ShowEast on the Move

In Focus

ShowEast began as a small convention in Atlantic City at the Resorts Hotel. The attendees were predominantly from New Jersey. Within a few years, people were coming from all across America and the convention shifted to Trump’s Taj Mahal, also in Atlantic City. As more theatre owners began to attend the show, the next logical move was Florida and the Orlando World Hotel. With a push to get closer to Miami, the show next moved to Hollywood, Florida and the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa—now known as The Diplomat.

ShowEast has now announced yet another move, and that is to the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in South Beach, Florida. In October 2016, a new venue will become the home of ShowEast. And the management of ShowEast feels this will be a terrific move for both the convention and the industry.

When business is booming at the nation’s cinemas, theatre operators rejoice and do what all good businesspeople do—expand, refurbish, equip and acquire. All of this is good for the industry.

So we now have a pending re-location to Miami Beach and a record year (to date) at the box office—we could not have scripted it better for the beginning of ShowEast 2015.

We sat down with management of ShowEast to determine what one can expect at this year’s show. They explained that from year to year there is little change at the industry’s conventions. People gather, see movies, attend seminars, visit the trade show and eat a lot of food. So why attend? Because it’s an opportunity to network and be with the cream of the motion picture business. What does change are the people, the films screened, the new technologies, award winners and, when business is record-breaking, the fun and exhilaration of being with your peers when everyone is making money.

One of the cool new ideas this year at ShowEast is the Product Showcase, in which smaller studios now have the opportunity to highlight their films in a theatre setting and be a major part of the show. With new studios popping up, it makes sense to give companies like Bleecker Street, Broad Green and STX this exposure.

International Day has expanded to a day and a half, allowing each of the major studios additional time to show their product and talk about their marketing of individual films.

In anticipation of the move to Miami in 2016, management is busing the exhibiting trade-show companies to the Loews Miami Beach to tour the new facility.

The Hall of Fame lunch remains on Thursday and has eight deserving executives being inducted. The lunch also includes a philanthropic side, with a nice contribution made by Variety-The Children’s Charity.

And as film is the most important facet of the convention, the following companies have committed product or films: Disney, Fox Searchlight, Lionsgate, Open Road, Paramount and Warner Bros. It’s an exciting time to come down to Florida.

Saluting Two Historic Circuits

This year at ShowEast, two of the nation’s oldest movie circuits are being singled out, both with third-generation offspring running the operation today. Bow Tie Cinemas is celebrating their 115th anniversary, while Marcus Theatres is celebrating a “mere” 80 years.

The Moss and Marcus family names are synonymous with the movie theatre industry, and each of their patriarchs started his business from scratch and immigrated to the U.S.—one from Austria and one from Poland.

Charley Moss, partner at Bow Tie Cinemas, will be honored with the 2015 Salah M. Hassanein Humanitarian Award. Awarded each year to an individual known for philanthropic efforts, the honor coincides with his circuit’s 115th anniversary. Under Charley, Bow Tie has grown into the largest independently owned and operated motion picture theatre circuit in New York City.

Charley has a slew of degrees from Harvard and other universities, but his endeavors in the charitable field are what makes him the best possible candidate for this Humanitarian Award. Among other distinctions, he is chairman of the New York Chapter of Variety-The Children’s Charity and on the executive board of the Aspen Valley Hospital.

The saga of Marcus Theatres, winner of this year’s Show “E” Award, is the classic Horatio Alger myth of youthful achievement. It’s the story of Ben Marcus arriving in America from Poland in 1925 and soon opening his first theatre. Ultimately, Ben’s son Steve and his son Greg built a circuit of 621 screens and a corporation encompassing restaurants and hotels.

This issue of Film Journal International covers both of these circuits in depth and we congratulate them on these prestigious honors.

New Release Patterns

The last 20 years have seen numerous changes in the way films are seen in cinemas—everything from seating to projection to sound…and it continues.

Not only are we experiencing technological enhancements in the world’s theatres, but the way films are made, distributed and marketed has gone through dramatic shifts. Digitization and satellites are two of the major changes, but several things are happening now that can alter the traditional way of distributing films.

First, we have companies like Netflix and Amazon that are trying to upset the traditional release pattern by selling films simultaneously to video and movie theatres. Paramount is entering into a shared-revenue partnership on video sales with AMC and Cineplex on two films once they play out in theatres and prior to the traditional 90-day window period.

Universal has rolled out its 3D mountain-climbing epic Everest in an exclusive 500-theatre run on IMAX and other giant-screen venues a week before its traditional opening in the hope of generating much positive word of mouth. Sony plans a similar strategy on The Walk. If enough buzz is generated and the strategy leads to more lucrative openings, it could change the way movies are rolled out and marketed.

There are many in the industry who believe China’s growing box-office dominance will change how films are made in Hollywood. Hollywood has become reliant on Chinese cinemagoers. We have witnessed many blockbusters doing incredible business and likewise have seen Chinese moviegoers save some big-budget productions that performed tepidly in the U.S. As more movie theatres pop up there, box office will grow and studios will undoubtedly have to cater to local tastes and avoid upsetting the political establishment. As China continues to expand its infrastructure and the grosses continue to grow, studios are more likely to take risks and make more expensive films—providing they can get approval from the Chinese censor board.