signed up Universal and Paramount, as well as several smaller studios. Their system and films don’t come cheap.

Prima’s technology alone costs $35,000 to install. That’s about $5,000 to $10,000 more than the typical cost of an entire home theater. Prima insists that homeowners have certain accouterments, including a sophisticated projector and at least a 100-inch screen. The movies don’t come cheap. Prima Cinema charges $500, or $600 for a 3-D film, for each viewing.

Freedman Home Cinema

Karen Freedman In Her Pricy Home Cinema

The target is not so much the 1% as the 0.1%, identified as: executives, entrepreneurs, heads of investment funds, sports team owners, celebrities and pro athletes. For the couple in question (and pictured above):

Karen and Jeffrey Freedman spent about $500,000 last year to join two rooms in their 7,000-square-foot, five-bedroom Los Angeles home, structurally reinforce the new space and build their soundproof theater. That included installing the Prima technology. The Freedmans’ theater was designed by VIA and Paradise Theater. Karen Freedman is an asset manager for a commercial real-estate firm; Jeffrey Freedman is an entertainment industry executive.

Jeffrey is a lawyer for CAA, to be precise. Looks like the type of swish screening room studios have. Surefire way to impress your friends and clients. LINK

Business

Bubbelbad Bioscoop

Netherlands: Hot Tub Movie Club, the London phenomenon, is soon coming to Amsterdam. From 6 to 9 March you can, along with five friends soaking in one of the 21 hot tubs in the Hot Tub Movie Club. This is also the largest direct hot tub event ever organized. For the ultimate cinema where to make is also thought to be a waiter service to the hot tub and the movie will appear in two cinema screens. A film Benelux March 6 bites the ball rolling with the film premiere of Best Night Ever. LINK
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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 28 February 2014

Secret Cinema‘s Grand Budapest Hotel throws open its doors in London… UK and Ireland get drive in cinemas (both showing Grease)… Chinese crack-down on ticket fraud… Brooklyn’s oldest independent cinema goes Indigogo for digital… Some news from Germany… Learn a new word (Kinosterben) as two art-deco masterpieces are gutted and only facades remain… Russian megaplax goes for expansion with RealD’s Luxe… and seven reasons to go to the cinema on your own.

Secret Cinema’s The Grand Budapest Hotel has been getting rave reviews (we plan to bring you our own shortly), as the man behind it reveals future plans.

Tweets of outrage greeted Secret Cinema’s latest – and not because it un-Secret-ly announced it was a worldwide preview of the acclaimed new film by Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr Fox).

Sample scoff: ‘£53 a ticket? I could fly to Budapest and back for that.’

But then Secret Cinema offers more than just cinema. It’s closer to the immersive theatre experiences of Punchdrunk (which also charges around – or, crucially, just under – £50 a ticket). LINK.

In fact, the showing has been such a success that it has already been extended until 30 March and is getting top marks from the London Evening Standard’s Chief Arts Correspondent.

The peculiar eastern European nation of Zubrowka has been recreated in a derelict lead and glass factory as the Secret Cinema team – who produce immersive theatrical experiences around screening films – bring Wes Anderson’s new movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, to life.

At Secret Cinema in the past, the thrill has been spotting characters – played by actors – and incidents enacted from favourite cult movies before watching the film again.

With The Grand Budapest Hotel not on general release until next week, the “Ah, of course…” sigh of recognition comes only upon taking a seat in the “ballroom” cinema to catch the end-of-evening screening. LINK.

 

Talking to Screen Daily, Rigall reveals how they got permission to open the film a week early:

Having established a relationship with Fox through their production of Prometheus, Riggall proposed to distributor Fox Searchlight that Secret Cinema could preview The Grand Budapest Hotel before it goes on general release in the UK on March 7. They also secured the consent and approval of Wes Anderson’s team.

“We are keen to build partnerships with the industry and Fox have given us a great vote of confidence in what we are doing,” says Riggall, who originally trained at the New York Film Academy.

“This new series of Secret Cinema Presents will take certain films and release them in this way to create appetite and interest from audiences,” he explains, highlighting how the company did a similar thing with documentaries The Imposter and Searching For Sugar Man.  LINK.

Next up Secret Cinema plans to expand in US and Asia, but first it has something really big planned for the UK this summer. Secret, of course.

Business

China: The Chinese government has slapped down a handful of cinemas that were falsifying box office reports to avoid paying tax and distributor rental.

Nine Chinese cinemas have been banned from screening new movies after they were found to have cheated in box office figures, according to two film associations.

Among them, six cinemas in east China’s Shandong Province and northern Shanxi are banned until they rectify their practice and the other three are banned for one month, said a statement issued on Wednesday by the China Film Producers’ Association and China Film Distribution and Screening Association.

The two semi-official organizations are under the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

These cinemas were found to have reported fake box office figures to authorities, sold hand written (or no) tickets or hindered official box office inspections.

In one case, a cinema in south China’s Hainan Province registered no audience at all in their computer system despite the screenings in question receiving viewers normally.

This fraud mainly took place in independently owned cinemas in tier two and three cities, where there is often cut-throat competition from over-building. The Chinese state is forcing all cinemas to move over to a national digital ticketing platform. LINK.

Russia: A Russian exhibitor with an American CEO (Paul Heth, above) is planning an aggressive megaplex and multiplex expansion drive in Moscow, St Petersburg and Siberia.

Russian cinema chain Karo Film said Thursday it would spend $150 million over the next two years in a capital investment and expansion program.

The investment program, in association with equity investors Russian Direct Investment Fund and Baring Vostok, will include building and developing what the company calls Russia’s largest “next generation” movie theaters.
The first of the new cinema complexes, the Karo Vegas 22 Megaplex, where builders have already broken ground, is due to open in July in Crocus City, a major shopping and entertainment site on the outskirts of Moscow, easily accessible from the city’s beltway MKAD road.

The 19,000-square-meter site will house 22 screens and 5,000 seats.

Interestingly it will be one of the first sites to feature RealD’s Imax-competitor LUXE. LINK.  

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