The popular T-Rex Café at Disney Springs, formerly Downtown Disney Marketplace, at Lake Buena Vista, Florida is a monster-sized, Palaeozoic-themed restaurant that bills itself as a Prehistoric Family Adventure. The execution of the theme is extensive and spectacular, and certainly includes enough pre-historic atmosphere to stir the imaginations of dinosaur enthusiasts of all ages. Highlights include a vast and impressive crystal cave that constantly sweeps through a range of intense backlit colors and thickets of cretaceous jungle foliage around smoke-emitting tar pits. All of this provides a backdrop for the stars of the show, the cast of 23 fully-articulated animatronic prehistoric creatures that include such usual dinosaur suspects as tyrannosaurus rex, apatosaurus, triceratops, mastodons, and a woolly mammoth family, together with pteronodons and an 11-metre giant octopus suspended over the bar and the heads of the diners.
The Big Picture
Meyer Sound has introduced Amie, the first studio monitor from the company in more than two decades. Developed to meet the demanding needs of Skywalker Sound, Amie brings a level of clarity professionals can trust, making it ideal for critical production environments where accurate translation to larger systems is imperative. Amie made its debut at the Sound for Film event on September 26 at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California.
While Hollywood feature films continue to be the main revenue source for exhibitors, digital cinema technology has opened the doors to advertising revenue both in preshows on the big screen and, increasingly, on digital displays in the lobby. Katy Loria, chief revenue officer, Screenvision, is optimistic about the future for both advertising options.
Kymberli Frueh, vice president, programming of Fathom Events, is passionate about her work. In her decade with the event cinema company she has seen the business experience steady growth and is proud of the revenue she’s added to the bottom line. But, she said, there are other positives. “It’s not just about the ticket sales,” said Frueh. “Look at what kind of audiences we’re bringing back to the theatre. These are people who haven’t been inside a movie theatre in years.”
Two years ago this month, a new organization – the Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition – launched what was then billed as “the industry’s first-ever digital theatrical delivery service.” With the launch, DCDC began servicing its founding companies by transporting feature films and other content via satellite across the United States. That DCDC was not the first to do this was beside the point. DCDC had the backing and the blessing of those founding members: Warner Bros. Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark Theatres and AMC Theatres. Today, DCDC has a virtual lock on its market, but questions remain regarding its long-range potential.
Last Friday, September 25th, digital cinema history was made and the course of cinema advertising and marketing changed forever, with the release of a 60-second commercial promoting the United Nations’ Global Goals initiative. The upbeat ad, titled #WeHaveAPlan, was animated by Aardman Animations, directed by Sir John Hegarty and narrated by Liam Neeson and Michelle Rodriguez with music from Peter Gabriel. The ad was mixed in Dolby 5.1 and Dolby Atmos immersive sound technology, and mastered and distributed to more than 30 countries in all cinema formats by Unique Digital. It was the first global cinema ad ever distributed and was done on behalf of SAWA the Global Cinema Advertising Association. In the U.S the ad will run on the networks of Cinema Advertising Council members National CineMedia, Screenvision and Spotlight Cinema. The ad premiered in New York’s 42nd Street AMC Empire prior to its worldwide exhibition and will continue running around the world for a year.
Let’s be clear about one thing: there is no such thing as alternative content. People do not leave the comfort of their homes to pay twenty dollars and more to sit in a movie theatre to watch something inferior or alternative. They gladly pay higher ticket prices because they enjoy events targeted at their specific interests. For big screens, great sound and comfortable reclining seats in a room with like-minded people. For the shared experiences of opera, theatre, concerts, sports, and more: a wide and growing range of programs. These aren’t alternatives to anything; these are events that, until only recently, people could never see this way. And let’s be clear about one more thing: Netflix will play a major roll in the future of event cinema.
Screenvision has announced an innovative interactive advertising campaign that puts the spotlight on Volvo. This first-of-its-kind 90-second advertisement allows moviegoers to directly interact with the content on the big screen by using movement, and is now available in 100 Screenvision theatres.
Arclight Films says pre-sales for the theatrical release of Lost in the Pacific, the first Chinese 3D Sci-Fi action adventure film in English, are strong and is speculating that it could very well be the first Chinese independent Sci-Fi film to receive a same-day release worldwide.
Esteban Sune is the fourth generation of his Argentinian family in the exhibition business. His great grandfather opened the family’s first theatre in 1910 to show silent films. Some eighty years later, the theater concept changed from the big single screen houses to multiplexes and Cinemacenter was born. Sune, the company’s managing director, recently installed his country’s first laser projector – an NEC NC1100L. I spoke with him about that experience and about the exhibition business in general.