CJ Cinema Digest – Friday 2 September 2016

By and Patrick von Sychowski | September 2, 2016 9:15 am PDT

Wanda’s PVR interest and HY results, China cinema law, CGV brand win, Spain 21% cinema VAT anger, German small cinema growth, no Odeon Bath 3am shows, Amazon open air car cinema Poland, Prospero on UK’s outdoor cinema love, Cinex Plaza and Majestic NZ go digital, Celebration! closed caption, Dan Fuhlendorrf  sues UCS, German cinema robbery, LFF temporary Thames screen, The Light Bolton sees light of day, art deco cinema saved in Belfast but lost in London, and dog cinema in Norway. 

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India – Wanda is believed to be circling India’s PVR – again. Interesting if this sees Wanda buying a stake directly, instead of going via AMC, as it did for Odeon & UCI.

Almost nine months after exploring an alliance, Asia’s largest film group and theatre operator Wanda Cinema, owned by China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin has revived talks with Ajay Bijli, the promoter of PVR Ltd, to buy a controlling stake in India’s largest multiplex operator, said at least four sources aware.

Dalian Wanda Group has started diligence on PVR’s books as a prelude to make a formal offer to acquire the company.

However, PVR has denied this, calling it speculation. Yet entering India makes strategic sense for Wanda on a number of levels, with cinema growth likely to stall in China at a time when Indian cinema growth has potential if it can cut through red tape holding it back. Economic Times – 2 September 2016

Wanda Cinema Line Logo
China – And it’s been a good start to the year for Wanda, according to Variety’s Patrick Frater:

Wanda Cinema Line, the theaters division of China’s Dalian Wanda group, saw its first half net profits increase by 28% to $120 million (RMB805 million.) Gross revenues increased by a larger 64% to $854 million (RMB5.72 billion.)

The company said that ticket sales in its theaters grew by 41%, with a value of $597 million (RMB4 billion.) That compares with the 21% box office growth in the wider Chinese market.

Should be enough spare change lying around to pick up an Indian exhibitor or two. Variety – 30 August 2016


China (P.R.) – Cinema operators that fiddle box office numbers could be liable for administrative punishments, including fines up to CNY 500,000 (USD $75,000), business suspensions, and outright bans, under a new draft law aimed at making the film and cinema industry more professional. Those working in the film industry must strive for “excellence in both professional skills and moral integrity,” as well. ShanghaiDaily.com – 30 August 2016

A winning brand - CJ CGV cinema. (photo: The Fact / CGV)

A winning brand – CJ CGV cinema. (photo: The Fact / CGV)

Korea (Republic of – South) – CJ CGV has ranked first for the seventh consecutive years in the National Brand Competitiveness Index for multiplex cinema division as listed by the Korea Productivity Center. Individual sites that stood out were Daegu CGV 6 theatres,  United Dongseongro Town Cultural Festival and the Yeungnam Area CGV CGV 8 theater. CGV Green Cinema outdoor screenings were also cited. The Fact (KR) – 29 August 2016
Almodovar's "Julieta" - 21% VAT in the cinema.

Almodovar’s “Julieta” – 21% VAT in the cinema.

Spain – Cinema operators and film distributors are very unhappy about the Spanish government maintaining the 21% VAT on cinema tickets, imposed two years ago in a steep increase from the previous level of 8%. The People’s Party has proposed reducing VAT on ‘cultural activities’ to 10%, but cinema would appear not to qualify because it is not “live”. Noticias de Alava (ES) – 30 August 2016

Christian Bräuer (photo: LinkedIn)

Christian Bräuer (photo: LinkedIn)

Germany – The decline of cinema going in Germany is over-stated, at least for small cinemas which continue to see admission growth. That is the message from Christian Bräuer (head of Yorck Cinemas) on behalf of the trade association AG Kino-Gilde, which represents over 300 small cinema operators. They will gather for the German cinema industry get together Filmkunstmesse in Leipzig on 16 September. Deutschlandfunk (DE) – 23 August 2016

Odeon Bath - no post-midnight "Rocky Horror Shows" (photo: Batch Chronicle)

Odeon Bath – no post-midnight “Rocky Horror Shows” (photo: Batch Chronicle)

UK – The Odeon cinema in Batch has given up plans to screen films until 3am.

To obtain planning permission many years ago, the complex needed to demonstrate its operation limitations to local residents. The city wanted a modern cinema, residents still wanted a night’s sleep.

Without the necessary constraints within close proximity to residential areas, the planning application would never have been granted.

Local councillor Andrew Furse is quoted as saying. Bath Chronicle – 29 August 2016

Outside Cinema

Amazon open air cinema Poland.

Amazon open air cinema Poland.

Poland – Interesting to see Amazon sponsor a summer drive-in cinema in Poland. It is a spin-off from the American Film Festival and will show older films (“Grease”, “You’ve got mail”) but this is the first time Amazon has put its name on a cinema – albeit a non-physical one – as opposed to just distribution. Naszemiasto (PL) – 1 September 2016

France – The planned outdoor screening of “Singing in the Rain” in Paris’ XIIth arrondisemant was called off – not because of rain but because of security fears. “The flow of visitors is difficult to control on the site,” one of the organisers said. Terrorism fears still hang heavy over France. Le Parisien (FR) – 1 September 2016

The perfect setting to watch "Jaws"? (photo: Getty Images)

The perfect setting to watch “Jaws”? (photo: Getty Images)

UK – The Economist’s Prospero looks at ‘The unlikely rise of the British outdoor cinema’ (sur-titled: Screenin’ in the rain – although that’s more the case in Germany than UK this year). Luna Cinema has seen 20% growth year-on-year and the writer seems generally won over by the idea of watching films on picnic blankets with lots of prosecco. It concludes “it’s not about the film, it’s about the camaraderie.” And prosecco. The Economist – 30 August 2016

Digital Cinema Death-watch

Cine Plaza - late to the digital party. (photo: Cinex)

Cinex Plaza – late to the digital party. (photo: Cinex)

Venezuela – The third largest exhibitor in Venezuela has selected Cinema Equipment and Supplies – CE+S – for the design and deployment of digital cinema solutions across all 60 of its screens. Cinex Plaza is the last major circuit in Latin America not to have converted to digital yet. Box Office Pro – 31 August 2016

The Majestic Theatre's manager Simone Simpson (left) and Gail Larsen, the theatre's management committee chairwoman. (photo: David Unwin / Fairfax NZ)

The Majestic Theatre’s manager Simone Simpson (left) and Gail Larsen, the theatre’s management committee chairwoman. (photo: David Unwin / Fairfax NZ)

New Zealand – Majestic Cinema in Taihape is one of the last cinemas in the country to make the switch to digital. Operating just three days a week, the cinema was able to raise the NZD $80,000 required to buy and install digital equipment. The cinema has not been able to show new films since 2014 when 35mm prints stopped. However, it is not alone:

The Regent in Pahiatua was saved in 2014 when the Central Energy Trust provided it with an $80,000 grant to upgrade to digital, while its namesake in Dannevirke has been closed since 2012. In the same year Reading shut down its multiplex in Hastings and two cinemas closed in Hamilton.

It seems that the silent deaths of too many cinemas is a fact in many small towns. Stuff.co.nz – 30 August 2016


Celebrating arrival of closed captioning at Celebration! (photo: WoodTV.com)

Celebrating arrival of closed captioning at Celebration! (photo: WoodTV.com)

USA (FL) – Celebration! Cinemas will equip all of its cinemas with closed caption devices after being sued by a deaf patron for not providing such facilities. All 11 of Celebration!’s theatres will offer closed captioning devices by mid-October. The exhibitor will also plans upgrade assistive listening as well as including audio description tracks for visually impaired visitors by that date. WoodTV.com – 1 September 2016


Dan Fuhlendorrf (photo: LinkedIn)

Dan Fuhlendorrf (photo: LinkedIn)

Norway – Former Unique Cinema Solutions (USC) Sales Director Dan Fuhlendorrf is suing his ex-employers for unfair dismissal, Kinomagasinet reports. Sounds like the situation got pretty bad between him and USC boss Róbert Tor Sigfússon. The case continues in Drammen. Kinomagasinet (NO) – 1 September 2016

Law & Order

Kino am Weiffhaus in Cologne (photo: Google Street View)

Kino am Weiffhaus in Cologne (photo: Google Street View)

Germany – A masked man held up a the Theater am Weisshaus cinema at gun point in Köln-Sülz, robbing it of several hundred euro. The man robbed the cinema on Luxemburger Straße at 21:50 on a Saturday evening and has not yet been found by the police. KSA (DE) – 28 August 2016

Cinema Opening/Closings

The Embankment Garden Cinema - only for 12 days. (image: artist's impression)

The Embankment Garden Cinema – only for 12 days. (image: artist’s impression)

UK – The London Film Festival will see the creation of a temporary 780-seat cinema by the Thames. The Embankment Garden Cinema will only exist for 12 days but is a solution to the apparent lack of cinema space for the festival and is the brainchild of the BFI. It will feature 4K projection and Dolby surround sound. Time Out London – 1 September 2016

Hard hats and popcorn in The Light Bolton. (photo: Bolton News)

Hard hats and popcorn in The Light Bolton. (photo: Bolton News)

UK – The Light Cinema Bolton is set to open later this month. Here are the first photos from inside it. Originally due to open end of 2015 the project was delayed because of construction challenges of creating it on top of a shopping centre. The Bolton News – 2 September 2016

Cinéma des Capucins - raises objections. (photo: Oest France)

Cinéma des Capucins – raises objections. (photo: Oest France)

France – Ten objections have been filed with the French audio-visual authority CNAC against the plans to open a seven-screen cinema in Capuchins. Brest already has a total of 39 cinema screens, making it one of the most densely cinema supplied region in France, and there is concern that the new multiplex could lead to an over-supply situation. Le Telegramme (FR) – 31 August 2016

The Cinemark Movies 10 at Woodhill

The Cinemark Movies 10 at Woodpile, Lexington. (photo: Google Street View)

USA (KY) – The Cinemark Movies 10 at Woodpile is closing after Labor Day. The 10-screen cinema was the first in Lexington to get stadium seating and was once considered the city’s the top theatre. Its closure will leave Lexington with just three first-run cinema: the Kentucky Theatre on Main Street, Cinemark at Fayette Mall and Regal Hamburg Pavilion Stadium 16. Back in 1999 Cinemark had 26 screens in Lexington, including the now also closed Man o’ War Movies 8 and Lexington Green Movies 8. Kentucky.com – 1 September 2016

The former Belfast Majestic cinema in Lisburn Road. (photo: Belfast Telegraph)

The former Belfast Majestic cinema in Lisburn Road. (photo: Belfast Telegraph)

UK (Northern Ireland) – One of Belfast’s last art deco cinemas has been saved, through an act of “divine intervention”, though it will re-open as a meeting hall for Windsor Baptist Church, rather than as a place to worship the film art. Still, better than seeing it demolished. Belfast Telegraph – 1 September 2016

Tower Cinema Hornchurch High Street London (photo: Londonist)

Tower Cinema Hornchurch High Street London (photo: Londonist)

UK – Meanwhile one of London’s last art deco cinemas will be demolished to make way for a super market. No divine intervention for the 80-year-old Towers Cinema Building in Hornchurch High Street despite opposition from local resident to the plans. There are already six supermarkets in Hornchurch, of which three lie within half a mile of the Towers building. Londonist – 31 August 2016


Dog Cinema at Ringen Kino in Oslo. (photo: Aftenposten / Borgen / Orn)

Dog Cinema at Ringen Kino in Oslo. (photo: Aftenposten / Borgen / Orn)

Norway – Ringen cinema in Oslo is the latest to join the trend of ‘Dog Cinema’ with canine’s and their owners able to enjoy Laurie Andreson’s “Heart of a Dog” together. The screening sold out quickly and cinema manager Marianne Zecca is quoted as saying:

We have chosen the hall with leather seats, because these are easiest to clean. The movie is also the last one on the daily programme, so there is some extra time for cleaning and ventilation.

Austria and UK have also held dog screenings, and the trend will no doubt spread. Xinhua – 31 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.
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