Weekly Cinema Digest – Friday 13 November 2015

By Patrick von Sychowski | November 13, 2015 3:31 am PST
Reading Cinema Auckland $10
universal pulls films

USA – It’s the best of times and the worst of times for Universal, which has taken the unprecedented step of allegedly pulling one (or perhaps even two) of its films from general release. “Jem and the Holograms” under-performed to the degree that the distributor is said to have withdrawn it from wide release. Things have not gone much better with the “Steve Jobs” biopic either. The studio is of course not commenting, but can console itself with the success of “Jurassic World”, “Furious 7”, “Minions” and many more hits this year. Business Insider – 10 November 2015


France – Ymagis has posted Q3 financial results and things are on an upward path for the pan-European cinema service provider. Revenue is up 12% on pro-forma basis to 37.9 million euro. The acquisition of Éclair in 2015 has bolstered the figures, while the company grew through the dcinex merger in 2014. Exhibitor services revenue was down while Content services was up. Press Release (PDF) – 12 November 2015

Ymagis has also singed a distribution agreement with ticketing major Vista for Russia and CIS. Press Release (PDF) – 10 November 2015

[caption id="attachment_9667" align="aligncenter" width="580"]The Belgians are coming! (photo: Isabella Finzi/ Tageblatt) The Belgians are coming! (photo: Isabella Finzi/ Tageblatt)

Luxembourg – The largest cinema chain in Luxembourg – make that the ONLY cinema chain in Luxembourg – is being absorbed by Kinepolis, after the acquisition of Utopolis was recently approved. There is a long interview with Utoplis former head Eddy Duquenne, who is now a senior manager with Kinepolis. Apparently there will not be many changes as a result of the new ownership, and event the re-branding only requires the change of a few letters. Tageblatt (DE) – 10 November 2015

Japan Toho Star Wars

Japan – It is not just in UK where there is media outrage over the price of tickets for the new “Star Wars”. Toho Cinemas has increased the ticket price from JPN ¥1,800 (USD $14.67) to JPN ¥2,000 (USD $16.30. There is no clear explanation for the “special” price. Yukawanet (JP) – 12 November 2015

India – The shares of both Inox and PVR have performed well, but The Business Standard believes that there is cause to believe that the shares may rise further yet. “The under-penetrated movie screening market in India is one and offers significant scope of expansion to both. The two already in   expansion mode and plan to add about 60 screens each to their total this financial year. They are also looking to boost the spending per head (SPH), the amount a customer spends on an average towards food and beverages (F&B).” Business Standard – 12 November 2015

Babylon Berlin
Berlin Babylon (photo: RBB)

Germany – No resolution to the conflict between staff and management at the Babylon cinema in Berlin. The fight that has been going on since June this summer and has now been referred to the local labour court. The case his the headlines when the jewish owner of the cinema used Nazi-era symbols to highlight the striking workers’ call for a boycott of the cinema. RBB (DE) – 11 November 2015

Russia – The Russian government has blamed the poor showing of local hits on Hollywood blockbusters. According the Russian news agency TASS, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Terminator Genisys” blocked local releases “Prizrak” (Ghost), “Voin” (Warrier) and “Dukhless-2” (Soulless-2) from performing as well as they could have. There have been previous talks about limiting Hollywood releases and Russian cinemas have already volunteered to devote 20% of screen time to local releases this year. Hollywood Reporter – 2 November 2015

Cinema train
It takes you on a journey. (photo: le DL / Thierry Guillot)

France – I hope that somebody will put up the rest of the money to restore this cinema train. It sounds amazing:

In a discreet corner of the Rotonde de Chambéry, volunteers of the Association for the Preservation of railway equipment Savoyard restore a stunning car-cinema, which made the heyday of the Paris / Bourg-Saint-Maurice. Only three of these trains were used by the SNCF between mid 1960 and late 1990.

Le Dauphine – 6 November 2015

USA – The never ending battle over dim projection in cinemas comes to Filmmaker magazine in an article headlined “On Not Seeing The Martian, 3D Lens Misprojection and the Wretchedness of the Multiplex”, with the sad conclusion: “AMC gave me my money back; I asked to talk to a manager but it didn’t look like one coming. Here’s the thing: this happens all the time, and part of the reason for this is that the audience simply doesn’t care.” Filmmaker – 2 November 2015


UK (Scotland) – A cinema in Glasgow has been criticised for cancelling an Oscar-nominated Iranian film about the Prophet Muhammed after becoming the subject of a small petition. A very small petition. Just 94 people signed the anonymous petition to prevent the screening of Moustapha Akkad’s 1977 film “The Message” starring Anthony Quinn at the Grosvenor cinema. The screening was arranged by the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB). The Guardian – 11 November 2015

Portugal – It could soon be ‘The End’ for Portugal’s last travelling film projectionists. 75-year old Antonio Feliciano is not quitting just yet, but changes in film consumption could spell the end for this cinema road hero. “If I’m not the last one, I’m close,” Feliciano said. “This is a legacy that is going to end. When I’m gone, traveling cinema will be mentioned in articles, but only as a memory.” In his six decades he has travelled four million kilometres and screened 4,000 in remote Portuguese towns and villages. Reuters – 9 November 2015


NCM logo

USA (NY) – The Q3 results for US cinema advertising major National CineMedia were good and the company revised the revenue forecast for Q4 upwards – up 2% to 6% to USD $125 million to USD $131 million, above an expected USD $122.7 million. The company is expecting to complete its CEO search to replace Kurt C. Hall before the end of the year. The Chairman, President and CEO ends the call on a bitter-sweet note: “I don’t know if this will be my last call or whether next call will be a transition call, but I really appreciate the relationship over the years. I really appreciate the way you guys were fair with us through good times and through bad.” Seeking Alpha – 9 November 2015

Germany – There will be tougher regulations for the advertising of tobacco products in German cinemas. From 1 July 2020 all outdoor tobacco advertising will be restricted and cinema advertising will only be permitted for film with an 18 certificate. For the past year there has been a voluntary code in German cinemas not to show tobacco advertising before 20:00. Blickpunkt:Film (DE) – 6 November 2015


USA (FL) – MovieTickets.com has launched an interesting video wallpaper technology. Rather than have static images in take over of home page, they use a video background that allows adverts to play in the background of a company’s homepage. Clever, though I wonder whether visitors will find it distracting. Press Release – 28 October 2015

Concessions / F&B

Croma Pizza Odeon

UK – Restaurant group Croma is looking to roll out its pizza-at-the-movies concept at most Odeon sites after the success of its trial at the Odeon Trafford Centre. The Odeon-Croma joint-venture Croma Pizzapoint sells pizzas to movie goers as well as non-ticket buying patrons of the Trafford Centre. “We can’t go to every single one [of Odeon’s 100+ sites] but we’re hoping to get into the majority. We’ll either retrofit existing space or take new space if it’s available,” said Michael Baker [yes, pizza Baker], Croma’s franchise operations director. Insider Media – 12 November 2015

Law & Order

France – A school headmaster has been convicted for masturbating in the back row of an auditorium in Kinépolis in Saint-Julien-lès-Metz on 13 October during the screening of a World War I film (“L’odeur de la mandarine”). Staff said that he had previously been evicted for masturbating during a screening of an Asterix film in December 2014. A two-year suspended sentence and a €600 fine was handed down. He has also been suspended from duty at his school. RTL.fr (FR) – 6 November 2015

Allan Spelman
Hard to dismiss; Niels Allan Spelmann (photo: Kinomagasinet)

Norway – SF Norge has been ordered to pay NOK 300,000 (USD $34,640) to its former employee Niels Allan Spelmann for wrongful dismissal. He was hired in June 2014 as Vice President Sales and Marketing for SF but let go in December the same year. Sounds like a messy HR situation. And to top it off, SF Norge had its worse year ever in 2014 with a loss of NOK 47 million (USD $5.43 million) . Kinomagasinet – 4 November 2015

India – Bomb hoaxes are the last thing Indian cinemas need during the busy Diwali season.

Panic gripped Crystal Palm in Bais Godown area on Thursday when an unidentified man called on the landline of the multiplex situated in the building and threatened that he had placed a bomb there and it would go off two days before Diwali. The police and a team of bomb disposal squad searched the building and declared the call a hoax.

Let’s hope they catch the miscreant. Times of India – 8 November 2015


United Cinemas 4DX
Feel the Force – in your cinema seat.

Japan – United Cinemas Group has confirmed the opening of its first 4DX halls between 2-18 December – a total of seven across the country – as well as confirming that “Star Wars 7” will be released in the motion seat format. Eiga.com (JP) – 11 November 2015

Cinema Opening/Closings

Canada – Vancouverites will get their own adult-only VIP cinema experience when the Cineplex opens at the Marine Gateway development in South Vancouver in 2016. The multiplex is opening in 2016 and will feature seven regular auditoriums, one UltraAVX PLF auditorium, and three VIP Cinemas auditoriums. Vancity – 12 November 2015

Cineworld Plymouth
Imax and 4DX – but not together (photo: Plymouth Herald)

UK – Plymouth is set to get a 12-screen cinema with both an Imax screen and 4DX seats courtesy of Cineworld. The extension of Drakes Circus t the vacated Bretonside bus station will start next summer. In addition to Cineworld there will be 14 restaurants. Completion date is set for July 2018. Plymouth Herald – 11 November 2015

Australia – Hoyts has signed an agreement to build a multiplex as as part of the proposed multi-million dollar entertainment precinct in Docklands, Melbourne. Ancho-Pennant Hoyts plans to open eight screens with Dolby Atmos sound, of which two of the screens will be Xtremescreen PLF screens. IF.com.au – 12 November 2015

Multikino Elblang
Multikino’s latest multiplex (photo: portEl.pl / Anna Dembinska)

Poland – Multikino is opening a new multiplex in Elblang central mall. portEl.pl (PL) – 7 November 2015

Poland – Meanwhile rival Helios is opening its 37th cinema, this one in Wroclaw. Lodz and Bialystok are also on the cards. IN Q3 Helios had 1.8 million visitors and box office of PLZ 30 million (USD $7.62 million). Money.pl (PL) – 9 November 2015

Independence from Odeon (photo: Darren Robinson / Chronicle Online)
Independence from Odeon (photo: Darren Robinson / Chronicle Online)

UK – The conversion of Oldham’s old town hall into an Odeon cinema has become a political issue in the up-coming by-election. UK Independence Party candidate John Bickley wants to scrap the scheme that will cost Oldham Council at least GBP £27 million. According to the article the project will create 233 jobs and generate GBP £55 million over a 10-year period. Oldham Chronicle – 11 November 2015

An artist’s impression (photo: Daily Post)

UK (Wales) – Caernarfon is due to get a new two-screen cinemas after the social enterprise secured GBP £260,000 funding needed to fund the final design process. Work is set to start in the New Year. Daily Post – 12 November 2015

Screen IMC Dublin
Is it final curtain for IMC’s Screen cinema? (photo: Entertainment.ie)

Ireland (Rep.) – Is Dublin’s iconic Screen cinema closing? The signs are not good:

The story, which was originally reported by Broadsheet, has it that the cinema is being shut down within two weeks and that all booked shows are being moved to the Savoy. Staff, meanwhile, have been put on protective notice. The report also states that there are no plans to reopen the screen.

The word from the head office is ‘No comment.’ Worrying. Entertainment.ie – 11 November 2015


Lonely happy cinema
Happy not to share the popcorn (photo: Pixabay)

Going to the cinema on your own is good for your mental health, while staying home and watching Netflix will make you depressed; now there is science to back this claim.

A study by the International Communication Association has concluded that watching hours of Netflix programming, particularly episode after episode of TV shows, can be linked to depression and feelings of loneliness.

“The more lonely and depressed the study participants were, the more likely they were to binge-watch TV,” the study’s authors said.

But when compared to a study from the Journal of Consumer Research reported on by Science of Us, going to a cinema to watch a new release by yourself can often become an enriching and rewarding experience. Individuals often feel a common fear about making the leap to going it alone at the cinema, the study claims, but when people do, they enjoy the experience more.

So you really have no excuse. Go and see Bond now, even if you are on your own. Newstalk – 10 November 2015

Patrick von Sychowski
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