Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 3 December 2014

By | December 3, 2014 2:13 am PST

THR has an exclusive on Dolby unveiling its own digital premium large format (PLF) concept, incorporating both Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) technologies, in partnership with Christie.

Initially, Dolby’s new projection system will use two Christie 6P 4K laser projectors for increased brightness (at press time Dolby expected to reach 31 FootLamberts for 2D and 14 FootLamberts for 3D) along with some proprietary Dolby technology, as well as the Dolby 3D system for stereo movies. Next spring, the system, co-developed with Christie, will introduce updated laser projectors and playback technology that will enable the system to project “Dolby Vision,” the newest Dolby format, which combines HDR with some proprietary color secret sauce. (At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Dolby also introduced Dolby Vision for TV.)

Earlier this year, Dolby quietly previewed its system at the Vine Theatre in Hollywood for leading directors, cinematographers and studio executives. More recently, it has staged demos at the Harmony Gold theater in Los Angeles. The first Dolby Cinema is now set to open in early December at the new JT Cinemas complex in Eindhoven, Netherlands. San Francisco-based Dolby is offering a profit-sharing deal to theater owners, who are expected to raise ticket prices. JT Cinemas’ managing director Ron Sterk says that while the adult ticket price for his theater’s standard auditoriums is about $12.50, the price for Dolby Cinema will be about $18.  LINK

Cinema texter smartphone

Being tasered for using your smartphone in the cinema is perhaps a bit extreme. Then again, perhaps not.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says a Louisville man who was texting and talking on the phone inside a movie theater had to be tazed during a confrontation with a deputy.

According to an arrest report, 49-year-old Timothy Wagner was at the Rave Cinemas, near the interchange between Preston Highway and the Gene Snyder Freeway, on Friday evening. Authorities say people in the theater had been complaining that Wagner was texting and talking on his phone during the movie, and had already been confronted about it by the manager.

When a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrived, the manager told Wagner that he had to leave, but he became argumentative with both the manager and the deputy, according to the arrest report, telling them he was not leaving and trying to shove his way past the deputy to get back into the theater.  LINK

CGV logo

Myanmar – With a population of 50 million and just 70 modern cinema screen Myanmar (Burma) would seem an obvious expansion target for South Korea CJ CGV.

The company announced today (Dec 2) the Burmese government has authorized their investment and they have established a joint venture with local corporation Shwe Taung Development (STD) to start running Junction Cineplex from Dec 6.

The first multiplex in Myanmar, Junction Cineplex was established in 2009 by Shwe Taung Group in the capital city of Naypyidaw. With an expansion to the country’s economic centre of Yangon, Junction Cineplex now has three cinemas with a total of six screens that account for approximately 15% of the Burmese box office.  LINK

Hoyts Lux Cinema

Australia – More details on Hoyts’ Lux Cinema foray into VIP auditoriums. Hoyt’s CEO calls it “the cinema experience for the future” and it’s yours for just AUS $36 (USD $30.25)

HOYTS Cinema at Broadway has joined the luxury cinema revolution and opened a new theatre at its Broadway complex for viewers wanting more than popcorn and a soft drink.

Called HOYTS LUX, it offers an intimate and luxurious space featuring lavish reclining chairs, an in-cinema waiter service and selection of gourmet food and an extensive wine list.

But don’t worry. Popcorn and soft drinks are still on the menu — they are offered free to premium guests on arrival.  LINK

Ocho Apellidos Vascos

Spain – Cinema attendance in Spain will grow in 2014, with attendance up 15% and revenue up 4% by November, but coming after four consecutive years of decline.

Since 2009 , when 110 million viewers and 671 million euros raised were recorded until 2013, with 78.7 million viewers and 506.3 million euros, the cumulative decline was 25% and 29% respectively. The numbers then seem to improve. If the turnout at the meeting in December, a month traditionally concentrated some of the blockbusters of the year, a trend reversal is confirmed after four consecutive years of falling revenues display is maintained.

This year is shaping up as a good year for Spanish cinema, with a historical audience share of 25%

2014 is also shaping up as a good year for Spanish films, with a share of historical display around 25%, according to forecasts by the confederation of producers Fapae. To date, the two highest grossing films of the year are Spanish: “Eight Basque surnames”, with 62 million euros, and “El Niño”, with nearly 17 million euros.  LINK

People

UA Cinemas

China (SAR Hong Kong) – Interesting to see someone switch from IT to the bricks-and-mortar of cinema business.

Ivan Wong, former senior vice president of Broadband Services marketing and SmartLiving Marketing at HKT, has left the company after almost two decades to join UA Cinema Circuit Limited as managing director.

In his role, Wong will oversee all businesses units from cinema operations across Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Foshan, Shanghai, Wuhan, Chongqing and Chengdu.

Additionally, he will be responsible for screen advertising, film acquisition and distribution as well as its restaurant groups like Thai Orchid, Studiocity, O3 and Starz Wine Bar.  LINK

Bill-and-Rankin

UK (Scotland) – A fascinating interview between the former manager of the Cameo cinema and one of its longest serving projectionists, who seems to have travelled to every corner of the earth in his career. And he is scathing about the business practices that have crept in with digital.

Even with the advancements in technology, I’ve always thought there was an argument for having a person on site that is technically minded.

I had a meeting with one of the union guys in London when the digital stuff was starting. Most of the chains were represented at it. The guy says, “When cinemas go digital they’re going to try sacking a lot of people.” So I told him that at Apollo we’d actually went digital in four cinemas so far and it was ongoing. And when he asked how many people we’d sacked I said none of them.

The whole time we were there, we never sacked one person because we found there was other stuff around the building that still required doing. We kept them on projection and maintenance, checking seats and stuff like that. I knew there would also be a natural progression of people leaving, some of the older guys couldn’t get their heads round it.

It’s always going to be difficult going from being a master of your craft to feeling like an amateur.

Exactly. Then when VUE took over they sacked them all.  LINK

Digital Death Watch

Park Avenue Cinema

USA (PA) – With three 35mm projectors it is an uphill struggle for this cinema to convert to digital.

Park Avenue Cinemas owner John Horning said the historic site is in danger of shutting down unless it can go digital, possibly before the new year.

The news came a day after the cinema began a crowdfunding effort on gofundme.com, where it hopes to reach an initial goal of $75,000, Horning said.

“We have 35mm film projectors, which has been the standard of the industry since movies began,” he said. “Basic film companies have started to eliminate the film altogether and distribute their product on digital hard drives.”  LINK

Cinema Opening/Closings

Ufa Kino Dusseldorf

Germany – On the same day that Astor opens its luxury cinema in Hannover Ufa pulls back the curtains on its luxury screen in Dusseldorf.

A red velvet curtain, two chandeliers with sparkling crystals and comfortable chairs where you like to spend a few hours there. The new luxury saloon in Ufa movie palace will make movie night for luxury experience. “Many movie fans attach great importance to good comfort,” says Sebastian olfactory, theater director in Ufa-Palast. The movie-makers made ??the Hall of multiplex cinemas convert complicated: a new, suitable for 3D movies screen, a projector-to-date digital technology and access to a kitchen where snacks, sweets and drinks are prepared, bring the service personnel to the film’s release directly to visitors.  LINK

Lyric Cinema Fort Colins Colorado

USA (CO) – One of the most popular independent cinemas in Colorado is looking to move in order to expand.

Mozer recently reviewed preliminary plans with city officials to move the Lyric from 300 E. Mountain Ave. in the heart of Old Town to what is now vacant land at 1209 N. College Ave., across the street from Jax Outdoor Gear.

The move would give Mozer room to expand from two screens to three, and to add an 80-seat restaurant.

The Lyric’s lease expires next year and Mozer worries that Old Town’s growing rents will be “getting a little cost prohibitive,” given that the Lyric has no room to expand from its 130 seats across two theaters.  LINK

EPIC Theatres

USA (FL) – Crunch time for a decision on this proposed multiplex near Orlando.

City Council members tonight will take up the much-anticipated plans for an EPIC Theatres 14-screen multiplex.

Council members will discuss rezoning the site off U.S. Highway 441 between Target and Wal-Mart. Last month, the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of changing the zoning from residential to commercial.

After the rezoning is approved, EPIC could then submit construction plans for review, planning and zoning director Mark Reggentin said.  LINK

Harvard Exit Serattle

USA (WA) – Landmark Theatres goes from eight to three cinemas in the Seattle area with the closure of the Harvard Exit.

Sad news for fans of one of Seattle’s oldest and most charming moviehouses: The Harvard Exit, built on Capitol Hill in 1925 and an arthouse cinema since 1969, has been sold, and will close its doors in January.

Ted Mundorff, president and CEO of Landmark Theatres, explained in a phone interview that Landmark owned the theater in partnership with NAI Puget Sound Properties, and that the latter group decided to sell.

“We certainly had the opportunity to buy them out,” he said, “but the economics were such that we’re just not going to be able to do that.” He said the sale is now in escrow, and that he anticipates the last day of operations to be Jan. 13.  LINK

Regal Carlsbad 12

USA (CA) – Regal has opened its latest multiplex in California.

Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC), a leading motion picture exhibitor owning and operating the largest theatre circuit in the United States, is celebrating the grand opening of Carlsbad 12 north of San Diego, California. Activities include preview events Sunday, December 7 through Tuesday, December 9 with $3 movies, popcorn and soft drinks to benefit local charities. The official grand opening will be Thursday, December 11 with first-run feature films including Exodus: Gods and Kings. Moviegoers who belong to the Regal Crown Club will also enjoy free popcorn and soft drinks with each paid admission Thursday, December 11, through Wednesday, December 17.

“Regal Carlsbad 12 is truly a state-of-the-art entertainment destination with a pristine presentation and featuring the Regal luxury experience with oversize recliners,” says Rachel Lueras, marketing manager for Regal Entertainment Group. “We are proud to be a part of the exciting new plan for an open-air shopping center in Carlsbad and we invite moviegoers to stretch out, relax and recline while watching a movie at this new luxury theatre.”  LINK

Studio Movie Grill

USA (TX) – Alamo Drafthouse is not the only luxury cinema chain to emerge from Texas.

Opening in the second quarter of 2015, Studio Movie Grill (SMG) The Colony will mark the brand’s 20th national location and 10th in the Lone Star State. Part of an ongoing strategic expansion, the Lewisville, Texas location will push SMG’s total number of screens past 200. The Colony will feature the laid-back atmosphere, 100% reserved seating and top-shelf dining and lounge experience that fans of Dallas-based Studio Movie Grill (www.studiomoviegrill.com) have come to expect.

Prior to its grand opening, SMG The Colony will undergo reconstruction and expansion to make room for 11 screens and over 1,500 seats. The 45,000-plus square foot location will be home to first-run movies and the brand’s signature in-theater dining service. Each theater will boast modern, comfortable seating, including VIP stadium seating, along with superior Dolby audio. Christie’s projection systems and Masterimage’s Clarity 3D, meanwhile, will provide a memorable and immersive visual experience for guests.  LINK

Rave cinema

USA (PA) – Entrance through the side until renovations are completed in this Rave Cinema.

The Rave Cinema located at 40th and Walnut streets is currently being remodeled.

The theater, which the Rave took over in 2010, has been under construction since before Thanksgiving break.

The Rave is working to renovate the concession and ticket booth stands, after which the cinema plans to do more renovation work.  LINK

Bradford Odeon

UK – Bradford’s old Odeon is set to become a music venue.

One of the most famous landmarks on Bradford’s skyline, the Odeon Cinema building, will be transformed into a live music venue after the council voted in favour of developers’ plans.

Big name acts have already pledged their support for “Bradford live” , who say they will spend £18m on a refurbishment which will restore features of the original theatre, thought to have been lost forever. Victoria Whittam reports.  LINK

Finally

London cinemas

We recently featured the five best cinemas in New York, but Time Out London goes five times better with the 25 best cinemas in the UK capital.

We asked Time Out readers to vote for their favourite London cinema. The results are not entirely unexpected – a rundown of our city’s loveliest, buzziest and friendliest local cinemas, with a couple of the big boys thrown in. Do you agree with London’s picks? Comment below…  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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