Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 15 August 2014

By | August 15, 2014 3:46 am PDT

China’s Entgroup Consulting has released an investment report on the Chinese exhibition business. While current growth is strong (14.5 screens per day), the report predicts that “the future number of Chinese cinema will be flat to down” and that there will be significant industry consolidation with just five to ten major players. Overview of report can be found here.

Arts and Grace advisory issued “2013-2014 Chinese Theater Investment and Development Report.” The report shows that Chinese cinema audiences growing at an annual rate of more than 30% of rapid growth. Data show that in 2013 China’s sustained rapid growth in the development of the theater, the new theater within the range of 903 theaters nationwide, up to 4583 the total number of cinema. The number of new screens for 5280, the new daily average 14.5 screen. Cinema growth rate dropped 6.9 percent compared to 2012, was 24.5%; screen count growth rate was 40.3%, down 1.0%. Arts and grace that the current investment market there are still many theaters are not rational investment, the future number of Chinese cinema will be flat to down. In the long term, the integration of acquisitions become inevitable between theaters, a few years later, eventually in the formation of 5 ~ 10 large-scale leading theaters.  LINK

New York Indian cinema audience

The New York Times looks at what small cinema in New York City’s boroughs are doing to stay open and attract customers – lower prices and more mixed programming seems to be key. It also features our favourite NYC cinema, the Nitehawk.

Independent movie theaters are an endangered lot as they compete with corporate multiplexes while facing declining ticket sales and the prohibitive cost of converting to digital projection. Many independent theaters have closed in recent years.

For those that remain, staying in business means coming up with creative ways to put people into theater seats, particularly in the boroughs outside Manhattan.

“There’s a very diverse ecosystem of theaters and some interesting things going on,” Matthew Viragh, the founder of Nitehawk Cinema, said.  LINK

UGC Cinecite

France – The US might not have had a record breaking BO summer (though Apes, Guardians and Turtles are lifting August), but in France July this year was up on last year’s box office takings, with local titles contributing to the upswing.

When rain is needed, the cinema is at the party. The weather more than mitigated July allowed admissions to post an increase of 15.2% compared to July 2013, according to data from the National Center for Cinema and Moving Image ( CNC ), for 15.7 million units. In the first seven months of the year, which showed growth of 11.9%, attendance in French cinemas enrolled up six times. Only the month of June has seen its attendance drop, but the World Cup football was something to do … except against major-performance in the second half of the year, 2014 promises to be excellent for attendance in theaters. It is expected to rebound above the 200 million mark (122 million at the end of July) and erase two consecutive years of decline, after the record set in 2011 (217 million).

“For theaters, summer 2014 is very, very well. I will not say a weekend when it starts to rain did not help us, but that’s not the main reason,”said AFP Richard Patry, president of the National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF), which includes all exhibitors of France.  LINK

PVR Inox

India – The Business Standard analyses the battle for supremacy in the Indian cinema/multiplex sector between PVR and Inox. Good read, but also highlights the difficulty of organic growth for the exhibition business in India.

But PVR is obviously not sitting tight. In the past, it acquired Cinemax but gave thrust to organic growth. Though PVR had backed out from the Satyam deal, it has not ruled out the possibility of buying a regional player or multiplex chain in order to strengthen its presence in a particular region. PVR, which plans to add 66 screens (that makes it a total of 510 screens – ahead of Inox) across 13 properties this financial year through the organic route, is all set to go in for a qualified institutional placement worth Rs 500 crore for funding inorganic growth expansion. PVR has already added 23 screens in the first quarter.

In addition to the exhibition business, PVR also acquires Hollywood movies to be showcased in India. It uses the films to run its properties like PVR Director’s Cut and PVR Director’s Rare which allow the audiences to access niche Hollywood content on the big screen. This year, the company has bought exhibition rights to movies like Fox Catcher, Alone in Berlin, Our Kind of Traitor, Equals, the untitled Lance Armstrong biopic, Legend, Civilian, Inversion, American Express, Hologram for the King, London Fields and Visions. Inox on the other hand has made a conscious decision to focus only on the exhibition space.  LINK

 Dolby Logo

USA (CA) – First members of the Dolby family and now the CEO too selling lots shares in the company. Analysts also don’t seem too impressed.

CEO Kevin J. Yeaman sold 6,399 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $44.67, for a total transaction of $285,843.33. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 181,072 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $8,088,486. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link.

DLB has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Analysts at Zacks downgraded shares of Dolby Laboratories from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 30th. They now have a $48.00 price target on the stock. Separately, analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. reiterated an “underweight” rating on shares of Dolby Laboratories in a research note on Friday, July 25th.  LINK

People

Barry Rebo Founder emerging Pictures

USA (NY) – Barry Rebo is stepping down from his role with Emerging Cinema (pictured above in the middle with his co-founders). The company has for over a decade been a driving force in the screening of independent cinema and alternative content (event cinema) in the US. I am reliably informed the he has some exciting new venture(s) planned, which we of course look forward to reporting about soon. Here is the message that many of you probably already received.

I have resigned as Managing Partner, Emerging Cinemas, LLC, effective August 15, 2014. I will remain on the company’s Board of Directors. Please note my revised contact information, listed below.

I have been extremely fortunate to have worked closely with many terrific individuals and institutions – both commercial and nonprofit – over the past decade, or more. Collectively, we debated, designed and implemented a digital transition pathway we believed was best suited for Specialty Film & Event Cinema. The experience was certainly never dull, always “interesting”, to say the least.

Advertising

sony-srx-r320.jpg

USA (CA) – What better way to advertise 4K resolution television sets than with 4K cinema projectors? “Hey, cinemagoers, why go to the cinema when you can get the same resolution in the home.” OK, so the advert will probably not be quite that crude and claims to promote the format for “both theatre and cinema”, but I am still left scratching my head at the wisdom of this.

Some big stakeholders in Ultra HD, also known as 4K — Sony Electronics, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Best Buy — have teamed up and are working with National CineMedia on a cross-promotion to raise consumer awareness of the format for both theaters and the home…

The promotional effort, which runs Aug. 15-Sept. 25, includes a 30-second spot that will be show on an estimated 3,600 AMC and Regal Entertainment Group movie screens through NCM’s FirstLook movie pre-show. The spot features select outtakes from Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and highlights Sony 4K Digital Cinema projectors for theaters and Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs for home entertainment.  LINK

NCM logo

USA (NY) – Asean Century is not with the bulls when it comes to the future prospects of NCM.

The problem that I see is that the company is not expecting a pickup until Q4. That means Q3 is going to be weak as well. The national advertising market remains weak and the company is hoping for its local and regional business to continue increasing. I talked about the potential from local and regional customers in my February article. For the first six months of this year, revenues from local and regional customers increased 11% y/y.

Right now, there are three arguments the bulls make to own the stock. The first is the company expects a pick up in Q4. The second is the Screenvision merger and expected synergies. And three, the 5.93% yield. For me, I’m moving to the sidelines. There is a lot that can happen between now and the end of Q4. The Screenvision merger still requires DOJ approval. And three, I don’t own stocks just for the dividend. I think the bigger concern is that moviegoers are going to the theaters later and skipping the ads and previews. This hurts the company’s argument that it has a captive audience. With shares down only 5% since February, I’ll wait until there’s further clarity at the end of Q4.  LINK

Concessions and F&B

Glow in the dark ice cream

UK – Glow-in-the-dark ice cream for cinemas? Genius!

Film fans at a recent screening of Simon Pegg’s sci-fi comedy The World’s End [Ed: Surely it came out last year?] at the Vue Cinema in London’s Leicester Square got to try an amazing world first.

The unsuspecting cinema goers accepted their free Cornettos as they entered the theatre, only to realise they gave off a beam of fluorescent yellow light when the lights went down.

The futuristic fluoro snacks, developed by food geeks Bompas and Parr for Wall’s Ice Cream, were created using riboflavin (aka Vitamin B), which gives out a glow when under certain UV lights. LINK

Happy Centenary

Odeon Hornsby Sydney

Australia – I must check out this cinema the next time I am in Sydney. It’s secret for staying open so long – partly down to lower ticket prices.

IN a world where bigger is better, one of Sydney’s humblest, smallest cinemas is proving the exception to the rule.

Hornsby’s 490-seat Odeon Cinema, the only single-screen cinema left in Sydney, marks its 100th year this year.

Manager David Stone says the secret to the art-deco cinema’s success is “knowing your audience”.

“You have to pick the right film every time, especially when you’ve only got one screen,” he said.  LINK

Cinema Opening/Closings

USA (MD) – No mention about whether the switch to digital was the cause, but sad news for the local population whatever the cause.

The only Frostburg cinema is going out of business and many people in the community are upset, and some are signing petitions to keep it.

Frostburg Cinemas 123 has been what some are calling a second home to many residents since the 1980’s. However, RC Theater owns Frostburg Cinemas and is closing it down Sunday, August 17.

Anne Rummel, general manager of the cinema, said it’s heartbreaking to hear the news and it came as a shock to everyone.  LINK

Imax Wujin Wanda

China – Wanda has opened its latest Imax screen in and allowed the first audiences a peek behind the scene.

“Really fun, screen brightness and texture is very strong, indeed crystal-like quality.” “Very exciting action scenes, I was so nervous I held my breath.” “Movie everything live.” August 5 afternoon, the audience came out from Wujin Wanda Imax theater, still immersed in the movie world, excitedly exchanging shocking viewing experience, immersed in a realistic and vivid special effects in movies.

This is a summer music newspaper and Wanda Cinema jointly organized Wujin enjoy artistic journey · “Effect Imax leading audiovisual experience of” campaign scene.  LINK

Finally

Liberty Cinema Mumbai

Today is Independence Day in India (Jai, India!), so what could be a better way to celebrate it than with a listicle topped by a cinema.

What was the mood in 1947? Which brands and landmarks emerged? Which famous faces were born? What set the pace for a city on the threshold of great things? the guide rummaged through tomes and volumes to share a set of 20 cool facts.

1. Work on the construction of the Art Deco cinema hall Liberty began. The 1,200-seater since then remains one of the pillars of this architectural style in the city.  LINK

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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