Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 7 April 2014

By | April 7, 2014 5:23 am PDT

A mere two weeks after CinemaCon, NAB rolled into Las Vegas this past weekend and wasted no time setting its sights on the future of the cinematic experience.

Variety’s always excellent David Cohen was there, for the benefit of all those of you who couldn’t face returning to Vegas so soon. Sounds like there was a wealth of great speakers, including Sony Picture’s recently departed Head of Technology, Chris Cookson.

Cookson told the audience of engineers and technologists from around the world: ”Our job on the technology side is to make the technology disappear, to make applications and interfaces that are so powerful and intuitive that storytellers can focus only on telling their stories.”

Asked by a member of the audience what frame rate will be used in 2064, he said “In 2064 you won’t even ask the question, it’ll be whatever it takes to convey the feeling,” and went on to predict frame rates will even change scene to scene, if that’s what serves the story.

An old friend of Celluloid Junkie was on the panel that followed, injecting some reality checks into the discussion that was drifting in the direction of Occulus and holo-deck virtual relity cinema.

A panel on the future of cinema following Cookson’s speech expanded on his ideas. “Filmmakers are going to have more of an infinite palette to play with: frame rate, high dynamic range… It’ll be whatever you want it to be,” said Rob Hummell, president of Group 47 and a Hollywood tech stalwart. “But don’t think any of this stuff is what’s guaranteed to get audiences into theaters,” he warned, harkening back to a survey in the early 1980s that asked theater patrons which exhibition innovations mattered most to them. “Cupholders” was their answer, said Hummel.  LINK

Concessions

Fish and chips popcorn

UK: Fish and chips-flavoured popcorn? It could only be a Empire Cinema’s ‘What pops your corn?’ competition in the UK.

A HIGH Wycombe man hopes his idea of fish and chips flavoured popcorn will take first prize in an Empire cinemas competition.

Nick Sykes has been shortlisted in the competition to create a fantasy popcorn flavour.

Hundreds of entries have flooded in from across the country from people describing their dream popcorn flavour.  LINK

Event Cinema

Monty Python reunion

UK: The Pythons have decided against taking their stage re-union on tour, but it is like to come to cinemas. No word on whether it will be live or a concert film like Monty Python’s famous Live at the Hollywood Bowl.

Palin has also revealed fans who were not lucky enough to snap up a ticket for the 10 performances might be able to see the stage show in the cinema. He concludes, “I think it’s going to be filmed and go out to cinemas and all that. It will be a great show but it is the last time we’ll be working together.”  LINK

Rumble Seats

CJ 4DPlex cinema seats

USA: Regal will be activating their first seats supplied by Korea’s CJ 4DPlex this summer.

To-date, 58 titles have been mastered in the new format, including Hollywood blockbusters Noah, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Gravity, Frozen, Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. While the United States is new territory, CJ 4DPlex already has installations in 91 theaters throughout 23 countries, including China, Chile, Hungary, Japan, Vietnam, and India. The company is currently planning other U.S. installations.

Regal Cinemas hasn’t yet announced what the surcharge will be for 4D screenings, but American moviegoers will have the chance to sample this latest movie sensation this Summer. The 100-seat L.A. Live Stadium 14 theater is expected to be ready for audiences by late June/early July.  LINK

Business

USA: The Motley Fool’s Daniel Klein asks ‘Is the Movie Theater Business in Jeopardy?’ The article re-hashes the statistics from CinemaCon/MPAA, noting the drop in cinema attendance by teenagers.

“Frequent moviegoers who go to the cinema once a month or more continue to drive the movie industry,” according to the MPAA. These are the people who just like going to movie theaters, the ones who don’t only turn out for event pictures. If this audience loses interest in simply going to the movies because it’s fun to see a movie in a theater, this is very bad news for theater chains such as Cinemark  (NYSE: CNK  ) and Regal Entertainment (NYSE: RGC  ) . Without frequent moviegoers the industry becomes even more reliant on blockbusters — the types of films that bring non-movie people into theaters.

The usual suspects are to blame: Netflix (a recommended MF ‘Buy’), better television like Game of Thrones, expensive popcorn, but also a new-ish theory.

Audiences may also be staying away from films because the nature of entertainment has changed and younger people no longer have as much interest in a medium that only involves sitting in a chair and watching.

“Youth attendance might very well keep declining because of the very nature of viewing a film in a theater,” Barna W. Donovan, Ph.D., and director of the graduate program in strategic communication at Saint Peter’s University, told the Fool. “Theatrical films are the last true passive forms of entertainment in a time when young people are expecting more and more of their media content to be interactive.”

I refer you to our top item of today. Now picture a cinema full of Occulus-wearing pimply teens plugged into Facebook-the-9D-Experience and you have the future of cinema. LINK

Large Format

Luxe RealD

Russia: RealD has opened the first of its Imax-baiting Luxe cinemas at the Grand Canyon multiplex in St Petersburg.

First introduced by RealD at CineEurope 2013, LUXE features massive screens, ultra bright 2D and 3D content, enveloping audio and luxury seating. The auditoriums allow exhibitors to show movies in 2D or 3D.

Robert Mayson, managing director of RealD Europe, said: “With this initiative, we aim to unify the exhibition community under a single PLF brand, with one set of technological standards, as well as create a home for all our future innovations in cinema technology.”

Further LUXE auditoriums will roll out across selected cinemas in Moscow and St Petersburg later this year.  LINK

Law

UK: Fortunately this had a happy ending. No word on whether they objected to Noah.

A HAMPSHIRE cinema has now been reopened after it was evacuated this afternoon following reports of a suspicious letter being received.

Police were called to the Reel cinema in Fareham just before 2pm after staff received the suspicious post.

The building was emptied and cordoned off as officers carried out a search of the building. The cordon has now been taken down and police have left the scene.  LINK

Design

 Kronverk cinema

Russia: This stylish cinema in Moscow caught our eye.

Kronverk Cinema is a leading cinema network on the Russian market. It encompasses 15 cinema theaters in major cities in Russia (including 8 in St. Petersburg) and 1 in Ukraine. Kronverk, strengthening its market position and ensuring its good reputation among viewers, consistently implements its strategy of development through improvement of the quality of services and introduction of global standards. This was the reason why the brand turned to Robert Majkut Design studio – with a task to create a new standard model for cinema facilities that could be implemented in the network cinemas. The new standard was to elevate the culture of multiplex cinemas to a very high level, previously unknown in Russia.  LINK

Health & Safety

Golden Screen Cinema Malaysia

Malaysia: I’m not sure if it is better or worse to be bitten by a rat in a cinema than by a spider.

It was a painful night out for Chrisanne Chin after her toe was bitten, presumably by a rat, while watching a movie at Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) at the Mid Valley Megamall in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

Chin felt a sharp pain on her toe and immediately cried out just as the movie was at its climactic end.

She was shocked to see blood oozing from her toe when the lights came on.  LINK

Cinema Opening/Closings

Belmont Filmhouse

UK (Scotland):  The spin-off from Cineworld’s Picturehouse is now complete for Aberdeen’s newest independent cinema.

The former Belmont Picturehouse on Belmont Street will now be known as the Belmont Filmhouse.

The Centre for the Moving Image took the cinema on after the Competition Commission ruled Cineworld’s ownership of the Belmont gave it a near-monopoly in Aberdeen.

CMI already owns the Filmhouse cinema in Edinburgh and manages the Edinburgh International Film Festival.  LINK

Hippodrome cinema

UK (Scotland): Scotland’s oldest purpose-built cinema will re-open as the nightclub seeks to extend its licence to use it for film screenings for under-18s. Social media reactions have been positive.

Colin Myles Hunter commented on the potential of the project: “This is a fantastic idea, need to focus on the need and the business case, new movies, old classics, even dual language movies with Scottish subtitles, we are so lost for this service since the Palace in James street.”

Ross Bull also welcomed the news but added a note of caution: “Arbroath has seen multiple attempts to bring a cinema back to the town in recent years. All of which attempted to sustain themselves on weeks-after-release mainstream movies and all of which predictably fell by the wayside. The only example I can think of where an independent cinema has been able to survive on this model is The Oban Phoenix.”  LINK

Corby new Savoy cinema

UK: A great photo-op as groundbreaking starts on the new cinema in Corby. Maybe a tad optimistic to already have the popcorn ready.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Monday (April 7) to make the start of work on Corby’s new six-screen Savoy cinema on the former Tresham College site in George Street.

The cinema, expected to open in February 2015, will have seating for 900 people.

James Collington, managing director of Savoy Cinemas, said: “We intend to provide the people of Corby with the very best cinematic experience, from the picture quality right through to the seating and interior design.  LINK

Finally

Krishna Cinema

The travelling cinemas are disappearing from south India. This slideshow captures a few of the last ‘tent cinemas’.

The disappearance of the travelling cinema from our cities and their outskirts has been gradual, yet near-complete. As the real estate boom consumes the countryside at will, and any vacant land is swiftly built upon, the pleasure of watching a film under the open skies is all but lost. Seen along with the rise of the multiplex, the folding up of such cinemas also suggests the end of film-watching as the experience of an inclusive community. Where tent cinemas were once associated with afternoon shows of Bhakta Kumbhara (Kannada) and Maya Bazaar (Telugu), there is something furtive about them today, and it is perhaps only at night that they come into their own. These photographs attempt to capture tent cinemas as they are today in Bangalore — surviving, away from the glare of the metropolis, in crevices where the law doesn’t bother to reach, and where a faint whiff of illegality hangs in the air. (Pradeep KS is a designer and photographer at Time Out Bengaluru)  LINK

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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