Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 18 March 2015

By | March 17, 2015 11:03 pm PST

Following the announcement of a dedicated eSports screen in London’s Fulham Broadway (Vue), plus one more site, this now looks set to be the biggest global eSporting event since the Coca Cola-sponsored League of Legends tournament finale. More details on the eSports Cinema website.

The Electronic Sports League and live event broadcaster BY Experience announced plans Tuesday to bring a series of live esports events to 1,500 to 2,000 movie theaters around the world.

The “Esports in Cinema” series will launch in July with the debut of an esports documentary from filmmakers Christine O’Malley and Patrick Creadon, followed by live competitive gaming and a Q&A session in front of a live studio audience.

The event will be broadcast from the ESL studio in Burbank, California, on July 23 for North American and Latin American audiences and from the ESL studio in Cologne, Germany, on July 28 for European and Asian audiences.  LINK

USA (TX) – Dallas-based independent cinema The Look is upping the ante in the fight against larger chains like AMC that get preferential and exclusive bookings of films.

In a recent letter to the heads of the six major studios, Stephenson blasted AMC Chief Executive Gerry Lopez over a long-standing practice in the exhibition industry in which theaters seek to “clear” certain markets, ensuring rivals in proximity cannot play releases at the same time.

“AMC is using clearances as a competitive weapon to prevent market entrants from building near AMC theaters,” Stephenson wrote in a letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Times. “The basis of competition between film exhibitors should be the customer experience and not the artificial construct where one theater cannot get a picture because of a clearance.”  LINK

Cineworld

UK – Cineworld’s non-exec director Eric Senate obviously believes it is going to be a blockbuster year.

Multiplex chain Cineworld Group PLC Tuesday said Non-Executive Director Eric Senat bought 26,937 shares at a price of 482.75 pence per share Monday.

Following this transaction, Senat now holds 53,874 shares.

The stock was trading down 0.9% at 475.60p Tuesday.  LINK

Marcus logo

USA (WI) – Marcus loyalty scheme is doing very well.

Marcus Theatres®, a division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE:MCS), announced today that membership in its Magical Movie Rewards® (MMR) Program reached 1,000,000 in less than a year’s time. In addition to building the program quickly, the company is clearly making a connection with members, as more than one third (36 percent) of transactions since program inception are from registered members of the loyalty program.

“Membership in the Magical Movie Rewards Program grew more quickly than we could have imagined,” said Rolando Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of Marcus Theatres. “Based on the size of our circuit, reaching 1,000,000 members in less than a year’s time is truly meaningful.”  LINK

Event Cinema

Star Wars Empire Strikes Back secret cinema

UK – Tickets for Secret Cinema’s “Star Wars: the Empire Strikes Back” go on sale today. The company has extended the run of the series by seven weeks, but fans are upset at the hike in the ticket price.

Following the fiasco of last year’s Back to the Future, when technical problems saw events cancelled at the eleventh hour and 3,500 cinema-goers disappointed, the hike in ticket price from £53.50 to £75 for adults has not been welcomed.

This summer’s sci-fi effort will be screened at a secret London location for two months from 4 June but talk of it being “the most ambitious and dreamlike Secret Cinema experience the UK has ever seen” may read as a warning to many.  LINK

Censorship

India chief censor

India – It looks like the wind is turning against India’s Censor-in-Chief Pahlaj Nihalani with the government looking to revamp the system of film classification.

Nihalani was missing from two meetings that could potentially decide the future direction of the board, which been immersed in controversy ever since he took charge in January . The biggest source of contention has been the board’s war on profanity and its demands for cuts that filmmakers claim are arbitary. On Monday, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore met with actors and leading members of the Film and Television Producers’ Guild of India to reiterate the government’s commitment to replacing censorship with certification and perhaps increase the number of categories to strengthen the logic behind ratings. Nihalani was not invited to be at the meeting, but the CBFC’s Chief Executive Officer, Shravan Kumar, was.  LINK

Lasers

DP4K-60L BArco

Mexico – The first laser projector in Latin America will be installed in a Cinepolis cinema in Mexico City, courtesy of Barco.

Barco, the global leader in digital cinema projection, has become the first to deploy a high brightness digital cinema laser projector in Latin America with the recent acquisition by Cinepolis, the largest cinema chain in the region and fourth largest in the world.

Building on its long-term relationship with Barco, Cinepolis chose Barco’s DP4K-60L laser projector due to its superior image quality and technological superiority. Barco has been the exclusive provider of DLP Cinema® xenon projectors for the exhibitors’ converted and new theaters since 2011, becoming a trusted partner for Cinepolis’ expansion over three continents.  LINK

Law & Order

Breakin Cinema

Germany – If you are going to break into a cinema for fun, don’t take pictures of yourselves and post it on social media network. Better yet, don’t break into cinemas, full stop.

As a break-in the former cinema Wolfener Commissioner has brought  police on the right track. Two young men have obviously illegally gained access to the building and had their picture taken in the large movie theater. The mobile phone image was then uploaded to the Facebook page of a party and commented with the following addition: “Running.”

Within a short time this entry gets 24 “Likes” indications. A user of the social network even wants to know: “How did you get in?” All that remains Marco Roye (The Left) not hidden on Monday evening last week. The Bitterfeld-Wolfen City Council takes a photo of the item and moves a day later so the police. When the officers then go to the movies, they did not find the young men who uploaded the photo. But they did find a 13-year-old girl and a 14 year old boy. LINK

Toddler car cinema

USA (TX) – There is no excuse for leaving your child in the car and going to the cinema. Ever.

Late Tuesday morning, a woman spotted a two-year-old girl locked in a car in the parking lot of the AMC Mesquite 30 movie theater.

Emergency responders were called out. The little girl appeared to be resting and wasn’t crying or in any distress, so they tried first to page the car’s driver inside the theater.

No one responded, so — after waiting 15 minutes — they broke the glass and got the girl out. She is reportedly doing fine.  LINK

Cineplex stabbing

Canada – Even though the attack happened outside rather than inside the cinema it is still worrying.

Toronto-based Cineplex Entertainment has increased security at one of its Saskatoon locations. Last month, a man was stabbed multiple times at the theatre.

“We have added additional security to the building to reassure our guests,” said Pat Marshall, vice-president of communications and investor relations for Cineplex, in a statement to Global News.

“The safety and security of our guests and our staff are our number one priority.”  LINK

Concessions/F&B

Pulp Fiction burger

UK – Pairing particular films with specific dishes seems like a fun idea. But will they get the ‘Royale with cheese’ from the local McDonalds?

You can bet your life burgers will feature somehow at Film Food Club’s screening of Pulp Fiction.

The cult Tarantino flick comes to The Electric Cinema this week for two screenings, each complemented by a goodie bag of edible cinema treats hand-crafted by Kings Heath food artist Annabel de Vetten-Peterson.

Annabel’s Conjurer’s Kitchen has already won rave reviews for a screening of cult classics The Big Lebowski (when audience members ate a bowling ball biscuit and downed a white Russian) and Harold and Maude (when the menu included a vial of drinkable blood and an edible sunflower in a pot).  LINK

Accessibility

AMC autism friendly

USA (TN) – Autism friendly screenings are catching on across the United States.

In coordination with the Autism Society, AMC has also been schedule ing their very own sensory-friendly films for families. Their program began after a parent with an autistic child asked for a special screening at an AMC in Columbia, Maryland, and when event was held over 300 children and parents arrived and attended the film.

In January and February, screenings for both Paddington and Spongebob Square Pants: Sponge Out Of Water were both very popular, while 10 more films will be shown in sensory-friendly formats across the country over the next 10 months in participating theatres. You can check here to see if you live near a theater that will be programming one of the events.  LINK

Outdoor cinema

Ben and Jerry outdoor cinema

Australia – Cinema and ice-cream go almost as well together as cinema and popcorn.

Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinemas complete their nationwide tour in a handy central location by Riverside Drive, East Perth, stopping by for five quick weeks from 19 March until 26 April.

The outdoor festival visited the West Coast for the first time last year, and with locals embracing their extended-summer ethos of music by day and movies by night, they’re set to return with a bigger and better season for the second time around.  LINK

Digital Death Watch

Valley Cinema

USA – News of cinemas converting to digital is coming few and far between. Those analogue left don’t have much time.

After what owner Chris Anderson called a “two-year journey,” the theater celebrated its conversion from film to digital during a luncheon with donors Friday afternoon.

“It was through the help of the entire community,” said Anderson during an interview at the cinema at 20 Albany St. in Little Falls.

Anderson thanked the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts, the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Chris and Dave Van Meter and Martin Babinec and family for their support to keep the theater open.  LINK

Cinema Opening/Closings

Stone Theatre

USA (NC) – A major cinema development for this corner of Charlotte, NC.

A new movie theater coming to the RedStone development will be the largest of its kind in the Indian Land area.

Construction on the 53,000-square-foot cinema will start soon, and opening is expected in the fall of 2016, according to a joint statement from Charlotte-based Stone Theatres and MPV Properties, which will manage the property.

The 40-acre retail development, approved in February, is at U.S. 521 and S.C. 160 in the Indian Land area of Lancaster County, just south of Ballantyne. The development’s new theater will have approximately 2,800 stadium seats and 14 wall-to-wall screens.  LINK

Swale cinema

UK – No word on who the cinema operator for this seven-screen multiplex will be.

Members of Swale council’s planning committee have tonight voted to approve phase one of the £100 million Sittingbourne regeneration.

Work will start this summer on constructing a seven screen cinema, seven restaurants, four retail units, 215 residential apartments, a new public square and a 308-space multi-storey car park.  LINK

Marcus

USA – Marcus will provide an employment boost to the local economy with its new cinema.

A new cinema from Marcus Theatres in Sun Prairie will employ double the number of people compared to the Eastgate Cinema in Madison.

The Milwaukee-based company said Tuesday that the Palace Cinema in the Shoppes at Prairie Lakes will employ 200 people, 100 of whom are expected to transfer from Eastgate, 5202 High Crossing Blvd. No closing date has been set for the Madison theater complex but the Sun Prairie cinema is scheduled to open April 30 along with a nearby 86,000-square-foot Cabela’s.  LINK

Reel Cinema Skelmersdale

UK – Reel Cinema will be an anchor tenant in Skelmersdale.

Reel Cinema will commit to a 15-year lease in Skelmersdale as part of St. Modwen’s plans to regenerate the town centre.

The leisure provider was confirmed as the anchor tenant of the scheme in December. The lease agreement signals long term commitment to the town and is the latest milestone for the £10 million scheme that goes before West Lancashire planning committee on Thursday evening.  LINK

Avoca Beach Cinema

Australia – No changes allowed for this Australian cinema. For now.

An interim heritage order has been placed on the iconic Avoca Beach theatre on the state’s Central Coast, amid controversial plans to re-develop the complex.

The New South Wales Heritage Council says local significance of the 60-year old cinema will be assessed as part of the order.

It comes at a crucial time, with Gosford City Council soon poised to consider a proposal to convert the theatre into a five-screen complex with residential units and a car park.  LINK

Finally

This advert for Japan’s Toho Cinemas is a brilliant mashup of Minions meet Godzilla. Watch it.

The minions from the American film series Despicable Me might be curious little critters, but in the latest commercial for TOHO Cinemas, they may have encountered more than they can handle.

Although minions have their own gibberish language, it is clear that at first, they assume the TOHO Cinemas logo is either a tomato or a sun. The minion hidden in the logo mistakes Godzilla for a “doggie.”

TOHO Cinemas, originally Virgin Cinemas Japan, was acquired by TOHO Company in 2003; Godzilla is perhaps the latter’s best-known cinematic character. A giant Godzilla even towers over a TOHO Cinema in Shinjuku, Tokyo.  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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