CJ Cinema News Digest – Friday 7 April 2017

By Patrick von Sychowski | April 7, 2017 12:36 am PDT
Jan Runge, Chief Executive Officer of Union Internationale des Cinémas (UNIC)

Jan Runge leaving UNIC, Tour des Cinemas report in English, Ster-Kinekor hacked, South Korean cinema “wage theft”, actors protest Picturehouse, CGV’s siesta cinema, Lotte chairman denies corruption, UK indies and cinema, Senegal cinema revival, Shia LaBouef film has just one viewer (Bollywood film too), TCL Chinese Theatre goes eSport, DCDC milestones, Jacqueline Aarts joins Kinepolis, Knatchbull bullish on streaming, 5-year old’s B&B excitement, Odeon collapses and “Raw” barf bags. 

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Belgium – Jan Runge is stepping as CEO of UNIC this summer after six years at the helm of the European cinema trade body. He has good reasons for doing so (he is about to become a father and will relocate to Germany to be with his family), but he will be missed by those who had the chance to work with him. The job to replace him has already been advertised, but could end up becoming a tug-o-war between the French and the Germans. In an email to colleagues Jan stated, “I plan to remain involved in the industry,” so we have fortunately not seen the last of him. HFN (NL) – 4 April 2017

Tour des Cinemas report now available in English. (image: Tour des Cinemas)
Tour des Cinemas report now available in English. (image: Tour des Cinemas)

France – The ‘Emerging Practices of Cinema Exhibition in Europe’ report written by Mikael Arnal and Agnès Salson is now available to download for FREE in English. I highly recommend reading this detailed and insightful piece of research (supported by crowdfunding and the CNC) that is also an amazing overview of the diversity and vitality of cinemas across Europe. It’s almost enough to make you want to hop on a a train and want to visit them all. Tour des Cinemas (FR/EN) – 2 April 2017

Ster Kinekor logo

South Africa – While most of us were distracted by CinemaCon it was revelaed that the Ster-Kinekor suffered a major hack last year. The data breach is said to be the largest of any South African company, with six million accounts compromised.

Whilst more than 6-million accounts were leaked by the flaw, the exposed data only contained 1.6-million unique email addresses. The data also included extensive personal information such as names, addresses, birthdates, genders and plain text passwords.

The breach was reported by security specialists Haveibeenpwned.com and sadly it won’t be the last hacking of a cinema chain. Forbes – 17 March 2017

Korea cinema 'wage theft' protests (image: SisaWeekly)
Korea cinema ‘wage theft’ protests (image: SisaWeekly)

Korea (Republic of, South) – South Korea’s major cinema chains CGV, Lotte and Megabox have been found to have failed to pay over KRW 320 million (USD $282,500) in overtime and other salary related payments. 44 cinemas were found to have failed, with CGV the biggest culprit, owing as much as Lotte and Megabox combined. There were also violations of labor contracts (19 cinemas), break time violations (16 cinemas), and some cases of sexual harassment prevention education (7 cinemas). Sisaweekly (KR) – 23 March 2017

UK – But Picturehouse protesters now have the support of several acting noteworthys, including Sir Ian McKellen, Susan Sarandon and Sir Mark Rylance, as well as others, who all back the ‘Living Wage’ campaign for Picturehouse staff. Picturehouse counters that “Our pay rates are among the highest in the industry and have enabled us to attract and retain staff who are knowledgeable about film, skilled in many areas and able to offer high levels of service.” Screen Daily – 22 March 2017

CGV cinema siesta (image: CGV)
CGV cinema siesta (image: CGV)

Korea (Republic of, South) – CGV has re-introduced its popular cinema siesta sessions at select multplexes. For KRW 10,000 (USD $8.80) patrons can have a 90 minute lunch time nap between 11:30am and 1:00pm in one of the cinema’s luxury recliners. The price includes a blanket, drink and slippers. Singapore’s Golden Village is another cinema to have tried this and found success. Mediapen (KR) – 20 March 2017

Korea (Republic of, South) – Lotte chairman has denied corruption charges related to cinema concessions at Lotte cinemas. With the country’s president arrested even titans of the Chaebols are not safe any longer, though chairman Shin Dong-bin, general chairman Shin Seung-ho, vice chairman Shin Dong-ju, former chairman of Lotte Holdings, Shin Young all denied that they had funnelled through concession kiosks. The case continues. New Daily (KR) – 20 April 2017

UK film income WW. (chart: StephenFollows.com)
UK film income WW. (chart: StephenFollows.com)

UK – CJ friend Stephen Follows asks ‘How important is the UK theatrical market to British films?’ based on a question from his annual lecture at the NFTS. The short answer is that the smaller the budget, the more dependent the film is on the UK market to earn back its costs, as you can see from the chart above. New Zealand was the biggest market for UK independent film in 2016, followed by Australia and Holland. USA and Canada rank 12th – behind even Singapore! Stephen Follows – 27 March 2017

The closed Il Mansour cinema in Senegal. (photo: Burkina24)
The closed Il Mansour cinema in Senegal. (photo: Burkina24)

Senegal – Re-opening cinemas as a means of reviving the local film industry has become a priority for the African state after pressure from local film-makers. Films are the second biggest export in nearby Nigeria (after oil) and with Vivendi opening cinemas across sub-Saharan Africa, the continent is ripe for a cinema revival. Burkina24 (FR) – 25 March 2017

"Man Down" - all alone in the cinema too. (image: Lionsgate)
“Man Down” – all alone in the cinema too. (image: Lionsgate)

UK – In what must be some sort of record, Shia LaBouef’s thriller “Man Down” sold just one ticket in the single cinema where it screened on opening weekend. We will probably never know what that sole spectator (a student ticket for GBP £6.90) thought of the film. The good news is that attendance for the film inReel Cinema in Burnley skyrocketed 200% with two additional tickets sold at the Forum Cinema (UK armed forces’ cinema) in Blandford since then. Variety – 4 April 2017

Not pulling them in. "Machine" poster.
Not pulling them in. “Machine” poster.

India – The same fate of just a single viewer turning up for a screening befell Mustafa Burmawalla’s Bollywood debut “Machine” when it screened in PVR Juhu. The afternoon show was cancelled, but the evening show went ahead, presumably with more viewers. Yahoo News – 21 March 2017

TCL Chinese Theatre. (photo: edgeduller / Flickr)
TCL Chinese Theatre. (photo: edgeduller / Flickr)

USA (CA) – TCL Chinese Theatre is launching an eSports complex next door to Hollywood’s famous Chinese 6 Theatre complex. It will function as both a “MX4D Motion EFX movie theatre, as well as serve as what’s touted as the first immersive spectator theater hosting competitive esports tournaments.” MediaMation is providing the seating. Variety – 27 March 2017

DCDC logo

USA – The Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition (DCDC) has contracts with circuits representing over 30,000 cinema screens (23,579 are presently installed) and over 75% of all screens in North America now get their DCPs via satellite. DCDC delivered 221 film titles in 2016, up from 200 in 2015. Deadline – 23 March 2017


Jacqueline Aarts joins Kinepolis. (photo: LinkedIn)
Jacqueline Aarts joins Kinepolis. (photo: LinkedIn)

Holland – Jacqueline Aarts has joined Kinepolis Netherlands as the new Country Manager Box Office, Sales & Marketing, reporting directly to Eddy Duquenne. She previously worked for companies such as Beiersdorf Pharmaceut Country and set up her own consulting firm in 2012.  HFN (NL) – 6 April 2017

Philip Knatchbull Curzon
Philip Knatchbull, Curzon boss

UK – London’s Evening Standard interviews Curzon’s Phil Knatchbull, who is bullish about the prospects for the UK art-house sector – as long as it embraces the Internet and streaming:

Now, if you go out and see one of our films at Curzon Mayfair or Curzon Aldgate, you may pay £15 or £18,” he says. “If you want to see it on the same day as its cinema release but on Curzon Home Cinema, you can pay £10, or £8.50 if you’re a member. And if you wait 28 days, you can buy it for £3 or £4. There’s something for every price point at any time.

He does not fear that streaming cannibalises cinema visits and sees opportunities to build Curzon cinemas in “Paris, Barcelona, Munich and beyond.” Evening Standard – 24 March 2017


USA – The reaction of this five-yer old girl on being told that she is going to the cinema to see Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is priceless. This is the magic of cinema – and Disney. Daily Mail – 26 March 2017

Health & Safety

Rubble of the collapsed Odeon building. (photo: @exitdave / Twitter)
Rubble of the collapsed Odeon building. (photo: @exitdave / Twitter)

UK – An Odeon cinema building from the 1930s collapses unexpectedly in Newcastle. The building was set for demolition but crumpled on the night of Monday 3 April. Nobody was inside or was injured at the time, but a nighshiftt worker is said to have been seen ‘drinking alcohol’ instead of guarding the site and workmen had ‘heated discussion’ before collapse too. ScreenDaily – 4 April 2017


'Raw' reaction - inset: director Julia Ducournau. (Focus World / Luca Teuchmann / WireImage)
‘Raw’ reaction – inset: director Julia Ducournau. (Focus World / Luca Teuchmann / WireImage)

USA (CA) – The cannibalism-themed film “Raw” has proved so gory that Duarte Theatre in Los Angeles has handed out sick bags for those that might have regretted having dinner before their trip to the movies. A welcome return of shock movie publicity, if nothing else. THR – 21 March 2017

Patrick von Sychowski
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