Daily Cinema Roundup – Tue 21 April

By Patrick von Sychowski | April 21, 2009 4:48 am PDT

– Despite a proliferation of new multiplexes in the major cities, China still faces a massive cinema shortage reports Xinhuanet. ““Many cities in the western regions still don’t have modern cinemas with multiple screening rooms,” Mao Yu, vice president of the SARFT told Xinhua. Mao said, a total of 2,860 counties across the country have no cinema at all, which “severely” limited the development of the country’s film market. Statistics from the SARFT show that, the country’s box office for the first quarter of 2009 totaled 1.25 billion yuan (about 183 million U.S. dollars), a year-on-year increase of 50 percent.” Chinese cinema growth could thus leapfrog western in terms of going digital by installing digital but no analogue from day one.;

– Heather (Rollergirl) Graham’s latest film “Baby On Board” will release in D-Cinema and E-Cinemas in the US. Distributed by Angry Monkey Entertainment (AME), note the angry language when it comes to the technology issues. “AME implements encoding and digital compression technology to conform film releases to a high standard approaching the quality of D-Cinema – without costly licensing fees and exclusive equipment contracts that penalize exhibitors through bad profit-participation agreements. E-Cinema theaters, which today greatly outnumber D-Cinema installations, circumvent D-Cinema’s corporate licensing restrictions and subsequent revenue loss to theater owners. As reasonably-priced HD projectors and servers allow smaller regional theaters to embrace E-Cinema, affordable content can extend the use of these installations beyond pre-shows and corporate presentations.” No word on which E-Cinema network will be targeted (NCM Fathom? Emerging Pictures?);

– Carmike and Screenvision (NOT Bigger Picture, interestingly enough) will be bringing stand up comedy to the big screen. “STAND-UP 360 will be delivering a series of feature-length stand-up comedy performances recorded live at the Broadway Comedy Club in NYC.” This is perhaps not such a big deal, given the past 35mm releases of “Eddie Murphy Raw” and “The Original Kings of Comedy“;

– India’s Adlabs has been piping Bollywood films to the US over Relaince Globalcom’s fibre optic network. From Variety. “Adlabs also plans to bring movies and alternative content from India and other foreign-language territories to niche auds in Reliance’s American theaters. Adlabs’ Big chain owns 21 theaters with 166 screens in the U.S., targeted at areas with large immigrant communities. The entire chain should be converted to digital production within 18 months. Adlabs has already used the Reliance Globalcom network to send recent Indian pics “Ghajini,” “Luck by Chance” and “Delhi 6″ to screens in New Jersey and California.” Press release here. [Full disclosure: I was involved in setting this up and running it];

Hollywood distributors appear to be supporting their Indian colleagues in postponing releases of new titles to Indian multiplexes according to Businessofcinema.com. “A source informs that Fox Star Studios has also postponed the release of its upcoming flick X-Men 4: Wolverine, which was to release in India on 1 May. Warner Bros India was looking at releasing two Hollywood films in Bombay and Delhi on 17 April. However, these movies are not playing at any multiplexes as of 20 April.” US anti-trust laws means that the Hollywood distributors cannot formally join in the strike/boycott/non-release;

– In a sign of the time,s Hollywood studios are cutting back on adverts for new releases in printed newspapers, according to the LA Times (which must be worried). “While studios, many of which have remained fairly loyal to print advertising, have been running smaller movie ads in recent years, Fox has made a bolder break with tradition, releasing four movies this year alone where the studio has run minimal newspaper ads or, in the case of “Dragonball” and “Street Fighter,” released in late February, no ads at all.” More fodder for the name-says-it-all NewspaperDeathWatch blog?;

– UK’s Cinema Advertising Association has published research that people still intend to spend money going to the cinema. “The research, which was carried out at the end of last year, found that 62% of those surveyed said they planned to spend the same amount on cinema tickets as they did before the credit crunch.” A quarter of the 3,000 people surveyed said that they had made repeat visits to a cinema to see the same film.;

– French cinema circuit CGR has signed a deal with RealD to roll out 3D widely. From the press release, “This is another example of CGR Cinemas seizing opportunities first, which make it one of the pillars of French film exhibition today. This collaboration will allow us to take advantage of upcoming 3D films beginning with Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” said Jocelyn Bouyssy, chief executive officer of CGR Cinemas.” No word on how many systems will deployed and no mention or aknowledgment of integrator Arts Alliance Media;

Patrick von Sychowski
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