Industry

  • April 12, 2006

    Smell-O-Vision making a comeback?

    According to a report from the BBC, a Japanese firm has developed a fragrance machine for movies similar to the infamous Smell-O-Vision system of 1960.

    Screenings of Colin Farrell’s latest film will be accompanied by a series of smells at a cinema in Japan.

    Seven fragrances will waft from machines under back row seats during historical adventure The New World.

    A floral smell will accompany love scenes, with a mixture of peppermint and rosemary for tear-jerking moments.

    Cinemas across the country will be able to download programmes to control various sequences of fragrances for other upcoming films.

  • April 1, 2006

    Kent Theatre Moving to Japan

    CEDAR SPRINGS, MI — The Kent Theatre has had a long 120 year history in Cedar Springs Michigan, but that is soon to change. The Cedar Spring Theatre Association announced tuesday that the Kent Theatre has been sold to the Japanese Investment Company IBPC OSAKA, located in Tokyo Japan. The company has long strives to improve U.S. and Japanese relations and feel this move is beneficial to both countries.

    The sale of the Kent Theatre will be finalized April 20th 2006. The final movie to be show will be April 15th 2006 with the Dustin Hoffman Classic “Little Big Man” All resident attending will receive a * free egg rolls in celebration of the final showing. *(Limit one per paid admission)

    After the sale the Kent Theatre , it will be disassembled and all pieces number and shipped to its new home in city of Osaka Japan. The Theatre will be lovingly reassembled in its new home and the residents are delighted with the prospects. The theatre will feature the American silent movies of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.

    Len Allington, President of the Cedar Springs Theatre Association was instrumental in the negotiation of the sale. Speaking from a phone in Osaka Japan , Len expressed how proud he was of the sale stating “I am very impressed with the amount of respect the Japanese people have for this classic theatre, I feel this is the best move available for the true preservation of this theatre. Adding, "We will also make about $10.000 profit in this deal and that will be added bonus!!” Mr. Allington also stated “Under the June 2001 agreement between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and President George W. Bush, the governments of Japan and the United States have jointly held seminars in order to promote better understanding of foreign direct investment, and facilitate investment in Japan at the local level. Both sides have been emphasizing the very real investment opportunities that exist in Japan, made even more appealing by the recent upturn in the Japanese economy. This sale is a direct response to President Bush’s ideas, a man I hold in high regard!”

  • March 24, 2006

    Sundance Cinemas Returns

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Sundance Cinemas, the on again, off again project from Robert Redford’s Sundance Group, seems ready for its close-up after nine long years. The group, led by former Landmark Theatres executives Paul Richardson and Bert Manzari, has announced the purchase of the Kabuki 8 Theatres from AMC.

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, the theater is scheduled to reopen in late summer and early fall—just in time for the bulk of independent and art house film releases.

    Sundance Cinemas was first announced in 1997 as a joint partnership with General Cinemas, but never opened a single theater. The project was put on further hiatus whne General Cinemas filed for bankruptcy protection and was eventually sold to AMC.

    News surfaced last year that under Manzari and Richardson’s guidance (they departed Landmark with its acquisition by Mark Cuban), Sundance Cinemas would be relaunched.

  • March 17, 2006

    2006 ShoWest Round Up

  • February 22, 2006

    AMPAS chooses S. Charles Lee design for Oscar set

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that this year’s set for the Oscars will be a “no-holds-barred return to classic Hollywood glamour, paying homage to old movie theaters.”

    “When designing the Oscars, I try to make the current show as different from the year before as possible,” said Christopher. “Last year’s show was distinguished by a hi-tech, ‘cutting-edge’ style. So this year, there’s nothing hi-tech — it’s a no-holds-barred return to classic Hollywood glamour, paying homage to old movie theaters.”

    “I wanted to celebrate the movies and to include great movie houses and screens,” said Cates. “So Roy went back to the classic ornate movie houses for his inspiration, which, I think, is superbly reflected in the final design.”

    “I have always loved the movie theaters of the ‘30s, '40s and '50s,” Christopher said. “The man who designed many of them was S. Charles Lee, who was remarkably imaginative and architecturally daring, making movie theaters in styles ranging from the ornate Hollywood baroque to the sleek art-moderne. His spaces were exciting places that upon entering made you feel that something extraordinary was going to happen.”

  • January 27, 2006

    Mark Cuban asks “What business are theaters in?”

    In his latest blog entry, Mark Cuban, the spirited owner of Landmark Cinemas, takes a frank and fascinating look at the state of the exhibition industry.

    On collapsing the “release window” between theatrical exhibition and other release formats (DVD, iTunes, Cable, etc.)…

    How sad is it when the President of the National Assoc of Theater Owners doesnt think his members can create a better movie going experience than what we can see in our houses and apartments ?

    Guess what John, I can whip up a mean steak, but I still like to go to restaurants. Because I enjoy it. I enjoy getting out of the house with family, friends, who ever.

    On shifting demographics…

    The experience that a 16 year old expects is going to be completely different than what a 35 or 55 year old expects.

    When a 16 year old goes to a movie, there is absolutely nothing at all wrong with answering your cellphone, talking back to the screen and texting your heart away during a movie. The movie is just there because its better than doing the same thing sitting or walking at the mall, or hanging in your buddys smelly bedroom again, listening to his mom yell at him.

    All of the above drives anyone not in that demographic crazy. So when a couple of 35 year olds go to see King Kong, not only can you pretty much bet that they arent going to have a great experience during the showing of the movie, but they probably didnt have a great experience before they even got their seats.

    On giving theaters a piece of the DVD business…

    Its also probably a good time to take steps to be paid for the role you play in promoting the sale of DVDs and TV. You already know that you platform movies and create demand for future sales. Your problem is that you dont get paid for it. DVD sales now exceed box office sales and you dont get a nickel of those DVD sales. Its time for that to change.

    On what business theaters are in…

    First of all, I dont think they know what business they are in any longer. It appears they believe they are in the business of showing the movies Hollywood gives them and praying that Hollywood makes good movies and spends enough money to drive people through the doors so they make some money on the boxoffice and concessions. They arent.

    So, what do you think Cinema Treasures fans? (Read the full blog post and then comment below!)

  • January 16, 2006

    AMC – Loews Merger to Close Soon

    Loews Cineplex theatres will close at the end of the business day on Thurs. 1/26 and on Friday 1/27 will re-open as AMC Theatres. This will effectively relegate the Loews name, probably the oldest name in exibition, to the trash heap.

    Marcus Loew, a furrier, opened a nickelodeon on the second floor of a commercial building in Cincinnati in 1905, and the rest, as they say, is history. He went on to establish Loew’s, Inc., building some of the most opulent and ornate vaudville-movie theatres ever seen. “We sell tickets to THEATRES, not movies”, he was quoted as saying. Loew also formed the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios through a series of aquisitions and mergers, to supply product to his theatre empire.

  • January 5, 2006

    Slate on the ‘Popcorn Palace economy’

    In a new article on Slate, Edward Jay Epstein looks into the economics of the exhibition business.

    While most of you are probably aware that theaters make much of their profits from the concession stand, there’s plenty in this article you might not have thought about before.

    Once upon a time, movie studios and movie theaters were in the same business. The studios made films for theater chains that they either owned or controlled, and they harvested almost all their revenue from ticket sales. Then, in 1948, the government forced the studios to divest themselves of the theaters. Nowadays, the two are in very different businesses. Theater chains, in fact, are in three different businesses.

    First, they are in the fast-food business, selling popcorn, soda, and other snacks. This is an extremely profitable operation in which the theaters do not split the proceeds with the studios (as they do with ticket sales). Popcorn, for example, because of the immense amount of popped bulk produced from a relatively small amount of kernels—the ratio is as high as 60:1—yields more than 90 cents of profit on every dollar of popcorn sold. It also serves to make customers thirsty for sodas, another high-margin product (supplied to most theater chains by Coca-Cola, which makes lucrative deals with theater owners in return for their exclusive “pouring” of its products). One theater chain executive went so far as to describe the cup holder mounted on each seat, which allows customers to park their soda while returning to the concession stand for more popcorn, as “the most important technological innovation since sound.” He also credited the extra salt added into the buttery topping on popcorn as the “secret” to extending the popcorn-soda-popcorn cycle throughout the movie. For this type of business, theater owners don’t benefit from movies with gripping or complex plots, since that would keep potential popcorn customers in their seats. “We are really in the business of people moving,” Thomas W. Stephenson Jr., who then headed Hollywood Theaters, told me. “The more people we move past the popcorn, the more money we make.”

  • December 30, 2005

    ABC News: No Happy Ending in 2005 For Hollywood

    ABC is reporting the bad news that everyone has been pretty much expecting… ticket sales continued to drop this year:

    The bad news is that audiences did not exactly go ape over the rest of 2005’s cinema offerings, making this the third straight year of decline in Hollywood ticket sales — the first such stretch of bad news in 40 years. Because of the continued falloff — sales are down 12.6 percent from 2002 — a growing number of analysts are wondering whether America’s movie habits are changing permanently.

    “The industry has to consider whether or not American audiences are sending a message about the quality of the movies they are getting — or just the way and the place in which they get them,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, a firm that analyzes box-office trends. “You can bet that producers, writers, directors and studio heads are all huddling intensely to consider what this means and change their behavior to keep it from continuing.”

  • December 23, 2005

    Loews and AMC to Sell 10 Theaters

    Loews and AMC have agreed to each sell five theaters as a condition for the government to approve their merger next year. From the official press release:

    “Five theaters from each circuit have been selected by the [uS Department of Justice and various state attorneys general] for sale as a condition to enable the companies to proceed with their transaction. The theaters are as follows:

    AMC Fenway 13 (Boston)
    AMC City North 14 (Chicago)
    AMC Union Station 9 (D.C.)
    AMC Kabuki 8 (San Francisco)
    AMC Van Ness 14 (San Francisco)
    Loews Webster Place 11 (Chicago)
    Loews E-Walk 13 (New York City)
    Loews (Cineplex Odeon) Meridian 16 (Seattle)
    Loews Keystone 16 (Dallas)
    Loews (Cineplex Odeon) Wisconsin Ave. 6 (D.C.)

    It is anticipated that the sales process could take at least four months.