Weekly Cinema Digest – Friday 11 September 2015

By Patrick von Sychowski | September 11, 2015 12:56 pm PDT
Village Roadshow Sri Lanka EAP

Australia’s Village Roadshow has entered the Sri Lankan market through an agreement with the local media and entertainment company EAP Group. The deal will see the companies jointly develop multiplexes across the island. EAP is said to own 15 cinemas and have 30 in its circuit. On an island formerly dominated by single-screen cinemas killed of by video pirates, EAP is re-building single-screens into multiplexes starting in the Rajagiriya suburb of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo. EconomyNext – 9 September 2015

Cinepolis Panama
Terrorists? No, their crime was smuggling food into cinema. (photo: Dia a Dia)

Panama – A couple was arrested and paraded as criminals for the crime of smuggling outside food into a Cinepolis cinema. Kevin González López (18) and Maria Deyanira Gutierrez (19) had their bag checked and were found to be trying to bring in two soda cans, a big bag of chips and candy. As of 23 August it is illegal to bring outside food into cinemas in Panama, following lobbying by the interest group la Asociación Protectora de Cine y Música (the Association for the Protection of Cinema and Music).  Dia a Dia [ES] – 9 September – 2015

Too much "Love" for French cinema goers.

France – The French government is debating whether to change film classification in the wake of the controversy of Gaspar Noé’s “Love” (featuring full-on 3D sex), as to whether there should be an automatic 18 classification for any films that features non-simulated intercourse. (This is so French on so many levels. – Ed.) Le Figaro/AFP – Alix VanPee – 9 September 2015

Secret Cinema love refugees

France – Secret Cinema is arranging film screenings for refugees in Calais migration camp and elsewhere. Under the hashtag #LOVEREFUGEES Secret Cinema is raising money for mobile film screenings in various refugee camps across Europe with the goal of “establishing a cultural dialogue and stimulus.” The first set of screenings will take place simultaneously  Saturday 12 September 7pm, with UK, France Japan, Kenya and Tunisia confirmed as the first host countries. The Express – Stefan Kyriazis – 9 September 2015

Vista nordisk Norway Haugsund
Jannicke Haugen, head of Nordisk Film Kino AS (photo: John Berge, KINOMAGASINET)

Norway – Cinema software major Vista Entertainment Solutions (VES) has signed an agreement with Nordisk Film Norway for its ticketing solution. Nordisk’s Danish parent company uses the Dolphin ticketing system, but Nordisk Norway selected Vista for its POS solution. KinoMagasinet.no [NO] – John Berge – 7 September 2015


Mexico – Cinépolis has become the first cinema chain in Latin America to install Barco’s Escape triptych screen system. The screen is located in Cinépolis’ Paseo Acoxpa Mexico City location where 20th Century Fox’s “Maze Runner 2: The Scorch Trials” will be the first film to premiere on it on 11 September. Press Release – Barco – 8 September 2015

US – CineCert is using IBC, presently taking place in Amsterdam, to launch Hanalei KDM Distribution Management.  The new product is meant to automate the generation and distribution of KDMs to theatre facilities, as well as manage the device, facility and booking information.  Hanalei was developed specifically for use by mastering facilities, network operators and motion picture distributors. – Press Release – 8 September 2015

US – Cinema Equipment and Supplies (CE+S) has signed up another circuit for Cielo, its cloud based cinema monitoring and support platform.  Goodrich Quality Theaters, the 16th largest chain in North America, will be using Cielo to help operate their 275 screens. – Press Release – 8 September 2015

Japan – After 4DX screenings proved to be a big hit over the summer in Japan, especially with titles such as “Jurassic World”, United Cinemas signed a deal with South Korea’s CJ to install the feature on six additional screens by this December.  4DX is engineered to create an immersive cinema-going experience with motion seats and atmospheric effects synchronized to the playback of the film.  Presently United Cinemas operates four 4Dx screens and is hoping to have 10 up and running by the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, later this year. – EIGA News Story – 10 September 2015


Goh Eng Wah
Goh Eng Wah and EW Cinema (photo: Straits Times)

Singapore – Cinema pioneer Goh Eng Wah, who founded the eponymous Eng Wah cinema (now WE Cinemas) chain, has passed away at the age of 92. Business man Goh built a hospitality, entertainment and real-estate empire over 70 years. He opened his first cinema (Victory) in 1945 and was also involved in film import, distribution and production.   Straits Times – 7 September 2015

US – Ron Hageman took over the role of Executive Director at Sonic Equipment, where he will be responsible for day-to-day operations and guide the company’s longterm strategy.  Hageman has worked at the company since 2006 in several capacities, including Director of Sonic Services.  He is replacing Eric Olson in the position, who stayed on with the Kansas based Sonic as Director of Sales. Press Release – 8 September 2015

Cinema Opening/Closings

UK – Cinema is set to return Cheltenham Playhouse thanks to generous anonymous donation. Gloucestershire Echo – 9 September 2015

UK – Bradford’s National Media museum has re-opened its cinema after extensive renovations, including to its Imax screen, which has had GBP £780,000 spent to upgrade projectors and sound to digital (but not laser). The upgrade took almost two months and was funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sports. When it opened in 1983 it was the first Imax in Europe, the article claims. The Telegraph & Argus – 9 September 2015

US – The brand new Cinemark Roanoke in Roanoke, Texas opened on August 13th.  The chain has applied its NextGen design concept to the 14-screen cinema outfitting it with cushy reclining loungers, an expanded dining menu, including beer and wine, and a Cinemark XD premium large format auditorium.  Cinema technology manufacturer Christie also mentioned that the theatre becomes the third Cinemark venue to be equipped with Christie Vive, the company’s immersive audio product that combines the benefits of ribbon drivers with those of line array speaker design. The fourth is set to be the Cinemark Century Point Ruston 8 in Tacoma, Washington.  Press Release – 10 September 2015


Bottled Water

It’s kind of a good news – bad news week for cinema halls in India.  In what is being dubbed a “landmark” ruling, The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) said that the country’s exhibitors can indeed prohibit patrons from bringing their own bottle of water into a cinema.  However, the verdict handed down by Justice V K Jain and Dr B C Gupta also required cinema operators preventing customers from bringing their own water bottles to provide free drinking water to all patrons that request it:

If a cinema hall while prohibiting carrying of drinking water inside the cinema hall fails to make potable drinking water available to the cine-goers inside the cinema hall, it will be an act of deficiency in rendering service to them, they having paid a substantial amount for watching the movie in a comfortable and satisfying environment.

The ruling went on to state that marking up the price of bottled water above market rates would be considered “unfair trade practice”.  Like in many countries around the world, bottled water in cinemas can be more than twice the amount as in traditional retail establishments.  Cinema owners in India must be relieved the judges neglected to include the price of popcorn in their statements.

The whole issue over drinking water in cinema halls was set off when the Rupasi Multiplex refused entry to three patrons bringing their own water bottles.  The trio took their case up with the authorities and the case eventually found its way to the top consumer protection agency in India, the NCDRC, which found the cinema hall “guilty of deficiency in service”.  Rupasi was fined INR ?10,000 (USD $150) and asked to pay INR ?1,000 (USD $15) in legal fees. Times of India – 11 September 2015

Patrick von Sychowski
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