The Big Picture

AI Creates Another Persona

Tue, 09/26/2023 - 10:10 -- Nick Dager

What happens to a film when an actor's face is changed? Over the past year, everyone in the film world has started talking about artificial intelligence. Will the technology enable different and better films, or will it just make everyone unemployed? And how does AI affect how directors and actors create their art? In collaboration with SF Studios, Gothenburg Film Studios and The Ingmar Bergman Foundation, Göteborg Film Festival is producing an AI-generated version of Persona, featuring Alma Pöysti in Liv Ullmann's role as Elisabet Vogler.

Swift Moves

Mon, 09/04/2023 - 10:24 -- Nick Dager

Last week AMC Theatres announced that Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour concert film had officially become a record-breaking movie. The film, which was announced with tickets on sale Thursday morning, shattered the record for single-day advance ticket sales revenue at AMC at $26 million. The previous record of $16.9 million was held by Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Filming Oppenheimer

Mon, 07/24/2023 - 09:19 -- Nick Dager

"It's an intimate, emotional and immersive psychological drama, as well as spectacular event cinema," says cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema FSF NSC ASC, as he reveals details about capturing Christopher Nolan's nail-biting thriller, Oppenheimer, in Imax (15-perf) format using Kodak 65mm large-format film, including, for the very first time, sections on 65mm black and white shot in Imax. "I am super proud about the result and know it will provoke a lot of interesting discussion and debate," he adds.

Creating the Colors of Dune

Wed, 07/05/2023 - 11:51 -- Nick Dager

Greig Fraser, ACS, ASC, is an award-winning Australian cinematographer. His artistic composition together with his flowing, immersive approach to cinematography has made him a go-to director of photography for a number of high-profile directors. His most well-known work includes Zero Dark Thirty (2012), Lion (2016), Rogue One (2016), Vice (2018), Dune (2021), and The Batman (2022). Fraser also returned to the Star Wars franchise with the 2019 television series The Mandalorian. Recently, Fraser shot Dune: Part Two, which will be in theatres in November. He has since joined the jury for the 2023 FilmLight Color Awards. Fraser spoke via email with Digital Cinema Report about his relationship with color and his collaboration with 2022 FilmLiight Color Awards nominee Dave Cole, for their work on the grade of Dune.

Cinergy Cinema: Entertainment Center

Tue, 06/06/2023 - 09:30 -- Nick Dager

Jeff Benson is the co-founder, along with his wife, Jamie, and CEO of Cinergy Entertainment Group. They founded Cinergy in 2009 after selling Movie Tavern, a 15-location, nationwide dine-in cinema chain that they started in 2001. Benson has been an entrepreneur in the movie theatre and family entertainment center businesses now for 25 years now. He originally started out as a CPA with Deloitte back in the early ‘90s. Said Benson, “It’s been a wild and crazy ride over the years, but we have always tried to be a leader utilizing new business models and technologies within established entertainment industries.” For me, something that sets Cinergy apart from its competitors is the fact that in 2019, the Cinergy Entertainment Group was named the Top Family Entertainment Center of the World by the International Association of Parks and Attractions. I recently spoke with Benson via email and our conversation started there.

The Transformative Power of Cinema

Wed, 05/24/2023 - 11:46 -- Nick Dager

Brian Schultz is the founder and CEO of Look Cinemas. Schultz established Studio Movie Grill in Dallas in 1993, and the company quickly became one of the nation’s most successful dine-in entertainment venues. What seemed an obscure novelty in the ‘90s quickly became one of the industry’s most popular concepts, but that did not save Studio Movie Grill from the pandemic. In a now all-too-familiar story, the pandemic led to many changes for the company, one of which is that Schultz left in 2020 and decided to start a new venture called Look Cinemas. Using a business model similar to, but more ambitious than Studio Movie Grill, Look Cinemas has opened twelve theatres in under two years, most recently on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the Brutalist VIA building near the Hudson River that was previously occupied by Landmark Theatres. Schultz says, “Ultimately, our purpose is to bring people together. When guests choose Look, we want them to feel like they can escape for a while and share an incredible entertainment experience with the ones they love.” Opening any movie theatre is a serious undertaking but doing it in Manhattan poses challenges that are unlike any place else. I recently spoke with Schultz to learn what obstacles he faced in opening New York City’s newest movie theatre and his vision for the future of not just Look Cinemas but of the exhibition business itself. Here is that conversation.

National CineMedia Weathers the Storm

Wed, 05/03/2023 - 11:35 -- Nick Dager

These have been challenging times for National CineMedia. In January, Cineworld, hurt financially by the pandemic, filed for bankruptcy, and threatened to leave NCM’s advertising network. Then, NCM itself began a comprehensive restructuring effort with the support of its secured lenders, through which all the company’s debt would be converted into equity of the reorganized company. Under that agreement, NCM will assume all its critical contracts upon emergence, ensuring that the company will maintain the largest national cinema advertising network. But there have also been some positive developments for the company. In March, NCM 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. Other key findings include a greater attention score, significantly more consumers watching for a longer duration, and a correlation with recall and choice. To get a better picture of the survey’s and NCM’s prospects moving forward, I recently spoke via email with Mike Rosen, the company’s chief revenue officer, who makes clear that he believes NCM has weathered the storm. Here is our conversation.

HeyLED Unveils its Cinema Screen

Sat, 04/29/2023 - 15:59 -- Nick Dager

The Shenzhen-based technology company, Timewaying and its global strategic partners Arts Alliance Media held a technology tour event this month at the Krikorian Theater in California, and unveiled its latest LED cinema screen, the LA2K-10. This is the company’s first 10-meter 2K DCI LED cinema screen in the United States. The event signaled that the HeyLED cinema screen is officially approved for the global market. Industry professionals from around the world, including exhibitors, integrators, technology associations, and media representatives attended the event. “Our first Tech Tour was really to provide an opportunity for the industry to experience these technologies for themselves and understand how progressive PLF solutions, such as HeyLED, are shaping the future of cinema,” said AAM’s chief commercial officer David Ong.

Cinema Ticket Sales Set Record

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 09:16 -- Nick Dager

Cinema ticket sales in the first quarter of 2023 saw the highest grossing quarter of the current decade, achieving eight billion dollars, according to the latest report from the London-based analytics firm Gower Street. That is +6 percent above the prior peak in Q4 2021, fueled by No Time to Die and Spider-Man: No Way Home. Q1 2023 was a massive +27 percent ahead of Q1 2022 and double the first quarter of 2021.


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