March 13, 2008
An Associated Press piece suggests that there’s a correlation with a poor economy and high moviegoing numbers.
It was true during the Depression, when Americans managed to scrape together nickels and dimes for an escape to the movies. And as the prospect of another recession looms, studio executives say this time is no different.
Even as evidence mounts that people are tightening up on other expenses, movie attendance this year has been running ahead of 2007 numbers — welcome news at ShoWest, the annual convention of theater owners, which opens here Tuesday.
Domestic box-office revenues went up in five of the past seven recession years dating back to the 1960s, according to research compiled by the National Association of Theatre Owners.
March 7, 2008
Following in the steps of the Metropolitan Opera, the San Francisco Opera is presenting a program to theaters across the country.
SAN FRANCISCO Opera’s production of Puccini’s “La Rondine,” starring the gorgeous soprano Angela Gheorghiu, was a pretty big hit at War Memorial last November, but they’re wondering now how it will play in Peoria.
We’ll get a chance to find out Saturday afternoon when the Rave Grand Prairie 18 theater in Peoria, Ill. “” along with 120 movie theaters across the nation “” launches the first of four showings of the opera in an all-digital format with surround sound that is the very latest in cinema technology.
Here in the Bay Area, the closest showings are at the Livermore Cinemas 13 (which bills itself on its Web site as “the only all digital movie theater in the entire East Bay”) and the Cinema West-Fairfax in the North Bay. The Livermore showings are at 12:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 7:15 p.m. Monday, and regular ticket prices ($9.50, $7 for matinees) apply.
Read more at Contra Costa Times.
February 29, 2008
In what has been an ongoing trend these days, the Oscar telecast last weekend was the lowest rated ever. With no huge studio pictures up for the majors and a slew of little-known actors up as favorites in key categories, it was the perfect recipe for average moviegoer dissent.
Films about psychopaths, greedy oilmen and corrupt lawyers failed to click with moviegoers, and they proved a turnoff to U.S. television viewers as this year’s Oscars show hit record low ratings.
The 80th anniversary edition of the Academy Awards, dominated by European stars and films that played poorly at the box office, averaged 32 million viewers, entering the record books on Monday as the least watched Oscar telecast ever.
Read more in the Washington Post.
(Thanks to Grebo Guru for providing the photo.)
February 28, 2008 — Tim McGlynn’s, “Now Playing at Theater Near Me,” is a fantastic and tickling book that presents insights into teen culture during the seventies.
In 1975 the making of an 8mm movie turned disastrous for seventeen-year-old Tim McGlynn and friends. It was a Dog Day afternoon for the young autuers as local cops responded to a staged bank robbery. “Now Playing at a Theater Near Me” combines true-life coming-of-age antics with backstories and personal recollections of films and theaters of the seventies.
Today, teenagers cannot imagine life without DVDs, wireless phones, and the Internet. In Tim McGlynn’s new book, “Now Playing at a Theater Near Me,” readers are taken back thirty years when most entertainment was experienced at local drive-ins and single screen theaters.
Before information was easily accessible from home, America’s youth learned about life, sex and growing old at the movies. “Now Playing at a Theater Near Me” presents hilarious insights into the early seventies. Even movies could not keep up with the rapidly changing cultural issues of the time.
February 25, 2008
LONDON, ENGLAND — In a mysterious move, Odeon has said it won’t show the new Rambo movie.
Odeon, the U.K.’s biggest exhib chain, will not show Sony’s new release “Rambo” at its theaters this weekend, citing undisclosed “commercial reasons.”
News has sent shockwaves around the local industry as “Rambo” is the frame’s most significant new release in the U.K. News has also enraged online Sylvester Stallone fans, especially those who live in rural areas where their only local cinema is an Odeon.
Decision by Odeon not to play the testosterone-fuelled pic will likely see its opening U.K. B.O. haul dented considerably even though Sony has spent much of this week scrambling to get other chains, including other market leaders Vue and Cineworld, to pump up their “Rambo” showings.
Read the full story in Variety.
February 20, 2008
During a visit to my old home here in Hawaii I came across the news that Pacific theatres has sold its theatre holdings, outside the L.A. area. The theatres in Hawaii and California contain 181 screens with annual revenue of approximately $81 million.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday, Reading International Inc., which largely operates cinemas in Australia and New Zealand, said the price for the Consolidated theaters was reduced from $72 million.
I wonder if any of our friends in California might comment on any news they have concerning this sale and how it might affect the theatres there.
Unfortunately, there is not much to report from here in Hawaii since all the great theatres are gone.
Pacific Theatres is selling its Rohnert Park movie multiplex to a Southern California film exhibitor, part of a $69.3 million deal for 15 of its 29 theaters in California and Hawaii.
“As is company policy, we cannot comment on any deal until it is finalized,” said Suzanne Goldstyn, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles-based Pacific Theatres.
The theater and real estate development company announced plans last year to sell its cinema properties outside the greater Los Angeles area.
Read the full story at the Press Democrat.
February 13, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — According to this article from the San Francisco Chronicle, repertory cinemas – those that program for lovers of classic, revival, and non-mainstream fare – are finding it harder and harder to do so and remain even modestly profitable due to DVDs and other downloadable and rentable media:
For more than two decades, ever since the arrival of VHS tape, San Francisco exhibitors have been scrambling to find a business model that supports classic repertory programming. Exhibitors have devised and revised workable survival strategies, but time after time, those strategies have been undercut by new threats – such as the advent of DVD, Netflix and now downloadable movies. They’ve tried longer runs, shorter runs, themed festivals, celebrity guests, relatives of deceased celebrities, autograph signing parties and live entertainment, all to less and less effect. Some look ahead to digital projection as a possible panacea, but that’s a few years away.
All exhibitors concur that the prospects for repertory in San Francisco have become downright bleak, and that just within the past year business has gotten even worse. In movie-loving, cineast San Francisco, the repertory audience seems to be drying up.
Variety is reporting a dip in sales of movie tickets in the past year.
Cinema attendance in the European Union dipped 2.2% last year, with 910 million tickets sold vs. 931 million in 2006.
Admissions were up on 2005’s 899 million but down significantly on the bumper 2004 total of 1 billion, according to provisional figures released by the European Audiovisual Observatory.
Among the major territories with falling admissions last year were Germany (down 8.2%), Spain (down 7.7%) and France (down 5.6%). Steep dropoffs were seen in some new EU states, such as Hungary (down 13.8%) and Slovakia (down 19.9%).
February 11, 2008
BASINGSTOKE, HAMPSHIRE, ENGLAND — A new book has been published on Basingstoke’s cinema and theatre history. Details of ‘Basingstoke Entertained’ can be found on the Mercia Cinema Society’s website.
February 8, 2008
VIENNA, AUSTRIA — Someone should tell all these theaters in the U.S. leaping hurdles to obtain alcohol permits that there is another route to new customers. Check out what they’re doing at the Admiral Theatre.
A movie theater in Vienna has opened its doors to dogs for daily shows people can enjoy in the company of their pets, a spokesman said.
The Admiral cinema used to have “dog days” only once a month to compete with larger theaters, but has begun hosting them daily because of their popularity, the Mirror reported Wednesday.
Read more at United Press International.