Tag Archives: Ster-Kinekor

Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 1 April 2015

Barco Dolby Atmouro

Celluloid Junkie can exclusively reveal that in an effort to spur uptake of immersive audio for cinema Dolby and Barco have concluded a groundbreaking agreement to merge their Atmos and Auro systems. While a formal announcement is not expected before CinemaCon – so there is no press release yet – we can reveal that the merged format will be known as Atmouro and be available in 11.1, 22.2 and 33.3 speaker configurations for regular cinemas and even 44.4 for premium large format (PLF) venues.

Sidestepping the vexed issue of creating open standards for object-based and channel-based audio mapping, the new Atmouro will instead use subject-based audio mapping. Under this system, sounds will be grouped alphabetically, so that for example birdsong, bullets and burps will be assigned to the ‘B’ track.

Speaking to CJ, Dolby’s Stuart Bowling said, “the idea of alphabetical subject-based audio tracks is so obvious when you think about that it’s strange that we didn’t come up with it sooner.” Praising the merger and the subject-based approach as “a bold move,” consultant Michael Karagosian of MKPE still cautioned that, “the devil will be in the details when it comes to SMPTE standardisation.”

Confident that the united push by Dolby and Barco to promote the Atmouro format will be embraced by the exhibition community, Barco’s Brian Claypool said, “note this particular day in your calendar. This is a historic day for cinema innovation.”

Screen X CJ

Also at CinemaCon South Korea’s CJ will be showcasing its immersive screen rival to Barco’s Escape that was demonstrated in Las Vegas last year. There are 75 of these deployed in South Korea already, though commenting on the article, “John” says that it added nothing but distractions to his viewing of “Paddington” on a ScreenX.

CJ Group, the South Korean conglomerate behind the 4DX 4D cinema system, is aiming to bring a 270-degree Cinerama-like “ScreenX” theater experience to the U.S. It will be demoed for theater owners April 20-23 at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

ScreenX is a three-screen configuration that puts the images on the front and sides of a theater. The screen technology would run across the side walls, using six projectors per wall and stitching the images together (meaning that the system uses a total of 13 projectors). According to the company, ScreenX is projector and server agnostic, though digital cinema projector maker Christie and server maker HP are working closely with CJ as preferred vendors.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 4 December 2014

Hoyts logo

With Hoyt having called off an IPO of its exhibition business earlier this year, there is now speculation that it could be sold to a private equity investor instead.

Sydney-based Pacific Equity Partners is negotiating to sell the Hoyts chain – with 483 screens in Australia and New Zealand – to ID Leisure International Capital.

It is not clear yet if the sale, which is understood to be possible by the end of the year, will mean a change to the name or look of the cinemas.

The company could not be reached for comment, but negotiations are understood to be advanced.  LINK

JT logo

Netherlands – More details on the plans for JT to be one of the first Dolby Cinema digital PLF test venues.

JT Bioscopen and Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB) today announced plans to open the doors of a Dolby Cinema™ in the newly constructed cinema complex of JT Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Dolby Cinema, a branded premium cinema experience, combines spectacular image and sound technologies with inspired design to make every visit a completely captivating cinematic event.

The new JT Eindhoven cineplex, opening on December 15, is one of the biggest cinemas of the JT branch and will host eight screens and 1,546 seats. The premiere screen in the new JT Eindhoven complex will be among the first Dolby Cinema installations, equipped with state-of-the-art image, sound, and acoustic capabilities. In addition, the design of the Dolby Cinema in Eindhoven was created to set a mood and draw audiences deeper into the story—while delivering the full impact of the filmmaker’s work.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 1 December 2014

Ymagic d

France – The merger of Ymagis and dcinex is going well, with streamlining already well underway. It seems like with the colocations and regroupings it will fairly rapidly be able to offer an integrated operation.

In Germany, where both YMAGIS and dcinex have both separately developed businesses of significant size in Exhibitor Services and Content Services, the Group has decided to rationalize and optimize its activities:

  • Regarding the Content Services, the digital laboratory production (post production, duplication/delivery of digital copies), based up to now both in Berlin and Tübingen, will be from January 2015 onwards concentrated in a single location, in Berlin YMAGIS lab;
  • As for the Exhibitor Services, operated by YMAGIS from Rartingen and by dcinex from Düsseldorf, they have already been regrouped in Düsseldorf.

The Group has also decided, in order to be more efficient and cost effective, to use and develop only one logistic platform out the three developed separately by dcinex, YMAGIS and SmartJog for its digital copy duplication and delivery business. LINK

Fun cinemas

India – Further multiplex consolidation in India with the confirmation that Cinepolis has completed the acquisition of Fun Cinemas.

Mexican multiplex chain Cinepolis, which entered India in 2009, has completed the acquisition of Fun Cinemas, the multiplex chain owned by Shubhash Chandra’s Essel Group through E-City Ventures. According to sources in the know, the deal is valued at Rs 480 crore for Fun Cinemas’ 83 screens in the country.

The acquisition now ramps up Cinepolis’ presence in the country from a 110 screens to 193 screens. Of the total 24 properties (multiplexes) that Fun Cinemas’ operates, 16 are owned by the company while eight are operated on franchise basis. Earlier last week, Cinepolis India MD Javier Sotomayor communicated the news of the acquisition to the employees of Fun Cinemas.  LINK

While PVR is said to be negotiating to buy Sathyam Cinemas.

PVR Ltd, India’s largest multiplex operator by number of screens, is in talks to buy Chennai-based SPI Cinemas (formerly known as Sathyam Cinemas), said three people aware of the negotiations.

The development underlines the continuing consolidation in the cinema exhibition sector.

“Chennai is a strong market where occupancy is more than 70% at all times. The company has initiated talks,” said one of the persons mentioned above, adding valuations for the deal may be around 10 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda), in line with similar transactions in the cinema space.  LINK

PVR has also confirmed to us that they are NOT installing CCTV cameras to catch couples making out in the back row. “Night Vision cameras are being installed as an anti piracy measure,” they tell us. Good to hear.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 28 May 2014

Flick restaurant Belfast

UK - An alleged case of E-Coli in a restaurant owned by a Belfast-based cinema. The list of charges is pretty disturbing and disgusting. Read it for yourself. As more and more cinemas focus on premium F&B options, food safety and handling will only become more critical.

Belfast City Council brought charges following an investigation into diners being struck down after eating at the restaurant in Cityside Mall, York Street nearly two years ago.

Up to 170 people were believed to have contracted E.coli linked to Flicks, which voluntarily closed its doors at the time.

Allegations of failing to comply with food hygiene regulations have been brought against Mr McAdam and Ms Tolan as restaurateur and operator.

A case is also being pursued against Movie House Cinema Ltd as the owner of the restaurant. LINK

Hollywood Theatre in Sumner

New Zealand – If you want good cinemas in New Zealand, head to Christ Church.

Reading Cinema at The Palms was named the chain cinema of the year award at a ceremony in Wellington last week, while Sumner’s Hollywood Theatre was named the country’s independent cinema of the year.

It was the fifth time the annual awards had been given out by the New Zealand Motion Picture Industry Council.

Organiser Mark Croft said the cinema of the year awards were voted for by “loyal patrons” through the Flicks.co.nz website.  LINK

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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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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 12 March 2014

QSC at AMC16 Theater 8

Audio: Immersive audio is set to be a big topic at the upcoming CinemaCon, with Dolby and Barco both pushing their Atmos and Auro solutions. But meanwhile there is on going discussion and work towards open standards. A very comprehensive document that charts these efforts have been published in the motion Picture Editors’ Guild website. Titled “Towards a SMPTE Standard - MDA Cinema Proponents Demo Open-Standard Surround-Sound Format“ by Mel Lambert is well worth reading by anyone who wants to understand where this issue stands and is headed, as well as the MDA tests at the AMC Burbank.

To date, the MDA Cinema Proponents Group has held two demonstrations of its proposed format for working group members and other industry professionals at the AMC 16-theatre complex in Burbank. Theatre 8 has been outfitted by QSC Audio Products with a total of 54 behind-the-screen, surround and ceiling loudspeakers, plus subwoofers to create an audio test bed for replaying various surround-sound configurations. All signal processing, including EQ, time alignment and crossovers, is handled by a QSC Q-Sys Core 500i processor; replay is from a Doremi cinema server. Playback material for the special demonstrations comprised a short video produced by DTS, entitled The Escape, accompanied by replay of a single MDA object-based soundtrack that was rendered in real-time through the Q-Sys processor to produce outputs appropriate to targeted loudspeaker channels.

Be sure to then read “MDA Immersive Audio Demo’d, and Openly (Patently?) More” by ever-knowledgeable CJ Flynn about what exactly ‘open’  means and entails.

Event Cinema

South Africa:  Ster-Kinekor will be screening extreme fighting matches in its cinemas this March

EFC AFRICA 28, taking place on Thursday, 27 March, will be screened at select Ster-Kinekor cinemas around the country for the first time, with an eruption of high-definition (HD), larger-than-life MMA action on the big screen.

In a partnership that has been in development for months, EFC AFRICA and Ster-Kinekor announced on Wednesday, 12 March that fight fans throughout South Africa will be able to watch all 13 bouts from every upcoming EFC AFRICA event, live.  LIVE

USA (CA): The Met Opera is not the only event cinema opera company in the US.

And, of opera moving into movie theaters: A series of high-definition films of three recent San Francisco Opera productions at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, which began with Tosca on March 3, will continue with Porgy & Bess on April 21, and Don Giovanni on May 26.

At $12, tickets are about half of the Met HD prices. These screenings mark the return of SFO presentations to the Kabuki, as part of the company’s Grand Opera Cinema Series, also shown in arts centers, independent film theaters, universities and other venues in the Western region of the country and around the world.  LINK

Cine Dining


UK: Upmarket cinema is in vogue, including this pop-up venture in the UK.

Forget your local Odeon, Second Chance Cinema is a stylish cinema experience, held at luxurious locations, dishing up gourmet cinema food.

Taking place at Bethnal Green’s Old Town Hall Hotel, Second Chance Cinema will be screening some Academy Award winning blockbusters this week, with a lineup kicking off this Wednesday…

With Cinema Taster boxes on offer designed by award winner chefs of the hotel, you can wave goodbye to pick ‘n’ mix and say hello to luxury chocolate cigarettes and indulgent posh popcorn served by Second Chance Cinema’s 1950s usherette.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 26 February 2014

Our ‘Finally’ item from yesterday is today’s front page article; the opening of the first major multiplex in Jerusalem. Its opening is a big deal to the city.

Many of Jerusalem’s movie theaters closed over the last two decades, leaving a dearth of silver screens in the city. For Mayor Nir Barkat, who has spent a considerable part of his time in office reconsidering the capital’s cultural landscape, the lack of a real movie theater complex — complete with comfortable seating, available parking and access from various neighborhoods of the city — was a real concern.

“We’ve spent the last five years trying to bring Jerusalem to a new level, and there is no better marketing tool than the movies,” he said. “It gets added to the mix of new cultural centers, like Beit Hansen, Beit Mazia and the First Train Station. Jerusalem has a huge potential and we want to realize that potential.” Link 1.

It sounds like it will be quite a cinema, as no effort has been spared (bar one).

Jerusalem’s Cinema City will open Thursday, after an investment of NIS 250 million. The eight-floor 20,000-square meter entertainment complex, located on the site of the National Car Park across the street from the Supreme Court, has 19 screens, auditoriums for shows and conventions, and a theater.

The center also includes the Museum of Jewish Cinema, the Old Testament City, and a dynamic 3D “Journey to Judaism” and other children’s shows. The cinemas and auditoriums have 3,000 seats altogether, and the commercial space includes over 50 restaurants, cafes, and shops.

The Jerusalem Cinema City’s developers, brothers Moshe and Leon Edri, who own New Lineo Cinema (2006) Ltd., expect to sell two million tickets a year and host 15 million visitors in the first year. Link 2.

But the one thorny issue of whether it can be open on Shabbat (Fri evening-to-Saturday, ie the businest time for most cinemas) has yet to be resolved. There were protesters outside demanding the right to watch films when they wanted, not when Orthodox Rabbis permitted them.

Near the Bible Museum downstairs I see that a few girls are leaving. One of them sits down for a selfie on the horn of a giant rhinoceros statue that protrudes from between her legs. She tells me she’s one of the employees of the architectural firm that built the complex. I ask her what she thinks about the fact that the building didn’t take the Supreme Court into consideration. “We have an opinion but we’ll keep it to ourselves,” they respond diplomatically…

Outside a single protester is left, Ben Mukhtar, 14, from Ramot. “Everybody went home. If they had wanted to fight they would have all stayed. I’m tired of wandering the streets on Friday nights. The Haredim don’t even care that it’s open on Shabbat. Show me even one Haredi who watches ‘The Fast and the Furious,’” he says. Link 3.

Let’s see if the multiplex closes its doors one day after opening.


Australia: Encouraged perhaps by our article of how well exhibitor share prices are doing, Hoyts is once again considering an IPO.

Cinema company Hoyts Group is again considering listing on the sharemarket, tipped to take place sometime later this year. It’s expected that the float will be valued at about $700 million.

The group has an impressive footprint, controlling about 18 per cent of the approximately 2000 cinema screens in Australia. It edges out nearest rival Greater Union to command the largest slice of the market.

As well as its numerical supremacy, Hoyts also owns Val Morgan, the cinema advertising business which controls 95 per cent of the Australian market. Last year, Val Morgan posted a 30 per cent rise in revenue.

But a challenging landscape lies before the company.


USA/China: If not IPO, perhaps sell Hoyts’ cinemas to the Chinese? The rising share price of exhibitors has paid of handsomely for AMC’s Chinese owner.

“China’s second-richest man, Wang Jialin, has seen the value of his controlling stake in AMC Entertainment more than double since he purchased it 18 months ago.

In August 2012, Wang invested about $800 million to acquire 80 percent of AMC — North America’s second largest movie chain — in a $2.6 billion debt-financed deal. That stake is now worth $1.7 billion at Monday’s closing price of $22.47, netting Wang paper gains of $900 million, according to Bloomberg.

Such a result was all but unthinkable back in 2012.”

AMC’s CEO claims that the rising value is down to “a record year for Hollywood films in 2013, improvements in customer service and a rising stock market overall.” He is two-third’s right.

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Christie’s New Projector Is Portent of Battle Ahead

What do you do once the majority of multiplex screens around the world are converted to digital? You mop up the remaining screens and look for new markets. That’s what we can read between the lines from the launch of the new Christie Solaria One projector at ShowEast. The projector, which is based on Texas Instrument’s new S2K DLP Cinema® chipset, 8K to 10K lumens output. While no price is given, it is expected to retail for as much as $10,000 less than Christie’s current cheapest projector. Similar projectors are coming from Barco, while Sony has already announced its cheaper entry into their market space (see previous post).

This is part of a deliberate and concerted strategy to maximise the market uptake reflecting the reality of global digital cinema penetration. With global uptake standing at just over two-thirds, with countries like Norway and Holland already having 100 per cent conversion, the question is which type of territories and cinemas remain. The brutal truth is that this 66-67 per cent represents 85-90 per cent of box office revenue generating screens. There is thus little financial incentive for converting the remaining screens and less money and almost no VPF schemes to do so. So the OEMs are launching products to mop up this last market, which faces it’s digital-or-die moment in the next 12 months.

While it is the most advanced multiplex chain of its continent, it is nevertheless telling who the client flagged in the press release is:

Ster-Kinekor Theatres, the largest cinema exhibitor in South Africa, will be first recipient of the solution, having ordered 198 projectors from the Christie Solaria One line. Ster-Kinekor Theatres CEO Fiaz Mahomed commented, “The Christie Solaria One projectors offer superb quality with a heightened viewing experience for movie lovers. These projectors are perfectly suited for smaller screens and are very cost-effective.”

What will be perhaps more interesting to see is how these new projectors filter through to new types of screening venues. not just Steven Spielberg’s home cinema, but growing mixed-use venues and bijou cinemas become possible with smaller and more affordable projectors. This will inevitably have an effect on booking patterns of film and other content. As the industry approaches the end of its one-for-one analogue-to-digital swap outs, the door to new and exiting digital cinemaa opportunities open.