• January 1, 2007

    How feasible is opera in movie theaters?

    PHILADELPHIA, PA — As was reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer for Wednesday, December 27, 2006, productions by the Metropolitan Opera House will be simulcast on various screens in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area and elsewhere which will be in high-definition.

    The AMC Neshaminy 24 — a multiplex in Bensalem, Pennsylvania (to Philadephia’s immediate north in Bucks County) — will be one of the area theaters participating. And it’s quite unusual, as more often than not this region of Lower Bucks County, where a nearby race track recently introduced slots gambling, is associated with suburban sprawl than anything so refined as opera.

    So given that, it’s hard to say just how well this experiment will go over ahead of time. Major opera productions have often been broadcast on PBS. But never before on a sizeable movie theater screens this way.

  • December 28, 2006

    Cinema advertising breaks new barriers

    Cellit is introducing texting technology to be incorportated into preshow ads.

    Cellit, LLC announced today its landmark agreement with Cinema Screen Media, LLC (CSM) to provide mobile marketing services to CSM’s clients. CSM’s on-screen advertisers will now be able to incorporate text messaging features into their pre-movie slideshow display, creating innovative, interactive promotions. CSM will start offering these services in the Phoenix metro area, while planning for a national roll-out.

    Using Cellit’s technology, moviegoers can interact with specific promotions showcased in the pre-movie slideshow. By texting the advertiser’s selected keyword to a special 5-digit phone number included in the pre-movie slideshow, the audience can obtain additional product information, text their vote on a topic, or participate in games and contests.

    To read more, go to Broadcast Newsroom.

  • December 20, 2006

    Movie Manners courtesy of Cinema Sightlines

    Since movie manners have been brought up a lot lately in a number of pieces on this site, I thought it would be good to visit one of the pioneering voices on this subject, Cinema Sightlines. TJ Edwards wrote an article on it over 10 years ago which has since been imitated but never duplicated. Here is the opening:

    Going out to movies has become a rare event for many of us. Is it because of high prices, lackluster theatres, bad presentation, or bad movies? Yes, all of the above … but not entirely. What most of us like least about viewing movies in public is … the public! How often have you had an expensive visit to the movies ruined by the inconsiderate behavior of others? Has your “Cinema Paradiso” become “Cinema Masochismo?”

    It happens nearly every time I go the movies. After paying at least $10 to sit in a lackluster cinebox, plus another $11 for cold popcorn and warm soda, I try to enjoy a long-anticipated film. I have arrived early to find a good seat. Inevitably, just as the film begins, someone will come in with big hair, a big head, or a big mouth, who’ll bypass numerous empty seats to park directly in front of me. If the theatre has stadium seating, they will sit directly behind me with their feet on the back of my seat.

    To read the full article, go to Cinema Sightlines. Soon, there will be even more information on Cinema Sightlines chronicling the moviegoing experience so keep your eyes out!

    Feel free to give your thoughts on any other movie manners not discussed, if you’ve had similar experiences, or how we should deal with offenders?

  • December 14, 2006

    AMC aims for $750M in public offering

    KANSAS CITY, MO — Following in the footsteps of Regal, AMC is testing the waters of going public.

    AMC Entertainment Inc. hopes to raise $750 million in its public stock offering, with the proceeds going back to its owners, including J.P. Morgan Partners and Apollo Investment Fund.

    The privately held Kansas City-based movie exhibitor, a close second in the U.S. after Regal Entertainment Group, disclosed some details of its potential public offering in a filing late Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    The 392-page filing noted that the public offering hinges in part on the successful initial public offering of National CineMedia LLC, an onscreen advertising company jointly owned by AMC and two of its competitors, Cinemark USA Inc. and Regal.

    To read more, go to The Kansas City Star.

  • Louisiana’s fiber optic network to rally for Hollywood’s dollars

    In an effort to attract more film shoots to the state, Louisiana is leading the charge to have its new high-speed network available to filmmakers.

    With Louisiana bent on luring all of the movie-making business it can, LONI could be the state’s star behind the big screen.

    Louisiana might make its ultrahigh-speed computer network available to production companies to promote growth in the movie industry. The move could speed the movie-making process in this state.

    Digital footage, like dailies or extremely large digital animation files, could be transferred from Louisiana to Los Angeles in a matter of seconds or minutes rather than hours or overnight.

    For more, go to The Shreveport Times.

  • 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.