As has been widely reported, shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings jumped more than 18 percent this week, set for the company’s biggest gain in a month, after sources said Amazon was looking to buy the theatre chain.
The Big Picture
National CineMedia has released the first U.S. cinema attention measurement study conducted by the attendance measurement company Lumen in collaboration with Dentsu, the agency leader in attention metrics. The major finding proves that ads played in movie theatres rank number one for consumers’ attention when measured against all other video platforms, the study says. Other key findings include:
Buffalo and Western New York are rapidly becoming a destination of choice for film and television producers. In the past two years alone, more than 110 productions have been completed, are in-progress or have been announced, including Nightmare Alley, Marshall, and A Quiet Place 2. Tax incentives tell just a part of the story. Over the years the area has developed a sizable film production infrastructure and is still growing. Buffalo FilmWorks claims to be the largest major motion picture film studio in the entire state of New York. The $50 million facility is equipped with over 120,000-square-feet of stage space and 60,000-square-feet of flex space for production support. More studios are under construction. And with a long list of diverse locations – including Niagra Falls – Buffalo can offer urban and suburban settings and farmland, all available within a short distance from one another. Managing all of this is Tim Clark, regional film commissioner of the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission. I recently spoke with Clark, via email, about the current film boom underway in Western New York. Here is that conversation:
One of the major challenges of the digital cinema era is its inherent vulnerability to content theft. While piracy was possible in the film era, it’s much more pervasive and much less cumbersome today. That the incidents of global theft increased dramatically during the pandemic should come as no surprise. People worldwide were trapped in their homes and searched everywhere online for entertainment. And they found stolen content in numbers that are astonishing. In 2018 the Motion Picture Association launched the Trusted Partner Network to establish security benchmarks and a site security assessment to prevent content leaks and piracy.
In June 2011, when co-founders Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt launched MoviePass, they surely had no idea what the next decade would have in store for them. The new company initially faced hostility from many of the biggest exhibitors, notably AMC. That never changed but MoviePass made progress and by 2016 Mitch Lowe, a former Netflix executive, was named CEO. Throughout that period, MoviePass experimented with different pricing models and slowly, but steadily, grew. In 2017 the analytics firm Helios and Matheson's acquired a majority stake in the company, Spikes was fired, and Helios and Matheson CEO Ted Farnsworth began to exert more control.
Talk to Doreen Sayegh for any length of time about why she decided to renovate and reopen the Cranford Theatre in Cranford, New Jersey, and the word magic is sure to pop up. In most cases, she’s referring to the magic of the cinema experience. But she says the one thing she loves above all is, “The looks on children’s faces when the lights dim and the picture hits the big screen; it’s magical.” It’s one of the many reasons she truly enjoys what she does for a living.
“Looking at sightlines in 3D from the eye of the patron is an important consideration,” says architect Theresa English, AIA, of TK Architects International in Kansas City, Missouri. “Previously, we would look at a single section from a single vantage. It wasn't super effective if the rows or screen or both were curved.”
Much has changed in motion picture technology since the 2009 release of the first Avatar. Today the audio quality is better and movie projectors and TV screens are delivering much bigger and brighter images. Thanks to high dynamic range, the images have more color and contrast. Resolution has improved as well. But as good as these images are they have a downside: they exaggerate visual artifacts such as motion blur and judder. Until recently, the one aspect of filmmaking that hadn’t advanced in nearly a century was the motion itself. Today, though, when the public finally gets its chance to see Avatar: The Way of Water in movie theatres, they are certain to notice its look, because James Cameron’s film is the highest profile feature to date to benefit from Pixelworks TrueCut motion grading technology.
In the late 1990s, a relatively small group of men and women, mainly in Hollywood, had the radical idea of reinventing the motion picture business, a business that had been working successfully for more than one hundred years. Twenty years ago this month, Digital Cinema Report began reporting on that effort and chronicled one of the most amazing transitions in history. The changes did not happen easily or quickly and there were many people opposed to the very idea. But there’s no need here to rehash every battle; this is not a history. Rather, this is what five motion picture industry leaders and I think were the top twenty most significant developments in making that change a reality. For weeks we asked readers to tell us what they thought belonged on the list, and from that list we chose the final twenty. In addition to me, the judges, in alphabetical order were Tom Bert, director of cinema technology, Barco; Brock Bagby, executive vice president, chief content and development officer, B&B Theatres; Cedric Lejeune, vice president of technology, EclairColor; Loren Nielsen, vice president, content and strategy, Xperi Corporation; and Leon Silverman, advisor, 2030 Vision, strategy and industry relations, MovieLabs. Here then is Digital Cinema Report’s Twenty-Twenty.
Shenzhen Timewaying and Arts Alliance Media have launched the new DCI-certified 20-meter 4K HeyLED cinema screen, becoming the world’s largest digital LED cinema screen on the market. Presenting a giant leap in cinematic LED displays, the HeyLED 20-meter cinema screen combines pure color, true black, and a high contrast ratio with patented high pixel fill rate technology to enable a visual experience never seen before in exhibition.