Box Office on the Rise

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In Focus

After a down box office in 2017, it’s great to see that 2018 to date is very much on the rebound. Grosses for the year so far have surpassed $7 billion, an impressive 8.4% rise from 2017. Films are being released more evenly throughout the year, resulting in the second-largest first and second quarters ever recorded.

The first six months of the year saw Disney accounting for more than a third of the total, with an amazing market share of 36%. The remainder of 2018 also looks pretty solid for Disney. With the Department of Justice’s approval of The Walt Disney Company’s $71 billion bid for 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets, the industry will be watching this scenario very closely; a vote on the deal was scheduled for July 27. To date, Fox has brought in $724 million. The combined total with Disney has the joint company accounting for more than 40% market share—another extraordinary total.

The next 18 months is certain to be quite a revolutionary period in the industry. Studios will now have to compete with new Disney, Netflix, Amazon and other platforms and the odds are that we will witness more acquisitions and mergers. It certainly leads us to believe that fewer studios and fewer exhibition companies will dominate the playing field in the near future. Only time will tell if this will be good or bad for the motion picture industry.

The Value of Regional NATO Shows

Are regional shows important to the motion picture industry? The answer is a decided yes, if you look at the shows staged in Wisconsin, Texas, Georgia and Maryland. These mini-conventions continue to attract many exhibitors both small and large. It's all about networking, education, and the fun that sparks enthusiasm and shines a spotlight on the industry.

These regional shows also help to promote membership in regional NATO organizations that are the watchdog for legislative issues that continue to be of concern to this industry, whether it be paid sick leave, various laws on disabilities, menu rules, alcohol in movie theatres, or the latest issue in many states—the use of non-biodegradable straws.

Two such mini-conventions are staging their events this August in Georgia and Texas. NATO of Georgia’s ShowSouth is held in Braselton, Georgia at the beautiful Château Élan, a short distance from Atlanta. As Robin Miller, executive director of the show, says, “It feels like a big family gathering.” ShowSouth cultivates a casual, friendly vibe. Two topics to be highlighted at this event are sexual harassment in the workplace and cyber-security.

Also happening in August is the annual gathering of the Theatre Owners of Mid-America (TOMA). As Todd Halstead, executive director of the group, states, CinéShow’s core mission is “to bring exhibitors and their industry partners together to conduct business and learn from one another.”

Two of the top topics to be addressed are ”Innovations In Movie Ticketing” and “Virtual Print Reality.” And Texas exhibitors are leading the way in the development of family entertainment centers.

We congratulate Walter Hebert of Cinemark on receiving the ”Texan of the Year” Award during CinéShow’s Variety event and Rob Westerling of Regal being named  ShowSouth’s “Statesman of the Year.”

Both shows are great examples of industry players coming together for education and inspiration. Congratulations, and have a good time!

Technological Wonders

The September issue of Film Journal International features our annual special section on cinema technology, and it once again reminds us all how much care, craft and pure genius goes into the motion picture presentations the worldwide public enjoys each day. Our coverage spans a wide range of topics, from the past, present and future of 4K projection to the prospects for the new LED Direct View Displays being pioneered by Samsung and Sony. Our frequent contributor Bob Gibbons offers a fascinating inside look at how Deluxe Technicolor prepares the multitude of Digital Cinema Packages that go out to theatres around the world, while guest authors from 4DX, MediaMation and D-BOX discuss their approaches to formatting blockbuster movies for their increasingly popular 4D and motion-effects presentations. Finally, John F. Allen of High Performance Stereo laments the excessive loudness of features and trailers in movie theatres and offers some “sound” advice on how to alleviate the problem. We hope you enjoy our latest technology survey.