CJ Cinema Digest – Wednesday 9 March 2016

By Patrick von Sychowski | March 9, 2016 3:50 am PST

In this issue: PVR hits 500 screens, Odeon goes Limitless, French record February, missing Uruguayan audiences, Imagine Lightvibed Dragons, bomb hoaxes and cops in cinemas, Kirkuk cinema hope and Gold Class.

India – PVR has become the first exhibitor in India to cross the 500 screens mark. The operator who started in 1997 has a network across 45 cities and a wide range of cinema types, including PVR Heritage, PVR Premier, PVR Imax, PVR Director’s Cut, PVR Gold Class, PVR Premiere, PVR Talkies and the latest addition being PVR Icon & PVR Superplex. The company also trumpets plans for 50 Dolby Atmos screens, online ticketing, queue- less box office through Quick-TIx Counters,  QR code ticketless entry, and ‘on the seat’ food offerings. But the exhibitor is facing increased competition from rivals Inox, Kinepolis India and Carnival. PVR aims to have 1,000 screens by 2018. India Infoline – 5 March 2016

Odeon Limitless

UK – Odeon has launched its Limitless Pass that allows unlimited* viewing of films from GBP £17.99 per month, or GBP £19.99 if you want to use it in central London, with same minimum 12-month membership as Cineworld’s pass (5% off if you pay the full amount up front), though Cineworld’s prices are £16.90/£19.90. Having tested it is select venues, the scheme is now rolled out across all of Odeon’s UK venues. The move leave Vue as the only major UK exhibitor not to offer an ‘unlimited’ pass. Den of Geeks – 3 March 2016

(* Not included are: 3D screenings, 3D glasses, IMAX, ISENSE, The Gallery, D-Box, Premier seating and any premium screening or seat type.)

Spring time for French cinemas (photo: CelluloidJunkie)

France – February was a record month in europe’s largest cinema nation. French cinemas recorded 25.45 million admissions, up 12.9% on the same month last year and the highest for this month since monthly statistics started being collected in 1980. It was mainly on the back of Hollywood films (“Deadpool” and “Zootopia”), but French films have a 34.4% market share so far this year, with 56.4% for US films and 9.2% for other. L’Express – 7 March 2016

Missing: Uruguayan audiences for Uruguayan films. (photo: A. Ferrari / El Observador)

Uruguay – The lowest level of domestic film attendance in South America last year was in Uruguay, where market share halved from 2.2% to 1.1%. 11 local productions were seen by just 36,000 cinema goers. By way of comparison, domestic films accounted for 17% of all tickets sold in neighbouring Argentina. El Observador (ES) – 5 March 2016


Imagine Dragons

The Netherlands – Philips showcased its LightVibes technology with a special screening of US band Imagine Dragon’s Smoke + Mirrors tour performance on 2 March in cinemas in Netherlands, Germany and UK. The show also uses Dolby Atmos audio. Event – 2 March 2016

Food & Beverage

Turns out they DO mix. (photo: ABCNews)
Turns out they DO mix. (photo: ABCNews)

USA (ID) – Lawmakers in Idaho look set to overturn law that links beer and wine licences for cinemas with the state’s obscenity laws. The move comes after Meridian Cinemas filed a lawsuit against Idaho State Police claiming the police force effectively used censorship by threatening to remove liquor licences from cinemas when R-rated films such as “Fifty Shades of Grey” were screening. This was seen as a First Amendement/free speech issue. Boise Weekly – 8 March 2016

Health & Safety

Police searching Reading Cinema
Police searching Reading Cinema. (photo: Mike Batterham / GCB)

Australia – Another cinema bomb scare from the Gold Coast as Reading Cinemas in Harbour Town is evacuated late morning. Sniffer dogs and police examined the cinema and found no device. Several schools have also recently been evacuated because of bomb hoaxes. Gold Coast Bulletin – 6 March 2016

Marcus Renaissance – no longer a police matter? (photo: Marcus Theatres)

USA (WI) – Will security at Marcus Renaissance Cinema be imperilled if off-duty police officers are no longer used for security? Marcus wants the officers to be independent contractors, rather than having police on their payroll, due to liability issues. This is a new Marcus policy that will come into force across the state of Wisconsin this month. The Journal times – 6 March 2016 


Colombia – The ministry of ICT has announced an alliance with several companies to promote access to cinemas for people with disabilities, primarily the deaf and blind. This will first be tested at the Cartagena Film Festival where eight films for people with disabilities will be shown. An estimated two million people in Colombia do not have access to cinema because of lack of special provisions. RCN Radio (ES) – 4 March 2016



France – Caspar Nadaud has been appointed the Managing Director of Pathé Live. He succeeds Thierry Fontaine who is now the president of the company. Press Release – 8 March 2016

Cinema Opening/Closings

Harrogate Everyman
How the restaurant/cinema complex looks now. (photo: Harrogate Advertiser)

UK – Harrogate’s new GBP £10 million restaurant and cinema complex will open in May, but the Everyman cinema will not be ready until September. When it opens it will offer five screens over three floors, directly competing with the town’s old Odeon cinema. Harrogate Advertiser – 2 March 2016

France – The new Grand Ecran cinema in Sainte-Eulalie will open on 1 December. The seven-screen cinema will be located at 180. Sud Oust (FR) – 4 March 2016

It’s back! (photo: Le Voix du Nord)

France – The cinema Arc-en-Ciel in Lievin has re-opened 2,805 days after it closed in 2008 – and somebody obviously missed it a lot to count the days. The municipality had closed the three-screen cinema. The re-opening was described as “not a bed of roses” in terms of negotiations with the municipal government, which included raising €100,000 to switch to digital.  Le Voix du Nord – 8 March 2016

Waloon cinema Cameo
2,000 visitors on the re-opening weekend. (photo: Eric Lalmand / Belga)

Belgium – Another cinema re-opening, this one of the Caméo at rue des Carmes in Namur in Belgian Walloonia, which closed in 2012 for safety reasons. Renovation work lasted around two years and cost over €10 million. The arthouse cinema now has 725 seats in five auditoriums, handicap access and a brasserie restaurant that can be accessed directly from the street. RTBF – 8 March 2016

Iraq (Kurdish Region) – Kirkuk used to have six cinemas, but they all made way for car parks and shops. Now enthusiasts running the House of Cinema in Kirkuk are attempting to bring back movies on the big screen by holding screenings in temporary venues once a week. Rudaw – 8 March 2016

Yangtze cinema singapore
Where will the retirees go now? (photo: The Straits Times)

Singapore – The last softcore cinema in Singapore (and South-East Asia) has shut its doors. The Yangtze Cinema closed after 39 years, yet another victim to changing habits and freely available online smut. There had been discussions about moving the cinema east, but R21 films can only be played in downtown Singapore. The Pearl Centre in which the cinema is located is set to be demolished.


Singapore – We love Golden Village’s advert for it’s Gold Class screens.

Patrick von Sychowski
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