Tag Archives: India

Daily Cinema Digest – Thursday 24 July 2014

Sex Tape header

The summer isn’t over but already it seems that last rites and post-mortem are being performed on what has been a disappointing box office season, at least in the US. Thank goodness there is China and other emerging markets to cheer up Hollywood, though this is cold comfort for US-based exhibitors. Apparently its men’s fault for staying away in droves.

Less than six weeks before Labor Day, hopes for recovery at the North American summer box office have evaporated. The season is expected to finish down 15 to 20 percent compared with 2013, the worst year-over-year decline in three decades, and revenue will struggle to crack $4 billion, which hasn’t happened in eight years. As a result, analysts predict that the full year is facing a deficit of 4 to 5 percent.

And

Although there have been no Lone Ranger-size debacles, for the first time since 2001 no summer pic will cross $300 million domestically (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Maleficent and Transformers: Age of Extinction hover near $230 million). May kicked off with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 earning $200 million less domestically than 2013′s Iron Man 3; by July 20, the divide had swelled to nearly $690 million as revenue topped out at $2.71 billion, down 20 percent compared with the same period last year.  LINK

Could it be partly because US ticket prices are up compared to Q1 this year (but down compared to Q4’13)?

The average cost of going to the cinema in the U.S. rose to $8.33 in the second quarter of 2014 as the summer season kicked into high gear, according to the National Association of Theater Owners.

That’s up from $7.96 in the first quarter of the year, when there were fewer 3D tentpoles.
However, it was notably down from the second quarter of 2013, when the average movie ticket price clocked in at $8.38 (the reason for the year-over-year decline could include fewer 3D tickets being bought overall as the appetite for the format wanes).  LINK

 Screen Australia chief executive Graeme Mason

Australia - Federal budget cuts means that Screen Australia has to cut staff by one-tenth and decrease funding for cinema-related projects.

Chief executive Graeme Mason has announced plans to save more than $5 million this financial year, including up to $3 million in development and production investment and another $1 million by cutting staff from 112 to 100.

Faced with a $38 million cut over four years in the May budget, Screen Australia will also reduce what it spends to help a film’s cinema release – so-called ”print and advertising” support – and end direct funding of such industry training organisations as Sydney’s Metro Screen, Melbourne’s Open Channel and Adelaide’s Media Resource Centre.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 18 July 2014

Vista Murray Holdway

New Zealand – Ticketing specialist Vista has been valued at $188 million. Not clear if US or NZ dollars, but as it is on the NZX bourse most likely the latter, meaning it is would be worth USD $163.4 million.

Investors in cinema software company Vista’s sharemarket float will pay $2.35 for its shares, valuing the company at $188 million.

The price was set following a book build open to institutional investors and retail brokers who had been told to expect the price to fall between $2.10 to $2.70.

Vista, one of a stream of technology companies listing on the NZX, is raising $40m of new capital through its initial public offer. Its existing shareholders are seeking to cash up $52m by selling down their stake in the company to 47 per cent.  LINK

Laxmi Talkies

India – Yet another article noting the loss of single screen cinemas in India as multiplexes march on, with Ranchi (the city in question) having four multiplexes but only three stand-alone cinemas left.

Licensing authority for theatres, Ranchi deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey, says: “We have just issued a licence for a new multiplex in Lalpur. We expect more such theatres to come up in the next few years. The biggest advantage that they have vis-a-vis single-screen theatres is that with multiple screens showing one movie at the same time, the money spent on making the film is recovered in the first weekend itself.”  LINK

Yet it is not smooth sailing for all multiplexes, including this one in Sambalpur that has not opened, despite construction work being finished back in January.

Though its operator Eyelax Films had scheduled to open the multiplex on January 26, it failed to do so as the district administration did not issue the licence.

The town used to have three cinema halls – Ashoka Talkies, Laxmi Talkies and Gaiety Talkies- till pirated CD market spelled doom for their owners. While encroachment by locals forced the Kerala-based owner of the Gaiety Talkies to sell the land to a real estate owner, others are running with old infrastructure. In absence of any option, cine lovers flock the Ashoka and Laxmi Talkies.  LINK

Meanwhile more reports that Reliance ADAG is looking to dump Big Cinemas.

The company is said to be in talks with other multiplex majors like Inox, @PVR_Limited1 Limited and also other PE firms.

As per reports if the strategic sale does not consummate the company would rope in the PE partner to invest in the multiplex chain after being spun off as a separate entity to be listed. LINK

Perhaps Reliance should sell them to Carnival, which is looking to acquire 3,000 screens over the next three years – a figure to be taken not so much with a pinch as a barrel of salt.

Shrikant Bhasi, chairman of the Carnival Group, said that his company is in talks to acquire 175 screens from three separate multiplex operators in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Bhasi did not share details of the plans, but confirmed that consulting firm KPMG is advising the company on the transactions, which he said will be concluded in the next two to three months. “The immediate goal is to have 300 screens,” said Bhasi, who is also a movie producer and has played minor roles in Malayalam films. “My team is already working for a 3,000-screen project.”  LINK

Not sure if they will want screens in southern India where state governments keep setting price controls on tickets and now also concessions.

The Congress government had promised to introduce uniform fares to contain the multiplex lobby in January.

But, in an interview to NDTV, state Information Minister Roshan Baig said, “I used to feel the pinch as a movie-goer. But then we are not paying for the ticket alone. Chennai has uniform rates of Rs. 120 and we wanted to bring the same to control the prices imposed by multiplex owners, but I realized it cannot work. Malls are now turning away from Chennai. But I have ordered multiplex owners in Bangalore to reduce prices of food items because they are very expensive”.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 11 July 2014

Big Cinemas

India – After the surprise merger of its RMW film services division with Prime Focus, Reliance ADAG looks set to sell off its Big Cinemas operation. Good analysis as always from Variety’s Patrick Frater.

The company is in advanced negotiations to sell its Big Cinemas circuit to an unidentified private equity firm, according to Indian business media. RMW is also reported to be holding similar talks with PVR and Inox Leisure, the country’s two largest cinema operators. Big Cinemas operates some 280 screens across India, making it the third-largest circuit. Born from the Adlabs group that Reliance ADA acquired in 2006, Big Cinemas was previously the largest exhibitor in India. But it lost ground to its smaller rivals because it opened too many single-screen cinemas and missed some key acquisitions. LINK

India – And like most other multiplexes, Big Cinemas has completed the transition to DCI-grade digital cinema while most single-screen cinemas in India now have lower grade e-cinema systems from the like of UFO Movies, meaning that the country is close to complete digitisation.

With nearly 95 per cent of Indian cinema screens now digitised, the industry is expected to see buoyant growth in the long run. The Government has approved an anti-piracy plan for combating piracy which impacts movies’ box office collections. The Government has also signed co-production agreements with nine countries including Italy, Brazil, Germany, France, New Zealand, Poland and Canada. India is also a sought after shooting location, as the Government gave permission to 31 foreign production houses in 2013-14. Also, the first phase construction of the National Museum of Indian Cinema in Mumbai has been completed and will open for the general public shortly. LINK

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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 – Tuesday 1 July 2014

Google Glass

In what should be a non-story (or at least a Finally) we are forced to lead with the ‘news’ that UK cinemas have followed the lead of Alamo Drafthouse and requested its patrons not to wear Google Glass to film screenings. The Independent made a big deal out of it, with other media outlets and trades following:

Phil Clapp, chief executive of the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association, said:

“Customers will be requested not to wear these into cinema auditoriums, whether the film is playing or not.”

The Vue cinema chain said it would ask guests to remove the eyewear “as soon as the lights dim”.

Although Google Glass lights up when it is capturing images, one early adopter has already been asked to remove his headset at a Leicester Square cinema as staff could not monitor whether it was recording. LINK

The move is perfectly sensible and it ought not be such a big deal. Just wait until Facebook starts measuring your mood while you wear Oculus Rift! It is important to remember that neither the CEA, Vue nor Alamo Drafthouse are technology luddites, but that this is an issue of film protection AND courtesy to fellow patrons. This last point gets overlooked too often and CEA are right to highlight this in their press statement.

As a courtesy to your fellow audience members, and to prevent film theft, we ask that customers do not enter any cinema auditorium using any ‘wearable technology’ capable of recording images. Any customer found wearing such technology will be asked to remove it and may be asked to leave the cinema.

It is worth noting that while wearable technology is a comparatively new phenomenon in the UK, in the US – where its use is already more widespread – not only cinemas but also casinos and many bars and restaurants have looked to limit or ban its use.

Business

USA: “Transformers: Age of Extinction” may have been making waves with its big opening weekend in both North America and China, but it is not enough to pull up the summer 2014 box office as it stands at the halfway mark. More worryingly, there are no more outsize hits expected that could reverse the trend significantly. Time for more Chinese co-productions!

But the summer box office is now at roughly $2 billion, nearly 13 percent behind the $2.3 billion of last year at this point. It’s a safe bet that it isn’t going to match last year, and that’s going to make it difficult for 2014 to match last year’s record-breaking $10.9 billion domestic haul. The overall box office, which was up 9 percent at the end of April, has now fallen just behind 2013.

It’s not that there haven’t been hits this summer. “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and “Maleficent” have all topped $200 million, and “Godzilla” will get there. But there’s been nothing to compare with “Iron Man 3,” which had taken in more than double that by this time last year. It hurt when Universal pushed “Fast & Furious 7” to next year in the wake of Paul Walker’s death, and there hasn’t been a breakout animated movie this year, either. LINK

And now some rival studios are even briefing against “Transformers: Age of Extinction”, saying that Paramount is being less than completely truthful about the USD $100 million opening weekend. 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

Cineplex

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 – Tuesday 6 April 2014

Ice Man 3d

Is the air going out of the Chinese cinema business already? You wouldn’t think so from the strong opening numbers that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 delievered, opening on close to 40% of all Mainland screens this past weekend.

The problem is what took place before, during the May Day/Labour Day holiday, which was the end of the ‘blackout’ period when Hollywood films were restricted from releasing. As Variety rightly points out three Chinese films took the top three spots: My Old Classmate, The Great Hypnotist and Ice Man: 3D, which took USD $34.6 million, USD $22.3 million and USD $10.5 million respectively. “Overall the week was worth $59.2 million (RMB370 million), a drop of 14% compared with last year’s holiday week, when both “Iron Man 3” and local hit “So Young” were battling it out.”

But this drop starts to sound more alarming when you read local media.

However, according to preliminary statistics released by the domestic movie box office, right, May 1 to 3, the domestic box office in diminishing daily, respectively 137,000,000, 129,400,000, 95,500,000 yuan, with the three days adding up to only 362 million yuan, not a record high, lower than last year’s record high of 434 million by a lot. As the national ticket bunker city of Suzhou, May file box office performance is not very smug. Yesterday, the head of Jin Yi, Golden Harvest, Su Yi and other major studios, told reporters, “compared with  last year, almost every film screening time are playing flat or falling.”   LINK

A drop of 14% might not seems so bad for a major holiday, but this is a market where box office has grown year-on-year by over 30% per cent in the last year and cinemas are growing at a rate of more than 38% – and both are expected to keep growing without fail. So comparing like-for-like the drop is actually closer to 40%. Both the No. 1 and 2 films were small-to-medium budget films, but for Donnie Yen’s IceMan 3D, which cost 200 million yuan this is a major under-performance, with the article drily observing it having “word of mouth down to the freezing point.”

To put it very bluntly, Chinese cinemas cannot afford major domestic flops as they grow at breakneck speed and plan IPOs. Only Spider-Man swinging to the rescue prevented deeper soul searching about whether the current Chinese multiplex growth is sustainable.

 

Dealflicks

USA: An interesting idea for a Priceline or Hotwire-type of service for movie tickets, Dealflicks’ founders have been criss-crossing the US to convince cinema owners. (Just don’t mention Groupon). Good long article by the LA Times that grasps the intricacies of the exhibition business.

Dealflicks lets theater owners select which movies they wish to discount, at what price and when. Unlike Priceline, there is no negotiation involved. Customers buy the tickets through Dealflicks’ website or iPhone app. The company typically charges 10% to 20% of the ticket sales.

Since its launch nearly two years ago, the company has contracted with about 350 theaters that show films on 2,000 screens in California, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Florida and Kansas. Dealflix recently signed up 65 theaters at the annual CinemaCon trade show in Las Vegas, offering cash prizes to theaters that sign contracts.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 5 May 2014

Astor Film Lounge

We don’t normally start with a non-English article (though Google/Chrome will easily translate it for you). But this is a good overview of how German exhibition is dealing with a contracting demand: 20 million fewer cinemas goers went to see a film in 2013 compared to 2003 and some 200 net cinema screen closed in that time. However, revenue has increased due to higher ticket prices and most of the screens closed were small single-screens, while the multiplexes are weathering the decline. But cinemas like the Astor Film Lounge in Berlin are going all-out for luxury.

The light in the hall of Cologne Residenz-Kinos is already dimmed, in a few minutes the film starts. Most visitors sit in wide leather armchairs, folded back with the backrest. With outstretched feet on the stools they listen quieter lounge music. “Your Mai-Tai,” a waitress says suddenly appears, smiles and places the cocktail on the arm of the chair. “Any other wish,” she asks – and then the surprise of the evening. “Popcorn isn’t something we sell.”

The concept of Residenz-Kinos cinema is anti-popcorn. The prototype of the cinema snacks does not fit in with what Andreas Lühnstroth imagines for his movie theater. Too sticky, too stinky, too ordinary to him is the popcorn. “Many of our guests want something else,” he says.

The Residenz-Kinos is one of four Astor Film Lounge in Germany belonging to premium entertainment. The company specializes in luxury cinemas. The offer guests additional services – from the welcome drink at the bar on particularly comfortable cinema seat to the operation of place. And this service has its price.  LINK

 Concessions

Beacon Cinema

Bringing your own food into the cinemas, remains a highly charged issue, at least in the US. It can often lead to unpleasant altercations.

From time to time, outraged patrons have vented their spleen, complaining of searches and seizures at the Pittsfield movie house. In his letter, Karel Rose, a New York City college professor who lives part time in Lenox, complained of what felt like a “personal assault” during a recent Saturday Met Opera in HD screening.

“An arrogant assistant manager who shall remain nameless patrolled the aisles searching for any food that was brought into the theater, either in our hands, pockets or handbags. … Next to me was a woman, in her 80s, taking the last bite out of her sandwich. He demanded what was left, and trembling, she gave it to him.”

As Rose told it, “this self-appointed policeman saw a pear in my handbag and insisted that I give it to him. I explained that I would not eat it. He continued to harass me and others in the room.”  LINK

It is a complex issue with no clear villains (cinemas staff have had allergic reactions to patrons bringing in nuts) and small cinemas in particular rely on food and beverage sales.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 2 May 2014 (Bumper Issue!)

Graham Cinema NC

It is not often that we start with a ‘Digital Death Watch’-type of story, but the Graham is not just an amazingly resilient single-screen cinema in North Carolina. This is also example of terrific college journalism that incorporates video (below), photos, info-graphics, mapping and social media into an incredibly well researched and written article that gives tremendous insights into that kind of cinemas vanishing all over America.

Looks like the Graham Cinema won’t though, as it now has digital projection but still keeps the low prices of tickets and concession, plus the friendly front of house that made it so popular in the first place.

I strongly urge you all to read it and hats off to senior reporter Kyra Gemberling, who will no doubt one day be nominated for a Pulitzer, if not for this article already.

YouTube Preview Image

Opened in 1928, it was once the epitome of Saturday night hangouts in Small Town, U.S.A. The balcony of the cinema’s one and only auditorium overflowed with children bouncing up and down in their seats. The line for the concession stand filled the tiny lobby, often going out the front door and flowing into the bustling street. The grand marquee, advertising show times for such classic films as “The Little Colonel” starring Shirley Temple, served as a beacon of light to guide families coming from all over Alamance County and beyond to its doors.

But with the passing of nearly six decades, countless owners and a fire that once gutted the entire building, Matthews knew Graham Cinema was no longer the sparkling movie house it once was.

He would go on to spend the next 30 years working relentlessly to restore the old theater to its former glory. He reupholstered all 240 seats himself. He hired a cleaning crew to scrub the building from top to bottom. He gave out free tickets all over town just to get people in the door.  LINK

US screens by type

 

India: Dolby has installed the first Atmos cinema in the nation’s capital Delhi at the Delite Cinema in Daryaganj.

And while Delite is the first Atmos hall in Delhi, in India, there are already several halls (mostly in South India) with Atmos installed. The first hall to use this technology was the Sathyam multiplex in Chennai, but there are more now, including PVR Juhu in Mumbai.

Shashank Raizada, owner of Delite Cinemas said, “I believe Dolby Atmos will be a major differentiator for the movie watching audiences,” adding that he sees it as “providing our audiences with new and innovative concepts for an enhanced experience.”  LINK  LINK2 (has more info)

Delite Cinema

The Delhi Delite announcement comes as Dolby reveals that it plans to have 75 Atmos screens across India by the end of 2014.

Dolby, which provides sound technology to entertainment companies, currently has about 15 screens operational on the Atmos technology.

“We are in discussion with multiplex and single screen theatre owners. We are confident that cinema goers will enjoy the sound experience that Atmos offers and more screens across the country will adopt this technology,” Ashim Mathur, Marketing Head of Dolby Technology India, told PTI today.

He added that while most of the present screens are in southern and western part of India, Dolby will expand to other states as well.

“Currently, 15 screens are operational and about 25 are in construction. We should have 75 Atmos screens by calendar year-end,” he said.  LINK 

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