CJ Cinema Digest – Wednesday 17 August 2016

By and Patrick von Sychowski | August 17, 2016 3:50 am PDT

Alibaba goes cinema, Vox goes Saudi, CGV charged, Brazil cinemas need banks, Alamo grows, NCM bonds, Profits@Dundrum, trailer trauma, Guzzo baby surrender, UFO sues cinemas, deaf man sues Celebration Cinemas, laser survey, Sunshine bomb hoax, Reel goes luxury at Palm, Vue facelift, Pathé and Gaumont documentary.

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China (P.R.) – Alibaba Pictures has entered into agreements to start constructing cinemas, according to China Sina Finance. The film producer and distributor is said to be targeting cities such as Chongqing and recruiting people with exhibition expertise. Alibaba Pictures previously invested in Dadi Cinemas (China’s second largest chain after Wanda) and issued convertible bonds to finance its cinema ambitions. The move would put the e-commerce giant’s media arm directly in competition with cinema and film major Wanda. Newsies (KR) – 16 August 2016

Vox cinemas logo

Saudi Arabia – Vox Cinemas parent company Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas sees great opportunities in Saudi Arabia, which is (seemingly forever) on the verge of allowing cinemas in the Islamic Kingdom. “When cinemas do come to Saudi in the future, we’d like to be part of that growth,” Cameron Mitchell, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas is quoted as saying. Arabian Business – 17 August 2016


Korea (Republic of – South) – CJ Group’s chairman  Lee Jay-hyun has unexpectedly been freed by presidential pardon from his two and a half jail term, but problems are still mounting for the conglomerate. Korea’s anti-trust agency plans to file charges against CJ CGV for unfair business practices. The exhibitor has been accused of illegally carrying out inter-subsidiary transactions. Korea Herald – 16 August 2016

The 'Mecca' of cinemas in São Paulo, Itaú Space

The ‘Mecca’ of cinemas in São Paulo, Itaú Space, needs bank sponsorship. (photo: Itau Cinemas)

Brazil – There are just 3,000 cinemas for a population of 200 million in Brazil, which is thus significantly under-screened. Yet even many of the existing cinemas would not survive without sponsorship and support form banks.

The most emblematic case is that of the Belas Artes cinema in São Paulo. Shortly after the withdrawal of the support of HSBC bank, the cinema was forced to close its doors in 2011, despite the strong mobilization of moviegoers. And it is only through a petition signed by 100,000 people that the building from the 1940s, doomed to make way for a shopping center, escaped demolition.

Even such high profiled cinemas as Sao Paolo’s Space Itau without the support of the name-sake Itau bank, which funds 25 auditoriums across Brazil’s commercial capital. LesEchos.fr (FR) – 17 August 2016

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema logo

USA (TX) – USA Today looks at how Alamo Drafthouse attracts discerning movie audiences with craft beers, gourmet nibbles, comfy seats and a strict no-phones policy. Only 700 of 5,700 cinemas in the US serve food and drinks, but they are a fast-growing segment. Alamo now has 25 cinemas and annual turnover of USD $170 million. Its next one opens in Brooklyn this month, followed by nine more coming in Arizona, California, Texas, Virginia and Missouri. USA Today – 16 August 2016

NCM logo (new)

USA (NY) – National CineMedia LLC is making a private placing of USD $250 million worth of 5.75% senior notes due 2026. NCM will use this to pay off USD $200 million worth of notes due 2021, as well as related expenses, as well as for general corporate purposes. Press release – 16 August 2016

Movies @ Dundrum

Ireland (Rep.) – Dublin’s Movies@Dundrum is doing very well, with pre-tax profits of €167,121 for the year ending August 2015, compared to €121,128 profit 12 months earlier. Movies@Swords, however, reported a €55,829 loss for the same period. Staff costs were €1.58 million, of which directors’ remuneration of €407,899. Last year’s directors’ remuneration was €370,000. There was also a charge of €130,000 related to admin expenses charged in respect of management fees. It clearly pays to show fillums in Ireland. The Irish Times – 16 August 2016

UK – Yet another case of a trailer for a film for grown-ups shown to kids. This time is was the 18-rated horror film “The Bye Bye Man” trailer shown before a screening of “The Angry Birds Movie” at Cineworld in Didcot, Oxfordshire. Mother-of-four Claire Wren is quoted as saying,

My 10-year-old has Asperger’s and it has taken a long time to get used to the cinema.

She just absolutely lost it and was sobbing and screaming ‘get me out of here’.

Cineworld is said to be reviewing procedures and UKCA’s Phil Clapp get quoted as saying that films are only meant to be shown with trailers in the same classification category. We’d love to think that this won’t happen again, but… BBC – 16 August 2016

Vincent Guzzo

Vincent Guzzo surrenders to the pro-baby lobby. (photo: CBC)

Canada – Cinema Guzzo is changing its policy to once again allow toddlers under the age of two to be admitted free of charge for the 10:30am screenings, following a public outcry after a mother was previously refused entry for not buying a ticket for her babe-in-arms. “There’s already going to be a whole bunch of kids anyway. I don’t think anyone going then is expecting to have peace and quiet anyway,” Vince Guzzo, executive vice-president and COO of Cinema Guzzo, is quoted as saying. Global News – 16 August 2016

UFO Moviez

India – E-cinema operator UFO Moviez is taking 20 cinema operator to court for breach of contract. The cinema operators have responded by saying that UFO is using pressure tactics and lawsuits to enforce one-sided agreements. “The petitioners learnt that one of its competitors is approaching and luring its customers, including the respondent, and instigating to wrongfully terminate the ELA and advertising agreement on false and flimsy pretext,” UFO Moviez’ petition to the Bombay High Court reads. Economic Times – 17 August 2016


Celebration! Cinema sued over closed captioning

USA (FL) – Celebration Cinemas is being sued by a deaf patron for supposedly not providing subtitle capabilities. “It’s not a law, but it’s a service you want to give to your guest,”  Steve VanWagoner, Celebration’s vice president of marketing and public relations, said in reference to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Because the cinema went digital in 2008 it is said that it is expensive to upgrade to providing closed captioning, but the service is supposedly coming. Not soon enough for some though. Wood8TV – 16 August 2016


Barco laser projector

Barco DP4K-60L

USA – FJI takes a look at the state of laser projection deployment around the world for Barco, Christie, Cinemeccanica and NEC. Interestingly China Film Group and Appotronics Corp’s ALPD system is claimed will be in 3,000 Chinese sites by the end of 2016. Dolby Vision and Imax also get a mention. (No mention of Sony, because they are quite happy with their Xenon light output and 8,000:1 contrast ratio, thank you very much!) FJI – 15 August 2016

Law & Order

NYPD respond to Sunshine Cinema bomb threat.

NYPD respond to Sunshine Cinema bomb threat. (photo: Brooklyn Boogie)

USA (NY) – There was a bomb scare this week at Manhattan’s Landmark Sunshine cinema during the screening of the controversial documentary “Tickled” forcing an evacuation and police response unit. Here is a first-hand witness account.

The policemen who evacuated us were a riot. All of a sudden; the film stops, the lights go up and about 20 policemen come in all smiling and laughing. I told them, I’d never been through something like this before and a cop responded, It wasn’t a credible threat but they had to do their job. They also searched all rows of seats with flashlights. But outside we were all still in our “Indignation” group trying to find people who knew the ending but some people got very upset and shushed us saying that they didn’t want to know the ending.

As always, we are just happy this story didn’t have an un-happy ending. Bowery Boogie – 15 August 2016

Cinema Opening/Closings

 the Palm Jumeirah.

Soon also featuring a five-screen luxury cinema – the Palm Jumeirah. (image: FAM Real Estate)

U.A.E. – Reel Cinemas is set to open a luxury cinema at Dubai’s The Pointe in partnership with Nakheel. It is claimed that it will be the first cinema in the region to feature a restaurant withinLocated across the bay from leisure resort Atlantis The Palm the five-screen luxury cinema will be accessed by The Palm Monorail and by boat. Hotelier Middle East – 17 August 2016

Vue at Capitol Centre, Walton-le-Dale

Vue at Capitol Centre, Walton-le-Dale (photo: Shafiq Khan)

UK – The Vue cinema in Walton-la-Dale is set to get a  major makeover after being spared form demolition less than a year ago. The cinema first opened in 1991 and is described as looking “dated”, not having been re-d0ne in the last 25 years. The decision comes after plans to build a nine-screen Vue multiplex at the rear of the Fishergate Centre in Prestonwere withdrawn in April. Lancashire Evening Post – 17 August 2016

inox logo

India – Inox Leisure has opened a four-screen, 861-seat multiplex, taken on a lease basis, at The Great Mall of Kota. With this addition Inow claims to be in 57 cities across India with 109 multiplexes, 429 screens and a total seating capacity of 110,267 seats. Live Mint – 16 August 2016


Charles Pathé and Leon Gaumont

Charles Pathé and Leon Gaumont were big screen rivals. (photo: Montage)

France/Belgium – Most people know about the invention of motion pictures by the Edison/Dixon and the Frères Lumière. But the credit for the invention of cinema as a business belongs to Charles Pathé and Léon Gaumont.

Throughout their careers, Pathé and Gaumont were great rivals. One would react immediately to any initiative by the other. Pathé, who came from a family of butchers, had business in blood. Gaumont, whose parents were servants, was a passionate engineer. Dazzled by the technique of the Lumière brothers in 1895, they decides to copy and create his own projection technology.

They then went into the cinema business and film production. Had it not been for World War I they could have ended up dominating world cinema, instead of seeing Hollywood eclipse them. This week Arte is screening a major documentary about them. Le Figaro (FR) – 16 August 2016

Patrick von Sychowski
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Patrick von Sychowski

Patrick was a Senior Analyst at Screen Digest, went on to launch the digital cinema operations of Unique and Deluxe Europe, then digitised Bollywood at Adlabs/RMW, and now writes, consults and appears on panels about cinema all over the world.
Patrick von Sychowski
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