Kinepolis unveils new projects and acquisitions

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European Update

Pan-European mega-plex exhibitor Kinepolis Group shared several exciting new projects and equally promising developments. Starting off in July with a green light for 14 screens and 3,300 seats, the latest location for Utrecht Jaarbeurs was part of the mid-2014 purchase of the Wolf chain made by Kinepolis. Also included with the nine existing bioscopen across The Netherlands was another Wolff construction project in Dordrecht, where work has already started. On the horizon is a third new build in Breda.

One week later, Kinepolis acquired Mégaroyal. Located 35 km (22 miles) east of Lyon, this 12-screen complex with capacity for some 2,100 guests marks the chain’s eighth location in France. With 600,000 visitors a year, Mégaroyal is one of the biggest independent cinemas in the country, noted Eddy Duquenne, CEO of Kinepolis Group.

On July 10, the Group set eyes on Luxembourg by reaching an agreement in principle about the takeover of the Utopolis group. Utopia SA operates 13 complexes in the Grand Duchy, The Netherlands, Belgium and France. In 2014, the Group welcomed 3.4 million guests. Kinepolis pointed out that Utopolis fits well with the company’s expansion strategy by strengthening its positions in France and The Netherlands and, with Luxembourg, adding a new market.

High Times in Kitzbühel

Located in the Austrian mountain district of Tyrol, the small medieval town and big-time ski resort Kitzbühel is gearing up again for the 2015 edition of the Kitzbühel Filmfestival.

In addition to having an Autokino drive-in at Hahnenkammparkplatz and a series of films at the local Filmtheater, organizers ask you to “Get Up & Get Down” as part of the activities. For the Austrian premiere of Luis Trenkerder schmale Grat der Wahrheit, guests will hop on a gondola into the mountains for a visit to Alpenhaus. Fictionalizing the life of Trenker, the mountain climber, filmmaker and movie star, this German TV film will be screened at 1,670 meters (5,480 feet) high. After the pre-show “warm up with cool drinks and live DJ” and post-screening Q&A, mountain-goers will party on down to Club Take Five. On August 29, the Club also hosts the closing night, where “Movie Meets Glamour: A Tribute to Studio 54.” If that’s not enough, you can also enjoy “Weißwurst, Pretzels and Wheat Bear with the Jury.”

Philips Lights High Park Vibes

On July 15, UCI Kinowelt Ruhr Park in Bochum, Germany heated up the Sweet Summer Sun on both its screen and surrounding walls with a 2013 performance of The Rolling Stones. High Park Live was enhanced by Philips LightVibes, creating a more immersive experience for the audience with “subtle and meaningful” ambient lighting effects.

“This unique premiere brought together an incredible group of industry-leading collaborators to create a remarkably powerful cinema experience,” said Niels Van Duinen, general manager of LightVibes. The event was made possible in collaboration with Universal Music Group and its concert division, Eagle Rock Entertainment. At CinemaCon 2015, the partners announced that they would make other iconic concert films available in the immersive LightVibes format. Playing soon on the side walls, look for The Doors, Morrissey, Paul McCartney and Wings, Dream Theatre, Queen, Alice Cooper and Peter Gabriel.

Amsterdam Eyes Antonioni

“Each square centimeter of the image is essential,” Michelangelo Antonioni (1912-2007) maintained. From mid-September to January, the EYE film museum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands will present a comprehensive exhibition highlighting the work of il maestro del cinema moderno.”

Since his groundbreaking trilogy of L’avventura, La notte and L’eclisse (1960-1962), critics, historians and audiences alike have credited the Italian master with renewing the grammar of film “by thinking in terms of the image and less in terms of narrative.” EYE curators further noted, “He was one of the first film authors who tried to capture the state of mind of characters searching for meaning by framing them in a particular way in a striking mise-en-scène.”

Similarly in tone and style, the exhibition contains film fragments, photos by Magnum press photographers and set photos; original scenarios and letters from the likes of Alain Delon, Marcello Mastroianni, Jeanne Moreau, Luchino Visconti and Umberto Eco; as well as paintings by Antonioni. His films, including the 1972 documentary made at the invitation of the Chinese Communist Party, will be accompanied by talks and special programs. In 1995, Antonioni received an Honorary Oscar for his body of work.

Lincoln Center Dances into Cinemas

Looking further at iconic performances, More2Screen has been appointed the exclusive distributor (except the U.S.) for “the first-ever dance series from the U.S. to be screened to a global cinema audience,” the London-based team announced. “Curated and produced by the internationally renowned Lincoln Center in New York,” More2Screen said, “the series features exceptional artistic performances from four leading American dance companies, filmed in HD and 5.1 surround sound especially for the big screen.”

“Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance” kicks off on New Year’s Day with “the perennial Christmas treat,” George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker from the New York City Ballet. Following on Valentine’s Day are Romeo and Juliet from the San Francisco Ballet and performances by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ballet Hispanico throughout spring.

“The performing arts are hugely popular at the cinema,” said managing director, Christine Costello, and this series promises to “bring a fresh, dynamic new offering to event cinema programming in 2016.”