Vue sets sights on CineStar

Columns
Russia In Review

Australia’s Event Hospitality & Entertainment Limited (EVT) agreed to sell the CineStar chain in Germany to Vue International. The global exhibition power player already operates 30 sites and 257 screens in the country under the CinemaxX brand. Oliver Fock, managing director of CineStar Deutschland, said: “We are convinced that Vue, as one of the leading cinema exhibitors in Europe and worldwide, has all the know-how to build upon the success of CineStar.”

“Vue’s successful expansion strategy has seen 14 acquisitions since its inception 15 years ago,” the media release summarized. For the company’s third purchase in 2018, following Cinema3D in Poland and Showtime Cinemas in Ireland, Vue agreed to an upfront payment of €130 million (US$148 mil.) for CineStar’s 57 multiplex sites with 438 screens. Although two of those locations are first scheduled to open, this acquisition is the largest in Vue’s history and signifies “Vue’s continuing confidence in the European market and the future of the international exhibition industry.”

“CineStar supports our strategic and business objectives of developing and owning the highest-quality cinema assets globally,” added Tim Richards, founder and CEO of Vue International (vue-international.com). The Group operates 225 locations with 1,969 cinemas in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Italy (The Space), Poland and Baltics (Multikino) and Taiwan (SBC).

Smart Pricing Comes to Japan and Asia

Berlin, Germany-based Smart Pricer announces a partnership with Geoffrey Bossiere of consultancy Shining Prince Entertainmen for representation in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and other Asian markets. Operating from his base in Tokyo, Bossiere will expand Smart Pricer’s dynamic optimization software and algorithms into what the company calls “promising markets, given the fact that theatres generally enjoy high average ticket prices and high online share, driven by the huge share of smartphone usage.”

With more than a decade of experience in airline pricing and millions of optimizations, Smart Pricer helps cinemas and other entertainment venues, sports clubs and ski resorts to achieve “increase in revenues, higher online shares, and better off-peak attendance.” For an exclusive overview of their smart pricing offerings, see our March 2018 issue.

Eclair and Samsung Bring Onyx to Paris-Vanves

At the end of September, Samsung Electronics and Eclair announced their agreement to install the former’s Onyx Cinema LED solution in the latter’s post and production facilities located in Paris-Vanves, France. With that mission accomplished, Eclair is now the first in Europe, and the second in the world, to provide professional services specifically tailored for Onyx Cinema, offering contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, color grading with true zero nit black, and EclairColor DCP mastering.

Along with the new facility, Seog-gi Kim, executive VP, visual display business at Samsung Electronics, “expects the demand for Onyx to increase in the European market, with its ultra-sharp 4K resolution and peak brightness level delivering a one-of-a-kind viewing experience.”

CinemaNext, Eclair’s sister company handling exhibition services around the world, equipped the auditorium with a 5.2-meter (17-foot) screen with a 3D-capable multiple-LED display, 18 luxury seats, 7.1 audio technology from Harman’s JBL, and a full DaVinci Resolve 15 color-grading suite. The LED screen structure was manufactured by CinemaNext’s Valencia (Spain) office.

For more information on Samsung Onyx Cinema LED, visit displaysolutions.samsung.com/led-signage/onyx.

Kinepolis Opens Landmark in Fort McMurray

On Nov. 9, Landmark Cinemas, the Canadian subsidiary of Kinepolis Group, opened eight screens with 880 all-luxury-recliners at The Commons at Eagle Ridge in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The new cinema “truly changes how people enjoy their night out at the movies,” promises Eddy Duquenne, CEO of Kinepolis Group. “The community has served Landmark well in its downtown location over the past eleven years, and we are excited to welcome everyone to enjoy this new world-class moviegoing experience.”

Said downtown location has closed, leaving 45 cinemas in Central and Western Canada, totaling 319 screens and more than 57,000 seats, in operation. Overall worldwide, Kinepolis Group operates 97 cinemas (45 of which it owns) with 852 screens and more than 185,000 seats.

Europe Extends to Los Angeles

No year-end column would be complete without at least one nod to awards season. In its biggest move yet, European Film Promotion is bringing no less than 25 contenders of the 87 overall submissions for consideration in the Academy's Best Foreign Language Film category to Los Angeles. Not surprisingly, two venues—Dick Clark Screening Room and Laemmle’s Monica—needed to be booked “to provide more opportunities for Academy members, journalists, U.S. distributors and international buyers to get an extensive overview of European cinema’s great diversity,” the Hamburg, Germany-headquartered organization noted.

Many of the 25 entries already “made a splash at major festivals around the world, particularly in Cannes,” EFP continued, pointing out that another six of the European Oscar submissions—three directed by women—won “top national film awards” in their home countries of Greece, Norway, United Kingdom, Lithuania, The Netherlands and Portugal.

Another 18 European films from 15 countries received more than €51,000 (US$ 58,000) in Film Sales Support for promotion and marketing measures during the American Film Market (AFM). Celebrating its 20th anniversary edition, EFP’s EUROPE! Umbrella presence has provided room to more than 220 European companies to network at the AFM since 1998. This year, 13 sales agents from eight countries presented their lineups with some 68 productions.

EFP is supported by Creative Europe—MEDIA Programme of the European Union and by its 38 member organizations.

Germany Votes for Favorite Kino

From Sept. 10 to Oct. 11, no less than 42,866 votes were cast on www.deutschlandslieblingskino.de. That represents an increase of more than 42% over last year’s inaugural edition. 1,212 movie theatres were nominated, with 1,600 suggested. The Top 100, ranging from multiplex to Main Street movie house, have been counted by the organizers at Moviepilot and listed at www.moviepilot.de/news/das-sind-die-top-100-lieblingskinos-deutschlands-2018-1112099.

Now it is up to a jury to select the one and only favorite. The winning kino will be announced in January during the Münchner Filmwoche industry get-together.

Signing Off

On a personal note, this columnist and editor/reporter of some 23+ years thanks his readers for their support of Film Journal International, as all of us look forward to many more exciting opportunities in continuing the legacy at Boxoffice magazine.