Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 6 August 2014

By Patrick von Sychowski | August 6, 2014 3:49 pm PDT
United Cinema Japan

Often the overlooked cinema major in Asia, the Japanese cinema market is still dynamic, as witnessed by this $100m acquisition of United Cinemas, with its 36 cinema complexes.

Convenience store operator Lawson Inc. announced Wednesday it will acquire United Cinemas Co., a Tokyo-based cinema complex operator, in a deal estimated at more than ¥10 billion [USD $97.9 million].

Lawson will buy all shares in the holding company of United Cinema from the existing shareholders, including private equity fund Advantage Partners LLP.

Lawson sells entertainment tickets and music and video software through Tokyo-based subsidiary Lawson HMV Entertainment Inc.

Following the acquisition, goods now handled at the Lawson stores and through the Lawson HMV service will be sold at United Cinema complexes. Lawson will also launch campaigns involving both the retail and cinema operations.  LINK

Sun Xiaobin

China – The Chinese are hard at work developing their own laser light cinema projector technology AND immersive audio technology. We’ve written about this company before and it is worth keeping your eyes on them.

In the end of 2013, Chen Xing Technology launched worldwide pioneered laser giant screen showing the overall high quality solutions Cinelab laser DMR program uses these “future technology.” In this scenario, Chen Xing laser giant screen all equipped with RealD 3D systems in the 21-meter-wide common metal curtain achieve ultra-high brightness 3D 9 FL, in order to set a new benchmark for the industry, providing data and technical practice experience, through Cinelab laser DMR’s 3P laser projection system, people will eventually be able to watch the show to meet the brightness level of quality 3D movies.  LINK

If making a laser projection Imax-like 4K projector wasn’t enough, they also seem to be hard at work to create a local Chinese version of Dolby Atmos, according to this article.

Cinelab laser IMAX sound system is also new design concept, the most classic Dolby (ATMOS) and Chen Xing Technology panoramic sound technology with independent intellectual property Cinelab super 5.1,15.1 and 17.1 stunning combination of sound, to get rid of the shackles of sources, perfect interpretation of Dolby (ATMOS) panoramic sound studio truest sound.

Currently Cinelab laser DMR has entered a number of cities in the country, providing excellent viewing experience for fans around. Fuzhou Swiss Wan Star International Studios, for example, changing the first day of release 4, laser DMR Hall box office reached 250,000 yuan, laser DMR Hall 443 full.  LINK

Event Cinema

Secret Cinema Back to the Future

UK – Secret Cinema’s belated Back to the Future screening has crashed the UK Top 10, despite only showing on one screen, in the replica Hill Valley set. It took more than Transformers 4 took in the same week. Impressive.

Guardians’ four-day opening is one of the biggest ever debuts for a Marvel movie in the UK, beating the first instalments of Iron Man (£5.6 million), Thor (£5.46 million), Captain America (£3.3 million) and X-Men (£4.8 million).

Elsewhere, the chart sees new releases The Nut Job and Step Up 5: All In debut in the top 10 at numbers six and nine respectively.

Secret Cinema’s Back to the Future event is one of the bigger success stories of the week, charting at number seven after banking £538,159.  LINK

Arts Alive Shropshire

UK – Local newspaper Shropshire Star asks whether event cinema broadcasts into cinemas are robbing local productions of audiences. It seems not (5 ‘No’ votes vs. 4 ‘Yes’ votes – so my vote tipped the balance).

Sian Kerry, director of Arts Alive, an organisation that puts on both live events and screenings in Shropshire and Herefordshire, said the screenings were also proving an essential revenue stream for cash-strapped rural theatres.

Arts Alive runs Flicks in the Sticks which shows films and live theatre in places such as the SpArC Theatre in Bishop’s Castle, Aston-on-Clun Village Hall, and Ledbury Market Theatre.

Ms Kerry said The Edge Theatre in Much Wenlock and Wem Town Hall are also showing live theatre screenings independently, as is Market Drayton’s Festival Drayton Centre.

“It’s massively successful in terms of people attending,” she said.  LINK


Kick Salman Khan

Pakistan – Further to the item earlier this week about the tug-of-war about censorship/classification authority in Pakistan, it seems the army is playing a major role.

The top command of Pakistan Army and Air Force seems to be divided over showing Indian movies in cinemas under their respective jurisdictions, Pakistan Today has learnt.

The PAF top command has banned showing Indian movies in their cinemas in Lahore and Rawalpindi whereas the same is being openly shown in the cantonment areas and the Defence Housing Authority (DHA).

Interestingly, the PAF base Sargodha shows Indian movies in its cinema highlighting a clear-cut discrepancy. According to well-placed sources, the reason for not banning Indian movies in the PAF Sargodha is because that comes under the cantonment and hence under the control of the army, which allows showing Indian movies.  LINK


Millionaire seating

UK – Ealing’s Rooftop Film club is introducing ‘MILLIONAIRE Seating’ in a novel advertising stunt. Looks pretty appealing.

The idea comes from the National Lottery, to remind people to check their Lotto tickets, as a £1m jackpot prize remains unclaimed.

Available on a first-come basis, the Millionaire Seating offers film-goers a taste of luxury lifestyle as they catch one of the 20 classic and cult films on offer at the Rooftop Film Club., Springbridge Car Park, Ealing Broadway.

Featuring a day bed, replete with scatter cushions and throws, to ward off the twilight chill, would-be millionaires are safely detached from the ‘hoi polloi’ behind velvet swags.  LINK

Cinema Opening/Closings

Byron Community Cinema

UK – Having tried first with old airline seats (!), these community cinema campaigners now managed to find 400 red cinema seats on eBay, thus bringing their dream of re-opening the defunct local cinema one step closer to reality.

MEMBERS of the Byron Community Project are calling for volunteers to help them collect 400 seats for the refurbishment of the historic Hucknall cinema.

The Byron Cinema, opened in 1936, is now a bingo hall and has not shown a film since 2006.

For the past year, Hucknall people have been trying to restore it, starting with getting new seats.  LINK

Regent Cinema Fife

UK (Scotland) – Another encouraging story of a cinema re-opening. This one in Fife.

Yes, Leven will soon have its own cinema again following the takeover of the building by a local man with plenty of movie experience.

Graeme Reekie, of Leven, was involved in the initial re-launch of The Regent back in 2010, and now, following a hugely successful four years at the Kino Cinema in Glenrothes, he’s adding another string to his bow and returning to his roots by breathing new life into Leven’s picturehouse.

Speaking to the Mail this week, Graeme said the sale was only confirmed around three weeks ago after two months of discussions.  LINK

Falls Church seven screen cinema

USA (VA) – Looks like a seven-screen cinema will be coming to Falls Church, with negotiations apparently already taking place with what’s described as “among the highest quality theater operators on the East Coast.” But locals seem to grips about parking and traffic rather than cheering.

As Spectrum Development’s proposal for Broad & West heads for an initial vote at the Falls Church City Council next week, the big project could be undergoing a massive change: the developers are negotiating with two theater companies in an effort to add a 7-screen restaurant cinema to the plan.

It would be the second major anchor for the project, in addition to the extended stay Home 2 hotel, and would increase the commercial space in the proposed complex from about 47,000 to 77,000 square feet, Spectrum Principal Peter Batten said Monday night at a meeting of the Council’s Economic Development Committee.  LINK

Nanjing Capital Theatre

China – One of the oldest cinemas has been restored in a city that is particularly important to modern Chinese history.

Xinjiekou “Dahua Theater” back, “Victory cinema” Menlian also through the back XinJieKou. Those who stay in Nanjing event in people’s lives in an old movie theater, nostalgic gesture to return back to the Republic of Jiguangpianyu, and Emotion dismay of Nanjing again later. Now, this time in return has added a heavy weight – the capital of the Grand Theater. Nanjing, one of four major theaters of the Republic, in 1949 after the liberation of the theater was renamed the Capital Theater, after nearly a year of protective repair, the “old Menlian” project has entered the final stage, waiting for acceptance. “Now the facade is entirely in accordance with the old photos of the Republic when the Capital theater restoration, including the ‘capital of the Grand Theater’ these five words, as is the recovery of our archives in Nanjing, according to historical records.” Repair side – – Qinhuai District Culture Travel Group, the official told reporters.  LINK

Kailas Cinema

India – The oldest operational cinema in the south-western Indian state of Kerela is closing this Thursday.

Kailas Theatre, one of the oldest in the State, will screen its last show on Thursday.

The curtain will fall on Kailas Theatre, one of the oldest movie halls in the State, on Thursday after 63 years.

Filmgoers in and around the town, considered a cultural centre and the commercial hub of northernmost Kerala, would from now cherish fond memories of the golden hits screened at the cinema since it began its run on August 26, 1951.

The cinema hall is being closed down to make way for a shopping mall. The 94-cent land, given on lease to the theatre owners, has been sold to a Mangalore-based business group.  LINK



UK (London) – This unique temporary cinema in a closed gas station in Clarkenwell is now gone (replaced by a taxi car wash service) and I bitterly regret not going there as it was close to where I was living in London at the time. Do check out the other photos.

The Cineroleum, a self-initiated project built in 2010 by London based practice Assemble Studio, transformed a derelict petrol station into a “hand-built” cinema on one of capital’s busiest roads. Aimed at raising awareness to the wider potential for reusing the 4,000 empty petrol stations across the UK for public use, the adapted structure on Clerkenwell Road was ”enclosed by an ornate curtain” strung from the “roof of the petrol station’s forecourt. Described as an “improvisation of the decadent interiors that greeted audiences during cinema’s golden age,” classic infusions of cinematic iconography were integrated into a space built from only cheap, reclaimed or donated materials.  LINK


Patrick von Sychowski
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