ICTA’s European office inks date for Barcelona

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European Update

The Düsseldorf, Germany-based European Office of the International Cinema Technology Association announced the dates for its 22nd Seminar Series, running June 18-20, 2017, to coincide with CineEurope in Barcelona, Spain. Alongside manufacturer presentations, preliminary program points include “Smart Connect: How to Empower your Marketing for Personalized Customer Touch Points,” “HDR: The Next Big Thing or Just Another Hype?” and “Innovative Ways to Add Screens to an Existing Multiplex.”

Again, ICTA Europe will present its “Cinema of the Year” Awards during the opening-night dinner on the beach. Registration is available at www.icta.eu.com. From July 23 to 27, ICTA’s Annual Business Convention will take a break from its traditional location in North America and head to Berlin, Germany, with plenty to do already lined up, including a visit to Fraunhofer Institute’s Innovation Center for Immersive Imaging Technologies.

Kinepolis Christens Jaarbeurs

On March 7, the pan-European exhibitor Kinepolis officially celebrated the opening of all 14 halls at Kinepolis Jaarbeurs, with company executives (Eddy Duquenne, Joost Bert), the local chief executive (Albert Arp) and Utrecht city alderman (Kees Diepeveen) in attendance. Back on Dec. 14, the first six auditoriums had already opened, with the remaining screens coming online as they became ready. Since then, more than 70,000 people have paid a visit.

With about 3,200 seats, Kinepolis Jaarbeurs is the largest cinema in Utrecht now, and one of the biggest in the Netherlands. After Kinepolis Breda became the country’s first to be exclusively illuminated by laser, each auditorium at Jaarbeurs is equipped with laser projection, “ensuring razor-sharp image quality in every room.” For guests “looking for an even more intense movie experience,” Jaarbeurs has a 600-seat “Laser ULTRA” theatre that combines its name-giving projection on a 26 by 10.9-meter screen (85 by 36 feet) with “spectacular, multidimensional Dolby Atmos sound,” Kinepolis noted.

Chief executive Eddy Duquenne said how “proud we are now to be able to offer the unique Kinepolis experience here, in Utrecht,” at the same time accommodating the offices of the national team. “In 2014, we entered the Dutch market for the first time and now we have a team of 450 enthusiastic employees who are all dedicated to going the extra mile for our customers. That’s a fantastic feeling.”

…and Counts Record Revenue for 2016

Duquenne was equally happy with the fantastic Group results generated last year when Kinepolis opened five newly built complexes in the Netherlands (Dordrecht, Breda, Utrecht), Spain (Granada) and France (Fenouillet), and completed the successful integration of acquired cinemas.

While “2016 was a tough film year,” he said, it was “a successful year for Kinepolis.” Despite a “rather weak film offer” along with “external factors,” such as fewer holidays and the European soccer championship, Kinepolis posted 7.7% higher revenue from 7.5% more visitors. Total revenue increased to €324.9 million (US$344.23 mil.) due to the rise in attendance to 23.8 million, higher sales per guest and increased B2B (+9.5%) and real estate revenue (+11.9%). Sales of in-theatre beverages and snacks rose by 9.6%. The annual report also noted, “More products were bought per person in all countries, and there was a relative increase in the number of shop visitors in Belgium and the Netherlands.” B2B increased with the expansion, including higher sales of cinema vouchers to businesses and more screen-advertising revenue in all countries except for Belgium, “where the national advertising market declined further.” Rebounding from a not-so-stellar 2015, Kinepolis Film Distribution (KFD) “experienced an outstanding 2016” of +38.0%, thanks to four successful local releases such as Achter de Wolken and De Premier.

KINO! Comes to Manhattan

One North American and five U.S. premieres, four firsts on the East Coast and two for New York City highlight the 2017 edition of KINO!. Twelve new films from Germany, a selection of Next Generation Short Tiger(s) and a digitally restored version of Fritz Lang’s seminal Destiny, accompanied live by a turntable-spinning DJ, will be shown at Manhattan’s Landmark Sunshine Cinema, March 31 to April 6.

“It has been a truly astounding year for contemporary German cinema,” organizers noted about Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann heading to the Academy Awards first and now being remade with Jack Nicholson and Kristen Wiig. On the Kino! guest list are actresses Martina Gedenk (Original Bliss in the festival, The Lives of Others, The Baader Meinhof Complex) and Carla Juri (opening night film Paula, and Blade Runner 2049), director Kai Wessel (Fog in August), and actress-director Nicolette Krebitz (Wild). Another selection of note is a TV event, The Verdict by Lars Kraume. Receiving its North American premiere, this courtroom drama not only stars Gedeck but also brings an interactive experience, with audiences voting on whether the defendant is guilty or innocent.

Record Participation for Young Audience Award

For the sixth edition of its EFA Young Audience Award, the European Film Academy booked a record-breaking 36 cities in 31 countries. On May 5, all three nominated films—including the animated Oscar-nominee My Life as a Zucchini, Germany’s Goodbye Berlin and The Girl Down Loch Änzi, a documentary from Switzerland—will be screened to audiences of 12- to 14-year-olds in cities and cinemas and cultural centers, from Austria and Belgium to Turkey and the United Kingdom. The young audience will vote for the winner right after the showings, transmitting their results via video conference to Erfurt, Germany.

“As a response to the current situation in Europe and as a contribution to integration,” the event “specifically includes refugee kids.” For the second time and with support of leading art-house exhibitor Yorck Gruppe, EFA will bring together students and “welcome classes” for refugee children. They will watch together and discuss the nominated films and, as members of the pan-European jury, will also vote for the winner.