Later this week, audiences across the United States will have the chance to watch a film that promises to redefine the concept of event cinema. On January 19, Oscar-nominated actor Woody Harrelson will direct and star in an unprecedented live feature film event, Lost in London Live. Harrelson, who also wrote the film, will be joined by co-stars Owen Wilson and Willie Nelson. Fathom Events will present the film live in 550 theatres in the US. Afterwards, he’ll participate in a question and answer session about the experience. No matter what happens, Lost in London is certain to make event cinema history.
The Big Picture
Immersive cinema seating is one of the fastest growing trends in mainstream motion picture exhibition and shows no signs of slowing. Translating the action on the screen into what a viewer experiences in the seat is no simple task and requires the hard work of many talented people. To learn more about that process, I recently spoke, via email, with Catherine Yi, creative director of 4DX America.
National CineMedia has partnered with Twitter and Disney to feature Rogue One trailer assets and fan tweets on NCM's Lobby Entertainment Network of screens strategically located near the box office and other high-traffic lobby locations in select movie theatres nationwide. “This is our way of reimagining the lobby experience,” said NCM president Cliff Marks.
Director Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk has been widely publicized as the first movie ever to be filmed in 3D with 4K-resolution at 120 frames per second. In their never-ending search for ways to stand out in a world of competing media choices, some exhibitors have expressed praise for Lee for pushing technology to new limits. Fair enough. The problem with this is, very few people in the world will be able to see the movie the way Lee made it. Add another option to the growing list of digital cinema technologies. Welcome to digital cinema’s second era.
One of the most important phases of editing any movie is the test screening. Anyone who has ever worked on a film understands how different it can look when seen for the first time on a big screen. With his new service – Friends & Family Screening – Dan Clifton, producer of a dozen films including last year’s thriller Martyrs, believes he has the answer for test screenings in the digital era.
The new book Streaming, Sharing, Stealing: Big Data and the Future of Entertainment, clearly lays out the challenges the Hollywood studios face in the increasingly data-driven digital cinema era they helped create. In their book, the co-authors – Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang – present ways they believe the studios could address that challenge. The question is: will Hollywood listen?
As the international film and cinema community gathers for the Venice International Film Festival, and in the wake of the European Commission’s first European Film Forum exploring the future of cinemas, the Union Internationale des Cinémas/ International Union of Cinemas and the Confédération Internationale des Cinémas d’Art et d’Essai/ International Confederation of Art Cinemas have issued the following statement on the health of the sector and key trends and challenges. The festival is taking place now through September 9.
A study released today by the movie industry website Slated dramatically illustrates the cinema industry’s continued across-the-board bias against women. The company’s analysis of 1,591 feature films released theatrically on at least one screen in the U.S. between 2010 and 2015 exposes a systemic lack of trust on the part of the film industry when it comes to collaborating with women in the workplace.
Most moviegoers hate waiting in ticket lines. And, according to a recent survey, they also hate slow or worse yet, non-working online ticket services. How much do they hate it? According to the survey, 62 percent of Americans would be disgruntled if they were purchasing movie tickets and the website or app went down, and nearly all (90 percent) agreed that movie ticketing websites and apps should have zero downtime this summer. The survey also revealed which summer blockbusters Americans are the most excited to see. Finding Dory topped the list with 44 percent, followed by the new Star Trek movie (33 percent) and Jason Bourne (32 percent).
Thanks, in part, to digital cinema technology, drive-in theatres are on the rise. According to the United Drive-in Theatre Owners Association, as of this month there are 324 drive-in theatres in the United States, 299 of which are digital, with a total of 595 screens. Though the numbers will likely never be as high as they were in the 1950s when the nation had more than four thousand drive-ins, the association says the drive-in business seems to be on an upswing. Coyote Theatres is a case in point