From penguins to prima donnas, alternative content reaches cinemas worldwide
In line with this edition’s special focus, we begin this column with some promising alternative content coming soon to cinemas worldwide.
After premiering at the Dutch National Ballet this past December, More2Screen was appointed to distribute the new staging of Cinderella, co-produced by the San Francisco Ballet. Christine Costello, managing director of the London-based specialty distributor of 28 live broadcasts and over 100 different pre-recorded events in some seven years (related feature here) has set a global rollout (except the U.S.) for the ballet beginning in May.
Last month, Giovanni Cozzi, president of Rising Alternative, celebrated the live broadcast of Verdi’s beloved Nabucco from Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. The event marked the premiere of its 2013 Performing Arts in HD Cinema series with nine more live transmissions from La Scala, Opéra de Paris, the Taormina and Salzburg festivals and San Francisco Opera to come. During the past three years, Rising Alternative released 22 new titles per year, 12 live via satellite and ten on DCP and other digital-cinema formats (www.risingalternative.com).
Brussels, Belgium-based nWave Pictures acquired global distribution rights in numerous formats to the tentatively titled Penguins 3D (www.PenguinsTheFilm.com) from Atlantic Prods., the BAFTA-winning British team behind Flying Monsters 3D. Scheduled for May 24 in the U.S., with additional countries to follow, the industry premiere takes place this March in Galveston, Texas, during the annual Giant Screen Cinema Association conference and film expo. (Featured in our 2012 report.)
Captured in 4K 3D over a five-month period on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, the film “bears witness to some of the most spectacular sights in the natural world,” enthuses writer-narrator David Attenborough. Those sights include albatrosses, leopard and elephant seals alongside some six million penguins.
To get an equally impressive distribution footprint across institutional and commercial cinemas, the big-screen adventure comes in 40- and 20-minute versions, 3D and 2D, 15-perf./70mm, and digital in 4K and 2K, for exhibition at IMAX theatres, RealD-enabled and digital 3D giant-screen cinemas, nWave noted.
DSAT Dominates Catwalk
On Feb. 26, Pathé Live and DSAT Cinema transmitted the Etam lingerie show live and in 3D from Paris to 20 cinemas across France. “This has been a prestigious new 3D opportunity for us,” noted Thierry Fontaine, chief executive officer of Pathé Live, lauding the “skilled team” at DSAT that “provided a complete turnkey solution to guarantee the success of that event.”
Pathé Live is a content-distribution subsidiary of Les CinémasGaumontPathé Group, representing a network of over 130 cinemas in France for the Metropolitain Opera and the previously mentioned Nederlands Dans Theater, among others. The company has also worked with the Bolshoi Ballet on bringing their productions to over 900 cinemas worldwide. Having delivered 350 films to date, and with 200 live events transmitted, DSAT Cinema, the joint-venture between Eutelsat and dcinex, manages the largest European network of satellite distribution to more than 1,000 contracted cinemas (www.dsatcinema.com).
Kinepolis Counts 2012 Cash
During 2012, pan-European exhibitor Kinepolis Group generated €254.5 million revenue and €35.7 million profit ($331.57 and $46.49 mil., respectively) on 6.9% lower admissions. As reasons for the 1.4 million drop to 19.8 million visitors, Kinepolis mentioned the Olympic Games and European Soccer Championship as well as the “severe financial crisis” in Spain, where Kinepolis operates three locations. With ticket sales down 6.2%, the 0.3% increase in overall revenue was attributed to non-film-related activities, such as business-to-business events (+4.5%), screen advertising including the acquisition of Brightfish agency (+8.8%) and real estate (+1.6%).
“We managed to further improve the earnings per share through the consistent implementation of our three strategic pillars in marketing, cinema operations and real estate, together with the continued rollout of our share buy-back program,” said chief executive officer Eddy Duquenne.
Berlin Festival Update
Following up on last month’s item about the projection partners of the Berlin International Film Festival (http://bit.ly/euro0313), we can now report that the number of films screened via DCP exceeded 50% for the first time. 35mm film represented a scant 8%, with the balance going to various video formats. Overall, the Festival and its European Film Market scheduled some 2,500 screenings in 60 different locations. In addition to Barco und Kinoton projectors, the Berlinale counted on Doremi (20 ShowVault/IMB servers), DVS (DI workstations for validating and standardizing the submitted digital files, central media hub/30TB storage system), Colt (fiber-optic cable connecting some 40 screens to the Berlinale Film Office) and ARRI (generating some 140,000 KDMs).
Celebrating its tenth anniversary of “bringing innovative, pioneering audio technologies, digital cinema equipment including Dolby 3D, and services” to the Berlinale, this year also presented “film fans and filmmakers with the future of cinema sound” during a panel discussion during the Berlinale Talent Campus and additional demonstrations of Dolby Atmos at CineStar Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz. In the Market, which welcomed 8,000 participants from 95 countries, Rotor Film premiered its mystery thriller Lost Place, the first German production mixed in Dolby’s new platform. (More on the current deployment status of Dolby Atmos in our CinemaCon issue.)
CineStar also hosted an encore screening of The Croods in Barco’s Auro 11.1, after its official presentation during the 63rd annual festival. “Thanks to DreamWorks, CineStar and the Berlinale, moviegoers will be totally immersed in the movie with the most natural sound possible,” Barco senior director of strategic business development Brian Claypool noted on the occasion. Claypool also said that the second title in the agreement with DreamWorks Animation brought the number of confirmed movies mixed in Auro 11.1 for 2013 to four.
The Berlinale itself saw a record number of 303,077 tickets sold in 11 days. Nearly 19,630 accredited visitors from 124 countries attended the Festival, including 3,694 media representatives. During the nine days of the Market, 816 films received 1,116 screenings at 40 venues and about 1,000 visitors came to the Industry Debates (www.efm-berlinale.de/en).
Cycling and the City
From November to January, interfilm Berlin, Germany, registered more than 300 short films from over 60 countries on all continents for the inaugural VELOBerlin Film Award, to be handed out during the namesake international bicycle trade fair. Until March 23, at www.veloberlinfilmaward.com, audiences from around the globe can choose their favorite among the 20 finalists selected by a six-member committee.
“In light of the growing popularity of the global bicycle movement,” organizers said, “we sought witty, artful and entertaining entries that shed a new light on both the cycling phenomenon and urban perspectives.” Founded in 1982 as the Berlin International Short Film Festival, interfilm has since developed “to become an internationally active, interdisciplinary point of call for the short film medium” that includes a 300-title-strong catalog for theatrical distribution (www.interfilm.de/en/interfilm-de.html).