Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 16 April 2014

By Patrick von Sychowski | April 16, 2014 4:06 am PDT
Phil Knatchbull Curzon

London’s Evening standard does an in-depth piece on British art-house major Curzon Cinema and its visionary CEO Phil Knatchbull.

The Curzon Victoria is part of a £6 million London expansion by the company behind the boutique Curzon cinema chain as it almost doubles the number of screens in the capital from 12 to 20. Curzon World is using other designers to rejuvenate the Curzon Soho and the Renoir in Bloomsbury, and is expanding beyond the M25 into Canterbury. The long-term plan is to have 50 screens at 25 sites.

Chief executive Philip Knatchbull explains he wants the cinemas to grow in importance as a showcase for the upmarket Curzon brand, even as the company diversifies by generating more income from other sources. Film production, cinema distribution and the online streaming of films, with its own Curzon Home Cinema on-demand service, are other parts of Knatchbull’s multi-pronged growth strategy.  LINK

I can attest that Curzon is not just the leading art-house cinema chain in the UK but perhaps one of the top in the whole world. They don’t just kit out their cinemas with the precision of Apple Stores (but less minimalist), but also operate their own day-and-date VOD service, have distributed more Cannes Palm d’Or winning films than any other UK distributor (they say) and even produce their own films. Much like every UK town would like a Waitrose supermarket, so to most high streets there would welcome a Curzon cinema with open arms.


Penthouse Cinema Brooklyn Wellington

New Zealand: An art-house cinema in Sir Peter Jackson’s hometown Wellington won’t be able to serve alcohol over the busy Easter period due to planning restrictions.

The boutique Brooklyn venue applied for the licence to serve alcohol on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, after discovering it was no longer exempt as an entertainment venue since the introduction of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act in December.

Operations manager Kate Larkindale said she was stunned when a letter from the district licensing authority arrived on March 19, telling her she would have to apply for a special licence.

Under the new law, alcohol can be served on “sacrosanct days” – Anzac Day morning, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day – only with a meal, unless an exemption is granted for an “event”.  LINK

(Would it be churlish to point out that Jesus had to make do with drinking vinegar from a sponge up on the cross over Easter?)


Barco laser projector

USA/Belgium: Barco has cleared a major regulatory hurdle in getting US approval from the FDA for its laser-illuminated projectors.

Barco, a global digital cinema leader, is pleased to announce that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted a product variance for its brand-new 6 primary laser 3D (6P) laser-illuminated projector. The FDA has also granted approval for a predefined laser show variance, allowing US-based exhibitors to safely install the 4K Barco laser projector without excessive legal constraints and extra costs.

In this way, exhibitors who install the Barco laser projector do not need to prove compliancy with the same stringent regulations as laser light shows. Thanks to its fully integrated and inherently safe design – featuring unified laser light sources that are housed within the projector – the Barco laser projector prevents direct contact with native laser light, offering exhibitors worry-free operation and ultimate peace of mind.  LINK

Deluxe logo

Scandinavia/Germany: Deluxe Digital Cinema (Deluxe) has partnered Shortcut to roll out its Deluxe Connect point-to-point digital delivery network to Nordic cinemas.

Deluxe Connect is the latest breakthrough innovation in content management from Deluxe, a company with more than 100 years of service to the media and entertainment industry. Deluxe Connect is in line with Deluxe’s aim of providing customers with a solution for point-to-point delivery covering every aspect of preparation and distribution of content for theatrical release.

The Nordic region has a strong theatrical market with healthy admissions for both studio and domestic film product. Deluxe is working with category leader Shortcut to facilitate the roll out of Deluxe Connect in the region. Like Deluxe, Shortcut also enjoys a long history of expertise in post-production and content delivery.  LINK

Screen says that Deluxe and its partner ARRI have decided on which cinemas get to be part of Connect in Germany.

ARRI has selected a group of cinemas to use Deluxe Connect in a series of trials that will help definite optimal workflows for content delivery in the German Speaking area. ARRI and Deluxe are coordinating the installation and offering connectivity and the hardware at no cost to the cinema owners.

It is anticipated that all cinemas will soon benefit from a full-scale implementation.

ARRI’s Harald Schernthaner commented: “We believe that the versatile and mature system architecture, which Deluxe and HP have developed, better supports the special market conditions that prevail in our markets than any of the several electronic systems we have examined and tested.”  LINK


USA (IN): Turns out there are grants being handed out to independent cinemas for other things than just digital projectors.

Cinephiles in northeast Indiana have a reason to celebrate. Cinema Center, the region’s only independent art house theater, has been awarded a grant from the Lincoln Financial Foundation for $17,500 to go toward the organization’s diversity programming and its Lincoln employee benefit package.

Lincoln’s support of diversity programming makes it possible for Cinema Center to bring films that tackle issues, highlight populations, and expose topics that are not seen in films that screen at commercial multiplexes.  LINK

Digital Death Watch


USA (NC): This is what happens AFTER small-town cinemas die, Councils wake up and realize that they want a cinema. So here they decide to ‘recruit’ a new one. Perhaps it would have been cheaper to help digitize the one they had. (Just an idea).

Leaders from McDowell County, the city of Marion, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce and other agencies are hoping to recruit a movie theater and want to work with a consultant who has developed 50 of them, including the one in Morganton.

On Monday, the McDowell County Commissioners talked about the recruitment of a movie theater. Marion and McDowell County have been without one since the recent closing of the McDowell Twin Cinema on the five lane. That theater, which first opened in 1978, was forced to close due to the changing technology of showing movies. Theaters now use digital projectors to show movies and the old reel projectors are becoming a thing of the past. Even old classic movies are being converted over to the digital format. The high cost of converting over to digital has forced many small town, locally owned theaters to close their doors.  LINK

Lux Kino Primus Palast

Germany: This cinema in Germany cannot afford the 150,000 to convert to digital. “Three days of sunny weather and our business is done,” says the owner.

Inzwischen droht indes neues Ungemach. Seit dem vergangenen Jahr gibt es neue Filme nicht mehr analog im Verleih, und die Umrüstung des Primus-Palastes auf digitale Technik für etwa 150 000 Euro erscheint dem Betreiber dann doch zu risikoreich. “Im Prinzip brauchen wir nur drei Tage lang so schönes Wetter, dass niemand Lust auf Kino hat, und schon fahren wir wirtschaftlich vor die Wand”, bringt Karsten Bourdoux die Lage auf den Punkt.

Aber mit analogen Streifen bis zum Entstehungsjahr 2013 und einem Beamer-System für DVDs hofft man trotzdem, weiterhin ein Programm zu machen, mit dem der heute 77-jährige Klaus-Dieter Bourdoux sein Herzblut-Kino noch viele Jahre offen halten und viele auch jüngere Freunde für großes Kino im kleinen Saal begeistern kann.  LINK

Cinema Opening/Closings

Kino Luxus Lichtenstein

Lichtenstein:  This magnificent looking cinema is re-opening after two-year closure. But looks like it will be stricltly 35mm.

Zwei Jahre lang stand es leer. Doch nun geht das Licht wieder an im Clubkino Capitol Lichtenstein! Schon am Samstag wird eröffnet!

Die neuen Betreiber sind Daniel (30) und Tobias Auerswald (34) von der Eventmanufaktur Auerswald (seit 1915). Erst vor drei Wochen hatten die Männer das Kino (Bj. 1927, 99 Plätze) besichtigt. Tobias Auerswald: „Eine Mitarbeiterin der Stadt kam auf uns zu. Wir waren sofort begeistert von dem edlen Flair. Der Samt an den Wänden, die roten Vorhänge, Clubsessel, das Holz!“  LINK

Adelaide Regent Arcade

Australia: The owner of Adelaide’s Regent Arcade is pinning hopes to a revamped cinema attracting footfall back as a quarter of the shops sit empty.

Arcade owner Ginos Group’s property manager George Ginos said he had applied for a grant from Adelaide City Council’s $5 million Rundle Mall “innovation fund” towards overhauling the dormant Regent Cinemas into four boutique-sized, “gold class” theatres for mainstream films.

“We have been put into the second round of applications which is a positive (but) the time frame keeps being pushed out by the council,” Mr Ginos said.

He would not say how much he was seeking but said the council money would help fast track the cinema plan that was first revealed in 2012.

The cinemas could open within a year if the funding comes through.  LINK

Ultimate Picture Palace Oxford

UK: I remember those seats very well from all-night movie marathons during my university days.

Work on installing new seats at the Ultimate Picture Palace in Oxford has been delayed because the manufacturer was unable to provide them on time.

Instead, temporary seats will be put into the Jeune Street cinema, until the new seats go in, but will not have to close again, UPP owner Becky Hallsmith said.

The cinema closed yesterday and will re-open, showing The Lego Movie, on Friday.

National Picture Theatre Hull

UK: Decision has been delayed on the future of the bombed out cinema in Hull, the last building left standing from the Blitz campaign in World War II.

Campaigners from the Hull-based National Civilian World War Two Trust had hoped quicker progress could be made after the council’s cabinet recently agreed to the principle of funding any compulsory purchase move by the planning committee.

The trust ultimately wants to turn the site into a war memorial and an education centre telling the story of Hull’s civilian casualties during the Second World War.  LINK

The cinema was hit during a show of Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. Miraculously everyone in the cinema survived.

Market Hall cinema Brwynmar

UK (Wales): Wales oldest cinema was set to close last year, but a turn-around effort focused on making it the centre of the community has brought it back to life.

The Market Hall, in Brynmawr, was set to shut after Blaenau Gwent Council withdrew its funding in March 2013.

But in June, at the last minute, it was taken over by a new group who had a big passion to save it.

The consortium was headed up by director Peter Watkins-Hughes, and just 10-months later the venue is thriving once again.  LINK

USA (PA): Pittsburgh’s Galleria 6 cinema in Mt. Lebanon will reopen for business April 25.

Carmike Cinemas has completely remodeled all auditoriums in the complex to feature new, premium stadium terrace seating with oversize, high-back, plush rocking seats with retractable armrests and cup holders, the chain announced today.

All theaters will have wall-to-wall screens and state-of-the-art DLP digital projection and digital sound. The new stadium configuration will accommodate 582 seats.  LINK

USA (SC): South Carolina gets an almost-new 10-screen cinema after completion of renovation.

Northridge Cinemas 10 has finished renovating its theaters, according to a press release from the movie venue’s owner.

During the renovation, old seats were replaced with new, high-back seats equipped with push button controls that allow patrons to adjust the position of the seat, according to Southeast Cinemas in Charlotte.

The new seats also have lighted cup holders to make it easier for moviegoers to see them in the dark. Each seat is numbered, enabling patrons to choose specific seats when purchasing tickets.  LINK

Seattle Egyptian cinema

USA (WA): It looks like Seattle’s Egyptian Theatre could be re-opening in time for the Seattle International Film Festival.

As CHS reported earlier this month, SIFF is making preparations for a return to Capitol Hill’s shuttered Egyptian Theatre for its 2014 festival. Tuesday, the marquee went back into motion for the first time since last summer.

We also reported that the movie-focused non-profit SIFF has been the only bidder to take over the old theater long-term as Seattle Central searched for a new tenant.  LINK


Alpna Cinema Delhi

I know that we overdo it a bit with theatre nostalgia here, but it’s a bitter-sweet way to end each Daily. (If you’ve read this far, feel free to email us with suggestions about what else to cover.). Here is a look at cinemas that once were but are no more in Delhi.

Almost every day, some of us drive past them. Almost all of us fail to even acknowledge their presence. Such is the march of time. Yet there was a time in the none-too-distant past that these cement and stone buildings reverberated to the whistles and claps of cinegoers. That was when they used to play the latest action flick from Hindi cinema and the masses used to queue up in the scorching heat of the Capital to lay their hands on a movie ticket; time when Amitabh Bachchan was the king and the likes of Manmohan Desai and Prakash Mehra defined cinema.  LINK

Patrick von Sychowski
Follow me