November 10, 2005
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.
November 8, 2005
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.
October 25, 2005
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
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
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
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
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
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.
July 22, 2005
KANSAS CITY, MO — The Kansas City Business Journal has a report on a plan by AMC and the Cordish Company to create an $850 million dollar entertainment district in Kansas City.
The project, which plans to use the Midland and Empire theaters as anchors, will be centered in Kansas City’s downtown area. It will include a six-screen movie theater, residential condominiums, a restaurant, a bar, and a performance schedule that boasts “300-and-some days” of planned entertainment.
Interestingly, the project is a local one for AMC, as the company’s headquarters is actually in Kansas City.
July 18, 2005
A front-page article in yesterday’s Boston Globe discusses National Amusements' high-end ‘Cinema de Lux’ concept, now operating in the small town of Millbury, Massachusetts.
The 14-screen theatre features a piano in the lobby, reserved seats, wine and cocktails, lounges with free magazines and newspapers, plasma TVs showing baseball games, and a concierge who can book reservations at nearby restaurants.
‘'The idea is to change from a movie theater to a community entertainment experience,“ said Shari Redstone, president of National Amusements Inc., the Dedham operator of Showcase Cinemas and Cinema de Lux theaters.
The company plans to open three more ‘de Lux’ cinemas in Massachusetts over the coming year. All of its future theatres will be based on this ‘de Lux’ concept.