CineEurope heads to Barcelona


The annual edition of CineEurope is being held in Barcelona this month after a 16-year stint in Amsterdam. CineEurope management anticipates seeing 20-percent growth in attendance with this switch of venues. And the convention could not come at a better time, as the industry globally is setting its sights on a record year at the box office in 2012. Coming into CineEurope, the industry has experienced major hit after hit starting with The Hunger Games, then The Avengers and now Men in Black 3.

This business is facing more radical changes than at any other time in history, and CineEurope is a perfect place for people to gather and exchange ideas and learn new ways to approach opportunities and challenges. The world has officially adopted digital cinema and with this we will eventually witness the elimination of 35mm prints as we know them. And along with that revolution we are seeing new technologies advancing like high frame rates, laser illumination and immersive sound systems. There is so much going on that one needs to keep abreast of these new platforms to stay ahead in the business.

CineEurope offers this opportunity to its attendees and will focus on all of the above as well as product previews from the major Hollywood studios, feature films, and the largest tradeshow ever for the event. Other new additions to the convention include a selection of independent films and the bestowing of a Digital Innovation Award to the creator of an app to help the industry attract new patrons to their theatres.

Along with its partner UNIC (the International Union of Cinemas), CineEurope has put together an innovative and topical program for all attendees. Coupled with this is the new backdrop of one of the greatest, most beautiful and vibrant cities in the world: Barcelona.

Big Changes at AMC
The young couple made their way through the ticket line at their local U.S. movie theatre and approached the concession stand before they were to enter the auditorium to see Tsui Hark’s The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate. The concession stand had the traditional popcorn and candy bars but also was featuring Dragon’s Beard Candy, Moon Cake and Amber Ginger Rock Candy. Specials for the day had a drink and your choice of two items from Column A or two from Column B. The couple debated their choice for a few moments, finally settled on the Dragon’s Beard Candy, and were then offered either a fork or chopsticks for their treat.
Sound farfetched? Not really, now that America’s second-largest movie theatre chain, AMC Theatres, was purchased by the Chinese real estate conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group for $2.6 billion. The deal is subject to U.S. regulatory approval, though no major hurdles are anticipated.

The acquisition will help make Wanda a truly global cinema owner, with theatres and technology that enhance the moviegoing experience for audiences in two of the world’s largest movie markets. The implications for AMC are dramatic in that the deal includes an infusion of up to $500 million that will accelerate its renovation plans—from dine-in theatres to MacGuffins bar concepts, digital conversions and laser projection. With Warner’s The Hobbit being released toward the end of the year, it will allow the company to move into the world of 48 frames-per-second projection.

The pact has great significance in that it demonstrates marked confidence in the U.S. exhibition business. With this broadening of exhibition into global players, one will witness greater influence on cinema companies as they expand internationally. With the AMC purchase, it’s very possible that it could further open China to more outside films.