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This issue of TW has two sets of page numbers - International pages TW-1 to TW-48 for TW, and India pages TM-1 to TM-32 for TM. TM is inserted between pages TW-34 and TW-35 of TW.

contents

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Recession… Elections. Strike. IPL. Swine Flu…?

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Multiplex Muscles Muzzled!

INDIAPLEXING India Continues to Plex...

S P E C I A L F E AT U R E

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INDIAPLEXING

INDIAPLEXING

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Cinematic Revolution

A Heritage Odeon in Delhi

R-City's 'Big Cinema'

cape Mindsc MMinds TM E D I T O R I A L

THE BIG CINEMATIC SHOW The three-month opening of the current fiscal was supposed to be the worst ever quarter in the annals of modern Indian cinema. The creamy layer of multiplex cinema exhibitors had a series of ‘unfortunate’ – not totally unforeseen though – events that had a spiralling impact on their fortune. Having said that, the industry has shown amazing resilience to stay afloat, and get back to business the way they had been hitherto doing it. The new cinema launches that had been made in the last three months are a testament to that.

much bigger way than it was anticipated, but for the two-month tumult. Now that the clouds of rough weather have cleared, the industry is rearing to scale up new highs. If things lined up come to hit the big screen in the expected sequence, Indian cinema will soon see a series of 3D digital screens as well as Imax digital, to unfold the spate of much anticipated 3D digital blockbusters from Hollywood.

More, Indian cinema – led by a ‘big’ operator – has also seen some really big events shaping up its picture. From VIP, Gold lounges and Platinum Club classes, Indian cinema now has evolved to the ‘next’ level of luxury offerings. In a way, cinemas are turning into a rendezvous of moviefare blended with exquisite dining.

What it needs now is a strong domestic movie substratum. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

While putting up truly big stakes to the discerning, Indian cinema had also begun embracing global technology in TM-4

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Bhavanashi Ramakrishna Editor, Theatre Magic


Breaking News... Digital Cinema Cause Gets State-Backing

Digital Cinema Act in the Making ? Finally, after years of assiduous persuasion of digital cinema as sure-fire solution to video piracy, the format got into the government's reckoning. According to sources, the Planning Commission has advised the Centre to encourage digital cinema as measure towards curbing the menace of piracy. It had even been reported to have recommended an amendment to the Cinematograph Act, 1952 to this effect. That's a big push indeed. According to media reports, a Cub Group of the Commission that had been asked to look into the future of entertainment media in the country and the role of digital technology has opined that “the government needs to provide incentives for production as well as exhibition of movies in the digital format." The Group felt that the digital cinema is pretty much relevant in today's exhibition business since 'the loss of box office revenues due to piracy had been considerable, and only digital cinema can help arrest it.' “There is a need to revise the Cinematograph Act 1952,” the Cub Group was said to have opined, "there is a need to incorporate digital cinema in the Act." According to the members of the group, the current the Cinematograph Act does not discuss about digital cinema, and is, thus, impeding the spread of the format- which is why the need for revision of the Act. The Commission has further suggested framing a suitable regulatory authority and policy regime so that a system of content aggregation can be developed to help small and medium players overcome the high costs involved in digitizing their content libraries. "The digital cinema system which is already a reality in the country, would revolutionise the exhibition of movies all over India," the Cub-Group was said to have observed. "Going digital would be incomplete if cinematic entertainment sector is not covered," a top executive of the Group was quoted as saying. Digitization would help not just controlling the distribution and exhibition of

Digital Stakes to Claim •

Arresting Video Piracy

Higher ET Collections

Saving Forex

Parity with Global Markets

movies in digital format; it also takes care of an important aspect-safeguarding the intellectual property, which would encourage the industry to a great extent." The multiple benefits of digital cinema have come into the acknowledgement of the Cub Group which felt that the format can also facilitate lower tax regime(s) as theatres installing digital cinema exhibition facilities could be offered incentives of lower entertainment tax. That the movie production industry had been importing expensive raw film stock for moviemaking - sending huge amounts foreign exchange - adoption of digital format on a wide scale can help save the volumes of forex. Also, the distribution costs could be saved with far lesser spending on the disk drives, or on satellite link, besides ensuring the protection of the movie content from piracy. Should the recommendations translate into execution, it would spell a real revolution in the cinematic India. For, a State-funding for cinemas to go digital can help change the whole traditional cinematic setting in the country. Nation-wide digitization of cinemas - the unlikely reality all these years - appears possible now with multiple benefits. Besides; enormous savings on raw film imports, safeguarding movie revenues from piracy, digital cinema enables the traditional cinemas have level playing field with the fancied multiplexes, besides a genuine promotion of the industry with all the accessory, and network solution providers. So, a real digital revolution is in the offing to replace the reel, altogether?

Yash Raj Films' New York is the first movie that has got the new higher revenue sharing terms from multiplexes, which were agreed upon between producers, distributors and national multiplexes. The movie, which reportedly crossed the Rs 175 million (Rs 17.50 crore) nett collections benchmark in its first week, will get 2.5 per cent more revenue in its first and second week as was agreed. The revenue share that New York will get is 52.5 per cent as opposed to the 50 per cent in week 1 and 45 per cent in week 2 instead of 42.5 per cent.

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Sathyam Cinemas Pitches Mega Venture Making one of the biggest and strongest pitches in Indian cinema, Chennai-based Sathyam Cinemas announced a new megaplex project to be created in association with Express Infrastructure Private Limited (EIPL) in Chennai. The new multiplex will be created as an integral part of the much hyped Express Avenue Mall, touted to be South India's largest retail destination, promoted by the EIPL. Claimed to be the next generation multiplex in the country, the new cinema project will have eight screens, and, probably, an all-digital 2K projection system. The Express Avenue Mall is being built over a massive land of 10 acres in the heart of Chennai and is the first mall in the city to combine a shopping centre, office space, boutique hotel and multiplex- all under one single roof. According to sources, five to six-storey tower blocks for the hotel and commercial offices will anchor the either end of the big entertainment project with the retail component occupying four floors and totalling almost one million square feet of retail space. The whole retail ensemble would be located in the centre of the project. The Grade-A building is boasted to incorporate green building and energy-efficient measures to provide an 'ecofriendly' asset for Chennai. It is also designed to provide the complete retail entertainment experience in that it will be a great destination not just for Chennai-ites but

also for thousands of visitors who throng the city regularly. Says Tan Ngaronga, COO of Sathyam Cinemas: "Sathyam Cinemas is extremely excited to be involved with EIPL and their new development, Express Avenue in Chennai." According to him, not only will this be the largest mall in South India with an incredible location in the heart of Chennai it will also change the face of the retailing and the mall experience in South India. "This will be our first opportunity to develop a multiplex in a purpose-built facility," he said, "we are looking forward to taking the Sathyam Cinemas experience to the next level." "Express Avenue will be the pride of Chennai and will house an array of luxury and premium brands," says its COO Kim Culley. "Sathyam Cinemas is a great brand that fits perfectly in our scheme and we are delighted to have the award winning Sathyam Cinemas at Express Avenue," he said, adding, "this would complete the ultimate destination mall experience we are visualizing at Express Avenue."


Cinepolis: Indian Cinema's New Face? Mexican cinema major and the world's fifth largest theatre chain Cinepolis India - which had forayed into India with an eye on the bulging Indian cinema market - is apparently making its ambitions felt by the market, but rather cautiously. Though the company stepped into the country almost 18 months ago, it took its time in reading the market trends and assess its fortunes. While the company's plans are ambitious, its approach has been quite "inorganic" even as it continued creating an expansive base across the country. That the Mexican major is reported to have closed over 110 deals even before getting its first project rolled out commercially makes the company's intentions clear. While the company's original plan - as has been reported was to play the 'large format' role, in tune with its parent company, setting up 10-plus-screen cineplexes at as many places as possible, it is apparently taking a very 'Indianised' approach! As part of the same strategy, the company intends to create a "no-frills" multiplex base in tier-II and tier-III cities, as well as VIP cinemas in metropolitan and tier-I cities. The no-frills multiplexes would be a low-cost cinematic fare with lower price points and limited food and beverage options that suite the economy of the catchment areas while the VIP brand would be on a scale that would attract the upmarket movie patron segment with high spending tastes and capacity. The company has branded the two models Cinepolis and Cinepolis VIP respectively in the markets where it is already operating, and is expected to create the same or similar brands in India. While the $675 million-plus multinational cinema major' plans are to create a base of around 500 screens in some 40 cities across the country in about ten years time - it already spent about 18 months since its Indian foray - i.e. by 2017, its first cinema is expected to be operational by the end of this year. The latest deal that the company has struck is the one with Advance India Projects Limited (AIPL), to set up its property in the latter's retail entertainment project in Amritsar. It is the first deal that Cinepolis made in Northern India. While the AIPL is reasonably excited with the development that an internationally acclaimed cinema operator would make the main attraction of the mall, Cinepolis hopes to create a novel and compelling movie going experience for the Amritsar market. Noted real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj (JLLM) is on Cinepolis board for managing the fit-outs of the Amritsar project, as well as connecting with quality shopping mall developers throughout the country. While this being the positive side, there is enough scepticism about the success rate of the great vision. Given the characteristic nature of Indian movie going habits, kind of content that is being churned out from various language segments, and the recent sequential upheavals such as the impact of economic recession, IPL, exhibitors' strike, swine flu, it's not going to be as easy task, say the experts. TM-8

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Most industry pundits feel that a few megaplexes at some select locations may work fine, it may not be a viable idea to replicate the same at too many places. The scepticism is borne out by the fact that even a five or six-screen multiplex struggles to maintain an average occupancy of 40 per cent for want of sustainable movie content, despite the country being largest moviemaker in the world. "Higher number of screens means higher investments and higher maintenance costs that bring tougher challenges in the absence of strong content, which is not guaranteed," says a multiplex marketing executive. Which is exactly why Cinepolis decided to have multiple brands of cinemas, creating suitable offering for the respective segment and catchment areas! More, almost all the top multiplex operators have their own movie production-and-distribution business which provides them the critical mass to pursue business. Cinepolis' model of business in this regard is not yet clear. Having said that, the parent company's strong global presence and marketing prowess would add immense value to its interests in India, say observers. Understandably, Cinepolis India has a strong parent company to bank upon. With a strong 2000-screen presence across six countries, the company command 46 per cent screen share and 56 per cent share at the box office in Mexico, where it is number one in terms of screens and admissions. Cinepolis is the first direct entrant into Indian cinema exhibition industry. There have been two earlier instances of the domestic exhibition industry getting enriched with foreign expertise- both coming from PVR Cinemas, first with Village Roadshow of Australia when the group stormed onto the Indian multiplexing horizon 10 years ago, and recently with Bangkok-based Major Cineplexes. There have also been some efforts from foreign exhibition circuits, particularly those from Singapore, to seek Indian fortunes but none materialised. It is to be seen what difference will Cinepolis bring to Indian exhibition.


Imax Wadala to Turn to Imax Digital The Manmohan Shetty-built fanciful Imax Dome theatre at Wadala in Mumbai - now running under the Big Cinemas brand - has turned into Imax digital with the newly introduced digital projection system from the large format major. The cinema facility - like its Imax and Dome format - has thus become the first of its kind in the country. The new technology upgrade is obviated due to shortage of content suitable to the Imax Dome format on one side, and increasing flow of content, particularly from Hollywood in Imax regular, and Imax digital. Big Cinemas intends to leverage this growing interest in Imax digital and 3D content. "BIG Cinemas has constantly endeavoured to expand content offerings to render a world class movie going experience to our guests," says BIG Cinemas COO Tushar Dhingra. "Through the installation of Imax's digital projection system, we will be able to offer our guests the world's most immersive movie experience, and even more

premium entertainment options and at a much lower operating cost." "We're proud to enter this partnership with BIG Cinemas for installing our first digital projection system in Mumbai, the heart of Bollywood," said Imax CEO Richard L. Gelfond. "It is an important strategic step for us as we look to expand our presence in the region. BIG Cinemas has already done a fantastic job establishing the Imax brand in the country," he said, adding, "we're confident that this new theatre will enable them to reach an even wider audience of Indian consumers in the future." The deal adds to the momentum of Imax's international expansion efforts, which has been fuelled by the introduction of Imax's digital projection technology. To date, Imax has signed contracts for over 200 Imax digital projection systems worldwide, with over 90 currently in operation and at least 115 scheduled to be in operation in the coming months.


Adlabs to Raise Rs. 600 Crore through Rights Adlabs Films is planning to raise Rs 600 crore by way of rights offer of equity shares to the company's shareholders, subject to necessary sanctions and applicable provisions of law. The funds raised through rights issue would be utilized for expansion and growth opportunities including investment in various projects in India as well as overseas. The company plans to expand its worldwide exhibition screen count from 428 screens in April 2009 to over 570 screens in the next one year. Also in the pipeline are plans to establish a 1000-plus staffed Media BPO, specializing in content processing, image enhancement and restoration services. Adlabs Films is also planning to set up a massive 200,000square feet facility at Film City with a view to address the growing demand for generating entertainment content. The facility would have a state-of-the-art studio and other sound stages with enhanced inventory of film and broadcast cameras, lights and post production infrastructure.

The Company's Board of Directors have empowered its Committee to decide upon the terms and conditions including the price, share entitlement ratio, timing and other details of the rights issue. Reflecting the confidence in the business and growth strategy, the promoter group has offered to subscribe to any shares remaining unsubscribed by the shareholders, and the board has approved the same. "We are in a significant growth trajectory and have made strategic investments for scaling up business operations to become the country's leading player across the entire film and media services value chain, Adlabs Films CEO Anil Arjun said. The proposed rights offering will facilitate the company to build on its strengths in the film and media space and provide an opportunity to the existing shareholders to participate in the growth."

Mediaone Launches Cinema at Acharapakkam Mediaone Global Entertainment has recently launched a cinema at Acharapakkam on the outskirts of Chennai. Sri Balaji Theatre-Mediaone Chain of Theatres, it was inaugurated with the screening of Mediaone's movie Modhi Vilayadu. The company had acquired the theatre in April this year and has totally refurbished it with all the modern amenities and services. While the seating has been made more comfortable with fewer number of seats; enticing interior ambience with fine dĂŠcor; ample parking facility

etc, the sound and projection system has been done with digital connectivity and DTS sound system, brand new screen and audio systems. It may be recalled that Mediaone had earlier acquired Sri Balaji Theatre at Kanchipuram. According to sources, the company's intended acquisition of theatres at Kellambakkam, Trivelangadu, Oragadam, Thirutani, Puditurpettai and Minjur is pretty much on the anvil, but would take its time for the necessary proceedings to be completed.

Cinemax's Second Venture in Ahmedabad Cinemax India has recently launched its second cinema venture in Ahmedabad. The new four-screen cinema has a total capacity of 987 seats, including 108 recliner seats that are premium and offer extra luxury and sophistication. The cinema, in line with some of the group's big ventures, is characterised by the Red Lounge where the ambience is entirely draped in red with the seatings, carpet-finished floors, and the interiors are done in red. Besides, the cinema is designed in accordance with the expectations of the cinema-rich city patrons- with large large screen size, sophisticated sound and projection system.

consumer offers, which have kept our viewers coming back for more," says Cinemax India senior vice-president Devang Sampat. "We have built our brand on the pillars of commitment, trust, value and quality that we strive to provide to our customers always," he says, adding, "the launch of our second property in Ahmedabad is a fortification of our promise of providing a state-of-the-art entertainment complex to all movie-enthusiasts pan India."

"Since our commencement, we have laid strong emphasis on screen size, picture and sound quality and innovative

Cinemax already has one property in Ahmedabad and four multiplex chains operational in Gujarat.

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UFO to Digitize 1000 Theatres in Andhra Digital cinema network company UFO Moviez is planning to covert around 1000 cinemas to UFO's digital cinema platform in Andhra in the coming months. The company recently digitized 55 theatres in Andhra Pradesh in association with its franchisee Southern Digital Screenz (SDS) India. The exercise was part of UFO's strategy to aggressively release of the Telegu movie Magadheera, a boastful blockbuster production from noted filmmaker Allu Arvind. It is claimed that SDS had already converted as many as 750 cinemas in the state to UFO digital platform in the last few months, and is geared up to complete the fresh target of digitizing1000 theatres. UFO Moviez CEO-India Rajesh Mishra said, "we have tactically decided to launch ourselves coinciding with the release of the mega movie Magadheera aggressively in Andhra Pradesh. The efforts of UFO SDS are to add more screens to provide the benefit of UFO digital platform to the theatre owners and the audiences." “We are thrilled with the level of activity in Andhra and astonished to have received over 200 applications for

digitisation in the last three months,” said SDS chairman Dr. Usman Faiyaz. “We plan to covert 1000 cinemas to UFO's digital cinema platform in Andhra in the ensuing six months,” he said and added, “this increasing demand for digitalised screens goes to prove that Indian audiences have started valuing timely and quality moviewatching experience." UFO Moviez currently has over 1500 installations across the country receiving movies delivered to them via satellite.

IndiePix Develops Watermarking Technology IndiePix, the Internet-based distributor of independent films, has implemented watermarking technology to help reduce illegal DVD downloading, copying and selling. Watermarking technology uniquely protects the intellectual property rights of the filmmaker, and while respecting the customer it seeks to increase the trust in the buying and selling of intellectual property. All of IndiePix's mvoies offered for download are now embedded with a watermark code that enables security experts and law enforcement officials to trace illegally copied DVDs back to the original disc and the initial download transaction. This technology will work to increase the trust that filmmakers have in the distribution process, as well as deter and pursue individuals and groups that continue to break the law and damage the film industry. IndiePix ‘Burn-to-Own software as it is, keeps the cost of buying a downloadable movie to the bare minimum because it takes distribution costs paid to the usual intermediaries - including retail stores, wholesalers and brokers - down to zero. Customers at the IndiePix website have the option of purchasing a physical copy of a film on DVD or burning it to their own PC or MAC. The Burn-toOwn copy has a unique code embedded in it throughout the film. This process helps assert the filmmaker's rights, while respecting the consumer's right to do with his disc as he wishes. Copying in quantity and reselling - which are

illegal under copyright law - will ultimately result in discs that are traceable to the original transaction. According to IndiePix, their MPEG video files are already compressed. However it wanted to be able to mark those files in such a way that the video quality would be preserved. Every downloaded title includes the presence of the watermark code, a useful forensic tool for identifying the source and persons related to the original watermarked film. Says the company’s chief technology officer Scott Abramowitz: “we have implemented this approach at IndiePix, not to identify criminals, but to encourage the social contract between the filmmaker and his customer to respect his creative rights." IndiePix president Bob Alexander added, "By emphasizing the social contract between the filmmaker, and by making sure that consumers know that IndiePix's distribution charges are among the lowest in the industry, especially for downloaded titles, we encourage customers to think of their purchase of the filmmaker's work as a way of supporting them and contributing to the future development of their talent." The IndiePix watermarking technology is patent protected and has been licensed by IndiePix from Pixel Tools, a San Jose based digital imaging technology company. Certain custom modifications for use of the technology by IndiePix have been developed and implemented by Scott Abramowitz and Pixel Tools. October-December 2009

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• SPECIAL FEATURE •

Recession… Elections. Strike. IPL. Swine Flu…?

Multiplex Muscles Muzzled! Cinema theatres in India have seen many ups downs. They have had their highs of fortunes and lows of losses. Natural calamities, industry upheavals, systemic fallacies all have had their own share on the spoils of 'the big screen showbiz!' However, the first quarter of 2009 has been an unprecedentedly traumatic period in the annals of Indian cinema. With 'a series of unfortunate events' playing with the fortunes of the exhibition business, its fancied face of multiplexing got a blow after blow in the worst quarter ever. And the face-lift, they say is not that easy, and not too soon to happen. A TM perspective: It's something like the Lemony Snicket's movie 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' that intrigued many a cinema pundit some five years ago. The cinema exhibition business in India - despite its own set of inherent challenges - had been growing at an impressive growth spec that interested many international cinema majors. However, the presets of the current financial year have unfolded a worst ever fiscal opening for the exhibition business.

Fame Cinemas appears to be a close second. The company's revenues plummeted Rs. 9.53 crore- to Rs.15.76 crore from Rs. 23.61 crore earned during the first three months of last year. Inox Leisure Limtied posted a loss of Rs 4.01 crore against a profit of Rs 3.68-crore for the same period last year. The circuit's revenues from theatrical exhibition plummeted 33 per cent to Rs. 34.4 crore against Rs. 51.7 crore earned during the first quarter last year.

Beginning with US-induced economic recession fallout, the industry suffered one blow after the other- blackout of cinemas for a good two months, following the stand-off with the producers-distributors combine; General Elections; IPL; and, of late, the scare of Swine Flu.

Similarly, Cinemax reported a loss of Rs 4.58 crore for the first quarter this year against a profit of Rs. 3 crore for the same period last year. The company's total income fell 21 per cent to Rs 24.09 crore against Rs. 30.59 crore it had earned in Q-1 last year.

The Figures The direct, and immediate fall-out of the events is the stumbling of the multiplex earnings for the quarter. The biggest dent, however, has come from the two-month spat with the producers. According to market analysts, the six biggies of Indian multiplexing - Big Cinemas, PVR, Fame, Inox, Cinemax and Fun Cinemas - who went through the turmoil of two-month black out are said to have suffered at least 30 per cent to 40 per cent revenue loss for the quarter. The combined losses of these six national operators are said to be anywhere between Rs. 35 crore to 40 crore. In the first quarter of 2008, the listed multiplex operators, i.e. five of the top six players (barring Fun Cinemas) generated a combined profit of Rs 25 crore, and a total income of Rs 165 crore. Now this has simply disappeared. PVR Cinemas - the first signatory to the revenue sharing deal with the United Producers & Distributors Forum (UPDF) - apparently took the larger share of the losses: the company reported a net loss of Rs. 10.92 crore for the period ending 30 June 2009 against a profit of Rs. 3.88 crore earned during the same period in 2008. The circuit's net sales plummeted 43.6 per cent to Rs. 3.98 crore in comparison with those in the first quarter of 2008. TM-12

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Adlabs Films, the biggest conglomerate of all, has posted a net loss of Rs 64 crore. The company revenues from operations stood at Rs 105 crore, while the negative EBITDA from operations amounted to Rs 9 crore. The losses are mainly attributed to the two-month deadlock between the producer-distributor combine and the exhibitors. The total losses to the exhibition industry are now estimated to be over Rs 500 crore. This is very unlikely to be accrued to the multiplexers so soon or so easily, given the other factors.

The Facts "The first quarter this year has been the worst in the last 10-15 years," said top executive of a multiplex operator. "it's been a big blip on everyone's balance sheet," she said, adding "the lower performance is obvious, considering the challenges it had been through." "It was an unprecedented blackout period, probably in the entire Indian cinema exhibition history," remarked the marketing executive of another big cinema chain. "There were practically no promos and marketing activities to get sponsors or buyers," the executive said, adding, "we couldn't even approach anyone since there were no new movies at all."


• SPECIAL FEATURE • Generically, the biggest overheads for cinema operators occur from rentals, electricity, staff salaries and marketing. They earn as much as 25 per cent of revenues from food and beverage sales while the balance is supposed to come from branding, and box office. However, all this got a beating with practically no new movie release during the strike period. The substitute content that was played by the operators could prove no match since they did not have the pull of a new release. According to sources, the operators had also slashed their admission price as much as 20 per cent to attract audiences, but to no avail. As it is, the economic slowdown had slowed down the consumer impulses to the movie watching, and there was no great content to entice them into theatres. The observers, however, say they anticipated a situation like this, even without the blackout developments. "The country had General Elections which, as it is, is a staggered process. Consumer dependent businesses like theatrical exhibition naturally gets affected due to low turnout of the otherwise election-fever-caught patrons," said an industry observer. "Then the country had another long feverish event called IPL," he said, adding "these two fevers have already rendered the industry sick. Adding to it was the strike that really struck them hard." Some multiplex operators in deed tried showing IPL matches live on the big screen with a view to tiding over the crisis. However, the issues of networking and uplinking costs - all the way from South Africa - turned out to be 'astronomical.' "The costs of showing the IPL matches live in cinemas appeared more than the the losses without movies," remarked a cinema executive. "Even if we wanted to get the important matches, to make some impact, there were technology issues as well," he disclosed. Adlabs Films CEO Anil Arjun said, "this quarter has been an aberration and has witnessed the resolution of long standing issues for the industry. Despite the absence of Hindi movie content, we have achieved over 80 per cent of the revenues of the previous year's comparable quarter for similar businesses."

Cinemas Fall Sick with Swine Flu Even as the cinema operators, including the single-screens, were preparing to get back to business with a fond hope that the worst is over, they were hit by another 'unfortunate event'- the breakout of Swine Flu in the

country. With continued and consistent reports of human casualties due to the deadly H1N1, the panic among people as well as the administrators got so high that the Maharashtra government ordered closure of cinema halls in the state for three days in early August. More, the government's cautioning for people against visiting public places, and social gatherings, had rendered the cinema halls virtually empty. That multiplexes in Mumbai and Pune alone account for about 20 per cent of the country's total box office collections, the industry's revenue loss, and that of the exhibitors is significant. That the closure orders were "faxed" to all the cinema operators right on the eve of blockbuster releases, the operators were left hapless. "We were in a sort of a quandary," said a Fun Cinema executive. "We had some really big blockbusters like Kaminey, Love Aaj Kal and Life Partner. All that got stalled. Our promos, marketing spend and expected weekend openings which are normally very high are all lost," she discloses, "that's a serious blow in deed." While cinemas in the Western and Southern India appeared to have taken the brunt of Swine Flu, operators in the Northern and Eastern India found themselves relatively luckier with the deadly virus scare not troubling the movie patrons as much as it did elsewhere. "The colossal fear of Swine flu has not been that much of an issue in the Eastern region theatres," says Arijit Dutta promoter of Priya Entertainment. "Movies that are supposed to be doing well have done reasonably well,"

The Silver Lining It was very encouraging that movies released after the resumption of business had a strong box office. The industry saw a jump of 100 per cent in the month of July itself. That it also has a slate of blockbuster movie releases for the rest of the year, it expects to register a stronger growth for the next quarter.

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• SPECIAL FEATURE • Says a reassuing Captain Virendra Marya, Regional Director (East), Inox: "there had been no dip in occupancies at our Though the Eastern • Staffs have been asked to sanitise their hands three properties in India, particularly Kolkata - Inox Forum, City periodically and they will be monitored for the same Kolkata, witnessed a Centre and Swabhumi steady rise in the • All our house keeping staff have been instructed to due to the Swine Flu number of Swine Flu use a disinfectant fluid on all hard surfaces that threat. There is no panic cases getting require constant handling, for e.g. door handles, amongst patrons and registered, the threat elevator and stair hand rails, gates, taps, counter they are watching their of the pandemic virus favourite films at our tops and glasses was largely plexes as usual." underplayed- probably • Thorough cleaning to be done frequently throughout According to him, all 10 because hardly any the day shows of Kaminey at Inox H1N1-related death Forum went houseful on • Staff at our concessions counter use disposable getting reported. While the Independence Day gloves to handle all food items cinemas in cities like which is a weekend! Mumbai and Bengaluru Movies like Love Aaj Kal continued to reel under and Life Partner also had a strong beginning. However, the panic of the dreadful virus, those in the East, therefore, multiplexers, deciding to be safer rather than sorry later, had a rather comfortable run with most cinema regulars initiated several measures to ensure prevention of the looking undeterred by the virus scare. "We can't stop living virus on their premises. Alok Tandon, CEO of INOX Leisure because of a virus scare," says Dimple Garg who generally Ltd remarked from Mumbai: "At Inox, we are extremely watches movies at Fame Highland Park. "Watching movies conscious of our responsibility towards the safety of our is just as simple," she says, "we frequent cinema halls as and patrons. We have pro-actively several preventive when we feel we have a good movie out there." For most measures in all Inox multiplexes to control the spread of viewers who watched Kaminey at Jaya Cinema on its release the H1N1 virus. day, "everything was normal and there was no sign of any So did the other multiplexers too, to the best of their abilities. movie lover being perturbed by the pandemic scare." he said, adding "the cinemas had good footfalls when they had good movies."

The Safety Measures at Inox Against H1N1 • All employees have been asked not to report to work if unwell and to seek prompt medical assistance

Multiplexes Shaping Recovery Despite a low phase in the first half of 2009, the Indian multiplex industry is expected to make it good in the second half and fill out the dents given by the recent troubling times. Industry analysts see the expansion plans of all multiplex chains getting into action in the second half, resulting in an increase in the number of cinema screens, as also the marketing initiatives- two important signs of recovery. According to sources, there are approximately 950 multiplex screens in the country currently. This number is expected to see a definite growth in the current financial year. Big Cinemas has ambitious plans of adding at least three 3D screens and increase its screen count by around 20 by the year-end. Similarly, Inox is also reported to be looking at installing 3D screens in Kolkata, Bangalore and Pune. That some ambitious 3D movies from Hollywood, including the much-hyped Avatar, are slated to hit the screens in November, the national multiplex circuits are reportedly getting back to their aggression, say sources. Cinemax has lined up seven screens for the year, and has plans to increase to 24 in the next one year. Fame

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already has three screens and is reported to add two more in the coming two months. That the new entrant to Indian cinema exhibition Cinepolis India - the Indian extension of Mexican cinema giant - had been making some aggressive deals, the movement is taken by most to be on the recovery path. Cautioning against the known and unknown bottlenecks that are so typically identified with cinema business in the country, analysts point out that setting multiplex projects now would not be a cakewalk, since establishing a property will depend on changes in the socio-economic conditions in India as well as other geographies. Each multiplex screen, to be designed on modern sophisticated lines, requires around Rs. 2 crore to Rs. 2.25 cr or e. This, however, excludes the operational cost. The cost would shoot up to multiple levels in case of a 3D digital set-up. The intended new launches, therefore, come with very high cost overtures which might again throw the operators out of gear if any unforeseen blockade hits them, say the cinema pundits.


• INDIAPLEXING •

Cinematic Revolution

R-City's 'Big Cinema' Big Cinemas, India's largest cinema exhibition circuit, is really taking big strides. The Mumbai-based, big stakes cinema chain recently unveiled what can arguably be a revolutionary cinema, for its sheer size and scale. For, the nw cinema project not only has largest screen count in the region, but boasts new highs in cinematic luxury matching, if not exceeding, the advanced Asian or Western cinematic ostentations. This, happening at a time when the industry is struggling to breath out the recession is what makes it doubly big. TM presents a snapshot: September 18 this year marked a special day in the annals of Indian cinema exhibition history. It launched Indian cinema onto an altogether new revolutionary platter, overshadowing the preceding strides. Mumbai, the movie capital of the country - playing true to its name - on that day, became home to the most ostentatious cinema in the country so far. Taking the big honour was, of course, the cinema with 'big' name. The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG)-owned Big Cinemas launched a nine-screen multiplex as part of the massive R-City Mall at Ghatkopar suburb of Mumbai. Developed by Runwal Group, the mall is touted to be the largest mall in the country with over 6.5 lakh square feet of commercial space created over five levels, when complete with its two phases. The highlights of the mega venture include a two-acre central park that incorporates a five-level sky-lit atrium with full cable-net glass cover, a multi-level parking for about 2000 cars, meditation, Yoga,

fitness centres and gymnasia, besides the multiplex. The 75,000-square feet multiplex, in its own right, is a statement in itself. Just consider this: •

Nine-screen multiplex - the region's biggest till date with a capacity of 2109 seats

Two speciality VIP cinemas - first time ever in the country - 180 Degrees and CineDiner

A speciality kid zone - Mischief, first time in the country - with five distinct programmes to entice children

A free entry speciality lounge that doesn't necessitate buying movie tickets

An exclusive coffee shop that doesn't necessitate buying movie tickets

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• INDIAPLEXING •

Enter the ‘BIG’ Experience: The entrance of Big Cinemas R-City (left). Observe the arched entrance in the middle flanked by the Coffee Shop and the Mischief on left and Box Office for 180 Degrees & CineDiner on the right, besides the Aromas. The Box Office for the regular multiplex and close-up of Aromas (right)

The Big Offering While the whole design of the cinema typifies a distinct interior design that is characterised by more than one fanciful architectural features, it is the two speciality cinemas 180 Degrees and CineDiner, and attached lounge that make the R City really big. The very entrance to the multiplex – a massive 4000-square feet pre-ticket area – greets the visitors with as many as six different operative elements encapsulated in an all-white spacious ambience. The entrance to the multiplex is upfront with the left side leading to the regular multiplex with seven screens, while the right side lead to the two speciality cinemas and lounge. On the right side of this pre-ticket area are the box offices for the regular multiplex and the speciality 180 Degrees and CineDiner cinemas. Flanked by the two box offices is an ‘aromatic’ stall that offers snacks and beverages of choice for the patrons who want to satiate their palate before getting to moviewatching, or otherwise.

On the left side are two more special enclosures: an exclusive coffee shop, and a kids zone called ‘Mischief.’ Programmed with five different, joyful activities, and operated by trained personnel, the enclosure is meant to preoccupy children and enable their parents watch their choicest movies with a sense of freedom and security. (Read separate box). The coffee shop does not make buying the movie tickets a compulsion. There is also a stage area meant for events and live shows, making up for a ‘big’ show even before one enters the ‘big cinema’tic show inside. The ceiling of the area – setting a precedent to the ensuing experience inside – features typically intervening rows of white, giving an impression of loosely-knit web! The design concept was to create a surreal ambience through lighting, styling and décor. The attempt was to create synergy of surfaces, uniting the floor, walls and ceiling and merging them into one another with a ‘sense of adventure,’ through free flowing curvilinear sculptural

The Inner Experience: Interiors of the Mischief (left); and the multiplex regular cinemas (centre and right). Observe the radically different ceiling, and seating patterns

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• INDIAPLEXING • forms. This, apparently, required special materials and intricate detailing of design- one of the most extraordinary design elements is the tensile web-like sculpture created from glass reinforced fiber, hung at a height of 30 feet and stretching across the ceiling of the pre-ticket foyer. To enhance the visual experience, the sculpture is highlighted with digital graphic solutions, both on it, and as a backdrop as well. The use of curvilinear forms, distinct colours and materials, in complete sync with multiple lighting hues, play a very strong role in the environment design of the space. The overall palate of the main cinema area is predominantly bright, with colours like white, silver, red, orange and accents of blue to express expanse and volume. The media lounges in the main cinema lobby have distinctive cool blue mood lighting and provide a digitally enhanced interactive ambience. Exclusive zones like Pause, 180 Degrees, and CineDiner, however, are in stark contrast for a cozy and warm ambience using optic fiber lighting and materials that are darker, reflective, glossy and blinging. Interestingly, the design features new product design solutions explored in many areas, such as customization of digital signage boxes, lobby furniture, decorative lighting solutions, and even washbasins and soap dispensers.

lighting, and Ankur Lighting providing LED strips, downlighters and neoflexes. Concessions are done by Banaco Overseas, with Cretors systems. The audio system, supplied and installed by R & S, Mumbai, features Pulz speakers and amps, Dolby processors and Gala Screens, while the projection system, supplied and installed by Electrorama of New Delhi, features Cinemeccanica analog projectors.

The Big Luxury The right side from the main entrance leads to what Big Cinemas at R-City is all special about. Immediately inviting the guests is an ultra special designer lounge done in a thematic combination of plush cushiony sofa seatings, and plasma mounted interiors that are harmoniously merged into an ambience of diffused lighting. Serviced with specially prepared menu, the space can arguably be a rendezvous for the discerning. Interestingly, this speciality lounge also does not necessitate buying movie tickets for satiating one's palate, thereby offering a unique service even for those who do not want the movie fare but want some some exclusivity.

The multiplex auditoria are similar to one another in mould and material in that they are all equipped with rocker seats in the Big Cinemas’ signature colour of red, and an ambience background of black and red. The red veins running across the black background more or less resemble the white ceiling patterns at the entrance. The rocker seats of the multiplex are from Guangzhou Lijiang Seating of China, sourced and installed by Penworkers, Mumbai. The lighting component is fulfilled with Srikrishnashray providing fiber optics, foot and step

The BIG Luxury begins: The speciality lounge attached to the 180 Degrees and CineDiner screens; (insert) The corridor of Luxury Cinema. Observe the exquisite manner the spaces are designed, with exclusivity and luxury as the twin-benchmarks

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• INDIAPLEXING •

The 180 Degrees Cinema: Setting new luxuring standard

180 Degrees: The small staircase on the right leads to the two speciality cinemas- the 180 Degrees and the CineDiner. The 180 Degrees is nothing but a sheer luxury space of seatings that stretch as much as 150 degrees. "It is just to symbolise the ultimate luxury that it offers," remarks the Big Cinemas executive on charge, "we don't mean to stretch to exactly 180 Degrees," he says, adding, "for the simple fact that such a horizontal stretch would make the patrons see only the ceiling and not the screen." The colour theme and the interiors are done in a mood-setting combination of dark brown and yellow, with the seating done in dark brown, and the interior walls - furnished in bright wooden finish providing the thematically-lit yellow ambience. The whole

The multiplex screen: One of the seven regular cinema screens, with BIG Cinemas’s signature colour theme. The seating is done with rocker seats

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offering is packaged with button-pressed F&B and other services that would make a compelling reason for indulgence. The extra-plush seatings are supplied and installed by Recliners India Pvt. Ltd. of New Delhi, while the cushiony carpets are from MR Carpets of Mumbai. The carpets, reportedly made in 100 per cent nylon with green base, are among the most unique carpets in the world with eco-friendly properties. While the audio system is by R&S, and screen is from Gala, the projection system features both analog and digital projection systems. Apparently extending the Big Cinemas' other VIP brand cinema the Ebony to still higher levels, the 180 Degrees auditorium is arguably a speciality venue cinema.


• INDIAPLEXING • sophisticated elevation of the traditional group moviewatching where seats are designed for comfortable group lounging and the concessionaire becomes a restaurant.

The CineDiner moviefare: watch movies while you dine and vice versa

CineDiner: In any traditional movie watching experience, two things matter: friends or family going together, and watching movies amidst munching of popcorn. Raising the core essence of these two simple notions into a whole new cinema concept is the CineDiner- a sumptuous and

As this concept is all about group experience, the auditorium offers a range of luxuriously designed two, four and six-seater 'pods' or curved sofas to choose from. Each of these pods is furnished with a dedicated table and a call-button to help pamper the patrons with personalized service. The patrons are greeted at the concierge of 'pause', and then escorted to the 'CineDiner' to indulge in their own pod. They are then presented the a-la-carte menu, designed to serve a wide range of cuisine, including appetizers, mocktails and deserts as well. While the appetizers are usually served before the movie begins, and main course in the interval, the patrons are free to alter the food service time as per their choice. Special care is, however, taken to avoid any disturbance

Indulging in 'Mischief' Imagine if you were given the comfort of not worrying about your child while you are watching a movie or probably just need to be away for a few hours. Keeping this specific requirement of today's generations in mind, Big Cinemas has introduced Mischief, the exclusive fun activity lounge, especially designed to entertain children while they explore, play, read and watch. These activities are primarily held in five distinct lounges, 'couch potato', 'bounce', 'bookworm', 'battleship' and 'joystick', intended to cater to the current entertainment preferences of children between the age of 2 and 8 years. What makes Mischief unique as a concept is that it is designed from a child's point of view. All the design criteria, spatial planning, proportions, look and feel are drawn from what makes them most comfortable, so as to enhance a more playful and enriching interaction. Couch Potato is a special movie viewing area where not only the most popular and recent flicks but also enjoyable and engaging education audio-visuals are played. The programming incorporates a combination of real world objects, music, art, poetry, language and nature. Depending on what is in demand, the space allows for group watching of about fifteen children at a time. Bounce is a more playful concept for the 2 to 3 year olds, where they can dive into a space designed completely as a ball pool. Surrounding on all sides with

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soft furnishing, the bounce facilitates the child to escape into a safe and protected, and yet free play environment. Bookworm is an interesting learning lounge where the child can learn, read, draw, play board games, solve puzzles and build blocks. The variety of possibilities is endless and each of these is carefully picked to assist the intellectual growth of the child. The special collections include children visual encyclopaedias, dictionaries and even illustrated literature books like Shakespeare stories. Battleship and Joystick are for children who are complete gaming lovers. While battleship is the PC game workstation lounge with a multitude of games to chose from, Joystick is an exclusive gaming pod that uses high end and more interactive options of gaming consoles.


• INDIAPLEXING • to the movie watching experience. For more comfort, blankets are also provided when requested. Striking similarity of ambience with its luxurious cousin next door, the CineDiner is encapsulated in a combination of deep and bright brown colours, with the interior walls done brownish wooden finish and the sofa seatings made of deep brown cushiony material. The sidewalls of the audi feature rows of stepped wooden patterns, rendered

bright with lighting, while the rear wall is just flat. The step lighting is also done in tune with the yellow glow theme, adding additional aesthetic appeal to the whole ambience. According to the R-City executive, this unique concept will complete the emotional take-away of the patrons by influencing the other three senses of smell, taste and touch as well.

The Tech Team Projection Systems

Cinemeccanica

Sound Systems

Pulz Electronics

Electrorama R & S Electronics

Processors

Dolby Inc

R & S Electronics

Screens

Gala Projection

R & S Electronics

Rocker Seats for Audi 1-7

Guangzhou Lijiang Seating Co., Ltd

Penworkers

Sofas for Audi 1-7

Hilife Furniture Pvt. Ltd.

Penworkers

Recliners for Audi 8

Recliners India Pvt Ltd

Recliners India Pvt LTD

Cinediners for Audi 9

Kishan Prasad & Co. Ltd.

Kishan Prasad & Co. Ltd.

Carpets for Audi 1-7

Ahuja Carpet

Ahuja Carpet

Carpets for Audi 8-9

MR Carpet

MR Carpet

Steplights, Color changing Led strip

SKS

Rohini Electricals

Led Strips, Neoflexes, Downlighters

Ankur Lighting (I) Pvt Ltd.

Rohini Electricals

Wall mounts

Nls Enterprises(Euro Lights)

Rohini Electricals

Spot lights(Leds)

Teknovision

Rohini Electricals

Fiber Optics

SKS

SKS

Kidzone Decorative Lights

Liberty Prism Palace

Rohini Electricals

Concessions

Cretors

Banaco Overseas

Popcorn Warmer, HDU/CDU

Meghdoot Refrigerations

Meghdoot Refrigerations


• INDIAPLEXING •

A Heritage Odeon in Delhi The Indian national capital city of New Delhi, among many things of reckoning, had also been known for some heritage entertainment. History has its share of entertainment, with this historic city playing home to some illustrious models of entertainment. Cinema talkies of yore had made some of their earliest impressions in the city, giving rise to models like Odeon, Plaza, Liberty, Regal etc. Thanks to the great cinematic renaissance happening in the city, these forgotten marvels appear to be arriving again, in their retrofit mould. Plaza had been revived a few years ago, Liberty is being contemplated, and now - even as the modern pompous models of cinemas are apparently taking a backseat - yet another old cinema came to the fore, under the aegis of a 'big cinema'tic banner. – Archana Jhangiani The Landmark Originally designed by Robert Tor Russell, the architect of Connaught place, Odeon was first set up as a single screen theatre by The Sahani Family in 1939. As a part of the architecture of the neighborhood, it stood proud with its tall columns and impressive Georgian façade. This remarkable structure gradually became not only a favorite destination of cine-goers in Delhi, but also a sentimental landmark for many to enjoy with family and friends. For 70 years it has been an integral part of the city 's movie traditions and served its guest a plethora of exciting blockbuster experiences. Closed in October 2006 for renovation, Big Cinemas has now re-launched this 70-year old grand landmark property in its striking new avatar.

The New Avatar Odeon is designed as a flagship luxury boutique cinema housing two luxurious screening halls and with state of

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the art equipment and facilities. The auditoriums are furnished with wall to wall screens, Dolby sound system and stadium seating for 600 plush push-back seats including 60 lavishly designed wide sofas. The cinema has a special welcome foyer at the ground floor, and a voluminous cinema lobby with two exclusive seating lounges and auditoriums on the second floor. Designed to suit the new generation requirements, and aspirations of the cinegoers of the city, Odeon now stands proud as a unique, 21st century contemporary movie destination.


• INDIAPLEXING •

Designing for the Guest Inspired from the classy pure white and up-market ambience of Connaught Place, the concept was to treat every guest as the 'star of the show,' and to uplift his/her journey and experience in both ambience and offerings as well. The spotlight begins from the experience of buying tickets at the box office set up on the ground floor itself where reflective mirror-like surfaces and ambient lighting add to the charm of the glamorous experience. At the security check area, a private cubicle is provided with a sheer curtain to comfort the guests during their entry to the cinema. The welcome foyer is designed to give a glittering carpet-like treatment, lit with an intricately designed crystal chandelier, which is also a design focus. To enhance the drama in the journey, there is an interesting play of light and dark contrasts in the ambience throughout the spaces. While the guest makes his/her journey to the cinema floor, he/she is first exposed to a dark, focus-lit and strikingly welcoming stairway. However, as soon as the doors open into the main lobby, the guest is dramatically transported into an inverse aesthetic of the soothing vastness of the white and gold minimalistic interiors of the lobby. To carry on the spotlight on the customer, for the first time, the washrooms in a cinema have been designed to house special dressing rooms accessorized with comfortable personalized seating and utilities. Inside the auditoriums, side tables are provided beside the sofa seats so as to deliver a comfort-of-the-seat service. October-December 2009

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• INDIAPLEXING •

The Design Canvas Bling is a predominant factor in the design and tastefully incorporated through space planning, lighting and materials. The design palette comprises of minimalistic detailing, pure materials, golden shimmer highlights and reflective surfaces. The welcome stairway is created in highquality lack galaxy granite with accents of sparking golden and silver inlay, whereas the main lobby is laid with pure white shinning Italian marble. With a hint of olive green in the cozy seating lounges against a background of pure white shimmer sheer drapes, with golden accessories and crystal chandeliers, the main lobby stands out as a unique attention grabber. Throughout the lobby and foyer, wall surfaces are treated in glossy finishes and highlighted with digital signage at strategic locations. The concessionaire area is designed as the glamorous highlight of the lobby under a large mirror-like reflecting

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ceiling and a backdrop of golden laminate surface. On either side of the counter are two large walls treated as design focal points of the space; one having an intricate mural with a backlit floral pattern engraved into a white corian surface, and the other designed as a digital wall projection of a collage of movie images and trailers. The auditoriums are created to offer a warm environment with beige raw-silk wall panels, chocolate brown suede seats and olive green carpets. The lighting is detailed to enhance the ambience with a golden amber glow that adds to the soothing experience within. Golden accents are added through cushions and blankets offered as special guest service to the customers. Even the design of the menu card - placed at the side table near the plush sofa seats, with call buttons for personalized service - is created to suit the design language of the space.


• INDIAPLEXING • Carrying on the Legacy Being a part of every Delhi-ite's cinema memories, Odeon is proudly designed to be a blend of good movie choices, excellent audio-visual experience and unique facilities with chic and elegant presentation. It shall also showcase distinct content and provide enriching cultural experiences to its audiences, like the opera, concerts and special sport events. The idea is to offer a comfortable yet stylish environment which promises to e an unforgettable experience, and carry on the legacy of a preferred destination to hangout with friends and family. The author is Head – Design Studio, BIG Cinemas, Mumbai. TM thanks the author for the support.

The Tech Team Projection Systems

Strong Intl

R & S Electronics

Sound Systems

Pulz Electronics Pvt. Ltd.

R & S Electronics

Processors

Dolby Inc

R & S Electronics

Screens

Gala

R & S Electronics

Audi Seats

Kundan Chairs Pvt.Ltd

Kundan

Sofas

Krishna Prasad & Co

Krishna Prasad & Co

Carpets

MR Carpet

MR Carpet

Step Lights

SKS

Prabhat Eletricals

Foot Lights

Teknovision allied products pvt ltd

Prabhat Eletricals

Strip, Spot LEDs, Down lighters

Ankur Electrical India Pvt. Ltd

Prabhat Eletricals

Concessions

Cretors

Bonaco Overseas


• INDIAPLEXING •

India Continues to Plex... Even as the exhibition industry has been crippling with one challenge after the other, it apparently hasn’t been deterred by them, or so it appears. For, the top multiplex circuits – barring one – in the country continued to launch new cinemas. Here is a testament.

Fame on a High Turn

Fame Cinemas is on a high of multiplex launches. In a span of few months, the Mumbai-based cinema major has unveiled as many as four cinema projects and upgraded one more for a total of 19 screens. The launch spree is significant in that it is done during a period that has arguably one of the most challenging times in the annals of modern Indian cinema- multiplex shutdown, swine-flu scare, economic downturn et al. The exploit is also significant in that it is unmatched by any of the multiplex players in the country. Fame, Forum Value Mall-Bengaluru: Fame Cinemas increased its footprint in the Garden City with its third cinema venture- created as part of the Forum Value Mall in Whitefield, the most potential mix of commercial and residential catchments for cinema. The five-screen multiplex - with a total seating capacity for 781 patrons is characterised by a 51-seat plush Gold Class screen with

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an exclusive Gold Lounge. The seats in the Gold Class are all recliners done in dark black extra-comfort leather, in perfect sync with the colour theme of the interiors which is combination of bright golden yellow, brown and black. The inside walls feature vertical patterns of golden yellow in the matrix of acoustically absorbent dark brown woodfinish walls. Adequate space is provided between the seating area and the screen so that the wall-to-wall large screen experience doesn't blow away the sightlines. The recliners - some of which are couple seats - can recline to an angle of 150 degrees giving the patron an opportunity to lie-back and lounge while watching the movie. The movie watching comforts with satin pillows, warm blankets are complimented by Gold Lounge services that include butler service with a variety of food and beverage options served at the seat.


• INDIAPLEXING •

The Gold Lounge, in line with its predecessors at Hyland Park Kolkata, and Lido Bengaluru, is sought to be a exquisitely designed in classical cinematic ambience, matched by soft colour aesthetics. The side walls of the lounge are adorned by movie legends like Raj Kapoor, Alfred Hitchcock, Satyajit Ray, James Cameron et al, alternating with deep brown veneer-finish patterns, while the facing wall is equipped by two plasma screens pouring out the satellite channel entertainment, besides movie attractions. The floor of the lounge done in wooden finish is sought to give a typical foot-taping experience, besides adding the artistic appeal. The Gold Class is third in the row of five screens, with Screen-1 being the largest of all with a 218 seats, followed by Screen-2 with 198, and Screen-4 and Screen-5 having 157 seats each. All four auditoria have two classes eachPremiere and Silver with almost equal number of seats, addressing respective audience segments.

international and local delights to suit everybody's palette. The recliners can recline to an angle of 150 degrees giving the patron an opportunity to lie-back and lounge while watching the movie. The movie watching comforts with satin pillows, warm blankets are complimented by Gold Lounge services. Fame Kalyan is 10th cinema venture from the Fame brand of multiplexes in Mumbai and 22nd in the country. "We have been looking forward to this day as Kalyan is a very important market for us," said Shravan Shroff, managing director of Fame Cinemas, launching the multiplex. "We have been able to come up with one of our finest properties in Mumbai yet, for the patrons of this suburb," he said, adding, "at Fame, we go beyond 'just movies' by making every moment at our multiplexes a pleasurable experience. We hope our patrons will relish the Fame

With the launch of Fame Forum Value Mall, Fame Cinemas now has the largest footprint among multiplex players in Bangalore. "With Fame Lido, Fame Shankarnag Chitramandal and now Fame Forum Value Mall, we have covered three very different catchment areas of the city thereby targeting a very wide range of audiences," Says Shravan Shroff, managing director Fame Cinemas: "As always it will be our endeavour to pamper and entertain the patrons with movies and opportunities to meet and interact with movie celebs and many special offers. We intend to make every visit of the patrons to Fame a memorable one." Fame Kalyan: Bringing modern multiplex movie watching experience to the residents of Kalyan, Fame Cinemas launched the area's first multiplex- a five-screen cinema with an exclusive Gold Class. Designed in an identical style with those in Kolkata and Bengaluru, the Gold Class - along with its Gold Lounge - seeks to evoke the nostalgic memories of the cinematic tradition with the theatre design and movie legends adorning the interiors. The 46-seat plush recliner fitted Gold Screen is designed to provide ultimate luxury and comforts with butler service and a lavish choice of food and beverages with a mix of

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• INDIAPLEXING •

experience, and at our end we will keep striving to make every visit to Fame Kalyan a memorable one." With the five-screen Fame Kalyan, Fame operates a total of 77 screens in the country for an aggregate of 22,777 seats in the country. Fame Baroda: Fame cinemas expanded into the cinematically potential town of Baroda with a four-screen cinema. Created as part of the Seven Seas Mall in Fatehganj, the multiplex is one of the largest in the region in terms of seating capacity - with an aggregate of 1116 seats - as also the most sophisticated with well-defined customization of offerings, besides state-of-the-art audiovisual experience. Boasted to be the first in town to introduce the concept of Luxury Cinema, the multiplex has 25 plush recliner seats set in two auditoria, with exclusive services. The seating has been classified into Executive, Premiere and Silver, with Screen-1 and 4 having Gold Recliners in

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addition. Screen-4 is the largest of all with 325 seats, followed by Screen-2 with 285 seats, Screen-3 with 270 seats, and Screen-1 with 236 seats. Screen-1 has 12 Gold Recliners while Screen-4 has 13. The cinema is a combination of pomp and simplicity in that while the auditoria are done in a fair degree of luxury, the interiors are essentially simple and functional, though they are supported by the luxury of space. They do not boast any radical experiments with the design in terms of glassy glitter and glitz. However the lobby facing the concessions, covered with a large wall of glass offers a picturesque view of the town outside while allowing a fair amount of natural light flow in illuminating the ambience to a typical visual and aesthetic comfort that is complimented by an intelligently done diffused lighting. The Fame signature colour of deep purple, however, runs as an essential vein all through the cinema- from box office to the auditorium.


• INDIAPLEXING •

The concessions stand can be one exception in that it is rendered resplendent in a combination of light pink and purple and diffused lighting illuminating the vaulted design patterns as well as the plasmas in between showing the aromatic attractions. The sound and projection comprises Christie projectors, Dolby digital sound and QSC audio, along with Harkness Hall screens. Fame Pune: Making its second footprint in the potentially cinematic city of Pune with technological sophistication, Fame Cinemas recently launched a threescreen at Fatima Nagar. Created as part of the Fun n Shop Mall, located in Pimpri-Chinchwad, just off the PuneMumbai Highway, the multiplex seeks to take the movie watching experience to a higher level with the boastful DCI-compliant 2K digital projection system. Supplied and installed by Mumbai-based MRH Digital Systems, the system comprises Christie's CP2000 projectors and Doremi's DCP 2K servers. The Fun n Shop Mall, with its white themed exteriors fronted by beautiful columnar promenade offers a pleasant sight at the outset. A huge glass wall running end-to-end of the frontal exterior makes a soothing blend of design. The white colour theme permeates to the interiors of the cinema too though the Fame branding colour of deep purple blends itself with the holistic theme of the cineplex. The foyer, spacious as it is, is both simply

functional as well as architecturally appealing. One side of the area is occupied by a neatly but thematically designed concessions counter, while the facing side features a vaulted passage with an array of curved patterns, done in a blend of purple and white, linking the ceiling and the side wall. The curved patterns illuminated with diffused lighting, add a typical glow to the ambience that is reflected in the mirror finish columns holding the vaulted space on either side. The auditoria feature, in tune with high-end Fame Cinemas tradition, end-to-end screens from Harkness Hall, that are kept at adequate distance from the seating area. The total capacity of 1015 seats comprises 86 plush, extraluxury Red Class seats, 398 Premium Class seats and 525 Silver Class seats, with a view to addressing the different discerning patron segments. "With Fame Fun n Shop, we have covered two very different catchment areas of the city thereby targeting a very wide range of audiences," Fame Cinemas' managing director Shravan Shroff said: "As always it will be our endeavor to pamper and entertain patrons with movies and opportunities to meet and interact with movie stars and many special offers." Having already been in the city early on with Fame Jai Ganesh venture at Akrudi, Fame is seeking to strengthen its position with its latest, second venture that took the circuit's total strength to 25 locations. Fame Ghatkopar Upgraded: Fame Cinemas upgraded its two-screen cineplex created in the Neelyog Mall in Ghatkopar into a four-screen multiplex by adding two new screens recently. The two new screens have a seating capacity of 345 and 289 seats respectively. "We wanted to give our patrons more options of movies to choose from and to showcase more shows," says Fame Cinemas COO Rishi Negi. The measure is apparently in keeping with the perceived growing demand for cinematic entertainment in the region with wider variety and sophistication. With these two additional screens Fame Ghatkopar now has a total seating capacity of 1268 seats, making it the largest multiplex venue in the region.

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• INDIAPLEXING • Inox's 2nd Multiplex in Indore After setting a new trend of movie watching in Indore with its first multiplex at Sapna Sangeeta Mall, Inox Leisure Ltd. took the Inox experience further with the launch of its second multiplex in the city, at the Indore Central Mall, Regal Square. The four-screen multiplex has a total seating capacity of 1078 seats that are customised to different patron segments. Maintaining the Inoxian tenets of cinema making, luxury comforts and high quality movie watching remains the cornerstone of the new multiplex. Plush seats with ample leg space, lush carpeting in the auditoriums, a spacious lobby with well defined décor and the very Inoxian Re-Fuel aromas comprise the services while wallto-wall screens, state-of-the-art sound and projection with high-quality audio-visual treat characterise the cinematic fare. A combination of red and and white colour theme runs through the cinema lobby and foyers while the auditoria are draped in bright red with the interior walls, seating and carpeting all done in red. "Inox was the first national multiplex chain to open in Indore and we are committed to providing the best movie experience to our patrons here," says Alok Tandon, CEO of Inox Leisure Limited. "With our

multiplexes at Sapna Sangeeta Mall and Indore Central Mall we have covered the length and breadth of Indore, he said and added, "this will ensure that larger number of Indoreans choose Inox to watch their movies." Significantly, the latest multiplex also launched Inox into the top league of 100-plus screen chains in the country. While Big Cinemas leads the screen count with over 200 screens, PVR is running second, and now Inox joined the league with an aggregate of 101 screens from 28 locations in 20 cities across India.

Fun Cinemas' 2K Multiplex in Chembur E-City Ventures-promoted Fun Cinemas launched its newest all digital 2K multiplex in Mumbai's Chembur suburb. Created as part of the K Stall Mall near Diamond Garden in Chembur East, the Five-screen cinema has a total seating capacity of 1253 seats, and is first all-digital 2K multiplex in this part of the metropolis. The DCI-compliant digital projection system is supplied and installed by Mumbai-based Scrabble Entertainment, as part of the latter's joint-initiative with projection solutions major Christie Digital. The mall being the most plush and upmarket retail destination, the cinematic sophistication is construed TM-30

Theatre Magic October-December

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to gel well with the expectations of the movie lovers in the region. Says Vishal Kapur, Fun Cinemas chief operating officer: "A multiplex in Chembur has been long overdue with the residents in this suburb having to travel far away to watch movies in a good ambience. With our latest property, patrons in and around Chembur are sure to feel like a star in a world class cinema viewing infrastructure." The cinema comprises Silver and Gold Class seating pattern priced Rs 100 and Rs 120 respectively. The admission rate has been kept reasonable despite the digital sophistication.


TheatreMagic ::: October-December 2009  
TheatreMagic ::: October-December 2009  
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