• December 12, 2006

    Changing sizes of movie theater auditoriums

    In the December 6th issue of In Focus magazine, the “Secrets of Size” article details why movie theater auditoriums have dramatically shrunk over time, but also explains there is a renewed construction of bigger auditoriums.

    An accompanying chart provides examples of existing and former movie palaces. A graphic shows the typical seating layout of a megaplex. A seating chart of Radio City Music Hall is also provided.

    They weren’t called “palaces” for nothing. The average American cinema auditorium used to be a lot bigger. In their 2004 book “Cinema Treasures,” Ross Melnick and
    Andreas Fuchs lay out a clear chronology of the birth and heyday of the largest.

    Muvico Theatres' soon-to-launch Xanadu megaplex in New Jersey’s Meadowlands, just four miles west of Manhattan, is expected to contain 500 more seats than Radio City Music Hall – but the Xanadu will spread its 6,500 seats over 26 auditoria.

    The difference between the two facilities' utilization of the same number of seats is emblematic of how the exhibition industry has evolved generally over the last seven or eight decades. The average number of auditoria per site has been going up every year for decades, and cinema sites today average more than six screens, an all-time record.

    To read more on this story, go toIn Focus Magazine.

  • December 6, 2006

    Movie chain discriminates vs. blind, deaf, suit claims

    TUCSON, AZ — With so many other amenities to focus on, even I frequently forget what’s essential to others that aren’t as fortunate. AMC is under fire in Arizona for almost entirely ignoring their blind and deaf patrons.

    Arizona has filed suit against AMC Entertainment Inc., alleging the movie theater chain is discriminating against blind and deaf customers.

    The suit, filed last week in Maricopa County Superior Court by the Attorney General’s office, claims AMC is violating the Arizonans with Disabilities Act by not having enough devices and services to allow the hearing and visually impaired to enjoy its shows.

    To read more, go to The Tucson Citizen.

  • November 30, 2006

    Hollywood’s comeback story

    LOS ANGELES, CA — The cries of the death of the movie theater have subsided a bit this year with receipts coming in significantly higher.

    Ending a three-year slump, attendance at movie theaters is up this year almost 4%. Box-office revenue is up too, by 5.5%. The results stand in sharp contrast to last year, when weekly ticket sales failed to beat the previous year’s results for 19 consecutive weeks, and total box-office revenue was down more than 5% from 2004. Attendance fell 8.7%.

    Those results led some analysts to speculate that consumers had lost interest in moviegoing, rejecting inhospitable multiplexes and high ticket prices in favor of bigger-screen TVs and videogame consoles. The turnaround this year offers a simpler explanation: Last year’s movies just weren’t very good.

    To read more, go to The L.A. Times.

    So is the movie theater really back in the driver’s seat due to this evidence? Do you really think there will be less sequels produced in the future?

    At least in my opinion, I think the numbers of 2004 were not going to be surpassed no matter what. Shrek 2 and Spiderman 2 were such rare artistic/commercial successes for big budget sequels that nothing would touch them. Things are getting slightly better with art house films getting more press(Little Miss Sunshine) and indy directors getting the chance to make high-profile studio pictures(Batman Begins), but with the Pirates film doing so well this year, I don’t really buy that the industry is going to change that much.

    That’s just me though. What do you think?

  • November 29, 2006

    National Amusements introduces CyGamZ

    DETROIT, MI — In order to lure in more moviegoers, one Showcase Cinema is rolling out a large gaming center to attract more of the younger crowd along with their families.

    Movie theaters have long had arcades where people waiting for a movie to begin could pump in a quarter or two and enjoy a few minutes of game-playing fun.

    But the CyGamZ center, which informally opened Friday, is different.

    Located in an unused lobby of the Showcase multiplex, it covers a huge corner of the complex larger than several theaters put together. It encompasses a large lounge with a concession stand and pods of 24 Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 video game consoles hooked up to flat screen TVs; party rooms that feature more consoles, more flat screens and the ability to run things like Powerpoint presentations; and a huge back room that houses 60 moodily lit Alienware PCs running a gamut of games from Sims 2 to Battlefield 2142.

    To read more, go to The Detroit Free Press.

  • November 28, 2006

    Spielberg’s take on future of movie theaters

    In an interview when trying to defend the difference in standards between television and film, Steven Spielberg mentioned where thinks the theater audience is going.

    In a free-ranging hour of interview with former NBC News correspondent Garrick Utley and questions from the audience, Spielberg said iPod video may be all the rage but count his films out from tailoring his films to fit the small screen.

    “That’s one medium where I have to draw the line,” he said. “We’ll shoot for television and the movies and let there be a wide gap” between that and the small 3-inch screen. He also said that he felt that people are social animals who will choose to go out to a movie rather than watch a show on widescreen.

    “I don’t think movie theaters will ever go away,” Speilberg said.

    To read more, go to The Hollywood Reporter.

  • November 21, 2006

    Theater renders movie ratings totally useless

    Here’s one man’s take on how theaters are dropping the ball again, but this time by not properly patrolling their R- rated screens for underage children.

    The big surprise came when the movie ended, and the house lights were turned up. As we filed from the theater, it was obvious that a good portion of the crowd were kids without adult supervision. Simply put, they either were sold tickets to an R-rated movie, or they bought a ticket to a G-rated movie and then went into a theater to watch an R-rated film.

    Either way, it is wrong, and the theater is at fault.

    I’m not one to blame someone else for a parent’s mistake. Mom and Dad are responsible for the behavior of their children. Corporate America shouldn’t be required to be surrogate parents.

    For more, go to The Pueblo Chieftan.

  • November 16, 2006

    Warner Brothers exits from China’s movie theater market

    After years of holding a stake in numerous theater operations, Warner Brothers is letting go of its interests in China.

    Warner Brothers International Cinemas (WBIC) has decided to pull out of six movie theatres it currently runs with Chinese partners, citing “major regulatory changes.”

    The WBIC, a subsidiary of the US media giant Time Warner, has ceased investment in China’s movie theatre market due to major regulatory changes, ‘Beijing News’ reported, quoting a company announcement.

    The Chinese government in 2005 barred foreign investors from holding majority stakes in joint ventures in the entertainment sector.

    For more, visit the Hindu News Update.

  • November 14, 2006

    Paramount Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and a fourth cinema to be renamed Scotiabank

    Cineplex whose brands include Cineplex Odeon, Galaxy and Silver City, went hunting for a company to buy the naming rights for its four Paramount-branded cinemas acquired from Famous Players.

    Negotiations with landlords are ongoing, but the five Scotiabank-branded Cineplex cinemas are expected to include the Paramount theaters located in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver.

    Scotiabank will be advertising its products in Cineplex lobbies. The agreement also includes installing automated banking machines in the five flagship theaters.

    For more, visit theGlobe and Mail(reg. reqr’d.).

  • November 13, 2006

    Bow Tie Cinemas acquires 95 screens from Crown Theatres

    Bow Tie Partners, headed by Charles B. Moss, Jr. and Ben Moss, has announced they have signed an agreement for the acquisition of 95 movie screens in 12 locations in Connecticut and Maryland for an undisclosed amount from Crown Theatres, LLC. With this transaction and with the completion of additional Moss properties currently under construction, Bow Tie Partners will own and operate a network of 137 screens in 17 locations in Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, upstate New York and Virginia.

    Charles B. Moss, Jr. and Ben Moss represent the third and fourth generations of the family owned Moss companies whose interests are centered in the real estate development and entertainment industries.

    Bow Tie Partners specializes in the redevelopment of historic and architecturally significant properties by adding value through a combination of physical redevelopment, creative change of use, financial restructuring and market repositioning. The company is known for its circuit of deluxe, intimate, first run cinemas designed to bring style and elegance back to the movie going experience.

  • November 10, 2006

    Kerasotes behavior classes

    CICERO, IL — I’m not really sure how to best summarize this without making it sound controversial… I know it will spur a lot of commentary here.

    Basically, a Kerasotes theater outside Chicago is requiring teens that want to see movies alone at night to take a lecture on personal conduct with their parents.

    A new 14-screen movie theater opened in Cicero Friday, but teenagers under 18 can’t go at night unless they’re with a parent. If they want to go unaccompanied by an adult, they have to take a class and get a “code of conduct” ID card.

    Kerasotes started requiring ID cards last year at its theatres in South Bend, Ind. when three teenagers were arrested for fighting. In order to get the cards here, teens and their parents have to sit through a 10 minute lecture.

    To read more about this interesting new practice, visitCBS 2 Chicago.