• February 20, 2008

    Pacific Theatres sells majority of theatres

    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

    Hard times for many repertory cinemas

    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.

  • Europe feels crunch in movie tickets

    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 theater book

    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 theater allows dogs

    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.

  • January 25, 2008

    NYC’s Met Opera filling multiplex theaters in US

    Even in its home town of New York City, the Met Opera is selling many tickets for multiplex broadcasts on large movie screens.

    It’s all part of a marketing strategy by Met general manager Peter Gelb to attract a new, younger audience.

    “We’re creating, basically, satellite opera houses,” Gelb said. “But the Met offers something you don’t get at a performance — cameras that show action behind the scenes and interviews in dressing rooms, the equivalent of going into the locker room of a sports team.”

    On a recent weekend, ticket sales for the Met broadcasts reached $1.65 million, pushing Charles Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet” to No. 11 in North American movie box-office receipts, according to Variety.

    Read the full story in theSun Times.

  • January 18, 2008

    Regal to buy Consolidated

    The biggest just got bigger. Regal Entertainment Group is purchasing Charlotte-based Consolidated Theatres.

    Regal Entertainment Group, the largest movie exhibitor in the United States, on Tuesday announced plans to acquire Charlotte-based Consolidated Theatres for about $210 million in cash, its biggest purchase in three years.

    Consolidated operates 400 screens at 28 locations, including Charlotte’s Phillips Place Cinemas, Arboretum Cinemas and Park Terrace Cinema. Outside North Carolina, it has theaters in Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

    Knoxville-based Regal has a presence in all of those states. It has 6,355 screens in 526 locations in 39 states, operating as Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theatres and Edwards Theaters.

    Read more in the Charlotte Observer.

  • January 16, 2008

    WB’s preshow must go on

    Warner Bros. has made a deal with National CineMedia’s FirstLook program.

    Warner Bros. and in-theater network provider National CineMedia have partnered to offer prefeature entertainment content and advertising in U.S. movie theaters.

    Warner Bros. said Monday that it will provide original, exclusive content for NCM’s FirstLook prefeature program, offering behind-the-scenes looks at upcoming Warner Bros. films, including “Fool’s Gold” and “Speed Racer.”

    Read more in the Hollywood Reporter.

  • January 8, 2008

    Drive-In Box Office Gold

    This came in from the SoCalDIMS (Southern California Drive-In Movie Society:

    We wanted to share this interesting box office tidbit that should interest all you drive-in fans out there.

    From Box Office Essentials, an online industry service that film studios, marketing firms and theater owners often use to get weekend box office grosses reported some very enlightening box office returns for the weekend opening of Fred Clause starring Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti.

    For per screen grosses covering that Friday, Saturday & Sunday…
    The Vineland Drive-In in the City of Industry, California ranked #1 in the country with a weekend box office take of $19,827. In fact for the entire nation the top ten theaters ranked on Box Office Essentials website, 9 of them were drive-in theaters. And of those 9, 8 of them were right here in California.

    They are in order:

  • December 28, 2007

    Wal-Mart cancels movie download program

    Wal-Mart has eliminated its movie download service after less than year.

    Wal-Mart shut down the download site after Hewlett Packard Co discontinued the technology that powered it, spokeswoman Amy Colella said in an e-mail. She added that it will not look for another technology partner.

    HP spokesman Hector Marinez said the company decided to discontinue its video download-only merchant store services because the market for paid video downloads did not perform “as expected.” He noted that the Internet video business remains uncertain and is changing rapidly.

    Wal-Mart will continue offering physical DVDs for sale at its stores and online, but would not continue the online downloads business, said Colella, who declined to disclose the number of downloads sold on the site.

    Maybe a sign that consumers still want something they can touch or maybe it was just marketed poorly? Probably not the last we’ll see of operations like this.

    Read more at Reuters.