Cinema Technology Magazine - December 2018

Page 1 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

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Netflix & cinema

Could the streaming giant and exhibitors be the best of friends?

Studio moves

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

Produced in partnership with:

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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

©2018 QSC, LLC all rights reserved. 0942-2018_BlazingFaxt_210x297mm.indd 1 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

5/14/18 4:41 PM

0942-2018_BlazingFaxt_210x297mm.indd 1

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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


08 17

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: ART DIRECTOR: DEAN CHILLMAID E:

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? 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: 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: SUBSCRIPTIONS Cinema Technology is mailed to IMIS Members. For subscription details and to read the magazine online, visit or e-mail

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Think inside the box.

mne +44 (0)161 477 7633

Design Cinema Differently. The new DPS boothless cinema solution from Omnex.

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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. 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


se hi

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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?

Studio moves

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

001_DEC18_COVER.indd 1

20/11/2018 10:03

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.

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e ve n t s


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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


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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

Ashford, UK

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.


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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


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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. and

Volfoni heads to Riyadh with VOX Volfoni Limited, a leading 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

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

cinema viewers

at Riyadh Park in the

Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome, the audio

worldwide. “We

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

optimising technology from Julian

are stunned and

(KSA). VOX Cinemas was

Pinn Ltd,, 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. analyses final

appreciate how

SmartCrystal Diamond






hardware underwent rigorous

compatibility issues, and solves them






testing and validation for use

quickly and accurately. The result is a

cinema version,”

due to the KSA’s strict laws

cinema master fully conformed to

explained David

and quality requirements.


Pope, the CEO of




optimised to preserve the original


creative intent when experienced in

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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

entertainment technology,

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.

1 2


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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

Cinema Technology

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

Pole cinema.

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.

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N E W S R E E L :



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

around the

maintenance and testing of assistive

world. Please

technology in cinemas. This will make

join us today by

a real and meaningful difference to

visiting www.

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


1 7

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

Unit 8, Leighton Industrial Park Billington Road, Leighton Buzzard Beds LU7 4AJ, UK e:

cinema engineers

Your imagination, our products and services

Phone: +44 (0)1525 383054 Fax: +44 (0)1525 377010







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 cinema’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 — 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

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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

f o

e 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


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% 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



things but chief among them is probably the six major US





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%

Lionsgate 3.2%

Lionsgate 3.6%

Lionsgate 3.8%

Lionsgate 4.5%

Lionsgate 3.8%

Lionsgate 4.8%

Lionsgate 1.8%

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%

Lionsgate 11.1%

Lionsgate 9.3%

Lionsgate 6.8%

Lionsgate 5.9%

Lionsgate 5.8%

Lionsgate 8%

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%



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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7000 19

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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3 1


55% 37%

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


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

180 160

(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


Facebook Watch







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.

1 2 / 1 8


3 3



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.”


Day-and-UK-date releasing

“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

3 4

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





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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.

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3 7


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.”

3 8

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


1 2 / 1 8

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.

What’s Next?

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

Apptronics 20%

Cinionic at CinemaCon was the result of two

levels across exhibition and sees the company

CFG 20%

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.

Barco 55%

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

1 2 / 1 8

ahead. Barco’s industry partnerships, with


3 9


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

4 0


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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


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.

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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



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

4DPLEX, in

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

Choi Byung-hwan

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

parent company

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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4 3



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








Communications-Entertainment category.

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.

4 4


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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”

1 2 / 1 8


4 5


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







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,

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Free online access! 1



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





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

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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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0028_CT _JUN18_



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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.


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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


..of likely Black Panthe r viewers made up 50% of the openin weekend’s g admissions from one cinema site’s audience

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.

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032_CT _JUN18_



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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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“Read and referenced by industry professionals, the digital edition of Cinema Technology is free to access online at”

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

countries, focusin screens in 16 nearly 6,000 four other there are and now counts A of Wanda, 10 CINEM all of as. Outside HE TOP by screens, on the Americ Top 10 circuits accounted lis is nies in the exhibitors n group Cinepo Chinese compa t only. Mexica the marke e in China ing in 14 for 35.4% of which operat ce, now operat s), at the global presen its screen g CJ CGV has (50,000 steadily growin the group. screens in That’s up 7 over 5,000 screens in with end of 2017. ies 3,000 over countr is now counts earlier. This ing too, and inment and 26% a year been expand UK’s Vue Enterta from around 10, nced, Top experie e of the ors, with rise we have countries. Outsid erritory exhibit the fastest also cross-t goes back although Kinepolis are (though data lis likewise, Belgium’s probably ever and Kinepo the two ing across Europe ark Theatres. Between them, operat Landm years). Vue 30 group t only ian now accoun d the Canad immediately a groups it has also acquire won’t be felt largest cinem total. of consolidation 15% of the will come screens or The effects seen — others for 25,000 by AMC already being idation things are driven mainly t of consol but some This has been s. One benefi Cineworld the process evolve recently, since capacity and along as the and, more marketing er, nies, howev end. ion is a wider exhibition t. Other compa amongst exhibit ign at the Entertainmen campa ound. Regal backgr global ed scale and do a global acquir ability to dispersed ng and the is the for brandi and from a AMC, which ial brand opportunities are in the mix ed behind potent is to Increas attractive e group Wanda Wanda/AMC igns is more The Chines end 2017, opens bigger reach of campa and scale tionally. At ial interna 16,500 potent ny erritory counted over driver compa technological partners. Cross-t marketing countries and groups applies to it into 20 it is to one of the same logic had made rk, the easier and they are doors. The Next the netwo the group, , and s; the larger market opens. screens within tion, 4D/IMS advancement Arabia as that as laser projec build in Saudi with just under consumers. concepts such licensed to rld and Regal introduce of confusing t pairing of Cinewo the curren ising the risk ark is one ng, minim up is the new ies. Cinem PLF brandi s in 10 countr g internationally 10,000 screen growin long been ors that has crop of exhibit Words: David






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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


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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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

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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

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

Fact File

something we will continue to grow in the coming years.

Always Looking Forward Just as an audience is emotionally and physically engaged

Karen Stacey,

and literally looking forward at the big screen, DCM is

CEO, Digital

always looking forward too. We are passionate about

Cinema Media

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

Karen previously

experiences that stimulate conversations that are current

held senior

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

Media and

Cinema’s core strengths of delivering a dark room, high

to include bars and restaurants to transform the experience

Channel 4.

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

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


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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

Distribution at

technological changes have occurred during that time and

20th Century

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

For Andrew

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

fourth multi-

every Monday at 2.45pm with Lew Wasserman in the US. I’d

national across

take that call when my boss was not available and it was a

three continents

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

1 2 / 1 8


5 7


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,

the sector.“

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



and the

exciting, shifting

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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1 2 / 1 8

“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.”

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5 9

T E C H / D E V


ed ed a’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

6 0


1 2 / 1 8



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


6 1

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

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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

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6 3


E V E N T S Patrick von Sychowski on a conference with the future of entertainment at its core

The Mallen20 Conference




Babelsberg Studio,


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

academic circles.

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



6 5


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.

ranged The

from full





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 weekly

Coffee-break insights

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

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

6 6


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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

“intuition and






scholarly source


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.

Call us on +44 (0)115 714 1486 1 2 / 1 8 > 6 7


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

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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

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.




KDMs the



need to







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.

Technicolor Digital


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-

TDL value

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.

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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.


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

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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.

Jobs Bulletins

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.

14 20

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

Further Information about the Independent Cinema office, can be found at their website:

Foundation, KOFIC and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

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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


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D I G I T A L A portal into the new DCP world Jack Watts and Tomasz Witkowski, managers of the new 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

won’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.

day responsibilities.


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. 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 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 currently targets the EMEA market with the aim of extending it to accommodate all markets globally.

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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 — 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.


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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.


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.

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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

hearing-impaired customers.

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 — 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

development funding.

The UKCA is keen to ensure that any solution submitted is

For more details, visit

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

The panel:

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

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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

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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: The Projected Picture Trust, Dean Clough Mills, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX3 5AX

Index to Advertisers 4DX


Harkness Screens


Arts Alliance Media


The Jack Roe Companies








Motion Picture Solutions












Powell Cinema Engineers




Projected Picture Trust




QSC Cinema


Future Projections


Savoy Systems


Galalite Screens


Sound Associates




Strong MDI




Ushio EMEA


Harkness Screens




Knight, Peter

2018 Index Month


Subject 1

Subject 2

CTC Awards, Cinema’s Best





von Sychowski, Patrick

Every multiplex is new again



large format


Wallace, David

Renovating the world’s busiest cinema





Hancock, David

2017: a year of technological development





von Sychowski, Patrick

Interview: Steve Knibbs, COO for Vue





von Sychowski, Patrick

CineAsia finds its own voice



trade shows


Balmain, Alastair

Event cinema: Live & Lively



trade shows

live event cinema

Lodge, Graham; Foreman, Mark

The dying of the light




lamp maintenance

Raisbeck, Alexa

Defining cinema in a world of pop-ups





Knight, Peter

Help me VR films in 3D, you’re my only hope! March


virtual reality


Rapp, Benn

What has GDPR got to do with me?



data protection

Trompeteler, Mark

Celebrating “Lawrence of Arabia”





Cogavin, Melissa

Marketing the unusual




event cinema

Clapp, Phil

Deep-seated change





Lobban, Grant

IMAX: bigger is better





Spurling, Graham

70MM: A marketing own goal?





Balmain, Alastair

Consolidation: a narrower world view?




von Sychowski

Cinema LED screens in the real world




LED screens

Knight, Peter

Ferco: at the forefront of seating technology





von Sychowski, Patrick

What can cinemas learn from others?





Lewthwaite, Sarah

Driving occupancy with data





Kapur, David; Higginson, Fergus

Crowdsouring: a social revolution for cinema





Hancock, David

The effects of consolidation





von Sychowski, Patrick

CinemaCon 2018 Review



trade shows


Balmain, Alastair

CineEurope 2018 Preview



trade shows


Balmain, Alastair

BigCineExpo Preview



trade shows


Cook, Bryan

Lightfield Cinematography





Holdford, Jennifer

Entertaining the Troops: Forces Cinemas





Kilvert, Ollie

Showcasing the 360 view





Evea, Joe

Data: Powering the decision-making process June


data analytics

event cinema

Trompeteler, Mark

Movies for an audience of one




virtual reality

Dew, Martin

The enduring appeal of film at home




home cinema

Peat, Grainne

Subtitling in UK cinemas





Tandy, Simon

Event cinema: time to scale new heights?




event cinema

Raisbeck, Alexa

Celluloid film: the format of the future





8 0


1 2 / 1 8





Subject 1

Balmain, Alastair

Audiences love cinema. But how much?




Von Sychowski, Patrick

All you can eat movies: cinema subscriptions Sept




Hancock, David

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





Mahoney, Saul

Cinema’s head is in the cloud



data management

cloud computing

von Sychowski, Patrick

CineEurope 2018 review



trade shows


Balmain, Alastair

Building cinema at the crossroads of Europe Sept


trade shows


Cook, Bryan

Everybody wants everything





Dew, Martin

Audio that moves you




audio formats

Cogavin, Melissa

Interview: Michael Ford, BFI





Knight, Peter

Sony: from lasers & LED to Finity & beyond




laser projection

Pierce, Michael

Scalarama: A month of cinema heaven



film festivals


Trompeteler, Mark

Goodbye cinema, hello hospitality & catering Sept




Knight, Peter

Breathing new life into Series 1 projectors




laser projection

Wolthuis, Johan; Bal, Jan-Hein

70mm Weekend 2018



film festivals


Peat, Grainne

Staying ahead of the event cinema game




event cinema

Balmain, Alastair

The future of all life new depends on us





Balmain, Alastair

Franchises: the universe keeps expanding





Wallace, David

Cinema can save your town again





Hancock, David

The revenge of technology



box office


von Sychowski, Peter

Cinema & Netflix, the best of “frenemies”?




box office

Knight, Peter

Behind the Cinionic scenes at Barco





von Sychowski, Patrick

Shifting gear in the 4th dimension



immersive tech


Knight, Peter

Widening the entertainment horizons



immersive tech


Stacey, Karen

DCM: 10 years of change in advertising





Cogavin, Melissa

Andrew Cripps: an advocate for change





Dew, Martin

Blinded by science





von Sychowski, Patrick

The Mallen20 conference





Jeremiah, Danny

The key to KDM success



content security


Carson, Duncan

Keeping independent cineam thriving





Trompeteler, Mark

Is cinema really about home comforts?





Watts, Jack; Witkowski, Tomasz a portal into the new DCP





Peat, Grainne

Action on accessibility





Peat, Grainne

Heard about the 2019 event cinema slate?!



event cinema


Knight, Peter

Cinema: a church for all





Subject 2

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8 1

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!

8 2


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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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