Over the past decade digital cinema technology has spurred the transformation of movie theatres from the traditional assembly line model – buy your ticket, buy your popcorn and soda, take your seats, watch the movie, and exit – into entertainment centers where people are encouraged to linger and enjoy a variety of activities, enjoy a nice meal and, of course, see a movie. While Santikos Theatres has seen its share of industry firsts its newest venture, opening today, is more than simply a new first. Yes, the Casa Blanca in San Antonio, Texas, is the first all-laser projection movie theatre in the world. But, more than that, it sets a very high standard for what a movie theatre in the 21st century can be.
The Big Picture
At a press conference in Los Angeles later this week, executives from the Dubai-based Aries Group will announce their plans to increase the international investment in the Indian film industry and to build 10,000 new 4K-projection multiplexes to serve the country’s burgeoning and entertainment-hungry middle class. If the group is successful, they will address a problem that has long plagued the Indian film industry.
Recently rebranded Screenvision Media has rolled out the Connected Cinema experience, which the company says provides the ultimate canvas for brand storytelling. Through new tech alliances with MovieTickets.com, Timeplay, Shazam, EdisonX and Branded Entertainment Network, Screenvision Media is extending and harnessing the unrivaled impact of cinema’s premium video with the ability to engage with consumers before, during and after their movie-going journey. The announcement was officially made at the company’s Upfront event at the Skylight at Moynihan Station.
Replacing the world’s 35mm projectors with digital ones was the beginning of the digital cinema era, not the end. Now, with the end of the virtual print fee deals in sight, exhibitors are exploring what new technologies they can use to manage theatres, excite moviegoers and grow revenue. As was the case last year, the major technology topics of CinemaCon 2016 were laser projection, theatre sound, and immersive cinema. Leading exhibitors understand that their future success demands that they rethink virtually every aspect of their businesses, and that they must transform their movie theatres into entertainment centers designed to serve their specific communities. The best of them are making great strides to that end and CinemaCon 2016 brimmed with their energy.
Event cinema will take center stage at CinemaCon April 12th at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas when Fathom Events honors BBC Worldwide North America with its Excellence in Event Cinema Award. The award is for their record-breaking success in global event cinema, featuring the Doctor Who series. The award will be presented by Fathom Events CEO, John Rubey, and accepted by BBC Worldwide executive vice president of franchise and digital enterprises, Soumya Sriraman.
One of the hottest topics in Hollywood these days is Napster co-founder Sean Parker’s proposal called Screening Room. When I think of a screening room it looks something like the photograph that’s next to this paragraph. Apparently, when Parker thinks of a screening room, it’s basically my living room with a set-top box in it that I buy from him for $150. With that box I can then pay him $50 to save myself the trouble of driving to the theatre to see a first-run movie. The studios and most film directors are opposed. But a handful of directors and one exhibitor, AMC, reportedly support the idea. Many questions have been raised about the idea but mine is this: why not Netflix?
As tent pole movies and opening weekend box office results increasingly dominate the motion picture business, understanding just who pays to see those movies has never been more important. In a whitepaper released this week, Movio chief executive and co-founder Will Palmer said the realities of a tent pole audience can be quite different from conventional wisdom. In Breaking the Blockbuster Code: Audience Evolution Patterns Revealed, Movio’s data scientists challenged the Hollywood film marketing community to re-think who makes up the opening weekend of a blockbuster film.
Traveling the world filming a documentary about his former acting students, retired professor John Henry discovers that one of them, Marita Gomsrud, has disappeared under mysterious circumstances, leaving only a postcard from Salzburg with the words: "Remember our games of hide and seek." Now the film goes from documentary to documystery, as someone else is also searching for Marita, a man from her shaded past who will stop at nothing to find her.
For film producers, an Academy Award can be worth much more than its weight in gold. Based on box office sales over the past five years, winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture averaged $10.3 million in additional box office sales following their victory. In comparison, nominated films that failed to win the Oscar generated an average of $3.9 million in box office receipts following the awards, which is $6.4 million less than their winning counterparts. However, studios, producers and actors need not walk away with any Oscar hardware to achieve massive financial success. While they may not always secure the Oscar, films with relatively smaller budgets benefit from higher profit margins upon nomination. After Room was nominated for Best Picture in the 88th Academy Awards, the number of theaters screening the movie more than quadrupled, increasing from 198 theaters prior to its nomination to 862 after the announcement.
Fandango has acquired Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes, including the professional movie critic rating tool, the Tomatometer, from Warner Bros. Entertainment. The addition of Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes, along with Fandango’s recent acquisition of on-demand video service, M-Go, will expand the company’s theatrical ticketing business and create the industry’s premier digital network for all things movies.