A Time of Transition

Columns
In Focus

Over the last 39 years, it has been easy to come up with topics for the editorials in Film Journal International because of our knowledge of the industry as well as all of the changes we have witnessed. This editorial is not as easy to pen and is bittersweet, as the next issue of Film Journal International will be our last. After 84 years in business, FJI will no longer be published each month, as the magazine is being merged with the publication Boxoffice. Mort Sunshine, publisher and editor for more than 29 years and my dad, is probably rolling over in his grave with this news, but knowing that this will benefit the industry might have made it easier to accept.

There is certainly a need for a trade press that is dedicated to the exhibition community, and with the combined resources of Boxoffice and FJI, Boxoffice parent company Webedia will be able to deliver more information on a regular basis to both big and small cinema owners.

It's been a privilege to be the publisher of Film Journal International for the past 39 years. We have covered the news and witnessed just about everything during this period, and we still believe that a movie shown on a big screen in a theatre is the only way to see a feature. And we are encouraged that the industry in 2018 has a chance to break the all-time box-office record for a single year.

The past 39 years have been a lot of fun. We have seen extraordinary changes, everything from xenon bulbs, multiplexes, stadium seating, digital cinema, immersive sound and lasers to dine-in theatres. It's been a remarkable evolution, but the one thing that remains the same is that good content always lights the way.

We have seen numerous independents come and go, but the stalwarts remain strong and continue to release hit films. Sony Pictures Classics, Fox Searchlight and Focus Features remain at the top of the class in the specialty arena. Giants of exhibition like Salah Hassanein, Sumner Redstone, Bernard Myerson and Ted Mann helped create and led this great industry, but today companies like Cineworld/Regal, Wanda/AMC, Cinemark, Cinépolis and CJ CGV dominate exhibition. The industry has changed so much with digital and lasers and the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google. It is difficult to imagine what the industry will look like in ten years.

I have followed in the footsteps of Mort and my brother Jerry, who both had the honor of heading up this publication, and I truly feel that we have been fair, reasonable and trustworthy with what we have published.

In turning over the reins to Boxoffice, we are confident that Julien Marcel and his team will carry on the great tradition of reporting the news in a professional manner. Together with Andrew Sunshine, we will continue to manage and run CineEurope, CineAsia and ShowEast. We will continue to do what we do best—promote the motion picture industry honorably around the globe.

We extend our best wishes to Julien and his associates at Boxoffice and this new and expanded endeavor. We are delighted that Kevin Lally, our executive editor, will be going over to Boxoffice along with associate editor Rebecca Pahle.

So as we close this chapter, inevitably a new one begins. Andrew and I will be as visible as ever with our three major events—and don’t be surprised if you see some new things in the years ahead. We've grown up in the business and have a great affinity for the people we work with in all parts of the globe. They are intelligent and generous and make it easy to love this industry.

Heading to Miami Beach

ShowEast always stages at this time of the year, when we have a good idea of how the industry is doing and can ultimately project the year’s box office. Summer receipts were up 12% over 2017 and total box office for the year (currently 9% better) could maintain that level.

Theatres are being built and refurbished and lots of equipment is being sold. Coupled with the upswing in box office, the industry has a lot to be happy about and it’s certainly a good time to travel to Miami Beach to see what's happening in the industry, network with friends and associates and see some great films. There are some very exciting things happening at ShowEast 2018. The highlights include the honorees, both domestic and from Latin America, the tradeshow with many new technologies, outdoor roundtable seminars, the Hall of Fame inductees and, of course, the films.

What is bittersweet is that this will probably be the last convention that 20th Century Fox will attend. Fox has been around since 1935 and has had such great hits as The Grapes of Wrath, Titanic, Avatar, Star Wars, Hidden Figures, The Devil Wears Prada, Die Hard and so many more. With their acquisition by Disney, we envision that the distribution, marketing and production teams will be absorbed into the mouse house. We can only guess what other acquisitions and mergers are being considered for the near future.

Fox and Chris Aronson have been an integral part of ShowEast for many years and it is always great to have Chris onboard. This year, Chris is receiving the Salah M. Hassanein Humanitarian Award. Although he is not as flamboyant in Miami Beach as he is in Las Vegas, we can expect something special this year, as he tells us that surprises are in order. We wish him well in any future endeavors.

Please see our special section on ShowEast in the November edition. Enjoy the show!