Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 1 April 2015

By Patrick von Sychowski | April 1, 2015 3:05 am PDT
Barco Dolby Atmouro

Celluloid Junkie can exclusively reveal that in an effort to spur uptake of immersive audio for cinema Dolby and Barco have concluded a groundbreaking agreement to merge their Atmos and Auro systems. While a formal announcement is not expected before CinemaCon – so there is no press release yet – we can reveal that the merged format will be known as Atmouro and be available in 11.1, 22.2 and 33.3 speaker configurations for regular cinemas and even 44.4 for premium large format (PLF) venues.

Sidestepping the vexed issue of creating open standards for object-based and channel-based audio mapping, the new Atmouro will instead use subject-based audio mapping. Under this system, sounds will be grouped alphabetically, so that for example birdsong, bullets and burps will be assigned to the ‘B’ track.

Speaking to CJ, Dolby’s Stuart Bowling said, “the idea of alphabetical subject-based audio tracks is so obvious when you think about that it’s strange that we didn’t come up with it sooner.” Praising the merger and the subject-based approach as “a bold move,” consultant Michael Karagosian of MKPE still cautioned that, “the devil will be in the details when it comes to SMPTE standardisation.”

Confident that the united push by Dolby and Barco to promote the Atmouro format will be embraced by the exhibition community, Barco’s Brian Claypool said, “note this particular day in your calendar. This is a historic day for cinema innovation.”

Screen X CJ

Also at CinemaCon South Korea’s CJ will be showcasing its immersive screen rival to Barco’s Escape that was demonstrated in Las Vegas last year. There are 75 of these deployed in South Korea already, though commenting on the article, “John” says that it added nothing but distractions to his viewing of “Paddington” on a ScreenX.

CJ Group, the South Korean conglomerate behind the 4DX 4D cinema system, is aiming to bring a 270-degree Cinerama-like “ScreenX” theater experience to the U.S. It will be demoed for theater owners April 20-23 at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

ScreenX is a three-screen configuration that puts the images on the front and sides of a theater. The screen technology would run across the side walls, using six projectors per wall and stitching the images together (meaning that the system uses a total of 13 projectors). According to the company, ScreenX is projector and server agnostic, though digital cinema projector maker Christie and server maker HP are working closely with CJ as preferred vendors.  LINK

Bahraincinema logo

Qatar – The Gulf is a somewhat overlooked region in terms of the explosive cinema growth currently under way.

The number of cinema screens inside multiplexes in Qatar is set to double by the end of this year, as new movie theaters are expected to open in four shopping malls by December.

There are currently 48 cinema screens operating inside of six theaters, but a total of 47 new multiplex screens are expected to launch in Qatar in the coming months.  LINK

Jerusalem cinema City roof
Photo credit: Emil Salman

Israel – There seems to be no end of problems for Jerusalem’s newest multiplex.

The Jerusalem District Appeals Committee revoked the building permit for part of the capital’s Cinema City complex on Sunday. The committee ordered that the roof be torn down and that the entertainment area located in the cineplex’s upper part be removed and converted into a public space, as originally planned.

When Cinema City, built by the Shapir Company on state-owned land, opened a little over a year ago, it was severely criticized by architects and planning bodies, as well as by a few justices of the Supreme Court. The thrust of the criticism was that the structure overshadowed its surroundings, especially the court across the road. There was also criticism about how far the construction strayed from the original plan.  LINK

Carnival Group

India – The competition authority has approved Carnival’s acquisition of Big Cinemas from Reliance ADAG.

Reliance MediaWorks, part of Anil Ambani-led group, has got the green signal from fair trade regulator CCI to sell its multiplex business to South-India based Carnival Films.

The proposed transaction will reduce Reliance Capital’s overall debt by Rs 700 crore (Rs 7 billion) and is part of Reliance Capital’s strategy to exit minority investments.

The deal will make Carnival the third largest multiplex operator with nationwide presence and over 300 screens.  LINK

Orange Sky Golden Harvest

China (Hong Kong S.A.R.) – Revenue up but profits down for the pan-Asian cinema major.

Pan-Asian cinema exhibition group Orang Sky Golden Harvest revealed that profits after tax in 2014 dropped to US$1.68 million(HK$13 million) on revenues that expanded by 16% to US$140 million (HK$1.08 billion).

The slump was confirmation of a profit warning issued in February.

“The increase in turnover for the year was attributed to the new cinema ‘the sky’ in Hong Kong which was opened in December 2013 as well as 10 new multiplexes with 66 screens in Mainland China.  LINK

Premium Large Format

Ster Kinekor Imax

South Africa – Imax is adding more screens with Ster Kinekor.

IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX) and Ster-Kinekor Theatres, a division of Primedia (Pty) Ltd., today announced an agreement for two additional IMAX® theatres. The first IMAX theatre will be added to the exhibitor’s upcoming multiplex at the Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth, with a second to be added to an existing multiplex at the Cradlestone Mall in Johannesburg. The deal brings Ster-Kinekor’s IMAX footprint to six theatres with three currently open in Durban, Pretoria and Cape Town and another slated to open in Johannesburg.  LINK

Imax Vietnam

Vietnam – A roaring start for the first Imax screen in Vietnam.

Ready for a big car chase? The seventh installment of the famous action series “Fast & Furious” will premiere in Vietnam on a giant screen at the country’s first IMAX theater, cinema operator CGV has announced.

The much-anticipated film will be screened on April 19 in 3D at the theater, situated at VivoCity shopping mall in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 7, according to CGV, which currently operates Vietnam’s largest multiplex cinema chain.  LINK

Special Cinema


Germany – Europe’s largest 360-degree screen has opened in the Europa Theme Park in Rust.

The sophisticated technology in and on the ZENDOME provides a nearly seamless projection with the simultaneous use of multiple projectors and by supplementing the images with perfect surround sound. In this case, the visitor’s entire field of vision is consumed, giving the observer the feeling of having been thrown into the depicted scene.

Aside from the Zeiss Planetarium (Berlin), which is currently under reconstruction, and the planetarium in Mannheim, the geodesic dome at Europa-Park in Rust is the largest digital full-dome enclosure in Germany.  LINK

Mommy Japan drive-in

Japan – The last drive-in cinema in Japan closed in 2010, but a special drive-in was created for screening of Xavier Dolan’s award winning film “Mommy”.

“DiTJapan” hosted the event, which revived the drive-in cinema in Hamamatsu City, also last fall, under the slogan “a special movie experience!”, To make a special venue in the parking lot of Sagami Lake Pleasure Forest, April only for one night 19 (Sunday) and a limited revival of the drive-in theater. I recruit participants on the crowdfunding site “MotionGallery”. When Passing through an the entrance you have a neon sign shining “Mommy”, there is a red carpet leading to a once extraordinary space. At the venue there are kiosk sales in food truck, and also a services whereby roller skating girls deliver popcorn to each car.  LINK


Val Morgan

Australia – The success of female-focused films seem to vindicate this research, though I’m sure young males will be back in Cinemas for “Fast & Furious 7”.

Latest research from Roy Morgan confirms a drop-off in cinemagoing among young males.

The decline in attendances by 14-17 year-olds in 2014 was the only significant change in the key demos.

The research commissioned by Val Morgan shows the percentage of each age group that had been to cinemas in the past four weeks and the average number of times those people had been, averaged across the year.  LINK

Popcorn advertising South Africa

South Africa – A bold move of combining cinema and broadcast advertising in one package.

For the first time ever a client can buy combined cinema and television multiscreen packages that have recently been launched to the media industry.

Cinevation have facilitated an advertising package between Popcorn Cinema Advertising Sales (sales representatives of South Africa’s top end cinema circuits such as Nu Metro, Movies@ and CineCentre) with Viacom (home of high performing channels such as Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, MTV and BET) to bring clients multiscreen packages that are guaranteed to hit the mark.  LINK

Cinema Opening/Closings

Thailand Major Cineplex

Thailand – A new cinema with an Imax screen and a particular focus on expats and tourists.

ith a blend of art and innovation, Quartier CineArt aims to offer a distinctive experience for both Thai movie lovers and expatriates, particularly Japanese residing in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok.

The new cinema complex opens today.

Major Cineplex Group, the country’s largest theatre chain, has occupied 6,500 square metres on the fourth floor of The EmQuartier shopping centre, and equipped eight screens with the latest cinema technology under the Bt500-million Quartier CineArt project.  LINK

Kyle cinema

UK – A new multiplex set to open in the spring of 2017, but where will it leave the town’s old four-screen Odeon?

Ayr is set for a new era of the silver screen after the go-ahead was given to a fantastic film and food complex.

News broke late on Tuesday on what could be the saviour of the town centre as permission was granted for an eleven screen multiplex.

Food and drink chains such as Starbucks, TGI Fridays, China Buffet King, Pizza Express and Nandos are being wooed to move into the crippled Kyle Centre.  LINK

Reel cinema Chorley

UK – The Reel cinema is coming to Chorley.

National chain Reel Cinema has announced its intention to open a six-screen complex at Market Walk shopping centre as part of Chorley Council’s extension plans.

The operator is the first business to publicly declare its commitment to the scheme and will enter into a 20-year lease.

Coun Alistair Bradley, council leader, said: “I am delighted that Reel have committed to Chorley and I think it’s the first stage of us getting the rest of the scheme signed up.  LINK

Clacton cinema

UK – Plans for a new multiplex are a worry for this recently re-opened cinema in North Essex.

MAJOR plans for a £10million redevelopment of Clacton Factory Outlet – including a sixscreen multiplex cinema – could spell the end for Clacton’s Century Cinema.

Kames Capital plans to create a multiplex cinema, three restaurants, a drive-through restaurant and a new 5,150 sq metre retail unit at the site…

But Picturedrome Electric Theatre Company, which owns the Century Cinema in Pier Avenue, claims the plans will have a massive impact on the town centre and could lead to the closure of its cinema The two-screen venue only reopened in June 2013 after the former Flicks cinema went out of business in 2012.  LINK

Berlin Wolf cinema

Germany – Berlin has a new cinema. The crowd-funded Wolf.

Verena von Stackelberg is a brave woman with a burning passion for film. Opening her very own cinema was her idea for a while and when she stumbled across the perfect venue on Weserstrasse, she jumped at the opportunity. Her crowd funding campaign to finance her magical paradise for all lovers of film is now running. We spoke to her about her vision, the cinema scene and her favourite film of all times…  LINK

Violet Crown Cinema

USA (NM) – Looks like the likes of Alamo Drafthouse is getting competition.

A new 11-screen cinema, restaurant and bar at the Santa Fe Railyard is almost ready for its unveiling, according to the Austin, Texas-based company that’s building it.

Part traditional multiplex movie house, part food-and-drink-focused restaurant, The Violet Crown cinema, at 1606 Alcadesa St., will celebrate its grand opening April 30 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  LINK


Harley Quinn multiplex

Superheroes in the cinema? Old news when on-screen, but these two actually visit a multiplex.

Once upon a time, you could buy Harley Quinn vibrators on Etsy. Just the black and red diamond pattern, not an actual Harley or anything.

Anyway, judging by tomorrow’s Harley Quinn #16, maybe it’s a line that Graphitti Designs might like to explore?

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy take a trip to the cinema and, after getting kicked out of watching the new Mad Max movie, they take in a showing of Fifty Shades Of Grey, still in distribution.  LINK

 Harley Quinn Fifty Shades2

Patrick von Sychowski
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