__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

www.cinematech.today

T

The leading magazine for cinema industry professionals > VOL.33

PVOD/Theatrical

Coming to an online platform near you‌ but are viewers buying it?

000_SEP20_COVER4.indd 1

N Confidence grows? Which sectors of the audience are keenest to head back to the cinema

E Classic re-runs

>

09/20

.. a .or h e to a d o of far t im e?

E

Th of e s cin av em iou a. r ..

NO.3

T

Produced in partnership with:

How cinema's greatest hits have been propping up the CV19 box office

28/09/2020 18:20


mne Sign up for a cinema technology service contract with Omnex starting in April 2021 and… receive all the cover you need until then for free. Too good to be true? No. This is what we’re offering all UK cinemas: If you sign up for a three-year service plan starting April 2021, Omnex will support you for free until then. From April 2021, we are introducing our reduced rate “pay monthly” plans specifically to help cinemas with cashflow. The only time you’d have to pay for Omnex support before then is if you need a site visit or if you need parts. The cost of our site visits is reduced, too. This covers your VPF warranty immediately. This gives you access to our engineering support for free until April 2021, 7 days a week, 8am – 10pm. This gives you free connection to our NOC, for advanced remote monitoring of your equipment. The bottom line? We face uncertainty together. This is a proposal to support you when you need it most. Visit bit.ly/OmnexOffer

Cinema isn’t just about technology It’s about people, too.

info@omnex.co.uk www.omnex.co.uk

OMNEX CT SEPTEMBER 2020.indd 1

29/09/2020 13:16


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 3 N O . 3 > 0 9 / 2 0

NEWS

08

the cinema during CV19?

Comscore examines the numbers,

Cinema first, urges UNIC in a clarion call to distributors

UKCA’s Phil Clapp explains why cinema’s resilience is in

its continued response to adversity.? No-one doubts Christopher Nolan’s commitment to the

big screen — but can “Tenet” be judged a success? Helen Budge investigates

20

Has the PVOD experiment failed? it’s hard to say for

sure when audience can’t enjoy the big screen as Alastair Balmain finds

MANAGING EDITOR: ALASTAIR BALMAIN Motion Picture Solutions Ltd, Mission Hall, 9-11 North End Road, London W14 8ST T: +44 (0)20 3026 1368 E: alastair.balmain@motionpicturesolutions.com ART DIRECTOR: DEAN CHILLMAID E: dean@spacehopperdesign.co.uk

www.cinematech.today

003_SEP20_CONTENTS.indd 3

30

39

Another of South Korea’s electronics

giants

sees

value in the exhibition market. Peter Knight reports on LG’s entry into the

16

LED cinema technology arena

FEATURES

16

the cinema back catalogue

is bolstering box office. Lucy Jones, at

over the theatrical window.

12

With slates wiped clean,

Scotland’s innovative use of

Hosting High Court jury trials

11

25

32

As CEO of Pearl & Dean, Kathryn Jacob heads one

of cinema’s most iconic names, the perfect

position

from

which

to

champion diversity in cinema

39

Movio’s

Ashleigh

Davis

examines demographics of

confident returnees as cinema reopen.

42 46

Mark Trompeteler on the democratisation of culture As cinemas restart, what role do integrators play?

COMMISSIONING EDITOR: PETER KNIGHT E: commissioning-editor@cinematech.today ADVERTISING: BOB CAVANAGH Caixa Postal 2011, Vale da Telha, 8670-156 Aljezur, Portugal T: +351 282 997 050

49

Rolv Gjestland’s new book on auditorium design is the

definiftive work on the subject.

OPINION

50

Throw open the doors: Graham Spurling on restart

M: +351 962 415 172 E: bobcavanagh@sapo.pt SUBSCRIPTIONS Cinema Technology is mailed to IMIS Members. For subscription details and to read the magazine online, visit www.cinematech.today or e-mail CT@motionpicturesolutions.com

0 9 / 2 0

>

3

29/09/2020 10:37


Looking for the wider view? Talk to the international experts. Whether it’s mastering, localisation, 24/7 global distribution, festivals, premieres or event cinema support, MPS delivers world-class content.

T: +44 (0)20 7751 7000

E: info@motionpicturesolutions.com

motionpicturesolutions.com

CT MPS Ad Dec 2019.indd 1

22/11/2019 13:17


V I E W

After “Tenet”, Studios must show their Dunkirk spirit Life goes on. It really does — and as CT’s managing editor Alastair Balmain argues, there’s plenty of people out there clamouring for the content that distributors are keeping off of our cinema screens.

www.cinematech.today

T

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 i n d u s t r y p r o f e s s i o n a l s > VO L . 3 2

E

T of he s cin av em iou a. r ..

PVOD/Theatrical

M

Coming to an online platform near you… but are viewers buying it?

N Confidence grows? Which sectors of the audience are keenest to head back to the cinema

09/20

T

Classic re-runs

Produced in partnership with:

How cinema's greatest hits have been propping up the CV19 box office

28/09/2020 18:20

big screen. There’s stacks of films we’d have turned out for,

other day — governed by the “rule of six”,

but most devastatingly we are all crying out for “Peter

we were naturally restricted in how and

Rabbit 2”. I get asked at least once a week by my younger

with whom we could actually celebrate

son: “When’s Peter Rabbit coming out…?” The first film was a

the occasion, but we were determined

total hit in our house (we watched it twice in the cinema,

to go out and enjoy ourselves as a family, plus a friend or

then paid to stream it at home). We’d have been there with

two (but no more). Six can be a bit limiting. I’ve always been

our popcorn for sure. But of course none of these films was

a very keen game shooter… so, thanks to the Government

available. We went bowling instead… and it was fine.

exemptions for a whole host of outdoor activities including ultimate frisbee, dragon boat racing and caving, I did think

Support your local leisure industry!

about organising a day’s partridge shooting for 30 people. I

Just like the cinema, bowling is straightforward to manage

didn’t think for long, mind you: a) it’s not cheap, and b) even

in Covid times. Simply shut every other lane and only use

I acknowledge that it’s not quite the answer for a 13-year-

the allocated, sanitised bowling balls. We couldn’t have felt

old’s birthday party. No, we’d have to stick to six, max.

safer. Sure, we had to wear masks. Big deal. The staff were

Well, what about a trip to the cinema...? Although we wanted to, sadly we couldn’t head to our local

1

2

professional, confident and welcomed us warmly — and in our own modest way, my wife and I felt genuinely pleased to be supporting our local leisure industry.

cinema. It wasn’t due to a lack of enthusiasm or confidence

We weren’t alone. There were plenty of families enjoying

or that we were self-isolating — no, it was purely down to a

themselves living within the constraints of the rules. In fact,

lack of content. “Tenet” isn’t the film for two youngsters and

the place was full (to capacity) with people who had booked

I didn’t much fancy taking them to watch “On the Basis of

in advance. So come on distributors. Demand is there. Take

Sex” either — but we’d have been there in a flash if “Minions:

a super-strength dose of Senokot, swallow your brave pills

The Rise of Gru” or “Wonder Woman 1984” had been on the

— and unblock the cinemas that you claim to support.

3

1 Helen Budge

2 Lucy Jones

3 Phil Clapp

A freelance writer focused on the cinema industry, on p.16 Helen examines the performance of “Tenet”.

Executive director at Comscore Movies on p.25, Lucy explores the box office success of classic title reruns

Chief executive of the UK Cinema Association, Phil reflects on cinemas’ lockdown experience, on p.12

www.cinematech.today

005_SEP20_CTVIEW.indd 5

>

000_SEP20_COVER4.indd 1

Y SON HAD HIS 13TH birthday the

Writing in this issue of CT

E

NO.3

.. ah.or t ea oo d of far tim e?

C T

0 9 / 2 0

>

5

29/09/2020 11:05


e ve n t s

CT NEWSREEL

n e w S ,

v i e w s

&

i n d u s t r y

r o u n d - u p

g l o b a l t h e o f

U p - to - d a te

Edinburgh

Scottish cinemas host juries IN A BID TO TACKLE a backlog of cases created by the CV19

the prosecutor/defence and evidence. Bright idea, M’Lud: transforming cinemas into jury centres is a clever Covid response

pandemic, the Scottish Government has found an innovative

Eric McQueen, the chief executive

solution — hosting jury trials in cinemas. The Scottish Courts

of SCTS, said: “We’re grateful to Odeon

and Tribunals Service (SCTS) confirmed in August that the

for working alongside us to make the

Odeon cinema at Fort Kinnaird in Edinburgh was to host the

concept of remote jury centres a reality.

first socially-distanced remote jury trial on 28 September.

We need to increase the number of High Court trials taking

Meanwhile, Odeon’s Glasgow branch will host trials from 12

place and we will do this incrementally as soon as we can.”

October, with remote jury centres scheduled to be in place for six months. The cinemas were chosen due to their pre-existing digital connectivity and their secure IT infrastructure, according to SCTS, as well as for the benefit of their sound-proofed

Omnex offers free servicing support to exhibitors

auditoria which is clearly significant for jury deliberations. At

IN RESPONSE TO CV19, the integrator Omnex has

the sites, jurors are socially distanced and have a four-way on-

announced it is offering its services as a free-to-

screen view of proceedings. At all times the screen shows the

use support partner to sites in the UK until 1 April

judge and the accused, with other screens showing witnesses,

next year. The proposal is designed, in part, to ensure equipment supplied under VPF contracts remains in warranty, but is open to all exhibitors

London

who sign up to a service contract starting in April 2021 whether their equipment was under VPF contract or not. Until 1 April, covered sites will receive free remote support, with reduced-rate “pay as you go” fees for site visits. “We genuinely want to help, so I hope this is welcome news about how we can assist materially,” explained Simon Tandy, MD at Omnex, “Exhibitors won’t need to pay for contracts up front and when they do have a site visit, it is at a reduced rate. We’re a close-knit industry and I hope our support will help us all to reach the other side.” Email simon@omnex.co.uk

6

>

0 9 / 2 0

006_SEP20_NEWS.indd 6

www.cinematech.today

29/09/2020 10:52


Cineworld announces $1.6bn loss AS CT WENT TO PRESS, the major international chain Cineworld warned financial markets that it may need to raise more money in the event of further CV19 restrictions or further distributor-imposed delays to forthcoming releases. The company announced a $1.6bn loss for the six months to June 2020 after its cinemas were forced to close under lockdown. “There can be no certainty as to the future impact of CV19 on the group,” the company said in a statement to markets. Though the company had been able to reopen 561 out of 778 sites worldwide after lockdown restrictions had eased, the lockdown closures meant group revenues dropped to $712.4m in the first six months of the year, compared with $2.15bn a year earlier. The group loss marks a massive fall from the pre-tax profits of $139.7m seen in

NEWS IN BRIEF

> CTC extends membership support Cinema Technology Community (CTC) has announced an extension to its free membership level to help support the global cinema technology community. In March 2020, CTC created its Community Membership scheme allowing cinema

the first six months of 2019.” Cineworld has said it’s in talks with lenders to negotiate

professionals to gain six

waivers on banking agreements, which fall due this December and in June 2021.

month’s free access to members-only content

California

including presentations, white papers, handbooks, test materials, podcasts, CT magazines and video content. The scheme was designed to provide the global cinema community with a platform to seek advice, share knowledge and expertise and remain connected by sharing words, pictures and videos during the spread of Covid-19. “We launched the

QSC announces new Q-SYS core processors QSC HAS ANNOUNCED the launch of

Community Membership scheme as our way of giving back to our industry and to support colleagues during the most difficult of times,”

food service areas, event rooms, and An expanded Q-Sys processor line-up from QSC

explained CTC president

two new audio, video, and control

much more. “They are our most cost-

processors native to its Q-SYS Ecosystem

effective cores yet,” says Barry Ferrell,

— the smaller Q-SYS Core 8 Flex and

senior director of cinema product

seeing the re-emergence of

Q-SYS Core Nano. Driven by proliferation

development at QSC, “Giving installers

cinema around the world, we

of networked endpoints and expanding

the ability to choose either a single Core

recognise that global recovery

processing needs of a wider variety of

8 Flex or Core Nano for each room in a

is likely to be longer than

spaces and topologies, the Core 8 Flex

multiplex, or choose to run several

expected. As such we have

includes onboard analogue audio I/O

5.1/7.1 rooms from one single core

extend the Community

and GPIO plus network I/O while the

without compromising on features or

Membership scheme until

Q-SYS Core Nano offers network-only

performance.”

March 2021 to allow our

audio I/O processing and control.

Both of these new Q-SYS core

Richard Mitchell, “Whilst we’re

industry to continue to share

Built on the same flexible software

processors occupy a smaller half-width,

knowledge together.” Cinema

foundation as other Q-SYS processors,

1RU footprint and include pre-installed

professionals can sign up at

these new cores expand design options

8 x 8 software-based Dante audio

www.cinema-technology.com

to meet a wide variety of applications

channels (license upgradeable up to 32

including 5.1/7.1 and immersive audio

x 32 channels), driverless USB audio,

rooms, arcade gaming areas, music for

and AV bridging capabilities.

www.cinematech.today

006_SEP20_NEWS.indd 7

0 9 / 2 0

>

7

29/09/2020 10:52


C T

Fit for the future: HFR 4K at 120FPS is available with the CP4450-RGB

N E W S R E E L

>

Christie redefines PLF with the dual-laser CP4450-RGB A GLOBAL LEADER IN digital cinema

projection

technologies, redefining

and

audio

Christie the

is

movie-going

experience for Premium Large Format (PLF) theatres with its state-of-the-art RGB pure laser cinema projector, the CP4450RGB, equipped with dual-laser optical systems (LOS) and highspeed

CineLife+

electronics.

Capable of playing High Frame Rate 4K at 120Hz playback, it is the world’s first advanced format cinema

projector

that

comes

equipped with the company’s RealLaser technology for screens up to 111 feet (33 meters) wide. With an output of up to

it the ideal projection system for PLF theatres,” says

55,000 DCI lumens, Christie claim the CP4450-RGB is

Brian Claypool, EVP of global cinema at Christie, “This

the brightest direct-coupled RGB pure laser cinema

direct-coupled RGB laser cinema projector enables

projector on the market.

exhibitors to impress audiences with stunning, true-

“The compact CP4450-RGB excels in image quality, operational lifetime and on-screen brightness, making

to-life 4K while benefiting from a platform designed to support the content and formats of the future.”

Sounds Associates purchases Future Projections AS CT WENT TO PRESS, the news was announced that the cinema integrator Sound Associates has bought the

over the reins — and it is a pleasure to hand over to them.” Graham Lodge, MD of Sound Associates said: “We are

London-based Projection, sound, design and installation

pleased to be working with Peter and Karen on this acquisition

services specialist Future Projections.

of the company assets and will be working hard to support

Karen Pitman, director at Future Projections explained the rationale behind the sale: “Peter and I decided in early

the existing Future Projections customer base in the same way they have been looked after over the past 23 years.”

2020 that the time was right to sell the business. After much

All existing Future Projections customers for cinema

consideration, we believe the fusion of FP and SA is really the

equipment sales and hire will continue to be supported

strongest way to look after all our amazing customers. We are

without interruption, now with the additional resources SA

delighted to be working with them, pulling all the strands of

can offer. As part of the transition, Future Projection contact

the business together and combining with the quality of the

details will be diverted to SA. Following the sale, SA now has a

SA company structure to make a solid transition.” Peter Hall,

full range of hire equipment for outdoor and indoor events,

MF at Future Projections and a long-term supporter of Cinema

large or small, from DCP to small kits.

Technology magazine, added “We are delighted SA is taking

Contact hire-enquiries@soundassociates.co.uk

8

>

0 9 / 2 0

006_SEP20_NEWS.indd 8

www.cinematech.today

29/09/2020 10:53


C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

MY

K

Untitled-2 1

29/09/2020 11:50


Change with the Changing Times

#UpgradeTo

info@galalitescreens.com | www.galalitescreens.com Follow us on:

Untitled-2 1

/galalitescreens

29/09/2020 11:51


C T

N E W S R E E L

Cinema first, urges UNIC

Galalite: people first, with Covid bonuses to all staff Setting a strong example of corporate integrity against the challenges of the market, the Indian screen manufacturer Galalite has demonstrated its commitment to its staff during the CV19 pandemic by announcing a “CV19 bonus” for all employees, bucking the trend for pay cuts and redundancies. In a statement, the company explained its rationale: “Galalite has always considered its employees as part of their extended family and always pledge to provide the employees with a safe and healthy working environment. Even in these difficult times, when the Coronavirus

Brussels

pandemic has severely affected most of the industries, and especially the cinema

THE INTERNATIONAL UNION of Cinemas (UNIC),

that audiences can enjoy a

the body representing cinema trade associations

range of films. This system

and operators across 38 European territories, has

was the foundation for a

issued a clarion call for the retention of theatrical

record-breaking 2019, with

cuts. The company has not

releases following distributors’ flight to streaming

1.34 billion admissions and €8.7 billion earned at

only retained their staff, but

platforms and delays of releases.

the box office in Europe alone.

has displayed true leadership

“The

sector

faces

industry, Galalite, unlike other companies, has not laid off any employee or implemented pay

unprecedented

and concern towards them by

ensuring that recovery can happen and that

challenges. More than ever, decisions across the

announcing a CV19 bonus for

audiences return to enjoy the unique experience of

industry need to be made with a long-term

all of their employees, to help

watching films on the big screen,” stated the

perspective. If our studio partners oblige cinemas

them to deal with the ordeals

Brussels-based association, adding that “While

to wait until the sector emerges from the crisis in

of their everyday lives and

many on the distribution side have indicated that

the US before supplying new content, it will prove

combat these unfortunate

‘we are all in this together’, recent events make it

too late for many European cinemas and their

circumstances. At the same

clearer than ever that this sentiment must be

dedicated workforce. All who depend on the

time, the company takes all

backed by actions as well as words. Specifically,

success of the film industry should commit to

the precautionary measures to

new content must be released in cinemas first and

ensuring the future health of the whole sector. By

alleviate the consequences of

observe a significant theatrical window, both

doing so, they will ensure that the wider film

the crisis and maintain its

elements being essential for the survival and

industry and European cinemas — from one-screen

strong financial position.”

health of every part of the European (and indeed

independents to art-houses and multiplexes — will

global) cinema industry.”

recover and can

a large portion of its funds

“The focus of the entire industry must be on

entire

UNIC’s call sends a strong message to film distributors

Annually Galalite invests

return from this

for the continuous growth

first’ strategy for film releases — accompanied by a

crisis

and development of its

significant period of theatrical exclusivity — is a

and

proven business model, and crucial for ensuring

resilient.”

The statement continued robustly: “A ‘cinema

www.cinematech.today

006_SEP20_NEWS.indd 11

stronger far

more

personnel,

0 9 / 2 0

>

1 1

29/09/2020 10:53


Weathering the storm... Lockdown has been a kick in the guts to all cinemas, but as Phil Clapp, chief executive of the UK Cinema Association, explains, the true mark of our sector’s resilience is in its continued response to such adversity.

W

E CAN ALL AGREE that it may be one of the great understatements to say that the past six months or so have been amongst the most difficult that anyone working in the UK (and indeed global) cinema sector is ever likely to

encounter and that we’re by no means out of the woods yet. Certainly, a time when the UK industry was enjoying a run of almost unprecedented success and the BAFTAwinning “1917” was pushing box office in Q1 of this year to even greater heights now seems an entirely different age. For many, a sign of the onslaught to come arrived with the announcement on 4 March that the upcoming James Bond movie “No Time to Die” would be re-dated. In hindsight it makes absolute sense, but it came at the time as an unexpected punch to the solar plexus of the industry.

1 2

>

0 9 / 2 0

012_SEP20_LOCKDOWN UKCA.indd 12

www.cinematech.today

26/09/2020 21:07


L O C K D O W N

...& coming out fighting

www.cinematech.today

012_SEP20_LOCKDOWN UKCA.indd 13

0 9 / 2 0

>

1 3

26/09/2020 21:07


The start of 2020 saw a real boom in UK Cinema. The industry was enjoying a run of almost unprecedented success and the BAFTA-winning “1917” was pushing box office in Q1 of this year to even greater heights. How quickly things took a turn for the worse…

Much of that early support in place, the association’s focus then swiftly shifted to taking the steps necessary to convince government to allow cinemas to re-open again. Central to this was the development of a set of guidelines setting out the key measures to be put in place to safeguard audiences and staff members. In drafting these, the UKCA relied heavily on the experience and expertise offered by a specially-convened working group of operations leads from more than a dozen of

95%

The UKCA estimates 95% of UK cinema staff were on furlough

its largest members. Given the developing nature of public health advice and the changing state of the pandemic, this remains a ‘living’ document, again tailored to the differing requirements across the four UK nations — the latest version can be found at www.cinemauk.org.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/ guidance-for-cinemas/

A lack of bandwidth After that, things seemed to move quickly, though the

Even with those strong foundations in place, there’s no

beginning of the lockdown when it came was undoubtedly a

denying that dialogue with government on this and other

messy affair with the public being told by government not to

matters was (and remains) at times a challenge. The need to

go to cinemas (amongst other venues), but with cinemas not

engage with so many demands at once has clearly caused a

being required to close by law. As a result, we witnessed a

range of ‘bandwidth’ issues at the centre, and communication

week of slow death for the admissions of those cinemas that

has not always been as timely or consistent as it might have

doggedly chose to remain open before the curtain finally

been. Announcements relevant to the sector have sometimes

came down.

been made without the knowledge of officials supposedly ‘in

A further period of uncertainty followed before the

charge’ of our interests, requiring them to play catch-up

announcement of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme,

before they can offer us detailed advice (the latest example

the point at which the word ‘furlough’ suddenly dropped into

being that around the need for face coverings).

our everyday lexicon. In truth, while just one of a number of

That said, it probably speaks well of the sector’s ability to

business support measures put in place for the sector —

organise itself that in each of the four UK nations, cinemas

including a business rates holidays, a VAT deferral and a

were among the first public venues allowed to open, and the

range of local authority-administered grants — it was this

UKCA worked hard to provide the necessary support for

scheme above all which provided a lifeline for UK cinemas. At

members, producing a series of assets to communicate the

one stage, we estimate that over 95 per cent of the sector’s

relevant measures to audiences — these can be found at:

workforce was on furlough, allowing those roles to be

www.cinemauk.org.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/guidance-for-

retained and ensuring that vast swathes of redundancies

audiences/ — and more recently worked closely with the

were avoided at the time.

sector skills agency ScreenSkills to develop an online

The need for dialogue

e-learning module and assessment test around CV19 for those working in exhibition, but which can be attempted by

The UKCA’s role in those early weeks was primarily one of

all. More here: www.cinemauk.org.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/

communication, ensuring that members were kept up to

training-for-cinemas/

date on the developing situation and aware of the different support schemes available to them. One feature of that time

There’s still a question mark…

— and something which became a constant theme — was the

While that sounds comparatively straightforward, at this

need for dialogue not just with the UK government in London,

moment the reality for many operators remains that when

but also the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and

and how they might re-open presents various challenges.

Northern Ireland, many of the key issues being dealt with differently in those nations.

1 4

>

0 9 / 2 0

012_SEP20_LOCKDOWN UKCA.indd 14

The cost of implementing necessary safeguards come at a time when revenue is squeezed beyond all recognition, not

www.cinematech.today

26/09/2020 21:07


L O C K D O W N

least when the demands of social distancing and the “rule of six” are such that available capacity is massively reduced — and much of the audience has not yet plucked up the courage to return. With cinemas doing all they can to get the sector back on its feet, the most obviously missing piece of the jigsaw remains new film content necessary to persuade

Audrey Tatou’s iconic movie moment in “Amelie”, part of the “LoveCinema” trailer campaign

There are though heroes (and heroines) to be found here — the likes of Altitude Films for example, which has released

people out of their homes. While the Film Distributors’ Association did a superb job

a number of significant titles into the maelstrom, and of

in marshalling its members to bring back-catalogue movies

course colleagues at Warner Bros, who — with sinews no

to the table, and some have drawn significant audiences (see

doubt strengthened by director Christopher Nolan — bucked the trend and released the espionage

“Classic titles back on the big screen”, page 24), it’s increasingly clear that without release of major new titles, the coming weeks and months will remain a hard slog for everyone. It’s possible that smaller operators in particular won’t make it to the other side.

“There are heroes like Altitude Films which has released several significant titles into the current maelstrom”

Content now. Please.

thriller Tenet globally in territories and regions where cinemas are open. In truth, we need more such displays of confidence in our business if we are to emerge from what will remain a deeply concerning time for the sector, with the weeks and months ahead perhaps being crucial in determining the survival of many.

There are positive signs — feedback from returning

It’s easy to jump on a high horse here, but while no one

audience members is overwhelmingly positive, with many

under-estimates the challenges being experienced by

going out of their way to say how safe and enjoyable the

colleagues in film distribution, the general unwillingness of

experience has been. And the launch of our ‘LoveCinema’

many of the US studios to make new content available to

campaign — www.lovecinema.com — led by an evocative

theatres in the UK — and indeed the increasing number of

trailer, has been hugely well-received, and clearly struck a

other film territories where cinemas have been able to re-

chord with many.

open — looks to many like hugely frustrating short-term

The challenge now is to maintain that momentum and

thinking and something which increasingly puts at risk the

bring our industry back to the heights it was enjoying before

future of our global industry.

lockdown.

www.cinematech.today

012_SEP20_LOCKDOWN UKCA.indd 15

0 9 / 2 0

>

1 5

26/09/2020 21:07


No-one can doubt Christopher Nolan’s commitment to the theatrical experience — but can the release of “Tenet” be judged a success? Helen Budge examines the facts.

I

1 6

>

0 9 / 2 0

016_SEP20_TENET.indd 16

US, has Warner Bros.’ gamble paid off? And has the film that so much was pinned on done enough to convince Studios to remove the massive bung in Hollywood’s content pipeline?

The long road to the big screen N THE PAST FEW MONTHS, there’s

CV19 made “Tenet”’s journey to its theatrical release a tortuous

been only one word on the lips of those

one. Originally scheduled for 17 July, it was rescheduled three

in cinema exhibition — even more than

times and was, at one point, taken off the release schedule

“closures” (and associated expletives).

entirely. But Warner Bros.’ (WB) determination to find the right

The word is “Tenet”, Christoper Nolan’s

time and strategy to release it prevailed. Ann Sarnoff, WB’s.

time-warping espionage blockbuster

CEO and chair (and recently appointed head of WarnerMedia’s

starring John David Washington and Robert Pattinson. Shot

Studios and Networks Group), is clear in her view that the

predominantly on IMAX cameras, the sweeping cinematic

strategy wasn’t a “leave it to chance” approach. She

landscapes and plentiful action sequences show exactly why

commented to “Deadline”: “We’ve been analysing numbers

this film was always intended for the big screen. But after its

and consumer behaviour, so we’ve been studying this since

staggered release, initially internationally then followed by the

Covid began. We crunched the numbers and figured out a

www.cinematech.today

27/09/2020 10:48


R E L E A S E

way to make it work. Don’t spend all your money up front! Pace yourself, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Release it, don’t expect a huge opening weekend, but as you know, even though there’s reduced capacity, we’re getting more theaters

International first… the right move

per location.” As illustrated by Sarnoff’s comments, WB has repeated

Just how will did “Tenet” perform on its opening? From 26 August onwards, the

many times that with this film under these circumstances,

film opened throughout international territories before opening on US soil over

“Tenet” is in it for the long haul, rather than the usual front-

the Labor Day weekend, with the latter grossing $20.2 million over a Thursday-

loaded release model of pre-Covid. “Variety” chipped in that

Monday spread. As noted in Box Office Pro’s Global Report, it’s important to

“Sarnoff said she’s encouraged by the returns from the film’s

remember that the market turmoil of the past few months in the US means these

international debut last week. Moreover, Warner Bros. is

figures were achieved while only roughly 68% of the Domestic market was

committed to keeping “Tenet” in U.S. theaters for a good

actually open to screen the film. Most of California and New York were still

stretch in order to give prospective ticket buyers time to get

closed, with both considered to be key national exhibition markets. Baltimore,

comfortable with the idea of returning to multiplexes.”

Detroit, Miami, San Francisco and Washington D.C. also all remain closed with

The studio has also commented on the lack of a frame of

Maryland, New Jersey and San Diego reopening after the film’s opening

reference, stating “Domestically, while our results show positive

weekend. Despite doubts at releasing internationally first, territories outside

like-for-like theater indicators compared to previous films such

the US were the success story. With the global total nearing $150million by 6

as “Dunkirk,” there is literally no context in which to compare

September, the staggered approach to the release was clearly the correct one.

results of a film opening during a pandemic with any other

Sure, in pre-Covid times these figures would be pretty underwhelming, but in

circumstance. We are in unprecedented territory, so any

this climate only the hardest-hearted critic would say anything other than “it

comparisons to the pre-Covid world would be inequitable and

started out well”.

baseless.” To be fair, they have a point.

Jim Amos, former president of domestic distribution for Sony Pictures said

There was little upcoming competition for “Tenet” to fight

of the release strategy, “When the international market accounts for 65-75% of

off after its release, however sustained success over a longer-

global box office, then formulating a release plan around foreign markets makes

than-usual tail does place reliance on “Tenet” having legs and

perfect sense. I know that those who follow Domestic box office like to believe

filmgoers maintaining interest, post-debut, to keep numbers

that North America is the gold standard for a film’s success, however those days

going up. But being a Christopher Nolan film, famed for head-

have long since passed.”

scratching, mind-bending plotlines, repeat viewings may well be common, as well as first time attendees.

First out of the blocks

Quoted by Forbes, he went on to say that this probably won’t be the new normal, depending on the pandemic easing in the US, “Facing several distribution options, none of them ideal, Warner Bros. picked the “least worst” option of releasing “Tenet” internationally, then a week later to domestic. As we’ve seen

For industry outsiders looking in, the huge pressure placed on

over the past few months, the global landscape changes by the minute and it

“Tenet” — and, indeed, on WB — comes from it being the first

would be foolhardy to employ a one-size-fits-all plan or to proclaim, that a

tentpole put out by a major studio after cinemas closed across

cinema-first release is no longer a viable business approach.”

the world. A spate of new movies originally intended for a theatrical release instead went straight to online while “Tenet” stayed faithful — to the relief of the beleaguered international cinema exhibition community. Needless to say, Disney’s live-action remake of “Mulan” heading straight for Disney+ was not warmly greeted by exhibitors, many of whom had kitted out their theatres with merchandise ready for the release of the remake of the 1998 classic. Despite Disney CEO Bob Chapek saying this was a “one

Straight to VOD… the departure of “Mulan” to Disney+ was definitely “a step backwards” according to the UK Cinema Association.

off” move, many exhibitors held strong opinions on this with one theatre owner in France making it quite clear how he felt about the news, uploading a video to social media in which he destroyed a “Mulan” pop-up poster with a baseball bat. But for Nolan and WB straight-to-streaming was never an option, having always been particularly vocal about how essential

www.cinematech.today

016_SEP20_TENET.indd 17

0 9 / 2 0

>

1 7

27/09/2020 10:44


R E L E A S E

the cinema experience is to the fabric of society, not least because it provides viewers with the most impressive version of his (and others’) movies. His advocacy — and “Tenet” — come at a much-needed time as cinema everywhere have been left in the middle of a content drought, with precious little to lure back apprehensive audience members. Robbie Collins, film critic at “The Telegraph” explained the situation most eloquently: “As a high-profile advocate for the theatrical experience over the years — and the primacy of projected film prints in particular — only Quentin Tarantino comes close. So it makes sense that in cinemas’ hour of direst need, and when the rest of the studios’ output is nowhere to be seen, it would be a Nolan film that comes to the rescue...”

What happens next? Realistically, a significant element of the pressure on “Tenet” is because the success of its theatrical release — both in the US and internationally — will determine what happens next for the wider industry. All of Hollywood has been nervously watching the box office figures ­— only if “Tenet” performed well enough would confidence return to Hollywood executives in levels high enough to stick to dates for releases intended for the rest of 2020 and early 2021. Tessa Street, general manager at the ODEON Leicester Square, reflected the exhibition view when she said, “It’s vitally important that “Tenet” is successful and that we deliver a great experience to our guests so they want to come back.” For exhibitors, the bottom line is that they need a — relatively — steady stream of new films that audiences are excited about seeing. And one film, however suited to the big screen it is and however famous its director and cast are, sadly won’t keep movie theatres afloat on its own.

Crunching the numbers To look at the flip side of the coin, while the film started well, “Tenet” still has a way to go to make up the necessary financial ground, as explained by Gene del Vecchio in “Forbes”. Possibly slightly harshly, he noted that “The positive

“No-one has experienced a release like this, there’s no playbook for what to do and how to judge it.”

expectations and exuberance that some theaters are actually open.” That’s not to say that believing harder will help change

massive success elsewhere. To refer back to WB’s own statement about the release, no-one has experienced a release like this, there is no playbook for what to do and how to do it. So surely only the benefit of hindsight will allow us to judge whether “Tenet” on its own was sufficient to convince viewers who may have been wavering about heading to the cinema as soon as it opened? After all, there’s no going back for WB now.

headlines [around “Tenet”’s performance] are less a reflection of financial viability and more a reflection of extremely low

above water.”? A forced streaming strategy hasn’t proved a

Eagerly anticipated and on the big screen: wouldn’t we all like to invert time a little right now?

While a positive mindset might not make a difference in hard revenue, there needs to be a supportive response, given the figures and how much worse it could have been, rather than simply putting WB out on a limb after they jumped in

the box office figures — ultimately the numbers are what

head-first with the first post-pandemic movie. Given the oft-

count — but is it short-sighted to look only at these opening

decried “death of cinema”, measuring whether a film

week/weekend figures and say, in del Vecchio’s words, that

performed well in post-Covid times demands more than just

“Only a fast pivot to streaming may keep [“Tenet”’s] head

an opening week/weekend’s figures. Doesn’t it?

1 8

>

0 9 / 2 0

016_SEP20_TENET.indd 18

www.cinematech.today

27/09/2020 10:44


A View from the Director Christopher Nolan, on “Tenet” as the “saviour of cinema” “All I can really take responsibility for is making the best film that I can. I think cinema is bigger than any one film one way or another, and I think people tend to simplify things a bit, particularly in a time like this. I’m just very pleased that the studio feels they can let the film play in places where theaters have been able to open. Obviously, that’s not the release we imagined when we were making the film, but then, the world is not as we had imagined it would be when we made the film, and we had to adapt like everybody else. I’m just very, very pleased that audiences around the world are beginning to be able to respond to the film, because, for me as a filmmaker, the film is not finished until the audiences gets to see it and tell me what it is that I’ve done.” (Interview, CNA News, 25 August)

The definition of “success” So was the release of “Tenet” a success, or a flop? Plenty of

PREMIUM PROJECTION SCREENS

commentators have gleefully called the latter, but considering that movie industry analysts couldn’t agree on what the box office benchmark would be for a certified hit, it’s clear there’s no set formula this time around. As senior Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian said, “Just to have it open, that’s how I define success [...] To me, that’s the win.” What “Tenet”’s theatrical outing does firmly prove is that for the right film, audiences want to and will return to (sanitised) theatres to enjoy the full theatrical experience. And given the

FOR 2D & 3D APPLICATIONS Reflecting every detail with clarity and precision

terms WB wrangled with exhibitors — as much as 60% in some cases — this was a win-win situation for them too. The hope is that “Tenet” will start the movie ball rolling again. The film needs to be seen on a big screen with all the trappings — a small screen at home simply doesn’t do it justice. It is early days, considering Sarnoff’s comments about a significant long-tail post-debut interest, but if Disney, Universal et al are watching the figures unfold and garner a degree of confidence that a theatrical release is justified, it bodes well. We can hope… No matter what knockbacks we get in the next few weeks, “Tenet” should be cause for celebration and is the first step in getting the movie and cinema business back to where it should be. And let’s not forget that if “Tenet” were to be released theatrically in normal times it would undoubtedly

We thank our clients for their understanding as we took the necessary actions to navigate through the crisis. We are confident that the industry will emerge strong despite being one of the most affected by the pandemic, its resilience has stood the test of time. We look forward to meeting everyone soon. In the meantime, we hope you stay safe and healthy. – Ray F. Boegner, President

have been a smash hit, with “Mulan” following in its footsteps. Warner Bros and Christopher Nolan were there when they were needed And let’s celebrate what we can when we can in the “new normal”.

1 877 755-3795 | info@strongmdi.com www.strongmdi.com

www.cinematech.today

016_SEP20_TENET.indd 19

27/09/2020 10:44


The “premium” of cinema versus Premium VOD:

Which tips the scale?

T

HERE ARE MANY IN the cinema world

reflecting the community’s needs, then viewers will flock to

who would like to suggest that sitting

it. Sadly it isn’t the case that all cinema sites are the compelling

in the dark with a bucket of popcorn

destinations they should be. In a world of digital streaming

and 100 other people is a sort of quasi-

immediacy, to many consumers, the continued existence of

religious experience. It isn’t. In fact, a lot

theatrical windows makes a poor out-of-home experience

of the time, a standard trip to the

less appealing than a moderate in-home one. Especially in a

cinema can be disappointing.” Before you start sharpening the pitchforks, those words

world impacted by the unwelcome presence of a pandemic.

belong to Tom Jarvis, founder of the Wilderness Agency, a

Stay at home? I’ve been there all year…

London-based social marketing agency with clients including

The argument that films should be released on all channels

HBO, Warner Bros. and the world-leading food company

at the same time has its advocates — “Give viewers the choice

Danone. As a committed cinephile, the central tenet of his

— and let cinema survive on its own merits,” say those waving

argument (published last month in the marketing industry

the flag for content democratisation. In truth, they may also

journal “The Drum”) was not “scrap cinema”, but rather “make

be harbouring a degree of resentment at popcorn prices. If

cinema as good as it can possibly be”. In short, if your venue is

the experience isn’t up to scratch, cinemagoers won’t rush to

really that great, and it genuinely is the hub of the community,

pay the out-of-home premium — they’ll watch the latest

2 0

>

0 9 / 2 0

020_SEP20_PLATFORMv3.indd 20

www.cinematech.today

27/09/2020 10:56


P L A T F O R M

Has the PVOD experiment failed? Some think so, but as CT’s Alastair Balmain explains, it’s hard to say for certain when the audience can’t enjoy the big screen experience they yearn for

release from their sofa, bypass the big screen entirely and

markets, a healthy 21% of respondents said yes, if available,

eulogise about the savings. There is a “but…” here, of course.

they would be comfortable watching the film in the cinema

After six long months of economic lunacy, and combatting

in the first week of its release, with a further 25% saying they’d

Coronavirus with hazard tape and hand gel, could the

be happy to head to the cinema to watch it in the first month.

fundamental appeal of “Netflix and chill” or “Disney+… plus premium” be losing its shine for the stay-at-home majority? Human beings are, by their nature, sociable, a point borne

comfortable heading to the cinema to watch a new release.

out by polling carried out by Omdia, the global technology

Despite the masks and the social distancing. This compares

research specialist in advance of Disney’s release of “Mulan” in

with 17% across all markets that said they would be prepared

September. In the week running up to the film’s release, the

to pay a premium to watch it at home (PVOD) and 18% who

research powerhouse surveyed consumers in the US, the UK,

said that they were interested in watching “Mulan”, but

Australia, Mexico and China to gain a better understanding of

weren’t keen to go to the cinema or to pay a one-off fee to

audience attitudes into theatrical and PVOD releases. The

watch at home. While it’s tempting to blame CV19 for

critical question audiences were asked? “Would you be

everything, the indication in that final response is that one in

comfortable going to the cinema to watch “Mulan” if it were

five simply don’t recognise the value of a premium experience

released in your local cinema on 4 September?” Across all

whether it’s at home or in a lavishly appointed auditorium.

www.cinematech.today

020_SEP20_PLATFORMv3.indd 21

Read that last sentence again. At the height of a global pandemic, nearly half of the respondents said they would be

0 9 / 2 0

>

2 1

27/09/2020 10:57


W O U L D W E B E

You can’t win them all over to the big screen, but in China

C O M F O R TA B L E GOING TO THE CINEMA RIGHT NOW?

and Mexico in particular, it seems you can win more of them. they would be comfortable seeing the title in a theatrical setting than elsewhere: 71.2% and 49.6% respectively said they’d be happy to head to the cinema in the first month to

% ACROSS SELECTED COUNTRIES

see Disney’s latest. Omdia’s research was specific to a title with a mixed release strategy — straight to PVOD in markets where the Disney+ platform exists, with a theatrical release in

USA

UK

Australia

other markets where cinemas are, thankfully, open. Were the “No Time to Die”, which (at the time of going to press) is

said that they would watch “Mulan” at the cinema in the first week of its release.

sticking determinedly to a theatrical release in November, the results would make for interesting reading. Arguably a

25%

tentpole Bond that has been heavily and slickly marketed for

said that they would watch “Mulan” at the cinema in the first month of its release.

months might skew the audience’s “risk vs reward” sentiment significantly in favour of the theatrical experience. “Mr Bond,

17%

we’ve been expecting you…” has never felt more apposite.

said they would pay a premium to watch “Mulan” at home (PVOD).

“Proof of life” in our cinemas Cinema owners don’t need any reminders that distributor

18%

confidence (or lack of it) in light of the release of “Tenet” has prompted a slew of big titles to be postponed. In the last

“Tenet” passed $250m global box office, including a notably strong opening performance in the Japanese market

including a strong opening performance in markets such as Japan where it exceeded totals for Nolan’s previous films “Interstellar” and “Dunkirk”. It’s performance in the Domestic

China

21%

research to be conducted on a title such as MGM/Universal’s

week of September, “Tenet” passed $250m global box office,

Mexico

71.2%

weren’t keen to go to the cinema or pay a fee to watch “Mulan” at home.

of those in Mexico said they’d be happy to head to the cinema in the first month to see Disney’s “Mulan”.

market, however, was lacklustre thanks to the closure of cinemas in the core California and East Coast states. So, a

exhibitors, the opportunity to clean the porthole glass, switch

respectable performance if not a mega-money-maker — but

on projectors and issue proof of life has been the biggest

with hand on heart, did the exhibition and distribution worlds

victory of this release. The real wish now is for follow-up

genuinely expect a super crash-hot performance? For many

movies and a return of distributor confidence — that, sadly,

Source: Omdia

$250m

In those markets, a larger proportion of the audience said

“The Candyman” coming to a cinema near you soon…? The delayed release of Universal’s “Candyman” is far from unique in

collective, a community, so we’re pushing “Candyman” to next year,

the times of CV19, with nearly every significant film release

to ensure that everyone can see the film, in theaters, and share in

originally scheduled past Q1 2020 having seen some form of date

that experience.” Big up for the big screen experience.

shift. Having originally been slated for an early

2 2

Should we read too much into the fact that the

summer opening, “Candyman” was subsequently

tweet — and indeed the director’s own Twitter

delayed to September, then to October — and finally,

account — were later deleted? Not really. The intent

in a clear admission that any attempt to set a firm

and desire for a widespread theatrical release are

date at the moment is a Sisyphean task, Universal

clear even if the final distribution strategy currently is

announced the film will release in 2021, final date

not. Whether the film receives a traditional exclusive

TBC. That’s a standard tale for current theatrical

window, shorter theatrical release, day-and-date

releases, however the film’s director, Nia DaCosta,

multi-platform release, or direct to a PVOD release,

headed to Twitter to explain the rationale for a

clearly the ambition was for a big screen scream-fest

prolonged delay — “We wanted the horror and

in the first instance, not simply to feed the streamers’

humanity of “Candyman” to be experienced in a

scrolling carousels.

>

0 9 / 2 0

020_SEP20_PLATFORMv3.indd 22

www.cinematech.today

27/09/2020 10:57


P L A T F O R M

appears to be sketchy at best. Titles such as “The King’s Man”,

WFH: unshackling the commuter

“Wonder Woman 1984”, “Candyman,” etc. have all pencilled in

In the battle of in-home leisure vs out-of-home leisure, let’s

new dates several months later in the exhibition calendar.

not forget the increasing prevalence of three little letters —

“Pope has balcony” shocker!

WFH. Cinema’s audiences aren’t going to be absent forever, but there is a good chance that their working practices may

So what of the opposition? Finding hard and fast data on the

have changed, at least in the short-term and potentially more

performance of subscription services is often a challenge, but

permanently. It’s by no means an option open to all, but for

in a “Pope has balcony” announcement, payments company

many the requirement to work from home brings significant

Revolut and Bank of Ireland last month released interesting

advantages, not the least of which is time. Though the kitchen

data about sign-ups for subscription services in lockdown.

table office environment may not be ideal, workers worldwide

Analysis of customer transactions illustrated an average 36%

have switched onto the fact that more time is now available.

increase in subscriptions to Netflix for each month between

With the shackles of the office undone for many, the result is

March and July. Not a huge a surprise for time-rich populations

a more flexible working day, shorter

with diminished leisure options — and further evidence that the streaming habit is an established entertainment format. Though we’re happy to slap down so much per month on the table for a raft of quality programming, are subscribers, really willing to stump up yet further for premium content on the same platform? Certainly for IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond, PVOD has been proven to be “a failed experiment”. Some might see vested interests behind his statement, but as he

“Where do you want to be after a busy day Zooming? Arguably not inside the exact same four walls watching TV.”

commuting hours and, consequently, increased leisure time. And where do you want to be at the end of a busy day Zooming in the sitting room? Arguably not within the exact same four walls watching television. As the pandemic wanes (which it surely will) the appeal of out of home

told delegates at a recent Goldman Sachs conference, “The

leisure will increase. Already the terms “revenge travel” and

numbers haven’t worked in a pandemic, so how would they

“revenge spending” have been coined for the anticipated

work in a non-pandemic?”. It’s a fair point.

post-pandemic booms in the holiday and luxury goods

Some have come to believe, erroneously, that the world of film entertainment is a binary choice — either stream at home or release to cinema with theatrical exclusivity. But

markets. Why shouldn’t our sector be encouraging viewers to watch “revenge movies” on the big screen?

that’s not the whole story. Universal and AMC’s deal to

Waiting for sunnier days… for how long?

accommodate 17-day windows for certain releases and the

Right now Studios are stuck between a rock and a hard place,

fact that Netflix itself discussed a possible theatrical release

with exhibitors enduring their share of the exact same pain.

of “The Irishman” with a shorter window demonstrate that a

For distributors, releasing expensive movies in cinemas now

cinema release in advance release on other platforms is the

risks insufficient returns. But why risk a further hit releasing

right option for the right content — assuming exhibitors will

A-grade content online-only, whether as part of the marketing

stomach it. Less a case of having your cake and eating it, more

drive to boost subscriptions to your new streaming service or

a case of using the right ingredients in the first instance.

to enjoy a diminished revenue with no box office returns?

Scorsese’s recent deal with Apple for “Killers of the Flower

When audiences can return in earnest, the premium that

Moon” starring DiCaprio and De Niro will see the film receive

cinemas should really concern themselves with is less the

a wide theatrical release with partners Paramount. Quality

competition from online offerings and more the delivery of

will out: truly worthwhile films won’t exist solely online if

the best experience possible. Post-Covid, there will still be a

there is value in a theatrical release. And the backlog of

place for theatrical exclusivity and the qualities the big screen

content in the 2021 slate suggests that quality and value

experience espouses. As one industry insider puts it: “We

definitely exists.

don’t want anyone to abandon the theaters, we just want

36%

Analysis of their customer transactions by Revolut and the Bank of Ireland illustrated an average 36% increase in subscriptions to Netflix for each month between March and July.

consumers to have choice. Think about cooking. You can cook a great chicken at home or you can go to a restaurant and have chicken. The restaurants don’t say, well, we need to have an exclusive on chicken. Instead, they just say, we do a better job. It is great to go to a restaurant, and it’s great to go to a movie theater.” And which movie insider said this? It was Netflix CEO Reed Hastings of course.

www.cinematech.today

020_SEP20_PLATFORMv3.indd 23

0 9 / 2 0

>

2 3

27/09/2020 10:57


your ambition our passion laser upgrade kits Cinema is about so much more than a picture on a screen. It’s about creating an experience that feels real. Our laser upgrade kits allow you to upgrade from lamp to laser in less than a day. Find the perfect match for your screens, big or small. Your ambition. Our passion. Discover more at www.cinionic.com/laser-upgrade

Powered by:

Untitled-2 1

29/09/2020 11:52


C L A S S I C S

CLASSIC

BIG SCREEN TITLES

BACK ON THE

At a time when slates are wiped clean, exhibitors in the UK and Ireland are relying on the back catalogue to bolster the big screen. Lucy Jones, executive director at Comscore Movies, examines the true impact of box office re-runs of some of our best-loved films. Or... how raiding our lost arts offers a new hope.

www.cinematech.today

025_SEP20_CLASSIC CINEMA.indd 25

0 9 / 2 0

>

2 5

26/09/2020 20:33


OW CAN WE characterise this “new

down 2020 have any lasting impact on programming

normal” for cinemas in 2020? For the

decisions and audience engagement, or is it inevitable that

doors to be closed and the pipeline of

we will lean harder on the small number of guaranteed

films to be cut off, not only in one

blockbusters to make up for our losses? Pre-lockdown

territory but simultaneously across the

initiatives brought renewed focus on diversity of voices and

world, is the very definition of the word

representation to ensure our industry is serving all potential

“unprecedented”. When we look back

audiences. Many consumers have emerged from lockdown

on this period from the comfort of future normality, what

realising that they don’t want to return to their old normal,

lessons will we learn?

instead wishing to engage more with their local community and seek out new experiences. There is an opportunity now

Back to the future, again

to capture new audiences while they are in this period of

Looking back to the objectives of the Digital Screen Network (DSN), the initiative to digitise cinemas across the UK was

reflection.

another time when the industry spoke of a “new normal” — in

Post-lockdown: no more hunger games?

this case, to bring a wider range of films to audiences across

The continued pandemic and the devolved nature of

the country,, initially funded by the virtual print fee. Interviewed

government across the different regions of the UK, alongside

recently to look back at UK Film Council achievements 10

the Republic of Ireland, meant that a co-ordinated reopening

years after its closure, Pete Buckingham (head of distribution

(as seen in France) would not be possible. Setting territory-

and exhibition, UK Film Council, 2002-2011) told Screendaily,

wide release dates was impossible, with further complications

“We thought it would be an amazing thing to have, let’s say,

of capacity limitations due to social distancing and, for big

200-odd cinemas across the UK of all types, which will now

Hollywood films, co-ordinating global release dates with

have a programming commitment to — for want of a better

other territories at various stages of lockdown. In response to

word — specialised films. That worked. If you look back at those

the shortage of new releases, the UK Film Distributors’

numbers, the numbers are very big.

Association (FDA) developed the “Relaunching Cinema:

“Subtitled films and difficult, specialised films got a wider

Content For Recovery” initiative. This lists 500 titles available

range and people went to them. All we were trying to do was

for cinemas to book, across recent and classic films. The

give confidence: that actually when the heroin is withdrawn,

available titles are grouped into programming strands by

you don’t revert back to [how it was before]. The new normal

genre, theme, flavour or audience demographic to aid

could appear and people would operate in that normal.”

exhibitors’ planning and decision-making. Crucially, it includes

However, Buckingham feels this shift wasn’t maintained

the contact details for the distributor of each title and ensures

after the DSN was completed. “I feel sad because for about

that all of the listed films are currently available, avoiding the

five or six years, we had all the chains really engaged in

need for exhibitors to spend time researching availability and

successfully building people to watch these films in places

rights holders.

they’d never really get a chance to see them. It just slipped

Andy Leyshon, chief executive of the FDA, explains how

back. There was a short period of time when things did look

the initiative came about. “Following discussions on the

like they might be changing. But then it just fell back to worse

Cinema First Board and anticipating a phased market

than it ever was.”

reopening, it was decided that we would reach out across the

When we look back, will the paradigm shift of locked-

distribution sector to amass a collection of films and event cinema readily accessible for cinemas to play. We wanted to

TIMELINE

create as varied an offer as possible, and one that would

29.5

29.6

4.7

22.9

What the rest of 2020 holds…

Post-lockdown, the UK governments announced cinemas could soon reopen.

Ireland allowed widespread reopening from 29 June — with Dublin being locked down again in late September.

England allowed cinemas to reopen from 4 July, with all regions unlocked by 27 July

At the time of writing, cinemas in the UK were exempted from a post-10pm curfew imposed in the UK.

At the end of February, we had over 60 “saturation” releases listed on the calendar for the period from April to August; by the end of March this had fallen below 40 and kept on dropping. The equivalent months in 2019 saw 86 saturation releases over the summer, achieving a cumulative box office total of £659m over their lifetimes. (A saturation release is expected to play in over 250 cinemas across UK and Ireland.)

2 6

>

0 9 / 2 0

Untitled-6 2 025_SEP20_CLASSIC CINEMA.indd 26

www.cinematech.today

29/09/2020 20:27 14:48 26/09/2020


C L A S S I C S

T  OP 10 CLASSIC FILMS POST-

enable reopening cinemas to get up to operational speed, while at the same

LOCKDOWN (29 MAY-9 AUGUST)

time enticing audiences to return to the big screen. We also sought to make

RANK

programming as straightforward as possible for exhibitors, so split titles into key groups. What we didn’t necessarily anticipate was that a whopping 500 titles would end up in the mix! The response from reopened cinemas has been

really

terrific

and

returning

audiences have likely had theatrical access to the most eclectic mix of films ever.” Cinemas have been able to use the list to programme easily via themes such as black lives matter or female voices, crowd-pleasing genres such as musicals and comedies, or to target specific demographic groups within their local audiences. The content list will remain a valuable resource for the remainder

of

the

year,

as

many

independent cinemas have scheduled their reopening activity for the autumn. In the early stages, cinemas may find it necessary to look beyond their usual audience as those in more vulnerable categories remain at home; much has been said about the importance of the grey pound to the cinema sector, but

TITLE

1

4

2

7

3

9

DATE GROSS

% BOX OFF

£275,350

4.54%

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN 2017

£132,128

2.18%

THE DARK KNIGHT 2008

£127,854

2.11%

STAR WARS: EPISODE V – THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK 1980

4

10

DIRTY DANCING 1987

£117,931

1.94%

5

11

JURASSIC PARK 1993

£117,484

1.94%

6

13

BACK TO THE FUTURE 1985

£105,569

1.74%

7

17

INTERSTELLAR 2014

£74,718

1.23%

8

18

HARRY POTTER & THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE 2001

£73,540

1.21%

9

19

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING 2001

£70,934

1.17%

10

23

HARRY POTTER & THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN 2004

£58,577

0.97%

Rank among Classics

Rank among all films

TOTAL BOX OFFICE CLASSIC FILMS (219 TITLES)

£2,876,222 43.79%

ALL FILMS (319 TITLES)

£6,069,106

this group may be slowest to return until a Covid vaccine is available.

Look, it is your destiny… As cinemas reopened following the easing of lockdown

releases (led by “Onward”, initially released in March) and brand-new titles (most significantly the Russell Crowe psychological thriller “Unhinged”, released on 31 July).

restrictions, over two-thirds of the titles played were originally

With the exception of Christopher Nolan retrospectives,

released over a year ago. The most popular films were

this strong performance by classic films is unique to the UK

significantly older, led by “The Empire Strikes Back”. This film

and Ireland. Looking across Europe, Middle East, Asia/Pacific

alone contributed over 4.5% of the overall post-lockdown box

and the Americas, other territories have seen most revenues

office, the type of market share we associate with a top-tier

driven by two recent categories of film: new local titles and

new blockbuster (for example, “Avengers: Endgame” topped

early-2020 Hollywood releases. The most successful local

the 2019 chart, contributing 6.6% of the total for that year). The

titles include “Peninsula: Train To Busan 2” (South Korea), “Tout

most recent entries in the Top 10 of classics were 2017’s “The

Simplement Noir” and “Divorce Club” (France), “Meine

Greatest Showman” and 2014’s “Interstellar”, which enjoyed

Freundin Conni — Geheimnis um Kater Mau and Takeover —

significant interest in the run-up to the release of “Tenet”.

Voll Vertauscht” (Germany), and most recently “Padre no hay

Astonishingly, almost half of box office revenues came

mas que uno 2: La llegada de la suegra” (Spain). All were

from classic films, exceeding £2.8m over the ten weeks since

released in July. Prior to the release of “Tenet”, the most

reopening. This is despite stiff competition from early-2020

successful local new release in UK and Ireland was

www.cinematech.today

025_SEP20_CLASSIC CINEMA.indd 27

0 9 / 2 0

>

2 7

26/09/2020 20:27


“Summerland”, released 31 July. Worldwide, the Top 10 Hollywood titles after lockdown and before “Tenet” were “Dolittle”, “Interstellar”, “Onward”, “Scoob!”, “Bloodshot”, “Sonic The Hedgehog”, “1917”, “The Invisible Man”, “Little Women” and “Unhinged”.

Cinema love, actually As new releases started to make a tentative return, 20 August saw the launch of the #LoveCinema campaign, coordinated by the UK industry body, Cinema First. This promotional

6.6%

C L A S S I C S

Avengers: Endgame topped the 2019 chart, 6.6% of the annual total

campaign aims to remind audiences of the unique experience

Worldwide, the Top 10 titles immediately post-lockdown were Dolittle, Interstellar, Onward, Scoob!, Bloodshot, Sonic The Hedgehog, 1917, The Invisible Man, Little Women and Unhinged.

£1m

André Rieu’s Magical Maastricht concerts have previously made £1m+ in a day. This year…?

that only the big screen can offer, whilst reassuring them that all safety measures are in place to protect the health of

mid-September as CT went to press, when Andre Rieu’s

cinemagoers and staff. The main campaign trailer recalls the

“Magical Maastricht: Together In Music” offered an important

emotional experience of cinema, evoking the escapism of

litmus test of older audiences’ appetite for cinema visits.

watching a film in all its technical glory. Hopefully this will be

Previous Maastricht concerts have generated over £1m in a

pushing at an open door with people pining to get off the sofa

single day, a benchmark not achieved by the entire box office

after a long absence and more staycationing than any families

since mid-March. From October on, the release calendar

can handle. The dual aspects of reassurance and excitement

sticks resolutely to the “new normal”, with releases scheduled,

are both essential, as many people have concerns about the

but subject to confirmation and delay by distributors. The

behaviour of those outside their bubble and need a compelling

majority of the year’s Top 10 films are yet to come — and as

reason to re-enter public spaces. After so many disrupted

Wesley Snipes almost said, always bet on Bond.

months (with no immediate prospect of respite), there’s a psychological barrier to overcome which needs to be tackled via both logic and emotion. Classic films will likely remain a key part of our cinemas’ offering over the coming months, with some open weeks still to navigate following the release of “Tenet” (released 26 August) and “The New Mutants” (4 September). Andy Leyshon is clear that it’s a combination of new and old that will maximise the chances of a successful relaunch: “We do fully understand that a steady flow of new releases is what’s really needed now to progress the business on to the next stage and take it back to its bumper pre-Covid levels, but the wider selection of back catalogue films remains out there and can hopefully be utilised as strong complementary programming going forward. What better way to reaffirm how very special the cinema experience

is

than

by

offering

something to suit every taste in a big screen environment.” The next major release came in

2 8

>

0 9 / 2 0

025_SEP20_CLASSIC CINEMA.indd 28

T  OP FILMS POST-LOCKDOWN BOX OFFICE (29 MAY-9 AUGUST) RANK

1 2

TITLE ONWARD UNHINGED

RELEASE

RANGE GROSS

06.03.20

£52 8,732

31.07.20

£443,339

10.04.20

£2 90 ,92 5

11.04.97

£275,350

3

TROLLS WORLD TOUR

4

STAR WARS: EPISODE V – THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

5

DREAMBUILDERS

17.07.20

£ 144,2 2 6

6

1917

10.01.20

£136,237

7

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

2 9 .1 2 .1 7

£132,12 8

8

100% WOLF

31.07.20

£ 128,571

9

THE DARK KNIGHT

25.07.08

£ 127,854

DIRTY DANCING

10.02.87

£ 117,931

10

www.cinematech.today

26/09/2020 20:27


Film services since 1938. This is how we connect.

Empowering exhibitors worldwide with proven, reliable IP delivery and live-streaming

gofilex.com Untitled-3 1 March 2020.indd 1 Gofilex CT ad

Gofilex is proud to support Paralympian Niels de Langen in his pursuit of gold at the Paralympic Games, Beijing 2022. 29/09/2020 19/02/2020 12:04 17:50


T E C H N O L O G Y

Key Features: PIXEL PITCH: 3.3 mm Screen Ratio: 4,096 x 2,160 (DCIcompliant) Brightness: 48 cd/m² (DCIcompliant / Minimum) Contrast Ratio: 4,000 : 1 (Minimum) Compatibility with Dolby Media Server (IMS3000) & Dolby Atmos

LG: a new entry in the Cinema LED market Another of South Korea’s electronics giants sees there’s value in the exhibition market. Peter Knight reports on the latest entrant.

W

provides the best theatre environment with vivid image quality and realistic stereo sound. The display itself is 14m wide and

About LG

7m tall and uses Dolby Atmos audio and a Dolby IMS3000

on

LG Corporation

to customers and is monitoring the market, with plans to

lockdown and the battle to beat the

was established

introduce additional screen sizes to suit specific requirements

Covid virus, those in exhibition may have

in 1947 as

of the cinema market in the future. At the time of the launch,

failed to notice the quiet arrival of a new

Lucky-Goldstar.

Paik Ki-mun, head of the Information Display business unit of

entrant in the cinema space. Not to

LG operates

LG Electronics Business Solutions, explained. “Our intent is to

be outdone by its rival manufacturer

subsidiaries such

elevate the movie-going experience beyond what consumers

Samsung, the South Korean electronics giant LG has launched

as LG Electronics,

are accustomed to. We’re confident the advanced technologies

its own foray into the LED cinema display market, announcing

Zenith, LG

behind LG LED Cinema Display and Dolby solutions will grow

the first commercial installation of its LG LED Cinema Display

Display, LG Uplus,

in a Showtime Cinema in Taiwan in June. The company’s LED

LG Innotek and

LG has entered the Cinema Exhibition market a few years

offering achieved DCI certification late last year and the first

LG Chem in over

after Samsung launched its own Onyx LED Technology, which

installation in Taichung City’s Wenxin branch of Showtime

80 countries

is already equipped in a number of premier sites in 17 countries.

Cinema operates within a 300-seat auditorium. LG says it

worldwide.

Meanwhile, in September last year, Barco announced its own

3 0

>

0 9 / 2 0

030_SEP20_LG_LED.indd 30

ITH

THE

WORLD

FOCUSED

server to playback content. LG has said that it is listening closely

our share of the growing LED cinema market.”

www.cinematech.today

28/09/2020 18:36


P O P - U P S

MEA

M

ww w w .c w .c in in e ma em a te te c h .t ch .t o od da ay y LE

Th T T h ee h e lle a l ee ad ad di ni g n gm in g m ag m aagz a ga ai nz e z ii nf o n ee r ff o oc ir n r cce m n ae ii n em ma a

NWHI

...

EMAPP ING E RG OUT T ING MHE ARG LOBAL KETS ii n nd du u

ss ti n d ry u p sr t r y of p es ro s i of e ss na l iso n >>a lVs V OO> V LL.. O3 L 3 22 . 3 NN1OO N .. 32O . 4 >> > 01 2 0 96 / 1 / 1 89

ge Revneon logy! ise III: franch

of tec

MEA

h

the

ww w w w .c in w .c e m a in e te c m a h .t te c o d a h .t od y ay

Th T h ee lle eaad Th di ni g n gm e le ag m ad aagz in ai nz e g i nf o m e r ag f oc i n az r ce in imn a e em fo a r c in in du em s ti n a r yd u in psrt r du o fy st e sp r ry s ioof pr es n of asl i o es s n sio >a l VsO> na LV. O3 ls L2 . >V 3N1 OL O N. O .3 2 .4 2 >>1 NO 0 26 / .4 / 11 89 > 1 2/ 19

NWHI

LE...

cinema

rn De the mode shaping deliliverin ckbuster content is gb gHo hw t tblo o a ig scr udie ee nce n Nne E H ute tfl nti rixnth& sw Coow Ca ge'G H the c5in uld n giac th orld in hGoeD cr Ch th an e in frast ise III: mCa ees su st t an st pe ru repo 1P' bee ke dct th d co am franch wid am exehi e r-f th aslic nt SU w G eaytbe ur tineg en tu ajtra endeio bito or wst pi ns di erase d rs e fo ra ofnd gita cy CTha erm W tith fri neen rm l oo in Sq

001 000_D _C _SE EC OV 18_ P19 ER CO _JU _C OV VE NE R.in ER 19. v2.ind dd inddd1 11

components

for

its

own

professional range of LED screens. In any other year, LG’s entry into the market would have produced a large amount of industry press coverage, reigniting the LED versus projector debate, but the news was somewhat muted, not least thanks to the cancellation of CineEurope in

Pro duced

in par tne rsh ip wit h:

on-screen through better reproduction of the DCI-P3 colour gamut space and of the uniformity that is possible via a pixelcontrolled system. In its documentation about the Display

w .c

in e

NnePtfl E te rerix

ma

LE...

sl au nc h, wi ll t he

te c

h .t od ay

a rn cinem the mode is shaping

ge Revengy!

? O ENN TRY . 20/ 22/ 04/ 11/ 05/ 08/ 201 201 201 998

10: 14: 18: 03 42 44

the ise III: franch s? ma ww

e

m thiu rele cin Co &em C an c5in uld ase for Ev gian thym Gcela er in windo oint th e su fra mC D rest ean t an w still be a sticking p st ssaP pe ru reCE alct bee ve th sdth am exeehi 's r-f ur wth asOtin STtu w G ineay nibe g en ch tra biai h ng to wst edelo nsn'rs io efose fo rati of 001 rm CTh _D W nd friulen s rm _C 000 T ein bm EC by OV onve _D 18_ ER afilds EC tethrv o tne Clorip ha CO ms? _JU "re 19_ bm s VE ? NE u ntps CO ok w e ie R.i 19. a si VE ed ndd w risch ing te ind R.in , 20 ngepss es An ad d 1dd fo ex be tope of 1 1 ie rvo th noth cire fo dr unCe ca logi nete eew lonc P2la It nte" meafo rie th ck es 's ur 01nth prym r ch au ex ofi Fo hi 9n's dian einh tsx's bi toto HW gig ns re gersm ea riu owe fo eh de to lre ca Co reve th an vi da ve pt caaly's stin cto dur loth -Cth pe ed flgie ciea's toCT ol th ry e rs ne esa thar be brm C' m ve esteco fiz sov igazht rs Produced th 20 inhe ie19 re ebu es in par cilp hiAw ofinm ne tne gh sinares ga: t rsh stdre ip wit s wet h: inne rs

w.c

in e

ma

Th T h ee lle eaad di ni g Th n gm e le ag m ad aagz in ai nz e g i nf o m e r ag f oc i n az r ce in imn a e em fo r c a in in du em s ti n a r yd u in psrt r du o fy st e sp r ry s ioof pr es n of asl i o es s n sio >a l VsO> na LV. O3 ls L2 . > V 3N1 OL O N. O .3 2 .4 3 >>1 NO 0 26 / .2 / 11 89 > 0 6/ 20

lo echno of Ht o MEA

NWH

is shaping

ILE...

te c

h .t od ay

a rn cinem the mode

TH EF IS O IGH gTe n e N v e . R gy!

ntent buster co How block w c

are inem the capi a ex e-s talis hibi I: the por ing fr t chise II s ts b on oran oom 20/ 21/11/ 22/ 11/201 05/ 201 989 10: 12:03 14: 11 42

NneM E tflrix te

erg the Co &erc C an ulhi W 5 in d m gian thch GaeD in th e su fra det echst nmia CaP pe ru bee ststan inct airens th d r-f am edur exto th th as SBtu w lotin G ehitra eeay okg elo bito ne be un ndceio w ns xtst iters e12 foov ra-b ofnd 001 se rm m CDTha k _D W ti ve frion _C m 001 er EC OV en _M inid 18_ av ER filth AR ds ttethrv oooon Cim CO ms? _JU "re km 20_ rip s VE ? NE s? ntpa Hean CO ieris R.i ps 19. VE edct ndd wes edab ind gp , 20 R.in ad d 1dd fo ex An UrS of th 1 1 ck ofpe threCeco vo es P ci"P dreewluie ca on nearte rie penc ItAla nt m am alin 'sftne urgym the afoou e" r ch ex th n Fo hi th ntan re in ea biDto ex's thre HTh gefo ge ow ec AF rsre ns ca eglorth e re de toal Co es" apt TE viin da ve ld ca cine cru itiy's loed -C to esol pe gsh ci toscesa ur th mars ryIS Pro R CV ofa's ne thse ram bu ar m ve ect fiz tcov eco az ild 19, WduIN ced hth he or ie refro inebu in par lpofin ing high Sa HO tne mg B sin NIN udies rsh stArre W RIN s ab Gip witTh: etia G H

hnolo of tec

CIN TH EB EM EA A ATT UD LE IEN O dern CE theTmo is shapingBACK.

ntent buster co How block

cinema

20/ 14/11/ 22/ 02/201 05/ 202 201 980 10: 15:03 11: 40 12

June, which overshadowed the timing of LG’s announcement. LG is making much of its ability to create life-like colours

ww

Th T h ee lle eaad Th di ni g n gm e le ag m ad aagz in ai nz e g i nf o m e r ag f oc i n az r ce in imn a e em fo r c a in in du em s ti n a r yd u in psrt r du o fy st e sp r ry s ioof pr es n of asl i o es s n sio >a l VsO> na LV. O3 ls L2 . > V 3N1 OL O N. O .3 2 .4 3 >>1 NO 0 26 / .1 / 11 89 > 0 3/ 20

NWHI

ntent buster co How block tform a pl

display

Front, side and rear views of the units that make up LG’s new Cinema LED screen offer.

MEA

WIhN nOolo of tec NDOW g in m ea str

secure cost-competitive supply of LED

ge Revengy!

evea tethrv n tue Crun "re m sa ip ntps eiein ed, 20 ez wges rc ris de gepsie h adlin fo r ex ofcith thpe aAn rvo th cieca dr em Ceainc ne neeew rie inte Pla It nt m ma If toafo ne" 's ur Iknth Loex r nd raym ch ilw enaein Fo hion ea an bito ayx's HFlow gidfo ns dre ?geEa rs atpa elcirth dept tock ca Co m sy… vict da veur n ea care y's loed -Cclol tb mg pe ory ciinne ein toar allsrs th le esa th erma a —ar nm ve ewecohea's fro ovth zd haret lp sfizan ieebu m hita ofin w re gh e gca sin il es stan gi re s et n ts e lin on ew As n

strategic collaboration with Unilumin, a leading LED manufacturer in China to

filds tw m ors? ?k

NneDtfl E te isra ixth st&ee

Cou an Wld rc5m in gian thth ha Go in eD e fra t th m C st e est su t an vie CaP? pre ru 9 ct bee V1 eram th d ur lo -fa exeh im glth pac ok Stu w stint g G ob eayal s tr iban eM bw lik of ito ndeio es e fo beox t se sfrsor ofofnd r th mm CT ora me W ti n fri ficen onvtse in atow efild te eo Crip hH ms?s? "re m s fa nt o ieris rapllis, thrveth ewin gp jo sA ed 20 adrvo ed fo exto yie ofnd d therC e p cica usthtrre ot ne suieen hete eywha PTla It pnc m r dafo ptu 's or e"ry he urex nth s r in tm ch nin Foch ea hgib an x's igre loito HTiow be gsw ns gersd ea ck fo ps C elit dpev to ow rth ca fooc vcic p n rdci reel ay ture a-ne hinto 'sCol arin ci ognry todesa pop th dergth ma' ne s to oom as sm ar ve e eco fizaz rsov un th hre on ieece elck lo pofin bhus igin m g th h ores st e re s et eir

001 _D _CEC OV18_ ER CO _JUVE NER.i 19.ndd indd 11

Pro duced

in pa rtners hip

20/ 22/ 11/ 05/ 201 201 98

wit h:

10: 14: 03 42

Screen points out that a projection room is no longer required for this technology, allowing a number of benefits to exhibitors, not least increased seating capacity in the auditorium, but as many in the industry appreciate, and as articles within “Cinema Technology” have illustrated, boothless cinema auditoriums are already very much in operation at a number of sites thanks to the use of projector platforms and lifts. LG also claims its LED

Be part of the leading publication for cinema industry professionals!

panels have a working lifetime of 100,000 hours, which it says compares favourably to a bulb-illuminated projector with a 30,000 hour working lifetime. According to the specifications, a 4K cabinet of panels weighs in at 2.6 tons and consumes 9kw of power producing a typical 73BTU sitting at a pixel density of 90,000 per sqm. The cost of the unit has not been disclosed. “Seeing is believing” and it is unfortunate that LG’s entry into the market has been temporarily thwarted by movement restrictions, meaning, of course, that specifiers and buyers of its new solution have had the opportunity to appreciate it. Our hope is that CT will soon also have the chance to appraise it — when we do, a full report will follow!

www.cinematech.today

030_SEP20_LG_LED.indd 31

Four issues a year Free online edition Read by decision-makers Partnering key events

To advertise, please email bobcavanagh@sapo.pt 0 3 / 2 0

>

3 1

28/09/2020 18:36


3 2

>

0 9 / 2 0

032_SEP20_INTERVIEW.indd 32

www.cinematech.today

26/09/2020 20:50


I N T E R V I E W

An industry that’s accessible to all As CEO of Pearl & Dean, Kathryn Jacob heads one of cinema’s most iconic names, the perfect position from which to champion diversity in cinema. Words: Melissa Cogavin

K

ATHRYN JACOB’S accomplishments

“We have a company mantra which is “to harness our

are considerable and impressive; hugely

passion for film, to build great brands between films and

intelligent, modest with a wicked sense

audiences and the films they appear in.” It’s all about open

of humour, her insight, positive outlook

relationships with the people that we work with,” she told me.

and vision have seen her embrace her

“Mark Williams at WTW cinemas in Cornwall — we are both

Fact File Kathryn Jacob,

15-year tenure as CEO of the cinema

massive cricket fans. I’ll text him during a test match saying:

CEO, Pearl

advertising Pearl & Dean — only a fraction of the work she also

‘Are you watching this, I feel sick. OMG what’s happening now,

& Dean

handles outside office hours on subjects including the effects

every time I walk in the room we lose a wicket!’ You can only

of advertising on body image and mental health.

have that kind of culture in a sector where people welcome it.

Kathryn Jacob is

Kathryn’s energy and positivity are infectious, and she has

It might not thrive in a place as open and people oriented as

CEO of Pearl &

nothing but good things to say about Pearl & Dean, where she

cinema is. If we were a firm of actuaries, I don’t think the

Dean and sits on

has been CEO for 15 years. The company was founded in 1953

culture would be quite the same,” she added.

and is embedded in the UK’s collective cinema consciousness

the Advertising Association

for its iconic theme tune, “Asteroid”, (though perhaps better

The end of the world as we know it...?

Council. She is

known to all as the ‘pa-pa, pa-pa, pa-pa, pa-pa, pa-pa-pa’

While 2020 will linger in all our memories for not very good

ex-President of

theme). The company has endured substantial market

reasons, Kathryn is undaunted by gloomy predictions. “We are

Women in

changes and recently added Everyman to its impressive client

at a funny point now. Recent events have thrown into contrast

list. Despite stiff competition and ups and downs, 67 years on and it occupies 20% of the UK market screen advertising business and is in good shape. What is her fondest memory of her time at Pearl & Dean, I wondered? “My fondest time – oh God, all the time. It’s been the best job I’ve ever had. I work with the best people, talented,

the difficulties that some people face. I

“Pearl & Dean is a supportive, creative business with great people… I was only meant to be there for six months!”

super hard working, I laugh every time

think we have an awareness as a society that we have got to change things and if we are going to be in a global fight for talent and to maximise our success as businesses, we have to not treat our staff as commodities. The majority of people really want to do well in their jobs and have fulfilling careers. It’s interesting now — a few years back nobody would

at least five times a day. It’s a supportive, creative, ambitious

have let people work flexibly — Covid has taught us we can.

business with really nice people. I was only meant to be there

People are in fact more productive. You don’t need to work in

for six months. Lovely Mike Hope-Milne — he said he was only

office hours necessarily. Actually, there are fewer distractions

going to stay 18 months and he’s still there. It’s the best place

and output is probably higher; it’s a rigorous and more focused

to work. There is a relentless amount of affectionate mickey-

way of working. It’s about having faith in your staff,” she

taking, so much mutual respect and support.” I suggested that

explained.

this sort of culture only happens if the executive team creates

competition, increasing unemployment and the gig economy

it in the first place, then it trickles down, but Kathryn batted

have probably also focused people’s minds on earning money

that idea away with typical modesty.

while they have the opportunity.

www.cinematech.today

032_SEP20_INTERVIEW.indd 33

Advertising and Communications .

The

zero-hours

contract,

supremely

stiff

0 9 / 2 0

>

3 3

26/09/2020 20:52


‘Death of cinema’ (again)

Cinema’s future is safe,” Kathryn assured me, “There is nothing

True to Kathryn’s character is the fact

to worry about. It’s all about investing in the content, not the

that she sees the future of our sector in

platform.” She’s right of course. The consumer is interested in

terms of focus on people rather than on

seeing “Mulan” — they have no particular loyalty to the studio

commercial imperatives. What about the calamitous cinema

that made it; there is no special thrill to be gained in choosing

landscape? Again, Kathryn is unfazed. “We’ve been hearing

the bespoke platform offering it at $29.99 + subscription fee.

about the demise of cinema since radio was invented,” she

While some take to social media to bemoan the changing

sighed. “We’ve seen off threats from TV, VHS, DVD, piracy,

landscape, Pearl & Dean has spent the summer successfully

streaming and now we have Covid. Everyone is talking about

working on pop-up cinemas and drive-ins with its partners

the release of “Tenet” — sure it means changing release

Luna Cinema and Rooftop Cinema. Kathryn accepts the

patterns. Maybe it will be a huge success, maybe it will mean

current landscape is challenging but is relentlessly upbeat

business as usual. It’s certainly business for now.” Maybe it will

about the opportunities for people out there and feels certain

change things for the better, she added.

the UK cinema industry will weather this storm.

Pa-pa pa-pa… generations of cinemagoers know Pearl & Dean

Given the plethora of SVOD platforms, she argues, why do people still go to the cinema? For the same reason it is

A champion for equality

impossible to get tickets to Glastonbury — for the experience.

Kathryn is the co-author of two books now, the second of

“There is nothing better than sitting in a cinema, viewing a film

these, “Belonging: The Key to Transforming and Maintaining

as a crowd,” she says, “We are pack animals; we want an

Diversity, Inclusion and Equality at Work” (Bloomsbury

emotional experience. I went back to the cinema for the first

Publishing) is due for publication at the end of October. It

time last week and there was a genuine sense of ‘everyone else

addresses diversity in the workplace, how to make it happen

in the room’ — ooh, here we are, aren’t we great!”

and how we all stand to benefit. Critically and commercially

“We love finding points of contact with other people.

3 4

>

0 9 / 2 0

032_SEP20_INTERVIEW.indd 34

Kathryn Jacob’s two books focus on diversity and equality, subjects that have defined her career

well received, her first book “The Glass Wall” offers ‘a strategy

www.cinematech.today

26/09/2020 20:50


I N T E R V I E W

“Cinema’s future is safe. There is nothing to worry about — it’s about investing in content, not the platform”

as CEO. In addition to her day job she sits on the Development

for success to help women capitalise on opportunities at work, or overcome the inevitable complications that will arise over the course of a career’. Kathryn’s positive tone is all over her first book, a marked difference from some of the strident, aggressively feminist writing elsewhere characterised by an unfortunate tendency

Cinema has the ability to change and challenge attitudes in a way that television cannot, says Kathryn Jacob

Board of Women’s Aid, the Advertising Association Council and the Government’s Expert Group on Body Confidence, for which she was awarded an OBE in 2010. How did that come about? Kathryn gives a hoot of laughter. “The OBE was the result of another string! In 2010 I joined a Government Expert

to alienate. The designer Diane von Furstenberg (among other

Group led by [former Liberal Democrat leader] Jo Swinson.”

luminaries) agrees: “It is so important to empower other

She expanded on this, explaining the damaging effect that

women and that is exactly what this book does. It gives women

airbrushed images in advertising have on young people and

practical advice to help them navigate careers and, ultimately,

their mental health.

design their own life.”

An award-winning contributor

“There was talk of kitemarks on advertisements at the time to say they haven’t been touched up. Editorial is always touched up though; look at old Hollywood photos, everything

Like a lot of us, Kathryn left university without much idea about

is retouched — everyone knows it. The idea that the public is so

what might come next. “Oh no I didn’t have any idea. University,

stupid that they think if they use this face powder that they will

then let’s see. No regrets! God no. I’ve had an absolutely brilliant

look like the models in the ads is just mental.

career, I love my job and I love the people I work with.” Kathryn

“I did some work on the views of girls and mothers on the

was the first girl in her family to go to university and afterwards

advertising in a report called ‘Pretty as a Picture’ representation

took a role at a regional newspaper as a graduate trainee. This

of women in advertising.” In 2011, 84% of girls polled were well

led to positions at “The Daily Telegraph”, IPC Magazines and

aware that airbrushing is a part of advertising, that they were

Virgin Radio, which evolved into Ginger Media Group, where

less trusting of brands using airbrushing and opinions skewed

she became commercial director, before joining Pearl & Dean

toward more natural-looking images shown to them over

www.cinematech.today

032_SEP20_INTERVIEW.indd 35

0 9 / 2 0

>

3 5

26/09/2020 20:50


I N T E R V I E W

airbrushed, perfect models. In 2020, it is likely young people are now even more savvy, which is comforting.

The golden rule? Do unto others...

Kathryn warmed to this theme. Representation of women in the media is high on her agenda, and there is work to be

I had a good idea what advice Kathryn would offer to those looking to get into

done. “One Indian woman I talked to told me the only

the film business — and it brings us back to her core philosophy. “Work hard. Be

representations of Indian women in the media are variously as

fair to people. Treat people the way you want to be treated and learn from them.

a doctor, a pharmacist, or standing next to an elephant. We

Nepotism and who you know in this industry is still rife. I’ve done ‘Speakers for

have so much work to do on this.” Though Kathryn has done

Schools’ sessions at all-girls schools and I had one smart Indian girl who wanted

some with the Home Office and Equalities Office, the same

to work in film, but her parents were adamant it wasn’t a real career. “Be a

applies across all groups. “It’s the same with body dysmorphia

production accountant instead,” I told her. No one realises there are loads of

in boys,” she went on, agreeing that the impact of social media

other really amazing skilled jobs out there — there is an education gap there. We

and the value placed on rippling muscles and buff midriffs is

need to make it more accessible for new talent; we all stand to benefit. Diversity

damaging and unrealistic for all but a few in the real world.

is important and our own industry certainly promotes it enough on the screen.

Breaking down barriers

Look at the way in which film can treat subjects. Cinema gives you permission in a way that TV can’t because it’s going direct into people’s homes. Cinema has

Her book “The Glass Wall” was published in 2016, the

changed attitudes, it’s dealing with big, difficult subjects. Look at the taboos

culmination of her research and co-written with her good

broken by films such as “The Crying Game” in the 90s, by “Brokeback Mountain”

friend Sue Unerman. “I have known Sue for so long I can’t

in the 00s.”

remember meeting her. She came to see me and said ‘I want to write a book about women in careers but I won’t do it unless you write it with me. It was a brave decision on her part, as prior to that we had only exchanged texts and emails really. I am an

first one. We did about 200 talks to blue-chip banks, women’s

extrovert, she is an introvert; we are very different and have

groups, places like the London School of Economics — and

very different backgrounds.” She went on to add this duality of

what we realised was that people that aren’t in an identified

perspectives was a strength and added weight to the

group (such as BAME, LGBTQ etc); most of them want to create

arguments presented in the book.

dynamic and diverse organisations. And I’m not talking about

“The aim of the book wasn’t to say ‘men are all bad, step

tokenism; that doesn’t last. The blurb is inspiring. “Belonging is

aside’, Kathryn was keen to stress. Indeed, “The Glass Wall” is

the call to action we need today ­— the tool to turn the men in

dedicated to “all the strong women in our lives, especially our

power into allies as we battle discrimination, harassment, pay

daughters, and the lovely men that support them and us.” She

gaps, and structural racism and patriarchy at every level of the

explains: “It was about a system and a culture that exists — a

workplace. The lessons in this book will help us work together

toxic, alpha male atmosphere, which doesn’t work for all sorts

to build a better workplace where everyone feels they belong.”

of men and women. A lot of men don’t want to play that game and they find it really hard to negotiate.”

The talent that should be ours

I pressed Kathryn on this. “There are unspoken rules in the

Few have the breadth of understanding that Kathryn has, and

workplace. It’s like trying to explain the offside rule; if you don’t

the million-dollar question was on my mind. “What does the

understand it it’s impossible to play football. That’s hard if

future hold?” She felt it was all tied to valuing each other and

you’re a man and if you’re a woman it’s harder still.

understanding that value. All across the supply chain?

Understanding the rules of the game — arming yourself — was

“Absolutely. Client supplier, exhibitor, distributor. Understanding

one of the reasons why we wrote the book. We heard women

the dynamics of the business.”

and men saying ‘It’s me, it’s my fault for not understanding the

These are sentiments which are echoed in her books;

game. When we did talks afterwards, the number of men that

clearly Kathryn sees value in the talent this industry attracts,

told us how much that resonated with them was amazing.”

and is passionate about developing, nurturing and sustaining

She added, “People told me ‘This book has changed my

that talent so we all succeed. Wordcount stops me, but Kathryn

career; it’s made me realise I can get the career that I want.’ It

is a force of nature and I could have talked to her all day. With

was the most gratifying bit about it.” What is the next book

her vision, hopefully we will one day make our industry as

about? “That really came out of all the talks we did with the

accessible as it deserves to be for all.

3 6

>

0 9 / 2 0

032_SEP20_INTERVIEW.indd 36

www.cinematech.today

26/09/2020 20:50


ALWAYS A GOOD FIT

The Best of Both Worlds LTILTI is the manufacturer thatand canbrightness supply both has only harnessed the power of laser Laserupgrade Technology. systems lamps. the best technology for Helios and laserxenon systems giveYou youchoose all the advantages of laser projection your application: high long life Our laserlow for cost, your larger without the cost of aperformance, new laser projector. long life screens, cost-effective xenoninto lamps for smaller screens. LTI’s It’s so systems can be integrated all digital cinema projectors. revolutionary modular laser upgrade fit multiple flexible youHelios can switch from xenon lamp systems to laser and back again. The projectors andof can between projectors advantages anbe LTIeasily laser relocated system are clear, constant andasaffordable. your requirements change. www.ltilighting.com

Untitled-2 1

29/09/2020 11:52


Listen to Sound… SUMINISTROS KELONIK SA – c/ Badajoz, 159 bis – 08018 BARCELONA – SPAIN www.kcsspeakers.com

Untitled-3 1

29/09/2020 12:07


F I L M

D A T A

WHICH MOVIE VIEWERS HAVE BOUNCED BACK POSTLOCKDOWN? The past few months have been marked by speculation and hypothesis about cinemagoing, but with many sites reopening, firm data on returning visitors is at last available. Movio’s Ashleigh Davis scrutinises the demographics of confident returnees.

A

s cinemas across the world reopen their doors, it seems the question of how lockdown has impacted the film industry and moviegoer behaviour can finally start to be answered. As many countries started to ease their

social-distancing rules and commence some degree of normalcy, it presented the opportunity to discover which film lovers were the first to return to their favourite havens.

www.cinematech.today

030_SEP20_MOVIO.indd 39

0 9 / 2 0

>

3 9

27/09/2020 09:56


AGE GROUP TRENDS DURING LOCKDOWN

With sufficient data now available in a range of territories, Movio’s moviegoer analysis and comparison of behaviour from January to June and July means we can see which

MOVIEGOER SEGMENTS FROM JAN TO JUL 2020 (UK & IRELAND) Jan

audiences responded to the first of theatre reopenings in key markets (UK, US, Western Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Australasia).

Jul

50%

Vital analysis for future marketing

40%

Movio’s Data Science team focused their analysis specifically

30%

on the age and gender demographic profiles, frequency of

20%

attendance, and visits per member, comparing these data

10%

points from pre-shutdown to the June and July reopening

0%

period. Note that this analysis excludes several variables such as content on-screen as well as pricing and offers to members. The industry assumption was

12-34 yrs

35-54 yrs

that the younger

55-80 yrs

moviegoers may ultimately return

The industry assumption in lockdown had been that younger moviegoers would return to cinemas sooner than those in older age brackets. In the UK & Ireland, this was the case, with the 12-34 year old

moviegoer segment rising from 35% of the total audience in January 2020 to 46% in July, while the 55-80 age group dropped from 22% of the total cinema audience pre-shutdown to 9% upon reopening.

sooner than older age brackets. In the

UK

and

Ireland, this was

certainly the case. The 12-34 year old moviegoer segment

FREQUENCY OF CINEMA VISITS DURING LOCKDOWN

here rose from 35% of the total cinema audience in January 2020 to 46% in July, while the 55-80 age group dropped from 22% of the audience pre-shutdown to 9% upon reopening.

FROM JAN TO JUL 2020 (WESTERN EUROPE) Jan

Jun

“The impact of fewer regional CV19 cases on attendance among older audiences is a factor to consider”

When examining the audience behaviour in Scandinavia and Australasia, however, different patterns emerged. Younger audiences in Scandinavia (those aged 12-34 years)

Jul

actually made up a considerably smaller proportion of the 60%

moviegoers upon cinemas reopening, versus the period prior to lockdown. More specifically, this age segment shrank from 41% of total attendance in January to 30% of the audience in

40%

July. Older moviegoers in New Zealand also represented a larger share of the total audience following lockdown, where 55-80 year olds previously made up 21% of the total audience

20%

in this region in January, yet in June they made up 31%. Could this illustrate a correlation between the countries hardest hit by CV19 and audiences most confident to return

0%

Infrequent

4 0

>

Occasional

0 9 / 2 0

Untitled-6 2 030_SEP20_MOVIO.indd 40

Frequent

V.Frequent

the fastest? The impact of fewer regional Covid cases on

The suggestion that those who visited cinemas most prior would be the ones to head straight back when they could largely proved to be the case. The data gathered by Movio saw “frequent” (those making 6-25 visits in six months) and “very frequent” (those making 26+ visits in six months) moviegoers dominate the audience profiles for those returning to

cinemas in June and July. Attendance per loyalty programme member in Western Europe was up from 1.45 average visits pre-lockdown, to 1.67 average visits in June, and a further increased to 2.04 average visits in July. This consistent rise in returning frequent moviegoers made up a whopping 40% of audiences in July, compared to just 12% in January.

www.cinematech.today

29/09/2020 09:57 14:44 27/09/2020

030_


F I L M

attendance

amongst

older

markets reopen in months ahead.

Gender: a female skew The Movio Data Science team

“frequent” (those making 6-25 visits in six months) and “very

31%

audiences is a factor to consider as

D A T A

frequent” (those making 26+ visits in six months) moviegoers

55-80 year olds in New Zealand previously made up 21% of the total audience in this region in January, yet in June made up 31%.

dominating the profiles for those returning in June and July. Attendance per loyalty programme member in Western Europe was up from 1.45 average visits pre-lockdown, to 1.67 average visits in June, and a further increased 2.04 average

found that female audiences in

visits in July. This consistent rise in returning frequent visitors

June made a higher share of the total returning audience

made up a whopping 40% of audiences in July, compared to

than in January across the majority of territories examined.

just 12% in January. The proportion of frequent and very

The UK and Ireland saw younger female segments dominate

frequent moviegoers in the UK and Ireland followed a similar

on reopening, with 12-34 year old and 35-54 year old women

dominancy trend, rising from 9% in January to 17% in July.

making up 26% and 25% of audiences respectively in July.

The average visits per loyalty programme member in this

Female moviegoers in nearby territories also made up

territory rose from 1.30 in January to 1.43 in July. Unlike those

audience majorities, but with a higher age on average. In

territories in the Northern Hemisphere, the Asia Pacific region

Western Europe, 55-80 year old females accounted for 11% of

saw only a small

26%

the returning audience in July, up from 4% in January, while in Scandinavia, 35-54 females accounted for 38% of the

The UK and Ireland saw younger female segments dominate upon reopening, with 12-34 year old and 35-54 year old women making up 26% and 25% of audiences respectively in July.

returning audience in July, up from 25% in January. This trend continued in the Middle East, with female audiences sitting at 28% of total audiences post-shutdown — up 4% since January — which is particularly interesting considering the

increase of 1.41 to 1.42 in average visits

from

January to June. Larger

change

was seen in the proportion

region’s audience being traditionally male-skewed.

of

Further afield, Australia saw the largest change among

frequent moviegoers which rose from 21% to 26%, and very

the countries examined, with the 12-34 year old female

frequent moviegoers accounted for 2.7% of the audience

cohort making up 40% of the post-shutdown June audience,

post-shutdown, compared to 0.9% pre-shutdown.

up dramatically from 19% in January. The only territory

The US was the only region to show a drop in the average

analysed that showed an increase in its male audience was

visits per loyalty programme member, decreasing from 1.75

Western Europe, where 12-34 year old males accounted for

in January to 1.49 in June and 1.56 in July. Unlike most other

28% of audiences in June, up from 22% pre-shutdown.

regions was the fact that the returning audience was mostly

Frequency: keen on kino One hypothesis the team at Movio had regarding frequency was that those who visited cinemas most frequently prior to shutdown would be the ones to return first in the early

made up of infrequent moviegoers. It is worth noting that

46%

infrequent moviegoer visits does bring down the average visits per member, as they obviously tend not to go as often.

The 12-34 year old moviegoer segment in the UK and Ireland rose from 35% of the total cinema audience in January 2020 to 46% in July,

In summary It is clear that some speculation proved to be true regarding who would be first through cinema doors. In June, we saw

days of reopening. We thought this

younger, female-skewed, and “more frequent” moviegoers

would be particularly likely at cinemas offering subscription-

embracing the return more than any other group, but it’s

based loyalty programmes, where multiple visits per month

clear this attendance is diversifying as weeks pass. This

were considered the norm. Data gathered across these

audience composition could continue to fluctuate as new

territories proved our hypothesis to largely be the case, with

openings and new screenings occur and when, hopefully, conditions improve. One thing is certain: it is an invigoratingly

The 12-34 age segment in Scandinavia shrank from 41% of total attendance in January to 30% of the audience in July.

www.cinematech.today

09:57

Untitled-6 3 030_SEP20_MOVIO.indd 41

17%

30%

fresh chapter for the world of cinema, and one that can

The proportion of frequent and very frequent moviegoers in the UK & Ireland rose from 9% in January to 17% in July.

undoubtedly be steered to success by data-led marketing.

Note: The analysis referenced in this report was conducted on moviegoers who are members of selected cinema loyalty programmes, Due to cinema shutdown, Movio looked at moviegoer frequency over a period of six months.

0 9 / 2 0

>

4 1

29/09/2020 09:57 14:44 27/09/2020


Cinema: the infinite live event venue A cyber success story, as well as a box office success

A recent experience of attending a live presentation of “Tosca” at an independent cinema, gave Mark Tompeteler cause to reflect on the success of Event Cinema — ­ and not just in commercial terms.

W

OULD ANYONE IN their right mind

of just six performances at the opera house. To my mind, this

pay £3,000 for a seat for a single film

democratisation of the arts is just one example of the way in

screening? I think not. But that is what

which Event Cinema has changed the cultural landscape. It

was being asked on the black market

now regularly provides access to cultural, musical and other

in London for a single seat at the

events to rural, town and city populations across the world.

Royal Opera House to see the March

David Pope, CEO of MusicScreen Ltd., recently invited

2020 production of Beethoven’s only opera “Fidelio”,

my wife and I to join him for a live transmission of the equally

according to Antonio Pappano, the music director at the

anticipated opera “Tosca” from the famed La Scala, Milan.

UK’s blue riband opera venue, when he was interviewed by

David had secured the distribution rights for the broadcast

the BBC after the event. This recent, new, and eagerly

of this production to UK cinemas from the Italian state

anticipated production of the opera was only performed six

broadcaster RAI. Even with my limited knowledge and

times in the first half of March and tickets at the opera

experience of opera, in my mind La Scala and its productions

house had been sold out for months in advance. As many of

represent a level of excellence that guaranteed this would

us have now come to expect of our leading cultural events,

herald a very special event. Apart from featuring one the

the last performance on 17th March was broadcast to over

world’s great sopranos, Anna Netrebko, this was also the

400 cinemas worldwide. I was able to see the production at

first night, the premiere of this new production.

my local cinema for a ticket price of just under £20.

Event expectations

Networking auditoria and audiences Just like so many of the other event cinema transmissions

More people saw that production of “Fidelio”, in that one

that I have attended, the moment we sat down in the

cinema broadcast than would have seen it in its limited run

82-seat Screen 2 auditorium, of the independent

4 2

>

0 9 / 2 0

042_SEP20_LIVEEVENTS.indd 42

www.cinematech.today

26/09/2020 20:13


E V E N T

C I N E M A

“Democratisation of the arts is one example of the way Event Cinema is changing cultural landscapes” www.cinematech.today

042_SEP20_LIVEEVENTS.indd 43

0 9 / 2 0

>

4 3

26/09/2020 20:13


NT Live’s theatrical productions - now an established part of the programme

£10 to patrons: event cinema is an affordable proposition

Serving its community, the Art House in Crouch End

“Can you turn it down a bit…?” In musical events, sound is clearly one of the most important factors. In our auditorium during Act 1 of “Tosca” sound was superb. With opera, the singing and music

Find us here

affect the emotions of audience members profoundly. Set

Art House,

Arthouse Cinema in London’s Crouch End, I immediately

in our auditorium at Dolby level 6.5, the sound was rich,

Crouch End,

felt I was going to be a part of a far bigger worldwide

deep and without distortion. It was definitely hitting that

London

cultural event. The surround sound of the audience at the

operatic psyche, stirring the emotions and immersing the

venue from which the event is being broadcast, together

audience. However, during the first interval one audience

with

glimpses

of

the

networked

audience in other locations, makes you appreciate that you are part of a combined single audience. Being able to experience the amazing auditorium of La Scala live, further reinforces the feeling of being a definite part of a networked cultural experience. With the greatest of respect to the

“During the first interval, one audience member complained to staff that the sound was to loud…”

Mixing film, fine

member complained to the cinema

art, live music,

staff that the sound was too loud

discussion, dance,

so we subsequently heard Act 2

theatre, and

at level 5. Whilst the beauty of

workshops, the

Puccini’s music still shone through

Art House is a

and the singing moved the emotions,

unique hub in

the effect was noticeably diminished

North London for

and

significantly

less

immersive.

During Act 3 the sound was turned

artists to feel at home in and

exhibition community, when you consider the contrast

back up to level 6, after further representations were

lovers of art to be

between the cinema auditorium and the actual event

made, and the full audio glory of a live musical event was

entertained in.

venue, you realise that one of the most notable successes of

rescued. This experience demonstrates just how critical

Event Cinema is to give audiences in remote auditoria a true

sound is to any cinema experience — and live events offer

sense of inclusion. The production was impressive, at times

considerably fewer opportunities to remedy problems on

lavish, and it certainly lived up to expectations.

the night.

4 4

>

0 9 / 2 0

042_SEP20_LIVEEVENTS.indd 44

www.cinematech.today

26/09/2020 20:13


E V E N T

C I N E M A

Power to the people! The social relevance of event cinema I’m certain that if anyone did purchase a black market ticket for around £3,000 for the Royal Opera House’s 17th March performance of “Fidelio” at Covent Garden, then they would have had a wonderful experience that was well worth the outlay. For those in cinemas around the world paying a little under £20 to participate in the cinematic experience of the exact same event, they were not only taking part in a recent box office trend or phenomenon, but they were also participating in something much wider. The widening of access to culture and community and social perspectives event cinema enables is something of which contemporary cinema has every good reason to be proud. Event Cinema has also genuinely helped to underpin the egalitarian, social and cultural relevance of cinemas in today’s ever-changing cultural and media landscape.

Changing Cultural & Cinema Landscapes The business model of Event Cinema has established itself and has been remarkably successful. The percentage splits of the box office receipts serve the exhibitor, distributor and content providers and creators well. Event cinema has been

One of the world’s greatest operatic sopranos, Anna Netrebko, now performing in your local cinema.

cinema operates as a going concern even though there is a small Picturehouse multiplex only one hundred yards away. Co-owners Jenny Hansford and Sam Neophytou talk fondly of their site — a former Salvation Army Citadel and snooker club conversion which is very much supported by the local

so successful that it has become an integral part of the

community. Sam particularly spoke of his roots in the area

cinematic programme now offered to the public. When I

and how he felt Event Cinema had contributed to the

visited the independently owned Picture House in Uckfield

enrichment of the cultural landscape of communities world

last year, I was struck by the fact that approximately 25% of the programming now consists of Event Cinema broadcasts. The small independently owned Crouch End cinema is a classic example of a boutique cinema serving its local audience. With a second auditorium of just 82 seats, the

World-class performances, such as ROH’s “Tosca”, now reach screens globally as a matter of course.

wide. Access to opera is a good case in point: as an art form it is incredibly expensive to stage and often commands very expensive ticket prices at the opera house. Cinema and online streaming have made it available at more affordable prices. In conversation with me Sam praised this egalitarian and enriching aspect of Event Cinema. It was interesting to note that their February Event Cinema blackboard offered their patrons tickets at £10 for the screenings. David Pope, who won an international Event Cinema award for MusicScreen following the transmission of The Rolling Stones’ “Havana Moon” concert across Europe, chatted to me about how he feels the music industry is being affected by Event Cinema. An increasing number of performers are re-aligning live concert tours and musical events to take in Event Cinema and streaming on other media. Both the overheads of staging a stadium concert, and the potential economic, logistical and physical impact on performers of extended tours across multiple continents must all be high. No wonder the logistic and economic advantages, as well as the extended audience reach, make Event Cinema increasingly appealing to performers.

www.cinematech.today

042_SEP20_LIVEEVENTS.indd 45

0 9 / 2 0

>

4 5

26/09/2020 20:13


D I S C U S S I O N

Restart: The integrators’ view With audience confidence slowly recovering, what can the engineering teams that manage sound and projection do to support restarting cinemas? CT asks two of the UK’s leading integrators for their views. André Mort Technical Director, Cinema Next

A

FTER MONTHS OF UNCERTAINTY

and we will all expect those old invoices to be paid. It has to be

across all business sectors (exhibition,

said: exhibitors do recognise the importance of their support

distribution and production), cinemas

network and have made efforts to bring accounts up to date.

have demonstrated now that they can

It is likely that investment programmes will be reviewed

successfully open with a range of safety

and there will be cutbacks. Finance will be more difficult to

measures in place. Social distancing,

obtain, in the short term, as banks watch to see balance sheets

seat allocation, removal of “pick & mix”, pre-booked paperless

return to normal. Integrators can help. There’s financial support

ticketing, face masks, hand sanitisers and rigid cleaning

available from manufacturers (they want to keep selling new

regimes allow exhibitors to fulfil their role — to ensure that

kit!), payments can be spread out, rental models are being

customers feel safe and offer the best possible out of home

designed and there have been discussions regarding shared

experience. Our role, as integrators, is to make sure cinemas

ownership. The VPF model or anything similar will not return,

CinemaNext has

can concentrate on front of house activities. Anything we can

but there will be various financial models available.

its main office in

do to see that staff are not having to worry about sound and projection will ensure the focus is on the customer experience.

Fact File CinemaNext

Liège-Blegny,

Sweat the assets

Belgium, with .

Manufacturers have been hugely supportive and have

The UK market, in particular, has an aging estate of projectors.

published guidelines to safeguard equipment when it is

Many exhibitors were looking to replace these in a managed

Europe. The

powered up/down on a regular basis, and content has been

fashion, and this is likely to be delayed for some. Our role, as

company focuses

run to check servers are operating correctly. This information is

integrators, is to help exhibitors “sweat the assets” but also to

on four core areas:

widely available, and every integrator has supported their

show savings achievable with the new equipment available,

sales and field

installed base. With cinemas opening again, integrators have

and also to highlight where presentation is not as good as it

services, software

been visiting each site, testing the TMS and the audio, running

could be and to recommend upgrades, repurposing of existing

solutions, NOC,

content, cleaning lenses (if needed), installing any required

equipment, power management savings, greater automation,

and consulting.

software updates and making sure that the presentation is a)

and more hardware/software integration. Greater flexibility for

reliable and b) of excellent quality.

content gives more control to cinema owners, allowing them

We need people back in cinemas — let us make sure they enjoy it enough to come again — and again and again.

A financial crisis

to maximise revenue opportunities. Live events, private hire and film festivals are eased when integrators design flexibility into the system, which should be as “hands-free” as possible. Manufacturers have extended warranties to cover the “closed”

During these months, integrators have taken a generous view

period and we need to make sure our records are up to date

of outstanding monies — with cinemas shut and earning little,

and reflect the change in warranty end date.

if any, revenue, this hasn’t been the time to add to their worries

In summary — our role as integrators is easy. All we need to

by chasing invoices. As they reopen, cinemas will need our

do is ensure that S&P is the best it can be, that it is automatic

support, and often parts, lamps, engineer visits and training —

and “hands free” and that the cinema knows that “it just works”.

4 6

>

0 9 / 2 0

046_SEP20_RESTART.indd 46

offices across

www.cinematech.today

28/09/2020 18:44


Simon Tandy Managing Director, Omnex

W

HILE

YOU

PROBABLY

WOULDN’T

consider “CT” to be the Fox News of the cinema business, I do wonder when will

mne

upgraded surround speakers, and fully refurbished sound and projection rooms. This consideration for superior technology reflects how cinemas take the customer experience seriously.

the madness stop? We’ve seen our

Despite my eternal optimism, though, it is important to

industry adopt some of the best socially-

consider the impact of Covid and more importantly the effects

distanced, ‘Covid-safe’ environments,

yet our friends in Dublin have just been slapped with a second-

Fact File

wave lockdown. In much of the UK, we’re seeing localised lockdowns, and now we’re being told we can socialise — but

Omnex

only until 10pm! Has the cinema sector, or indeed any of the

of continued or further localised restrictions.

Free servicing: help where it counts most For those in a position to upgrade technology… great! But most will need to make the best they can from existing equipment.

hospitality and leisure sectors, been considered at all?! I’m not

Founded in 1987,

It is in place and already on par with the experience. Right now,

one for public ranting — perhaps I should be — so with that

Omnex supplies,

technology represents a cost that can be overridden by other

aside, we at Omnex have had to think hard about how we can

installs, services

priorities. As such, Omnex pleased to announce this month a

support the sector. This is a relationships business, after all. We

and maintains

new ‘free-service’ model to support cinemas and aid cashflow

were here long before the pandemic and it is relationships

technologies to

to help ensure they can keep the best picture on screen.

that will keep us all here long after.

independent

As the pandemic continues, restarting cinemas is less

cinemas and

about the technical approach, switching on equipment after a

Easing out of lockdown…

cinema chains

prolonged absence, and more about a fundamental existential

As we eased out of lockdown, the Omnex team continued to

throughout the

approach. Service providers like Omnex and our colleagues

install and maintain sound and projection equipment. Clearly,

UK and Ireland.

across the industry can handle the technical side for exhibitors.

for some, the appetite to move forward is high. Since July, we

It’s what we do best. But perhaps the right thing to do for

have opened brand-new cinemas; from boutique two-screens

cinemas restarting is to give them material support — tangible

to all-laser with Atmos six-plex sites. We’ve seen some great

financial benefits such as a free service model — that genuinely

value projects complete and have installed nearly 2,000 seats,

helps them where they’ve been hit the hardest.

www.cinematech.today

046_SEP20_RESTART.indd 47

0 9 / 2 0

>

4 7

28/09/2020 18:43


THE ULTIMATE INFLATABLE MOVIE SCREEN

info@airscreen.com · www.airscreen.com · +49 251 60 90 250

ON AVERAGE A CINEMA POS IS INSTALLED FOR OVER 15 YEARS

“WE TRUST THEM BRENDAN LEADEN, MOVIE HOUSE CINEMAS

“THOROUGHLY RECOMMENDED” ROBERT HENDERSON,

Produced by JACRO

90

Years in Cinema

4 8

Untitled-2 48

>

0 9 / 2 0

www.jacro.com sales@jacro.com

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: contact@ppttrust.org www.ppttrust.org The Projected Picture Trust, Dean Clough Mills, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX3 5AX

www.cinematech.today

29/09/2020 11:58


V I E W

How to design a cinema auditorium: expert advice Rolv Gjestland has a wealth of experience on the subject of cinema design — with UNIC he has published a revised edition of his definitive work on the subject.

Screen seen from last row on a 2.39 : 1 screen 40

Distance screen to last row (m)

U N I C

2.4

4.8

7.2

9.6

Picture width (m)

12.0

14.3

16.7

19.1

21.5

5

6

7

8

9

23.9

26.3

28.7

10

11

12

Very small screen

35

Small screen Medium screen

30

Large screen 25

Very large screen Extremely large screen

20 15 10 5

1

2

3

4

Picture height (m)

Seating area in front of the projector may be limited if the light output is very high. Individually calculated for each auditorium

ACCEPTABLE SEATING AREA

his home country and has

opening, UNIC has been pleased to

written professional manuals

announce the release of a second

and

edition of Rolv Gjestland’s handbook on

design. He is a member of the

“How to design a cinema auditorium”,

UNIC Technology Group, where

giving practical guidelines for architects, cinema owners and

he has played a central role

others involved in planning and building cinemas.

since its inception in 2013.

cinema

45° 35°

First published in October last year, the previous edition

His eye for detail can be

was well received with many praising its objectivity and

seen throughout the book, as

practical value as an accompanying tool in the complex

he distils precise information on

process of planning and designing cinemas today. This latest

every aspect of the design process of screening rooms,

edition — in an upgraded digital format — takes into account

structured around key areas of work such as screens, seating,

helpful comments received from friends and colleagues in

acoustics and accessibility. Each topic is explored carefully,

the weeks following its original publication.

ensuring nothing is omitted from the design process.

Screen width

Whatever level your expertise on cinema design, we

Rolv loves — and encourages people to continue —

guarantee you will enjoy every word in 150 pages of expert

developing exciting cinema auditoriums that enhance the

knowledge offer insights into endless considerations and

experience, and he urges people not to forget that the main

compromises necessary to deliver the best cinematic

reason most go to the cinema is to have a great experience

experience. With detailed graphs and illustrations, Rolv’s

and see/hear the film truly as intended by the filmmakers.

book encourages the urge to experiment with possible

If you have any feedback about the book, from missing

designs for your dream auditorium. Above all, the passion

topics to potential improvements, please do not hesitate to

and love for the Big Screen shines through on every line of

contact the author or UNIC. We would be delighted to take

this monumental work from a true cinema veteran, once an

these into account in the future, as we update this book to

aspiring projectionist, now an authority on all things that

ensure it serves its initial purpose: to contribute to the design

make cinema-going special.

of great cinema auditoriums, where audiences will be able to

Rolv Gjestland is currently advisor in cinema concepts,

D1>0.6 x W

10° D1>0.5 x W

about

DN<1.7 x W

articles

GOOD SEATING AREA

DN<1.5 x W

W

ITH MOST CINEMAS gradually re-

Rolv’s evaluation of screen sizes, shown for a 2.39:1 screen seen from the last row. He is keen on feedback on his views.

Installing seats in areas with unacceptable viewing risks harming the cinema-going experience. Choice of screen may place further limitations on the acceptable seating area.

enjoy unforgettable experiences, now and in years to come.

design, logistics and technology for Film&Kino, the Norwegian association of cinemas operators. Since 1984, he has been

The upgraded, digital edition of Rolv Gjestland’s book is

involved in almost every new-build or upgrade of cinemas in

available for free on the UNIC website unic-cinemas.org.

www.cinematech.today

049_SEP20_UNIC.indd 49

0 9 / 2 0

>

4 9

28/09/2020 18:54


O P I N I O N Throw the doors wide open… we’re back! In Ireland, cinemas opened from 29 June. Graham Spurling describes how the Movies@ team were determined to welcome the audience.

S

O, THERE WE WERE on Friday 19 June

conversations on film rental secured some very favourable

with Movies@Cinemas having been

terms which would help to make the low attendances viable.

Covid closed since 17 March and with

We had been active on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin

33 days to our Phase 4 reopening date,

counting down the days to reopening. We were the first

when out of the blue, our Government

cinema to announce we would open on 29 June and rather

announced that our new reopening date was 29 June — only

fortunately cornered the press and radio attention for the 10-

nine days away. Could we shrink out our 33-day reopening

day lead-in, keeping Movies@ to the fore.

schedule into just nine days? In short the Movies@ staff said yes we could! That decision, in many ways, was the easy part, a way

Taking the number one spot

now had to be found to try to make it work. Our managers

Monday 29 June dawned and all four cinemas in our group

took over all the Covid preparations and paperwork, which was

stared into the abyss with plenty of fingers crossed.

a mammoth task. My joint-MD sister Katinka and our financial

The first eleven days passed swiftly and when we totted up

controller set about clearing our debts so as to restart as debt-

the numbers, we had seen 12,000 customers through our

free to our suppliers as possible. This allowed us to restart

doors — which we saw as a huge success. What I only discovered

almost as a new business. Their diligence freed me up to try to

later, when some anonymised data was passed, on to me was

work my scheduling magic as never before.

that, seemingly, of all the cinemas that were open, Movies@ Cinemas had the highest attendance, the highest grosses, the

A whole new world

highest % attendance vs the previous year than any other

What would our new cinema world look like and what would

exhibitor and the lowest average film rental rates. In short, it

be important? Assuming low attendance numbers, it would

appears that for those 11 days, Movies@Cinemas were the

be imperative to come to the table with new ideas. With no

Number 1 exhibitor in the world. I have always had a liking for

new titles to open with, and with restricted admissions (just 50

the movie “The Mouse That Roared”.

per show), knowledge of my customer demographic, a very

Well, for those supposed few fleeting days at #1, Movies@

wide movie choice and film cost were the three stand-out

was that little mouse and it made all the hard work and

hurdles that had to be crossed.

courage so worthwhile.

Looking closely at the three hurdles, I targeted 35-45

There are tough times ahead, films are disappearing into

multi-genre titles every week in my 12-screen Movies@

2021 at an alarming rate and we have been pinning a lot of

Dundrum site with some smaller offerings for the other three

hopes on the performance of “Tenet”. But we are a strong and

sites

and

resilient business — and we will survive.

5 0

>

all

demographic-focussed.

0 9 / 2 0

SEP20_OPINION.indd 50

Some

smile-filled

www.cinematech.today

27/09/2020 10:01


Live streaming your events via IP broadband? With Cinio, it really is this simple.

Easy to connect, simple to select â&#x20AC;&#x201D; instantly find your multiple available streams. Experience plug-and-play connectivity on an available, robust and proven network in over 25 countries worldwide and more than 2,500 sitesâ&#x20AC;Ś and growing. This is how we do live.

by

Film services since 1938. This is how we connect.

Untitled-3 1 AB 091118.indd 1 GofilexCinioAd

gofilex.com cinio.gofilex.com 29/09/2020 19/02/2020 12:09 17:44


make customers happy

grow your business

Photo courtesy of Zane Roessell

When the “Best Theatre in America”* wanted to combine the best movie experience with enhanced AV functionality for lobby, business meetings, parties, and alternate content, they turned to QSC. In fact, QSC became their brand standard for enterprisewide audio, video and control - and Q-SYS brings TM

it all together. Make your customers happy and increase your bottom line – with QSC. *According to Entertainment Weekly

©2020 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. All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners. 0216-2020

Untitled-2 1 0216-2020 Grow ad 297mm H x 210mmw.indd 1

29/09/2020 11:53 2/3/20 11:54 AM

Profile for Cinema Technology

Cinema Technology - September 2020  

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded