CJ Cinema News Digest – Tuesday 3 January 2017

By | January 3, 2017 1:18 am PDT

Polish films big in UK, Pathé seating backlash, Mexican cinema up, PVR goes UPI, mandatory Punjabi films, Carnival in Odisha, Pakistani entertainment tax, Korea highlights popcorn sugar, Pepsi fined in India, Kinepolis’ Malayam black list, “Rogue One” sleep in and Brit builds 34-seat ABC cinema in back-yard.  


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UK – Polish films are being watched in record numbers in the UK and Ireland by expat Poles. Fourteen Polish films got cinema releases in 2016 and now rank second only to Hindi (Bollywood) films in the UK and Ireland for diaspora releases. “Pitbull: Dangerous Women” sold 795,000 tickets despite only being distributed by Odeon but not Vue or Cineworld, while the sequel pulled in half a million viewers, only slightly less than the arthouse-focused Oscar-winner “Ida” (514,000 viewers). MoviesRoom.pl (PL) – 31 December 2016

Not a popular choice - Pathe Lusanne. (image: Pathe website)

Not a popular choice – Pathe Lusanne. (image: Pathe website)

Switzerland – The journalist Stéphanie Biljetter has started a petition against Pathé’s numbered seating that was introduced in Lusanne in September of last year. The petition has already attracted 2,000 signatures since launching in October. Pathé has responded that assigned seats will no longer be valid once the film starts in case of latecomers. But Billetere compares assigned seating to a game of Battleships and claims that “Spontaneity and friendliness are threatened, endangered.” Le Temps (FR) – 22 December 2016

Mexicans flocked to Mexican films in 2016. (photo: El Economista)

Mexicans flocked to Mexican films in 2016. (photo: El Economista)

Mexico – It was one of the best recent years on record for local films in cinemas in Mexico. Thirty million tickets were sold for 1.2 billion peso (USD $58 million), marking a record not seen since 2013, though that year was distorted by one monster hit (“Año Derbez”). Six local films sold more than one million tickets, though out of 160 films produced in Mexico and released in cinemas, most did not last more than a week on the screens and attracted only around 20,000 viewers. By way of comparison, local films in Argentina sold 6.7 million tickets in 2016. El Economista (ES) – 1 January 2016

PVR UPI

India – PVR Cinemas has launched the electronic Unified Payment Interface (UPI) for its 122 cinemas across India. PVR is the first cinema to roll out the UPI on a large scale, allowing customers with smartphones and bank accounts to use UPI as an alternative to cash, net banking or credit and debit cards. Indian multiplexes have been pushed to electronic payments by the demonetisation that saw INR 500 (USD $7.33) and INR 1,000 (USD $14.67) bank notes withdrawn from circulation overnight at the end of 2016. BGR – 27 December 2016

India – Punjab Arts Council has mandated the screening of Punjabi films across multiplexes in Punjab. Interesting failure of one of India’s smaller film industries, whereas Hindi and south Indian (Tamil et al) language films need no such edicts. The Indian Express – 31 December 2016

Carnival Group

India – Carnival Group has been given permission by the state government of Odisha (formerly Orissa) to set up “150 theatres-cum-recreation zones each unit comprising a multiplex, food court, retail stores and gaming zones in all 30 districts of the state.” As always with India, these figures should be taken with a large dose of salt. Bollywood Trade – 30 December 2016

Pakistan – After being given permission to screen Bollywood films again, Pakistani cinemas are now being chased by the Excise and Taxation Department to pay entertainment tax. The 65% tax (!) was suspended for two years to encourage investment in the exhibition sector. Dunyanews – 3 January 2016

Concessions / F&B

Sweet vs. regular popcorn sugar in grams. (photo: Real Foods)

Sweet vs. regular popcorn sugar in grams. (photo: Real Foods)

Korea (Republic of, South) – The Korea Consumer Agency has conducted a survey of popcorn, sodas and sweets sold at nine multiplex cinemas and found that a large popcorn and soda (900ml) contained a total of 114.9 grams of sugar, which is 2.3 time the daily level recommended by the World Health Organization. Sweet caramel popcorn had 76 grams of sugar, compared to 9.2 grams for the general, salt and onion-garlic flavours. Sugary K-Popcorn, anyone? Real Foods (KR) – 26 December 2016

Aquafina

India – Piccadily Cinema in Chandigarh, PepsiCo and its vendor Dhillon Kool Drinks & Beverages Pvt Ltd have been ordered to pay INR 22,000 (USD $322) fine plus litigation fee for charging a different price for a bottle of Aquafina water in cinema compared to regular shops. “PepsiCo has also failed to prove its stand by any cogent evidence that it had to incur higher cost for keeping their product for sale in cinema Halls as averred in its reply,” the ruling stated. Concession prices are becoming a sore subject for Indian multiplexes. The Tribune – 28 December 2016

UK – A random act of concessions kindness from an Odeon cinema staff member. “Selfless act by cinema employee leaves mum speechless,” sounds like pure click-bait but is worth reading to see how Odeon staff can sometimes act in the same spirit as Pret staff. South Wales Evening Post – 27 December 2016

Piracy

India – Cinepolis India has been reportedly banned from showing Malayam language films after being blacklisted by the Kerala Film Producers and Distributors group. The news comes after a pirated copy of Mohanlal’s “Pulimurugan” was said to have originated from one if its theatres in Pune. Times of India – 23 December 2016

Health & Safety

USA (OR) – Washington County Sheriffs had to rescue a man who had fallen asleep during the late screening of “Rogue One” and found himself locked into the cinema. The man tried to leave the Cornelius Stadium Cinemas but triggered an alarm and then called 911. It seems to be easier to escape the Death Star than a cinema locked for the night. OregonLive.com – 24 December 2016

Finally

Bus driver Anderson spent four and a half years building a cinema in his back garden. (photo: The Sun)

Bus driver Anderson spent four and a half years building a cinema in his back garden. (photo: The Sun)

UK – A true film buff has spent GBP £70,000 of his savings to build a replica 34-seat ABC cinema in his back garden in Stoke-on-Trent. Thirty-eight-year old bus driver Anderson Jones spent four-and-a-half years building the cinema from salvaged cinema equipment and bits. It has a 35mm projector and a full concessions counter. He even bought his wife an ABC uniform so that she can take the part of an usherette. It will only screen films for his family and members of the Cinema Theatre Association. Click through to see all the pictures of this beautifully mad and thoroughly English endeavour. The Sun – 30 December 2016

Anderson with wife Jane and son Ethan. (photo: The Sun)

Anderson with wife Jane and son Ethan. (photo: The Sun)

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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