Daily Cinema Digest – Monday 24 November 2014

By Patrick von Sychowski | November 24, 2014 2:22 am PST

Imax plans to double its presence in the Gulf region over the next three years, the company’s CEO has revealed.

Imax Corporation, the entertainment technology company known for its network of giant cinema screens, is planning to invest between $10 to $25 million (AED36.7 to AED91.2 million) in the Middle East region in the next three years, according to a report from Gulf News.

The company’s CEO, Richard Gelfond, told the paper that his company planned to increase the number of IMAX theatres in the region from fifteen to thirty.

“By 2017, we would double our presence in the region and have about thirty theatres. It is a huge market,” Gelfond said.  LINK


Last week Dreamwork’s Animation SKG showcased its 360 degree 3D VR (virtual reality) film plans. The demo included a brief clip of a ‘Super Cinema’ scene with assets from Dreamwork Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise.

At a recent Samsung conference, Dreamworks unveiled “Super Cinema”, a technology that aims to deliver the robust CGI movies that its customers are familiar with in a virtual reality format. That means that Dreamworks would be moving from pre-rendered movies to real-time ones, because just like our video games, the movie has to respond appropriately to where the user is looking.

That might sound simple enough, but consider the fact that Dreamworks demands such a high quality in its films, that rendering a single frame can take more than a day on a given PC. There’s simply no way the company could deliver that level of detail in real-time, so it seems likely that what we’ll wind up with is a really high-quality real-time movie that uses a traditional game engine that makes good use of anti-aliasing. The challenges go beyond that, though.  LINK


Germany – Last week was ‘school cinema week’ in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The event has been running for several years and is a big hit, as well as a good way to socialise the next generation of cinema audiences to the magic of the big screen and good films.

Nearly 15 500 students have registered for the school cinema week in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. From Monday to Friday in 28 cinemas across the state there are 49 movies to choose from, the Ministry of Education in Schwerin said on Friday. Minister Mathias Brodkorb (SPD), said the movies would mean that the students are in for thrills, abdomen tingling or goosebumps. But you should also encourage them to deal with themes of friendship, adventure, science, digital society, family violence, war and peacemaking. Teaching with films could provide approaches for professional and interdisciplinary discussions. The country supports the school theater week with EUR 18,000. In the previous year, around 17 000 students ins’ School cinema went.  LINK

Metropolis Koln Cologne

Germany – Labour unrest seems to have spread from London’s Brixton to Cologne, where cinema staff went on strike last week.

A long-simmering dispute between the head of the Metropolis Cinemas, Catherine Laakmann, and the workforce has now led to the first impact on the game mode. On Thursday the staff put the entire evening shift down the work in protest against working conditions in the cinema. The result: long queues at the ticket counter, chaotic conditions in the foyer.

The timing of the warning strike was well chosen: With the premiere of “The Hunger Games”, the space epic “Interstellar” and the best-selling film “Gone Girl” three crowd-pullers were on the program. Cinema boss Laakmann had after the employee had left the cinema 18 clock, put yourself behind the counter and tried to cope with the onslaught, describe stakeholders. At times, “country in” had prevailed, some guests were gone. Whether performances started late or even completely failed, was also the day after unclear. Metropolis Manager Laakmann, who also operates the currently closed for renovations Rex at Ringside. was not to reachable for comment on Friday.  LINK


Edible cinema

UK – The concept of pairing food with the film has already been tried by Watch & Wolf, though no mention of it in this article about Edible Cinema.

HAVING someone chew their dinner in the next cinema seat to yours might sound like a novelty gone too far, but Polly Betton believes Edible Cinema is “a cat-flap invention”.

“Pairing food directly with moments in films,” she says, “you can’t believe no one else has done if before.”

Don’t fear the chomp of a keen eater, she adds, because Edible Cinema matches food texture to film moment: noisy eating goes with noisy action. There will be no soup or crisps, but given the lack of light “it can get a bit messy”. Take that as a positive, she says: the feeling is amplified in the dark.  LINK


GSC Malaysia

Malaysia – In an otherwise largely flat market, cinema advertising is the biggest growth sector in the Malaysian market.

Adex growth was led by cinema, in-store media and pay-TV, which rose 25.8%, 15% and 13.6%, respectively. Ad spend for newspapers and free-to-air television grew 4.3% and 5.1%, respectively.

The product/service categories with the highest ad spend in the first half of the year were local government institutions, women’s facial care products, haircare products, mobile line services and dental care products.  LINK

Event Cinema

Tal France event cinema

France – An article on how event cinema is growing in France, sadly most of it behind a paywall (article, not event cinema, that is).

Ballets, concerts, one-man-shows … Multiplexes are no longer content to broadcast films. The formula is booming in the department.

Tal concert yesterday, a Bolshoi Ballet today … Each time, the room is packed. Since opening in August 2013, the young multiplex “The Canvas” of Crépy-en-Valois has integrated into its programming what the profession calls …   LINK (paywall)

Open Air Cinema

Otago stadium cinema

New Zealand – This I have not seen before; not so much ‘studium seating’ as ‘stadium bedding’.

About 1000 people turned up to the family-friendly movie event which featured a screening of Despicable Me on one of the large replay screens.

Despicable Me was screened after members of the public voted for the movie over The Lego Movie in an online poll.

DVML transformed the stadium into a giant movie theatre for the afternoon because the pitch was about to undergo annual maintenance.  LINK

Cinema Opening/Closings


USA (TX) – A USD $22 million entertainment complex opens in Kyle, Texas.

The wait is over as ‘EVO’, Kyle’s first movie theater and entertainment center, opens its doors this weekend.

The name EVO is short for “evolution,” said principal investor Mitchell Roberts, because that’s what he believes the 70,000-square-foot facility represents in Central Texas entertainment.

The business, located in the Kyle Crossing complex along with Home Depot, features a 14-lane bowling alley, a 3,000-square-foot arcade floor and an 11-screen movie theater with the latest in audio and visual technology. There is also a full restaurant and bar.  LINK

Max Cineworld Plymouth

UK – Plans for a new Imax and Cineworld in Plymouth have been unveiled.

PLANS to bulldoze Bretonside Bus Station and build an 11-screen cinema are to go on public display next week.

An exhibition of the plans to redevelop eyesore Bretonside will take place over three days.

Developer Drake Circus Leisure, set up by British Land, is hosting the events.

They want to turn the ageing coach station into an IMAX-style cinema complex, along with restaurants and a multi-storey car park.  LINK

Barnsley Alhambra cinema

UK – A different type of roof-top cinema.

A NINE-SCREEN cinema will be built on the roof of the Alhambra after planning permission was approved.

Councillors called the scheme a ‘welcome investment’ and said it would see fewer people leaving the town to go to the cinema.

The plans also include space for six restaurants – the Alhambra has yet to confirm what they will be.  LINK


India – The geographical battle for supremacy intensifies in this suburb of Delhi.

A heady concoction of “the best in business” technology and “value-added” luxury awaits film buffs here as multiplex majors PVR Cinemas and Cinepolis look to share prime space in the gateway to the Northeast.

While PVR, India’s largest movie chain, is opening as many as eight screens, with two of them coming up by January, Mexican multiplex major Cinepolis is readying a four-screen property at an upcoming mall on GS Road here.

“We already have a four-screen property under advanced stages of construction at Central Mall. They should be ready by the middle of 2015,” Cinepolis India managing director Javier Sotomayor told The Telegraph.  LINK


USA (CT) – An interesting swap: films for fish.

A trophy trout fishing area with potential for hiking trails has been offered to the town as part of an application by developers who want to build an eight-screen movie theater on Main Street South.

The owners of the proposed Southbury Riverview Cinema and Playhouse were required to give the approximately 12-acre parcel to the town as part of their approval earlier this year to build.  LINK

Tim League Alamo Drafthouse

USA (LA) – The latest outpost for Alamo Drafthouse will be in Louisiana, Baton Rouge (NB: home town of Steve Soderbergh).

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is coming to Louisiana. The cinema chain has selected Baton Rouge as the home of its first theater in the Bayou State.

Entertainment Weekly named Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse “the best theater in America.” Unlike other cinemas, it serves food and alcoholic beverages. But Alamo Drafthouse is best known for its strict policy of requiring its audiences to maintain the proper cinema-going etiquette.

According to The Advocate, Alamo Drafthouse will open its Baton Rouge location in the Rouzan mixed-use development, off Perkins Road. Construction is scheduled to start next year and the theater is expected to open in mid-2016.  LINK

Heiligenstadt kino

Germany – ‘Without cinema – no cultural life’ is the sub-heading about the lack of cinemas in this part of the former East Germany.

Heiligenstadt , A resort town with 17,000 inhabitants, since eleven years does not have a cinema more. On 3 December 2003, provided there in the movie theater in the traditional ” Reichshof “Off the lights.” It was a farewell in tears, “the operator recalls Egon Paul Although the last performance was actually funny – “The Punch Bowl” with Heinz Rühmann was shown. The hall was packed to the rafters.

“The cinema business was really good. My wife and I could live off it,” says Paul. But the new owner of Reichshofes had terminated him. Meanwhile, the movie theater was demolished, only the front house is still standing. Nothing is more reminiscent of the flickering times – no logo, no display case and not a movie poster.  LINK


Imax Lincoln Centre New York

We started with Imax and we will finish with Imax, as Gizmodo goes “Behind the Scenes at the Best IMAX Theater in America.”

When I stopped by to look behind the scenes, the IMAX at Lincoln Center was playing the 70mm print of Interstellar. The print is 10 miles long and weighs 600 pounds. To get to the theater it gets transported via forklift and truck and takes 6 hours to assemble once it arrives.

Once assembled, the print has to be threaded through the projector. To do this, the first 20 feet of the print are taken and put through the projector across the room and back into a take-up spool, the winds it back up. There’s a handy diagram on the machine, though the projectionist, like Mike Satran who handled Interstellar, usually know all the steps already.

The 70mm IMAX projectors use a double projection method that project twice the amount of light than a normal single lens system. This is what gives IMAX its signature high brightness, contrast, and sharpness. But it also makes the projection system a little more complicated than your average system, and making sure it’s running perfectly is difficult.  LINK

Patrick von Sychowski
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