Vue takes a look at CinemaxX


Pending official approval, German media mogul Herbert Kloiber will sell his 22.8-million-share majority in Germany’s CinemaxX circuit for a reported €147 million (US$180 mil.) to Vue Entertainment. With the May 2012 acquisition of 14 Apollo Cinemas in the United Kingdom, Vue will then operate 116 cinemas and more than 1,100 screens across the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Denmark, and one location each in Portugal and Taiwan. Since the May 2003 purchase of Warner Village Cinemas, Vue has opened 22 new cinemas in the U.K. alone, including the highest and third highest-grossing in the country (Westfield London and Stratford City, respectively). On the horizon for an October opening is Halifax, with an additional four new sites scheduled for 2013.

Kinepolis Builds Out Bar Codes

Pan-European exhibitor Kinepolis Group announced the availability of bar-code ticketing via smart-phones. “Kinepolis firmly opts for digital,” their press office stated. Guests can now “walk into all Belgian, French and Spanish Kinepolis cinema theatres without a printed purchase confirmation” and scan the code on the confirmation e-mail instead.” (Poland and Switzerland will have to wait.) “Except for the small paper ticket that is still—for legal reasons—handed over to you on the spot, no other paperwork is required for a cultural evening out.”

German Kinos Go Digital
According to the latest report by FFA, the German Federal Film Board, one in two German cinemas (2,252 screens at 1,032 locations) had been converted to digital projection by the end of last year. The vast majority did so with help from “digital transition” funding provided by FFA (83%), and available public sources, both federal and state (62% and 72%). Published in July, the structural analysis of cinemas from 2003 to 2011 ( also counted almost one in three screens (1,353 or 29%) as equipped for digital 3D.

Over the next two years, more than three-quarters of their screens will be digitized, cinema operators declared, with every other one being upgraded to 3D. The remaining ones will not be converted, mostly because of the associated cost, 31% of those surveyed explained. A whopping 73% stated that they will renovate, modernize and otherwise upgrade their auditoriums as well.

Metropol Makes Switch
One of those gone digital is the venerable Metropol Theater in Chemnitz, Germany. Opened in September 1913 as a stage theatre and cabaret located in a hotel and restaurant, the auditorium held over 600 seats (reduced to 371 today). Since the arrival of filmed entertainment during the 1920s, the Metropol had been relying on its 35mm machines. Just in time for its 99th birthday, Kinoton reports from Munich that cinema owner Dr. Evilin Paulat had all-new digital-cinema equipment turned on in late July. The Kinoton system includes a “top-of-the-line DCP 30 SX II d-cinema projector based on projection technology supplied by Barco,” the manufacturer said, with an Integrated Media Block (IMB). The Metropol Theater also installed Kinoton’s automation, which “seamlessly links control of classic auditorium functions such as curtains, masking, and lighting with the new d-cinema technology.”

Three Films Compete for LUX Prize
The European Parliament unveiled the three films competing for the sixth LUX Prize to be screened during the Venice Days section of the Venice Film Festival (Aug. 29 to Sept. 9): Csak a szél (Just the Wind), by Benedek Fliegauf (Hungary/Germany/France); Io sono Li (Shun Li and the Poet), by Andrea Segre (Italy/France); and Tabu, by Miguel Gomes (Portugal/Germany/France/Brazil). The winner who best represents the stated goals of “promoting European films and culture,” as well as “stimulating public debate about European values,” will be crowned in a special ceremony at the Parliament in Strasbourg on Nov. 21.

In addition to funding the subtitling into the 23 EU languages and providing versions for the visually and hearing impaired, the LUX Prize offers promotional assistance to distributors of the film throughout the Union. For the first time in the history of the prize, the three films will be shown in all 27 EU member states leading up to the ceremony.

Antalya to Screen 200 Films
This October in Southern Turkey, the International Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival will look at “how filmmakers make audiences laugh and think,” programmers announced. Director Hulya Ozyol further revealed that “more than 200 films in every genre, length and format” will be screened, bringing “together filmmakers and film-lovers from around the world.” A special focus is set on Kazakhstan in its Eurasian Cinema program, and on Dutch Cinema in celebration of 400 years of diplomatic ties between Turkey and The Netherlands.

To head up the competition jury under the heading of “Humour and Criticism in Film,” the 49th edition secured Academy Award-winning director Istvan Szabo (Mephisto). Organized by the Antalya Culture and Arts Foundation (AKSAV) and the Metropolitan Municipality, Turkey’s “oldest and most prestigious” film festival has the official FIAPF accreditation as a competitive festival for Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Rhapsodizing About More2Screen
London, England-based alternative-content purveyor More2Screen was appointed by Eagle Rock Entertainment and EuroArts Music to bring some rarified entertainment to cinemas worldwide this fall. Remastered in high definition and 5.1 surround sound, and with 25 minutes of never–before–seen footage, Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest ’86 will play on Sept. 20. Coming in November, filmed in St. Petersburg at the Mariinsky Theatre, the “sumptuously traditional production of The Nutcracker in 3D will mark the world’s first 3D version of the holiday-favorite ballet on the big screen.”

“With their impressive track record in distributing alternative content to exhibitors across the globe,” Bernd Hellthaler, CEO and executive producer of EuroArts Music, called More2Screen “the ideal partner.” Andrew Winter of Eagle Rock, added that they know “how to make it commercially viable for all involved.” As for the Rhapsody, he enthused, it “showcases one of the world’s most successful bands staging one of the biggest stadium concerts ever held in Eastern Europe.”

E-mail your European news items for Andreas Fuchs to