Daily Cinema Digest – Tuesday 22 April 2014 (post-Easter Bumper Issue)

By Patrick von Sychowski | April 22, 2014 2:28 am PDT
ABC Brussels cinema

Belgium: Save the Brussels ABC! One of the last 35mm adult film cinemas in the world closed last year when the ABC in Brussels shut its doors.  There is now a campaign to save it and turn it into an art-house cinema with exotic flare.  You can donate by PayPal. The campaign is 47% towards its target.

For over 40 years the ABC cinema screened adult films from 35mm – one of the last such cinemas not to have converted to digital – but in 2013 it shut its doors for the final time.

Earlier this year, a group from three of Belgium’s leading film and heritage organisations – independent cinema and archive Cinema Nova, festival organiser and programmer Offscreen/vzw Marcel and movie theatre heritage specialist La re?tine de Plateau – devised an ambitious plan to rescue the ABC for a life after porn.

Drawing on their experience, they believe that the ABC is the perfect size for repertory screenings and intimate-scale live events, and so they created the CINEACT Foundation, to raise €60,000 (approximately £50,000 / $83,000) to take out a year-long lease on the ABC.  LINK

Palace Theatre Orpheum Los Angeles

USA (CA): A great example of how to bring back a cinema from the dead and make it relevant for a new age and neighbourhood is provided by the former Orpheum (what an appropriate name) in Downtown Los Angeles, first opened in 1927 but in decline for a long time.

It stopped showing films 25 years ago, and then became the base for notorious television evangelist Gene Scott, who passed away in 2005. The entire building was sold in 2011 and earlier this year opened as the newest branch of the Ace Hotel. The upstairs offices were converted into bedrooms and the elaborate cinema at the core of the building was reopened with a Valentine’s Day show from Spiritualized.

As well as music, bringing movies back to the cinema was core to the brand’s rejuvenation of the building. The Ace got in touch with Cinespia, the Los Angeles-based classic movie screening organisation, to help. Cinespia founder John Wyatt had previously hosted one-off shows in the Downtown cinemas he calls “vintage jewels”, including La Dolce Vita at the ornate Los Angeles Theatre and Blade Runner at the Million Dollar Theatre, situated across from the Bradbury Building, which is featured heavily in the film. “I got really excited, one, because nobody was going to turn the building into loft apartments and two, because they were an interesting brand who might want to take some risks,” explains Wyatt.  LINK


Wanda Cinema logo

China: China’s (and the world’s) biggest cinema operator Wanda has major plans for an IPO this year.

China’s top cinema chain Wanda Cinema Line Co. is planning to raise 2 billion yuan ($321 million) in an initial public offering ahead of a listing in Shenzhen, in a deal that could be one of the country’s biggest IPOs so far this year.

China’s biggest cinema operator in terms of box office takings plans to sell up to 60 million yuan-denominated A shares to fund the opening of new cinemas and to supplement working capital, according to a preliminary prospectus posted late Monday by the China Securities Regulatory Commission.  LINK

Imax China

China: Imax has announced a three-way partnership for the delivery of premium Hollywood and Chinese content to the home. No word on any actual Hollywood studio content partnerships or windows for “theatrical” content in the home, which will be the most critical component, if the venture is to have any success. But it is not due to launch until 2015, so plenty of time still.

IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX; TSX: IMX) and TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings Ltd. today announced a joint-venture partnership with Wasu Digital TV Media Group (WASU) as part of their IMAX TCL home theatre initiative. As one of China’s largest digital content providers and one of five operators approved by the state to deliver multimedia content to the home, WASU will license and distribute IMAX-enhanced Hollywood and Chinese current theatrical and other content to the IMAX-TCL premium home theatre system.

The deal builds on the 2013 joint venture agreement between IMAX and TCL to design, develop and manufacture a premium, fully integrated home theatre system that is expected to launch in China and select other global markets in 2015. Today’s agreement is a significant milestone in the IMAX-TCL initiative that will enable the delivery of a wide array of premium, wholly differentiated IMAX content in the home.  LINK

Cineworld Parnell St Dublin

Ireland: Dublin’s most profitable cinema has been sold to a consortium of UK real estate investors.

The Cineworld Complex on Parnell Street in Dublin has been purchased by Orion Capital Managers and Quadrant Estates.

In a statement, Quadrant and Orion said the property had been “fitted out to a very high standard” and presented an “interesting” project.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but it is understood the final sale price was in the region of €23m – just below the original asking price.  LINK

Village roadshow Graham Burke

Australia: The AUS $20 cinema ticket price is defended by the co-head of Village Roadshow cinema chain, who blames high wages (and illegal downloads):

 The price of movie tickets in Australia has come under scrutiny with the top price of an ordinary ticket hitting $20 in some cinemas.

”It’s more like $17 and $18 [a ticket] and there’s loads of discount available,” Mr Burke said.

”In Australia we pay approximately $23 an hour for our people; in America, where we operate cinemas, it’s $8 an hour.  LINK

Interestingly the article notes that premium ticket “Gold Class is the fastest-growing area of Village Roadshow’s business.


USA (CA): Meanwhile ticket prices went down slightly in the first quarter of this year in the US.

The average cost of a movie ticket fell 4.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014, to $7.96, compared to a hefty $8.35 in the prior quarter, according to the National Association of Theater Owners.

It’s typical to see a drop-off in the average ticket price following the year end-holidays, when there is a proliferation of 3D titles driving up the number.

There was a slight increase in the average ticket price, or 0.3 percent, year over year. In the first quarter of 2013, the average cost of a trip to the cinema was $7.94.  LINK

Turkey flag

Turkey: Box office in booming in Turkey, but worryingly the average age at which people first go to cinema is 29 and frequency lags most western countries at just 0.6 visits per person per year.

The Turkish cinema sector is ever growing. According to the “2013 Cinema Report” recently issued by Box Office, the size of the cinema sector has reached 2 billion Turkish Liras, a 6 percent rise compared to the previous year.

At the same time, the spectator record of all times has been broken. It could be said that the cinema sector is experiencing its golden years with 50.3 million spectators and 446 million liras in revenues at movie theaters. The number of Turkish films opening in 2013 was 88. In the past 10 years, the ratio of the increase in the number of Turkish films is a crazy figure of 372 percent.  LINK


Screenvision logo

USA (NY): Screenvision picked up 50 new advertising clients during its most recent ‘upfronts’, including Apple, Netflix, Google and Spotify, in an attempt to target an elusive demographic.

Movie-theater owners are chasing TV ad dollars by tightening their grip on Millennials.

Screenvision, one of the biggest movie-theater ad sales firm, is touting its young movie-going audience as a way to grab some of the $70 billion that goes to television.

Moviegoers tend to be younger. Twenty percent of moviegoers are 18-to-24-year-olds — the highest level since it began its survey in 2009, according to the Motion Picture Academy of America.  LINK

Film Journal also has an article looking at what is driving cinema advertising in the US, including TimePlay, an interesting competitor to Yummi’s Cinime.


China: The Fourth Beijing International Film Festival held a panel on the ‘Future of Cinema’ and it seems that at least one person there has been listening to Ted Silowitz’s Barc-o-Rama vision:

Dong’s opening speech for the seminar was to create a free and active atmosphere, innovations from screenings, film production and innovation, the development of innovative theater and other aspects put forward their point of view, many of them new and daring ideas. On the future development of 3D movies, he also shared his views. He said that 3D movies is just a transitional form, the future cinema will be a panoramic movie, it will bring consumers the most authentic, the most extreme viewing experience.

For theater innovation management, and the Internet from the theater thinking ACTUATORS combined perspective, put forward their own unique views. He proposed a new concept of “cloud living room”, ie booking online and offline consumption combined together to create a more comfortable scenes and experiences for consumers. Finally, he also used a vivid metaphor to describe the importance of the arrival of the era of big data for the development of the theater: the industrial revolution is “red light”, the information revolution is the “yellow light”, the data revolution is “green.”  LINK

Centenarian Cinemas

Somerville Cinema Bostin

USA (MA): The Somerville Theatre in Boston is celebrating its 100 years in style.

Curated by theater general manager Ian Judge and hosted by Judge and projectionist David Kornfeld, the movie house’s centennial celebration is in full swing with loads of classics from the last century — still to come: screenings of “The Princess Bride,” “The Last Waltz,” “The Departed” and more.

“We wanted something that honored the anniversary and encapsulated it,” Judge said. “We got some amazing movies, the best print of ‘Sunset Boulevard’ I’ve ever seen. I didn’t really know what to expect with attendance. I knew it’d be good for ‘Singing in the Rain’ and ‘Casablanca’ but 90 percent of the films in the 100-day countdown to the May 11 anniversary have made us money.”  LINK

Amazingly, “Other than the seats and the light bulbs, most of what you see in the theater is 100 years old.”

Ritz Theatre Shawnee perfomring arts space

USA (OK): Their first cinema has been turned into a performing-arts space but still hosts the occasional screening, as the Jones Family celebrates a century in the cinema business. (As so often, photo from CinemaTreasures.org)

In 1914, Jake Jones, Sr. purchased the Cozy Theatre in Shawnee beginning a century of movie theatre ownership by the Jones family. To celebrate the centennial in 2014, Ronny Jones, president of Jones Theatres, Inc. and his staff have installed an elaborate historic display at the Santa Fe Depot Museum. Ronny Jones is the grandson of Jake Jones, Sr.

The exhibit will be open to the public during regular museum hours, 10 to 4 on Tuesday through Friday and 2 to 4 on Saturday and Sunday. The museum will be closed on Easter Sunday. Admission to the museum is a suggested donation of $2. The exhibit will run through June 15.  LINK


Canada: This autism-friendly screening scheme attracts about 70 people to each monthly show. Very respectable number.

With the lights turned up and the sound turned down, this isn’t your average movie-going experience.

Then again, it isn’t for the average movie-goer.

For the last three years, occupational therapist Jennifer Nelson has been taking autistic clients to Canyon Meadows Cinema for midday screenings, hoping the less busy time would mean fewer frustrations for fellow movie-goers.  LINK

Shetland cinema

UK (Scotland): The benefit of digital cinema accessibility is that means that it is not geographically confined. Blind and visually impaired cinema goers in Shetland can enjoy it as much as those in London – as long as they know about it.

Phil Hibbert of local charity Vision Shetland said that recent studies have shown that very few people were aware of the benefits of AD, but when they try it, most people give extremely positive reviews. He has tried it out at Mareel, together with Lerwick man Neil Anderson, who is blind.

Mr Anderson, who listens to everything from books to documents for meetings as audio files, described the experience as being very easy to follow. He was impressed that he could listen to the entire atmosphere created by the soundtrack of the film, as well as all the dialogue and descriptions.  LINK


Children cinema 3D

Poland: There is a push to shift age classification responsibilities from distributors to the state in Poland, particularly for trailers.

The Wolf of Wall Street”, the latest hit by Martin Scorsese, reportedly broke the world record in the number of profanity. Shots are in it up 506 times. Film is also saturated with sex scenes, but in Poland it was not marked as directed to an adult audience, but those above 15 years old.

The reason? Currently ages films discretionary determine their distributors. – It’s a bit like road pirates decide speed limits – says Agnieszka Odorowicz, director of the Polish Film Institute.

Institute of child rights advocate Marek Michalak is working on such a law change to categorizing films took the state. Forbidden is to become also emit adult content in blocks of advertising before films for children.  LINK


Peshawar bombing

Pakistan: Two months after the deadly twin terror attacks on cinema, audiences are returning to cinema halls in Peshawar on the back of the hit local film Zargia Khwar Shay (ZKS).

According to some cinema goers, ZKS was all sold out for its first show. ZKS is the second movie of 2014 and stars Lollywood icon Meera. It was initially due for release on February 7, smack in the middle of the two targeted attacks on cinemas in which over 20 people lost their lives.

ZKS is being screened at Arshad Cinema, a sister cinema of Sabrina theatre. The twin cinemas, situated in Khyber Bazaar, were once again adorned with massive hoardings. Posters plastered the walls and busy squares of the city, beckoning invitingly to movie goers to partake in the almost ritualistic pleasure of watching a movie on the big screen.  LINK

Digital Death Watch

Folkestone Silver Screen Cinema

UK: Folkestone’s Silver Screen Cinema is holding a special screening of Toy Story 3 as part of a fundraiser trying to achieve GBP £90,000 to buy digital projection equipment.

It had been hoped that Folkestone Town Council might have been able to provide some of the funding the cinema needs, but a possible deal fell through last month after Mr Lightwing and the cinema’s owner, Alexander Wallace, calculated that it would leave the cinema unable to make any money.

The pair are now trying to raise the cash themselves and have been hugely encouraged by the unexpected swell of public support, which included a petition signed by more than 3,500 people.  LINK

Manilus Cinema upstate New York

USA (NY): This melancholy photo-essay, called ‘Vanishing Americana: The Manlius Cinema’, about the oldest cinema in central New York state (built 1918) tells its own story with pictures instead of words. I strongly recommend seeing it. Amazingly it has made the transition from 35mm to digital!

I stumbled on to this little gem of a movie house as I was returning from an assignment covering lacrosse at F-M high school a few weeks ago. As I drove through the village I noticed this old narrow facade, wedged between two buildings, with pale yellow wooden doors and an old-style hanging sign. It simply read ‘Manlius Cinema.’

The building was so old looking that I thought it was vacant until I noticed two posters on either side of the doors with bold capital letters on top – ‘NOW SHOWING.’

I stopped and went inside. Wow!  LINK


Germany: TZ in Munich has a portrait of the owner of Rex Kino, of the city’s small cinema unlikely to make the digital transition.

” The keep this alive,” says Thomas Wilhelm , “that ‘s tough. ” Thomas Wilhelm is the owner of Rex . A cinema operator with passion , heart and soul , which is genetically determined , as the son of a Munich theater family.

Exactly 50 years ago , in the spring of 1964 , his parents Hermann and Lieselotte Wilhelm opened a cinema in the south of Munich. These were exhilarating times , a few weeks later Lieselotte Wilhelm was pregnant. Son Thomas was great in the movies, with ten he was already manning the box office, later he studied business administration and would then be able to make reasonable amount of money on the job. But he returned to the cinema. In 1996 he took over the by then very rundown Rex on the first floor of the apartment building at the southwest corner of Agricola Place , he renovated and hung a new screen in the movie hall, with its 167 seats from old ties left and right of the old wall lights. Sollner cinema was in the early nineties closed for renovation because of the asbestos.  LINK

Cinema Opening/Closings


France: One of Paris’ most historic cinemas has been saved from demolition and has now re-opened following extensive renovation.

During the golden age of cinema, the room offers 1,195 seats. In the 1950s, it underwent a major update to the standards. Two, three decades later, it becomes a living specializing in Indian and Egyptian films. Decays and then closes. Saved from demolition, the room is an historic monument in 1981. From this date begins the long battle of a handful of moviegoers to revive this temple of cinema.

Thanks to them, who managed to involve in this project much of the neighborhood, especially with the assistance of the City of Paris that financial commitment, the Luxor opened its doors April 17, 2013. A year later, the result is a success.  LINK

Pathe Le Mans

France: Pathe has thrown open the doors to one of its most advanced ever multiplexes ever in Le Mans.

It was open Wednesday, April 23, the day of film releases. But finally this Saturday at 10am, the cinema of the new cultural space Inconjunctions welcome its first audience. Gaumont Pathé group, which creates an average of two multiplexes year, has invested € 4 million in the complex of the Place des Jacobins. The goal is to reach 450, 000 entries from the end of 2014, rising to 600,000 admissions annually in the medium term. The city receives a rent of EUR 600,000.

The arrival of this new competitor may upset other cinemas, starting with the Mega CGR Saint-Saturnin, on the outskirts of Le Mans. Its director hopes the novelty settle quickly. More anxious, the other CGR, The Coliseum, located in downtown Port Street, knows he will struggle to compete with Pathé, but wants to cut short the persistent rumors of closure. For Filmmakers, film “arthouse” Le Mans, the goal is to work in harmony with Quinconces, which are only a few tens of meters. An agreement was signed to this effect with the City.  LINK

Carmike Cinema Manitowoc

USA (WI): So that’s what a stadium seating auditorium looks like while it is under construction. I’ve always wondered. And notice the booth-less space for the projector.

A new Manitowoc movie theater with a screen that will measure three stories tall and feature stadium-style seating will open in early summer.

Developer Peter Allie and his brother, Alex, anticipate the “Big D” auditorium at Carmike Cinemas 10 under construction on the city’s west side will draw movie buffs from Sheboygan to Green Bay.

“It’s going to be an amazing experience for moviegoers,” Peter Allie said of the $6 million movie-restaurant development on South 44th Street.  LINK

Darlington Vue

UK: More details on the new shopping mall and Vue cinema in Darlington.

NEW details of a multi-million pound cinema and leisure complex planned for the centre of Darlington have been revealed as developers look to start building work later this summer.

The Feethams Leisure development, on the site of the town’s former bus station, was announced last year and will include a nine screen Vue cinema and an 80-bed Premier Inn hotel.  LINK

Apollo Laemington Spa

UK: Is this Vue’s oldest cinema? The former Apollo-cinemas building is said to be haunted by the ghost of Edith Devis, the widow of a wealthy man who funded the original cinema that Vue took over.

The £500,000 refurbishment on the 83-year-old cinema in Portland Place is due to be complete on Sunday (April 20), with upgrades also including stadium-style seating, leather VIP seats, a concession stand with an integrated Ben & Jerry’s ice cream vendor and improvements to the foyer and concourse area.

The toilets will also be improved and a disabled toilet added to the ground floor, as well as extra ticket collection machines. All six auditoriums have had new wall treatments and floor coverings.

Cinema manager Craig Manton said: “We know that there is a huge cinema following in the local area and we are committed to providing something for everyone.  LINK


USA (FL): A couple who are part-time residents of St Augustine, Florida, have decided to buy the wonderfully-named local Pot Belly Cinema.

“When we moved here, and after going down to the theater (Pot Belly’s) a few times, I realized it wasn’t open,” Karla said.

“After a while, I encouraged my husband to ask him (Kenneth Pierce) if he would sell it.”

Pierce asked the Wagner’s what they were going to do with it.

“Once we told him we wanted to keep it as a theater, he was willing to talk to us,” Karla said. “I’d like to keep his legacy going.”  LINK

Carmike Cinema logo

USA (FL): Same state but on the other end of the spectrum in terms of types of cinema, Carmike is opening a ten-screener.

Carmike Cinemas, Inc. (NASDAQ: CKEC), a leading entertainment, digital cinema and 3-D motion picture exhibitor, today announced that the Company will open a new 10-screen entertainment complex featuring its ‘Big D’ premium experience in Yulee, Florida (S.R. 200 & Amelia Concourse, Yulee, FL 32097), Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach and surrounding communities. Construction is planned to begin this month for the new location.

The new theatre will be furnished with 10 screens and have total seating capacity for more than 1,700 guests. The BigD, Carmike’s own premium large screen format experience auditorium, will seat 357 patrons. All auditoriums in the leading-edge entertainment complex will be equipped with stadium seating with comfortable high-back rocking luxury seats, retractable armrests and convenient cup holders. The Coastal Cinema 10 will contain large, wall-to-wall screens, DLP digital projection and digital surround sound in all auditoriums.  LINK


Stoplklatka.pl has a long article of things found in cinemas. Far from just lost wallets or spectacles, the list includes animals, weapons and sex toys.

During the gala premiere of “Battle of Warsaw” in one of the cinemas, in addition to the director and the cast, there was also a … horse, who suddenly left the room and left the hall … manure. In one of the screens of the Helios multiplex a hamster was running around. As it turns out, is not the only hamster incident. Once a lady came with a hamster, which fortunately was in a cage, and smuggled him in under her coat  – recalls Margaret Stasikowska-Nov of Czestochowa Illusion Cinema. In one of the cinemas of Helios the staff found … an artificial jaw, and another …  a bed pan.

If anyone thinks that it is difficult to beat that, I will add that in the ladies’ room of a cinema in Poznan was left … two vibrators. Still other cinema can boast the following anecdote: after the film screening service worker saw that one of the clients was still sitting in a seat in the cinema hall. He asked him to leave and then he saw that a girl raising her head from the lower part of the where her boyfriend was sitting.  LINK

If anyone has any good stories of things found in the cinema, please share them in the comments field.

Patrick von Sychowski
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