Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 18 July 2014

By | July 18, 2014 7:09 am PDT

New Zealand – Ticketing specialist Vista has been valued at $188 million. Not clear if US or NZ dollars, but as it is on the NZX bourse most likely the latter, meaning it is would be worth USD $163.4 million.

Investors in cinema software company Vista’s sharemarket float will pay $2.35 for its shares, valuing the company at $188 million.

The price was set following a book build open to institutional investors and retail brokers who had been told to expect the price to fall between $2.10 to $2.70.

Vista, one of a stream of technology companies listing on the NZX, is raising $40m of new capital through its initial public offer. Its existing shareholders are seeking to cash up $52m by selling down their stake in the company to 47 per cent.  LINK

Laxmi Talkies

India – Yet another article noting the loss of single screen cinemas in India as multiplexes march on, with Ranchi (the city in question) having four multiplexes but only three stand-alone cinemas left.

Licensing authority for theatres, Ranchi deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey, says: “We have just issued a licence for a new multiplex in Lalpur. We expect more such theatres to come up in the next few years. The biggest advantage that they have vis-a-vis single-screen theatres is that with multiple screens showing one movie at the same time, the money spent on making the film is recovered in the first weekend itself.”  LINK

Yet it is not smooth sailing for all multiplexes, including this one in Sambalpur that has not opened, despite construction work being finished back in January.

Though its operator Eyelax Films had scheduled to open the multiplex on January 26, it failed to do so as the district administration did not issue the licence.

The town used to have three cinema halls – Ashoka Talkies, Laxmi Talkies and Gaiety Talkies- till pirated CD market spelled doom for their owners. While encroachment by locals forced the Kerala-based owner of the Gaiety Talkies to sell the land to a real estate owner, others are running with old infrastructure. In absence of any option, cine lovers flock the Ashoka and Laxmi Talkies.  LINK

Meanwhile more reports that Reliance ADAG is looking to dump Big Cinemas.

The company is said to be in talks with other multiplex majors like Inox, @PVR_Limited1 Limited and also other PE firms.

As per reports if the strategic sale does not consummate the company would rope in the PE partner to invest in the multiplex chain after being spun off as a separate entity to be listed. LINK

Perhaps Reliance should sell them to Carnival, which is looking to acquire 3,000 screens over the next three years – a figure to be taken not so much with a pinch as a barrel of salt.

Shrikant Bhasi, chairman of the Carnival Group, said that his company is in talks to acquire 175 screens from three separate multiplex operators in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Bhasi did not share details of the plans, but confirmed that consulting firm KPMG is advising the company on the transactions, which he said will be concluded in the next two to three months. “The immediate goal is to have 300 screens,” said Bhasi, who is also a movie producer and has played minor roles in Malayalam films. “My team is already working for a 3,000-screen project.”  LINK

Not sure if they will want screens in southern India where state governments keep setting price controls on tickets and now also concessions.

The Congress government had promised to introduce uniform fares to contain the multiplex lobby in January.

But, in an interview to NDTV, state Information Minister Roshan Baig said, “I used to feel the pinch as a movie-goer. But then we are not paying for the ticket alone. Chennai has uniform rates of Rs. 120 and we wanted to bring the same to control the prices imposed by multiplex owners, but I realized it cannot work. Malls are now turning away from Chennai. But I have ordered multiplex owners in Bangalore to reduce prices of food items because they are very expensive”.  LINK

Chgaplin cinema logo

Kazakhstan – A multiplex operator in the Central Asian state with 17 sites has just received a private equity cash injection.

ADM Capital’s funds, KCRF and KGF, members of a group of funds with the participation of Kazyna Capital Management JSC (owned by National Management Holding “Baiterek” JSC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announce completion of the acquisition of the controlling stake in Chaplin Cinemas network. Investments of the Funds will be aimed at expanding the project as well as developing the competitive and transparent film-distributing industry in Kazakhstan.

“The financing of the Chaplin Cinemas network by these private equity funds will contribute not only to the geographic expansion of our group, but also to the improvement of business processes and enhanced corporate governance. This will have a positive impact on the business generally and make Chaplin Cinemas become one of the 3 top companies in Kazakhstani cinema network”, – commented Ms Sabina Kuzenbayeva, General Director of the Chaplin Cinemas network, with regard to the transaction.  LINK

Event Cinema

Doctor Who Capaldi

UK – The new Doctor Who series is coming to the big screen – but only to the BFI South Bank cinema in London. Unless they chose to expand it to other cinemas. Which, given the success of the 50th anniversary special, they would be mad not to.

Ahead of our major season ’Sci Fi – Days of Fear and Wonder’ commencing in October, the BFI is proud to present the feature-length premiere episode of the new series of Doctor Who entitled Deep Breath. Written by Steven Moffat and produced by Nikki Wilson, this will see Peter Capaldi launch as the 12th Doctor, one of TV’s most iconic roles, alongside Jenna Coleman as his companion Clara.  LINK

Back to the future town

UK – An in-depth interview with Secret Cinema’s Fabien Riggall, as the company prepared for its most ambition series of screenings yet, with the re-creation of Back To The Future. His ambition is to do Chinatown and Apocalypse Now on the Thames (!), with an open mind to doing TV shows like Mad Men or Breaking Bad as events too.

How busy are you at the moment?
I don’t think I’ve ever been busier in my entire life. It’s insane what we’re trying to achieve for this show. We’re opening Hill Valley stores [on Hackney Road], we’re opening Lou’s Café (a replica of Marty McFly’s favourite diner), we’re building a website with a telephone exchange, we’re creating a newspaper and a radio station. At the event, each audience member is getting their own unique character and story, so they’re written into the script. It’s turning out to be a pretty intense summer. But you can’t do Back To The Future and not aim high. We’ve been infected by the spirit of the movie: this strange, innocent optimism. Which is dangerous, because it means we think that we can do anything!  LINK

Accessibility

cea-logo

UK – The CEA has together with Deluxe and Encore launched a new trailer to promote accessibility in cinemas. Simple but to the point. Sadly I can’t embed it, so follow the link.

The UK cinema sector is a world leader in the provision of subtitled and audio described screenings for those with a hearing or visual impairment. Following the conversion of all sites to digital projection technology, all are capable of showing subtitled screenings. And over half can also provide audio description.

However, despite this, take up of these screenings remains quite low, with not enough cinema-goers who might benefit from these developments seemingly aware of the opportunities that now exist for them to enjoy the latest movie releases.

In an attempt to address this, last year the CEA – in partnership with members of its Disability Working Group – supported the development and distribution of a new short cinema trailer to promote the availability of these services in UK cinemas.  LINK

Audience

UK – The BFI is launching an audience development program in September for independent cinemas.

Delivered in partnership with the BFI Film Audience Network, REACH: Strategic Audience Development is a workshop driven, project-based training programme for independent film exhibitors who wish to learn how to expand their audiences in a strategic manner, best utilising available resources of money, expertise and time.

The programme has been designed to fulfill specific audience development needs of the independent film exhibition sector, with specific recourse to:

  • Boosting audience choice
  • Attracting a wide variety of new audiences to a deeper and richer range of film content
  • Strengthening skills in understanding, researching and building audiences
  • Encouraging public participation
  • Engaging audiences from diverse backgrounds
  • Utilising available resources to achieve goals  LINK

Audio

Sound leakage tweet

UK – Sound leakage at the Cineworld in Birmingham is getting DenOfGeek riled.

In the case of Boyhood, it was showing in screen 7 at the aforementioned picturehouse. The problem is that screen 7 is right next to screen 6. And screen 6 was converted last year, impressively, to an IMAX auditorium, with an upgraded sound system too. As such, Transformers: Age Of Extinction was playing next door, and most of us sat watching Boyhood had little doubt that it was. The sheer noise of Michael Bay’s latest was often seeping through the walls, and it was hard to avoid.

On Sunday night, therefore, we posted the question on our Twitter feed to see if this was an isolated problem. And whilst many had never experienced such issues, there was a sizeable core of people for whom this was a reasonably common complaint. “Cold In July was an interesting experience with something loud and explodey next door”, wrote @beckygracelea for instance, whilst @sonic_screwup added that they could hear a loud film next door over a quiet film “all the time”. Lots of others reported similar findings, with @devillefilm arguing that “if you’ve got a summer blockbuster playing next to you, forget about enjoying anything quiet”.  LINK

Drive In

Drive in cinema projection

USA – This article looks at how US cinemas are coping with the switch to digital; some surprisingly well.

Many in the movie industry feared the need to convert to digital could be the death knell for drive-ins, but drive-in operators are finding creative ways to afford the switch.

Drive-in movie theater operators say more than 200 of the remaining 348 drive-ins in the country have made the expensive conversion from film to digital, which typically costs more than $70,000. Theater owners say conversions escalated quickly in 2013 and will help keep the drive-ins in business for now, promising news for an industry that peaked in the 1950s and ’60s, then with more than 4,000 drive-in theaters nationwide.

Some drive-ins are raising money using crowd-funding platforms such as Kickstarter while others are taking advantage of financing programs or renting out their theaters as flea markets during off-hours.  LINK

Drive in cinema China

China – I remain deeply fascinated by how the concept of drive-in cinema seems to have take hold in the People’s Republic of China (to give it its full and proper name). Like this one, which only seems to cater to red cars. Or?

Park the car in the southern suburbs theater B field area of 400 square meters, is a ladder lawn, there is a 8 * 18 giant curtain, a lot of car owners often go to Star City, the newest and largest automotive theater. This summer, in the form of an open-air cinema here will be open free of charge to the people of Changsha. In the evening, where fresh air, whether it is an open-air cinema and parents to relive the old days, or take a lover to experience a different kind of romance, or bring the kids to a fun parent-child party, very good.

From July 14, in the southern suburbs Park invites the public to come free viewing until the end of August and will continue for two months, and the theater every night to synchronize two tracts, the first from 20:00 start. There are a lot of summer gear for kids animated film, will also be released simultaneously.  LINK

Cinema Opening/Closings

Cairo Lisdo cinema old

Egypt – Having written about the opening of Cairo’s new art-house venue last week, it looks like Egypt’s capital will soon have another cinemas focused on film making and a broad range of films.

Twenty years ago, a fire devoured most of Downtown Cairo’s Cinema Lido. Naturally, it was forced to shut down, and in keeping with an Egyptian theme of failing to repair things, the burnt structure hasn’t been touched in since

Now however, the cinema on Emad Eddin Street is set to reopen. A company called Egypt’s Company for Sound, Light and Cinema has taken it upon themselves to renovate the cinema at the price tag of nearly 15 million EGP. The project, which is being led by engineer Fawzy Abdel-Hamid, will see the cinema-in-progress adapt to fit the new structure of movie theatres across the country. It will be transformed into a multiplex with its main hall divived into four screens.  LINK

Brighton Hippodrome interior

UK – The controversial plan to convert Britain’s leading sea-side town’s old theatre into a cinema has been given the go-ahead by the local council. Expect appeals.

Brighton councillors have approved plans to convert the city’s grade-II* listed hippodrome into a £20 million cinema house, despite calls from campaigners to turn the building back into a live performance venue.

At a meeting held yesterday, Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee agreed to the proposals, which would see the disused 1,400-seat Brighton Hippodrome become an eight-screen cinema and restaurant complex.  LINK

Kentish Town Cinema plans

UK – Approval has also been given to the less controversial (but not without detractors) cinema plan for north London’s Kentish Town.

The planning permission was granted for the former North London Polytechnic building on the corner of Kentish Town Road and Prince of Wales Road. It means exciting plans for a new cinema and arts centre – revealed in a New Journal exclusive earlier this month – have moved a step closer to reality.

The project to create a venue similar to the celebrated Tricycle in Kilburn to NW5 is being pushed by famous casting director Susie Higgins and her cousin, the Leaving Las Vegas director Mike Figgis.

Councillors on the Town Halls planning committee voted in favour of a scheme to convert the building, which was later run as a branch of Pizza Express, into a new homes and cinema complex.  LINK

Empire Walthampstow cinema

UK – Empire will be opening a nine-screen multiplex in the east of London late this autumn.

Work has begun to fit out the nine-screen multiplex at the former Arcade site in Cleveland Place, Walthamstow, and it is scheduled to open on November 20.

It will be the first time in more than a decade that people do not need to travel outside the borough to the cinema.

Council leader Chris Robbins was on-site yesterday at The Scene to officially hand it over to Empire Cinema’s chief executive Justin Ribbons.  LINK

EMD Walthamstow cinema

UK – Also in Walthamstow a mixed arts and cinema venue will be opening through a joint venture between the Soho Theatre Company and the Waltham Forest Cinema Trust after a compulsory purchase from the local council. (If only the local council in Crystal Palace would do the same for the un-used church that used to be a cinema there as well.)

The re-opening of an historic cinema for the community took a major step forward last night after funding was agreed to purchase the building.

Waltham Forest Council’s cabinet approved undisclosed funds to push for the purchase of the grade II-listed former EMD in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, from owner Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG).

The council has already vowed to push ahead with the compulsory purchase (CPO) of the building if a deal cannot be struck.  LINK

Oswestry comunity cinema

UK – A one-time United Reformed Church has been converted into a community since, with 76 seats from a nearby multiplex.

A new cinema opens in Oswestry later, after more than five months of conversion work by volunteers.

Ian Garland and Ruth Carter led a team to convert the old Kingswell Chapel, formerly used as a youth centre.

Their work to create Kinokulture has been recognised by the Arts Council – and it is one of just four cinemas in England to get special funding to show artists’ films alongside blockbusters.  LINK

UK – At the risk of being very UK-centric in today’s Cinema Opening/Closings section, here is one approved in Bromley.

A plan to develop a new cinema and restaurants in the town centre has been approved.

Bromley Council’s Development Control Committee agreed to the development on July 2.

The decision includes permission for a five screen boutique cinema, new restaurant unit and leisure facilities in the Glades Shopping Centre.  LINK

Village 6 demolition

USA (MT) – This cinema is being torn down to make room for more retail units.

The old Village 6 Cinema on South Reserve Street is slated for demolition this summer and the property’s new owner has plans for redevelopment.

The Woodbury Corp. has purchased the property, located at 3804 S. Reserve St., and will likely demolish the defunct theater within the next 30 days.  LINK

Regal 12 Lansing

USA (MI) – But this Regal cinema opens in what used to be a retail space – in a town with intense cinema competition.

Lansing’s newest movie theater officially opens today. The 12-screen Regal Cinemas multiplex, part of Knoxville, Tenn.-based theater giant Regal Entertainment Group, will show first-run movies after three days of charity previews.

The 50,000-square-foot theater was converted from a former Mervyns department store at the north end of the Delta Township shopping mall.

It’s likely that Regal will draw an initial crowd as curious moviegoers check out the new player in town. Arguably, it has a built-in geographic customer base from Lansing’s western suburbs. But like all theaters, Regal’s continued success could depend on whether it offers visitors a unique experience, some industry watchers have said.  LINK

Finally

 Chimp cinema

It is very hard to resist the obvious joke about ‘monkey business’ but the visit by these two primates to see the new Planet of the Apes films is a given story to end with. The chimps even opted for popcorn over nuts.

These two-year-old chimps, Vali and Sugriva, were taken to the opening night of the new blockbuster, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes at their local cinema.

They were able to enjoy the full cinema experience at the BigD Auditorium at the Carmike Cinema, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, including buying their own popcorn and juice.

The chimps, who live at the Myrtle Beach Safari, regularly watch television as a form of entertainment – and are big fans of the latest movie’s predecessor, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.  LINK

Chimp concessions

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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