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European Update

Coinciding with our February edition’s focus on companies that deliver data, we pay tribute to one of the earliest organizations established by the European Union’s MEDIA Programme to provide statistical insight on European exhibition, among other tasks. Within one year of its 1991 launch, MEDIA Salles fulfilled that very mission with the publication of the “European Cinema Yearbook,” now in its 26th edition. Equally impressive is the fact that Elisabetta Brunella, who was there at the beginning, continues to guide the organization as secretary general. Congratulations and thank you from all of us.

The Yearbook “provides statistical data on the trend of cinema-going in all European countries and on the leading world markets,” Brunella writes. “Over the past few years, a census of Europe’s digital cinemas has been added and the elaboration of figures and trends regarding digitization worldwide.” “DiGiTalk” and “DGT online informer” provide additional insight and are accessible here.

A recent edition exemplifies the variety of information on the cinema business that is available. New statistics on digitization in Europe with the addition of Albania, Montenegro, Georgia and Ukraine complement portraits of “must-see” Cinema Nuovo in Lioni, and Cinema Postmodernissimo in Perugia, both located in Italy.

Also available from the prior edition is a report on the completion of “Giro dei cinema” (Tour of Cinemas). Over the course of 46 days beginning last September, Nicola Curtoni and Emilia De Santis visited 42 cinemas in 34 towns and 16 regions. Covering over 5,400 km (3,350 miles), “they listened to the opinions of 81 Italian exhibitors in the independent sector,” DGT online informs, “collecting significant experiences and picking up on trends and turmoil in a particularly active area of cinema exhibition.”

The feedback? “Although quite varied,” Curtoni and De Santis noted that the venues visited “share quite positive audience reactions,” with year-over-year attendance figures remaining stable while they dipped across Italy overall. Their strong points “can be identified in the search for dedicated programming and the attention to establishing personalized relations with the various types of audiences, without neglecting technological quality and the commitment to offering added services in different fields, from catering to culture, even creating showcases for art or literature.”

Deutschland Double Deal for 4K Laser

Sony Digital Cinema 4K confirmed the sale of Europe’s first laser dual-projection system to German cinema operators. Always at the forefront, technological and/or otherwise, Cinecitta’ Nuremberg purchased one of Sony’s SRX-R815DS systems, with the second one lighting up Kino 3 at CineSpace, a waterfront multiplex in Bremen. Installed by CinemaNext, all systems were operational in time for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, delivered on Dec. 14 and in a native 4K DCP.

“We are delighted that two of Germany’s most successful and commercially ambitious operators are redefining big-screen entertainment with the hotly awaited SRX-R815DS,” commented Oliver Pasch, sales director at Sony Digital Cinema. Part of the big-screen entertainment package are Sony’s PLF-supporting screen splashes, posters and marketing materials under the proprietary FINITY branding.

Ghost in the Standee

Now in its third year, the “Goldene Aufsteller” award for the best in-lobby standee went to Paramount Pictures Germany and Ghost in the Shell. No other standee in 2017 had the same impact, the judges opined. With its style and futuristic design, added lighting and choice of materials, the display greatly anticipated the atmosphere of the film.

Given out during Munich Film Week (Jan. 16-19), the prize is valued at €6,000, redeemable for six in-theatre marketing campaigns at participating cinemas of the Nennmann/Thies & Thies group. Team members at these locations were the judges in the competition as well. For more information about their theatres, visit www.das-lumen.de, www.filmpassage.de and https://cineworld-luenen.de/kino/home/city280.

Kinepolis Conquers Dutch NH Bioscopen

Pan-European exhibition leader Kinepolis Group reached an agreement to take over NH Bioscopen cinemas in Schagen (five screens, 560 seats with 220,000 annual admissions) and Hoofddorp (eight screens, 1,100 seats and 390,000 guests). Also included and located in the Netherlands is a new construction project in the Schalwijk area of Haarlem with six screens and some 850 seats. Construction will begin as soon as permits are obtained, Kinepolis assured.

The agreement is valued at €27.5 million (US$33,37 mil.), including assumption of debt. The cinemas were sold by Frits and Irma Nieuwenhuizen. Cinema Texel is not included in the agreement with Kinepolis.

With currently 15 locations and Kinepolis Hertogenbosch getting ready for a 2018 launch, this acquisition will further strengthen the company’s position across the country, Kinepolis noted. Following the acquisition of Canada’s Landmark Cinemas in December 2017, Kinepolis Group now operates 91 cinemas (41 of which it owns), with a total of 801 screens and more than 180,000 seats. Including the Canadian theatres, Kinepolis employs 3,750 people.

EFP Supports Films at Sundance

Backed by the Creative Europe-MEDIA Programme of the European Union, European Film Promotion just dedicated €35,000 (US$43,000) in Film Sales Support for the promotion and marketing of European films at this month’s Sundance Film Festival. This includes four out of five “promising” European films in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition and four of six in the World Cinema Documentary Competition.

EFP is a network of 38 European member organizations that represent films and talent from their respective territories. Under the common EFP flag, the members team up on initiatives to promote the diversity and the spirit of European cinema and talent at key international film festivals and markets.

Animation First at FIAF

“Celebrating France’s rich tradition as a pioneer of animation,” the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) is presenting the first-ever French animation festival in the United States. Taking place at New York City’s “premier French cultural center,” the showcase includes 12 U.S. and New York premieres (Feb. 2-4). Curators selected “ambitious, innovative, and award-winning animated feature and short films, virtual reality, videogames, and more, coming out of France’s most exciting studios and art schools,” FIAF said. In addition to screenings for all ages, the event hosts workshops on drawing and sound effects, gaming demonstrations, and panel discussions with leading artists and studio executives.

The festival’s guest of honor, Michael Dudok de Wit, will present his Oscar-nominated The Red Turtle. Another treat is the preview of Terry Gilliam and Tim Ollive’s new project, 1884: Yesterday’s Future.