Tag Archives: Sony

Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 25 February 2015

Box office 2015

Cinemas in North America are on track for a record year, with share prices of the major exhibitors already reflecting this box office optimism.

Analysts expect that box-office revenue this year in the United States and Canada will soar past $11.5 billion, outpacing the record $10.9 billion set in 2013, when blockbusters such as “Frozen” and the second “Hunger Games” movie debuted. And theaters already are performing more than 10 percent better than they were at this time last year, when films such as “The Lego Movie” became surprise hits.

The splashy start has pushed shareholders to invest in some of the country’s biggest theater chains: This year, AMC Entertainment‘s stock is up 24 percent, Carmike Cinemas is up 18 percent, Cinemark is up 17 percent and Regal Entertainment Group is up 11 percent.  LINK


Having previously tested the waters with “War Horse” in 4K, Sony has now partnered London’s National Theatre to beam four NT Live stage shows over the next 12 months in 4K. (Sadly for Cumberbatch fans, his “Hamlet” from the Barbican will only be in 2K.)

The initiative between Sony Digital Cinema, National Theatre Live and cinema chain Vue Entertainment International will kick off with the NT’s production of David Hare’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on the book by Katherine Boo, directed by Rufus Norris and starring Meera Syal.

During the 12-month agreement, Vue customers at 83 sites across the country will exclusively be able to enjoy the productions projected in 4K – the highest quality currently possible with commercial digital cinema projection.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 26 November 2014

Underground Film club

While Secret Cinema has been getting lots of publicity, it is only now that there is recognition for Experience Cinema, which hosted 280 sold-out Rooftop Film Club events in London this summer, as well as 70 drive-in screenings and now also the Underground Film Club under the railway arches of Waterloo Station in London.

Their company, Experience Cinema, has catered to more than 60,000 film-lovers in the capital this year, and now they are looking wider, to the rest of the UK and America.

“Cinema experiences have become a popular night out,” says Cottle, who used to be a circus juggler and clown, before moving into public relations a decade ago and launching his own business.

“We’ve brought community back to cinema. We have themed nights, cocktails and the right atmosphere for the film we’re showing. People come in big groups. It’s like going to a West End show, but a fifth of the price.”  LINK

And here is how the venture inspired one person, who took the concept back to Calgary in Canada.

Vista Murray Holdway

Fresh off its IPO, ticketing software major Vista is rightly proud of having completed its roll-out with Regal Cinemas in the USA.

The company said Regal Entertainment’s 574 theatres across 42 US states represent 20 percent of the North American market.

Vista and Regal reached agreement on installing Vista’s software in February 2012.

Vista chief executive Murray Holdaway said the contract with Regal was worth multiple millions of dollars in revenue each year and there was potential to expand beyond Vista’s core software.  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.


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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CinemaCon 2014: Press Release Roundup

CinemaCon Logo

PLEASE NOTE: If we missed any individual press release it was not done purposefully. If you would like us to include a CinemaCon related press announcement in a future roundup, please forward it to tips@celluloidjunkie.com.

Historically companies and organizations doing business at trade shows and conferences have relied heavily upon press releases to get their message out to an industry. This has been especially true at CinemaCon and ShoWest before it. This year was no different.

The first day of the show always sees a flurry of announcements “hit the wire”. As the week (and convention) progresses the number of releases tends to dwindle. We thought it might be useful to sum up all of the announcements made at this year’s show, and when appropriate, provide a bit of insight or analysis. Here are the releases published during CinemaCon 2014 listed in alphabetical order by company name:

Arts Alliance Media
The London based digital cinema integrator and software developer is is always good for a few releases during industry trade shows. CinemaCon saw them release no fewer than four. The first announced the launch of a new software solution called AdFuser. The software was designed for all aspects of on-screen cinema advertising. The software is capable of planning campaigns and managing inventory, targeting ads to appropriate genres or audience demographics, automated ad playlist creation, ad content delivery, reporting and much more. AdFuser can be used in either an extremely granular or completely automated fashion.

Our Take: AAM’s cinema advertising software has been in development for years so it is interesting to see them finally launch the product. We have yet to have a close demonstration of the solution, but look forward to seeing it in action. The company is entering a niche market with a stiff competitor (Unique Digital) that has more than a decade head start in the space.

AAM announced a software deal with Vox Cinemas, a cinema chain based in the Middle East. The circuit will be employing AAM’s suite of software to manage their digital cinema technology and operations. This includes solutions such as Screenwriter Plus (Theatre Management System), Producer (Enterprise Circuit Management System) and Locksmith (Enterprise KDM Management) and Lifeguard (NOC Tools). Vox operates 9 complexes which account for 92 screens in Lebanon and the UAE.

Finnkino was already using AAM’s theatre management system (TMS) and will now upgrade to Screenwriter Plus, which has additional features for automation and monitoring. The circuit will rollout the new version of Screenwriter Plus throughout their 14 sites and at a later date has the option to include their 11 Forum Cinemas located in the Baltic.

AAM began as a digital cinema integrator with their own virtual print fees (VPFs) in Europe. They have now entered the complicated Latin American market with a series of partners, most recently Quanta-DGT. The trio announced three deals for VPF rollouts with three exhibitors in Uruguay; Grupo Cine, Life Cinemas and Movie.

Our Take: This agreement is a perfect example of just how complex Latin America can be for the motion picture business. While the combined 61 screens covered in the contract already have digital cinema equipment installed, these screens will now fall under AAM/Quanta-DGT’s VPF agreements.

CinemaBarcoThe Belgian based projector manufacturer was incredibly active during this year’s CinemaCon, showing up at the conference with half a dozen press releases. Many of the notices centered around their new CinemaBarco initiative, specifically the 60,000-lumen laser projector the company is bringing to market. The projector is DCI-compliant and capable of showing 4K content all the way up to 60 frames per second. The Barco 6P laser projector is capable of showing 3D content in 4K at 14 ftL and is fully integrated within the DCI-compliant projector. It will be commercially available immediately in the United States and China before being distributed in the rest of the world by the end of 2014. The company demonstrated the projector at CinemaCon without a “shaking” screen.

To prove just how market ready their laser projector is, Barco announced that Cinemark would be the first exhibitor to install the new technology. The release didn’t specify precisely which sites Barco would be installing its high-tech projector in, though don’t be surprised if Cinemark Century 16 South Point and XD winds up being the first. That’s the Las Vegas cinema in which Barco was conducting off-site demonstrations of its laser projector during CinemaCon.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Tuesday 25 February 2014

Two article’s on the challenger to ROH’s event cinema opera supremacy in the UK. First is The Guardian’s take on ENO’s Peter Grimes showing and decision to hire rock music director Andy Morahan to film it. Overall positive, bar a few technical glitches.

“English National Opera’s new venture into live-screened opera has attracted industry hype for several reasons. It was less than two years ago that ENO’s artistic director John Berry claimed not to be interested in such endeavours: they don’t create new audiences, he said, and “putting work out into the cinema can distract from making amazing quality work”. The company explained their about-face in December by announcing a fresh take on screened opera, promising rock ‘n’ roll camera angles, HD hyper-realism and a degree of intimacy and immersion that existing screenings from, say, Covent Garden, Glyndebourne or the Met don’t tend to offer.”


The BBC features an interview with the director, where he explains his thinking.

“Previous broadcasts have “tended to be shot in quite a flat way, just looking at the stage” he explains. “You don’t really get a sense of where you are and they miss out on some great angles. You can have reverse shots and even someone shooting while part of the chorus. You can make the stage itself the centre of the immersive experience.” Employing multiple cameras, Morahan likes “to keep them moving. Whether it’s little creeping zooms, dolly shots or jib crane shots. I always found with music videos that the more the camera moves, the more lyrical it looks.”"

Roll Over Britten! Link.


Pakistan: The perpetrator of the first of the two recent Peshawar cinema attack that killed three people has confessed – and it is a teenager.

“Fifteen-year old Hassan alias Israr, mastermind of the bombing at the Shama Cinema in which 14 people were killed and 21 others injured, on Monday confessed to his crime in a local court.

Recording his statement in the court of Judicial Magistrate Muhammad Ilyas Khan, the young attacker stated he along with three accomplices first reached the gate of the cinema. He stated that he and his other accomplice Bilal first offered body search at the entrance gate of the cinema and bought tickets.

Soon after the body search, he said they came out from the cinema premises and tied the hand-grenades to their legs. The second time, he said, they succeeded in carrying the grenades into the cinema hall, where they attacked the film viewers from behind after watching the film for some time.”

So that this does not give you a one-sided view of Pakistanis as a country of terrorists, contrast this despicable act with those of fellow 15-year old Pakistani school boy hero Atizaz Hasan . Link.

Event Cinema

UK: NT Live’s War Horse transmission will be 4K, thanks to the involvement of Sony.

“On Feb. 27 2014, National Theatre Live will broadcast “War Horse” live from the New London Theatre to cinemas across the world. The broadcast will be shown in Sony 4K at the Curzon Cinema in Chelsea, the production will be projected using a Sony projector. The recording will be available as a 4K DCP allowing many 4K enabled cinemas to also show encore screenings at a later date.

Creative Broadcast Solutions, technical producer for NT Live, with NEP Visions, NT Live’s long-term OB partner will work with Sony, using Sony’s F55 Super CineAlta cameras equipped with Fujinon Cabrio lenses to capture the performance. NEP Visions will provide the technical infrastructure and expertise to take the 4K content from camera to satellite, as well as recording and broadcasting a simultaneous HD version.


USA: It’s not just Oscar nominated films that will be playing in cinemas this Sunday in Cape Cod.

“Two local theaters will bring Hollywood glamour to the Cape on Oscar night, March 2. The Chatham Orpheum Theater will host its first annual “An Evening with Oscar” celebration. The 86th Academy Awards will be shown live from Hollywood in HD and Surround Sound in the historic cinema’s main theater.

In Dennis, Cape Cod Museum of Art, Cape Cinema and Eventide Arts will team up to present the “Red Carpet Gala.” The evening will start with pre-Oscar festivities at the museum followed by a live telecast of the Academy Awards at Cape Cinema. The buildings are adjacent to each other, both located on the grounds of the Cape Cod Center for the Arts, on Route 6A in Dennis. And there will be an actual red carpet, the organizers say.”

Tickets are $25 and $75 respectively. Link.

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ShowEast 2012 is Latin America’s Last Chance for VPF Deals

This year’s ShowEast cinema trade show is likely to be the last one where any significant virtual print fee (VPF) deals are still on the table. Not only will there soon be no more actual 35mm prints to replace with fees for  virtual ones, following the winding down of film operation by Fuji and Kodak. But Hollywood studios too are rapidly winding down their funding mechanisms. This is particularly bad new for Latin American countries, which have the lowest digital cinema penetration numbers for any continent bar Africa. This was highlighted at the recent 2nd International Conference on Digitisation of Cinemas in Bogota, Colombia, which “focused on the difficulties being experienced by Colombia and Latin America in general in finding the financial model and public funds to help the region convert its cinemas to digital technologies adhering to the global standard.”

With approximately 13,500 systems installed around the world (over 10,000 in North America and over 3,000 in the rest of the world), Sony is intent on pushing its global market share up from the current one tenth of all world-wide screens. Hence Sony’s decision to extend its VPF scheme, most likely by agreeing to lower terms with the Hollywood studios in return for longer lead time. As quoted in THR:

“[Some] VPF deals for the U.S. and Canada ran out at the end of September. Ours are available until March 31, 2013,” reported Gary Johns, senior vp, digital cinema solutions at Sony Electronics. The deadline to sign up for Sony’s program in international markets extends even further out.

Sony is also using the ShowEast opportunity to showcase its newest SRX-R515P projector designed for small and medium auditoriums, as well as its Entertainment Access Glasses for hearing and visually impaired cinema patrons.

ShowEast has traditionally been the cinema trade show for Latin American countries and there is no more pressing issue for that region than the imminent end of 35mm prints and the do-or-die conversion to digital in less than a year. As such, it should come as no surprise that third-party digital cinema integrators, consultants and VPF brokers from across the world are homing in on Latin America. The most recent operator, India Scrabble, has just announced a deal for three territories:

The company has signed separate non-exclusive agreements with Hollywood studios Warner Bros Pictures International, Universal Pictures International, Walt Disney Motion Pictures International and Sony Pictures Releasing International Corporation… The roll-out of the technology will begin from 2013 and will initially be launched in Brazil, Mexico and Chile.

Note that 20th Century Fox and Paramount are missing from the list of studios. While neither of these two will get a free ride on the equipment installed by Scrabble under the terms with the other studios, it highlights the difficulty of getting VPF deals in place this late in the day. Other operators were already present in the region. Cinedigm signed a deal last year with Contenido Alternativo for satellite delivery of DCPs and alternative content, under which it would also “collaborate with theatres in Mexico to bring digital cinema deployment and Virtual Print Fee management services to the region,” on as-yet unsepcified terms. Cinedigm has more recently signed a deal for 290 screens out of the 437 operated by Caribbean Cinemas (pdf) in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Aruba, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and Trinidad.

Cinedgim has also signed a deal (pdf) with Brazil’s DGT for the deployment of its software solutions suit, “in preparation for its VPF program roll out later this year.” Similarly, Arts Alliance has contracted with Mexico’s Cinemex for the deployment of its software, though the exhibitor is “negotiating its own VPF (Virtual Print Fee) deals directly with the studios” for its 2,000 screens. Yet the largest obstacle to digital cinema installations in LAtin American territories is not Hollywood studios refusing VPF deals but high tariffs and restrictions on imports of digital cinema equipment. Brazil recently reduced its import duty, but it won’t be until analog screens start going dark for lack of 35mm film that governments across the continent are likely to wake up. Come ShowEast 2013 it will be a very different picture for the continent.


Japanese Earthquake May Not Impact The D-Cinema Supply Chain

Texas Instruments DLP

Shortly after the 8.9-magnitude earthquake occurred off the coast of Japan on March 11th numerous rumors and speculation have swirled around the exhibition industry over its impact on the availability of digital cinema equipment. In part, this was spurred on by Texas Instruments reporting that their manufacturing plant in Miho, Japan, about 40 miles northeast of Tokyo, “suffered substantial damage” during the quake.

Because third of the output at TI’s Miho plant is dedicated to DLP production. The DLP chip is one of the most important parts in digital cinema projectors manufactured by Barco, Christie and NEC, so it was initially thought that the industry would once again face a shortage of equipment. However, since then both Barco and Christie have publicly said they have enough inventory on hand to meet demand for months, if not a year, into the future.

As the number of emails coming in to Celluloid Junkie with questions about the issue increased to more than two dozen, I felt it appropriate to give TI a call for an update. What I learned was that, most importantly, all of TI’s personnel are safe and unharmed. The company’s fabs in both Miho and Aizu-Wakamtsu (about 150 miles north of Tokyo) were damaged in the earthquake. At Miho, the building withstood the earthquake, though the manufacturing equipment inside was damaged as it got tossed around with all of the shaking.

By the end of March repairs at Miho were finished on the facility’s infrastructure systems that deliver water, gases, chemicals and air. Most significantly, the fabs cleanroom was recertified. At the time, 90 percent of the plant’s equipment had passed electrical tests.

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First Run Movies Headed Into The Home At Premium Prices

Prima Cinema Logo.jpgThe debate over motion picture release windows heated up again last week as two studios spoke openly about their plans for allowing limited home viewing of movies shortly after their theatrical opening. In addition, news came of a pricey new service looking to make films available in living rooms day-and-date with their theatrical launch.

On Tuesday, Sony’s CFO, Rob Wiesenthal, said that his company was not only looking to cable and satellite operators to provide early releases for the studio’s titles, but has high hopes for its new streaming video service, Qriocity. The service was established earlier this year to beam content directly into Sony’s consumer electronics products (televisions, video game consoles, Blu-Ray players, etc.).

Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York, Wiesenthal spoke of the “big white space” between theatrical and home video release dates for movies, stating there was “a real consumer desire for a premium offer” for such content. He did not cite any studies or reports to back up the claim that consumers were clamoring for such services.

In fact, it often seems that the only people making such statements publicly are the studios themselves, rather than moviegoers. This is probably because a number of studios are exploring premium video on demand models that will enable them to release movies for home viewing during their theatrical window but with significantly hire prices; around $30 per viewing.

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Screen Digest’s David Hancock Discusses Europe’s D-Cinema Funding Shortfall

Europe's Digital Shortfall (Courtesy Screen Digest)

Europe's Digital Shortfall (Courtesy Screen Digest)

On June 21st, just in time for Cinema Expo, Screen Digest published a report titled “Digital Cinema Moves Into The Mainstream“. Twelve pages in length and with 10 tables and charts, the report uncovered a significant “digital shortfall” in the amount of financing required to convert all of Europe’s screens to digital. David Hancock, a senior analyst at Screen Digest, authored the report and we asked him to shed some light on its key findings. (The interview appears after the jump).

Details From The Report
Not counting Russia there are roughly 32,600 screens throughout Europe for which a digital rollout will cost EUR €2.1 billion (or USD $2.65 billion). Of those screens 23,800 are covered for digital conversion through virtual print fees offered by Hollywood studios. Upwards of 5,000 screens will be handled directly by theatre owners themselves. Theoretically that means there is funding of EUR €1.65 billion (or USD $2.1 billion) for d-cinema conversions, leaving a gap of EUR €450 million (or USD $568.4 million) to cover all Europe’s screens.

And who is being left out of the funding equation? Well, it’s mostly art houses, seasonal theatres, repertory venues and mobile cinemas.

The United Kingdom and The Netherlands have set up special funding groups to help solve this problem. Support funds have also been established in such countries as the Czech Republic, Finalnd, France, Germany, and Sweden. On region in Poland plans to pull money out of a tourism fund and Italy is giving tax credits to any theatre which converts. The European Union is offering assistance through its MEDIA Programme.

Driven mostly by 3D content, the number of European screens equipped for d-cinema at the end of the first quarter in 2010 had risen 16% over 2009 to 5,333, or a full 15% of the region’s screens. Presently 75% of all digital screens in Europe are 3D capabe. Thanks to competition among France’s largest exhibitors, the country leads the 3D screen count with more than 700. The U.K. and Germany are second and third hovering around the 500 screen mark.

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Sony Expands In Europe With National Amusements, AMC, And Dealer Partnerships

Sony's SRX-R320 Projector

Sony's SRX-R320 Projector

If Sony wanted to make a big splash at Cinema Expo in Amsterdam this past week then they did one heck of a job. On Tuesday, the second day of the conference, Sony announced two exhibitor agreements with National Amusements and AMC Entertainment’s United Kingdom based theatres for digital conversions. The company, known for its 4K digital cinema solution, also struck up partnerships with three European digital cinema dealers.

National Amusements
The biggest of these announcements had to be the news that National Amusements had chosen Sony as their integrator. The theatre chainis one of the largest in the world, operating 950 screens across venues in the U.K., United States and Latin America. National Amusements is the fifth largest theatre chain in North America.

Under their existing virtual print fee (VPF) agreements with Hollywood studios, Sony will install their 4K digital cinema projectors on all of National Amusements’ screens. They will start immediately with Showcase Cinemas, National Amusements’ U.K. theatre chain where Sony Digital Cinema 4K systems will be deployed on all 276 screens. In an effort to quickly ramp up the number of 3D screens at the circuits disposal, Sony will install the first 24 systems before the end of July.

There was no mention when installation of d-cinema equipment would begin in the U.S. or South America.  In fact the press release seemed purposefully non-committal, referring to the deal as an “expected global exhibitor agreement”. One could read into the use of the word “expected” or assume that Sony will be deploying equipment to the 450 screens National Amusements has in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island. The theatre chain owns 16 theatres in South America which would probably be included in any worldwide rollout.

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