Industry

  • December 7, 2005

    (Movie) Houses of God

    On Sunday, the New York Times published a story about New York City’s remaining movie palaces and how the majority of them have been converted into places of worship.

    With a little divine intervention, however, many of the Roxy’s contemporaries have survived the decline of the cinema age and the turnover of their neighborhoods gloriously intact, even if gospel-choir lofts have replaced orchestra pits and Bible verses have replaced “Coming Soon” posters in their opulent lobbies.

    The article also includes a nice photo gallery with recent shots of the Hollywood, Regent, Loew’s Valencia, Loew’s 175th Street, and Rainbow theaters.

    Cinema Treasures got a nice little mention, as well.

    New York Times: Now Showing: God

  • November 11, 2005

    Movie theater in the sky?

    BusinessWeek recently exposed a new trend in the airline industry — designing custom interiors for new, wide-body aircraft (Airbus A340, Boeing 777, etc.) that have come to market recently.

    One concept for these “penthouses in the sky” included a private movie theater:

    theater in the sky

    Pierrejean completed this concept sketch of a 16-person movie theater for an unidentified Middle Eastern client who is considering buying an Airbus A380, the double-decker jumbo jet scheduled for a debut next year.

    Needless to say, here at Cinema Treasures, we plan to purchase several of these.

    BusinessWeek: Penthouses at 30,000 Feet

  • November 10, 2005

    Sundance eyes Madison for next cinema

    MADISON, WI — IndieWIRE is reporting that Sundance Cinemas plans to open its next arthouse theater in Madison:

    The first theater in the new Sundance Cinemas arthouse chain is set to open one year from now in Madison, WI. The Sundance Cinemas circuit will be a national chain for mainly independent and foreign films, run by the former Landmark Theaters leadership Paul Richardson and Bert Manzari who left the chain about a year ago after working together for nearly 30 years. Oaktree Capital Management is funding the new company.

    The six-screen Sundance Cinemas development is set for the Hilldale Mall in Madison that is being renovated by Joseph Freed and Associates; an architect has not yet been selected.

    IndieWIRE: New Sundance Cinemas Circuit to Launch In Madison, WI

  • November 8, 2005

    Too much security at movie theaters?

    Politech has an interesting report about increasing levels of movie theater security:

    I wonder what kind of dystopian cyberpunk future we live in when you are physically searched before entering a movie theatre.

    Last night (November 3rd), my girlfriend brought me along to see a screening of Derailed at the Paramount theatre in Toronto, which she had to review for a magazine she works for. The lineup for the screening was unusually long, as I think they also fill seats at press screenngs with radio call-in winners, who in hindsight, might have accepted such poor treatment in exchange for the ostensible privilege of paying for $30 worth of parking and fast food at a free $13 movie.

    Anyway, the line was moving slowly because they were asking customers to raise their arms so that they could be electronically frisked with a metal detector, and women’s purses were being searched by uniformed security guards. Try to remember that this is Toronto, Canada we’re talking about here, not New York, Tel Aviv or London.

    People who submitted to the search (everyone from what I could tell) had their cellphones taken from them and checked at a table set up in front of the theatre and they were given a ticket to reclaim it when they left.

    PoliTech: How the MPAA killed the movie theater experience: a first-hand report

  • October 25, 2005

    ShowEast Begins In Orlando Despite Hurricane

    ORLANDO, FL — ShowEast, where 1,300 members of the motion picture industry “gear up for the year end holiday season by gathering to learn about industry trends, screen films and product reels, and be among the first to see state-of-the-art theatre equipment along with services and technologies vital to the industry,” commenced yesterday.

    Top issues this year are piracy, movie theater attendance, new technology, and the overall quality of films, amongst other industry issues. According to Reuters, Paul Hanneman, executive vp sales and strategic planning at 20th Century Fox International, asked assembled members of the industry, “Are we making the best films we can? Have profit projections led to quests for tentpoles at the expense of quality?”

    Keynote speaker Shari Redstone, president of National Amusements, dismissed the fundamental worries of the business, commenting that “You’ll never hear the voice of doom and gloom out of this mouth.”

    But she was quick to add: “So much of the future is not in the U.S.” — highlighting that growth opportunities for exhibitors may lie overseas.

  • October 14, 2005

    “Now Showing!” — New Movie About Moviegoing

    LOS ANGELES, CA — With the working title, “Now Showing! America Goes to the Movies,” the first comprehensive feature-length documentary celebrating the history and excitement of the moviegoing experience, was announced today. To be filmed in High-Definition widescreen and slated for theatrical distribution in Fall 2006, this documentary, currently in pre-production, will recount an all too important, but largely untold, part of film history: The story of motion picture exhibition and how moviegoing has influenced the cultural and social fabric of America—while reminding us all why, after over a century, movie theaters still enchant us.

    As the unsurpassed theatrical experience of watching films as a community has come under attack, a group of filmmakers, writers and producers, all industry insiders, have joined forces to remind everybody what the magic of the movies is all about. With this new documentary, David Strohmaier, the director of “Cinerama Adventure,” AJ Roquevert, the producer of “No More Joy—The Rise and Fall of New Orleans' Movie Theaters” and Ross Melnick and Andreas Fuchs, the co-authors of the award-winning book Cinema Treasures—A New Look at Classic Movie Theaters, invite audiences to share over 100 years of memories, excitement, and, of course, entertainment.

  • October 4, 2005

    Balaban and Katz Book Available For Pre Order

    The book, “The Chicago Movie Palaces of Balaban and Katz” by David Balaban is now available for pre-order from all major online booksellers including Amazon.com and BN.com at special pre-release prices. The cover of the book features the beautiful Uptown Theatre. The expected delivery date listed is October 31st, 2005.

    For more information please visit www.balabanandkatzfoundation.com or email me at .

  • August 31, 2005

    Empire Theatres Expands Across Canada

    Mike Rivest sent us this press release about Empire Theatres expansion in Canada. (He also mentioned that a list of the theaters involved can be found here.

    TORONTO, ONTARIO—(CCNMatthews – Aug. 22, 2005) – Cineplex Galaxy LP (“Cineplex”) (TSX:CGX.UN) announced today that it has agreed to sell 27 theatres with 202 screens located in Ontario and Western Canada to Empire Theatres Limited (“Empire Theatres”) based in Stellarton, Nova Scotia. The transaction is valued at approximately $83 million and is expected to close September 30, 2005, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

    “We are delighted to announce that we have an agreement to sell the Ontario and Western Canada locations to Empire Theatres,” said Ellis Jacob, President and CEO, Cineplex Galaxy. “The acquisition of Famous Players was completed on July 22, 2005 and we are delighted to have an agreement to sell the vast majority of the theatres that we are required to divest less than 30 days later” said Jacob.

    Cineplex entered into a consent agreement with Canada’s Commissioner of Competition in connection with the Famous Players acquisition requiring the sale of 34 theatres with a total of 282 screens located in Ontario, Western Canada and Quebec.

    Stuart Fraser, President and CEO, Empire Theatres Limited said “we are very pleased with this acquisition as it enables us to further expand our presence across Canada beyond our core group of theatres located in Atlantic Canada. We look forward to operating these theatres and introducing the Empire Theatres brand to Ontario and Western Canada.” As part of the agreement, Empire Theatres will offer employment to all staff currently employed in these theatres.

  • August 12, 2005

    Variety & THR Take Aim At Exhibition Industry

    Gregg Kilday writes in today’s Hollywood Reporter:

    “Hollywood spends millions of dollars hawking individual movies, but precious little attention is spent to selling the notion of moviegoing itself…Potential ticket buyers need to be reminded that moviegoing is a communal experience that can’t be duplicated at home, even with the best home entertainment systems. If the film industry doesn’t begin to speak up in its own defense, it has only itself to blame as audiences continue to drift away.”

    Meanwhile, Jonathan Bing opines in Variety:

    “HERE’S AN UNCONVENTIONAL solution for Hollywood’s box office problem: Redesign the multiplex. Bulldoze the thousands of poorly subdivided concrete boxes dotting America’s cities and suburbs; rebuild them as state-of-the-art retail and entertainment centers. Dim the garish lighting, plant new cars and other attractions in the lobbies; and customize the place by movie genre — date movies could be screened in theaters with love seats; teen movies could be screened in theaters that can be hosed down at the end of the night.”

    He concludes, “Consumers are pissed off. Faced with rising ticket prices and 20 minutes of onscreen ads, it’s going to take more than stadium seating and free refills to win them back.”

  • July 27, 2005

    Hollywood’s Death Spiral

    Slate’s Edward Jay Epstein has written a fascinating article about the “secret numbers” used within the film industry to track revenue from theatrical, DVD, and other releases.

    Consider how earlier this year entertainment journalists rattled on for months about a slump in the American box office—“Box Office Slump In Its 19th Week”—as if it were a sporting event in which the Hollywood studios couldn’t get winning hits. The story would have been different if they had seen the data on Page 16 in the 2005 Three Month Revenue Report. (Click here for that page.) Instead of a box-office decline, the studios actually took in more from the U.S. box office in the first quarter of 2005 ($870.2 million) than they did in the similar period of 2004 ($797.1 million). So even though the total audience at movie theaters declined during this period, this came mainly at the expense of independent, foreign, and documentary movies. For the Hollywood studios (and their subsidaries), in fact, there was no slump at all.

    If you want to understand the dynamic forces reshaping today’s film industry, this is required reading.