10 April 2023
Last week we published our seventh annual Top Women In Global Cinema list, and as always, it was a strenuous group effort. However, the challenges we faced this year in compiling the list where somewhat different than the obstacles we have faced in the past.
The list first began in 2016 somewhat by accident. Patrick von Sychowski, who usually writes and edits this very newsletter, set out to answer the question of why there were so few women CEOs in the cinema business. Soon enough he was singlehandedly compiling a list of those women who were senior managers working in exhibition all over the world. He came up with 25 names and Amy Miles, then CEO of Regal Entertainment Group, topped that first list. She’s no longer in the business, having left when Cineworld acquired the circuit. In fact, as much as the cinema business gets faulted for not changing very much over time, at least half the women on the 2016 list are either no longer working in exhibition, having moved on to senior roles in other fields, or have retired.
In those early years our biggest hurdle was getting people to nominate viable candidates from all over the world. We had suitable entries from Western Europe and North America, but certain Asian, Latin American and African territories were difficult. We still don’t have anyone from Japan or Brazil despite reaching out to professionals from these territories seeking nominations.
The second year, when we increased the list to 50 entrants, finding that many nominees was not easy. The good news is that this year we have the exact opposite problem. Sure, our attempts to showcase the valuable contributions being made by women in our industry is a bit more well known, but more importantly, the industry itself is slowly moving toward being more gender balanced. That’s a good thing.
This is why you’ll see lots of combined entrants on this year’s list. Though a bit of a cheat, it’s also a way of highlighting those working in specific areas of the industry such as film programming or concessions.
Personally, I always approach each year’s list with trepidation for a number of reasons. Putting the list together eats up a good portion of the first three months of the year. Going through the hundreds of nominations is time consuming, and worse, I find it impossible to choose between one deserving candidate and another. Especially now that there are so many. My suggestion to include just about everyone is now routinely ignored. As well, it is always hard to leave out deserving professionals from a particular geographic region because there are already too many entries from that part of the world.
It should be noted that there are executives who have been on the list in the past and want others to be recognized or, understandably, they don’t want to be singled out solely because of their gender.
Yet when all the bios are written, the photos perfectly cropped and the list is finally published each year it is always satisfying to complete such a big task. Even more so when we hear how being nominated by their peers and included in the last has affected the lives of some entrants. If you weren’t able to attend last week’s CJ Cinema Summit I highly suggest catching up on demand to hear from four of this year’s nominees.
On next week’s CJ Cinema Summit we’ll be speaking with seating manufacturers about what we can expect to see from them at CinemaCon later this month.
Jackie Brenneman of the National Association of Theatre Owners and The Cinema Foundation heads up CJ’s 2023 Top Women In Global Cinema List. Natalia Baydan, the Chief Executive Officer of Planeta Kino in the Ukraine is a close second thanks to her ability to keep her cinema’s doors open over the past year during Russia’s military invasion of the country.
Our seventh annual list is filled with interesting professionals from all over the world who are not only helping the business recover from two years of pandemic closures but helping ensure its future longevity. As in previous years, the list primarily reflects achievements from the last 12 months, rather than overall career achievements or other merits of inclusion.
The complete list is well worth checking out. You’ll see some familiar faces and learn about some new names to keep an eye on over the coming years.
Last week, when Cineworld announced it had reached an agreement with its existing lenders to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy by the middle of this year few of the media outlets covering the news provided any explanation of what this really meant for the company, its senior management and the overall future of the world’s second largest cinema chain. We attempt to rectify that with our own deep dive into Cineworld’s restructuring in a post intended to review some of the agreement’s pertinent points with a bit more detail.
The restructuring support agreement that Cineworld entered into with its existing lenders will discharge USD $4.53 billion in debt through those same lenders turning their debt into equity in a newly restructured company. At the same time they plan on funding the company’s future operations through a rights offerings in the new Cineworld. They are essentially taking over Cineworld and will install their own board and senior management.
Cineworld is no longer looking for a buyer, at least for the entire company, and instead will seek bids for its operations in Eastern Europe and Israel.
On 7 April 7, the China Film Co., a state run media conglomerate which operates cinemas and produces movies, announced some of its operating data from the first quarter of 2023, including box office.
From January to March of this year, the company distributed 99 domestic Chinese films taking in RMB ¥11.493 billion (USD $1.67 billion) at the box office, an increase of 39.11% over 2022 a year-on-year increase of 39.11%. China Film Co. titles accounted for for 88.78% of the total box office for all domestic films during the quarter compared to 68.09% in the same period in 2022. The company also released 28 imported films, earning RMB ¥1.004 billion (USD $146 million), an increase of 154% over last year.
Nine of the company’s movies accounted for 61% of the country’s RMB ¥11.897 billion (USD $1.73.8 billion) including “The Wandering Earth II” which has grossed RMB ¥4.026 billion (USD $585.4 million) so far. The film broke 32 records on its first day of release, entering the top ten highest earning films in the country’s history.
After the Chinese New Year in January and February saw the market grow significantly over previous year’s averages, March has been slower in the Middle Kingdom. To date the territory has a cumulative box office of USD 2.3 billion, which according to Gower Street Analytics is down just 8% from the three previous years’ average.
We have always been big believers that cinemas can be used to not only show movies, but television series, sporting events, concerts and other live performances. Now, one of the largest exhibitors in Europe is proving this theory by showing one of the world’s biggest annual entertainment events in its UK theatres.
Vue, based in the United Kingdom, will be screening the grand finale of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest live on 13 May. Last year’s event was watched on television by over 170 million around the globe. The Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra won the contest in 2022, however this year’s event is taking place in Liverpool due to the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine.
In a statement announcing the screenings Robert Lea, Head of Screen Content at Vue, said: “Eurovision is one of the biggest television events of the year, and is set to be bigger than ever in the UK this year as Liverpool plays host, so we are thrilled to be bringing it to the big screen for the first time. Every song, every vote and every larger than life moment will be live streamed in amazing picture and sound quality for fans to enjoy with each other in the comfort of our premium seating.”
Celluloid Junkie is the leading online resource dedicated to the global film and cinema business. The Marquee is our newsletter focused on motion picture exhibition; keeping industry professionals informed of important news, the latest trends and insightful analysis