www.cinematech.today Th e l e a d i n g m a g a z i n e f o r c i n e m a
industry professionals > VOL.31
NO.4 > 12/18
e g ! n y g e o l v o e n h R c
is h c n a r f
f o w Ho
he t I: I eI
t n e t n o rc e t us b ck o l b
Netflix & cinema
Could the streaming giant and exhibitors be the best of friends?
rn e d o m e h t g n pi a h s s i
CT interviews Andrew Cripps, 20th Century Fox's advocate for change
ma e cin
Planning for victory How today's cinema developers are helping to save the high street
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©2018 QSC, LLC all rights reserved. QSC, Q-SYS and the QSC logo are registered trademarks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and other countries. Dolby and Dolby Atmos are registered trademarks of Dolby Laboratories. All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners. 0942-2018
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c o n t e n t s c i n e m a t e c h n o l o g y > Vo l . 3 1 n o . 4 > 1 2 / 1 8
The latest from around the world of cinema exhibition The Cinema Tech Committee update on the future
19 25 30 37 43 48
In the online age, is cinema the high street’s salvation? Franchises: David Hancock examines their total impact Netflix… Can the streaming giant ever be cinema’s BFF? Cinionic: step inside Barco’s new global joint venture CJ 4DPLEX: a revolution in the immersive tech sector ScreenX: CT experiences a widescreen field of view
PRODUCTION EDITOR: ALASTAIR BALMAIN Motion Picture Solutions Ltd, Mission Hall, 9-11 North End Road, London W14 8ST T: +44 (0)20 3026 1368 E: firstname.lastname@example.org ART DIRECTOR: DEAN CHILLMAID E: email@example.com
53 57 60 68 70 72 74 76 82
DCM 10 years on: so, what is the future of the pre-roll?
Interviewing 20th Century Fox’s advocate of change
Just how much does the viewer value technology?
Collaboration: the key to
KDM success and security
The ICO: champion of the UK’s independent cinema
Is cinema really now about recreating home comforts?
SMPTEDCP.com: an all-new portal for DCP knowledge
Action on accessibility: the future for HOH subtitling
Cinema is a broad church, and that’s a good thing
COMMISSIONING EDITOR: PETER KNIGHT E: firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING: BOB CAVANAGH Caixa Postal 2011, Vale da Telha, 8670-156 Aljezur, Portugal T: +351 282 997 050
The Mallen 20 Conference: Patrick
reports on an academic conference with the industry’s future in its sights
Don’t miss the ECA’s event cinema slate next January!
M: +351 962 415 172 E: email@example.com SUBSCRIPTIONS Cinema Technology is mailed to IMIS Members. For subscription details and to read the magazine online, visit www.cinematech.today or e-mail CT@motionpicturesolutions.com
1 2 / 1 8
Think inside the box.
mne +44 (0)161 477 7633
Design Cinema Differently. The new DPS boothless cinema solution from Omnex. firstname.lastname@example.org
v i e w
Franchises: the universe keeps on expanding Will audiences ever tire of “action hero, parts 1, 2 and 3…”? No chance, says Alastair Balmain, when the likes of Stan Lee can captivate audiences with such entertaining adventures.
www.cinematech.today Th e l e a d i n g m a g a z i n e f o r c i n e m a
e th I: II
R tech w Ho
a em cin rn de o m the ing ap sh s i t ten con er ust b k c blo
Netflix & cinema
Could the streaming giant and exhibitors be the best of friends?
CT interviews Andrew Cripps, 20th Century Fox's advocate for change
Planning for victory
Produced in partnership with:
How today's cinema developers are helping to save the high street
superpower in the cinema world
latest superhero franchises such as Batman exploiting the
passed away last month — the death of
full potential of deeper blacks in HDR, there’s no question
Stan Lee has left a substantial void in the
that superpowers make technology work at the box office.
creative firmament of modern popular
If franchise movies lift the box office, then, as David
culture. His contribution to the artform of
Wallace examines on page 19, cinema itself can lift the high
film in the shape of Marvel’s cinematic universe is, as David
street. As we head into what many retail analysts suggest
Hancock examines on page 25, entirely quantifiable. But as
will be the most “online” Christmas ever, there’s no doubt
someone involved in the cinema business, you don’t need
that (re)development of cinemas in the heart of our town
me to tell you the signficance of the impact his characters
centres has a major role to play in energising the high street.
and the storylines of his numerous comic book creations have had on the industry in recent decades.
There are some impressive new developments either recently constructed or scheduled to open soon — not least
Admittedly the likes of Spiderman, Hulk, Black Panther,
of which is Odeon’s multi-million pound refurbishment of
the Avengers and the Fantastic Four have never genuinely
the famous Leicester Square landmark. These projects
troubled the juries at cinema’s more highbrow film festivals,
illustrate quite the extent to which cinema has a role to play
but, my goodness, they are fun — and audiences flock to see
in regeneration and creation of vibrant town centres, a
these heroes in action. As the father to two small boys, I
subject covered in this magazine often, but one that can’t
know very well how the comic book characters from Marvel
be understated. Frequently, these developments are
and others transfer off of the page and onto the big screen.
undertaken hand-in-hand with the local authorities. What
In just one word: successfully.
better indicator do you need of cinema as a force for good?
The premise of David’s article on page 25 is clear: the
I started out in praise of Stan Lee’s creativity, but thanks
franchise movie drives the modern box office — and that in
to the creativity of developers, cinema operators and town
turn drives the technology that thrills the audience. Whether
planners, life is also being brought to our local communities.
it’s “Avatar” acting as a catalyst to digital transition or the
Clearly cinema itself has superpowers. Enjoy this issue!
Writing in this issue of CT
NO.4 > 12/18
e g n gy! e lo v o e n c an fr
industry professionals > VOL.31
1 Martin Dew
2 David Hancock
3 Bryan Cook
Formerly at Lucasfilm THX, on p.60, Martin ponders whether new technology is a big draw to audiences
Research director at IHS Markit, on p.25 David takes a close look at the power of the franchise movie
Editor of Celluloid Junkie, on p.30, Patrick wonders whether cinema and Netflix will ever learn to play nicely.
1 2 / 1 8
e ve n t s
n e w S ,
v i e w s
i n d u s t r y
r o u n d - u p
g l o b a l t h e o f
U p - to - d a te
Odeon Luxe Leicester Square to reopen as UK’s first Dolby Cinema UNIQUELY DESIGNED FOR ROYAL, Global and European
Mark Way, president AMC Europe and managing
film premieres, Odeon’s multi-million pound luxury
director Odeon Cinemas Group, said: “Quite simply, Odeon
refurbishment of its landmark West End venue is set to
Luxe Leicester Square will be the best movie experience
recapture the golden age of cinema.
The Odeon Leicester Square, will reopen this Christmas following
cinema that will proudly set the standard for generations to come.”
Dolby Vision heads to the West End, with Odeon
refurbishment which has transformed the UK’s ‘home of the premiere’ into a flagship site for Odeon Cinemas Group, part of the AMC Entertainment company. Home to hundreds of premieres over the years, the
Samsung & Eclair partner up THIS
building’s largest screen has now been fully upgraded to
Ymagis signed an agreement that will see Eclair’s
combine reclining Odeon Luxe seats with the captivating
Paris-Vanves facility equipped with EclairColor-
experience of Dolby Cinema, that presents dramatic
compliant Onyx Cinema LED, paving the way for the
imaging that delivers a spectacular, leading-edge visual
creation of theatrical content using this technology.
experience through a Dolby Vision dual-laser projection
Eclair will be among the first to provide professional
system and audio which fills the cinema and flows all
services tailored to Onyx Cinema LED for European
around you with Dolby Atmos. Odeon has stated that every
filmmakers, producers and distributors, due to
person in the auditorium is set to receive an unforgettable
begin as CT went to press in November.
experience, no matter which of the 800 seats they are in. 8
0 6 / 1 8
Sound Associates support Preston’s Flowerbowl THE FLOWER BOWL in Preston,
character of the complex with each
Lancashire, is a unique entertainment
auditorium having its own name and
centre that forms a part of Barton
colour scheme. All three screens have
Grange Garden Centre — an exciting
Barco 6E projectors, with Alchemy
new take on a cinema destination.
servers and Unique’s Rosetta Bridge
Sound Associates recently assisted
TMS. The sound system is based
with design and installation of a three-
around QSC Q-Sys technology, with
screen cinema that, with mini-golf,
DCIOH audio input devices and QSC 8
curling and a bowling alley forms an
channel amplifiers controlled by single
innovative new venue concept,
Core 110 processors
The cinema retains the unique
Omnex installs Europe’s first DPS boothless lift solution
CINEMA ENGINEERING SPECIALIST Omnex recently commissioned its first boothless cinema installation at the new Ashford Picturehouse, a six-screen cinema, bar and restaurant due to open this month in the centre of the Kent town. The boothless lift unit, manufactured by DPS Lifts in the US, is a new product and was selected for installation in the Picturehouse’s Barco Laser-equipped Screen 6 auditorium. “This was our first true boothless cinema installation,” noted Omnex’s managing director, Simon Tandy, adding, “True in the sense that the projector — in this case a Barco unit — is in a readily accessible lift mounted to the auditorium’s back wall. All automation and audio technologies required are housed at the front of the screen, underneath the bottom masking apron.” DPS mechanical lifts are designed and manufactured in St Petersburg, Florida, and Omnex is licenced to distribute and install the products throughout EMEA. As Simon explained,
perspective, the projector doesn’t need to be realigned
“Omnex has spent the past 12 months evaluating boothless
after accessing it — the lifting mechanism is sufficiently as installed
concepts and the DPS system, in our opinion, outweighs others
accurate and capable of supporting units up to 330kgs.” Grand DPS’s Roberto Guerrero was in Ashford to support Cinemas,
in a range of criteria, notably safety and security. From a technical
The DPS lift, here at
the installation. “Whilst we are seeing offers a our lifts installed in new builds, we robust,
EclairBox deploys in Denmark
have a number being prepared for boothless retro-fit cinemas,” he explained. “Our
IN AUGUST, ECLAIR announced the successful deployment of its
background is in providing bespoke
EclairBox content delivery solution in Denmark through Nordisk Film and
lifting solutions for highly demanding
with the support of DIVO Post Production. Plans to expand theatrical
areas such as the maritime sector, so
services further across Scandinavia have also been finalised. The
we were confident we could create a
announcement was made during the 2018 edition of the Norwegian
product for cinemas that was reliable,
International Film Festival Haugesund. EclairBox is a receiver solution
cost-effective and built to last.”
enabling content download for cinema exhibitors via broadband.
1 2 / 1 8
KDM errors causing another headache? Relieve all that pain by connecting your cinema to the Cloud, and watch your KDMs simply appear in the right screen server. Arts Alliance Media is offering all of our Screenwriter TMS customers fully automated KDM delivery, for free! We’re collaborating with Deluxe Technicolor Digital Cinema to deliver KDMs directly from their systems to your cinemas’ equipment through the Cloud. Not a Screenwriter customer? Don’t worry! Our next generation KDM management solution will soon be available to all cinemas and will be able to handle titles managed by all providers. Find out how you can benefit at CineAsia on booth 323
@ArtsAllianceM www.artsalliancemedia.com email@example.com
n e w s r e e l
news in brief
Unique X rolls out in Canada and the Middle East Unique X has announced its expansion into the North American and Middle East cinema markets with agreement signed to provide autonomous digital cinema solutions to one of Canada’s largest entertainment companies, Cineplex and VOX Cinemas in the Middle East. The combination of Unique X’s RosettaBridge TMS,
Dietrich Theater Neu-Ulm opts for Atmos and Alcons Two Munich-based companies, ZweiB and Videocation, recently completed a joint project that saw the 363-seat Saal 8 of the Dietrich Theater in Neu-Ulm, Germany, refurbished through the installation of Sony SRX515DS 4K double projection, while zweiB took installed an the equally high-quality sound system.
RosettaNet eTMS, Movie
The new saal 8 of the dietrich Theater — audio to match the experience
Transit DCP delivery network and Advertising Accord on-screen advertising manager will deliver Cineplex
“ZweiB actively supports Alcons as an innovative loudspeaker manufacturer,”
an automated, networked
explained ZweiB’s managing director Tammo Buhren. “What we have installed
advertising solution to 165
in the Dietrich Theater is simply something different to the standard — and that’s
theatres from coast-to-coast.
what you hear.” For zweiB it was their first cinema installation with the
Meanwhile, a five-year
combination Alcons Audio and Dolby Atmos. Thanks to the success of this
contract with VOX Cinemas
installation, a second, identical fit out, was commissioned in hall 9 of the cinema,
will deliver improvements in
which has recently been successfully completed.
workflow and management.
www.zweib.com and www.alconsaudio.com
Volfoni heads to Riyadh with VOX Volfoni Limited, a leading
4cine.io optimises the sound for Simply Red
European provider of 3D
in noveMber, fans of Simply Red
the challenging cinema environment.
experienced the band’s Symphonica
Julian Pinn Ltd partnered with
in Rosso concert on the big screen across the world in stunning 4cine 5.1
simply red, simply optimised by 4cine.io
technology, last month announced that VOX Cinemas
MusicScreen to bring Simply Red’s
has selected its 3D hardware
latest concert to
systems for its first multiplex
surround sound. Recorded live at
at Riyadh Park in the
Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome, the audio
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
optimising technology from Julian
are stunned and
(KSA). VOX Cinemas was
Pinn Ltd, 4cine.io, introduced three
thrilled with the
awarded one of the first
results, as our are
licenses to operate cinemas in
Saudi Arabia and Volfoni’s
extraction, analysis, and cinematic-
remapping. 4cine.io analyses final
hardware underwent rigorous
compatibility issues, and solves them
testing and validation for use
quickly and accurately. The result is a
due to the KSA’s strict laws
cinema master fully conformed to
and quality requirements.
Pope, the CEO of
optimised to preserve the original
creative intent when experienced in
1 2 / 1 8
N E W S R E E L
AAM content management heads to Taiwan
Christie CP4230 impresses cinema goers at Düsseldorf Airport throughout 2018
Cinema software and services provider Arts Alliance Media (AAM) has been selected as a software partner by Shin
Kong Cinemas, Taiwan’s leading financial, retail, and entertainment group. AAM’s Screenwriter Theatre
SUMMER IS TRADITIONALLY the time for open air cinemas, and the OpenAirport Cinema in
Management System (TMS)
Düsseldorf airport is no exception. During July, visitors experienced an open air cinema with a special
will provide automated
touch, as various blockbusters were shown on the airport terrace every weekend in July. Christie
scheduling and content
partnered with BIG cinema GmbH, which specialises in large cinema event and experiences.
management for every screen
They chose the Christie CP4230, a native 4K 3DLP projector for the event’s 12x6m screen.
in SKC’s estate across Taiwan.
The deal marks AAM’s first entry into the Taiwan market.
SMPTE publishes immersive audio standards
Alcons: from the highest highs to the lowest lows THE NEWLY LAUNCHED Alcons CRMS-LFE18 is, according to the
SMPTE, whose work supports
specialist audio manufacturer, a
a century of advances in
new reference subwoofer system for
demanding applications. According
has announced publication of
to Alcons, it delivers super accurate
the new SMPTE ST 2098-
bass and sub response for maximum
1:2018, Immersive Audio
quality audible performance. Typical
Metadata; ST 2098-2:2018,
Immersive Audio Bitstream Specification; and ST 2098-5:2018, D-Cinema Immersive Audio Channels and Soundfield Groups specifications. “Because of the value immersive audio
A reference subwoofer for demanding post-production and screening room applications
applications include LFE system for quality-conscious
facilities and mastering suites, high-end mix/screening rooms and recording studios. The direct-radiating 18” transducer mounted in the internally-stiffened, sealed cabinet enables an in-room response below 10Hz; while the fast impulse response is a perfect match with the ultra-fast transient response of the Alcons pro-ribbon systems. In addition, the 4 ohms impedance caters for maximum amplifier efficiency.
adds, we’re seeing increasing
Phil “Dr. Phil” De Haan, head of Alcons R&D explained “We’ve spent quite
numbers of movies mixed for
some time on the development of this 18” transducer, as it required totally
this environment,” said Brian
different parameters than our maximum output PA transducers. We really
Vessa, chair of SMPTE’s
wanted to get into the single-digit frequency domain with this subwoofer, with
Technology Committee on
the typical Alcons non-compromise quality standard. We developed the 18”
Cinema Sound Systems
woofer with a large motor structure with dual 3” voice-coils, so we were able to
(TC-25CSS) and exec director
reach an extreme excursion of 30 mm / 1.2-in. resulting in a 10 dB more excursion
of digital audio mastering at
capability than with a traditional PA 18” woofer.” The CRMS-LFE18 had it’s official
Sony Pictures Entertainment.
launch at the CEDIA show in San Diego, USA. www.alconsaudio.com
1 2 / 1 8
N E W S R E E L
Cinionic helps create Japan’s first-ever all-laser cinema ICTA honours Barco
JAPANESE MOVIE FANS are in for a treat the next time they visit the Pole
In September, at its Summer
Pole theater in Onahama: nine brand
Business Retreat held in Napa,
new Barco laser projectors will present
California, the International
their movies in dazzling brightness
and vibrant colour.
Association’s (ICTA) worldwide
across the Fukushima prefecture, Pole
cinema dealer membership
awarded Cinionic the top
Pole Cinemas’ Iwaki Onahama wanted
honour for manufacturing
to boost its brand and create a
their projectors over time. After seeing
genuine competitive edge backed by
the Smart Laser models at CineAsia
a high-quality experience, so specified
and CinemaCon last year, we were
Barco’s Smart Laser projectors with
positively impressed with the product
Barco Alchemy on board.
range and competence,” comments
recognise “the ICTA
Shusuke Suzuki, the owner of the Pole
manufacturer that most
we have been very satisfied with the
closely exemplifies the
performance and image quality of
progressive principals of
“As a long-time customer of Barco,
Japan’s first all-laser installation, from Cinionic
and service excellence. The association’s leadership conveyed the spirit and purpose of the award, to
product development and provides the dealers with service and up-to-date
Samsung debut world’s first Onyx LED multiplex
technical and sales information, while supporting the status of their product without qualification.” Cinionic has harnessed the rich legacy and pioneering developments of Barco Cinema, elevating cinema experiences and bringing new business models to the industry to benefit exhibitors
and moviegoers alike. “Receiving ICTA’s Teddy award celebrates our mission, and
A world first: the all-LED six screen installation at Wanda’s Shanghai ARCH cinema
SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS IS introducing the world’s first Onyx multiplex
our focus on quality, to deliver
cinema at Shanghai Arch Wanda Cinema. In September, the first cinema of its
wow experiences for movie
kind officially opened, offering six Samsung Onyx screens in one location, and
fans while empowering our
creating a state-of-the-art entertainment venue.
valued dealers,” commented
“The entire Samsung team is thrilled to be part of history with the first ever
Wim Buyens, CEO of Cinionic.
Onyx multi-theater from Wanda Cinemas,” commented Seog-gi Kim, executive
Founded in 1971, ICTA
vice president of the visual display business at Samsung. “Onyx technology was
represents more than 180
designed to bring the visual power of LED picture quality to the big screen.”
manufacturers and cinema-
Samsung’s Onyx LED brand delivers brilliant video and graphics with true
related businesses, for a total
black colours and vivid, dynamic images. To complete the audio and visual
of more than 200 members
experience at the Shanghai ARCH, Harman’s JBL Sculpted Surround sound
worldwide. Past recipients
audio will complement any movie or show. Sounds will be harmonised with the
include, Christie, JBL, QSC,
content with front to back speakers producing exceptional coverage.
USL, Dolby and Schneider.
1 2 / 1 8
N E W S R E E L :
C T C
U P D A T E
CTC: working to keep cinema accessible to all
THE PURPOSE OF a community focused organisation
this service to enjoy the cinema experience. Often it is only
such as the Cinema Technology Committee (CTC) is not just
when a moviegoer highlights the concern that the exhibitor
to deliberate on matters of importance to the industry but
realises there is a problem. The intention of both the UKCA
also to act and support where required to improve
and CTC through our joint initiative is
outcomes. Recently, CTC has partnered with the UK Cinema Associate to address growing concern by charities and
Join our cause
moviegoers over the state of audio description equipment
The membership and
within cinemas in the UK.
sponsorship scheme launched
“Delivering the best outcomes for moviegoers relies on
to raise awareness over the importance of testing audio description equipment regularly,” Mitchell adds. CTC has made its unencrypted test
this year at CineEurope enables
DCP available to cinemas. This includes
cinema operators regularly checking and maintaining all
CTC to fund some of the
within it additional test functionality to
their equipment in the auditorium,” says Richard Mitchell,
exciting initiatives, research
check output of channel 8 (traditionally
president of CTC. “Of course, due to the nature of the
projects, training courses and
used for audio description) from the
technology and its placement in the auditorium, audio
events that the organisation
audio processor or server. This freely
description hardware can be inaccessible so can go
has planned over the coming
available DCP also comes with an
unchecked for long periods of time. From a growing
years. As a not-for-profit
installation and best-practice guide for
number of reports, it appears that some legacy hardware
organisation, all of the money
checking audio description and is
(which relies on infra-red technology) has either lost the
raised goes directly back
available via the CTC website: www.
ability to broadcast signals at sufficient strength to cover
into supporting the global
the auditorium or stopped working completely, thus
cinema community and,
causing a negative experience for consumers who rely on
therefore, creating a better
CTC for its help in developing a
experience for moviegoers
resource to help support the better
maintenance and testing of assistive
technology in cinemas. This will make
join us today by
a real and meaningful difference to
the big screen experience for disabled
cinemagoers and is just one example
of a productive ongoing dialogue and
partnership”, commented Phil Clapp,
CTC EXECUTIVE TEAM Richard Mitchell (President), Graham Lodge (Vice President), Denis Kelly (Secretary), Mike Bradbury, Sandie Caffelle, Michael Denner, Danny Jeremiah, Peter Knight, Sarah Lewthwaite, Adam MacDonald, James MacFarlane, Andre Mort, Mark Nice, David Norris, Ngozi Okali, Kevin Phelan, David Pope, Toni Purvis, Steve Rance, Jim Slater, Simon Tandy, Patrick von Sychowski, Paul Willmott.
CTC ADVISORY COUNCIL Tom Bert (Barco), Mark Christiansen (Paramount Pictures), Laurence Claydon (Consultant), Brian Claypool (Christie Digital), Theresa English (TK Architects), Nicolas Hamon (Kinepolis), Roland Jones (Vue International), Dominic Simmons (BFI), Russell Smith (Motion Picture Solutions), Debbie Stanford Kristiansen (Novo Cinemas), Alexey Vinokurov (RealD)
“The UKCA is hugely grateful to
CEO of the UKCA. 1 2 / 1 8
Over 40 years of high quality cinema screen solutions 2D and 3D screen surfaces Screen frames Special concept screens Masking and curtain systems Electric / electronic controls Equipment servicing
Supply Design Manufacture Installation
LED edge lighting and special effects Projector track transport system
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A M E N I C how, in ne on e c s e ets th aylor, s T n a hapm ects C it h c r a lobal or of g t c e ir d e, Wallac David
the UK, cinema is now a dominant force in shaping current thinking in town planning
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Life and death in the town centre
The out-of-town break-out
How cyclical cinema is! To understand cinema and the
In 1985, a strange new building appeared in Milton Keynes,
opportunities ahead for town centres, we must first
closely followed by another in Salford. For many these were
understand the background of how and why it is where it is.
like UFOs landing in desolate locations on bleak edges of
Cinemas, in their inter-war period heyday, were developed
the town. The cinema industry had finally recognised that,
in town centres, animating the evening scene with moving
to save itself, it had to invest in its future with vision, faith
lights, movie premieres and glamour. We are all familiar with
and many dollars. Over the next 15 years, this new building
those wonderful black-and-white photographs of movie stars
type steadily appeared in more and more out-of-town
stepping out of limos onto a red carpet and rushing into the
locations. Similar developments followed across Europe.
fanciful architecture of the latest cinema, with paparazzi
By 2000, cinema was a thriving business and, for property
flashing their cameras and adding a heightened level of
developers, was becoming the ideal anchor tenant, offering a
excitement and glamour to the location. The simple fact was
secure source of rental income. Cinema companies would
that people loved to visit cinemas to escape their daily routine
commit to 15/20-year leases, often with strong parent
for a few hours. This added a buzz to the areas adjacent to the
company guarantees. This was a significant shift from 1985,
cinema. It was the main contributor to an active town centre,
when there was little faith in the success of cinema and much
particularly at evening time.
of the investment was by exhibitors themselves. In the early
Fast forward to the 1970s and 1980s period in the UK and,
years of cinema development, property developers were not
the same cinema was likely to be closed or near closure, the
so sure of the longevity of cinemas. By 2000, developers were
fanciful architecture crumbling. For many, it appeared as if the
so confident cinemas were a solid anchor that many were
cinema industry was close to failing after too many years of
prepared to pay for the lot, down to seats and popcorn poppers.
poor investment and the steady adoption of television and
However, for some, success came with drawbacks. Small,
home video as the main sources of entertainment. Movies
local town centre cinemas were challenged by big new shiny
were now more commonly made in widescreen format, more
multiplexes, and many closed as a result. Town centres were
suitable to television proportions. Clearly, television was
losing their night-time heartbeat and, town centre business
regarded as the format that movies had to follow.
began to dwindle as out-of-town developments flourished.
1.64bn 54m 1940s UK cinemaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all time highest admissions per annum in 1946...
... compared to the all time low slump in 1985
Cinemas became one of the central social hubs on the high street â&#x20AC;&#x201D; adding glamour to the area, but this slowly changed due to the home entertainment boom of the 80s
Multiplex cinemas started to crop up on the neglected outskirts of towns, directly impacting smaller centre of town picture houses
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The triumphant return to the town centre
Digital and the rebirth of cinema
To combat this phenomenon, UK planning laws were
Digital cinema truly took off in 2009 with the release of
changed early in 2000, bringing in a requirement for
“Avatar”. When James Cameron pushed for his vision to be
sequential testing; before an out-of-town development
shown via digital projection, cinemas worldwide scrambled
could be considered, it had to be shown that a similar
to install projectors for the release. Prices of digital
development could not be built in the town centre.
projectors dropped, options to finance the investment
Of course, to build in the town centre was often more
were agreed and manufacturers developed their systems.
expensive, and plot sizes, plot ratios, shapes, adjacencies,
The change from 35mm film happened relatively quickly
rights of light etc. all had to be woven into the design, often
and, in just a few years, almost all cinemas had converted.
with complex and conflicting needs. The first such cinema
By 2010, cinema had become an integral part of the UK
development I can recall was the O2 centre in Finchley, a
leisure habit. Just prior to the birth of the multiplex in 1985, UK
complex, multi-use, multi-level building secured with a
admissions were at an all-time low of 54 million, a massive fall
Warner Village cinema. It was also connected to the London
from the all-time high in 1946 of 1.64 billion. By 2010, with
Underground network. This building was to prove to be the
digital well underway, admissions had grown to 170 million.
first in the next generation of leisure developments.
With this increased popularity, it was inevitable market
Developers were now so confident in the success of cinema
segmentation would occur. Some were happy to go to the big,
that it was worthwhile to build such complex buildings. It is
bright multiplex. Others wanted something more intimate
also worth noting that this cinema in Finchley Road was the
and cosy, perhaps showing arthouse movies with a glass of
first in the UK to be fitted with a digital projector — a test bed
chardonnay — perhaps it reminded them of the charming old
for the next seismic change that would eventually take cinema
cinema in the town centre that struggled to survive years ago.
to its next level of development.
This segmentation gave birth to a new type of cinema.
For the following 10 years, out-of-town development
Previously, with 35mm in multiplexes, auditoria were arranged
continued at a slower pace. Meanwhile, a new type of
in a strict geometry so that one reel of film could, in theory, be
development was happening and was becoming more and
shown on all the other screens almost simultaneously.
more common in town centres.
Elaborate mechanisms were developed that allowed the same piece of film to rewind and whizz overhead, around corners and, sometimes, through floors to serve each projector.
With digital, attendances grew by 2010 to
This was the key to making a multiplex possible and profitable. Movies now came as DCPs and could be controlled from a laptop or head office. This allowed the auditoria to be arranged in different ways in more complex locations. One of the first examples, opened in 2013, is Curzon’s Victoria Cinema in central London. The site was challenging, comprising space left over in the basement from the development of the office tower above. No other operator was interested in a tight space full of large columns at close centres with limited access. Curzon shoehorned five small, luxurious screens into the basement complete with a beautiful entrance at street level that can easily be mistaken for a very smart bar. Large projected images, and a cool digital display imitating an old readograph sign, bring life and glamour to the street. This was an instant success and allowed the developer to secure similarly cool F&B tenants nearby, bringing life back to the city centre. Others followed. The small, boutique cinema format is perhaps the fastest growing cinema sector in the UK.
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Back to the future: today, yesterday and tomorrow
Today, town centre cinema is thriving. Boutique, small-scale cinemas are popping up everywhere. Curzon, Everyman, Picturehouse and small independents are all eager to take space in the right locations. Appropriately, some of the old cinemas of a bygone period are being brought back to life. Everyman Bristol is in a 1920s Grade II-listed building, and Everyman York has recently opened in a former art deco Odeon cinema — another grade II-listed building, now used as a four-screen cinema, with many of the original art deco features renovated in full. We are now seeing bespoke, small-scale cinemas appearing as a key element of the planning strategies for town centres. Eltham Cinema is now under construction — a stylish, multi-level Vue cinema complete with a sky-bar. To illustrate further how successful cinema has become, and how cyclical the development of cinema is, a 1913, Category A-listed cinema has been brought back to life by Picturehouse in the small Scottish village of Campbeltown. Anyone who has been to Campbeltown on a dreich (miserable), wet Sunday afternoon prior to the reopening of the cinema will appreciate the positive effect this has on the town. It is transformational. And it is not just small boutique cinemas that are bringing about positive change. The ‘traditional’ multiplex (how quickly the ‘new’ of the 90s became the ‘traditional’ of 2018!) is showing
For the near future, cinema will continue to contribute to and
how cinema can bring life to a struggling out-of-town development.
enliven whatever location it is in. Whether in a town centre or in an
The 14-screen Cineworld at Silverburn, Glasgow, has saved a large
out-of-town retail development, people love to go to the cinema.
shopping centre from further decline. The cinema opened in 2015
The industry is investing heavily in new technologies, such as
and increased footfall by over 20% almost immediately. Its success
immersive sound systems, laser projection, super-reflective
has brought in new F&B offers and, together, they provide a clear
screens, massive contrast ratios, the whitest of whites and the
example of the positive impact the right combination of cinema
blackest of blacks. Seats are reclining, sometimes custom-made
and multiple quality restaurants/cafés can make in combating the
and leg room is increasing. Cinema operators are developing their
threats that retailers face from online shopping.
own restaurant and café brands. Social media is allowing
Gloucester Quays is another good example — a typical retail development from the 1990s with a large shopping centre on one
likeminded aficionados of particular movies and genres to come together to request that the cinema show those features.
side of the main road and a typical cinema with restaurant units
The same creativity is happening in other parts of the world.
on the other. That planning made sense in the 1990s, allowing the
The Dubai Mall recently opened the ‘world’s most luxurious
cinema to stay open late after the shopping centre was closed in
cinema’. In Dubai’s Mall of Emirates cinema, you can even have a
the early evening. One did not have to stay open for the other.
meal created in partnership with Michelin star chef Gary Rhodes.
However, when the shopping centre began to suffer from reduced
Decisions in the mid-1980s by major studios to invest heavily
footfall, the developer’s team made the smart decision to move
in cinema development is paying dividends. No longer are the
the cinema into the shopping centre. They then developed the
summer and Christmas holidays the only time to see the best
former cinema site for another purpose. Gloucester Quays is now
movies. Great films are released every month, with record levels of
one of the busiest retail developments in the UK.
investment, encouraging people to go back to the cinema and
The Light Cinema in Stockport has activated a part of the town
keeping the wheel turning. Perhaps the most obvious sign that
that was dying. The way operator and town council collaborated
cinema has come full circle since its low point in 1984 is how the
to develop the site is an example that others should follow. It
shape of TVs are now inspired by cinema. Cinemascope ratio TVs
opened earlier this year, and has surpassed all expectations.
are a must-have item. Televisions follow cinema these days.
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Illustrating the modern diversity of cinema, clockwise from far left, open air cinema afloat on the Thames; Gloucester Quays — now one of the UK’s most popular shopping centres; where the multiplex began — The Point in Milton Keynes, closed in 2015; Cineworld Silverburn has brought life to a Glasgow development; dip into your favourite film; Vue’s futuristic Eltham proposal
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e g ! n y g e o l v o e n h R c e h t
In film terms, you’re nobody unless you’re a part of a cinematic universe. Today, the dominance of franchises, sequels and intellectual property drives the box office forward. David Hancock explores the impact the marriage of technology and “comic book” creations have had on the global box office in recent years… Kapow! Words: David Hancock/IHS Markit
Stand back! The franchise film is taking over earth!
HE TRUISM TODAY IS THAT the way we can make and screen movies has an impact on the type of films that drive the box office on each year. Since cinemas went digital, a twin track of trends has led inexorably to a
world where a range of superheroes fight or collaborate with each other, be that for good or bad. Technology trends are partly responsible for that. Starting with 3D, which had 1 2 / 1 8
% OF TOP 50 SEQUELS 2013-2017
an impact on which type of films were greenlit to exploit fully the extra premium to be made, all new technology trends play a role in which films end up on our screens. Premium Cinema is the latest to favour a certain type of film, those with vibrant colours and fast action sequences that work best on the big screen. After the financial crisis hit the wider world, studios
Franchises: any film that’s a part of a series, the first in a series or latest in a line with the same title, characters, or author… Does not include remakes.
decided that their response to this would be to cut their 70
films needed to display less riskier profiles and they needed
to make more money at the global box office, while often
dovetailing with wider corporate strategies. Helpfully for my
premise, this was around the time that Disney acquired
Marvel Entertainment and began to unlock the potential
held in the panoply of characters that the company had
developed over the years, while spurring on Warner to do
the same with DC Comics. This type of source material is
48.2 20 4 8 .7 18 64.5 25 60.5 25 64.6 29
production slates and focus on fewer, bigger films. These
becoming more prevalent, spreading from these two in to the world of toy manufacturers. The latter have generally stuck to TV and physical media for programme making. The output of the cinema sector is dependent on many
BOX OFFICE OF COMIC SOURCED M AT E R I A L 2013-2017
BOX OFFICE %
things but chief among them is probably the six major US
NO. OF FILMS
studios. These entities control around two-thirds of the world’s box office revenue, but they do have cyclical slumps as they try to adapt to new audience tastes and/or new consumption patterns.
The revenue generated by the films considered part of a franchise in 2017
The call for Harry Potter-style magic In 2005, the six major US studios (Fox, Paramount, Sony
days of cinema’s history, even if they only really took off as a
Pictures, Universal, Walt Disney, Warner Bros) had a market
major driver of the cinema business in the 1970s. The
share of 72.5%, but after this point, cumulative market share
relatively recent expansion of superhero and comic book
was above 80% (apart from 79% in 2007) until 2012. However, in 2013, the studios accumulated a combined market share of 71% which was the lowest share of the North American box office market they registered between 2005 and 2017. This slump coincided with the lack of major IP franchises, with “Harry Potter” ending
characters has taken their importance
“Sequels have been around since the cinema’s early days even if they only properly took off in the 1970s”
to the North American, and therefore, global box office to new levels. In 2017, nearly two thirds of the box office generated by the Top 50 films came from franchise/sequels, compared to less than half in 2013 and 2014. The beauty of a franchise/sequel is that it can tap into existing fan bases, without
in 2011 and “Star Wars” (which revived the studio share) not
the need to build up a new understanding of the characters.
beginning until 2015. Marvel/DC product also didn’t kick in
Films in the Top 50 that can be defined as a sequel or
until the mid-part of the current decade.
So good they made it again (and again)
as a part of a franchise numbered 20 in 2013, contributing $3.8bn or 48.2 % of the $7.9bn generated by these films in North America. By 2017, the 29 films that can be counted as
The subject of sequels and franchise films (not to mention
a sequel or part of a franchise earned $5.5bn at the box
remakes and reboots) is not a new one and the market has
office, or 64.6% of the $8.5bn grossed by the Top 50 titles.
come to depend on this type of film to keep box office
The success of these 20-30 franchise/sequel films are key to
levels up. In fact, they have been around since the very early
the health of the global cinema sector.
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S H A R E P E R C E N TA G E O F F R A N C H I S E M A R K E T 2 0 0 5 - 2 0 1 7
Studio 6 72.5%
Studio 6 80.8%
Studio 6 79%
Studio 6 80%
Studio 6 80%
Studio 6 81.9%
Studio 6 81.6%
Rest of Market 24.3%
Rest of Market 15.6%
Rest of Market 17.2%
Rest of Market 15.5%
Rest of Market 16.2%
Rest of Market 13.3%
Rest of Market 16.6%
Studio 6 74.2%
Studio 6 71%
Studio 6 77.4%
Studio 6 80.6%
Studio 6 84%
Studio 6 80.3%
Rest of Market 14.7%
Rest of Market 19.7%
Rest of Market 15.8%
Rest of Market 13.9%
Rest of Market 10.2%
Rest of Market 11.7%
REST OF MARKET
Drilling down a little, we can identify a highly successful
$700m at the North American box office and “Black
sub-plot developing. It is no secret that our screens are
Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” becoming the two
full of superheroes, and with (a supposed) 7,000 Marvel
highest grossing comic book adaptations of all time.
characters to choose from, and 153 major DC Characters in play too, we may be seeing a lot more. So far this decade,
Serious stuff comes out of the comics
Marvel Entertainment, under Disney’s ownership, has been
What can be said is that both these comic-book inspired
the pre-eminent source. Over the past five years (data taken
lines of film-making have been advantageous to their
from Top 50 films at the North American box office between
parent companies, with Disney’s box office market share
2013 and 2017) there have been 16 films including Marvel
rising from 11.5% in 2009 to above 20% in both 2016 and
characters released, which have grossed $4.5bn at the
2017. As for Warner Bros, their market share was nearing
North American box office at an average of $281.6m per
20% back in 2010 but was tailing off in the mid part of the
film. As a comparison, six films from the DC stable have
current decade and the DC franchises have helped it back
earned $1.8bn in cinemas at an average of $297.1m. Warner
up to near the 20% mark in 2017, with “Wonder Woman”
had only released one DC film by end of 2015, compared to
and “Justice League” in particular contributing. These two
Marvel’s nine and it is only in the past two years that the DC
companies now dominate the North American box office,
characters have begun to be exploited more frequently. In
taking 40% plus between them, very much on the back of
2017, “Wonder Woman” was the highest grossing film from
these comic book characters.
either of these two comic book universes, the first time in
Even though Marvel and to a lesser extent DC Comics
the past five years that DC has ruled at the box office.
are a growing element within the box office make-up, they
Conversely, so far in 2018, four of the top seven films have
are not the only strong assets out there. The strongest is
been Marvel characters, with “Black Panther” exceeding
probably Disney’s “Star Wars”, which has put in place a
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pipeline of product and spin-offs for the next decade at
Barbie, He-Man: Masters of the Universe, Hot Wheels,
least. The franchise genre also includes highly visible
Thomas & Friends, Monster High and Fisher-Price) has
properties like Middle Earth, Harry Potter, Pirates of the
launched a film arm to develop and produce films based
Caribbean, Bond, Jurassic Park, Despicable Me and so on. In
on its toy-related brands. Drawing on the success of not
fact, if we include “Avatar” as a sequel (in the sense that it is
only Marvel and DC Comics, but also rivals Hasbro and Lego,
scheduled to be the first of several films in a series) and “The
Mattel believes it has a range of valuable IP that can be
Grinch” as part of the Doctor Seuss universe, then in the
better exploited in cinema and other media, and sees the
past 20 years the only film to top the yearly box office that
refreshed exhibition sector as a viable way to achieve that.
was not a franchise or a sequel is “American Sniper” in 2014.
An alternative route has been that followed by Lego, which
Making money — it’s child’s play
used its toy brand in conjunction with Warner Animation that kicked off with “The Lego Movie”,
Outside of the two very visible examples of comic-book
and encompassed collaboration with
characters coming to life on our screens, toymakers are also
DC Comics in “Lego Batman”. Lego has
entering the movie business to revive their fortunes in the
character deals for its building blocks
face of a declining market for traditional toys, as is evidenced
with both DC Comics and Marvel.
“Toymakers are also entering the movie business to revive their fortunes in the face of a declining market for toys”
by the demise of retailer Toys ‘R’ Us. The movie business is a
With the dominance of franchise
rich potential source of growth for toymakers, and Hasbro
movies at the box office established,
has had great success with the Transformers franchise,
and with the folding of Fox into Disney
which it produced and Paramount distributed. The
offering new opportunities for super-
franchise has grossed $4.4bn globally in cinemas. The two
hero interaction, as well as a decade of Star Wars and Avatar
companies also worked on G.I. Joe, also controlled by
ahead of us, it seems that technology developments in
Hasbro. This was less successful than Transformers, but by
Premium Cinema allied to a business necessity have led us
no means a disaster, bringing in $678m globally in the two
to a world of superheroes, toys, action, humour and fantasy.
films. In late 2017, Hasbro created Allspark Pictures and
As long as these films continue to be seen in large numbers,
Allspark Animation to extend its collaboration with
you won’t hear exhibitors complaining.
Paramount, for both live-action and animated projects, under a co-financing exclusive deal with a five-year lifespan. Mattel Toys (whose intellectual property includes
David Hancock is Research Director, Cinema at IHS Markit and President of the European Digital Cinema Forum.
In 2016, the big six studios had a market share of 84% — their highest for a decade. Coincidentally, two Star Wars films were on the big screen
$700m 16 Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ exceeded $700m at the North American box office this year, with ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ going on to be the highest grossing comic book adaptations ever.
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The current cast list of Marvel-derived characters that filmmakers have to choose from.
Over the past five years there have been 16 films including Marvel characters released, grossing $4.5bn at the North American box office at an average of $281.6m per film.
in the past 20 years the only film to top the yearly box office not to be a franchise or a sequel is ‘American Sniper’ in 2014.
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Cinema & Netflix
The best of ‘Frenemies’? 3 0
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With the love-hate relationship between exhibitors and the streaming giant coming to a head in 2018, Patrick von Sychowski examines whether this darkly tragic tale is, in reality, a burgeoning romance.
OR SOMEONE WHO once quipped that the biggest innovation in cinemas in the past 30 years is that “the popcorn tastes better”, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings seems awfully keen for his platform’s films to have a star turn on the big screen. “We are not anti-theater,” Hastings explained to reporters last year, “we just want things to come out at the same time.” And therein lies the problem for cinemas. The day-and-date release of films in theatres and online has been at the heart of the conflict between Netflix and NATO and UNIC — the trade bodies representing the interests of cinemas in North America and Europe — for several years. This discussion predates the days when when Netflix was a DVD-by-post company. Yet, with last year’s champion of eliminating the release window (Sean Parker’s The Screening Room) having now vanished, this year the focus is back on the tussle between cinemas and Netflix.
Amount Netflix spent on ‘Bright’
Amount Netflix spent on Scorcesedirected film ‘The Irishman’
Mini major studio or major studio delusion? By late 2017, Netflix was smarting from its prestige films “Okja”, “Mudbound” and “First They Killed My Father” all being largely shunned by festivals, and cinemas. Meanwhile, its $90million action-fantasy “Bright” got a derisive 26% Rotten Tomatoes score and reviews such as “Bright is when Harry Potter
Netflix announced they were realeasing 80 original films this year
Rotten Tomatoes rating for Netflix’s ‘Bright’
vomits on a cop flick” (Mark Kennedy, AP). Netflix threw down the gauntlet for exhibitors and studios, announcing in October last year that it would produce and release 80 or so ‘original films’ in 2018. By way of comparison, the Hollywood ‘Big Six’ released 93 between them in 2017. This would
be the year Netflix proved it could create films as
Talking to Cinema Technology magazine, UNIC’s CEO Laura Houlgatte begins
expired in 2019, to launch its own streaming site. To
by acknowledging that a strong and healthy online market for film content is
make up for the loss of “Frozen” and “Avengers”,
essential for the health of the wider industry. “The cinema industry can exist and
Netflix could no longer rely on buying blockbuster
thrive alongside streaming providers like Netflix,” she affirms, but also feels that
films from established studios but would have to
“their — and the audience’s — best interests are served by films receiving proper
become a studio itself. This is why it is prepared to
theatrical releases, including clear and distinct windows.”
spend a staggering $140million on films like Martin
Netflix & Cinemas Are they co-dependent?
In this regard, rival streaming studio “Amazon’s commitment to the theatrical experience sends an important signal to the broader industry that there is a
appealing as its binge-inducing television shows. Disney had also announced it would withdraw its films from the platform, once its agreement
Scorsese’s “The Irishman” that unites De Niro, with Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel.
willingness to engage and be proper partners,” she points out. Amazon makes a show of respecting the window and has reaped recognition with prestige films
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like “Manchester by the Sea”, while Netflix has had to One German study found that while 55% of VOD subscribers visited a cinema in the past year, the national figure is 37%.
contend with winning in the documentary categories with films such as “Icarus”.
A serious case of Awards Envy?
Netflix famously doesn’t reveal its viewing figures, since the company’s metric of success is the number of
55% Zero Netflix films screened at Cannes, France this year
subscribers and churn. As such it needs high-profile titles, of all German SVoD subscribers buy an average of 5.5 cinema tickets, spending €9.44, as opposed to a market average of 4.7 tickets and €8.90.
49% Millennials make up 49% of US moviegoing audiences, according to NCM
whether TV series or films, to attract and retain customers. This is why it can afford to buy the film titles that Hollywood studios lost their confidence in over a successful theatrical release, titles such as Warner Bros “Mowgli”, Paramount’s “God Particle” and “Annihilation”, and Warner Bros/New Line’s “Shaft” (the latter two for overseas). Netflix scored its biggest success this year when it acquired Alfonso Cuarón “Roma” before it went on to win the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and became hotly tipped to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Cuarón confirmed that the film will be screened “in many places on the big screen,” under what Netflix somewhat
NUMBER OF ORIGINAL TV SHOWS FROM EACH VIDEO SERVICE
coyly describes as “a new type of hybrid distribution agreement,” without going into detail. Netflix earlier caused uproar in Venice, with the head of Italy’s distributors’ association resigning in the wake of controversy over the day-and-date release of the police-
Source: Ampere Anaylsis. *Estimates from YouTube
brutality drama “On My Skin” in cinemas and on Netflix days after its premiere. The Venice Film Festival had come under
criticism for ‘embracing’ Netflix, with UNIC issuing an open
letter which urged “festival competitions” to “only consider for inclusion those films intended for theatrical release.”
No Netflix film had screened in Cannes earlier this year,
after French authorities said there would be no exemptions
to regulations requiring a strict window between theatrical
and SVoD platforms. Having said it was ‘boycotting’ Cannes
(technically its films did not qualify for the main competition),
CEO Reed was later conciliatory, saying “Sometimes we
make mistakes. We got into a bigger situation with Cannes
than we meant to.” Controversy continues to stalk Netflix.
80 60 40
Ramping up the VOD production values
Netflix doubled down on its awards ambitions this autumn
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when it announced that BAFTA’s head of film Jim Bradshaw Starz
would leave after 11 years to join Netflix’s UK awards team. In addition to “Roma” Netflix has high hopes this year for the
Coen brothers’ “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” and Paul
Another study by the US cinema advertiser, National
Greengrass’ “22 July”, though Bradshaw won’t join Netflix
CineMedia, found that far from ditching traditional cinema
until after nominations are announced on 9 January, 2019.
in favour of tablet cinema, Millennials remain passionate
Meanwhile, Amazon Studios has recently announced
about movies. In a study carried out with Omnicom Media
that, not content with spending hundreds of millions
Group’s Annalect and CivicScience, it found that Millennials
developing a television show based on the “Lord of the
“make up the largest frequent movie-going age group,” and
Rings” books, it is now expanding from arthouse titles such
are “highly invested in the overall movie-going process.”
as “Beautiful Boy” into far bigger budget feature film
Although they naturally have an interest in promoting
productions — it is appointing Julie Rapaport, at Amazon
themselves as a channel for advertisers and brands to reach
since 2015, to co-head of movies. “We’ll be looking for
the highly desirable demographic, NCM has a valid point in
movies that might expand to a larger audience,” Amazon
highlighting that, with Millennials making up 49% of movie-
Studios’ head Jennifer Salke recently explained to Screen
going audiences, the cinema [or more specifically NCM-
International, while hinting that the studio might be adding
affiliated cinemas] outrank all US broadcast networks (ABC,
direct-to-platform original film productions in the future.
NBC, etc.), hit TV shows (“The Walking Dead”, “Big Bang
If these new Amazon Studio projects reap both box
Theory”, etc.) and films such as “The Last Jedi” and “Justice
office, critical and awards success, it could put further pressure on Netflix to re-evaluate its insistence on strict dayand-date for all its titles.
TV on the big screen?
“Netflix is killing the cinema” Yaaaaaawn…
A rapprochement between Netflix and cinemas might come about not through movies but through
When North America’s box office declined in 2017, the lazy
TV shows. While its track record in films has been
newspaper headline trope that powered many thousands
more miss than hit, Netflix TV shows have become
of column inches was that ‘Netflix is killing cinema’. Rather
cornerstones of popular culture, with almost all of
than poor films or changes in release patterns being to
its new shows such as “Jessica Jones” produced
blame for year-on-year declines, journalists had decided
and streamed in 4K, Dolby Atmos and/or high
that people had grown tired of the
dynamic range (HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR12).
silver screen and preferred ‘Netflix and chill’ for their entertainment. Yet two studies released in the past year have shown that far from being mutually exclusive, there is a strong overlap in consumers who both go to the cinema and subscribe to Netflix. Giving its annual keynote at the
“There is a strong overlap in viewers who both go to the cinema and who subscribe to services such as Netflix”
There is an opportunity for previews or special screenings of some or all of Netflix’s high-profile shows in cinemas with high-end display and audio, such
“Screening TV series in cinemas remains rare,” UNIC’s Houlgatte observes, but adds there is “a clear opportunity to show prestige TV content in cinemas on their release date as an avant-première
KINO 2018 conference in Baden-Baden, the German
event.” HBO has held screenings of “Game of
Thrones” in IMAX, which also screened the pilot of
“Kinobesucher 2017” that revealed some 23% of cinema
Marvel’s “The Inhumans”. IMAX CEO Richard
goers were also SVoD subscribers, but that 55% of all SVoD
subscribers were cinemagoers, buying on average 5.5
Communacopia Conference recently, “We’re in
tickets and spending €9.44, compared with a market
active discussions with all of the streaming services
average of 4.7 tickets and €8.90. The study undertaken by
about an IMAX release.” So if Netflix wants to get its
GfK also showed that while 55% of German SVoD
content into cinemas, there are simpler ways than
subscribers had seen at least one film in the cinema in the
the recent rumour that Netflix (or Amazon) might
past year, for the whole population that figure was just 37%.
be buying a cinema chain.
“Users of streaming services are not the enemies of the cinema, but its friends,” affirmed FFA’s Frank Völkert.
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Curzon Artificial Eye’s VOD per title for newer films like Cannes winner ‘Cold War’
...and the VOD price Curzon Artificial Eye charge for older films in its catalogue
Curzon12 gives subscribers VOD access to 12 carefully selected titles per month
League” outperform all sporting events with the exception
BAFTA actually bestowed its 2017 Outstanding British
of the Super Bowl. It could be argued that some Netflix
Contribution to Cinema award on the Curzon Group, which
shows might be even more popular, but since Netflix
incorporates Curzon Home Cinema, at the 2017 EE British
doesn’t carry adverts or release its viewing figures, NCM
Academy Film Awards.
doesn’t have to concern itself with comparisons to the subscription platform.
UK-based pay-TV platform Sky launched its Sky Cinema
With cinema attendance having bounced back in the
Original Films earlier this year. Under this venture with
summer of 2018 in the US (less so for some parts of Europe),
Altitude Films, Sky will finance and distribute original titles
talk of Netflix killing cinema has recently died down.
that are scheduled to appear both in cinemas and on its
Hopefully there will be more research into affinity for films
satellite platforms at the same
across online platforms and genuine cinema venues before the next lull in cinema-going prompts a further wave of lazy headlines. As one exhibitor at CineEurope mused, “if you like cooking Italian food at home, it doesn’t mean you don’t also like to eat out in Italian restaurants.”
“With cinema attendance having bounced back in the US, talk of Netflix killing cinema has recently died down”
time. Sadly, the critical and box office success of this venutre
although the operator is still firmly on track to co-finance and release six or seven titles per year.
While Sky Cinema’s “Monster Family” was the widest-
Day-and-date releasing is already a fact in the UK, albeit
ever day-and-date release in the UK, appearing on 134
not for Hollywood blockbusters. Most notably the boutique
screens, you would not find it or any other Sky or Rakuten
cinema chain Curzon launched its Curzon On Demand in
titles in any Cineworld, Odeon or Vue cinemas. The three
2010, later re-branding it to Curzon Home Cinema in 2013.
multiplex majors that operate around 64% of all UK screen
In partnership with its sister-distribution company,
maintain a very strict 16-17 theatrical window and refuse to
Curzon Artificial Eye, it makes independent, arthouse and
Taking the lead from Netflix, Amazon and Curzon, the
show any title that does not respect it.
foreign language films available to download at home on
This has been the case since Walt Disney tried to shorten
the same day as they open in its UK cinemas. The per-title
the releases window of Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”
price is £10 for a new releases like Cannes award winner
from four to just three months back in 2010. That move led
“Cold War” or as little as £3 for older films. Curzon also has a
to a boycott by the Big Three that was only reversed just
platform called Curzon12 under which Curzon members
hours before the film received a Royal Gala Premiere in
gain access to 12 carefully curated films per month, typically
London. So, while day-and-date is a reality in the UK,
arthouse classics. Far from being rejected by the cinema
currently that is only true for certain smaller films and
industry for the promotion of day-and-date titles on VOD,
cinemas — not the blockbusters or big chains.
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cinema_technology_2018_Layout 1 30/07/2018 22:57 Page 1
DEEPER, RICHER, AND MORE IMMERSIVE.
DEEPER, RICHER AND MORE IMMERSIVE
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Behind the Cinionic scenes at Barco From humble beginnings in the world of radio, in Barco Peter Knight discovers a firm that has refused to stay static — as the new Cinionic joint venture demonstrates.
HOW DOES A COMPANY GET its name? Often, it’s a manufactured marketing-led moniker, but in the case of Barco, the name speaks precisely to its history. Established in 1934, the Belgium American Radio Corporation (Barco) assembled radios from imported parts. Barco has come on a bit — it is now a multinational that develops visualisation solutions to help professionals work together, share information, and project images in cinemas and elsewhere. Its focus is on enterprise, healthcare and entertainment. With more than 3,600 employees in 90 countries, the company has 400 granted patents. Headquartered in Kortrijk, Belgium, Barco has facilities in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific and is listed on Euronext Brussels. www.cinematech.today
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The view from the top Peter Knight interviews Wim Buyens, CEO at Cinionic Cinionic vs Barco? At CinemaCon 2018 Barco launched Cinionic, its joint venture with Appotronics (ALPD) and China Film GroupCFG (CFG). Headquartered in Hong Kong and with offices in the United States, Belgium and Mexico. The name “Cinionic” combines ‘cinema’ and ‘ionic’, and we define it as the “coming together of forces to create
Projectors are made in eight dedicated steps, including a clean room for light engine assembly
energy in the Cinema industry.” The company focuses on innovative cinema solutions, flexible financing and a comprehensive service model that enables exhibitors to focus on engagement with their moviegoers while simplifying their technology and operations.
adopt a technological advance without the danger of it being obsolete tomorrow. Part of this strategy can be seen
How does Barco fit within Cinionic?
with the ALPD retrofit laser option — users can opt to either
Cinionic is a joint venture with Appotronics and CFG,
buy outright or via a pay as you use hourly method. This
where Barco is the main driver with and has 55% of the
“technology as a service” approach can be seen in a variety
company, with each of the partners having a 20% stake,
of other industries and sectors, notably within software.
the remaining 5% being taken by a finance partner.
changed. Previously, buying a car meant going to the
division into this new venture and has found partners
showroom, paying money and keeping the car until you no
to help them go beyond just the technology that Barco
longer needed it, then selling it on before buying a new
is famed for. The full organisation is built on Barco’s
one. Now there are a range of methods available, including
heritage and talent. Barco will be the exclusive partner
monthly deals where everything except the petrol is
to Cinionic for all projection and image processing
thrown in. Providing similar financial flexibility is one of the
technologies in the joint venture. ALPD will provide
three pillars of Cinionic — “wow experience”, “peace of
industry-leading laser technology and retrofit solutions
mind” and “financial flexibility”. These are core to the
while CGS contributes high-quality solutions for
company and its focus. Experience is important, people
Premium Large Format (PLF) screens.
hate bad experience and “wow experience” is about raising
“In a post VPF world, it’s no longer enough to
the bar. Bringing in the wow factor is important to Cinionic
provide superb engineering and market leading
— and that can be a big screen, or simply the provision of a
products,” explains Wim. “Our customers are asking for
cinema for the first time in a rural community, for example
future-proof technology and more complete financial
in Brazil, where the technology is now affordable.
and service solutions. That’s what Cinionic, with the strength of all three JV partners, will deliver.”
Cinionic is confident these experiences will boost attendance.
The result is a new breed of entertainment company
frequency increase, new audiences will be attracted as
says Wim: “We’re listening to exhibitors and taking
well. Technology integration is happening more and more,
action. We’ll deliver everything to ensure operational
and making it easy to use is important. Wim hinted at some
peace of mind while elevating the audience experience,
exciting developments in these areas to come from
from the latest visualisation solutions to a comprehensive
Cinionic, but he wasn’t in a position to elaborate!
service care offering and affordable financing.”
A similar example is how the purchasing of cars has
In other words Barco has spun off its entire cinema
The “financial” and “peace of mind” elements of Cinionic
Cinionic is about allowing, Barco, a technology
go hand in hand. Investing in any technology is a potentially
company, to go beyond just technology. The idea is that
risky business, so Cinionic is able to provide different
the joint venture will help to de-risk the introduction of
financial models that go beyond the traditional. Here
technology for customers, giving them confidence to
Cinionic differs from Barco, too. It is able to provide a range
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Inside the product range By far the largest product range is the projector portfolio Barco provides. It has more than 200 all-laser complexes globally, and has one of the largest Smart Laser Projector portfolios of any manufacturer with 18 different models to select from, meaning a projector for any requirement. Laser projectors fall into two categories ‘Mainstream Smart’ and ‘Premium Flagship’. Long-term, Cinionic believes laser is the technology for projection, with many different flavours available. Despite the large portfolio, many of the parts work on multiple models, meaning that TCO is lower and makes sense business wise. One solution Cinionic is able to offer is Laser as-a-service — rather than buy an entirely new projector in order to convert to laser, Cinionic offers a retrofit kit. that can be bought on a pay-per-hour basis that equates to the cost of a bag of popcorn per movie.
mind — that is essential to Wim, as it means a
There is still a lot of work to be done, including
customer can make a purchase decision without
building the trust and recognition of the Cinionic
fear there will be something new and better
brand with the customers. The work now starts
next week, month or year.
on implementing the joint venture’s new
Breakdown of Cinionic’s Ownership
strategy and to show that Cinionic is more than
of options to customers to help provide peace of
A Year in Review
simply a technology brand (that which makes it
Wim has been with Barco for 20 years, joining as
fundamentally different to Barco). Wim strongly
the industry moved to digital. The launch of
believes that Cinionic can improve occupancy
Cinionic at CinemaCon was the result of two
levels across exhibition and sees the company
years work by Wim to bring the idea to fruition.
helping to make incremental changes that will
While the number of new screens worldwide has
stimulate the industry as a whole.
Finance Partner 5%
Predicted global screen number in 5 years’ time
slowed to 180,000 there is an expectation that will increase to more than 200,000 over the next 5 years. Growth is slowing, maybe, but growth is strong in a number of regions and territories. For Wim it has been good to get feedback from customers, enabling Barco to grow from a technology provider to a service solutions
Smart laser light engine retrofitting — an affordable option thanks to new financing models
company many of whom are encouraged by the new business model. Now that the model is there it is about getting this out to the wider audience and to start adding it to the portfolio. Wim is quick to point out that the Barco brand is still a key ingredient of Cinionic and that there is still a lot of work to be done in the years integrators and channel partners remains vital.
The new factory handles four production lines: two for projectors, two for healthcare
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ahead. Barco’s industry partnerships, with
An innovative factory and new offices In May 2016 Barco moved to a purpose-built headquarters that not only combined the offices but the factory as well. The design is light and airy, but also aims to bring all the different parts of the company together. There is now an experience centre designed to show off the range of Barco products, from their control room, enterprise and medical products through to the entertainment and cinema. Located at Beneluxpark in Kortrijk, the 230,000m2 ‘One Campus’ is a landmark — an all-glass, circular building surrounded by green spaces, connected to three state-ofthe-art Barco facilities — the Silicon Valley of Belgium. Barco needed a centralised infrastructure because the distance between sites in Kortrijk and Kuurne was getting to be too much for employees. This centralising structure has been located next to existing corporate buildings in Kortrijk. The campus’s crowning jewel is ‘The Circle’, Barco’s new headquarters. With a diameter of 75m and a height of 25m, this monumental building can be seen far and wide.
The Circle, Cinionic’s new HQ at the heart of what some call Belgium’s Silicon Valley
1,500m2 of clean room where delicate work of assembling light engines takes place. This clean room is able to produce 70 pristine cinema projector light engines each day, with each taking between three and five hours to complete. In this area, Barco controls the temperature, humidity and airborne dust particles as is required to maintain the quality of its products.
Designed by Jaspers-Eyers Architects, the glass façade and
Four rows of assembly take place in the factory, two for
roof systems form a skin around the circular building’s open-
projectors, two for healthcare. Within the projection area are
plan interior and central atrium.
eight dedicated steps, with each having a screen with the
The new One Campus includes 48,000m2 of general
latest assembly instructions. Barco is in the process of
facilities, surrounded by a pond and grass. Standing proudly,
building an additional extension to the factory to enable it to
at the heart of the campus, is The Circle, connected to the
have an automated warehouse for parts giving greater
Lab (the R&D and test-unit), the Pulse and The Engine (the
flexibility, scaling and efficiency opportunities. With this fully
production facility), by a footbridge. The Circle comprises
automated warehousing solution scheduled to become
airy, flexible offices, R&D offices and test areas, a 170-seat
operational in 2019, it will support the company’s continued
auditorium, a training centre, a three-tier meeting deck and
development in this new area, and will, naturally, help
an atrium with a first-class restaurant. The showpiece of The
support the care and attention that Barco puts into the
Circle is the Barco Experience Centre, equipped with Barco’s
manufacture of all of its projectors.
most advanced visualisation solutions. The Experience Centre is built around how Barco’s solutions help people enjoy entertainment experiences; how they foster knowledge-sharing and smart decision-making in organisations and help hospitals provide patients with the best possible healthcare. There are four dedicated demo pods for Entertainment, Enterprise and Healthcare, as well as customised demonstrations. The movie theatre showcases Barco’s immersive audio and cinema technologies. Barco has two global manufacturing facilities, one in China for the Asian market, in operation for eight years, and one in Belgium, where all of Barco’s projectors for the EU market are made in “The Engine” in Kortrijk. Here they have been investing in extending and refurbishing the facilities, as well as the way the whole factory operation performs. Within the 19,000m2 of manufacturing space there is
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Boothless design for the all laser Kinepolis Breda
The Future Throughout our interview Wim hinted at developments in a variety of areas that are likely to be revealed in due course. Out of interest I asked about 8K — with TVs now 4K and entertainment projectors offering 8K for certain applications, is it time cinema started thinking about it? In short, ‘not immediately’. While technologically it is easier to achieve 8K than was 4K in 2010, there are other implications, notably data size in post and distribution. More importantly, there isn’t enough 4K content as
INNOVATIVE SCREEN SOLUTIONS PREMIUM SCREENS | 2D AND 3D SCREENS | MOTORIZED SYSTEMS STRUCTURES AND FRAMES
is. This needs to be increased before other resolutions are seen — unless you are in Japan where it is likely to be seen sooner. On its own technology is not the most important element, however. It is about the audience experience and the added value and it must make sense commerically for exhibitors. “At CinemaCon, we gave a hint about the technologies we are working on, like HDR, which we showcased,” explains Wim, “and we received positive feedback, confirming we are on the right track.”
Barco and BAFTA Barco, and now Cinionic have been a technology partner with BAFTA since 2005 and the beginning of digital projection, when they installed a DP100 projector into the main auditorium, the Prince Anne at 95 Piccadilly. As the evaluation of digital technology has developed so have the projectors installed, first with a 4K projector and now with the latest flagship 4K laser projector DP4K-20LHC projector (the biggest possible for the size of screen). Cinionic sees the relationship as a platform for them and regularly uses the venue to present to studios, projectionists and others, the relationship with BAFTA allowing Cinionic to obtain valuable feedback and lots of useful data.
CineAsia - Booth 202 www.cinematech.today
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I N T E R V I E W
Shifting gear in the 4th dimension Patrick von Sychowski interviews Choi Byung-hwan, CEO of CGV, on the transition of 4DX from theme park attraction to absorbing film experience Words: Patrick von Sychowski
Fact File Choi Byunghwan, CEO of CGV
Long-standing CEO of CJ
MMERSIVE — IT MAY BE ONE OF the
motion-mechanisms. In addition, we have launched ‘4DX
most prevalent buzzwords in our
with ScreenX’, a blend of 4DX effects with the panoramic
business, but the driver behind it is
screen of ScreenX [see Peter Knight’s review on the
solid — make the audience feel they
following pages — Ed]. The first site opened in Korea last
are part of the story. Few do more to
year, followed by the first European site in Paris in July. ‘4DX
achieve this goal than Choi Byung-
with ScreenX’ created a new experience value for audiences,
hwan, CEO of CGV, the South Korean conglomerate that
with the movie on a 270-degree panoramic screen.
specialises in bringing the film beyond the screen.
Combining the two formats creates a natural convergence
of two technologies that are rapidly growing in popularity. How has CJ 4DPLEX gone about refining its 4DX technology since it was first conceived in 2009?
We’re always on the lookout for interesting collaboration projects, specifically in the gaming and alternative content
The idea behind 4DX evolved from 4D theme park rides.
fields. For example, Simuline, experts in creating dynamic
October this year,
4DX harnessed that technology and developed it to provide
rides and simulators for the attraction industry, was
an increasingly immersive experience. The end result is less
incorporated as a subsidiary of CJ CGV in January 2013, and
a theme park ride and more complementary to films.
merged into CJ 4DPLEX in December 2016. To expand our
was announced as the CEO of the
The motion-chairs and environmental effects of 4DX
business beyond cinema, we have 4DX VR Cinema in the
are constantly being upgraded with new effects, reflecting
concept stage. Our 4DX VR technology is currently featured
feedback from audiences. 4DX provides motion-chairs with
in theme parks and arcades around the world and we are in
13 different motion effects and eight environmental effects.
the process of adapting it for theaters.
Last year, we released the sway and twist effect and the fog
The VR world is an interesting, growing
storm effect, and we continuously develop the existing
industry, one we want to keep up with.
4DX has shaken up the cinema market for seating
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I N T E R V I E W
CJ 4DPLEX is known for innovation as well as being relentless in gathering customer feedback. Can
What do you see as the key difference between 4DX and its competitors?
you tell us more about this process.
CJ 4DPLEX is the world’s first 4D cinema company and 4DX
Since its debut, over 83 million people have experienced
came from CJ CGV, the parent company of CJ. It has
our formats. We constantly check and accumulate audience
achieved a dominant position in the market with numbers
responses to create international standards for this industry.
and the reaction from our audience suggesting 4DX is the
When major Hollywood titles end their run, a satisfaction
leader of the premium cinema formats. 4DX operates more
survey is conducted up to twice a month, including a brand
than 66,000 seats in 563 theatres in 59 countries (as of
satisfaction survey for five of the major global markets on an
October). To date, 4DX has reached $240 million at the box
annual basis. Audience feedback is invaluable so we try to
office and 20 million admissions for 2018 so far.
listen attentively and ensure these opinions are reflected in
The biggest difference between 4DX and its competitors is the creative aspect behind each film. 4DX provides precise
how we move forward with technology. Our business is built on providing the best experience
movements and a wide range of speed control through a
and in this context, our decision to expand ‘4DX with
quality motor system installed in the chair. We’ve improved
ScreenX’ to the global market is the result of positive
the mechanism to be smooth and subtle so that viewers can
feedback. It was unveiled at CinemaCon 2018 in April,
be fully absorbed in the film. Our focus is always on
following a sneak preview in one theater in South Korea last
improvements in the 4DX environment and the comfort
year. The format received significant attention from
levels for the audience. We do not put in effects to “fill empty
exhibitors and was recognised this year at the Edison
space”. Each is selected to maximise enjoyment. More than
30 creative producers from Seoul, Beijing and Los Angeles
Choi Byung-hwan on.... Japanese success for 4DX In 2013, 4DX opened its first auditorium in Japan with Korona theaters. Before installing 4DX, Korona was not especially well-known, but after having 4DX in one of its auditoriums, its popularity increased including sales, opening with a 90% occupancy rate. Our marketing concept was ‘Not just cinema! It’s a Theme Park with a movie nearby your Home’. 4DX’s successful opening performance in Korona led to 4DX’s growth, with 4DX opening 25 screens in 2015 and 16 in 2016. There are now 55 auditoriums in Japan, our second biggest market. To build popularity, 4DX first targeted local movie fans and released more than 10 local films in 4DX a year. 4DX also screened the classic animated film, ‘Girls and Panzer’ and the box-office ranking of the film jumped from 38th to 8th after re-launching in our format. Hollywood blockbusters have also done well. ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ in 4DX earned more than ¥1 billion surpassing 0.4 million attendance in the Japanese box office.
1 2 / 1 8
collaborate in producing 4DX-enhanced films — 4DX Studio
with the format. ‘Gonjiam’, a Korean horror film, attracted a
works with producers and directors to create the most
lot of attention because of scenes shot using ScreenX’s 3
innovative experience for each sequence of the film.
CAM system, and — with 200,000 audience members in
attendance — accounted for 10% of the total moviegoers for Let’s talk about ScreenX. Do you see this as a PLF
the film. It could be a turning point for ScreenX for Studios to
concept competing with the likes of IMAX and
consider ScreenX in the pre-production process. Currently,
China Giant Screen or something different?
we are preparing to release 3D Korean animations such as
What sets ScreenX apart is that it not only offers a larger
‘Jumbagi2’ and ‘Underdog’, as well as K-pop’s top idol Twice’s
screen but also an immersive factor. PLF systems simply
latest concert film “Twiceland” in coming months.
extend the image or make it appear 3-dimensional on a
single screen, ScreenX utilises the entire auditorium with a 270-degree viewing experience. Two specially installed
Can You tell us about films from other Asian territories releasing in ScreenX, particularly from
panel screens on the right and left side of the main screen
China. Will we see films specifically made for ScreenX?
create a panoramic view of select scenes, allowing the
Since we started showing ScreenX with ‘Mojin: The Lost
audience to feel as if they’re in the movie.
Legend’ in China in 2015, we have created 11 Chinese local
films to date. This year, we produced ‘Detective Chinatown ScreenX has had great success with Korean films such as ‘Train to Busan’ and “Battleships”. What’s
the outlook for future Korean films releasing in ScreenX? Films like ‘Train to Busan’ have proved to be very compatible
Vol 2,’ a romantic comedy in ScreenX and the response was 4DX with ScreenX merges two of CJ 4DPlex’s marketleading formats
better than expected with over 320,000 million attendees. We are now in discussions with other major Chinese studios.
ScreenX had its Hollywood debut through the Bruckheimer/Disney partnership for ‘Pirates of the
Caribbean.’ How did you convince Hollywood studios to
“4DX Studio works with producers and directors to create the most innovative experience for each sequence of a film”
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I N T E R V I E W
release their films and get involved in the creative postproduction process of converting films to ScreenX? Our first Hollywood feature was in 2017 with “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”. Its success brought ScreenX the privilege of working with many of the largest studios and most brilliant filmmakers on 10 titles to date. ScreenX has been invited to be a regular part of the creative postproduction process as Hollywood increasingly appreciates our strength in communication and our meticulous care. Our in-house ScreenX producers collaborate with the likes of Marvel and New Line Cinema to create a process that neither disrupts nor delays the pipeline of a blockbuster. Our LA office is a frontline communicator to the largest content creators and distributors and our producers work with studio post-production and production teams to navigate the creation of content approved by studio partners.
Do all genres work in ScreenX and/or 4DX? Would a
‘Jumanji’ to include extreme water
romantic comedy like “Crazy Rich Asians” work?
effects for the Japanese market.
In China, ScreenX has released comedy films such as ‘The Village of No Return’ and ‘Hello Mr. Billionaire’ and audiences told us their experience was enhanced through ScreenX.
Is CJ 4DPLEX developing other technologies for the cinema,
…and on film in 10 years
‘Detective Chinatown Vol. 2’, a Chinese comedy-mystery
such as VR or augmented reality?
buddy film in the ScreenX format ranked the highest
We try to get people into the habit of
Considering the lifestyle changes
attendance of all time in Chinese 4DX box office, surpassing
going to theatres and we see enhanced
of customers and a competitive
320,000 million attendances. ScreenX suits a variety of
cinema experiences as a great step in
environment, it is essential to
genres, particularly films that contain expansive landscapes,
achieving an atmosphere that can
diversify formats. The number of
but our main focus has always been story. We want the side
only be available in theatres. Not just to
premium formats is growing and
images to complement the main screen, accentuating the
sit back and watch a movie, but to be a
this will be increase. We like to
most important aspect — the story. We put a lot effort into
part of it. We started with 4DX, then
keep ahead of the curve: upgrading
selecting scenes where ScreenX and the narrative match.
ScreenX, and now ‘4DX with ScreenX’
technologies has been one idea,
and ‘4DX VR’. We’re still developing
and converging new ones another
CJ 4DPLEX recently signed a large global agreement
projects to bring innovative, formats to
way to compete, but the value of
for both 4DX and ScreenX with Cineworld-Regal.
audiences. Early this year, we screened
cinema is not just watching movies.
How were they convinced to roll out these technologies?
the world’s first 4DX VR film. ‘Stay With
It’s the communal experience. CJ
Cineworld is a great partner for their reach and for being
Me’ at the CJ-CGV cinema chain — it
4DPLEX wants to be a leader in
forward thinkers. They are believers in moving the experience
achieved over 75% occupancy rate.
creating a culture of moviegoing
forward, and high-end technology is a component of that. Likewise, both 4DX and ScreenX are proven innovative cinema formats that outperform traditional theaters: for
that goes beyond just watching. Do you regard the solutions offered by CJ 4DPLEX as
example, in the US, 4DX outperforms regular theaters by
creating a truly compelling reason for
generating an average of 2.2x higher Box Office Gross.
people to come to the cinema instead of staying at home
and streaming film and TV shows? Do audiences respond differently to the 4DX
As home video streaming has become prevalent over the
experience in different countries?
past few years, the movie theater/film industry has been hit
Depending on the studio and the exhibitor, there is the
hard. Unique experiences that can only be enjoyed outside
option to produce a distinct 4DX film. For example, Korean
the home are the next logical step.
audiences do not like strong water effects, but these are
Our aim is to be a powerful driver of the future premium
popular in Japan. As such, 4DX has tailored films including
cinema marketplace, continually providing differentiated
‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,‘ and
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for Choi Byunghwan, and for CGV, keeping the cinema experience unique is at the core of his business
cinema_technology_2018_Layout 1 30/07/2018 22:57 Page 2
PREMIUM PERFORMANCE, OUTSTANDING CHOICE. THE ALL NEW
IMPROVED HIWHITE FINISH VISIBLY WHITER APPEARANCE ENHANCED COLOR & CONTRAST EVEN WIDER VIEWING ANGLES REDUCED OPERATING COSTS 4K AND LASER READY
Widening the ente
ScreenX arrives in the UK Launched in the UK in August, CT experienced the first installation of ScreenX, at London’s Cineworld O2. Peter Knight widens his eyes to see how the format performs,
with Cineworld but also globally. At the time of writing
Words: Peter Knight
previous pages, there are ambitious plans to expand
there were 147 screens in 10 countries and, as outlined by the newly appointed CEO of CGV, Choi Byung-hwan, in the ScreenX to thousands of screens worldwide. No matter how great a format is, if there is no content
NYONE AT CINEEUROPE IN JUNE can’t help but have been impressed by Cineworld’s anouncement that it had agreed with CJ-CGV, owner of the ScreenX product, to install 100 screens across the UK, US and eight other
The ScreenX format brings an epic field of view to the auditorium — as early demo material, such as this expansive Himalayan panorama, show
available to be shown in it, the format will falter. With ScreenX, movies are able to be adapted either at the production stage, or later on in post-production to suit. Often the side images that give ScreenX its impact are CG extension graphics that have been added. Thus far, the catalogue of titles to have received the ScreenX treatment
international locations. The first of this new wave of ScreenX
includes a host of Korean and Chinese hits such as “Train to
auditoriums in the UK opened at the Cineworld, O2, North
Busan” and “Detective Chinatown 2”, but Hollywood is
Greenwich in August 2018 with the blockbusters “The Meg”
increasingly switching on to the format, with new titles
and “Antman and the Wasp”. What an opportunity…
including Fox’s musical bio-pic “Bohemian Rhapsody”,
The opening of the newly equipped auditorium comes
released last month, as well as the effects spectacular from
at a time when the CJ-CGV is not just expanding rapidly
Warner Bros, “Aquaman”, releasing this month, and a further
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ScreenX in brief The ScreenX concept makes use of the main screen in the auditorium and associated DCP cinema technology. In addition, the walls of the auditorium are coloured white, and additional projectors placed in the ceiling. These are high-quality single chip DLPs which, when combined, allow for a 270-degree picture. Screen X was developed by a Korean company that also operates the largest cinema chain in South Korea, the CJ conglomerate. The company, CJ-CGV, is also responsible for 4DX. The format was first launched in 2012 with the experience initially only available in South Korea. ScreenX is able to be easily retrofitted without impacting on traditional 2D or 3D screenings that take place there. The cost is around £300,000 and CJ-CGV foresees that exhibitors would add one or two into a cinema as headline features for the site.
rtainment horizons DC Comics revival, “Shazam!”, coming to cinemas in spring next year. Studio executives have publicly put their faith in the format, as have exhibitors, with commitment for installations sure to support the format as it matures.
A landmark venue for the first installation in the UK — the Cineworld O2
Premium for the experience Just as with 3D and other screen variants, there is a premium added to the ticket if you want to experience ScreenX — in the UK that stands at around £3. For Cineworld Unlimited customers it operates in the same way as it currently does for 3D screenings — customers are required to pay an additional fee for the premium, unless they have dipped
each focused on a quarter of the side screens. High-end
into their pocket for a Premium Unlimited card, which
single-chip DLPs, these projectors are all switched on at the
means the format is included.
same time as the main projector, and provide a low level of
When I visited Cineworld’s first UK installation at the O2
light onto the ceiling during the time when not in use.
to experience the ScreenX format, the most noticeable
Most ScreenX features at the moment only include a
thing about the auditorium was the amount of ambient
number of scenes that are masterd for the full 270-degree
light that exists — the auditorium walls are now white, no
format, so there is a constant switch between having a
longer being dark to absorb additional light reflected from
picture on just the main screen and on the side panels too.
the main screen. With the original wall-to-wall, floor-to-
At times that proved a little distracting, but you quickly get
ceiling screen at the end of the auditorium, in the site I
used to the transition. Mainly the content that was in the
visited there were a total of four projectors in the ceiling
ScreenX format is material that is primarily CGI-driven or
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some action scenes, but rarely did I see dialogue scenes played out on the side screens themselves. It was noticeable with the content I viewed that there were times when the picture had been cropped, in order then to expand it over the three screens. For the most part this didn’t matter, but on a few occasions I felt some of the subtleties of the scenes were diminished. (It is worth noting that the feature in question is one I had seen projected several times in a standard format so was well known to me — would a first-time viewer feel the same way?) The main screen also lost some of its contrast when the extra screens
something different, that most of today’s cinemagoers will
were in use as there was so much additional light in the
never have tried in the past. ScreenX is considerably easier
auditorium. Things such as fire exit signs remain in place on
to install and manage than similar options from the days of
the walls and become part of the canvas of the additional
film. There are many movies and cinemas for which the
screens. Although this sounds distracting, for the most part
format will not be a suitable fit — equally there are many
I didn’t find that they detracted from the experience.
locations and movies, notably action-driven blockbusters,
The ScreenX format is intended to immerse the viewer,
for which ScreenX will be the destination of choice. One
but without obviously distracting you from story. In this
indicator of the format’s success will be whether it is a
respect I found ScreenX added a certain amount to the
sufficient draw that it encourages audiences to see a big
content and it was genuinely enjoyable. It is certainly a
movie multiple times in order to experience it in various
format that I will seek out again. The main thing I would like
different formats. If it achieves that level of enthusiasm,
to see is more of the content projected in the full three-
then Hollywood’s support will be forthcoming, I’m sure.
screen ScreenX format, thereby reducing the chopping
While it won’t be suited to all sites, ScreenX is made for all-action, blockbuster-driven headline venues such as the O2
With the likes of ScreenX, 4DX and other PLF offerings, the goal is to encourage audiences to experience something
from main screen only to all three at once.
at the cinema that they simply cannot get at home, and
Set for success?
while this format and style is by no means the be-all-and-
ScreenX is another format in an increasingly competitive
end-all of the cinema experience, it is certainly a very valid
arena of entertainment and experiences. It provides
part of the overall story.
Other similar formats
Lives up to the VR demo!
LEDs instead of projectors?
ScreenX is not the first time attempt
ScreenX was at the CineEurope 2018
With all the stray light bouncing around a not-so-
to provide images on more than one
event, and had a demo of their format
black auditorium, could an alternative solution be
screen at the front of the auditorium,
— except rather than building an
to make use of LED screens for the wall panels? This
it has been happening since the
entire auditorium and going to the
could allow for the walls to remain more or less
beginning of cinema with Cinerama
expense of installing ScreenX for a
black while not in use, but provide a bright enough
being one of the most famous and
short period, they had instead a
image when they are. Of course, there are a number
most popular formats. In its earliest
virtual reality demo of it. Wearing a
of challenges with the use of LEDs in this context —
forms it had a 146-degree field of
VR headset, you then experienced
the shape of the auditorium walls is not rectangular
view, and was probably the first really
ScreenX through that. The demo
but more triangular because of the raked seating,
successful of such formats. More
allowed you to look round the
which would evidently have an impact on the cost
recently Barco Escape had multiple
auditorium and view the content.
of the install. LEDs would have to be considerably
projectors, but used screens placed at
Having experienced ScreenX in the
turned down in their brightness, and these panels
an angle, rather than utilising the
real world, I found the VR equivalent
at the moment are costly, but it doesn’t mean that
auditorium walls as ScreenX does.
surprisingly true to the real thing.
in the future it wouldn’t be a possibility.
More information on ScreenX can be found on their website, screenx.co.kr
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Free online access! 1
E S S B U S I N
Airlines Variable Pricin Miles and Frequent Flier
cinemas began t airline-style pt at budge in Milton Keynes The only attem of easyCinema d to go with the closure more incline and ended are today Class , cinemas and Gold in 2006. Instead with VIP seating ’ First Class or ss from the airlines Busine lesson comes mmes. Yet a bigger loyalty progra auditoriums. and g er at SPic pricing ticketin use of dynam pment Manag Business Develo es, rentals car Kevin Sterthu of hotels, that 90% ic GmbH, notes with dynam online Smart Pricer already sold “in tickets are notes, but and airline ly first,” he are typical unity industries is an opport pricing. “Big ning now and sold tion is happe events are cinema disrup of sporting Even 50% revenues” 20%. at to increase h as languis but cinem es new ticket this way today, pricing includ of variable time and Different forms (linked to ic pricing ries (for Saver’), dynam types (‘Super ic price catego and dynam g to bookings) ries startin number of Other indust ding on seat). resorts, with example, depen , zoos and ski e stage shows cinemas includ Park the first embrace this ’s Cinema UCI and Russia Germany’s Smart Pricer. services water with of bundling to test the s in terms lesson offer , hotels Airlines also ng, car rentals priority boardi d ts (meals, going beyon and produc flight), often book your largest when you the world’s and more, s also have dollars, product. Airline more than their core miles worth frequent flier currency, with
LEARN FROM ER OTUH STRIES
make US “airlines to Bloomberg, mile According where “each euros or yuans. than seats,” cents,” selling miles cents to 2.5 more money ere from 1.5 airline anywh fetches an tions. a card transac launch credit Vue to through the Odeon and Cineworld, Time for card? Platinum AmEx The hidden ive and risky. both expens risk, and money is counterfeit Handling inaccuracies, Review e labour, d Business costs includ ing to Harvar sses lose (i.e theft). Accord retail busine shrinkage 2014), “U.S. of cash Costs of Cash’, theft Hidden of the (‘The lly because y. billion annua include robber about $40 risks al lly. Extern t in just interna gone the furthes alone.” That’s Swedes have the China , money’, Outside of ‘Money, money sang about a sign cash. ABBA them to ating ted elimin museum dedica the Stockholm cards and but in the Credit, debit ed. accept s use cash is not 25% of Swede states that norm. Only a chain Swish are the -largest cinem payment app n’s second d by a week. Swede of 2016, inspire cash once ss at the end year went cashle the way a Svenska Bio r, which led iografe payments r chain Björnb g and card the smalle online bookin as that use them better. earlier. Cinem ers and know on custom ocused more data community-f can collect h Swedis e no surpris g bank, Perhaps it’s fastest growin also the UK’s is en an ATM. lsbank don’t expect bank Hande surveys. Just in customer scoring highly
Banks des) (like the Swe Go Cashless
usly says cy Fitch, famo d consultan Patrick von tor at bran the past 50.” . s, creative direc 5 years than ns they offer Christian Davie ge more in the next ge and lesso chan adopting chan “Retail will industries investigates i owsk Sych ski Words: Patrick
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day tech.to inema www.c
day tech.to inema www.c
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“Whether the subject is premium large format, digital delivery, live event content or laser projection Cinema Technology has the pulse of the industry” 2 9
Driving Occupanc with data y
“Cinema Technology provides a unique and dedicated coverage of trends and developments in the global cinema exhibition business”
Exhibitors who emb race
address an innovative age old chall data tools enge: getti the door. Sarah can ng customers Lewthwaite, through targeted use SVP at Movi of data can o, illustrates impact the how Lewthwaite bottom line.
The numbe r of titles one 17-scre cinema site en started showin week after g per implementing scheduling dynamic software. Previously, showed just it 19 titles a week
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UTTING BUMS IN SEATS has long been the mission of the exhibit ion industry. With occupancy continuing to hover at an averag e 15-20% cinemas are , constantly challenged to find ways to grow footfal growth in l. With the online and mobile ticketin subscription g, loyalty schemes, and and with deeply media strateg entrenched ies, exhibit social ors have never been so data This presen ts a wonde rich. rful opport look to their unity for cinem data sets as to and to new leverage this technologies data, to help which increase occupa be by schedu ncy. Wheth ling the best er it showtimes prices, targeti or optimu ng guests m ticket effectively with relevan or attracting t marke new custom ting, ers, databa offer cinem se technologies as tools to now influence occupa ncy levels positiv The challen ge for cinem ely. as to increas has often e occupancy been compa rates red to the airline or challenge hotel indust facing the ries which inventory. also have But one of perishable the reason s the cinem distinct from a industry these is that is demand for challenging the produc to predict. t is more Most people hotel stays plan for flights weeks and and months in advance. The movie-goers majority of are still makin g a decisio on the day n to go to the of the show. cinema Factors such reviews, school as weath er, film holidays, sportin g events, even all influence transit strikes a cinema’s attendance in any given So how week. can cinem a professionals demand for better predic films and predic t t attendance help maxim in a way that ise occupa will ncy? It all starts with customer data. Over leveraging the past few years, produc Cinema Intellig ts such as ence and Smart Pricer have integrate into emerged, which a cinema chain’s data cases in mind. sets with these use These produc ts consolidate historical and aggreg film perform ate ance and transactional external data data with such as online search, social analysis and media sentim weather pattern ent s to inform their algorit hms.
Reaching customers with
By understandin relevancy g the deman d for produc can begin t, cinema chains to use techno
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Industr y occupa
ncy rates between 15-20%
www.c inema tech.to day
www.c inema tech.to day
logy to reach greater relevan audiences cy. The exhibit with ion indust behind other ry generally industries lags when it comes technology to use of data to segment and and target retail, where audiences. shoppers get Think of relevant email for produc recommenda ts based tions on previou s purchases, travel indust or even the ry, which sends personalised based on a comm customer’s unications online browsi ng. Cinem the opport as, too, have unity to leverag e data to ensure the right
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T R Y I N D U S
of The effecats n o ti consolid
“Read and referenced by industry professionals, the digital edition of Cinema Technology is free to access online at www.cinematech.today”
ever before rapidly than r ting more g on the secto is consolida cts this is havin a exhibition es the impa Global cinem ock investigat — David Hanc g
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A D V E R T S
Digital Cinema Media 10 years of change in the advertising world
Ten years ago, Digital Cinema Media (DCM) was formed. Its input has helped cement the strength of the exhibitor’s offer — CEO Karen Stacey reflects on the power of cinema as an advertising medium.
Words: Karen Stacey
EN YEARS AGO, CARLTON Screen
3-4-week lead time. One of our biggest achievements has
Advertising was sold by ITV, with
been digitisation, which means we are now able to offer an
Cineworld and Odeon forming a joint
accountable and transparent process to our customers.
venture to run cinema advertising
Cinema’s digital revolution saw advertising move quickly
under a new company, Digital Cinema
from film, to hard drive, to USB and ultimately broadband
Media (DCM). Today, DCM makes up
delivery in a short space of time. Lead times have been
82% the UK’s cinema advertising marketplace, representing
shortened to under a week, with electronic distribution
Cineworld and Odeon, as well as working with Vue,
offering greater flexibility for advertisers, who are now able
Picturehouse, Everyman, Curzon and more than 160
to target by film, by showing, by cinema and by time across
independents. It has been an impressive journey.
our whole estate, meaning cinemas can compete on even
A digital revolution
terms with TV and other media, including online and radio. To put the scale of this project into context, during the
Despite the forward-looking name, DCM only converted to
first 12 months of going digital, 4m playlists were generated,
a fully digital operation in 2012. For cinema, there used to be
which works out as 72,000 playlists per week over 52 weeks.
a slow and tedious process of lengthy reel assembly and
Since September 2012, to date DCM has generated almost
distribution, often hand-delivered by couriers, with a
30m playlists (now on average 92,000 per week).
More than just a big screen, DCM’s research on the medium sells advertisers the strength of the cinema offering
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A D V E R T S
Paying to pay attention Cinema is in robust health - it delivers receptive audiences, impact and longer-lasting sales for brands faced with challenges over viewability. Cinema’s offering is powerful - people actually pay to pay attention. Advertising needs to stand out: it’s hard to make an emotional connection when attention is divided. In this respect, nothing rivals seeing a new release in a cinema. It engages viewers like nothing else. We know cinema plays a pivotal role in media and work hard to challenge opinions that it’s only selling point is a big screen. We take our role as market leader seriously and our responsibility to act as our own trade body to champion the medium. Research we create is of the highest standard and provides useful, actionable insight for all of the media industry. DCM’s investment in insight enables us to reaffirm to agencies and advertisers the value the pre-show brings. Research has been central to our messaging since our launch. The way we embed rational proof of cinema’s role in the media mix has significantly contributed to the upswing in cinema revenues.
Your undivided attention, please: no other medium offers advertisers an audience as receptive
“In this world of distraction, cinema offers the only advertising channel in which people still put phones away”
DCM was at the forefront of this revolution, which has
a “must have” rather than a “nice to have”. Providing our
resulted in today’s automated process. We’re proud to work
customers with a more streamlined service and ensuring
closely with exhibitors to streamline and improve processes,
cinema is aligned with other AV media channels ultimately
while identifying business needs and driving profitability
has a positive impact for exhibitors across the board.
and opportunities that maximise revenues.
Making cinema a “must have”!
the cinema industry. Adding 80% of the cinema advertising
as an advertising medium, driving awareness of the power
market to this industry-wide AV system will provide DCM’s
of the big screen. We’re have repositioned cinema so it plays
partner media agencies with a streamlined campaign
a vital role on the Audio-Visual (AV) schedule, broadening its
management service, ensuring cinema is aligned with
alignment away from just outdoor, proving the medium to
other AV media channels. With cinema’s role in the media
be impactful and efficient, cutting through the media
mix cemented, commissioning CARIA was the next step in
clutter and helping brands grow in value. DCM has helped
DCM’s journey to improve its service and provide dynamic
drive significant growth for the cinema medium. Since
buying, scheduling and reporting offerings to its agencies.
three years experienced unprecedented growth.
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creative campaign service for TV, VOD and Online Video, for
Over the past decade, DCM has become the voice of cinema
2009, ad revenues are up approximately 74%, while the past
Looking for other ways to set the company apart, in 2016 DCM commissioned the CARIA service, the media and
Beyond the big screen
More than ever, advertisers believe in cinema and the
Since its inception in 2008, DCM quickly became about
value it adds to their AV schedules and they see us more as
more than simply selling spots on screen. DCM and its www.cinematech.today
brands. Our aim is to forge relevant partnerships to transform how brands utilise the power of our medium and inspire a range of original campaigns that are tailored to the cinema environment, ultimately making the whole experience more entertaining for cinemagoers. This is
something we will continue to grow in the coming years.
Always Looking Forward Just as an audience is emotionally and physically engaged
and literally looking forward at the big screen, DCM is
always looking forward too. We are passionate about
cinema’s ability to deliver results for customers and will
continue to champion it and create new opportunities to deliver blockbusting performance for brands. The cinemagoing experience has also dramatically improved over the past decade, with investment across the multiplexes and independents. Cinemas are entertainment venues in the heart of communities. Over the next 10 years, we can only expect better cinemas in terms of the quality of the customer experience. Preservation of cinema’s 16-week theatrical window is
Appointed CEO at
just one reason why the medium will remain a step ahead
DCM in 2015,
when it comes to delivering unique and memorable
experiences that stimulate conversations that are current
and culturally relevant. We know our slate years ahead of
talented and passionate team is always looking at new
positions at the
release, so we can help connect brands of today with the
ways to drive the medium forward, be it through alternative
likes of Bauer
content or maximising the development of cinema spaces
Cinema’s core strengths of delivering a dark room, high
to include bars and restaurants to transform the experience
emotional impact and cut-through and a receptive,
and grow the medium further. A landmark achievement for us was in February 2015 when, for the first time in 13 years, cinema’s most prestigious
content of tomorrow.
engaged audience is only going to get stronger, with our industry in rude health.
advertising position, the Gold Spot, started to be sold line-
Welcome to the world of distraction…
by-line, offering advertisers more flexibility. The Gold Spot,
In this world of distraction, cinema offers the only advertising
the 60-second commercial directly before the main feature,
channel in which everyone still puts their phone away and
had been a key platform for Orange and EE for more than a
gives their undivided attention for 120 minutes. True impact,
decade. It offers unbeatable stand out and creative
making an impression and achieving cut-through is the
opportunities that tie in with cinema’s unique experience.
hard part, and that’s what cinema provides.
DCM offers a wide range of opportunities for brands
As we look to the future, DCM wants to be leading the
looking to maximise the impact of cinema beyond the
realms of traditional on-screen advertising. These include
strengthen advertisers’ creative outputs and really maximise
new experiential opportunities in foyers, unique sponsorship
the use of the cinema’s unique spaces. “Experiential” will be
platforms and new online and mobile channels to help
a big part of the future, with a bigger focus on cinema
advertisers get closer to their customers.
activations, including the likes of live-stunts, immersive
We’ve been able to expand the experience with new
activations, pop-up cinema tours and bar sponsorships,
technologies and continue to deliver bespoke technical
which will all be new revenue generating streams for DCM
solutions such as 4DX, 3D advertising, Higher Frame Rates
and its exhibitors!
(HFR) and Dolby Atmos to pioneer the best sound and screen technology for brands. Late last year, we launched DCM Studios, a new creative division which focuses on delivering more opportunities for www.cinematech.today
We’re determined to maintain the momentum we’ve achieved over the past 10 years and drive the industry forward into the future by connecting brands and people in our unique environment. 1 2 / 1 8
CINEASIA 10-13 DEC
CONVENTION AND TRADE SHOW
HONG KONG CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE 10-13 DECEMBER 2018 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; CINEASIA.COM OFFICIAL PRESENTING SPONSOR:
I N T E R V I E W
An advocate for a changing industry CT interviews Andrew Cripps, a studio exec with a passion for the industry, a positive approach to the future, and a truly international outlook. Words: Melissa Cogavin
Fact File Andrew Cripps,
enjoyed the breadth of experience and responsibility as has Andrew Cripps. His new role as president of international
Century Fox in Los Angeles has been
the fourth multinational in three continents over a career in
entertainment that spans three decades. Ground-breaking
technological changes have occurred during that time and
I wanted to know what he had learned. Is the digitisation of cinema the most seismic change in our industry? Andrew explained, “It’s broader than digitisation. Yes that’s easy to
say but looking back over 30 years, the biggest changes
Cripps, a new role
have come as a result of the Internet and the availability of
at 20th Century
real-time information. In fact, I can’t believe now that we
Fox in Los Angeles sees him at his
ever found a way to work without it. “When I first moved to UIP in London we had a call
every Monday at 2.45pm with Lew Wasserman in the US. I’d
take that call when my boss was not available and it was a
10-15 minute catch-up every week, discussing box office
during a career in
activity of the previous weekend. We managed to discuss
an entire weekend’s business in one call. That would be it.
that spans three decades.
“Now we have information on trailers immediately, box office results on the hour, every hour. Reporting, analysing and distribution have all changed because of immediate, real-time communication made possible by the internet.”
The slow march to progress When you consider it like that, digitisation seems small fry now but many of us remember how seismic and glacial it appeared at the time. “Digitisation took a significant period of time to get going,” notes Andrew, “but you have to remember that the movie business hadn’t really changed in 100 years. I was in London working for Paramount, and committees in the US setting standards drove digitisation. I was implementing agreements then with exhibitors over multiple continents. Because the VPF concept rolled out www.cinematech.today
1 2 / 1 8
I N T E R V I E W
over many years, the process of digitisation dragged on.”
Entertainment in Tokyo, and that
I asked whether Andrew and his colleagues came up
opened a lot of doors for me. I went
against resistance amongst exhibitors during this time?
onto UIP as a management trainee,
“The bulk of customers embraced it, though some went
which I got because I was used to
kicking and screaming, but eventually gave in. If they didn’t
working in Japan. This is important as
they had to pay for the equipment themselves — there was
living there is a difficult transition to
a certain timeframe and after that they were on their own.”
make for westerners, but for me it was
Andrew added, “I think exhibitors now see that there are a
home. I was already used to Japan’s
lot of corollary benefits to digitisation, not least access to
event cinema. Where there was resistance, it has caught up
style, among other things. This job led
now on the marketing side; how we approach consumers
to my role as assistant to the GM of
has changed with the times as well.”
UIP Japan before I moved to UIP in
Hong Kong running SE ASIA for UIP.
The challenge of change Over the course of Andrew’s career at four multinationals,
A positive future
what were the biggest obstacles for him, charged with
Given that he has had such life
steering these companies into the 21st century? “Embracing
experience, what, I wondered, has
change has been a big issue, especially in an industry where
surprised Andrew about this industry
there are a lot of long-timers; people stay in this industry
that he wouldn’t have seen coming?
and don’t tend to leave it.” Arguably a testament to a great
“I am constantly surprised by how
sector surely? “Well yes,” he admitted, “but during the
long people work in this industry.
digitisation period especially there were a lot of people that
Including myself. People love it. It’s a
had a long history of doing something in a particular way
small community especially on the
and it was difficult to change their practices.
international side, and people move
“Some are very progressive, others stuck in their ways. I
around but they don’t leave, which
would say that getting people to
speaks volumes about the nature of
understand there are economical,
better ways of doing things has been
Andrew on.... his career
an obstacle at times”, he added, somewhat diplomatically. “But change is good, it’s necessary,
This led to a broader discussion about the future of the industry and we considered where the consumption of media was heading, and how the world might look in 10 years’ time. Andrew was optimistic, which was a tonic given
especially in an industry with a history
“I’ve been very fortunate, very
the onslaught of bad news we are faced with daily. “We’ve
as long as ours. Market forces dictate
had a great summer. Box office was up by 10% in the US so
change of course,” Andrew explained.
multinationals. I don’t think I would
far this year”. Considering Europe was frying in temperatures
“The ‘premiumisation’ of cinemas has
change anything really. Working
of 40 degrees in a year that rivalled the summer of ‘76, that
had to happen to differentiate it from
internationally has been incredibly
was a surprise; Andrew explained, “I know, but I put it down
the experience of staying home to
to exhibitors, who understand their customers better. The
watch Netflix. We offer a premium
cinema is offering people something they don’t get at
night out, and people are embracing
mind-sets as we have begun to
home. “ [Including air conditioning! — Ed]. He continued,
this concept in large numbers; it’s not
concentrate on the international
“Yes we have premiumisation, but we are finding recliner
cheap but it’s special.”
market more and more has been
seating is appealing, and mobile ticketing technology is
Andrew’s grasp of the complexities
fascinating. Only 15 years ago the
aiding the customer journey more than ever. Catering is
of the international market will have
focus was entirely on the Domestic
improving. I think in the future we’ll see fewer theatres,
set him apart from other studio execs
(US) market. These days the box
which is sad, but they will be better theatres. Cream rises to
who perhaps haven’t spent as long
office split is around 70/30 in favour
the top. Competition is a good thing.
overseas; I was interested in how that
of the international market and
had affected his outlook. “I grew up in
it reflects significantly on what
Revolutionising the customer journey
Japan; I went there when I was a year
movies we make. “
The nature of the world is changing throughout the entire
old and speak fluent Japanese. I got
customer journey, as Andrew recognises: “There are
my first job at Thorn EMI Screen
opportunities for growth with mobile technology as well; in
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“Watching the shifting Studio mind-sets as we have focused more on international has been fascinating”
Andrew on.... digitisation “Avatar” was the catalyst for digitisation, and the 3D movement pioneered by Jeffrey Katzenberg was rooted in an effort to curtail piracy. 3D never took off as Katzenberg and the industry had hoped. I can recall attempts at hurriedly and retroactively converting 2D to 3D in post-production with predictably shocking results, so I wondered from Andrew’s perspective what technical challenges are around the corner and what future-proofing could be put into place? “You’re right about the 3D movement back then. The industry did itself a China 90% of tickets are now bought online via mobile
disservice by putting out films that should have
technology, compared to 20-25% in the UK and USA.” This
never been 3D. Light levels weren’t great and overall
represents a massive opportunity for improvement where
it wasn’t a good consumer experience.”
the number of clicks from enquiry-to-purchase online is still
How has that affected things? Andrew felt that
frustratingly high and the customer loss rate unacceptable.
lessons have been learned though they were hard
It seems inevitable that improvements will be made in this
area, so the industry is now operating firmly with the future
attendance at the box office. “We are reaping the
in its sights. Prior to the internet, that didn’t happen.
lack of that now, so as far as the future is concerned,
Bring back movie palaces!
now we have better sound, recliner chairs… it comes down to comfort and convenience, really good
Andrew’s long career has seen tumultuous shifts across the
sight and sound. We have laser projection, proper
industry technically, politically, culturally and economically.
light levels, vivid colours, amazing contrast levels.
People who survive and thrive as he has tend to be positive,
“Over 2 hours, with proper light levels, and
agile and unafraid of embracing change. But is he nostalgic
comfortable seating, it’s a far better experience.
for the past? Is there anything in particular that he would
You’re more likely to come back if you’ve had a
like to bring back again?
good time and the whole package works.”
“We’re in a very good place and the future is bright and
Playing devil’s advocate I wondered if the
optimistic — as long as people invest in cinema. I miss those
average cinema-goer would really care about these
big fantastic movie palaces, and the 1980s selection process
technical improvements; are we in something of an
was very specific. We tailored the film’s release according to
echo chamber and don’t realise the man on the
the actual theatre, the number of seats, the atmosphere of
street is none the wiser? Andrew reminded me we
the building itself. For some films we would have to book a
were future-proofing the industry.
theatre months in advance. Multiplexes are commercially successful of course but… times have changed a lot.” www.cinematech.today
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T E C H / D E V
D E D N I Y L B B E C N E I C S
ed ed aâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s e n m ies cine been g o l rm o e hn reate hav e fo well c c cle Te on r w. to ecta s in r fo s no at sp th u othe year ooks gy wi an 00 w l nolo ent or er 1 De tech inm nd ov artin he erta d a lic M w t ent lope pub . ho film eve the tive of s d rs if ecep ha nde er r wo s ev wa
1 2 / 1 8
T’S EXTRAORDINARY TO THINK that
there’s little evidence to suggest that he or she is looking to
Thomas Edison first experimented
understand the specifics of the actual technologies on offer.
with high frame rate film images at
Technologies come and go. Indeed, one industry veteran
46fps as early as 1891, while Exposition
once suggested that 3D keeps coming back “like athelete’s
Universelle (World’s Fair) held in Paris
foot”. There’s no guarantee that an apparently once sought-
in 1900 showed off such technologies
after technology will always have commercial legs. In that
as infinite aspect ratios, synchronised sound, and massive
context (and outside of the realms of technology showcases
screen projection systems. The public’s appetite for awe-
and exhibitions), it’s worth examining the two key timelines
inspiring technology for the delivery of moving pictures has
of the evolution of both sound and picture technologies, and
apparently never waned, and cinema exhibitors today still
why 1.37:1 Academy Ratio and Academy Optical Mono were
rally to lure in the public with ever-more impressive,
challenged for supremacy. It was, after all, the ubiquity of the
immersive picture and sound experiences. But while the
cathode ray tube in living rooms in the 1950s which spurred
average moviegoer appreciates an enhanced experience,
exhibitors to explore uncharted waters of immersive cinema.
The Surround Sound Evolution (from analogue to digital) As if the arrival of talkies in 1929 had not elevated cinema to new heights, surround audio was not long behind with Disney’s introduction of the ‘Fantasound’ system for the 1941 release of ‘Fantasia’. At a cost of $85,000 for a 54-speaker fit out in each location, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco were the only three cities to get a taste of these first documented presentations of surround sound. Walt Disney himself invented the concept with the help of Bell Labs, and the system included three front screen channels and two rear channels of discrete audio. As large-format projection, such as Cinerama, Vistavision and Todd-AO 70mm took hold, so too did corresponding multichannel surround technologies. Three or five separate screen channels, plus a rear mono surround channel of magnetic striping, would capitalise on added real estate available either side of the picture on the larger film format prints. Declining US theatrical audiences in the 1960s and 1970s, combined with the advance of the shoebox-style, one-speaker-per-screen multiplex cinema, meant that a technology revolution was inevitable. Dolby Laboratories, with its legacy of professional and domestic tape noise reduction, introduced Dolby Stereo for the release of “A Star is Born” in 1976, and four channels of matrix surround information were encoded onto the analogue, nondeteriorating optical track of 35mm theatrical release prints. Dolby also developed its enhancement of the analogue technology in the 1980s with Dolby Stereo SR (or ‘Spectral Recording’), increasing the dynamic range of playback. The 1979 release of “Apocalypse Now” included Dolby Stereo 70mm with sixtrack
striping, with the addition of noise reduction twin
“Declining US cinema audiences in the 60s and 70s made inevitable a technological revolution” 1 2 / 1 8
T E C H / D E V
The three screen channels and two rear channels allowed
the side-winding non-anamorphic challenger — Vistavision.
space for a discrete .1 low-frequency effects track, an
Probably the two most historically important widescreen
architecture later adopted for Dolby Digital. In 1992, “Batman
breakthroughs of the era were Todd AO and MGM 65. Both
Returns” ushered in Dolby Digital or SR-D. Scanner-read data
used 5-perf 65mm film stock running vertically through a
blocks housed between the sprocket holes of 35mm release
camera and projector. In each case, the release prints were
prints were converted into an AC-3 bitstream, delivering 5.1
delivered to cinemas on 70mm stock (the extra 5mm of
channels of full-range audio (20Hz–20kHz). Meanwhile, DTS
width being preserved for multi-channel magnetic sound
roared onto screen with the release of ”Jurassic Park” in 1993,
stripes). Todd AO theatrical releases sported a 2.2:1 aspect
and its 5.1 timecode and synchronized CD-Rom.
ratio, using spherical, not anamorphic lenses, and were
The Rise and Fall of Big Picture
projected in massive auditoria with deep curved screens. Meanwhile, Panavision developed 1.25x anamorphic lenses for the MGM 65 system, which lead to the king of all large-
In 1932, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
screen films, “Ben-Hur” (1959) with its 2.76:1 aspect ratio.
determined that the aspect ratio of film should be slightly
By the latter half of the 1960s, the age of widescreen and
reduced in size (although still 4-perf), from 1.33:1 to 1.37:1,
large-format theatrical spectacle had largely gone into
to accommodate an optical soundtrack. Academy Ratio
retreat, and the age of experimentation had all but ceased.
would consolidate the look of movies for another 20 years.
The industry consolidated on two predominant aspect ratios for general cinema release and presentation: 2.35:1
Academy ratio: the standard in 1932
1.85:1 Flat, but now in generally much smaller auditoriums.
A question of standards
1941 cost for a 54-speaker “Fantasound” fit-out
anamorphic (or 2.39:1 depending on projector aperture), and
Ostensibly, 20% of audiences would travel to seek out a THX screen, according to research
With Dolby Stereo in-cinema audio rising from the ashes of the inadequate standards of presentation that permeated US cinemas in the 70s, a bedrock for improved presentation emerged. In 1983, the THX Division of Lucasfilm Ltd set out to revolutionise the way audiences experienced films
By the early 1950s, however, with audiences starting to
again. Audio guru Tom Holman formulated a strategy for
dwindle, film studios knew that drastic action was required
professional cinemas after George Lucas had determined
to get people back into picture houses. Cinerama was culled
that the complex sound mix of “Return of the Jedi” should
from a WWII military simulator and used three synced 35mm
be presented optimally in as many cinemas as possible.
(6-perf) cameras to capture a 2.59:1 aspect ratio with a 146°
Holman would frequently adopt an art gallery metaphor
field of view. The resulting presentation used three projectors
to expound the concept, claiming that “if the filmmakers
on a massive 105ft-wide curved screen (as in the case of The
are the painters, then THX are the picture framers.” For a
Cooper Theater, Denver), and with seven channels of audio.
cinema operator to have a screen ‘THX-Certified’ and be
The unwieldy economics of Cinerama combined with a rigid
able to show the famous Broadway trailer before a feature
photographic focal length (and not always seamless joins
(under licence), they had to conform to strict criteria.
between three projected onscreen images) saw competitors hot on the trail for more efficient widescreen options.
A THX cinema had to reproduce dialogue accurately and intelligibly, achieve reference-level audio, be agnostic to
Executives at Fox cultivated a 1920s French technology,
audio or vibration leaks from adjacent auditoria, include a
the Anamorphoscope. Any film shot with an anamorphic
behind-screen baffle wall, and mitigate background noise to
lens would squeeze an image from side-to-side by a factor of
a measurable NC30. The viewing angle to the screen from
two; when the same film was projected with a 2x anamorphic
every seat should be no less than 32°. A proprietary THX
lens in the cinema, the image was unsqueezed to deliver a
crossover was also mandatory in every booth, the latter of
2.35:1 aspect ratio. “The Robe” was the first title to use this
which had to be furnished with a double glass enclosure to
new 4-perf 35mm process. Soon all the studios followed suit,
mask the sound of a 35mm projector. In some ways, THX was
with the exception of Paramount who, in turn, developed
the chrysalis of today’s PLF screens, although of course IMAX
1 2 / 1 8
15/70 was already well established by the 1990s as a spectacle venue for vertigo-inducing documentaries and short subjects on its floor-to-ceiling 1.43:1 towering screens.
A New Order
they offer. For some years, as a result of pressure from US chains, the Studios have listed PLF auditorium types and technologies available (such as IMAX 3D, Dolby Atmos, 4DX
The great disruptor in the form of object-based audio from
etc.) along the base of billboard advertising banners and at
Dolby lent credence to the concept of spectacle cinema
the end of 30-second TV spots. Pre-feature trailers promoting
once more. The 2012 launch of Dolby Atmos with its
specific audio or visual enhancements are commonplace.
replacement of conventional channels with ‘nodes’, sound
For more discerning consumers, the UK’s big three,
effects-plus-metadata allowing scalability across any
namely Vue, Cineworld and Odeon, disseminate further
matrix of speakers, and ceiling-based immersion, was
information via a simple click on their websites to explain
revolutionary. The development of ever-brighter, efficient
what features audiences get inside, for example, an IMAX or
light engines from the likes of Barco, Christie, NEC and
ScreenX auditorium, as well as their home-developed PLF
Sony, in single and dual configurations, meant pictures
brands. At the same time, as much emphasis is placed on
kept up with audio. Addition of HDR systems could now
F&B offerings as part of the wider experience. Vue told CT
boast film-like contrast and image detail enhancement.
magazine, “With our marketing and communications we
This new coupling of picture and sound would inevitably
place focus on the big screen experience as a whole: great
lead to the birth of premium large format cinema with which
content presented in the best way — the technology of our
we are now so familiar. Ever more tightly-honed franchises
screens and sound — enjoyed in maximum comfort.” In the
with their own USPs are born year-on-year. Dolby Cinema
end, perhaps that’s the crux. Technology makes experiences
sports its angular, acoustical ‘cocoon’, explosively potent
better. There’s no need to expand on the details. The average
audio, Dolby Vision HDR and dynamic walkway; IMAX offers
cinemagoer will tell you IMAX is big; Dolby sounds great.
up its 12-point-source rock concert-like public address, high-
Consumers have always proved most interested in ‘what’,
resolution proprietary laser light engine, and DMR-produced
rather than ‘how’ or ‘why’. Whether at the Paris World’s Fair in
content; ScreenX from CJ 4DPLEX takes your senses further
1900 or an augmented reality multi-sensory experience in
by draping screens over three walls with five synchronised
2030, cinemagoers have, and always will be drawn in by the
Christie projectors delivering a 270° field-of-view.
content, not how it is conveyed. Sad for those of us who
Not all technology survives scrutiny. Cinerama never
spend our lives dreaming up a model for the ultimate
recovered from its ongoing technical problems, costly
cinema, but not a reason to ignore the virtue of its pursuit.
production budgets and corresponding lack of content.
Putting on a movie show that a filmmaker will be proud of is
Barco Escape (not dissimilar to ScreenX and arguably the
a worthy cause, and one that those who purport to love the
offspring of Cinerama) took its bow earlier this year, ironically
art of film must never overlook.
suffering from the content conundrum too. 3D, although enjoying vast technological improvements over the past five years, has seen a decline in audience appetite. Even the marriage of AR or VR to either in-cinema applications or inlobby attractions is proving questionable in the short-term.
Field of view delivered by ScreenX today
Does tech really tantalise audiences? THX conducted research in the early noughties in the US and EMEA that suggested up to 20% of audience members would travel further from home to seek out a THX screen. Dolby has reportedly conducted similar studies, assessing the audience perception and draw of its own technologies.
146o The field of view delivered by Cinerama in the 1950s
Cinema exhibitors spend less time pushing technology to audiences than touting more generalized improvements
1 2 / 1 8
E V E N T S
E V E N T S Patrick von Sychowski on a conference with the future of entertainment at its core
The Mallen20 Conference
of Berlin, is the largest
facility in Europe’s mainland. Here, everything
“Inglourious Basterds”, Wes Anderson’s “Grand Budapest Hotel” to Netflix’s “Dark” was filmed. So it is appropriate that it hosted the first ever Mallen Conference held outside the United States in its 20 year history. Perhaps you’ve never heard of Mallen? If you work in film, cinema or entertainment, you definitely should. The invitation-only Mallen20 — or to give it its full title, the Annual Mallen Scholars and Practitioners Conference in Filmed Entertainment Economics — brings together the elite researchers, academics and professors in the field of
entertainment. Think of it more as an academic version of Davos or a scholarly Bilderberg Group than IBC or CinemaCon.
Mallen, a Canadian professor who 6 4
1 2 / 1 8
20 This was the first Mallen Conference held outside the US in 20 years
to the larger group. By promoting a dialogue
academia, the idea was to fuse data and intuition, analytics and theory, with the results published in late 2019. I shadowed Thorsten as he dropped in on different groups to see how they were getting on, as they tackled some of the issues facing the entertainment industry in what came across as The Apprentice with a PhD (NB: from MIT, not Trump University).
No fewer than 19 research papers were presented on the second day
How is Disney like LVMH? It was not an easy or stress-free undertaking “It’s like herding a bunch of cats!” exclaimed one exasperated team leader. But Thorsten was clear and steadfast as he listened in and gave feedback to each group. “As a German you never say ‘That’s great!’” he responded to one presentation in
Jannis Funk at the Film University
his stern voice, masking a dry sense of
Babelsberg Konrad Wolf. A cavernous
humour. Occasionally the exchanges
building, all exposed concrete, steel
were heated, or as close as possible in
and glass, it would feel like a futuristic
prison were it not for the plants and
Part of the stress came from the
cafeteria in opposite corners. It also
scale of the ambition. These were not
provided good space for presentations
niche or small subjects. One of the
by and for the 100-odd delegates.
groups looking at Hollywood studios
Kick off with a ‘hackathon’
A tour of Studio Babelsberg revealed a trove of media-relevant artefacts
Left, top, the Mallen20 delegates at Studio Babelsberg
Left, bottom, whatever your production needs, the props dept has it. Need a clock…?
— why do they exist and survive? A particularly pertinent question as 20th
The first of the two days was billed as
Century Fox is swallowed by Disney.
a ‘Thought Leaders’ Workshop’.
Studios have evolved, some over the
Following a formal welcome by the
past century, alongside technological
co-hosts, there was a briefing as the
developments. But is the nature of
delegates were put into 10 groups
studios changing with new players
went on to succeed as a Hollywood
and assigned different projects and
such as Netflix and Amazon?
producer and real estate developer,
topics. These would bring together
the aim of the event is “to get those
two different communities: the Mallen
to an academic-rock star, Dr. Allègre
who study entertainment together
circle of scholars with representatives
Led by the closest thing Mallen has from
from the industry, including senior
Cambridge Judge Business, the group
decisions about it. Put differently, “to
figures from the likes of Amazon, 20th
delivered insights, such as looking at
advance the science and practice of
Century Fox, distributor Wild Bunch
the ‘portfolio logic of studios’ and
and exhibitor Kinopolis.
‘brand aggregator’, with Disney being
Having previously been held at
Each group would come up with a
Florida Atlantic University, UCLA, Yale,
research paper idea that eventually
conglomerate LVMH. The participants
Yeshiva University and NYU, this year it
will be published in an academic
also displayed plenty of flashes of
was co-chaired by Thorsten Henning-
journal. Brainstorming together, they
humour, with the title of their paper
Thurau (University of Munster) and
then presented their work in progress
being “Guardians of the Galaxy or
1 2 / 1 8
E V E N T S
Night of the Living Dead? A Cognitive
reversing its brain drain by tempting
View of How Studios Make Decisions,”
academics with offers of vast treasure
with talks of studios’ “Field of Dreams”
troves of data in every academic field.
strategy versus “Date Movie” strategy.
The outlines of the papers were
This ‘Genius of the System’ was
presented at an evening event held in
contrasted with different legitimizing
central Berlin. This is where academia
criteria of new operators like Netflix,
and entertainment met the tech start-
whose KPIs rely on metrics like
up scene that has made the German
subscriber numbers. Similar insights
capital the ‘Silicon Allee’ of Europe. The
and papers were put forward for fields
event was part of the FilmTech MeetUp
that has been going on for over a year,
distribution to piracy and social media
which focuses on the meeting point of
film media and technology.
published in due course in partnership
The presentation of papers was
with the Journal of Cultural Economics.
preceded by more networking and
Big IMDB Data
Topics included the challenges and opportunities of digitalisation
studio], because this is what I’ve been telling them for years!” There is clearly nothing like going into a business meeting
discussing. It was a privilege to
research vetted and published in a
eavesdrop on conversations — in one
peer-reviewed academic journal.
Some of the most interesting insights
group, a researcher explained how
came not from the stage but from
their paper on the effectiveness of
discussion in coffee breaks with the
trailers was hungrily snapped up by an
delegates, particularly on why filmed
exhibitor who proclaimed, “I’m off to
entertainment economics appears to
beat up [well known Hollywood
Networking opportunities aplenty saw delegates from academia and business mingle
Day 2: Getting scholarly The second day of Mallen20 was devoted to research presentations. No fewer than 19 different papers were
slotted in between 09:00 and 19:00.
academic discipline. A large part of
The roster of speakers came from an
the answer is data — and the biggest
elite of universities and management
source of that data is IMDb.
schools and the topics covered a
While most use IMDb to find out
smorgasbord of areas. We were treated
where else we saw the actor from that
to “Binge Yourself Out: the Effect of
movie, academics deep-mine the
Binge Watching on the Subscription of
internet movie database for numbers
Video on Demand,” and “The Impact of
that yield insights. This should come
Piracy Notice Sending on Motion
as no surprise to anyone who follows
Picture Purchases: Evidence from a
[ahem…] more accessible research such as StephenFollows.com weekly
Randomized Field Experiment in the UK” and “Decomposing the Releasing
numbers-heavy takes on aspects of
Yet not everything in entertainment economics
Timing Effect of Hollywood Movies in
the entertainment industry.
academia centres around films and television,
International Markets: Evidence from
While academics don’t just rely on
with another fascinating coffee break insight
China”. Even if I had understood all the
IMDb, several highlighted the outsize
coming from Professor S. Abraham Ravid of Yeshiva
underlying maths, I would not pretend
difference the online resource has
University New York, who in a recent paper
to be able to summarize them. You
made to academic research in this
discovered that on Broadway well-known theatre
can head to themallenconference.org.
field. Just how much came from the
actors have a net positive impact on the box office
Then there was the third element
example of one academic whose
of a play, while celebrities and movie stars typically
to the conference. Not the evening
colleague was offered tenure at UCLA,
do not. Another of his papers had found that the
reception and awards ceremony that
but turned it down because a better
most profitable genre is sequels to family films,
concluded the day, or even the
offer came form Disney’s Pixar. It is not
while remakes could be profitable, but primarily if
following day’s “where-the-wall-was”
that Pixar was offering more money,
the source material was strong but the first
Berlin tour, this instead was the 900-
but because the animation major was
adaptation was poor. It might seem intuitive, but as
page tome: “Entertainment Science —
offering the chance to work with and
“Moneyball” proved, there is no excuse for ‘gut
Data Analytics and Practical Theory for
access almost unlimited amounts of
feeling’ not being supplemented with a solid
Movies, Games, Books, and Music”
data. In the same vein, China is busy
statistical cost-benefit analysis.
from Springer Verlag that was a gift to
1 2 / 1 8
Savoy Systems >
Academia: a part of the equation I came away from Mallen20 with a bad cold but primarily a greater appreciation of what academia has to offer the entertainment industry. The challenge is not that academics are not prepared to come down from the ivory tower to engage with business, but that when they do they often experience resistance. Thorsten recalls that upon publishing a media entertainment piece of research a few years ago he got major pushback from a well-known German cinema trade publication, effectively ‘who are you to tell us this?’ The answer is: somebody you should be listening to. The
Cinema Box Oﬃce Software Specialists for Independents
Mallen Conference has never been more relevant or needed than today, fulfilling the ambition of Bruce Mallen “to get those who study and teach entertainment together with those who make practical decisions about it — the managers that pull the strings in Hollywood and elsewhere in filmed entertainment.” Cinemas are now used to hearing about the importance of Big Data. In the next step organisers of both big and small film festivals and cinema conferences need to start inviting and listening to academics. Even if you can’t follow the equations, don’t worry, there is usually a good film title related joke to end each presentation.
100+ Independent venues in the UK are using our software, Oscar We’re based in the UK, and so is our 24/7 telephone support We’ve been supporting independent cinemas for over 10 years Mobile-responsive online booking ensures you don’t miss out on customers Choose between Cloud-based or Server on-site, with access from anywhere 20 million tickets sold, and counting
each delegate. The ambitious aim of Dr. Hennig-Thurau and Dr. Mark B. Houston’s book is to go beyond
Highly relevant and current industry themes, such as Hollywood content in China, were under discussion
William Goldman’s famous “NobodyKnows-Anything” mantra. The work also argues against purely data-driven decision making and “false precision”
All steel, concrete and glass: Studio Babelsberg provided an industry-focused venue
traps, instead making the case that combining analytics knowledge
sustainable competitive advantage,” which is what has helped the likes of Netflix, Spotify and also Disney. You will know that you are dealing with a business with an eye to the datadriven future if you spot a copy in the office. www.cinematech.today
Call us on +44 (0)115 714 1486 www.savoysystems.co.uk 1 2 / 1 8 > 6 7
S E C U R I T Y
Communication & collaboration:
The key to KDM success
EY DELIVERY MESSAGES, OR KDMs, play a crucial part in securing digital cinema content. They have been a daily part of cinema operators’ lives since the digital switchover over a decade ago. They are also one of the main causes of lost shows, often on Friday mornings when new releases get their first play. From personal experience, if it’s not lost shows, then at the very least they have heightened stress and anxiety to answer for. Tens of millions of them are created each year, so why do they still cause exhibitors and content distributors such a headache? In the mid-2000s the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) group laid out specifications to standardise the quality and security of digital cinema content. It specified that assets (the picture and audio files which make up the movie) are
encrypted to AES 128 standards. Even at the rate technology has been evolving, the world’s fastest computer would still need millions of years to crack just one of these keys. Only the master key used to encrypt video and audio data can restore it back to its original form, making it playable; and that is kept secure by the content mastering house. This presents a problem. If the decryption key is sent to one cinema, they could easily send it on to any other and they too could decrypt content, even without the content owner’s permission to do so. You’d have to have a completely
Danny Jeremiah, head of cinema products at Arts Alliance Media, gives a glimpse into an automated future for KDM delivery — and data collaboration Words: Danny Jeremiah
1 2 / 1 8
secure supply chain all the way from the content services company to the playback device, which just isn’t feasible. The solution to this is to encrypt that master key again. RSA2048 encryption, a clever asymmetric cryptography method, is used to ensure that only the intended recipient www.cinematech.today
Auto-KDMs: The future? can unlock the assets. There are two parts to this type of
and audiences are left disappointed.
encryption — a public key and a private key. The master key
To automate KDMs, DTDC provides
is encrypted by the content services company using the
AAM with a KDM which is delivered
surrounding KDMs is their method of
target playback devices’ public key. You can only restore the
direct to a ScreenConnect-enabled
delivery. In the early days of DCI it was
master key by using the corresponding private key. That
playback device. Confirmation of
envisaged that playback devices (SMS)
happens deep inside a secure part of the playback device.
the delivery is returned to DTDC, to
would all connect to the internet and,
These device-specific encrypted keys that are contained
show whether the KDM reached
via a URL in the DCP metadata, would
in a KDM. The beauty of this system is that the KDMs don’t
the intended device, so DTDC can
need to be kept safe like the master key; the same Digital
rectify any issues. DTDC’s systems
Cinema Package (DCP) can be sent to any cinema in the
in-turn connect back into studio-
intervention. This has never come to
world. What are the chances of breaking RSA 2048? Well the
customer’s booking systems, giving
2048 refers to the size of the number in the key, which
studios peace of mind that their
overwhelming majority of KDMs are
means it is an integer larger than 22047.
audiences will see their content.
delivered by email.
There are some usability trade-offs we as an industry
Solutions like these show what
These emails are either copied to a
have found difficult to mitigate until recently. The industry is
can be achieved with collaboration.
USB drive, or forwarded to a Theatre
averse to gatekeepers, such as one single organisation
Automating processes like KDM
Management System (TMS) which will
managing a global Trusted Device List (TDL), and companies
delivery is the tip of the iceberg.
then deliver them to the SMS. There
that have invested time building their own TDLs see them as
There is huge potential for turning
are risks and there is a blind spot - once
intellectual property. TDLs are ‘address books’ maintained by
cinema into a far more dynamic
a service provider has sent a KDM they
mastering houses such as Motion Picture Solutions and
industry if the digital playback kit in
have to trust it will find its’ way to the
place worldwide were connected
correct device, they will only be alerted
to the cloud. We could create hubs
to problems if they are contacted.
that detail serial codes of every server
they know about.
“Once a service provider has sent a KDM, they have to trust that it will find its way on to the correct device”
of data and build networks that
Arts Alliance Media (AAM) and
foster connections, giving studio,
DTDC this year announced the first
exhibitor and supplier alike insights
need to make us responsive.
services provider and cinema software
solutions company for automated creation of TDLs and delivery of KDMs. This addresses the two major pain-
points discussed above and aims to remove the burden on
Understandably, the biggest KDM generators see value in
cinema staff of discovering and rectifying KDM issues.
their TDL information. It is hard for new competitors to enter
Through ScreenConnect, DTDC get up-to-the-minute
the market, and for small distributors who may be unwilling
data on which devices are located in which screens to
or unable to use one of the bigger mastering houses for their
populate their TDL. This information is provided in SMPTE
needs. The first trade-off is that in order to generate a KDM
standards-compliant FLMx format which has also been
for a given cinema screen you need to know which playback
adopted by Qube Digital Cinema with its Qube Wire product.
devices are located in that screen. That isn’t a problem on a
As more exhibitor sites make metadata available via
small scale, you can ask a cinema to look up a device’s serial
FLMx standards-compliant feeds, it will be easier for
number. Scale that to the 160,000+ digital screens in the
distributors to maintain TDLs without today’s manual
world and simply maintaining those records becomes a
solutions, minimising the chance of lost shows due to
fulltime job. TDLs are, on the whole, maintained manually,
incomplete data. In addition to FLMx, the AAM integration
relying on cinemas and integrators to email updates when a
with DTDC handles both KDM delivery and reporting via API,
new screen is built or a playback device is swapped out.
a machine-to-machine communications protocol that
Despite best efforts, incorrect TDL information can lead to
completely automates KDM deliveries for exhibitors. With
frantic last-minute calls to get a KDM issued before a show is
such innovations hitting the market signs are good that
lost. Unfortunately, at times this happens late, shows are lost,
manually updated TDLs will soon be a thing of the past.
1 2 / 1 8
T H E
I C O
KEEPING INDEPENDENT CINEMA THRIVING A number of smaller arts bodies punch well above their weight — the Independent Cinema Office to name but one. As it turns 15, Duncan Carson explains the work of this champion for independents.
ITH A MISSION TO “develop
Backed by the BFI
an open, challenging and
Historically, the BFI had been central to the establishment
thriving film sector”, the
of what were once termed ‘Regional Film Theatres’ by
Independent Cinema Office
funding new builds and giving annual financial assistance.
(ICO) supports independent
With the advent of the UK Film Council however, the
cinemas of all forms in the
funding landscape changed as well as priorities in cultural
UK. We want everyone to
activity. There were many venues which served local
have access to cinema that
communities and promoted independent and world
nourishes the soul and changes lives. Founded in 2003 by
cinema who had no formal relationship with any funding
Catharine Des Forges, who is still the director, the ICO’s
body or public agency. The ICO seeks to support these
vision is for all in the UK to have access to life-changing
venues, and they are supported by the BFI to do so.
cinema. This vision grew so that the ICO could support the
At the same time, there was no training or professional
skills of the those who work in these venues (via training
development available for those employed in the cultural
and professional development). We increase access to films
cinema exhibition sector, no recognised entry route for
available (via distribution and Screening Days projects) and
individuals, no single information source for areas as diverse
ensure cinemas have the best advice and information.
as print availability, distributors, rights holders for films or
1 2 / 1 8
A useful resource The ICO website is full of valuable information for anyone
Where does the ICO help?
who wishes to establish and setup their own cinema. It provides guidance on everything from planning, through building design to operational matters.
The ICO programmes films for a network of more than 20 cinemas, festivals and mixed arts venues so that anyone can access a shared
ICO Screening Days
experience of life-changing cinema in their community, offering a
Each year, ICO hosts multiple Screening Days events at
wider range of films to a wider range of people.
independent cinemas around the country, giving those
The ICO offers training so that independent cinema professionals
running cinemas an opportunity to see the best smaller
can benefit from high-level knowledge that ensure our sector is
release films that are coming up. Without the benefit of
successful, innovative and progressive.
having seen the films, it can be hard to find and stand
The ICO provides consultancy to help start, save and grow cinemas,
behind titles without gigantic marketing budgets, those
making sure they stay economically viable and build their capacity.
films that make independent cinemas stand out.
The ICO distributes films that contribute to a diverse cinema culture in the UK and make a cultural intervention into the marketplace.
The ICO provides free advice and information to make sure that
The ICO is one of the main sources for job advertising in
everyone can show films and take part in our sector.
the sector. Free for advertisers and job seekers, this service
The ICO runs events for cinema professionals that help build a
helps people advance their careers and find the best staff.
robust sector and encourage collaboration.
The ICO is for everyone who shows films or wants to show films in public. It’s much more today for someone with no previous knowledge of exhibition to start showing films in a village hall. With no membership barrier, ICO receives over a thousand enquiries a year from people at all levels.
Over the past 14 years, multiple bodies have backed the ICO’s work
The ICO programmes films for a network of over 20 cinemas
Who is it for?
The year ICO was formed
A look to the future When the ICO started, there were fewer independents around. The switch to digital projection made it easier to distribute independent films and to build an independent cinemas. Many more entrepreneurs see independent
funding sources for projects or capital schemes. There was
cinemas as an opportunity, many developments include
no agency charged with making cultural cinema available
one in their community plans. The future is looking good
to the widest range of exhibitors nationally through touring
for the ICO and, as it turns 15, it has spent time looking at
material, distributing single titles, artists’ moving work or
the future of cinema. In a survey of over 250 independent
archival material. The ICO seeks to fill this gap and provide a
cinema workers that ICO conducted, several key themes
resource for any independent exhibitor working in the UK.
emerged. The cinema of the future, according to the
With the closure of the UKFC in 2011, responsibility for
results, will put community at its heart, commit to
public film funding in the UK returned to the BFI including
independent film, adapt to new pricing approaches and
the distribution of Lottery funds. The ICO continues to be
invest in fantastic presentation to keep the big screen
supported by the BFI and is a national strategic partner of
special. The ICO is here to help all exhibitors achieve these
FAN (the Film Audience Network), charged with providing
goals over the next fifteen years.
of programming, advisory and information services for the sector as well as acting as a national advocate and delivering professional training & development, touring programmes and events to exhibitors across the UK. Over the past 14 years the ICO has also received support from Creative Europe, Arts Council England, The Japan
Further Information about the Independent Cinema office, can be found at their website: www.independentcinemaoffice.org.uk/
Foundation, KOFIC and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. www.cinematech.today
1 2 / 1 8
home comforts? D O M E S T I C
Is cinema really about
An experience that can’t be replicated at home? Mark Trompeteler reflects on how it might seem that the dividing lines between commercial and home cinema are increasingly becoming blurred.
FEW YEARS AGO, I read in a local paper the recollections of
bought a ticket immediately. If no, she hesitated and then
a former box office sales cashier from the long-gone ABC
proceeded to ask the cashier about the quality of the film, its
Cinema in Purley. She related how weekday matinees were
stars, and whether it was worth her time and money.
regularly attended by small numbers of senior citizens. She also reminisced about how popular the cinema’s cat was
Finding Home at the Cinema
with these regulars. Often found wandering the auditorium
The industry’s mantra has always been “an experience you
during a matinee screening, the cat liked small audiences of
can’t get at home”. In researching and writing an extended
senior citizens — and their laps. One particular lady regular at
article on the changing cinema offer (“Goodbye cinema,
these screenings, on arrival at the box office, always asked
hello hospitality and catering”, September 2018), it struck
whether the cat was on duty. If the answer was yes, she
me how far many exhibitors now try to replicate the comfort
and convenience of the living room in their auditoria. Instead
many people now aspire to recreate mini-cinemas at home.
of seats, we have armchairs, sofas, stools, tables for drinks,
It all gets further confused by the arrival of active LED screens
snacks and meals and now full recliners — one cinema even
at the front of the industry’s own auditoria. The complete
advertises the qualities of its blankets (“If you are feeling
elimination of projectors means you do finally arrive at the
chilly, ask one of our staff for a throw”). If it’s available, I’d go
stage where some filmmakers’ recent pronouncements
for the cat option — far warmer and more relaxing — and
that cinema is like watching TV in public are justified.
from the cinema’s perspective, self-cleaning. IMAX, to me, has always been a “sit up, take notice and
A cinephile’s confession
wonder at these amazing pictures and incredible sound”
Now, I have a terrible confession to make. I love cinemas and
format. The idea that we now have IMAX auditoriums with
experiencing great films in them. I am lucky to have seen
full recliners, I find hard to assimilate. And that’s before the
wonderful movies in many iconic
wine starts flowing on the recliner’s integral table. If cinemas have to add these costs to the ticket price for, essentially, a recreation of the home environment, a certain irony and confusion about what those venues are begins to creep up on me. As an aside, like many, I find it hard to cope with the way some behave in the cinema as if they are in their living room, checking phones, chatting during the film and so on.
“Either consciously or unconsciously many people now aspire to recreate mini-cinemas in their own homes”
venues in the UK and overseas, and I still visit the key London cinemas. But things have developed to the stage that arguably my favourite cinema is now in my own living room. For modest outlay, and in line with current exhibitors’ trends, we recently refurbished our own venue to look like
The technological takeover
a normal living room but with a fashionably minimalist and
The irony becomes stronger when you think of the quantities
completely re-plastered brilliant white matt wall down one
of large screen 4K HDR TV sets now sold to the public, and
of its longer dimensions. Discretely placed in the room are a
the increasing numbers striving to recreate sound quality
second-hand short-throw BenQ HD digital projector on a
they experience at the cinema. A 4K TV can, with a bit of care
high shelf opposite this wall, an Onkyo amplifier, seven
about viewer-to-screen distance, deliver a great experience
decent audio speakers and a sub woofer. It has wiring neatly
of a movie at home. Either consciously or unconsciously,
routed in trunking. Blu-Ray discs yield beautiful 9ft-wide pictures with excellent 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound, or, by placing two white bits of wood under the two rear speakers and angling them onto the ceiling, I can bounce sound back over the sofa, yielding a passable impression of 5.1 Atmos. Our version of a cinema comes with audience-focused sofas, chairs, footstools, an integral coffee table for drinks, snacks and meals, even a dedicated throw. Sadly the venue doesn’t have a cat anymore, but our cinema room has a few wooden and papier-maché substitutes. Now all I have to do is flick a few switches, move absolutely nothing, press a few remote controls and my feature presentation has begun.
A Final Irony One final irony is that recently we had to re-arrange a lot of photos downstairs in our house. One that we couldn’t find a home for was an English Heritage archive photo of the local cinema of my childhood and my adolescence — the Odeon Balham, the very place where my lifelong love of the genre started. It was once my favourite cinema. The only space now left to put that photo is on the shelf, close to where the HD digital projector that powers my new favourite cinema is now situated. What goes around… comes around. So what is modern cinema, truly? Is it really just about recreating all the comforts of home? 1 2 / 1 8
D I G I T A L
SMPTEDCP.com: A portal into the new DCP world Jack Watts and Tomasz Witkowski, managers of the new SMPTEDCP.com portal explain the benefits of this online information resource
HERE IS A SHIFT in the industry; more specifically in the distribution market. As we transition from Dcinema Interop DCPS to SMPTE DCPs, nomenclature has evolved to the point that people refer to the SMPTE DCP to differentiate
packaging constraints from its Interop (IOP) equivalent. This
initiative: information. Information beyond that of what the
wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t change until the transition is complete and such
engineering and standards communities are exposed to.
differences cease to exist in the mainstream market. Within
Information that exhibitors and distributors alike need, of
the European Digital Cinema Forum, there is a SMPTE
whom are the audiences that actually account for approx.
Project Group which manages the transitional logistics and
90% of the people who will handle this format in their day to
challenges of changing from the InteropDCP to SMPTE DCP.
SMPTE DCP and its operational use. More specifically, as a
Early on, a process was defined enabling this transition
resource, it pertains to the distribution model, recommended
which has been used as the basis for facilitating the
practice and the current transitional status to the format. It
transition in each territory. Like every process, it has both
unifies all online resources, and caters to the knowledge
pros and cons associated with it. The Pros are that it is proven
needs of integrators, mastering houses and distributors.
Smptedcp.com is an information resource on the new
to work and open to further refinement as it has highlighted issues which are time consuming in the planning stages;
With years of experience including at Technicolor and
slow to yield results and present localisation challenges.
Deluxe, Jack Watts manages smptedcp.com with
We looked at how we were currently approaching the issue and identified a major pitfall plaguing the SMPTE DCP
Tomasz Witkowski, senior workflow engineer at Sundog Media Toolkit.
SMPTE TRANSITION SMPTEDCP.com currently targets the EMEA market with the aim of extending it to accommodate all markets globally.
There are still a number of challenges to address as an industry to maintain traction with the SMPTE transition
Reluctance to change is mostly down to lack of communication and information. Businesses cite concerns of costs vs benefit.
Factually speaking, INTEROP is End-Of-Life. It presents security issues which should be of concern to high-profile content owners.
SMPTE DCP on the other hand is secure â&#x20AC;&#x201D; all essence types allow encryption. It aids advancements and is foundation to extend technologies and integrate with.
The focus is now on recording which sites are SMPTE compliant. We need to be In sync across all territories when it comes to how this data is collected.
Only by working together will we get to a point where the SMPTE DCP is the only fomat available for distribution packages.
1 2 / 1 8
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JUNE 17-20, 2019 BARCELONA, SPAIN CENTRE CONVENCIONS INTERNACIONAL BARCELONA (CCIB)
A C C E S S
The UKCA launches its Grainne Peat updates CT on the innovation fund the UKCA has launched to help develop accessibility solutions that bring the full magic of the cinema to people with hearing loss.
N 10 OCTOBER, THE UK Cinema
these screenings and thus limiting the viability of adopting
Association launched a pioneering
such screenings more widely.
challenge fund to help stimulate innovation in technology to allow
Subtitles get personal
people with hearing loss to have a
The provision of ‘closed’ captioned subtitles — only visible to
more inclusive cinema experience.
the individual on a personal device such as a screen or pair
The initial aim was to cast the net
of specially adapted glasses — is seen to offer one way
wide, with significant efforts over the
forward. For some time, the UKCA has been keen to support
summer by the Association — in
progress in finding a workable solution to this global issue
partnership with Action on Hearing
by stimulating the market. The Fund is perhaps the first of
Loss — to promote the Fund as widely possible both within
its kind to bring together a range of professionals and
and in particular outside of the industry.
partners as well as representatives from hard of hearing
As a result, having received a promising number of
In order to advise as this work progresses, an expert
individuals — including well-known industry operators —
panel has been assembled that brings together a range of
applicants were invited to a launch event held at Universal
professionals who can impart wisdom and advice across
Pictures in London, to discuss further the current position
the wide range of requirements and considerations needed
and explore ways of delivering closed captions screenings
to ensure the best possible outcomes.
in to cinemas.
1 2 / 1 8
audiences to help support and steer potential solutions.
responses from almost two dozen companies and
In partnership with Action on Hearing Loss, the UKCA
The availability of subtitled screenings has long been an
has also formed a focus group of regular cinema-goers who
issue of contention. While subtitles are a vital solution for
are profoundly deaf or have a degree of hearing loss. Their
many who are deaf or hard of hearing, the general
candid feedback and recommendations throughout the
experience amongst cinema operators remains that ‘open
process will be hugely important to its success.
captions’ — where subtitles appear on the screen for all to
In the UK, 11 million people — or one in six — is thought
see — are found to be distracting and unappealing for the
to have some degree of hearing loss, By 2035, it is estimated
majority of customers, resulting in lower attendances for
that this will rise to 15.6 million people. Globally, it is
Accessibility: Technology Challenge Funding estimated there are 466 million people with some degree
technology and delivery within
of hearing loss. As such, the potential market for cinemas is
certainly significant and not one to be ignored.
Whilst there is a finite UK market for any new technology
created through the Fund, the challenge is genuinely a
eyewear or some form of secondary
worldwide one. Whilst assistive technology is in use in
screen is also seen as a potential
some international markets, none of the systems currently
available is seen fully to meet the needs of the industry and
captions (and some models based on both approaches
already exist). Again applications for improved models of
The development of a viable, inclusive closed captioning
these types of devices have been submitted.
solution will not only serve the deaf and hard of hearing
There are clearly still a lot of discussions to be had and
community, but could easily have read-across to the
ideas to be mulled over, but the launch of the Fund is a big
provision of foreign languages â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a similarly vast and
milestone, and one that brings together innovation and
currently under-realised market. There also is certainly
collaboration to help grow audiences and better serve
cross-over into other sectors such as theatre and museums,
disabled customers. In the next issue, the UKCA will
which face similar challenges and considerations.
announce further details of the ideas selected for
Keeping the cinema in mind
The UKCA is keen to ensure that any solution submitted is
For more details, visit www.cinemauk.org.uk
one that is economically and operationally viable for
cinemas. At the time of writing, applicants are in the process of submitting development papers for further funding. The expert panel and focus group is scheduled to meet as CT goes to press in late November to select five
projects to be funded for phase one of the Fund. The UKCA has seen a good mix of possible solutions that look to approach the problem from different angles.
Mark Barlow: General Manager UK Theatres, National Amusements
For example, the development and increasing use of
Leah Byrne: Audience Development Manager, Picturehouse Cinemas
speech to text technology is one area being explored.
Calum Corser: Central Operations Support, Odeon Cinemas
Making this compatible with cinema standards and
Ed Rex: Patron, Action on Hearing Loss Ben Luxford: Head of UK Audiences, British Film Institute Jerry Murdoch: Country Manager UK & Ireland, Cinema Next GrĂĄinne Peat: Policy Executive, UK Cinema Association Tim Potter: Regional Sales Manager, Cinema Next Rick Williams: Access Specialist, Freeney Williams Paul Willmott: Technical Director, Saffron Screen Demir Yavuz: Head of Technical Operations, Universal Pictures Stephane Zamparo: Subtitling Manager, Motion Picture Solutions
1 2 / 1 8
E C A
V I E W Image from ECA member ROH Live’s October production of “Mayerling”
Heard about the 2019 event cinema slate?! The Event Cinema Association is delighted to announce the return of the ECA Slate Day on 17 January at Vue West End, London. Grainne Peat explains what’s on
HE EVENT CINEMA Association’s slate
to be as inclusive as possible and to reduce cost of getting
day in January is set to be a feast of
involved with the Association. We now have a flat fee
upcoming content, data insights and
membership for any organisation/individual working in or
market intelligence from our partners
supporting event cinema. This is set at £500 per annum.
ComScore. With a formal welcome from
The Association offers a reduced rate of £200 for cinema
me as the new managing director of ECA, I will also have a
operators with 10 sites or fewer.
chance to share the strategic vision for the Association. The
All members will be able to send two members of staff to
day will be followed the ECA Box Office Awards and evening
attend the ECA Slate Day FOC.
networking and drinks reception.
All members will have reduced rates to attend ECA events
The ECA Awards are designed to celebrate achievements
that fall outside of their membership allocation.
in the sector,. recognising both the production and
What can you enjoy as a member? There are many
distribution of content and the crucial and multi-faceted role
reasons to join the ECA, but first and foremost is the
that cinemas play in the successful screening of event
opportunity to network with like-minded professionals. In
cinema content. ECA Members are invited to put forward
addition, as a member, you will also receive access to event
nominations during November and can vote for selected
cinema news, information and best practice guidelines from
categories during the month of December. Some awards
across the global community.
will be determined purely by box office results.
One of the central roles of the ECA is to support members
The ECA represents a wide range of global professionals
on relevant issues, notably we offer access to specialised
who work in or support the sector. Whether you distribute,
advice, as well as all-important promotional materials and
showcase or facilitate delivery of event cinema content, your
listings for special events. Our technical support includes
attendance at this re-launch is greatly welcomed.
ComScore data on event cinema, guidance on content
Reasons to be cheerful (and a member)
classification, PRS, and global data insights, as well as technical delivery information. We run training workshops
The past year has been a buoyant one for event cinema and
on member-focused subjects. and help create a strategy
with a refreshed Association, it is a good time to learn more
and the tools for promoting event cinema to a range of
about what the ECA offers members and how we plan to
consumers and other sectors within the creative industry. In
champion growth and leverage opportunities in our sector.
short, the ECA is pretty engaged — so why not get involved?
As a non-profit organisation funded by subscriptions, the
For details on membership, the Slate Day, the Awards or to
ECA recently launched new membership packages In order
be involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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To all those who have, or had, some interest in projected moving images, past and present. Perhaps you’re already connected with today’s cinema, technical or otherwise, but have an interest in vintage equipment, or you have been retired from the business so long, you would wish to revisit “the good old days”. Take heart and consider joining The Projected Picture Trust and help preserve the magic of cinema. Apart from equipment restoration, the Trust provides help and assistance to non-commercial community cinemas and museums exhibiting ﬁlm related artefacts. The National Museum of Cinema Technology has perhaps, the largest collection of all types of ﬁlm equipment in the U.K. The Data Archive within the museum holds over 3,000 items including technical manuals, ﬁlm related documents, press cuttings etc. Membership of the P.P.T. will give you access to these amenities as well as the collections within the Trust’s regions. JOIN US TODAY by contacting either of the following addresses. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.ppttrust.org The Projected Picture Trust, Dean Clough Mills, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX3 5AX
Index to Advertisers 4DX
Arts Alliance Media
The Jack Roe Companies
Motion Picture Solutions
Powell Cinema Engineers
Projected Picture Trust
2018 Index Month
CTC Awards, Cinema’s Best
von Sychowski, Patrick
Every multiplex is new again
Renovating the world’s busiest cinema
2017: a year of technological development
von Sychowski, Patrick
Interview: Steve Knibbs, COO for Vue
von Sychowski, Patrick
CineAsia finds its own voice
Event cinema: Live & Lively
live event cinema
Lodge, Graham; Foreman, Mark
The dying of the light
Defining cinema in a world of pop-ups
Help me VR films in 3D, you’re my only hope! March
What has GDPR got to do with me?
Celebrating “Lawrence of Arabia”
Marketing the unusual
IMAX: bigger is better
70MM: A marketing own goal?
Consolidation: a narrower world view?
Cinema LED screens in the real world
Ferco: at the forefront of seating technology
von Sychowski, Patrick
What can cinemas learn from others?
Driving occupancy with data
Kapur, David; Higginson, Fergus
Crowdsouring: a social revolution for cinema
The effects of consolidation
von Sychowski, Patrick
CinemaCon 2018 Review
CineEurope 2018 Preview
Entertaining the Troops: Forces Cinemas
Showcasing the 360 view
Data: Powering the decision-making process June
Movies for an audience of one
The enduring appeal of film at home
Subtitling in UK cinemas
Event cinema: time to scale new heights?
Celluloid film: the format of the future
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Audiences love cinema. But how much?
Von Sychowski, Patrick
All you can eat movies: cinema subscriptions Sept
USA: the bedrock of global cinema growth
domestic box office
von Sychowski, Patrick
The final plastic straw
von Sychowski, Patrick
How green is your projector
Cinema’s head is in the cloud
von Sychowski, Patrick
CineEurope 2018 review
Building cinema at the crossroads of Europe Sept
Everybody wants everything
Audio that moves you
Interview: Michael Ford, BFI
Sony: from lasers & LED to Finity & beyond
Scalarama: A month of cinema heaven
Goodbye cinema, hello hospitality & catering Sept
Breathing new life into Series 1 projectors
Wolthuis, Johan; Bal, Jan-Hein
70mm Weekend 2018
Staying ahead of the event cinema game
The future of all life new depends on us
Franchises: the universe keeps expanding
Cinema can save your town again
The revenge of technology
von Sychowski, Peter
Cinema & Netflix, the best of “frenemies”?
Behind the Cinionic scenes at Barco
von Sychowski, Patrick
Shifting gear in the 4th dimension
Widening the entertainment horizons
DCM: 10 years of change in advertising
Andrew Cripps: an advocate for change
Blinded by science
von Sychowski, Patrick
The Mallen20 conference
The key to KDM success
Keeping independent cineam thriving
Is cinema really about home comforts?
Watts, Jack; Witkowski, Tomasz
SMPTEDCP.com: a portal into the new DCP
Action on accessibility
Heard about the 2019 event cinema slate?!
Cinema: a church for all
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O P I N I O N Cinema: a church for all One size does not fit all, a point that Peter Knight celebrates in cinema terms
AM PRETTY SURE MY idea of a great
There are times when I want to see the latest Hollywood
cinema experience will be different
blockbuster film and only the latest technology will do.
to yours. But I bet my idea of a great
The first film I watched in 4DX was “Wolverine” — I wasn’t
car, a day out or a superb meal is
blown away. You can read my views in a previous edition of
different too. What’s more, I bet your
Cinema Technology. However, I persisted and went back
definition of all those things depends on how you feel on
and tried 4DX again for the latest “Mission Impossible” film
the day, where you are, who you are with and why. It’s a
— and I enjoyed the experience. Admittedly, there were still
good thing too, because in this 21st century world, we are
one or two occasions when I was pulled out of the film, so
fortunate to have a cornucopie of choice when it comes to
on that basis I would select what I see in 4DX very carefully,
many aspects of our lives — especially in the area of leisure.
just as I would when going to an IMAX cinema. The point is
If you asked me for my ultimate cinema preferences, I would probably tell you that it would be an independent
I have the benefit of choice.
cinema with history and character, likely an Everyman or a
Many courses for herds of horses
Curzon or maybe The Picturehouse at Uckfield. Something
What I have noticed is that each of the different chains in
that has atmosphere, not just a black box. I want an ‘old
the UK has a markedly different style and focus. Each
world’ experience, but with the best possible picture and
appears to be aiming for a specific part of the market. This
sound. I want somewhere with masking and tabs, maybe
segmentation helps customers when making their decision
even footlights too — in other words somewhere with a bit
about where they should head for their film. I appreciate
of showmanship to support the presentation I am paying to
that living in London I have the opportunity to experience
see. A comfortable chair and more than just a bucket of
everything from a small community cinema in a village hall,
popcorn and a cup of Coke, a foyer that is pleasant to wait
through outdoor pop-up screenings, to multiplexes, historic
in until the auditorium is available, with unobtrusive music
venues and full-on premium large format experiences, but,
in the background too, if possible.
increasingly, wherever the customer lives, an accessible
When only technology will do
variety of cinemas is available to cater to all demands. As a member of the buying public, I recognise the good
There is a but: I also love technology and new ideas, whether
fortune we have in such a smorgasbord of cinema types.
they catch on or not. Everything from Philips Lightvibes or
Wherever you get your shared cinematic experience, you
Barco Escape to offerings with more traction, such as 4DX
can be sure it’s one that you will enjoy. I think that’s pretty
and ScreenX, they all aim to make the experience better.
cool. Here’s to variety!
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SOUND as good as it looks CUSTOM DESIGN acousticAL solutions FOR CINEMA Refurbishment and new install Highest sound efﬁciency
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10th of December 2018 Playing on 20.000 screens
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