Daily Cinema Digest – Tuesday 4 March 2014

By | March 4, 2014 10:41 am PDT

“A grocery store and a cinema are two things that are a foundation for good downtowns.” – David Gordon, professor at School of Urban and Regional Planning at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada

We don’t normally cover home cinema here at Celluloid Junkie, but when Imax and Prima Cinema start delivering first-run films directly to the homes of the 1%, it is worth taking notice. Imax had previously announced intention to target home, though it was expected to focus on the elites in emerging markets like China, but have already completed their first US installation:

Mega-movie giant Imax Corp. installed its first signature curved, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling screen in a home theater in Los Angeles in November. The cutting-edge system, including 4K ultra-high-definition technology — four times more crisp than high definition, or HD — and laser-aligned surround sound, starts at $2 million. … Some homeowners may erect a separate building specifically for the home theater, as was the case with the one installed in November. But, typically, there’s no space crunch. “We’re catering to a fairly elite crowd who generally do have enough space within their existing home — or they’re in the process of building a new home,” Lister said.

No surprise there. Meanwhile the first-run-movies-to-the-home operator Prima Cinema (in which Imax recently acquired a stake) has so far only signed up Universal and Paramount, as well as several smaller studios. Their system and films don’t come cheap.

Prima’s technology alone costs $35,000 to install. That’s about $5,000 to $10,000 more than the typical cost of an entire home theater. Prima insists that homeowners have certain accouterments, including a sophisticated projector and at least a 100-inch screen. The movies don’t come cheap. Prima Cinema charges $500, or $600 for a 3-D film, for each viewing.

Freedman Home Cinema

Karen Freedman In Her Pricy Home Cinema

The target is not so much the 1% as the 0.1%, identified as: executives, entrepreneurs, heads of investment funds, sports team owners, celebrities and pro athletes. For the couple in question (and pictured above):

Karen and Jeffrey Freedman spent about $500,000 last year to join two rooms in their 7,000-square-foot, five-bedroom Los Angeles home, structurally reinforce the new space and build their soundproof theater. That included installing the Prima technology. The Freedmans’ theater was designed by VIA and Paradise Theater. Karen Freedman is an asset manager for a commercial real-estate firm; Jeffrey Freedman is an entertainment industry executive.

Jeffrey is a lawyer for CAA, to be precise. Looks like the type of swish screening room studios have. Surefire way to impress your friends and clients. LINK

Business

Bubbelbad Bioscoop

Netherlands: Hot Tub Movie Club, the London phenomenon, is soon coming to Amsterdam. From 6 to 9 March you can, along with five friends soaking in one of the 21 hot tubs in the Hot Tub Movie Club. This is also the largest direct hot tub event ever organized. For the ultimate cinema where to make is also thought to be a waiter service to the hot tub and the movie will appear in two cinema screens. A film Benelux March 6 bites the ball rolling with the film premiere of Best Night Ever. LINK

Event Cinema

Odeon Cinema in Swadlincote, UKUK: A fairly routine local paper announcement about event cinema screening in the local Odeon has some interesting nuggets of information about the exhibitor, which does not publish financial results or discloses performance information to shareholders.

It comes at a time when the cinema chain has also closed a deal to screen live sporting events at the venue such as the World Cup later this year, rugby and cricket matches.

And

“Odeon Plus brings that unique cinema experience to everything you love. “Now people can enjoy sport, music and theatre on the big screen, often beamed live in by satellite and always using the latest state-of-the-art sound and digital projection technology.” The scheme has been such a success that the Swadlincote site had to show the live stream of War Horse in two screen as demand for tickets was so high.

And

The move to screen theatre and sport at the venue has resulted in a 110 per cent rise in ticket sales.

So are we to interpret this as meaning that even cinema has MORE THAN DOUBLED ticket sales in this Odeon multiplex? While Vue may have reported a 50% increase in event cinema attendance, I can’t see this sort of growth happening at any Odeon site. LINK

Canada: London’s Royal Opera House will be seen on screens all across Canada this spring.

Canada’s independent cinemas, performing arts centres, colleges, and universities are about to be introduced to the unbridled creativity of Britain’s beloved Royal Opera House, which brings its world-renowned opera cinema season to Canada this month. The ROH opera season is presented in partnership with Arts Alliance Media, Mr Wolf, and MEI Events International Inc. — who are collaborating to bring an extensive roster of productions—From Wagner to Verdi—filmed live from the iconic Covent Garden stage of the beautiful Royal Opera House, to Canadian screens.

The ROH Cinema Season now reaches over 1,000 screens in 40 countries. LINK

Netherlands: Ahead of the launch of the Breaking Bad DVD box set, fans can indulge in a marathon at the cinema.

De allerlaatste acht afleveringen van de hitserie zullen vier dagen vóór de officiële DVD release in de bioscoop draaien. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment organiseert in samenwerking met Pathé de Breaking Bad marathon. Fans kunnen op 15 februari van 10:00 tot 17:30 genieten van de laatste delen van de hitserie. LINK

Anniversary
The Lafayette Theater - Suffern NY
USA (NY): A single-screen cinema-turned-arts centre north of NYC is going strong as a community centre.

The Lafayette Theater, the last single-screen movie theater in Rockland County, turns 90 this month. The Lafayette opened on March 3, 1924, at the height of the silent film era. The first film to play was “Scaramouche,” a swashbuckler directed by Rex Ingram. Tickets cost a quarter. The 942-seat theater has architectural significance as the work of Eugene DeRosa, one of the most influential theater designers of the era whose commissions included the Apollo and Broadway Theater. LINK

Concessions Popcorn Combo Deals

Australia: Lifehacker Australia is asked whether cinemas are legally required to display pricing of individual items, as opposed to combo deals. They’re not.

You don’t need unit pricing to work out if you’re being overcharged at the movies. It’s cinema food — of course you’re being overcharged! But to answer your question, a cinema chain has zero obligation to display specific pricing information to customers. Back in 2009, the ACCC introduced compulsory unit pricing in a bid to make comparison shopping easier for consumers. However, the law only applies to large supermarkets and online food stores. Cinemas are not required to provide unit pricing or to price items individually. In other words, they’re free to push combo deals to maximise profits and can basically charge whatever they like. That said, most cinemas will happily sell you individual food items outside of the advertised combos. If you just want a single popcorn or choc top, all you need to do is ask. LINK

Business

Sunny Leone In Ragini MMS2

India: Adult-star-turned-Bollywood-actress Sunny Leone’s latest film is not appreciated by all.

Some right-wing groups have threatened managers of two reputed cinemas here not to show “Ragini MMS2”, co-produced by Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor and starring Sunny Leone, saying that it is against Indian culture. Police said that managers of Big Cinema situated in Ansal Plaza Mall in Vaishali area and PVR Cinema situated in EDM in Kaushambi area of Ghaziabad recently received blood-written letters threatening them of dire consequences if they showed ‘Ragini MMS2‘ which is scheduled for release on March 21.

In old days distributors would themselves send such fake letter to drum up publicity, but that’s most likely not the case here. LINK

Cinema Opening/Closings

Canada: St John has already lost one iconic cinema and may soon lose another.

There are fears that Saint John’s Paramount experience may play out the same way in Edmonton. Its Paramount Theatre, which opened in 1952 on Jasper Avenue, has been home since 2006 to the City Centre Church, which leases it on a month-to-month basis. The building’s landlord, Procura, has tried to find a new entertainment tenant for the 818-seat theatre to no avail. If it doesn’t find one soon, the company will have no choice but to knock it down, too. LINK

The article is long and detailed on the dynamics of down town cinemas and issues in regenerating urban centres. Well worth the read.

Censorship

Turkey: Another cinemas has banned a Danish attention-seekers latest two-part cinema offering. We cut off his publicity oxygen supply right HERE. (NO LINK)

Finally

Natalie STFU In The CinemaMore people should get this upset about others talking in the cinema during the film. Not everyone might write a description quite as detailed and funny about it though. “ALL I WANT IS FOR YOU TO KINDLY STFU IN THE CINEMA

About 10 minutes later, I had just about had it. I was at that point picturing myself frog-marching them out of the cinema and giving them a stern ticking-off when I could take it no more.

“Please! Can you just SHUT UP?” I mouthed theatrically at the main offender. “Come on. Just BE QUIET,” I begged, while doing the universal hand signal for “piping down.” This may have been a bit aggravating of me, but SERIOUSLY, come on. Who goes to the cinema to talk bollocks about whether “Sarah is actually going to dump Gary for Shane”? Why? Why. At this point it became apparent that this girl hadn’t been told to be quiet very often, and she practically lurched at me out of her cinema seat and told me, “Shut the f#$k up you f#$king bitch.”

They did shut up after that though, which was nice. The column has attracted 182 comments. Not all of them supportive.

Patrick von Sychowski
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Patrick von Sychowski

Patrick was a Senior Analyst at Screen Digest, went on to launch the digital cinema operations of Unique and Deluxe Europe, then digitised Bollywood at Adlabs/RMW, and now writes, consults and appears on panels about cinema all over the world.
Patrick von Sychowski
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