Cinema News Digest – Monday 26 January 2018

By Patrick von Sychowski | February 26, 2018 1:28 am PST
Amy Miles of Regal Cinema

Miles & Co. exit Regal; “Black Panther” augers well for 2018; 10 Saudi cinemas to open in March; Samsung Cinema LED screen coming to LA; Russian cinema fined for “Death of Stalin”; Aussies protest tax money for cinema; more films dubbed in Poland; iPic IPO raises $15m; CJ CGV bookstores; CinemaCon-duct code; crappy captioning devices; man found dead in Cineworld Dublin; strikes by south Indian cinemas; 50 Shades drunker; shooting at “Black Panther” show; German cinema benefit from Europa funding; Showcase mix-up no-refund; Presbytalibans to withdraw cinema finding; Empire projection problems and 100-year old usherette. 

UKCA 2018 Conference is now open for bookings.

USA (TN) – A major shakeup in the senior ranks of Regal post-merger with Cineworld as CEO Amy Miles and several of her lieutenants are alleged to have left. President and COO Greg Dunn, and SVP, chief content and programming officer Steve Bunnell are also said to be leaving according to un-confirmed reports by Deadline (and echoed by Seeking Alpha). “the rumor is that Miles is being bought out, and that Dunn will be with the company until April 1. Industry sources say Dunn was offered a deal to say, but decided against it.” More executive departures are expected. Who will Mooky Greidinger install to replace them? More details to follow. Deadline – 21 February 2018

US BO top movies 2013-2017. (chart: Seeking Alpha)
US BO top movies 2013-2017. (chart: Seeking Alpha)

USA – The strong performance of Disney/Marvel’s “Black Panther” has seen US cinema stock prices go up, with expectations of more blockbusters this year. Seeking Alpha ‘Oracle of Value’ (who holds stock in cinemas-related companies) expects four to six films this year to hit USD $400 million at the domestic box office, whereas never before have more than three films at most achieved this. Calling ‘2018 is a Monster Year in the Making’ is optimistic, but perhaps not without reason, given the month-by-month breakdown of titles. Cinemark shares are already doing well, on the basis of strong results for the past year. Seeking Alpha – 20 February 2018

Saudi men watching a short film competition in Riyadh. (image: AFP)
Saudi men watching a short film competition in Riyadh. (image: AFP)

Saudi Arabia – Excitement is building in the Kingdom ahead of the opening of the first cinema next month, with local film makers hoping that the end of the ban will give them a boost. “Internationally award-winning films like Wajda by Haifa Mansour and of Barakah Meets Barakah by Mohammad Al Sabagh are already set to be shown in cinemas for their grand opening.” There are ten malls across Saudi that have multiplexes ready to go, five in Jeddah alone. Lots of background and details in this article. Gulf News – 23 February 2018

USA (CA) – The first Samsung Cinema LED screen could open in Los Angeles in April, with around 10 installed around the world by the end of this year. Two are already in place in Korea, with one each set for Thailand and Switzerland. THR – 21 February 2018

"The Death of Stalin" - so funny they banned it in Russia.
“The Death of Stalin” – so funny they banned it in Russia.

Russia – A court has fined the only cinema in Russia that dared to defy the ban and screen “The Death of Stalin”. The Pioneer Cinema has been ordered to pay 100,000 rebels (USD $1,789) for screening the film without a certificate, which was withdrawn by the Ministry of Culture. The cinema had screened the film four times and will appeal. News24 – 22 February 2018

Objections to tax money spent on cinema. (photo: 9news)
Objections to tax money spent on cinema. (photo: 9news)

Australia – Lots of locals not happy at AUS $4 million (USD $3.15 million) being used to pay for the building of a multiplex in Kempsey. “Like many towns around Australia, Kempsey on the mid-north coast of New South Wales has been by-passed by a big new highway.” So with a declining population, people in power thought that a multiplex could help the towns popularity. The town had a cinema, but it closed as not enough people went to it. 9news – 22 February 2018

Poland – More films for adults are being released in dubbed versions in Poland, which has traditionally subtitled cinema releases for anything other than children’s films. “Deadpool 2” is the latest film to be offered this way and “Mary Magdalene” will be offered exclusively in dubbed versions, after “Star Wars” and “Logan” were released both subtitled and dubbed. The reason is said to be economics for films aimed at a wider audience. Polityka (PL) – 25 February 2018

iPic Westwood and the Tuck Room Tavern
The iPic Westwood in Los Angeles, California is an upscale cinema that also features a fine dining restaurant called the Tuck Room Tavern. Photo: J. Sperling Reich – Celluloid Junkie)

USA (FL) – iPic raised more than USD $15 million in its IPO this month. The money will be used to open new locations in California, Connecticut, Philadelphia, and New York, amongst others. India’s PVR recently bought a small stake in iPic, which is also one of the few US chains to screen Netflix movies day-and-date. Fortune – 24 February 2018

Screen and page - CJ CGV bookstore. (image: MK)
Screen and page – CJ CGV bookstore. (image: MK)

Korea (Republic of, South) – CJ CGV is set to expand its in-theatre book store venture. CGV is said to have partnered some 75 large-to-small book stores  in the Seoul metropolitan area. Its bookstores will occupy about 10 square meters in each multiplex, with a curated selection. Some cinemas will have stores more focused on children’s books, while other will focus on games and thrillers, and yet others on management. MK (KR) – 22 February 2018

Korea (Republic of, South) – A problem in Korea is people booking cinema tickets on their smartphone and cancelling them at the last minute, because they get three hours free parking validation with such a ticket purchase. Tickets can be cancelled up to 20 minutes before the start of the film with no penalty. iNews365 – 18 February 2018

CinemaCon 2017 Stage
CinemaCon 2017 stage (Photo: Patrick von Sychowski – Celluloid Junkie)

USA (NV) – What happens in Vegas no longer stays in Vegas, at least as far as CinemaCon is concerned. The cinema trade show has set up sexual harassment hotline and tougher code of conduct. Not clear how much of a problem this has been in past years, but in these times of #MeToo and Time’s Up it is better to not just be proactive but to be seen to be proactive. Sundance Film Festival did the same thing earlier this year. Variety – 21 February 2018

USA – Captioning devices for deaf and hard of hearing are not working as well as they should. “Deaf actor and model Nyle DiMarco has taken to social media to share his dissatisfaction with the captioning of a screening of Black Panther on Sunday.” The  “awful” device “kept skipping lines” and “missing scenes”. Unlike the UK, the US doesn’t screen films with open captions, i.e. on-screen captions in special screenings. BBC – 19 February 2018

Ireland (Republic of) – A Man was found dead in the Cineworld cinema in Dublin. “Garda [police] confirmed that they are investigating the ‘sudden death’ of a man who passed away at the premises on Wednesday night. A spokesman said: “The death is being treated as a personal tragedy.”” The cinema was closed and tickets were refunded. Irish Mirror – 16 February 2018

Flag of India
More cinema strikes in south India.

India – Protest, strike and boycott season again in the south Indian cinema market. “The four South Indian film industries — Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam — are almost certainly going in for a shutdown from March 1, in protest against Digital Services Providers (DSPs) and their monopolistic ways.” Qube and UFO defend themsleves that they offer some of the cheapest VPFs in the world. No avail. Elsewhere PVR has resolved its dispute with the Elan Group and things won’t be going to court.  The Hindu – 20 February 2018

Fifty Shades
Oh, do behave.

UK – Cinema managers had to intervene when drunk female patrons got too rowdy before the screening of the latest “Fifty Shades” screening. “The manager had to plead with the mainly female audience, some of whom had brought their own booze into the Liverpool cinema and were getting increasingly rowdy.” We’ve been here before, ever since the first one. At least they didn’t mix up “Fifty Shades 3” and “Black Panther” the way another cinema did. ITV – 19 February 2018

USA (NC) – Argument over assigned seating ended with a pistol being fired at an AMC multiplex in Greenville. Nobody was injured, but the cinema was evacuated and the woman responsible turned herself in later. News Observer – 25 February 2018

Europa Cinemas logo

German – Cinemas in Germany received €2.1 million for 181 cinemas through the Europa Cinemas programme in 2016. This is around one-fifth of the total €10.4 million. This is up from €1.3 million and €7 million respectively in 2008. The overall number of cinemas in Germany was up in 2017 to 4,803 screens across 899 sites. The German government also supports school cinema through the Vision Kino project. Epoch Times (DE) – 23 February 2018

Ann Lanntair in Stornoway. (photo: The Press & journal)
Ann Lanntair in Stornoway. (photo: The Press & Journal)

UK (Scotland) – Funding might be withdrawn for the arts council on the Isle of Lewis that dared to defy the sabbath to hold (test) screenings on Sundays. “Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) provides £69,000 annually to An Lanntair in Stornoway, the island capital, more than half of the local authority’s total culture budget.” The Presbyterian leaders of the Free Church of Scotland are said to be outraged. (“Down with this sort of thing ! Careful now.”) The Times – 23 February 2018

Showcase Cinema De Lux at Cabot Circus (Image: Nigel Talby / Bristol Post)
Showcase Cinema De Lux at Cabot Circus (Image: Nigel Talby / Bristol Post)

UK – Showcase Cinema De Lux in Cabot Cirus puts on the wrong film, keeps playing it for 30 minutes and then asks the patrons to leave without offering a refund. The Valentine’s Day screening of “Den of Thieves” (OK, not the most romantic of films) ended up with “The 15.17 to Paris” instead. “However, rather than correct the mistake, the incredulous audience were told by a manager the planned film would not be shown, no one would be getting a refund and everyone had to leave.”Apparently it is against Showcase’s point to refund and offered free tickets instead. Bristol Post – 15 February 2018

Holyhead's Empire Cinema is closed for now. (photo: Daily Post)
Holyhead’s Empire Cinema is closed for now. (photo: Daily Post)

UK (Wales) – Holyhead’s Empire Cinema (operated by the Town Council, not the eponymous Empire Cinemas) has had to close due to projector issues. “We have taken the decision to have a whole new projection system installed and we are working on this now. We can not sell tickets or let anyone view a film knowing the projector is malfunctioning,” a statement by the Council read. Daily Post – 24 February 2018

Annie Garner, pictured (second from left) when she worked at the Majestic cinema in Scunthorpe. (image: Scunthorpe Telegraph)
Annie Garner, pictured (second from left) when she worked at the Majestic cinema in Scunthorpe. (image: Scunthorpe Telegraph)

Finally – We were tempted to run with the story of two kids trying to sneak into a cinema as a tall man, but instead we give you this heartwarming story of a former usherette celebrating her 100th birthday. “Annie attributed her longevity to hard work, the occasional eggnog and giving up her habit of smoking 10 cigarettes a week.” She was born nine months before World War I ended and is the same age as Billy Graham, Nelson Mandela, Ingmar Bergman and Spike Milligan. Scunthorpe Telegraph – 21 February 2018

Patrick von Sychowski
Follow me