Daily Cinema Digest – Tuesday 11 February 2014

By Patrick von Sychowski | February 11, 2014 2:18 am PST

USA: In the trial of the Colorado cinema shooter James Holmes, the prosecutor has uncovered some macabre evidence of the pre-mediated nature of the killing spree on the defendant’s camera phone. “EERIE self-portraits that Colorado cinema shooting defendant James Holmes took with his phone hours before the attack could be shown to jurors after the judge ruled that prosecutors can use evidence from the phone at his trial. Other photos on the phone amount to surveillance of the theatre taken up to three weeks before the shootings, prosecutors have said… The phone photos, shown in court last year, included one of Holmes wearing black contact lenses and a black stocking cap, with two tufts of his orange-dyed hair sticking out like a pair of horns.” Link.


Japan: The majority of Japanese did not visit the cinema last year, is the troubling headline of this survey finding of 1,204 people questioned.

Q1: Last year, 2013, how many times did you watch a movie at a cinema?

Never 57.8%
Once to thrice 28.2%
Four to eight times 9.1%
Nine to eleven times 1.8%
Twelve or more times 3.2%

The reasons for this varied low cinema going rate varied, but..

Q2: What was the main reason why you didn’t watch more (any) movies at a cinema last year?

All      (Didn’t attend any movies)
No films I wanted to see 14.5% (25.0%)
Didn’t have time to visit the cinema 14.2% (24.6%)
Not interested in movies 11.1% (19.3%)
No cinemas close at hand 8.2% (14.2%)
No-one to go with 3.5% (6.0%)
Not interested in, hate cinemas 1.7% (2.9%)
Other 4.7% (8.0%)
No reason 42.2% –

… most people couldn’t give a reason. They just did not care. Moreover, most people who went did so by themselves. The most popular genre was Japanese animation. Deeply troubling if you consider that Japan is where most Western countries are headed in terms of the demographics curve. Link.


USA: The selling of alcoholic in multiplexes is creating some inadvertent city by-law violations. “The City Council likely will change a 65-year-old Lincoln ordinance that prohibits children younger than 16 from being in a business that sells alcohol after 9 p.m. without an adult companion. That curfew came to light when the city was reviewing Marcus Theatres’ liquor license application. The theater company wants to sell beer, wine and mixed drinks at its downtown Grand Cinema. Marcus already sells alcohol, or has plans for sales, at several Omaha-area theaters.” Link.


Europe: CinemaCon has not taken place yet, but already we know who will be the recipient of the big award in Barcelona this summer. “CineEurope and UNIC (the International Union of Cinemas) will honor José “Pepe” Batlle, former CEO of Cinesa in Spain and chief operating officer for Continental Europe at Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group, with the UNIC Achievement Award on June 16 at the CineEurope convention in Barcelona, Spain.” Congratulations to him. Link.

Cinema Opening/Closings

USA: Southgate, MI. “MJR Southgate Digital Cinema 20 will receive $2.5 million in upgrades, according to the company’s founder Mike Mihalich. “These improvements will begin this spring and will be completed in time for the busy summer season,” Mihalich stated in a press release. “I am very excited about all these improvements as they will only enhance the theater-going experience at our Southgate location.” The biggest change will be the conversion of one of the larger auditoriums to the “MJR Epic Experience.”” Link.

Qatar: “Qatar Media Services (q.media) is launching the country’s first standalone multiplex in March, as it opens the 10-screen The Pearl-Qatar.The cinema will have an IMAX screen, private lounge, dining atrium and a VIP theatre. The Pearl is the famed artificial island spanning nearly four million square metres. q.media subsidiary Gulf Film, the Middle East’s largest exhibition chain, will operate and manage the multiplex.” Other cinemas are planned in the region by the same operator. Link.

UK: “Film buffs visiting Gloucester Guildhall are in for a treat with new state of the art digital equipment now showing crystal clear movies. Thanks to the upgrade, audiences in the 100 seat auditorium can now view the latest up to date films. Previously projectionists had to struggle with old fashioned 35mm reels of film, depriving fans of the latest releases.” Link

UK: “Blackpool’s world famous Opera House is set to become the most stylish cinema in the North – and Gazette readers are going to get the chance to select a film to show at its big premier. A state-of-the-art cinema screen will be officially launched in the Winter Gardens during the Easter holidays. Operator Crown Entertainment today announced work is to get underway to enable the theatre to show its first feature film in April after planning permission was granted for the installation of the screen – which will be able to show 3D films – and boast surround sound.” Link.

India: Trivandrum, Kerala. “Soon a total of at least six new theatres, perhaps seven, will entice cinema lovers in the city, with their high-tech facilities and top-notch service. The movies themselves would be an added advantage. The newly constructed Kerala State Road Transport Corporation’s (KSRTC) Bus Terminal Complex at Thampanoor will provide 10,000 square feet of its area on rent for developing as theatres.” Link.


UK: The number of cinemas that celebrate their centenary seems to be growing. “Now, Leiston Film Theatre is marking its centenary in appropriate style by putting on a programme of pictures for a humble pound. The county’s oldest purpose-built independent cinema will be charging just 100 pennies for tickets to a selection of upcoming screenings as part of ongoing celebrations marking its 100th year.” Link.


World-wide: Debra Kaufman has written a long and detailed overview of the state of the last remaining film labs across the world, and what their future holds. Well worth reading because even as film unspools as a projection medium, many film-makers cling to it as an acquisition medium. “Sure, some of the biggest movies are still being shot on film, but in a world where film cameras haven’t been in production for years, where only one company still makes motion picture film, and by the end of the year, there may be no more film prints for theatrical distribution, it’s no wonder that the number of businesses who can sustain themselves by processing film has plummeted. In this latest dispatch from the film BUSINESS, Creative COW Contributing Editor Debra Kaufman finds industry leaders asking themselves, will 2014 be the year we see the last film lab?” Link.


History: Old cinemas do not fade away, they get knocked down and converted into supermarkets. So all the more important that their legacy is preserved for historians and sociologists of the future. A small operation in the USA does just that. “Tucked in offices above the glowing bulbs of the York Theatre’s art deco-style marquee in Elmhurst, a tiny association works to document the history of movie palaces that once stood as focal points of Chicago neighborhoods and suburban downtowns. The Theatre Historical Society of America, founded in 1969, relied on volunteers and one paid staff member for years. In the last 18 months, that has changed. Today, four professionals staff the facility, and research fellowships attract scholars from across the country to learn more about the history and cultural influence of movie houses.” This is more than just about nostalgia, it is about social history. Link.

Patrick von Sychowski
Follow me