The first reviews are in for Secret Cinema’s “The Empire Strikes Back” and the Telegraph is positive about what it sees:
As I step in to the first of a series of huge sets, all immaculately conceived and fully dressed, I feel like I have arrived in Marrakesh’s medina. Stormtroopers are on patrol. R2-D2 trundles past. Stalls are selling artwork and some (good) food. One hut is a gambling den, showing pod racing – a nod to one of the Star Wars prequels. Next door is the infamous cantina, serving themed cocktails, thronged with aliens and humans. LINK
However, Wired feels that the “once wonderful format has lost its way” and compares it unfavourably to actual immersive theatre productions.
Compared to Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More or The Drowned Man, Secret Cinema feels amateurish. While the set design and ambition of the production is undeniably impressive it lacks the lavishness and complexity of Punchdrunk’s productions. The acting is wooden and if looked at too closely some elements of the set look like Blue Peter projects on a grand scale. And everywhere you turn someone is trying to sell you something. LINK
It is the “money-grabbing nature” of the production that “grates the most,” with the “seemingly constant presence of roaming food and drink sellers makes it feel like you’re being ‘monetised’ from start to finish.” It seems that Secret Cinema has thus caught up with regular multiplexes in realising that there is more profits in concessions than screening films.
DIYmag has a review of the Secret Cinema Cantina bar: “Taking up three floors and a few ‘secret’ rooms, there’s plenty to see and do at Secret Nightclub. You can gamble with some beans and play confusing intergalactic card games with alien women on the second floor. Or if you fancy somewhere quiet, there’s a secret Arabian-esque ‘chill out’ room with plush bean bags and comfy sofas to relax on.” LINK
The Independent has an interview with Fabien Riggall, the mastermind behind Secret Cinema. “The big challenge for Riggall, especially in the early days before Secret Cinema took off, has been getting the films. “It’s funny, there’s this really interesting relationship between us and distributors. Am I approached now that I can bring nearly 200,000 people a year, nearly half of what the BFI can bring? Not really, no.”” LINK
The Event Cinema Association will again have a major presence at this year’s CineEurope in Barcelona (22-25 Jun). “The trade association, now in its 3rd year, takes its remit of support and promotion very seriously and CineEurope is one of the main opportunities in the calendar year to bring together the growing event cinema community. The ECA this year will be hosting the CineEurope Focus Sessions on the Trade Show floor on Tuesday at 4pm, featuring some high profile, first time speakers.” LINK
Russia – Despite economic problems, Russian chain Kinomax is investing USD $12 million in new cinemas this year. “Boris Asriyev, the company’s co-owner and chairman of the board, was quoted by the Russian business daily Vedomosti as saying that the company has invested in construction of new theaters $30 million (1.5 billion rubles) over the past 18 months and another $12 million (600 million rubles) has been slated for investment in construction and equipment over the next 12 months.” LINK
Ireland (Republic) – Ireland was one of the few places that had a relatively good box office year in 2014. “New figures show we spent €99m at the movies last year – marking a €3m rise on the 2013 amount. According to Rentrak EDI, which compiles the figures, €38m has been spent at the box office so far this year – with the summer blockbuster season only just getting into gear.” LINK
USA (KA) – AMC has announced the sale of USD $600 million worth of debt maturing in 2025. “The Notes will be sold to investors at a price of 100.000% of the principal amount thereof and will bear interest at a rate equal to 5.75% per annum.” AMC has previously been buying back their 2020 notes with an interest of 9.75%, so the market obviously trusts AMC to spend the money wisely. LINK
Poland – Cinema advertising is growing in Poland. “According to Kantar Media report prepared for the Wirtualnemedia.pl in the period from January to April advertisers spent more than 484.1 million z? (rate card data without discounts) on advertising in cinemas. It was 7.9 per cent more than in the same period of 2014.” Ferrero decreased the most and Coke increase cine ad spending the most. LINK
UK – Expect to see a lot of this campaign in cinemas this autumn. “Project Everyone, the brainchild of British filmmaker, humanitarian and campaigner Richard Curtis, has partnered with the global cinema advertising association, SAWA, to launch a global ad campaign utilising the power of cinema to help end poverty, injustice and climate change.” LINK
Health & Safety
Singapore – A bedbug infestation in Singapore’s foremost cinema for South Indian films (NB: not Bollywood). “Patrons of the Rex Cinema claim they have been leaving with more than just shivers down their spine – after finding themselves covered in bedbugs. The theatre in Mackenzie Road which shows Bollywood films has admitted to The Straits Times that it has a problem with the bugs – and pest controllers say it may not be the only cinema here to have them.” LINK
UK – A couple claim they had their screening of “Taken 3” ruined by a man next to them smoking e-cigarettes throughout the film. “The couple complained to two separate members of staff at the venue and said neither knew what the Odeon’s policy was on smoking e-cigarettes during a film. Bryan, from Ruskington, said: “I was advised to make a complaint via the Odeon website – which I have done, but I’ve had no response.” Odeon’s policy is apparently not to allow any type of cigarettes, e- or regular. LINK
Law & Order
UK – Police are appealing for witnesses after a woman was assaulted by another woman at the Parkway Cinema in Cleethorpeks. “The victim was a 45-year-old woman who had been subjected to verbal abuse from a woman earlier in the evening, police said. She was approached in the foyer and was assaulted, with the attacker pushing her to the floor in front of staff.” LINK
Ireland (Republic) – Compensation has been granted to a former cinema manager dismissed unfairly. “The former general manager of a Limerick cinema complex who was unfairly dismissed almost five years ago has been granted a court order directing that he be paid more than €20,000 in compensation.” The problem arose when the cinema changed ownership to Odeon. LINK
India – The cancellation of a film in a South Indian cinema lead to an outbreak of violence. “The Town police on Thursday arrested three youths in connection with rioting and attack on a civil police officer after the cancellation of a movie at a cinema here on Wednesday night.” LINK
Germany – Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technolgy has a solution for hearing impaired cinema patrons. “The Personal Hearing technology is utilized in the free “Cinema Connect” and “MobileConnect” apps from Sennheiser Streaming Technologies, which are due to be released later this summer (Northern Hemisphere). In both apps, users control volume by finger-dragging an onscreen dot up or down, and adjust the softness-to-deepness of the sound by dragging that dot to the left or right.” LINK
India – With its latest opening Cinépolis has crossed 200 screens in India. “Cinepolis, the World’s 4th largest and India’s 1st international exhibitor, announces the launch of its third state-of-the-art cineplex in Bengaluru’s ETA Namma Mall.” The multiplex promises the ‘largest legroom in the country’. LINK
UK – Permission has finally been granted for a 16-screen multiplex in Ipswich. “The Vue chain ditched a scheme granted planning permission in 2012 for a cinema in the Buttermarket centre. But the borough council has approved a new proposal for a 16-screen multiplex, gym, new shops, restaurants and bars.” LINK
France – It looks like a nine-screen cinema is going ahead in Nantes, despite the objections of CGR. ” The rapporteur called public Tuesday at the Nantes Administrative Appeal Court rejected the appeal CGR against the installation of film-Loire multiplex Tours North, project that had already received the green light from successive departmental committees of national and commercial development (*).” LINK
France – CGR can console itself that it has got the go-ahead to build a cinema in Bruz. “Robert Laborie, director of development of the IRGC group, already says the cinema’s equipment will be at the cutting edge of new technologies. “He expected to open late 2016 and include eight auditoriums and 1470 seats “” LINK
USA (OH) – Austin Landing is set to get a luxury cinema. “The multiplex would include six to eight screens, as well as a full-service restaurant and bar in an environment that is unique to the Dayton market, according to Jeff Stickel, developer for RG Properties.” LINK
11 – Movie Tavern is opening not one but two cinema in Baton Rouge this year. “The fist Movie Tavern opened in Louisiana last summer. Located in Covington in the New Orleans metropolitan area, it contains eight screens and can accommodate up to 720 guests at one time. Baton Rouge’s first Movie Tavern will have 10 screens, including some with 3-D capability. It will also feature luxury recliners and full-service in-theater dining.” LINK
Switzerland – One of Geneva’s greatest cinemas might soon be gone. “A jewel of architecture Geneva 50s may soon disappear. The Plaza cinema, designed by architect Marc Joseph Saugey, closed since 2004, been the subject of a formal request for demolition by its owners, who want to build shops and student housing” LINK
UK – A look back at cinema (film listing) adverts from 1971 in Leicester. Some strange films back then, along with a few classics.
This was the year that China joined the UN,the voting age in USA came down to 18,Walt Disney opened his Florida Park.
The Rolling Stones were singing about Brown Sugar and Rod Stewart’s latest was Maggie Mae.
If you weren’t at the pictures you might have been watching the Partridge Family on TV. LINK
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