The summer isn’t over but already it seems that last rites and post-mortem are being performed on what has been a disappointing box office season, at least in the US. Thank goodness there is China and other emerging markets to cheer up Hollywood, though this is cold comfort for US-based exhibitors. Apparently its men’s fault for staying away in droves.
Less than six weeks before Labor Day, hopes for recovery at the North American summer box office have evaporated. The season is expected to finish down 15 to 20 percent compared with 2013, the worst year-over-year decline in three decades, and revenue will struggle to crack $4 billion, which hasn’t happened in eight years. As a result, analysts predict that the full year is facing a deficit of 4 to 5 percent.
Although there have been no Lone Ranger-size debacles, for the first time since 2001 no summer pic will cross $300 million domestically (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Maleficent and Transformers: Age of Extinction hover near $230 million). May kicked off with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 earning $200 million less domestically than 2013’s Iron Man 3; by July 20, the divide had swelled to nearly $690 million as revenue topped out at $2.71 billion, down 20 percent compared with the same period last year. LINK
Could it be partly because US ticket prices are up compared to Q1 this year (but down compared to Q4’13)?
The average cost of going to the cinema in the U.S. rose to $8.33 in the second quarter of 2014 as the summer season kicked into high gear, according to the National Association of Theater Owners.
That’s up from $7.96 in the first quarter of the year, when there were fewer 3D tentpoles.
However, it was notably down from the second quarter of 2013, when the average movie ticket price clocked in at $8.38 (the reason for the year-over-year decline could include fewer 3D tickets being bought overall as the appetite for the format wanes). LINK
Australia – Federal budget cuts means that Screen Australia has to cut staff by one-tenth and decrease funding for cinema-related projects.
Chief executive Graeme Mason has announced plans to save more than $5 million this financial year, including up to $3 million in development and production investment and another $1 million by cutting staff from 112 to 100.
Faced with a $38 million cut over four years in the May budget, Screen Australia will also reduce what it spends to help a film’s cinema release – so-called ”print and advertising” support – and end direct funding of such industry training organisations as Sydney’s Metro Screen, Melbourne’s Open Channel and Adelaide’s Media Resource Centre. LINK
UK – The preview performance of Secret Cinema’s Back To The future extravaganza was apparently cancelled on short notice. Let’s hope they manage to fix whatever it was, as expectations are riding high on this one.
Tonight was a preview, with tickets costing £21.85 and was cancelled just one hour before it was due to begin, fans said.
It had been due to take place at a secret location on Hackney Road, where Secret Cinema had built the town of Hill Valley “to transport audiences into a richly detailed imagined world.”
People took to Twitter to vent their frustration.
Heather Delaney said: “Just heard tonight’s #BackToTheFuture @secretcinema has been cancelled – just over an hour before it was due to begin. #epicfail.” LINK
USA – Right-wing media personality tries to use the power of cinema. Fails to become a major box office draw.
Conservative media commentator Glenn Beck led a national strategy session to kill the Common Core State Standards on Tuesday night, using a two-hour simulcast into movie theaters across the country as a way to embolden critics of the standards and recruit foot soldiers to the cause.
“This one is being won,” Beck said from a soundstage in Texas, his image broadcast to audience members who paid $20 a ticket.
“It’s being won and these are your allies in the fight. You’ve felt alone, but we have lots of allies.”
The 17 people gathered at the Regal 13 Cinema in Rockville, Md., might be forgiven for feeling alone. The audience was sprinkled throughout the rows of the darkened theater, and when Beck implored his viewers to turn to their neighbors and introduce themselves, most people faced empty seats. LINK
Nigeria – Event cinema is leaving no corner of the globe untouched. They’ve definitely picked an, erhm…, ‘challenging’ opera to kick off the concept in Africa.
FILMONE Distribution, a company known for its sound professionalism and innovation, is spearheading the introduction of Event Cinema in Nigeria. This concept offers alternative content to movies through visually refreshing stories using the ‘Opera’ platform.
The cinema house will exclusively screen one of Britain’s most significant operas; Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes, as performed by the English National Opera in cinematic high definition from July 25, in all its outlets in Lagos, Calabar and Ibadan. This is the first of its kind happening in West Africa. This is a possible thanks to the support of the UK’s Cultural Relations Organisation of the British Council and Altive Media. LINK
Digital Death Watch
USA (GA) – Georgia Public Broadcasting looks at the tool digital is taking on second-run cinemas and other theatres. Some can afford the switch, but there are some that can’t.
But Bowers’ second run with film projection is coming to an end. The Parkway Discount Cinema is closing rather than convert to digital projection.
Bill Stembler is the CEO of the Georgia Theater Company, which owns the Parkway. When he was a kid, the family business was in perhaps the most storied theatre in Georgia.
“I Had my first date with my wife at the Fox Theater. And remember going to see Creature from the Black Lagoon with my Father on my tenth birthday. I’m now 67. It was a big treat,” Stembler said. LINK
Australia – Australia’s public broadcaster ABC has also woken up to the plight of the analogue leftover cinemas.
ELEANOR HALL: Cinemas screening projection film have been under threat for years.
But now there is a deadline for operators across the country to make the switch to digital projection.
And that may force the closure of many small cinemas, including the one in the Victorian coastal town of Port Fairy, as Lily Partland reports. LINK
Canada (BC) – Here is one 35mm cinema that knows how to end it all in style; like a terminally ill patient throwing the grandest of parties for his/her friends.
Fortunately, patrons have plenty of options if they want to say goodbye in person to operator Craig Burghart, his close-knit staff of nine, and possibly even his mom, Dora, the Clova’s official greeter (semi-retired), and her pet dog, Cupcake.
The family-run single screen, home to one of the Lower Mainland’s last 35mm film projection systems, is showing four different movies a day right through to July 31. Matinees are screening daily at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m., followed by two movies in the evening.
But that’s not all. Burghardt promised patrons the Clova will go out with a bang, and, true to form, the “Clovamily” has a busy finale planned. LINK
India – The Indian Censor Board has outdone itself in achieving new levels of stupidity with four minutes’ worth of cuts to the Grand Budapest Hotel. Not only do some scenes of a sexual and violent nature get the chop, but the scene in which tools are smuggled in a cake into prison for convicts to break out has been cut. Yes, really, THAT scene.
However, the Censor Board doesn’t want you to see those tools being used. Consequently, the scene in which the convicts stay up past the official bedtime to dig through the cement floor of their cell with the tools, is cut.
There’s only one reasonable and logical conclusion that can be drawn from this: the Censor Board doesn’t want The Grand Budapest Hotel to teach Indian audiences how to break out of jail using tiny tools that were hidden in chocolate-based confectionery.
The questions of whether the ticket-buying audiences of arty English films are likely to go to jail, or if Wes Anderson is necessarily the go-to man for tips on jailbreak, are separate issues. White collar crimes are on the rise, we’re told, and there is certainly a profusion of European dessert shops in Mumbai. Who knows what criminal behaviour may be facilitated by a cupcake or a macaron? LINK
UK – Corby council has created a website where the residents will be able to follow the construction of the upcoming six-screen Savoy cinema. But not sure why they didn’t just install a streaming webcam instead of photo updates.
The complex in George Street, which will have seating for 900 people, is due to be completed in February next year.
It will be fitted with the latest audio-visual technology including the new immersive sound and 3D capability.
India – Production house Mukta Arts Limited is branching out into the exhibition business.
MUKTA A2 CINEMAS, where movies come to life, made its debut in the multiplex entertainment in the year 2012 with its first screens in Ahmedabad and Baroda. Withover 8 cinemas and 23 screens in the last two years across cities in India, MUKTA A2 CINEMAS is all set to make its debut in Hyderabad and Sangli on July 25, 2014. The movie-goers of Hyderabad and Sangli will now have a landmark in their city to watch blockbuster hits with state of the art technology at affordable prices. LINK
UK – Plans for a multiplex in Burnley, though too early for an operator to have been selected yet.
Ambitious plans are being drawn up to create a leisure park complete with nine screen cinema, six restaurants and a coffee shop in Burnley town centre.
The multi-million pound development has been earmarked for the former Pioneer site, off Active Way, currently being used as a car park.
Experienced leisure and retail developer, Terrace Hill, part of Urban and Civic plc, has bought the site from Burnley Borough Council. LINK
Mongolia – A cinema in Mongolia is switching to digital 3D with help from Korean funding.
The cultural center of Zuunmod soum in Tuv Province will be renovated to a 3D cinema. Construction began in January last year. Now, the interior design of the 3D cinema is complete.
There were no available funds for the theater’s equipment, so organizers decided to rely on foreign investment.
To repair the cultural center of Zuunmod, which has two halls (with 30 and 180 seats), a sports hall and restaurant, the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism provided 340 million MNT in funding and 500 million MNT came from the Province Development Fund.
“Last June, Korean experts invested in cinema equipment valued at 200 thousand USD,” said S.Erdenechuluun, director of the Culture, Sport and Tourism Department of Tuv Province. LINK
“Naked Ladies Removed from Odeon Cinema. You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!” See, we know how to write click-bait headlined. But it’s not what you think.
Hopes are high that the two decorative figures on the front of Cheltenham’s former Odeon cinema will be saved and displayed somewhere else in the town.
The two naked ladies entwined in celluloid are set to be preserved by the owner of the land, Crest Nicholson, when it begins demolishing the building next month.
That was a condition attached to the planning permission it obtained for the redevelopment of the Winchcombe Street site. LINK