KARO sparks new era in Moscow’s Reutov Park Centre


April 26 marked the launch of the first next-generation cinema built as part of KARO’s most impressive US$150 million (€108.3 mil.) investment program for 2014-2015 across Russia. Covering over 5,000 square meters (53,820 sq. ft.) on the fourth floor in the Reutov Park Centre development in Greater Moscow, KARO 10 offers eight interactive ticketing terminals for its 2,160 seats, a cozy seating area, cinema bar and café. “New Era” technology includes JBL speakers with Crown amplifiers, MW Silver Screens for Barco projectors throughout, and three auditoriums with special “Turbo” seats (from Seating Concepts) that transmit “vibration to the beat of the events happening on the screen.” The multiplex also features “Luxe: A RealD Experience,” the premium format with an extra-large “MW Precision White Screen four to five times brighter than a standard silver screen,” and further augmented by Barco Auro 11.1 sound.

Paul Heth, chief executive officer of KARO, is pleased about “combining the most advanced technology achievements in the film industry” and presenting the entire ensemble “in an innovative format.” In his view, “flexible pricing policy, a special variety of cuisine in café and bar, as well as discount offers for children and students make KARO 10 very attractive to our guests.” Founded in 1997, KARO Film Group now owns and operates 28 modern theatres comprising 189 screens and some 28,250 seats welcoming 1.450.000 moviegoers per month.

Canonizing D-Cinema

DSAT Cinema, the joint venture of Eutelsat and dcinex for pan-European digital delivery, was part of a very special delivery. On April 27, movie theatres connected to the company’s satellite network joined the broadcast—live from the Vatican and in 3D—of the Canonization Ceremony of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.

Sample feedback indicated that with only 15 people attending the showing at Cineplexx in Linz, Austria, “the canonization did not cause a pilgrimage to the cinema.” The faithful either go to church on Sunday morning or enjoy the festivities from the “holy TV lounger” at home, the reporter opined at derstandard.at. Under the headline of “Hallelujah in Dolby Surround,” he further noted how “attending clerical events at the Kino” revealed that “popcorn, nachos, Käse-Dip and XXL soft drinks” do not seem to “honor the high altar.” Regular moviegoers, however, were singing the praises of the big screen, as it made them feel like they were right there in Rome.

Thirteen cameras recorded the event produced by the Vatican Television Center (CTV) in collaboration with Sky Italia, BSkyB and Sky Deutschland, in partnership with the event distribution company Nexo Digital and 3D technology from Sensio Technologies and with satellite delivery from Eutelsat. DSAT has over 1,300 contracted cinemas and has delivered more than 700 feature DCPs to some 8,000 screens overall.

Advancing Malta
Intending “to further develop the local film industry to ensure that the island offers the right tools and expertise for the industry to flourish,” the Maltese Government announced increased benefits of a 25% cash rebate with an additional 2% if projects feature cultural elements. The launch of the co-production equity fund, the revamping of the film fund to support local talent, and the start of a new international marketing campaign were offered as further “clear proof of Government’s vision for the industry.”

With a film history dating back to 1925 and films like Captain Phillips, Kon-Tiki, Gladiator and Robert Altman’s Popeye having been filmed on the Mediterranean island, film commissioner Engelbert Grech stated that “Malta’s great weather, long hours of daylight and the island’s distinctive locations” are strong assets that “make Malta an attractive choice.”

Rich Mix Includes National Theatre

Not just Papal theatre is making our column this month. Digital technologies are also “bringing West End theatre to East London at a fraction of the cost” for patrons to enjoy “from the comfort of their local cinema seat.” True to its name, the independent, member-supported Rich Mix Cinema is adding NT (National Theatre) Live productions to its already diverse lineup of films, events, talks and special screenings “for families and daytime loafers." Opened in 2006, Rich Mix Cinema offers “three state-of-the-art screens at a very competitive top ticket price of £9.50” (€11.50, US$16). Commented Negede Assefa, Rich Mix film officer, “There are plenty of theatre fans among members and local Shoreditch residents, and I think with these outstanding titles we can offer a really good combined cinema/theatre experience to a wide audience.”

MEDIA Salles Moves DigiTraining to Deutschland
The European MEDIA initiative in support of theatrical exhibition is taking its 11th annual training course on “New Technologies for the European Cinemas of the Future” to Munich and beautiful Lake Constance in Germany, July 9-13. For further information and to download the application form, click here.

In addition to focusing on how digitization is impacting independent, “quality” and rural theatres, another seminar is dedicated to “the offer to the public,” namely new content and services via cinema on demand, event cinema and social media. There is time for real-life networking, of course, and visits to the Kinos Monopol in Munich, Breitwand in Herrsching and Zebra in Constance, which just celebrated its 30th birthday on May 5 with the inauguration of its new Sony SRS-X 515 highlighting its 4K capabilities with Samsara. Featured speakers include Elisabetta Brunella (MEDIA Salles), Andreas Kramer and Christian Bräuer (exhibitor associations HDF and AG Kino Gilde), Martin Schwertführer (ARRI) and Michael Karagosian (MKPE). Most interesting, perhaps, is a group session dedicated to writing an “open letter on the cinema of tomorrow.” We’ll certainly try to get a copy.

Kinepolis Secures Future in Brussels
On April 25, the City of Brussels and the Region selected the developer consortium for the long-gestating mixed-use urban project, NEO. In addition to 590 housing units, two day nurseries, a retirement home and 3,500 square meters of offices, a 112,000-square-meter area will be dedicated to the “Mall of Europe” and leisure activities (37,700 and 1.206 million sq. ft., respectively). Representing a €550 million investment (US$761.5 mil.), Unibail-Rodamco will develop this 230-unit shopping center, 30 restaurants, the first indoor Spirouland in the world (for a video, click here) and “the largest cinema in Belgium with 4,000 seats.”

“This also ensures Kinepolis Brussels’ future,” the pan-European exhibitor noted, as the site contract will be extended beyond 2025, when it is currently set to expire. The NEO Project “will breathe new life into the Heysel plain in an impressive way. As an anchor point in the leisure zone, Kinepolis hopes to contribute to the success of this prestigious project at one of the top locations in Brussels, at the foot of the Atomium.”  Corporate communications also made a promise to its 1.5 million annual guests. “Kinepolis does not want its loyal visitors to miss out and guarantees that the cinema will remain open during the completion of the project. Only after the opening of the new cinema will the existing, legendary building close its doors.”

The project, expected to open in 2021, targets a BREEAM Excellent certification (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology).