Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 26 February 2014

By Patrick von Sychowski | February 26, 2014 3:11 am PST

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.


New Zealand: Staff in this NZ cinema are still waiting to get paid after it closed its doors.

“Young Upper Hutt workers are being offered “forlorn hopes” rather than a pay cheque following the closure of Ascot Cinema.

Staff employed by temporary boss Bob Bailey are facing an extended wait to pay day after the curtains went down on the cinema complex in late January.

Rory McGregor is the father of one of eight staff who are each owed at least $1000.”



USA: A very detailed and well written article on the length of trailers and the thorny issue of adverts from Fargo’s local paper.

Decades ago, theaters often could pick which trailers its patrons would see, he said. But now, especially with major releases from Hollywood studios, trailer placement is determined by marketing departments, not local movie theaters.

While 12 to 15 minutes of pre-film commercials used to be the norm, Solarski said it’s now more like 15 to 18 minutes.

Marcus Theatres as a company has been able to set some of its own rules, he said. For example, its cinemas won’t air R-rated trailers before a PG movie, even if the preview is approved for PG audiences.

But a venue like West Acres Cinema, which primarily plays the biggest new films, has to deal with more restrictions than the indie releases that make up many of Fargo Theatre’s offerings, he said.

Fargo Theatre Executive Director Emily Beck said the independent venue has made a conscious effort to generally only show three trailers per screening, which is how they manage to an average of 6 to 8 minutes of previews before each movie.

That’s not always the case – several Academy Award-nominated movies now showing at the Fargo Theatre have required trailers.

Worth reading in full. Link.


South Africa: The power of cinema when it comes to advertising should never be forgotten, but also not taken for granted:

As a reminder of the power of the big screen, Cinemark recently held a cinema junket for marketing professionals, creatives and media agencies at the Ster-Kinekor Preview Theatre.

Ster-Kinekor took the opportunity to update the audience on its developments. Cinema in South Africa enjoyed a robust 2013 with strong growth seen in December and January.

Audiences appear to be attracted to both the improved quality of films as presented in the new digital projection format and the greater quantity of 3D screens for 3D content. The company has completed its digital conversion and reports that digital technology has had a profound impact on the cinema viewing experience.


Digital Death Watch

USA: Another single-screen cinema, this one in Arlington WA, looks set to close as it is unable to make the transition to digital:

The historic Olympic Theatre, one of the last single-screen movie theaters in Snohomish County, is closing.
Norma Pappas, 62, who has been running the theater mostly by herself for 37 years, said there is no definite closing date, but it is coming soon.
“As soon as we run out of movies on film,” she said. “It’s week to week right now.”
This week she is showing “Saving Mr. Banks.” On March 7, she has “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” lined up. Beyond that, she doesn’t know.


USA: Here is a 98-year old cinema, also in Washington State, that won’t make the transition either:

The North Olympic Peninsula’s oldest continuously operating cinema will close for good Sunday night.

The lights will go down for the last time at Port Angeles’ Lincoln Theater at 132 E. First St., which opened in 1916, for showing its final two films: “RoboCop” at 7 p.m. and “Frozen” at 7:10 p.m.

Bryan Cook, general manager of Wenatchee-based Sun Basin Theaters, which owns and operates both Deer Park Cinemas on the east side of town as well as the downtown Port Angeles landmark, announced the closure Tuesday because of costs associated with converting from 35 mm film to digital projection.



India: The opening of India’s first cinema museum has been delayed. Again.

Mirror had reported that the country’s first National Museum for Indian Cinema would open on February 22. But it could not keep its date with history. According to a source, on the day the article appeared, February 18, a call from Centre informed the museum officials that they’d have to postpone the inauguration.

It was due to open in May 2013, but the date was pushed back. This hasn’t stopped it from giving tours to journalists and talking itself up in the press.

Not only that but plans to show silent cinema with live music and sessions by eminent directors who will relate their shooting process, are on the cards as well. The Jehangir Bhownagary Bhavan located at the left of the museum will be the decided venue, for its 200-seating capacity and multipurpose function. The inauguration of both venues will take place simultaneously as soon as the Ministry of Culture gives it a nod.

No word on when that might be. Link.

Cinema Opening/Closings

UK/N.Ireland: “An £8m investment that would create 200 jobs will attempt to revive the fortunes of one of Northern Ireland’s biggest retail parks. The Outlet in Banbridge was opened in 2007 at a cost of £70m, but almost a third of its shop space is vacant. Planning approval is now being sought to switch part of its use from retail to leisure. The proposals would create an eight-screen cinema, a large children’s indoor play centre and two restaurants.” Link.

USA: “Movie goers in our area will soon have a brand new, state of the art place to see the latest features. Rogers Cinema in Stevens Point [WI] is in the process of building a new, 232 seat theater which will be able to play both 3D and 2D films. The addition was supposed to be completed this month, but the bad weather has pushed the opening back until at least April. The president says it’s one of the most exciting projects the company has ever taken on.” Link.

Australia: “BLOCKBUSTER development could soon tower over the Eldorado 8 cinemas at Indooroopilly if United Cinemas Australia’s vision is approved. A development application for the site was received by Brisbane City Council in December. It proposes two residential towers at 21 and 16 storeys, the expansion of the cinemas, a bowling alley, sky bar and retail on the ground level. An eight-level basement car park with 803 spaces would provide for the 403 units above.” Link.


Hong Kong/USA: GDC has issues a press release touting just how reliable its servers are.

“GDC Technology Limited (“GDC Technology”), a world leading digital cinema solutions provider, is pleased to announce that Broadway Circuit, one of the largest cinema circuits in Hong Kong with 62 screens in 12 theatres currently, observes extremely reliable operations in 2013 as it leveraged GDC Technology’s servers and services for its digital cinema deployments. In over 150,000 performances last year, GDC Technology has successfully delivered 99.99% uptime for Broadway Circuit.”

A 0.01% failure rate of 150,000 works out to 15 affected/lost shows. Link.

Immersive Audio

India: Barco’s Auro continues to make inroads in India.

Auro 11.1, the revolutionary sound installation by visualization solution leader Barco, continues its rise in India’s thriving cinema industry. Anu Ega, one of the theaters in the EGA Cinema multiplex in Chennai City also chose to engage with its audience in natural, immersive sound.

Throughout its existence, the now 30-year-old EGA cinema house has always been committed to providing its visitors with a premium movie going experience. Whether it’s the comfort provided by each of the 246 seats in the re-furbished auditorium, the ample parking space, the available food or the crisp, clear images projected on the screen by a Barco projector, the EGA staff is constantly catering to the latest needs of the local movie aficionados.



UK/Wales: Seems like Centenary Cinema Celebration (CCC) is nothing to brag about these days; this remarkable cinema in Wales is celebrating its 120th birthday:

The Market Hall Cinema, in Brynmawr, will mark the occasion with an all night cult movie showing on Friday, February 28…

Market Hall manager Ralph Price said: “Queen Victoria was still on the throne when we opened.



Q: Do you know what razor blades and cinema D’s have in common? A: Apparently you can never have too many. Just like Mach 3 razors just don’t shave you enough, so 3D isn’t enough ither. 4D? That is so last year. 5D? Not even close. Get ready for 7D!!

7D cinema amplifies the 3D film experience with high tech seats and special effects that simulate the weather and the onscreen action.

Film options include diving on a reef, taking a tuk-tuk ride through the streets of China or taking off into space wearing 3D glasses and sitting in a six or nine person simulator.

With no set session times, guests are able to show up any time during opening hours and select from the ten films on offer.

Why not show ‘Gravity’ this way and have the oxygen sucked out? That one’s on me. Link.

Patrick von Sychowski
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