Digital screens see rapid growth
Our friends at IHS Screen Digest have completed their latest number-crunching. In 2010, d-cinema screens worldwide came to 36,242, up from 16,339 at the end of 2009. The growth rate of 121.8% during the year “was significantly higher than both our original forecast prepared in January 2010 and a revised number,” admits lead cinema analyst David Hancock. That was due “largely to very high growth in d-screen installations in the USA and China, both 3D and 2D, in the fourth quarter of 2010.” The USA ended the year at 15,744 screens, while China “far exceeded” Screen Digest’s forecasts with a year-end total of 4,204 d-screens.
Across Asia overall, there were 7,703 d-cinema installations (21.6% of the global figure), with 16,522 in North America (46.2%) and 10,083 in Europe (28.2%). Europe also has 34.3% of all 3D-enabled screens, which on a global basis now comprise 60.5% of all d-cinema screens. In fact, 21,936 3D screens represented a 55% uptick from 2009. The in-depth report also contains detailed projections whereby “total d-screens are forecast to exceed 100,000 by 2015, of which 41.7 % will be 3D-equipped.”
Kinepolis Appoints Android
After the launch of its iPhone application in May 2010 resulted in 90,000 downloads (http://itunes.com/app/kinepolis), pan-European Kinepolis Group now “answers to the burgeoning growth of Google’s mobile operating system.” The Android app was developed by In the Pocket and allows users to look up showtimes, view film info and trailers and includes numerous browsing options. “More impulsive cinemagoers can also make a quick selection,” Kinepolis notes, by compiling “all movies about to start in an easy-to-view list.” The circuit is currently looking at expanding the applications to offer ticketing features, as well as developing an iPad version with “a much stronger focus on entertainment and experience.”
Breakfast, Books & Biz TV at Berlinale
“Have a Novel with Your Coffee,” the Co-Production Market at the Berlin Film Festival suggested. Last month, international producers were invited to discover new literary material available for film adaptations. In addition to a ten-novel pitch, participants had the opportunity to informally mingle with rights-holders over breakfast and, for the first time in the six-year history of the event co-organized by the Frankfurt Book Fair, to set up individual meetings. Best title on offer? Non ci sono pesci rossi nelle pozzanghere (Goldfish Don’t Live in Puddles) by Marco Truzzi from Italy. Also of note, the European Film Market welcomed the first exhibitor from the United Arab Emirates. Biz TV Network presented DAM999, its first international 3D title.
Potter to Levitate at Leavesden
After the successful launch of “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden hired Thinkwell Group to develop a behind-the-scenes attraction as part of the £100 million (US$162 mil., €118 mil.) redevelopment of the U.K. studio lots where all Harry Potter movies were made. The “full-service experiential design and development firm” is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. To name but a few projects relevant to our industry, Thinkwell thought out the Jurassic Park Institute Tour for Nakashima International and the Ice Age Adventure at Movie Park Germany, as well as concept studies for MGM Studio City Korea (www.thinkwellgroup.com/ourwork).
Cinema City Purchases Palaces
Featured in this issue for its new cinema construction in 2010, Cinema City International enters 2011 with an equally impressive bang. Its board of directors purchased assets of and all shares in Palace Cinemas (Central Europe) BV and its subsidiaries (www.palacecinemas.net). Cinema City also announced 2010 attendance to have surpassed 30.5 million moviegoers, up 11.1% over the prior year.
The new deal encompasses 15 Palace multiplexes and 141 screens in Hungary, and the Czech and Slovak republics. The acquisition was valued at €21.4 million in cash and €6.6 million in assumption of debt (total US$38.2 mil.) and brings the Cinema City theatre count to 90 with 866 screens in seven countries. During a transitional period, Cinema City will also provide “selected management services” for eight Hungarian plexes and 48 screens of by Palace Mozi Kft.
In a note to “colleagues, friends and movie lovers among us,” Palace Cinemas’ chief executive officer, V.J Maury, extended his “heartfelt thanks” to all. “I am proud to have been involved with such a dynamic company and such a terrific group of people.” Film Journal International featured Palace in a ten-year anniversary profile in July 2009.
Close-up for Frisco Theatres
A Milano, Italy-based publisher (www.chartaartbooks.it) has issued Portraits of San Francisco Movie Theatres. The handsomely produced Left in the Dark is also available directly from the artist, R.A. McBride (www.leftinthedark.info). With a keenly observing eye, photographer McBride has captured the magic and mystery of the places that we all love so much. From the cut screen of the New Mission Theatre on the front to the velveteen textured (pre-renovation) seats in the Castro’s balcony on the back cover, McBride takes us through cinemas both closed and, even better, still very much alive.
“Theatres are designed to attract and hold people, but the spaces themselves have a different appeal when empty,” she writes in her artist’s statement. She also confesses to have posed as a buyer’s representative to get inside. Thankfully too, McBride was welcomed into many theatres such as Gary Meyer’s Balboa. The Landmark Theatres co-founder, exhibition impresario and co-director of the Telluride Film Festival, is one of 14 contributors. Essays about the San Francisco exhibition scene were also written by former theatre managers and employees and current festival programmers, as well as academics of various disciplines and filmmakers.
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