Tag Archives: Regal Cinemas

Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 27 August 2014

IBC Big Screen Experience

The Netherlands – 4K will be a major topic at the upcoming IBC (show – not ice bucket challenge), with awards just announced for the 4K transmissions by the Vienna State Opera and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Be sure not to miss this year’s IBC Big Screen Experience – bigger and also free for everyone attending this year.

Dramatic advances in media technology bring new opportunities to engage with audiences and to extend the reach of an event around the world. At IBC2014, two very different projects will be recognised with prestigious awards. Innovations in coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup will receive the Judges’ Prize, and a Special Award will go the one of the world’s greatest opera houses, the Wiener Staatsoper – Vienna State Opera.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil was hailed as both a sporting and a media success, with close to a billion people worldwide watching the final between Argentina and Germany. They watched in on air and online, in formats from 4k and 8k Ultra HD to mobile phones and tablets.  LINK

Want to know more about 4K a.k.a. Ultra-HD? Check out this website, which scrolls like a powerpoint. Interesting and informative.

 

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France – People fainting and being taken to hospital is what producers of schlock horror B-movies used to promise in the 1950s. But apparently that is just what happened at a French Film Festival in Angouleme.

Participants of the International Francophone Film Festival in Angouleme French were not ready for it. Already after a quarter of the film “Little Queen” in the audience prevailed movement through drastic scenes of blood transfusion. People fainted, and one of the spectators was transported to the hospital. The session was stopped and the cinema evacuated.

The film “La Petite Reine” (French for “Little Queen”) tells the story of a Canadian Genevieve Jeanson, who was a cycling champion. The film shows a scene where the heroine is transfusing blood. Participants of the festival were not made ??aware of the dramatic scenes.

After the first unsuccessful attempt to view the film, the organizers decided to postpone it for tomorrow. This time, every viewer will be informed about what we see on the screen, and in addition there will be doctors in the hall.  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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Exhibitors Pin Their Hopes On Promotional Giveaways For Disney’s “Maleficent”

Regal Entertainment's Maleficent Giveaway

If Disney’s “Maleficent” fails to generate box office returns when it opens on May 29th it certainly won’t be due to a lack of marketing campaigns touting promotional giveaways. At least that’s the case in North America where the studio has partnered with two of the world’s largest motion picture exhibitors to run opening weekend promotions for the big budget movie which focuses on the villain from “Sleeping Beauty”.

Moviegoers buying a ticket to “Maleficent” at Regal Cinemas during opening weekend will get a free poster for the movie. It’s not clear from their promotional artwork (pictured above) or website whether the poster being given away is the official one sheet or if it’s a special poster created specifically for the Regal give away. Ironically, should the movie turn into a smash hit, it will be the latter which becomes more valuable in secondary markets such as eBay, since presumably such posters would only have been produced in limited quantities for the Regal promotion.

AMC Stubs Maleficent Pin Giveaway

That is the very approach being taken by AMC Theatres, which is using its “Maleficent” promotional giveaway as a springboard for a contest driven by social media. Anyone seeing the movie at an AMC cinema during its first few days will walk off with a collectible pin from “Maleficent” made exclusively for the exhibitor’s campaign. In an attempt to incorporate its own marketing push on top of the promotional giveaway, AMC is asking patrons to share pictures of themselves with their “Maleficent” pin on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. One winner will be selected to receive a USD $25 AMC gift card from those that submit selfless with the hashtag #shareAMC and #maleficent. This type of effort is meant to spark a network effect that builds awareness of the new release and ultimately the cinema chain.

AMC is also feeding into a tradition that has cropped up around the Disney brand over the years. Many die-hard Disney fans have taken up the hobby of collecting and trading collectible pins that feature characters, rides, attractions, etc. from the company’s movies and theme parks. Disney not only sanctions the practice, but encourages it by selling each collectible pin only for a limited time. Visit any of Disney’s theme parks and you’ll see loads of people walking around with pins that sometimes go back decades. Park cast members (as Disney refers to its employees) often have pins stuck to the lanyards holding their staff badges.

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“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.

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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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