Tag Archives: Regal Cinemas

“Shatner’s World” Takes Multi-Channel Approach To Marketing Alternative Content

Earlier today while posting a link to to Twitter promoting our piece on Nikki Rocco’s retirement from Universal Pictures, I spotted a tweet from Regal Cinemas in my timeline that provides a great example of alternative content marketing. Specifically, it provides an illustration of how event marketing activation can work by using multiple channels to build awareness.

In this particular case, the event being marketed was “Shatner’s World“; a one night cinema presentation of William Shatner‘s autobiographical one-man Broadway show.

I initially saw social media marketing directly from the retail channel where the product was to be purchased. This was a Twitter post from Regal Cinemas containing an image of the poster artwork for the event:

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Daily Cinema Digest – Thursday 17 April 2014

Regal Summer Movie Express

USA (TN): Discount tickets was a hot topic at CinemaCon. No update on that, but Regal will be showing older films for just USD $1 this summer, as it has for the past 22 years. Parent rejoice.

Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC), a leading motion picture exhibitor owning and operating the largest theatre circuit in the United States, today announces that the Summer Movie Express is back for its 23rd year. The launch of this summer’s program brings family movies for only a dollar to more than 350 Regal Entertainment Group theatres across the country.

“Many families make this a summer tradition and look forward to our announcement of the long list of fun movies coming their way. And for Regal, this helps us instill that love of moviegoing in another generation,” said Ken Thewes, chief marketing officer at Regal Entertainment Group. “The titles this year appeal to a diverse group of tastes, and we know there is a little bit of something for everyone.”  LINK


Cineworld Witney

UK: Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Cineworld, is what this upset letter writer from Witney seems to be saying.

Well, before the cinema opened, a spokesman for the company announced that as well as the usual 3-D screens which come with Cineworld, there was going to be a screen for arthouse/world cinema. But this has not happened.

No disrespect to people who enjoy Hollywood blockbusters, but not everyone likes those types of films, and when I used to go to the Corn Exchange for films which were not Hollywood blockbusters, there was always a good crowd there.

So what has happened?

I’ve tried getting answers from Cineworld themselves but they have never responded to my inquiries.  LINK

(Checking Cineworld Witney’s listings confirms that the most ‘art-house’ film showing is Oscar-winner 12 Years a Slave. Not even The Grand Budapest Hotel is showing. He might have a point.)

Event Cinema

Driving Miss Daisy

UK: Driving Miss Daisy will be showing in cinemas, the play that is, not the surprise Best Film-Oscar winner.

Event screening for stage adaptation to screen at over 300 screens across the UK, followed by live Q&A with star Angela Lansbury.

As a result of strong demand for tickets at the BFI Southbank, Omniverse Vision has announced a special one-off screening of Driving Miss Daisy: The Play.

Starring Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones, the stage adaptation will be broadcast via satellite to over 300 cinemas across the UK on May 25 and followed by a live Q&A with Lansbury, hosted at the BFI Southbank.  LINK

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2013 – Bad Year for Film; Great Year for Exhibitor Share Price

It may seem paradoxical, but while 2013 was a bad year for films in terms of growth, it was an excellent year for cinemas. Even with a strong summer at the box office, 2013 was flat or even down compared to the previous year in most western countries. Only emerging markets like China showed strong and significant growth on the back of their multiplex expansions.

It would seem logical that this trend would be reflected in the share price of listed exhibitors, but analysis by CelluloidJunkie.com has found that major exhibitors in the four largest English-speaking territories (USA, Canada, UK and Australia) had one of their best years ever in terms of share price. We will examine this, as well as looking at the possible causes and outlook.

We first have to preface the analysis by noting that it is difficult to make a completely accurate like-for-like comparison. While the majority of the largest exhibitors in the US and Canada are publicly traded (Regal, Cinemark and Cineplex are, while AMC is privately owned by China’s Dalian Wanda Group), the same is not the case in UK, where only one of the Big Three is listed (Cinemaworld; Odeon-UCI and Vue are privately held), whereas in Australia the multiplex chains are privately owned (Hoyts) or have complicated joint ownership or subsidiary status (Village and Greater Union/Event Cinemas).

Even so, it is still possible to get a good idea of how markets value exhibitors and why 2013 was a good year for them, as we will see.

USA and Canada

2013 was a flat year in terms of box office growth. Statistics from BoxOfficeMojo tell us that overall gross was $10.925 billion, compared to $10.823 billion the previous year. While up by $100m year-on-year, this “growth” is effectively cancelled out by inflation. The underlying ticket sales are likely to show a decline when the official statistics are published by the MPAA. Projecting an annualized rate The Numbers sees attendance fall from 1.36bn to 1.19bn between 2012 and 2103.

This decline is in-line with what was predicted ahead of CinemaCon last year. Reported in Deadline:

“Bond analysis firm Fitch Ratings forecasts a “modest” decline in 2013 ticket sales and long-term challenges that should “cause concern” for lenders. Studios will find it “difficult to replicate” the success they had last year with hits including The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, analysts Shawn Gannon, Rolando Larrondo and Mike Simonton conclude. In addition the 3D market is “starting to mature.””

All-in-all you would think that it would have been good to short stocks in exhibitors, but you would have been wrong.

Screenshot 2014-02-14 15.07.12

Regal Cinemas went from strength to strength as the share price rose from just under $14 per share in January 2013 to close to $20 per share at the start of 2014, before slipping down closer to $19 recently.

Screenshot 2014-02-14 15.15.21

Meanwhile competitor Cinemark started the year below $27 and ended it above $33, before currently landing just above $30. Not as strong as Regal’s growth, but still significant.

Screenshot 2014-02-14 15.12.09

North of the border, Cineplex pulled off the most impressive stock market feat of them all by increasing from C$32 to coming within a whisker of C$45 before declining to just over C$40.

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Regal Hopes To Revive “Machete Kills” With Deep Discounting

Regal's Machete Kills Promotion.jpgWhen “Machete Kills” opened in North America on October 11th, more than a few media outlets took the easy route when reporting its disappointing box office returns by referring to the film as “DOA” (as in dead on arrival).

After witnessing the disappointing debut of “Machete Kills”, Regal, the largest cinema chain in the world, is being proactive in trying to bolster the revenue potential of the screens on which the title is booked.

The circuit has emailed a buy-one-get-one-free offer for the release to members of its Crown Club loyalty program. Members will receive one free ticket to “Machete Kills” for every ticket they purchase to see the film on Saturday, October 19th. To make the offer more enticing (if that’s possible), Regal is also throwing in a free small popcorn with each ticket.

Before the adoption of digital cinema, theatre chains such as Regal may have opted to not book a box office dud for a second week. However, the virtual print fee (VPF) deals under which a majority of cinemas now operate require a release to be played for a minimum number of weeks to qualify for a payment. That is not to say this is the case with Regal and “Machete Kills”, merely an observation.

Exhibitor Loyalty Programs Are Now Offering Free Digital Downloads

Regal Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs Download Promotion

Two marketing emails from large cinema chains appeared in my inbox during the month of September both of which proved effective, at least for me. Rather than quickly scan them before relegating them to the trash bin, I actually took the rare step of following their calls to action. Maybe you’re wondering what promotional wizardry got me to respond to a marketing email. Or perhaps, you haven’t even made it this far into the story because, much like marketing emails, you stopped reading after the first two sentences.

The first email (shown above) was sent by Regal to members of the circuit’s Crown Club loyalty rewards program. It arrived with the subject line “Free Movie Download With Cloudy 2 Ticket Purchase!” While I had zero intention of seeing “Cloudy 2″, the offer stood out in my mind to such a degree that when my daughters asked if I would take them to see the movie last weekend, I didn’t hesitate to say yes (much to their surprise and joy).

As the lights dimmed and the trailers began I realized the only reason I agreed to see the film at all was due to the promotional offer. Of course, I silently assured myself that it was also to spend time with my daughters and to give them an unexpected treat.

The offer from AMC (shown below) was even better because it didn’t require customers to make a direct purchase. The company sent out an email to members of their Stub’s loyalty program with the subject “Special STAR TREK gift for members only!”. Inside was an exclusive member offer to download the 2009 “Star Trek” film from iTunes as part of a marketing campaign to promote the release of “Star Trek Into Darkness” in the iTunes store.

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Can Movie Theatres Be Used As Emergency Storm Shelters?

Hurricane Sandy

What has been dubbed Superstorm Sandy will go down in history as one of the most devastating weather events in United States history. Arguably the most destructive storm since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it has left dozens dead, thousands homeless and millions of residents in New York and New Jersey without electricity. Though far less important in the grand scheme of the event, it has also shuttered hundreds of movie theatres along the eastern coast of the country for the past three days.

The strong winds, heavy rain and flooding brought New York City to a screeching halt Sunday evening with public transportation suspended indefinitely. Cinema owners also ceased operations with the likes of AMC, Clearview and Regal letting their screens go dark as early as three o’clock on Sunday. The move was meant not only to protect patrons, but also theatre employees who might otherwise have been trapped at work.

Much has been made about the adverse affect Sandy has had on box office receipts, especially on Sunday’s returns. But as film sprockets and reels have given way to digital bits and hard drives throughout the industry, little has been mentioned about the issues faced by modern-day cinemas.

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RealD Gets Bigger With XLW and Regal

RealDRealD is showing signs that they have no intention of slowing the pace of their growth in the cinema marketplace. Already the leading worldwide provider of 3D technology for motion picture exhibitors, the company made two big announcements over the past week which will help push its share of the market even higher.

The first bit of news was about the XLW Cinema System, a new RealD product capable of projecting a 3D image on a screen up to 82 feet (25 meters) wide. Given that the XL Cinema System could already throw an image onto an 80 foot (24.4 meters) the big news here seems to be that the 1.0 throw ratio of the XLW.

Most throw ratios fall between 1.8 and 2.0, meaning if the screen is 40 feet wide, the distance between the projector and the screen has to be 72 to 80 feet. With a throw ratio of 1.0 and a maximum screen width of 82 feet, the XLW can project large images in a smaller space. It’s not hard to see why RealD developed the technology. With the popularity (not to mention increased revenue) of Imax screenings, many major theatre chains have begun to retrofit traditional auditoriums into branded “large screen” venues. Regal has RPX, AMC has ETX and Marcus Theatres has UltraScreen, to name just a few.

The XLW system will allow exhibitors to install much wider screens in stadium seat auditoriums which generally have shorter throws.

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Travis Reid Departs DCIP To Head Up Screenvision

Travis Reid - Screenvision.jpg

Travis Reid

Last Thursday Digital Cinema Implementation Partners (DCIP) announced that Travis Reid, their CEO, had resigned. That same day on-screen advertising giant Screenvision announced that Shamrock Capital Advisors, a private equity fund founded by the late Roy Disney, had finalized the $160 million purchase of the company and had appointed Reid as its new CEO.

At ShowEast, which was just wrapping up at the time, many industry folks I spoke with were surprised to hear the news, though looking at it objectively, the move is somewhat inevitable.

Reid has had a long career in motion picture exhibition that includes his stint as the President and CEO of Loews Cineplex for which he worked from 1991 until 2005 when the chain was acquired by AMC Entertainment. In 2007 he joined DCIP, the deployment entity formed and owned by North America’s largest exhibitors; AMC, Regal Entertainment and Cinemark. Reid has also sat on the boards of Cineplex Galaxy, Yelmo and Fandango among others. As Shamrock’s Managing Director Steve Royer said in Screenvision’s press release:

“Travis has an over thirty-year history in the exhibition space having operated chains and most recently, pioneering the digital revolution for the cinema exhibition industry. He was our ideal candidate.”

Reid led DCIP through a challenging period in its formation and development. Not only did he successfully oversee the companies protracted negotiations with major studios for virtual print fees (VPFs), but just as it seemed digital cinema was taking off, the financial meltdown caused funding for rollouts to dry up for more than a year. Reid and DCIP persevered and in March of this year he secured $660 million in funding from a consortium of banks.

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It’s Official – DCIP Gets $660 Million In Funding

DCIP + Money.jpg

A boisterous cheer erupted this morning during the Inter-Society Digital Cinema Forum (ISDCF) meeting when the proceedings were interrupted with news that Digital Cinema Implementation Partners (DCIP) had just officially announced they had received their financing. Indeed, DCIP published a press release stating that they had raised USD $660 million in financing. The funds will be used to roll out digital cinema in North America’s three largest circuits; AMC Theatres, Cinemark and Regal Cinemas.

As we previously reported when it was still a widely circulated industry rumor, DCIP’s financing will come in the form of USD $445 million in senior bank debt, USD $135 million in junior capital and USD $80 million in equity from the theatre chains themselves. JPMorgan assisted DCIP in raising the money which is being supplied by a who’s who of financial institutions including Bank of America, Barclays Bank, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, GE Capital, Morgan Stanley and the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

There are sure to be tons of news stories generated by DCIP’s announcement, especially since it will allow media outlets to wave around the trendy “3D” phrase in hopes of attracting a few extra eyeballs. The reports will cite that nearly 14,000 screens throughout North America will be converted to digital by AMC, Cinemark and Regal who formed DCIP as a joint venture in 2007. (Truthfully, it’s probably more like 10,000 screens when all is said and done). No doubt they may even go so far as to pull press release quote from Travis Reid, DCIP’s CEO, which states:

“We are excited that with the continued support of our owners, studio partners and financial advisors we have completed this critical step in our process. Over the next few years, we’ll be aggressively implementing the transition to digital technology in theatres across North America. Guests will enjoy enhanced presentation and additional entertainment options at their favorite theatres as Exhibitors and content providers capitalize on the flexibility enabled by digital technology, including many upcoming releases using digital 3D. Having this substantial financial package and our studio partnerships in place, we’re pleased to launch this new era of technology to guests looking for an exceptional out-of-home experience.”

Check out the way Mr. Reid so adeptly snuck the word “capitalize” into that quote. Pretty slick. It’s funny though, because I always imagined his press release quote would read more along the lines of:

“Phew! That was harder then it needed to be and dare I say it’s about time we landed some money. Thankfully I will no longer have to answer questions every other week about when DCIP will be getting its financing.”

Since the mainstream media will take care of all the cheerleading about how 3D will soon be coming to a theatre near you, I figured it might be interesting to further explain the types of financing DCIP is getting. I mean what’s with all these terms like “senior debt” and “junior capital”? Does the senior debt have offspring named after it? And does the junior capital have a father with the same name? Read More »

More Rumblings About DCIP’s Financing

dcip.jpgLast week both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported that an announcement from Digital Cinema Implementation Partners about their financing was imminent. The opportunity to play 3D content will certainly be welcomed by AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark, however from the way the two newspapers covered the story you might get the impression it was the only reason. The financing would allow Hollywood studios to “roll out more 3-D movies in the wake of the success of James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’” wrote the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times said the “money would allow future 3-D film releases”.

Both media outlets seem to have gotten their hands on some internal briefings or at the very least seen an early draft of a press release as they have updated some of the details from previous reports about DCIP’s financing. A more exact figure of USD $660 million was cited by both papers which is down from the original USD $700 million rumor which was first floating around. As well, the number of screens has been upped to 14,000 from 12,000 with the Wall Street Journal putting the number of actual theatre sites being converted at 1,100. The New York Times laid out the details as follows:

According to a draft announcement making the rounds in Hollywood, the new financing, arranged by JPMorgan and Blackstone Advisory Partners, would total about $660 million. Of that, $445 million is expected to come from senior bank debt, $135 million from what is described as “junior capital” and $80 million from equity contributed by the member theater circuits. Nine banks, including Bank of America and Citibank, are part of the lending group. Blackstone raised the $135 million from other investors.

I always find it amusing to see how mainstream media covers the transition to digital cinema in reporting such news. The Wall Street Journal piece states:

In a digital conversion, theaters rip out old celluloid film projectors, and stop receiving weekly shipments of large film canisters. They instead use fiber optic lines to transfer huge digital film files.

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