Cineworld expanding to 13 IMAX locations
Cineworld Group, number one in the United Kingdom in box office and admissions (www.cineworld.co.uk), added two IMAX locations to its revenue-share agreement with the large-format provider. A yet-to-be-determined addition to one of Cineworld’s 81 cinemas across the U.K. and Ireland and the takeover of the IMAX theatre at the Science Centre in Glasgow, Scotland, brings the total number under that very agreement to 13 locations.
The Science Center IMAX was upgraded to a digital theatre system and reopened on Sept. 5, before transitioning to IMAX’s dual 4K laser system. The “next-generation technology” is based on intellectual property licensed from Eastman Kodak and Barco’s unique laser innovations, IMAX noted. “It is expected to set a new benchmark as the industry’s premium entertainment experience.” Added Andrew Cripps, president, IMAX Europe, Middle East and Africa, “Together with Cineworld, we look forward to bringing even more audiences across the U.K. the biggest blockbusters in the world’s most immersive film format.”
As of June 30, 2013, there were 767 IMAX theatres (634 commercial multiplexes, 19 commercial destinations and 114 institutions) in 54 countries.
Schauburg Showcases Super-70
The third weekend in September marks the ninth annual “Todd-AO 70mm Festival” of celebrating “the world of LARGE FORMAT FILM” at the legendary Filmtheater Schauburg in Karlsruhe, Germany (www.schauburg.de). Once again, the likes of Super Technirama 70 (featured attraction: Spartacus), DEFA70 (East Germany’s technology was used for Du bist Min, Orpheus in der Unterwelt and Goya), Ultra Panavision 70 (Khartoum) and Super Panavision 70 (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Close Encounters of the Third Kind) brightened the Schauburg’s 18-meter (16-foot) curved Cinerama screen.
“Let us hope,” posted the theatre’s Herbert Born on in70mm.com, “that the splendor of 70mm not only serves our nostalgic dreams, but also offers the chance for a young audience to experience a historic and magic landmark of cinema.” All 70mm films were projected by “vintage and historically correct” Philips DP70 and DP75 projectors, he added. Magnetic sound comes via Dolby Laboratories sound equipment and state-of-the-art Alcon speakers.
Kinepolis Counts Out First Half 2013
During the first half of 2013, pan-European exhibitor Kinepolis generated €14.3 million profit on €109.7 mil. in revenues (US$145.16 and 18.92 million, respectively), despite admissions declining by about one million across its 23 megaplexes with 317 screens and 94,226 seats in five countries.
Some 8.4 million guests were down 11.1%, which Kinepolis attributed to “severe winter weather, a weak (local) film offer and the economic crisis combined with the rise in VAT in Spain,” where admissions declined a steep 24.1%. The top five films (in descending order)—Iron Man 3, Fast and Furious 6, Django Unchained, The Croods and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey—accounted for 21.2% of all admissions. By comparison, company revenue declined only 6.5%, “thanks to the continued rise in revenue per visitor” to €7.19 ($9.52) on box office and to €2.82 ($3.73) in additional spend per visitor. Screen-advertising revenue grew by 15.7%.
Cinema City Inks with IKEA
Cinema City International signed a lease for a nine-screen cinema in the new IKEA center in Lublin, Poland, which will offer some 150 shops alongside the Swedish furniture store. “We look forward to open our second cinema in this city,” noted Cinema City’s chief executive officer, Mooky Greidinger, about the location “where many citizens will be coming to spend time combining shopping and entertainment. Poland is our biggest country of operation and it still represents good potential to expand our business. We plan to consider best locations in key cities to open the top-end cinema venues and to offer our clients the best cinemas and best service.”
Across Poland, Cinema City already operates 339 screens in 31 multiplexes, including five IMAX theatres and the first 4DX auditorium in Arkadia, Warsaw (www.cinema-city.pl/arkadia), and has agreements for seven additional locations with over 80 screens in place. Circuit-wide there are 35 multiplexes under development. With 100 multiplexes and 974 screens currently operating in seven countries, Cinema City is the largest multiplex cinema operator in Central and Eastern Europe and in Israel.
MEDIA Salles Sends Daily Missive
From August 28 to Sept. 1, our friends at MEDIA Salles sent daily reports about the 10th anniversary edition of their “DigiTraining Plus” workshop, hosted in the Polish cities of Cracow and Warsaw (http://bit.ly/euro0813).
Of the many informative stories, which are all accessible online, this columnist selected one that does indeed show what “the prime aim of the digital transformation” is. Presenter and treasurer of MEDIA Salles Mike Vickers says having Sony 4K and a satellite connection allows the Thurso Cinema “to make the most of the theatre’s role as a site for entertainment and cultural activity and bring viewing on the big screen to a growing number of spectators by taking the cinema to places where it doesn’t yet exist.”
Thurso is located on the north coast of Scotland and on the same latitude as Juneau, Alaska. Closed in 2009 and reopened last year, “this small complex has challenged the tough market laws,” Vickers asserts, “and in the space of just one year has become a point of reference for the inhabitants.” Some 1,100 km from London and 180 km from the nearest other cinema (684 and 112 miles away), 9,000 people and another 24,000 in the surrounding area can now not only enjoy films “at the same time as they are screened in the capital, but other content as well, such as opera or ballet, which would otherwise never reach the remotest borders.” The Thurso Cinema comes with two screens and even has its own restaurant, but apparently no popcorn, as this five-star review points out.
Locarno Launches Europa Cinemas Label
Whereas Comic Con was buzzing about Batman and Superman starring together in one movie, this year’s winner of the 66th Locarno film festival brought Casanova and Dracula together. Talk about cultural sensibilities. Story of My Death by Catalan director Albert Serra brought home the Golden Leopard (www.pardolive.ch/en).
The Special Jury Prize and FIPRESCI international film critics’ honors went to Portugal for What Now? Remind Me. Brie Larson of Short Term 12 was named best actress. The foster-care drama received a special mention along with Blackboard by Yves Yersin. Chronicling one school year of a group of children in a Swiss mountain hamlet of five houses, the film received the inaugural Europa Cinemas Label as well.
Assembling a jury of exhibitor members of the theatre network—Mary Nazari, Pioneer Cinema (Moscow), Luz Delgado, Cines Van Dyck (Salamanca, Spain), Rod White, Filmhouse (Edinburgh, Scotland) and Henk Camping, Europa Cinemas board member (The Netherlands)—Locarno became the fifth festival after Cannes, Venice, Berlin and Karlovy Vary to offer this prize. The Europa Cinemas Label includes distribution support “with additional promotion and incentives for exhibitors to extend the film’s run onscreen.”
The organization represents 1,170 cinemas and 3,197 screens in 673 cities of 68 countries, with the objective “to provide operational and financial support to cinemas that commit themselves to screen a significant number of European non-national films, to offer events and initiatives as well as promotional activities targeted at young audiences.”