Film Journal January 2018

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Film Journal International Distribution Guide Vol. 121, No. 1 / January 2018

Distribution Guide

AARON SORKIN

plays for high stakes

in his directorial debut:

Jessica Chastain and

Idris Elba in Molly’s Game

INTERNATIONAL

January 2018

STEVEN SPIELBERG

reports on The Post

ALEXANDER PAYNE

and the little people

MICHAEL GRACEY

runs away with the circus

PLUS: VR, the new entertainment

reality; and relevance of art houses

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From the Editor’s Desk

In Focus

Disney Deal Creates Tremors

The motion picture industry as we know it is about to

undergo one the most dramatic changes ever over the next

five years. It all starts with the recent announcement of The

Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of the film and TV studio

and other properties of 21st Century Fox. The deal is pending

regulatory approval that could take up to 18 months, and

Disney is betting $66 billion that it will be approved by the

Department of Justice.

The chatter in the industry is that the pact between these

two giants will be industry-altering, a mega-merger reshaping

the business and resetting the balance of power. In 2016,

Disney and Fox together controlled 40 percent of the movie

box office.

Over the next several months as this all gets sorted out,

everyone will be talking about the ramifications of the deal.

They are truly massive. Here are areas most likely to be

affected:

* Exhibition will confront the possibility of onerous terms

and less content.

* Fox Searchlight and other small independents will face

great competition and possible hardship going forward.

* What will happen to the many top executives at Fox?

* How will rival studios react to the merger?

* And what happens to Fox Studios?

These are all questions that will be thoroughly digested,

with commentary coming from the press, other studios,

lawyers, theatre circuits and more. With the growing

competition from Amazon, Google, Netflix and Facebook, the

studio system is in for a great awakening. We see potential

takeovers and mergers of Paramount, Lionsgate and Sony.

How else will these companies be able to compete against the

likes of the new Disney company and Warner Bros.?

The Disney takeover is truly about positioning the

company to compete with the Amazons of the world and

to acquire content to boost its own streaming service and

surpass Netflix in this digital arena.

How big is big? Will the biggest companies continue to

co-exist? Only time will tell, but we are going to experience

mergers, acquisitions and consolidation like never before.

Hold on tight—the ride is just beginning.

Virtual Reality Gains Traction

One of the more successful strategies for the survival

of the movie theatre complex in this competitive age has

been the effort to transform them into full-fledged “family

entertainment centers.” You’ll find examples of this business

approach around the country, from the installation of

videogame arcade rooms to elaborate adjoining play areas

where patrons can enjoy everything from climbing walls to

laser tag to mini-golf.

Now, there’s a new diversion making its mark in movie

theatre complexes: virtual reality. VR and AR (augmented

reality) have achieved a degree of popularity with personal

consumer helmets and devices, and now they’re becoming

an added attraction at some of the world’s highest-profile

cinema destinations. IMAX has been leading the way: The

giant-screen pioneer has VR installations next to the popular

Grove lifestyle center in Los Angeles and in theatre complexes

in Shanghai, China; Manchester, U.K., and New York City.

And it’s just opened VR centers in two high-profile venues:

the Scotiabank in Toronto and the Regal E-Walk Stadium 13

& RPX in New York’s Times Square. At the E-Walk, virtual

reality is playing a key role in the complex’s celebration of the

blockbuster Star Wars: The Last Jedi. During opening week,

not only did the latest Star Wars adventure play in every

auditorium, Regal patrons could participate in two IMAX

VR Star Wars experiences: “Droid Repair Bay” and “Trials

on Tatooine.” So VR is already proving itself a symbiotic

promotional tool.

“Droid Repair Bay” is also active at Cineplex’s Scotiabank

Toronto location, along with seven other VR experiences,

including three inspired by franchise movies: Justice League,

John Wick and Star Trek.

In an interview in this edition of FJI, IMAX chief

development officer Rob Lister talks about IMAX’s

pioneering VR initiative and notes that IMAX’s relationship

with blockbuster filmmakers gives it a leg up in creating VR

experiences that will complement their movies: “Being at the

table in discussions about Justice League resulted in us being

able to talk with the same creators and filmmakers about

Justice League the VR experience. Having those relationships

with studio executives and with filmmakers allows us to get

involved at the earliest stage in terms of creating VR content

around tentpole movies.”

Cineplex also recently brought “good vibrations” to VR

with the debut of D-BOX’s VR concept at the Scotiabank

Theatre Ottawa in Quebec. D-BOX’s approach combines seat

motion and vibrations with virtual reality for the 12-minute

animated adventure Raising a Rukus. “Our cinema-friendly

proposal is appealing to many exhibitors,” says D-BOX

marketing VP Michel Paquette. “We see a great opportunity

for many more of these projects in the near term.”

All these signs point to VR becoming more of a reality at

your nearby multiplex.

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JANUARY 2018 / VOL.121, NO.1

A Film Expo Group Publication

PUBLISHING SINCE 1934

Post Mortem.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Streep, Hanks and Spielberg team up

for drama based on The Washington Post’s

friendly rivalry with The New York Times

to publish the explosive Pentagon Papers.

Hanks and

Streep in

The Post, pg. 16

Alexander Payne

and the Little People .. . . . . . . . . 20

The director of Election, Sideways and

Nebraska turns his satiric genius on the

small-world movement with Downsizing.

High Stakes .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Noted screenwriter Aaron Sorkin makes

his directorial debut with star-studded,

dialogue-rich, true-crime drama about

the mother of all gambling dens.

The Noblest Art.. . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

Hugh Jackman is P.T. Barnum in an

exuberant musical of the man whose

motto was, “The noblest

art is that of making

others happy.”

Niko Tavernise © 2017 20th Century Fox

In Between…in the Middle East. . 32

Three Palestinian women balance

faith and tradition in modern Tel Aviv.

West Side Story .. . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

The Landmark at 57 West offers

New York City an elegant stateof-the-art

cinema experience.

Virtual Cineplex.. . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

Canada’s leading circuit unveils

a new entertainment reality.

Think Virtual.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

IMAX counts on partners for a new

premium experience.

Community Spirit….. . . . . . . . . . . 46

Convergence founder Russ Collins

reflects on the relevance of art houses.

Participating in Good….. . . . . . . 48

Participant Media spurs social change

through the power of movies.

Spanning the Cinema World .. . . 52

ICTA’s L.A. seminar provides

a global perspective on exhibition

New Player in Town . . . . . . . . . . 54

Entertainment Studios Motion

Pictures looks for broad-appeal releases.

Distribution

Guide

FJI’s annual reference

of theatrical film

distribution companies,

pgs. 58-69

Zendaya, Hugh Jackman

and Zac Efron star

in The Greatest Showman,

pg. 28

Niko Tavernise © 2017 20th Century Fox

Canada’s Cineplex

enters virtual reality, pg. 38-45

DEPARTMENTS

In Focus. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Reel News in Review .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Trade Talk. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Film Company News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Concessions: Trends .. . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Concessions: People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Ask the Audience.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Buying and Booking Guide .. . . . . . . 70

European Update.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79

Asia/Pacific Roundabout. . . . . . . . . . 80

Advertisers’ Index. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .82

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, pg. 74

REVIEWS

All the Money in the World. . . . . 78

Downsizing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

Ferdinand.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

The Greatest Showman .. . . . . . . . . 74

Happy End.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76

In Between .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

In the Fade .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.. . . 72

The Leisure Seeker.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72

Phantom Thread . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

Pitch Perfect 3.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78

The Post .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

Star Wars: The Last Jedi. . . . . . . . . 74

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REEL

NEWS

IN REVIEW

Disney to Acquire

Large Chunks of Fox

The Hollywood studio system sees a

big shift with Disney’s purchase of large

parts of 21st Century Fox for a reported

$66.1 billion. The boards and stockholders

from both companies have approved the

deal, which is expected to take between

12 and 18 months to officially close.

Once it does, Disney will own Fox’s film

and TV studios, on top of several cable

channels (not including Fox News) and

sports networks. Among the properties

that are set to join the Disney sandbox

are Deadpool, Avatar, the X-Men and the

Fantastic Four. Disney chairman and CEO

Rob Iger, who was expected to step down

in 2019, has re-upped his contract through

the end of 2021.

Cineworld to Purchase

Regal Entertainment

Another big deal is going down in the

exhibition sphere. Regal Entertainment

Group and Cineworld Group have announced

their intention to enter into a

merger that will see Cineworld, the U.K.’s

largest exhibitor, acquire Regal for $5.9 billion.

Said Regal CEO Amy Miles in a statement,

“We believe this partnership with

Cineworld will enhance Regal’s ability to

deliver a premium moviegoing experience

for customers and further build upon our

strategy of introducing innovative concepts

and premium amenities designed to enhance

the value of our theatre assets.”

Saudi Ar abia

Legalizes Cinemas

After nearly four decades, Saudi Arabia

has legalized movie theatres. Into the

breach runs AMC, which has signed a

non-binding memorandum of understanding

with the country’s Public Investment

Fund as a means of exploring future collaboration.

Per CEO and president Adam

Aron, “Saudi Arabia represents a lucrative

business opportunity for AMC Entertainment,

and no one does the cinema

experience on a global scale better than

AMC.” Saudi Arabia’s theatrical exhibition

industry is expected to grow to a

value of $1 billion.

Academy Board Approves

Standards of Conduct

In the wake of a wave of sexualharassment

revelations, the Academy

of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

(AMPAS) has approved “Standards of

Conduct” designed to stop those among

AMPAS’ 8,427 members who would

“abuse their status, power or influence

in a manner that violates recognized

standards of decency. The Academy is

categorically opposed to any form of

abuse, harassment or discrimination on

the basis of gender, sexual orientation,

race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion

or nationality.” Those who violate these

standards will be subject to disciplinary

action, potentially including suspension

or expulsion.

Holly wood Execs Announce

Anti-Har assment Commission

Elsewhere in Hollywood, two dozen

entertainment executives—among them

Disney/Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy,

Disney’s Bob Iger, Warner Bros.’ Kevin

Tsujihara and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos—

have formed the Commission on Sexual

Harassment and Advancing Equality in

the Workplace, to be chaired by lawyer/

whistleblower Anita Hill. Said Hill in

a statement, “We will be focusing on

issues ranging from power disparity,

equality and fairness, safety, sexualharassment

guidelines, education and

training, reporting and enforcement,

ongoing research and data collection. It

is time to end the culture of silence.”

IMAX and Fox

Renew Partnership

In slightly less groundbreaking news

for Fox than the Disney acquisition,

20th Century Fox Film and IMAX have

signed a deal to release five Fox films.

One of those films, Kingsman: The

Golden Circle, already came and went;

the other four (The Darkest Mind, The

New Mutants, X-Men: Dark Phoenix and

Gambit) extend through 2019.

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Publisher/Editor

Robert Sunshine

President, Film Expo Group

Andrew Sunshine

Executive Editor

Kevin Lally

Associate Editor

Rebecca Pahle

Art Director

Rex Roberts

Senior Account Executive,

Advertising & Sponsorships

Robin Klamfoth

Exhibition/Business Editor

Andreas Fuchs

Concessions Editor

Larry Etter

Far East Bureau

Thomas Schmid

CEO, Film Expo Group

Theo Kingma

FJI ONLINE

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Film Journal International © 2018 by Film

Expo Group, LLC. No part of this publication

may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval

system, or transmitted, in any form or by any

means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,

recording or otherwise, without prior written

permission of the publisher.

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TRADE TALK

CINEMARK LAUNCHES

MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM

Cinemark Holdings

announced the launch of

Movie Club, a monthly movie

membership program offering

ticket and concession discounts

along with other exclusive

benefits. For $8.99 per month, a

Movie Club membership provides

the following:

▶ One 2D movie ticket each

month with premium-format

ticket upgrades available;

▶ Rollover of unused tickets,

which never expire for active

members;

▶ Ability to reserve seats

and buy tickets in advance with

no online fees;

▶ Additional tickets at the

member price of $8.99 each;

▶ A 20 percent discount on

concessions during every visit.

SPOTLIGHT NETWORKS

FORMS EVENT DIVISION

Spotlight Cinema Networks

announced the formation of

CineLife Entertainment, a new

division to distribute event cinema

and other alternative programming.

The content will be

available to Spotlight’s nationwide

network of art-house and luxury

cinemas representing nearly 300

theatres and 1,000+ screens, as

well as exhibitors around the

world. This marks the first time

that Spotlight is moving into the

event cinema marketplace.

CineLife Entertainment will

distribute multiple programs per

quarter starting sometime in

early 2018. These include musical

theatre, opera, dance, cult film

classics, anime, contemporary

musical performances, and faith

and inspiration movies.

Mark Rupp has been

appointed managing director

of CineLife Entertainment

and will report directly to

Spotlight Cinema Networks

CEO Jerry Rakfeldt. He will

work closely with Ronnie Ycong,

Spotlight Cinema Networks’

head of exhibitor relations and

operations, who will manage

content distribution. Prior to

joining Spotlight, Rupp was

president of SpectiCast, a cinema

marketing and distribution

company for the past eight years.

REGAL DEBUTS

E-WALK VR CENTRE

Regal Entertainment Group,

in partnership with IMAX,

unveiled the new IMAX VR ®

Centre at Regal E-Walk Stadium

13 & RPX in Times Square, New

York City. Regal’s new IMAX

Centre is one of only six in the

world, and invites guests to

experience other worlds with

immersive, multi-dimensional

virtual-reality experiences,

including movie entertainment

content and games.

The Centre, located on

the fourth floor, employs a

new design—proprietary to

IMAX—to allow multiple players

to enjoy interactive, moveable

VR experiences in an highly

social environment. The Centre

consists of two “pods,” which

are designed to optimize user

mobility and interaction in virtual

environments and can be adapted

for specific content experiences,

whether single or multi-user,

as well as a GloStation—a new

hyper-reality escape room VR

experience that allows up to four

players at a time to compete as a

unit with free-roam mobility.

HARMAN OPENS L.A.

EXPERIENCE CENTER

Harman Professional Solutions

announced the grand opening

of the Harman Experience

Center in Los Angeles. The facility

joins a worldwide network of

Harman Professional Solutions

Experience Centers in Singapore,

China and soon in London. The

new 15,000-square-foot, multifunctional

facility showcases

Harman Professional Solutions

products in a variety of entertainment

and enterprise market

applications.

The Experience Center is

comprised of several dedicated

spaces, including a grand entrance

corridor featuring lighting

effects and audio synced to

an 18’x’10’ Samsung LED video

wall; a product showroom; a

6,000-square-foot soundstage

delivering live entertainment

audio, video and lighting demonstrations,

and a boardroom and

training center.

BARCO ANNOUNCES

CHINA JOINT VENTURE

Barco has reached an

agreement to enter into a

strategic joint venture with

China Film Co. Ltd., Appotronics

and CITICPE. The joint venture

will serve as the dedicated

commercialization systems

channel for each company’s

products and services for the

global cinema market excluding

Mainland China.

The partners plan to capitalize

the joint venture in the

amount of $100 million. Once all

partners have entered the joint

venture, Barco will own 55% of

the joint venture, Appotronics

and CFG will each own 20% and

CITICPE will own 5%.

Wim Buyens, general manager

of Barco’s Entertainment division

for the past seven years, will

be appointed CEO of the joint

venture.

NAC SETS 2020 DATE

AT HILTON ORLANDO

The National Association

of Concessionaires (NAC) announced

that the 2020 NAC

Concession & Hospitality Expo

has been scheduled for Tuesday,

July 28 through Friday, July 31 at

the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena

Vista Hotel adjacent to Disney

Springs (Downtown Disney) and

Disney World in Lake Buena

Vista, Florida. The 2018 Expo

takes place August 7-10 at the

New Orleans Marriott Hotel

in New Orleans, LA. The 2019

NAC Expo is slated for July 30 to

August 2 at the Fairmont Chicago

Hotel in Chicago, IL.

CTC BECOMES

INDEPENDENT UNIT

CTC (cinema-technology.

com), previously the

subcommittee of the

International Moving Image

Society (BKSTS), announced

a significant re-launch with a

renewed vision of supporting

the global cinema industry at

its awards night held in London,

England, on Nov. 21.

CTC, with the endorsement

and support of IMIS, has

now become a completely

independent, not-for-profit

industry organization focused

on bringing organizations,

professionals and students

together from across the

world to share knowledge and

expertise related to cinema

technology with the aim of

improving the experience for

moviegoers.

As well as implementing

a new internal structure

comprising of an executive board

and a board of governors, CTC

is creating a new 15-person

advisory council to help

provide steering and support

on key focus areas and future

outputs for the organization to

ensure these are aligned to the

objectives of the industry.

For further information

on CTC including membership

opportunities, visit www.cinematechnology.com

or e-mail info@

cinema-technology.com.

THX PARTNERS

WITH CHINA FILM

THX Ltd., known for

the certification of cinemas

and consumer electronics,

has entered into a strategic

partnership with China Film

Giant Screen (Beijing) Co., Ltd.

(CGS), a subsidiary of China Film

Group, for both technology and

business collaborations.

The partnership is expected

to enable both parties to work

together over the next three

years to secure commitments

from exhibitors to roll out a

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target of 400 screens worldwide

featuring jointly developed nextgeneration

cinema experiences.

On Dec. 7, THX and CGS

announced the grand opening

of Zhuhai Haiyun China Film

Cinema, China’s first all-THXcertified

multiplex.

4DX SIGNS PACTS

WITH GSC & PVR

CJ 4DPLEX, a cinema

technology featuring moving

seats and environmental effects,

signed a binding memorandum of

understanding for a partnership

with Golden Screen Cinemas

(GSC) in Malaysia and agreed to a

new pact with PVR Cinemas.

This deal with GSC and CJ

4DPLEX will bring a 4DX theatre

to the GSC Paradigm Mall Johor

Bahru location by the end of

2017. This location is GSC’s only

site in the state of Johor and is

accessible to an estimated two

million people. GSC is Malaysia’s

largest cinema exhibitor.

PVR Cinemas already has

three 4DX screens operational

in the country at Noida, Mumbai

and Bengaluru and two screens

soon to be launched at new,

prominent sites. With this

extended partnership, PVR will

add 16 more 4DX screens at its

cinemas, taking the total to 21

4DX auditoriums in India by the

end of 2019.

GDC SHOWCASES

CINEMA AUTOMATION

GDC Technology Limited

showcased its next-generation

cinema automation system to

motion picture exhibitors during

CineAsia 2017 in Hong Kong.

The GDC Cinema

Automation 2.0 (CA2.0) is the

first-ever centralized system

to provide comprehensive

automated management of

content storage and playback,

show scheduling, power

supply and screening quality.

GDC Cinema Automation

2.0 incorporates the SCL-

2000 Centralized Storage

Playback Solution, an integrated

centralized storage and playback

system designed to streamline

content management.

GDC Technology Limited

also announced that cinemas’

global adoption of its SX-

4000 immersive sound media

server with a built-in DTS:X ®

decoder, and the XSP-1000

cinema processor (the GDC

Immersive Sound Solution),

continues to expand. The GDC

Immersive Sound Solution has

been installed, or committed

to installing, in more than 750

screens worldwide. Within

the Asia-Pacific region, China

has the highest growth rate of

DTS:X installations, increasing

the number of screens by 39%

in 2017.

NCM TAPS BARRY

FOR SALES POST

John Barry joined National

CineMedia (NCM) as senior

VP, sales planning, inventory

and analysis, based in NCM’s

New York office. He will report

to Adam Johnson, senior VP,

operations and planning.

Prior to joining NCM, Barry

held various senior leadership

positions over 18 years at

Discovery Communications,

most recently serving as senior

VP, advertising sales, driving

revenue across all brands with

primary responsibility for TLC,

Discovery Fit and Health, and the

HUB Networks.

SCREENX REACHES

128 LOCATIONS

ScreenX, the multi-projection

system that provides a

270-degree panoramic film viewing

experience within a theatre

setting, reported a successful

2017 in terms of attendance

and expansion. ScreenX has

more than doubled its number

of worldwide locations to 128

screens as of December 2017.

Also in 2017, 10 titles were

screened in ScreenX, more than

double the number from 2015.

EMAGINE DEBUTS

SUPER EMAX

Emagine Entertainment,

Inc. debuted the largest movie

screen in the state of Michigan,

Emagine’s Super EMAX, located

exclusively at its Novi location.

The official ribbon-cutting took

place on Dec. 15, followed by

the first showing of Star Wars:

The Last Jedi.

Emagine’s theatre in Novi

was the company’s first foray

into metropolitan Detroit,

opening in October 2002. Its

ownership has invested over

$5 million to renovate and refresh

the theatre throughout,

including the introduction of the

new Super EMAX screen. The

venue’s revitalization includes

1,400 powered reclining chairs

separated by seven feet of row

spacing, sightlines that have been

computer-modeled to ensure

every seat in the venue has ideal

views, upscale décor throughout,

an enlarged “E-Bar” sitdown

bar, new restrooms, new

ticketing counters, soft seating

areas, and a new concession

menu featuring expanded food

choices.

Emagine’s Super EMAX was

created by combining two smaller

auditoriums and expanding the

overall building footprint. The

screen measures 92 feet wide by

over 48 feet tall and is only comparable

nationwide to the TCL

Chinese Theatre IMAX ® in Hollywood,

according to the circuit.

The Super EMAX also

introduces another innovation

to the Michigan market: Christie

4K RGB laser imagery. It is

paired with a 64-channel Dolby

Atmos ® immersive audio system

and further enhanced with a

QSC Core 110f, a multipurpose

software-based digital audio

signal processor.

REGAL SALUTED

FOR DIVERSITY

Regal Entertainment Group,

one of the largest theatre circuits

in the U.S., has been recognized

by Great Place to Work

and Fortune as one of the 2017

“Best Workplaces for Diversity.”

This prestigious recognition

is determined by more than

440,000 employee surveys from

thousands of organizations in

various industries, and applauds

corporate practices and opportunities

including professional

development, innovation, leadership

confidence and consistent

treatment among employees of

different backgrounds.

“We are honored to be

recognized by these prestigious

organizations, and are proud of

our fantastic team at Regal,” said

Randy Smith, chief administrative

officer and counsel at Regal

Entertainment Group. “Regal

works hard to ensure equal

opportunity throughout the

organization, and to facilitate

important conversations about

inclusiveness in the workplace.

Everyone brings something different

to the table, and we will

continue to foster a company

culture of inclusion.”

VISTA UNVEILS

CINEMA MANAGER

At CineAsia 2017, Vista Entertainment

Solutions (aka Vista

Cinema) introduced Cinema

Manager, a browser-based application

that enhances box-office

and concessions sales activities

and frees cinema personnel from

the back office.

“Cinema Manager, which will

start rolling out in early 2018,

was designed with a user-first

approach from the ground up,”

says Kimbal Riley, CEO of Vista

Cinema. “We spent a lot of time

researching how managers really

worked, so that the tasks

they complete in the application

better match their operational

goals. It’s a browser-based application,

so it is accessible on a

range of devices, and utilizes a

contemporary user interface design

that is more intuitive, easier

to learn and faster to complete

day-to-day tasks.”

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FILM CO. NEWS

AMAZON STUDIOS

The Theory of Everything

co-stars Felicity Jones and

Eddie Redmayne are in talks to

reteam for Amazon Studios’

The Aeronauts. Directed by Tom

Harper (“War & Peace,” “Peaky

Blinders”), the film tells the true

story of 19th-century hot-air

balloonists Amelia Wren and

James Glaisher. Jack Thorne

(Wonder) wrote the script.

FOCUS FEATURES

Focus Features acquired

worldwide rights to Won’t You Be

My Neighbor?, Morgan Neville’s

documentary about Fred (aka

“Mister”) Rogers. Neville previously

directed the acclaimed

docs 20 Feet from Stardom, Best of

Enemies: Buckley vs. Vidal and The

Music of Strangers. Won’t You Be

My Neighbor? is set to hit theatres

on June 8, 2018.

KINO LORBER

Kino Lorber acquired U.S.

rights to Like Me, writer-director

Robert Mockler’s thriller about

social-media obsession. Addison

Timlin (Little Sister) stars as Kiya,

a teenage girl who broadcasts

a crime spree on social media.

Kino Lorber will release the film

theatrically in January 2018, to

be followed by a VOD release in

March.

LIONSGATE

Andy Serkis has joined

the cast of Lionsgate comedy

Flarsky, about a journalist (Seth

Rogen) who tries to strike up a

relationship with his childhood

crush/former babysitter (Charlize

Theron), who just so happens

to be the Secretary of State.

Flarsky is written and directed

by Jonathan Levine, who worked

with Rogen on the 2011 comedy

50/50. Lionsgate will release the

film on Feb. 8, 2019.

2017’s Top-Grossing Films Worldwide

1. Beauty and the Beast ($1.26 billion)

2. The Fate of the Furious ($1.23 billion)

3. Despicable Me 3* ($1.03 billion)

4. Spider-Man: Homecoming ($880.2 million)

5. Wolf Warrior 2 ($870.3 million)

6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($863.6 million)

7. Thor: Ragnarok* ($842 million)

8. Wonder Woman ($821.9 million)

9. Pirates of the Caribbean:

Dead Men Tell No Tales ($794.9 million)

10. It ($697.6 million)

11. Justice League* ($636 million)

12. Logan ($616.8 million)

13. Transformers: The Last Knight ($605.4 million)

14. Kong: Skull Island ($566.7 million)

15. Dunkirk ($525.2 million)

16. The Boss Baby ($498.9 million)

17. War for the Planet of the Apes ($490.7 million)

18. Star Wars: The Last Jedi* ($450.8 million)

19. Coco* ($450.7 million)

20. The Mummy ($409.8 million)

Data compiled as of December 18. Asterisk

indicates movie is still in theatres as of press time.

NETFLIX

We have a cast list for the

next film from writer-director

Noah Baumbach, and not much

else. Here goes: Adam Driver,

Laura Dern, Scarlett Johansson,

Merritt Wever and Ozzie

Robinson. Like Baumbach’s

latest, The Meyerowitz Stories,

this new film will be financed and

distributed by Netflix.

PARAMOUNT

The filmmaking duo of Benny

and Josh Safdie are heading to

Paramount division Paramount

Players for a remake of buddycop

actioner 48 Hrs. The Safdies

will direct, with Josh co-writing

the script with Ronald Bronstein;

the trio previously collaborated

on 2017’s Good Time.

SONY

Call Me By Your Name

director Luca Guadagnino is

moving on from sun-dappled Italy

to 19th-century Iceland for Burial

Rites. Jennifer Lawrence will star

in Guadagnino’s adaptation of

Hannah Kent’s 2013 novel, about

the last woman to be publically

executed in Iceland. In addition

to starring, Lawrence will

produce the film, which is being

released through Sony subsidiary

TriStar. Other upcoming

Guadagnino projects include a

remake of Suspiria and a sequel to

Call Me By Your Name.

20TH CENTURY FOX

Another one bites the dust.

Another director of Queen

biopic Bohemian Rhapsody,

starring Rami Malek as Freddie

Mercury, that is. Midway

through filming, director Bryan

Singer was fired, with Eddie

the Eagle’s director Dexter

Fletcher stepping into the

breach. According to Fox, Singer

was fired as a result of him just

up and disappearing from set,

which is something the director

reportedly has a history of

doing. Singer’s story is that Fox

refused to let him take time off

to be with a sick parent. Either

way, the film is still slated for a

Christmas 2018 release.

Kerry Washington and

Rashida Jones are teaming up for

20th Century Fox’s Goldie Vance,

based on the acclaimed graphic

novel series by Hope Larson and

Britney Williams. Published by

BOOM! Studios, Goldie Vance

tells the story of a teenage

girl whose dream of being a

detective lands her in hot water

with an international crime ring.

Washington will produce through

her Simpson Street banner, with

Jones writing and directing.

Fox has optioned the

rights to John Green’s youngadult

novel Turtles All the Way

Down, about a teenage girl with

OCD who tries to unravel the

mystery of a missing billionaire.

Fox previously adapted two of

Green’s other novels, The Fault In

Our Stars and Paper Towns. A cast,

director and writers have yet to

be chosen.

Kenneth Branagh’s Murder

on the Orient Express was a bit

hit-or-miss. After failing to catch

on with critics, it made less than

$100 million stateside but still

managed to pull in $200 million

internationally. Considering its

$55 million budget, that’s enough

for Fox, which has green-lit an

adaptation of Agatha Christie’s

Death on the Nile as a followup.

Michael Green, who wrote

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Murder on the Orient Express, is

returning for Death. It’s assumed

that Kenneth Branagh (and his

moustache) will be back to direct

and star as famed detective

Hercule Poirot, though no deal

has yet been confirmed.

UNIVERSAL

Universal has beat out

several other studios to acquire

the rights to Long Way Down,

Jason Reynolds’ novel about a

young man who must decide

whether to kill the person

who took his brother’s life.

No director, writers or stars

have yet been attached; Michael

De Luca (The Social Network)

and musician John Legend will

produce through their respective

banners.

WALT DISNEY

Chinese actress Liu Yifei,

also known as Crystal Liu, has

landed the coveted role of Mulan

in Disney’s live-action remake

of their 1998 animated hit. Niki

Caro (Whale Rider) will direct

the film, about a young woman

who impersonates a man so

she can infiltrate the army and

save her father. Liu is a massive

star in her native China, where

her credits include Once Upon a

Time, The Forbidden Kingdom and

The Assassins.

WARNER BROS.

Following the shuttering

of Broad Green Pictures’

production division, the studio’s

legal drama Just Mercy has

officially moved over to Warner

Bros. Destin Cretton (Short

Term 12) is set to direct and

co-write the film, based on the

true story of a lawyer (Michael

B. Jordan) who founded an

initiative designed to defend the

poor and wrongfully accused.

The film will reportedly begin

shooting in early 2018.

INDEPENDENT

Having tried his hand quite

successfully at the superhero

genre with the two Guardians of

the Galaxy films, James Gunn is returning

to his horror roots. Gunn

will produce an untitled horror

project for The H Collective, with

Brian and Mark Gunn writing the

script. In addition to directing the

two Guardians films, Gunn recently

co-wrote and co-produced Greg

McLean’s The Belko Experiment.

Girls Trip breakout Tiffany

Haddish has joined the cast of The

Oath, a satirical social thriller written

and directed by Ike Barinholtz

(“The Mindy Project”). Barinholtz

will also co-star, along with John

Cho, Carrie Brownstein and Billy

Magnussen. The film, set in a world

where American citizens have

to take an oath of loyalty, will be

executive produced by Haddish.

Lucas Hedges, Julia Roberts

and Courtney B. Vance are set to

star in Ben Is Back, written and

directed by Pieces of April’s Peter

Hedges. Lucas, the director’s

Oscar-nominated son, will play

Ben, a troubled young man who

ventures home for the holidays,

forcing his mother (Roberts) and

stepfather (Vance) to try to keep

their family out of danger.

Oscar winner Mahershala Ali

(Moonlight) and Viggo Mortensen

star in Participant Media’s Green

Book, based on the true story

of an Italian-American bouncer

(Mortensen) hired to chauffeur

a world-class jazz pianist (Ali)

through the Deep South in the

1960s. Peter Farrelly will direct a

script co-written by himself, Brian

Hayes Currie and Nick Vallelonga.

Linda Cardellini co-stars.

Noah Buschel, director of Glass

Chin and The Phenom, is heading

back in time to the 1960s for The

Man in the Woods. Marin Ireland,

Jane Alexander, Sam Waterston,

Jack Kilmer and Odessa Young

star in the Pennsylvania-set thriller,

about a group who confront the

mysteries of their community while

searching for a missing girl.

Pikachu Catches Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds has signed on to play the titular character

in Legendary and Universal’s Detective Pikachu, a live-action

Pokémon movie from director Rob Letterman. If you’re familiar

with Pokémon, you’ll know that Pikachu is a little yellow furry

creature, so presumably we’re looking at some sort of CGI/liveaction

hybrid. (Also, Pikachu doesn’t really talk. Basically, there

are a lot of questions here.) Justice Smith (Jurassic World: Fallen

Kingdom) and Kathryn Newton (“Big Little Lies”) co-star.

James Mangold Eyes Patty Heart

Director James Mangold has decided on his follow-up to the

critically and commercially successful superhero flick Logan: a

Fox adaptation of Jeffrey Toobin’s best-selling book American

Heiress. Mangold’s film will not share its name with that book

but will tackle the same subject matter, namely the case of

kidnap victim-turned-radical Patty Hearst. Elle Fanning is in talks

to play the famous heiress.

Quentin Tarantino Boards Star Trek

Well, this one is…unexpected. Quentin Tarantino has a Star Trek

movie in the works, and yes, it will be R-rated. Tarantino and

J.J. Abrams are reportedly in the process of putting together

a writers’ room for the film. This is a separate Trek from the

one Paramount already has in the works, the unnamed fourth

installment in the rebooted series that began with Abrams’

Star Trek in 2009. That film has yet to sign a director, though it

is reported that Chris Hemsworth—who played Kirk’s dear

departed dad in the first film—will be returning.

JANUARY 2018 / FILMJOURNAL.COM 11

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CONCESSIONS

TRENDS

VALUE PROPOSITIONS

Sizing Up Refillable

Popcorn Tubs and Drink Cups

by Larry Etter, Concessions Editor

In an era of expanding concession items, heartier

menus remain one of the biggest challenges to

convincing theatre patrons that concession

snacks are a good value. One means of

creating a value proposition is offering

refillable vessels. Some cinemas chains have

toyed with the idea of creating a value

proposition of annual refillable vessels, such

as popcorn tubs. Purchase the large bucket

for a higher price and receive unlimited

refills for the remaining calendar year. The

question is: How do theatre operators

make this work? Is the aim to build higher

per-capita sales? Is the aim to create a

loyalty program that invites patrons back

to the concession stand for added value? Is

the promotion aimed at making the consumer

visit the concession stand working?

All of these considerations lead to the

concept of value proposition. “I will spend more

today, but my total concession purchases for the

extended period of a year will be less” is the predominant

viewpoint of the participants in these programs.

Many theatre owners offer a refillable vessel, whether it

be for beverages or popcorn, as an incentive to buy into the

snack options at the concession stand. Nearly all proprietors

that use this system tend to add the combo effect to

this application. The overall intent is to meet or exceed

customers’ expectations about the theatre experience.

Some theatre circuits have implemented the ultimate

value system by promoting the “annual popcorn tub

purchase.” The customer is able to buy a popcorn tub at a

higher price than a large popcorn and they get refills at a

huge discount for the remaining visits thoughout the year.

Example: Purchase the 170-oz. large plastic vessel for $20

and get it refilled on any return visit for $2. In comparison,

a typical 170-oz. tub might sell for $8 on a single visit. The

patron may see the first purchase as “sticker shock,” yet they

believe that as a regular moviegoer and popcorn connoisseur

this will make sense and make for a real savings with multiple

visits to the theatre.

Wally Helton, VP of merchandising and promotions for

Cinemark USA, has extensive experience in this arena of

value offerings and is considered by his peers an expert on

the subject. “I started selling refillable popcorn containers

and drink cups in 2000 at United Artists Theatre Circuit and

have sold them at Cinemark since 2009,” he notes. “This

was just an early version of a loyalty program. Once the

guest buys the vessel at your theatre, they need to return to

your theatre in order to use them. Then our guests enjoy a

discounted price for the rest of the year.” This mechanism

of refillable tubs serves a win/win proposition for guests and

theatre operators.

Neely Schiefelbein, VP of sales at Cinema Scene, reports

that the success of the refillable tub has led to many more

circuits employing this strategy. “We’ve seen many customers

adopt the refillable tub concept. Some do it with 85-ounce or

130-ounce, while others use larger sizes like the 170-ounce

and 190-ounce. While it’s been done in many different ways—

standalone purchase, paired with combos, etc.—it’s proven

successful at many circuits across the country. People like the

idea of saving money on return visits. And loyal customers will

buy into this type of promotion knowing they will be back to

their favorite theatre with the incentive of a deal!”

The theatre owner should proceed

with caution, as there are outside

complications to this promotion.

First, after the initial sale of popcorn

in what is typically a plastic tub, how

sanitary is the vessel? Has the patron

kept the tub in the trunk of their car

and do they pull it out on their return

visit to the theatre? Does the local

health department require certain

administration to insure sanitary

conditions for repeat uses of the food

vessels? While the idea of extra value

by buying a refillable vessel has merit,

is the theatre operator aware of the

health risk that they will inherit when

offering such promotions?

In similar conditions, theatre owners are

offering a collector cup for beverages. In many

cases, these cups highlight a particular franchise

film or even the company brand. These vessels are great—

they commit the patron to the brand. Sometimes the drink

vessel has a long-term refillable option—i.e., all-year refills at

one dollar, or sometimes free refills on the day of purchase.

Here is the issue: What if the patron buys the specialty

drink cup on Tuesday, then returns on Saturday with the

same cup and asks for a “free refill” when in fact he/she did

not purchase anything that day on that visit? How does the

concession cashier know the difference? That is why some

suggest a limited-time-only “collector cup” selling out after

100 hours of operation; this way, the concessionaires know

the vessel was not sold on that particular day.

The other option that is emerging is the collectible

popcorn tin. The graphics are incredible. The stability of a

metal vessel is longer than the plastic competitor. The metal

vessel also serves as a multi-use container for the purchaser

after the consumption of the popcorn snack. Patrons can use

the popcorn tins for their home use when popping microwave

popcorn and watching TV sitcoms. The tins themselves are

more expensive, yet theatre operators should understand this

type of retail effect allows the movie lover to attach themselves

to the franchise film. They can take ownership in the movie and

it becomes a reminder of their movie experience, encouraging

repeat visits to the cinema for more “take home” memories.

Larry Etter is senior vice president at Malco Theatres

and director of education at the National Association

of Concessionaires.

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This month, we remember a legend of the concession

industry, Frank Liberto. Frank passed away in early

November from a lingering illness, and the concession

industry lost “the King of Nachos.”

Frank lived his life with zest and vigor. He was a great

entrepreneur and a mentor to many of his colleagues and peers.

Of Italian decent, he credited his father for his discipline and

dedication to work. Everyone who met Frank has a story to tell,

since he was always willing to give advice and consultation for the

betterment of their lives. While his father, Enrico, and grandfather,

Rosario, were the founders of the family business, Liberto

Specialty Company, and gave him guidance and direction, no one

could have taught Frank the devotion and keenness he had for the

concession industry.

Frank himself founded Ricos Products in 1977. He was a

leader at NAC and served as a regional vice president of NAC for

over 20 years, creating many a concession seminar and educational

program for the people of Texas and the Southeast. He will always

be remembered for wearing his yellow ascot cap with the red

Ricos logo.

Frank was a third-generation leader of Liberto Specialty

Company. He is also credited with inventing concession nachos,

which were unveiled at Texas Arlington Stadium in 1976. While

the family business focused on distribution of food items and

concession equipment, he had an entrepreneurial spirit that led

him to add to the snack offerings at the concession stand. His first

attempt was when he approached the stadium food and beverage

manager at Arlington Baseball Stadium, suggesting he give nacho

cheese with tortilla chips a chance. The manager was reluctant,

but Frank would not take no for an answer and delivered 35 cases

of canned cheese to the stadium anyway. Legend has it that the

stadium sold all 35 cases in one day and the manager called Frank

asking why he didn’t deliver more cases. Frank said he responded

with an expletive, stating, “I told you it was a winner.” Nachos

as we know them today were born from that “Never take no”

attitude. That was Frank Liberto: strong, dogged and persistent

until he got his way.

“Our father, Frank Liberto was a man of integrity,” Ricos

president and CEO Tony Liberto asserts. “He led our company

with an entrepreneur spirit and a passion that had an impact on

his employees, customers, business associates and friends.” Frank

could hold an audience by telling stories and anecdotes about

his early days in sales. He oftentimes had a raw way of discussing

matters, but nevertheless you knew Frank was filled with ardor for

the business. He was driven by a desire to succeed.

A driving force of the National Association of Concessionaires,

as president and board member, Frank never gave up on the idea

of helping young prodigies in the industry. He often took the lead

in creating educational forums that protected the integrity of the

industry and assisted in networking efforts for young managers.

He consistently sponsored NAC events, regional meetings and the

national convention. He contributed countless dollars to offset

the cost of scholastic programs. In 1997, he was awarded the Bert

PEOPLE

REMEMBERING FRANK LIBERTO

A Look Back at the Life

of ‘the King of Nachos’

Nathan Award by NAC, recognizing him for his contributions to

the concession channel of business. He remains one of just three

honorary lifetime board members at NAC.

Liberto received many awards and accolades over the course

of his life. He was charitable both at work and in the community.

He was presented the 1988 Distinguished Alumni Award from

St. Mary’s University and in 1994 was named one of the South

Texas Entrepreneurs of the Year, while Ricos Products was named

the Texas Family Business of the Year by the Hankamer School

of Business at Baylor University. 2005 saw Ricos named a Top

20 private business in San Antonio, Texas by San Antonio Success

magazine.

Frank Liberto advocated for many local and national

organizations in the fields of education, health and human services,

the arts, the military and multiple political organizations as a

donor and supporter. He served with the Knights of Columbus,

the Oblate School of Theology and the Juvenile Diabetes Research

Foundation, just to name a few. He truly gave back to society as

much as society gave to him.

Frank was the kind of guy you always wanted to meet, offering

a huge smile, barrel laugh and great stories. If you worked for

Frank, beware: He was driven, competitive and never accepted

less than perfection. Yet nearly every person who was under his

employ has gone on to excel in business. “Some of my fondest

memories and lessons learned came from Frank Liberto,” states

Charles Gomez, VP of specialty markets at Ricos. “Outside of my

parents, he was the biggest influence in my life. He gave me a work

home when I desperately needed one and was always supportive

of my efforts. He was a pioneer in the concession industry and

instilled in me the value of treating people well. Frank enjoyed life

and we will all miss him.”

Anita Watts Largent, an early hire in sales for Ricos, fondly

recalls her relationship with Frank at Ricos and his personality

that required everyone on his staff to have the same commitment

and resolute attitude. “I was very lucky to work with Frank at

the beginning of my career and he gave me an extraordinary

opportunity to hang myself or fly, and I will always appreciate

it. There were times when I could just strangle him, and other

times when we would drink a scotch and I realized what an

amazing life he had lived. In the end, we should all hope to have as

much living in our story as Frank Liberto,” Anita recalls.

The reality is that Frank Liberto treated everyone the

same. He was not particular in his expectations, nor biased—he

expected everyone to have the same dedication and devotion to

the business, regardless of status, position or relationship. This is

what made him a leader and a success. “That’s our Frank” was a

common phrase among his peers. No one could deny his love for

the concession business or his appreciation of what could be.

Frank Liberto will always be remembered as the father of

nachos, a global empire he built. Those of us who knew Frank

intimately will remember him as a friend and symbol of the

concession channel. A promoter, for better or worse, he loved his

family, his business and his friends.

—Larry Etter

CONCESSIONS

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ASK THE AUDIENCE

A Collaboration Between

ASK THE AUDIENCE is a monthly feature from Film Journal International and National CineMedia (NCM) that allows you to ask

an audience of 5,000 frequent moviegoers, known as the Behind the Screens panel, the pressing questions of our industry.

Decisions, decisions. At every turn,

moviegoers are given options.

What movie? What time? What

concessions will they buy? Where will they

sit? But to you, the theatre owners, the one

that matters the most is one of the first the

customer will make – which theatre should

they go to? Landmark Cinemas wanted to

take a closer look at the thought process

behind that question, so we set out to find

what factors customers weigh most heavily

while they decide which movie theatre to

visit. We asked the audience.

Let’s start with the obvious: location. 68%

of the Behind the Screens panelists say that

they typically frequent one to two theatres

based on proximity. The average distance

they travel to get to the theatre is 9.3 miles,

though 41% said they travel 5 miles or less.

Outside of location, the cleanliness of the

theatre was the number one factor

customers considered when choosing

between multiple theatres, with 89%

saying it was somewhat to very important.

Showtimes took the next slot, with 86%

saying convenience in their schedule played

a big role in their decision. 74% also pointed

to the ticket cost and loyalty program

rewards as major factors.

We also asked our panelists what

improvements, besides lowering prices,

their local theatre could make that might

help push them past the competition.

Common answers included cleaner theatres,

adding luxury and reserved seating if not

already available, friendlier employees,

better loyalty perks, and higher quality

food at concessions. For example, one

panelist wrote that they’d like to see more

concessions specials like a “deal of

the week”… or “candy of the month that

you can add to your purchase for a nominal

amount.” People also seemed interested in

special events, such as “theme nights with

unique snacks and retro movies” or “special

promotions for the local community.”

Loyalty rewards were also popular in the

comments, including “cool perks like giving

out free posters” or “rewarding their best

customers with discounts or coupons.”

So, the moral of the story? Customers

appreciate convenience, a high-quality

experience, and a good deal. Do your best

to keep your theatre clean, consider ways to

make your customers feel like their ticket or

concessions purchase is a better value than

your competitors, and use loyalty reward

programs to keep customers coming back

for more. Before long, you’ll be making your

customers’ decision an easy one.

MOST important

4.39 4.34 4.11 4.02 3.87 3.77 3.55 2.73

LEAST important

Cleanliness

of Theatre

Convenient

Showtimes

Cost of

Ticket

Loyalty

Program Rewards

Type of

Seating

Promotions/

Deals

Cost of

Concessions

Special

Events

Women were 13% more likely than men to

consider the cost of the ticket “Very Important.”

Millennials valued special events the most,

with 32% considering it an important factor.

Parents with children 15.

To submit a question, email AskTheAudience@ncm.com with your name, company, contact information,

and what you would like to ask the Behind the Screens panel.

14 2 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JULY 2017 / JANUARY 2018

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Post

by John Hiscock

When Steven Spielberg

comes across

a script he thinks

is so timely it needs his

immediate attention, he

does not hesitate: He drops

whatever he is doing to start

work right away on the new

project.

That is what happened

with 20th Century Fox’s

The Post, which recounts The

Washington Post’s handling

of the Pentagon Papers

drama of 1971, centering on

such issues as press freedom

and gender equality.

The spec script from Liz

Hannah was passed to him

by producer Amy Pascal

while he was working on the

Warner Bros. thriller Ready

Player One.

“When I read the first

draft, I couldn’t believe the

timing,” he says during a talk

at the Four Seasons hotel in

Beverly Hills. “I knew the issues

and answers in this story

needed to be told at once and

not wait two or three years.

I need a motivational reason

to make any movie and this

was a story I felt we had to

tell today.”

The Post focuses on the

unlikely partnership between

the newspaper’s

Katharine Graham (Meryl

Streep), the first female

publisher of a major American

newspaper, and editor

Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks)

as they wrestle to publish

the Pentagon Papers, a suppressed

analysis of the government’s

mishandling of

the Vietnam War spanning

decades.

Most of the action takes

place over just a few days,

with the drama stemming

from the Nixon administration’s

efforts to stop the

Post and The New York Times

from printing top-secret

information about the war.

The script’s topicality in this

era of “fake news” and journalists

being banned from

White House briefings resonated

with Spielberg, who

rushed it into production.

He called on a who’s-who

of film, television and theatre

actors to fill out his cast.

Joining Hanks and Streep are

Alison Brie, Carrie Coon,

David Cross, Bruce Greenwood,

Tracy Letts, Bob

Odenkirk, Jesse Plemons,

Matthew Rhys, Michael

Stuhlbarg and Bradley Whitford,

among others

“I certainly hope that

our movie makes people

aware of the kind of effort

that goes into searching for

and seeking and printing

the truth,” Spielberg declares.

“Print is becoming

an antiquity and everything

today is digital, but the

truth is never going to be an

16 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JANUARY 2018

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Mortem

Meryl Streep (as Washington

Post publisher Katharine

Graham) and Tom Hanks

(as Post editor Ben Bradlee)

star in The Post, directed

by Steven Spielberg, shown

on set with the actors,

above left.)

Photos: Niko Tavernise © 2017 20th Century Fox and Storyteller Distribution Co. LLC. Aall rights reserved.

Streep, Hanks and Spielberg team up

for drama based on The Washington Post’s

friendly rivalry with The New York Times

to publish the explosive Pentagon Papers

JANUARY 2018 / FILMJOURNAL.COM 17

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antiquity and is never going to

go out of style.”

Surprisingly, Hanks and

Streep had never previously

worked together, although The

Post is Spielberg’s fifth collaboration

with Hanks and he has

known Streep socially for many

years. “I have always wanted to

work with her, but she was the

wrong type for War Horse,” he

jokes. “And I couldn’t find a role

for her in Lincoln. But I knew

Katharine Graham and when

this project came to me I felt

there was nobody on the face

of the Earth that could play her

better than Meryl Streep.”

When I spoke with Streep,

she told me, “I’d never worked

with Steven Spielberg before

and he’s such an amazing filmmaker.

I’ve never, ever worked

with anyone who has a more intuitive

feel for how to construct

a visual narrative. It was so exciting

to go to work.

“He doesn’t rehearse, so that

was completely terrifying and

destabilizing for me. But Tom

knew that, so Tom was always

ready and it made me step up

my game, too. It was a joyous

experience.”

“So finally Meryl Streep

and Tom Hanks had a chance

to make a film together,” says

Spielberg with satisfaction.

“And I am just so pleased that

I got to be the director of the

debut of those two great actors

onscreen together.”

Katharine Graham became

the Post publisher by accident

when her husband, who had

been left the newspaper by her

father, died suddenly and it fell

to her to take it over.

She did so, showing strength

and determination, factors

Spielberg has always admired in

women. “I have had a lot of female

co-workers, as you know,”

he notes. “I have had companies

run by women, starting with

Kathleen Kennedy, who ran

Amblin for me for many, many

years, and then transitioning

with Laurie MacDonald with

Walter Parkes, who ran Dream-

Works for about 12 years, and

then Stacey Snider, who ran

DreamWorks for the next seven

years. And I am probably looking

for a woman to run this new

iteration of Amblin Partners

right now, because I am not going

to be doing this job for the

rest of my life.

“I had a very strong mother

who was more of a friend to

me than a primary caregiver

and I learned so much from

her about managing relationships,

especially managing difficult

personalities. I just find

that women are better attuned

to creating a kind of ambiance

and I think I am better working

in that kind of culture than I

am just working surrounded by

guys all day long, like I was on

Saving Private Ryan for three

months.”

Steven Spielberg is smartly

dressed in a suit, collar and tie

and he is thoughtful and unassuming,

answering questions

willingly. Critics have often

taken issue with the sentimentality

and emotional manipulation

they feel permeates some of

his movies, but he is one of the

Western world’s most famous

and successful filmmakers, with

enduring hits like Jaws, E.T.,

Close Encounters of the Third

Kind, Jurassic Park, Saving Private

Ryan and Lincoln to his

credit.

The man who has accumulated

three Oscars, three

Golden Globes, four Emmys

and another 180 awards knew

from the time he saw his first

movie, Cecil B. DeMille’s The

Greatest Show on Earth in 1952,

exactly what he wanted to do

with his life.

“I was making movies in

the house and blowing things

up in the kitchen and putting

fake blood stains on the walls

and ceiling and blowing up the

backyard with cherry bombs

and firecrackers,” he recalls.

“Fortunately, I had very liberal

parents who somehow let me

get away with it.”

He made his first home

movie when he was 12 and created

his first feature film at 16,

a two-hour science-fiction adventure,

Firelight. He applied

for admission to USC Film

School but was rejected three

separate times. Instead, he went

to Long Beach State, but ended

up dropping out before he got

his degree.

“Had I gone to USC, I

might have been holding lights

for George Lucas instead of directing,”

he laughs. “So maybe it

was good that I went someplace

without any competition.”

Then, at the age of 23, on

the basis of a 24-minute short

called Amblin which was shown

at the Atlanta Film Festival, he

was signed by Universal, where

he directed episodes of “Night

Gallery” and “Columbo” before

making the TV movie Duel,

followed by his first feature,

The Sugarland Express, and his

breakthrough, Jaws.

At the same time, his fellow

would-be filmmakers, Francis

Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese,

George Lucas and Brian De

Palma, were also beginning to

make waves in the film industry.

They have all remained friends

for more than 50 years.

“We just wanted to make

movies and tell stories, but we

didn’t think anybody would let

us do it,” Spielberg recalls with

a smile. “Francis was the first

success when he broke through

with You’re a Big Boy Now and

then The Godfather. And then

he became our godfather, giving

us the encouragement to

keep making those 16mm films

and to not give up when people

tell you no, but just find another

door that will be unlocked

for you.

“Francis was a real mentor

for all of us, but we never expected

to succeed the way that

we did. If we could have simply

continued to tell stories on film,

we would have been satisfied for

the rest of our lives. We weren’t

expecting any of this and it’s the

last thing that we ever thought

would have happened to us. But

the most amazing thing is that

we have stayed friends and collaborators

and mentors for each

other, ever since Marty and I

met in 1967 and George and

I met in 1968 and Brian and

I met in 1968. It all happened

a long time ago, but we stayed

together.”

Since those early days he

has seen many changes in the

world of filmmaking and marketing

and he is intrigued by the

opening up of the Asian market

for movies. “The Asian market

has very, very hungry people

who are looking for entertainment

of all kinds and not just

tentpole, Marvel-type movies,

but movies of substance and

movies about something real.

Those markets have opened up

beyond anything I could have

imagined 20 years ago. China,

Asia and Korea have an incredible

hunger and thirst for good

entertainment. So the market

just gives us more people to

show our movies to.”

He is also monitoring the

growth of virtual reality and sees

it as something for the future. “I

don’t know when it’s really going

to take hold and explode,”

he says. “But the most shocking

thing about virtual reality is

when you finish the experience

and you take off the goggles and

you are back where you started,

you would rather be in the

goggles again. That is the most

amazing thing about it—the

shock is coming back to real life

as opposed to getting lost in the

digital world.”

Spielberg is currently busy

with promotional duties for

The Post, but when they are finished

he has a daunting list of

projects awaiting him. He has

almost finished Ready Player

One, is preparing The Kidnapping

of Edgardo Mortara, and

will produce and direct the next

Indiana Jones film. Then there’s

a potential remake of West Side

Story for which he has secured

the rights after trying to get

them 15 years ago.

For his future projects he

will once again be using the

same collaborators he is intensely

loyal to: editor Michael

Kahn, cinematographer Janusz

Kaminski and composer John

Williams.

“I have been blessed with

some amazing collaborations

18 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JANUARY 2018

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throughout my career and I

stick with the same people my

whole life,” Spielberg notes.

“Michael Kahn has cut every

single movie I have directed

since Close Encounters and

John Williams has composed

just about every score, including

The Post. And Janusz Kaminski

and I have now worked

together since 1993 and

Schindler’s List.

“I found him because I was

watching television one night—

you can profit from watching

TV if you are in my business—

and there was a TV movie on

that Diane Keaton had directed

called Wildflower that Janusz

photographed. And that was the

beginning of our relationship. I

hired him to do Schindler’s List

based on this television movie

he shot with Diane Keaton.

“I have worked with some

great cinematographers in the

past, Vilmos Zsigmond and

Allen Daviau and Mikael Salomon,

but I have never, ever

had the experience of working

with someone who has also

become one of my best friends.

Janusz just finds a different

way of telling a story with light

and I leave that to him. He decides

the color temperature the

film should be, and I remember

when we made Lincoln he

found this amazing color temperature,

so even though it was

in color, it looked like it was in

black-and-white, because there

were no light bulbs in 1865,

and so the film was relatively

dark. That was a real risk that

Janusz and I took, but that was

Janusz’s idea.”

In preparing for his movies,

Spielberg differentiates between

those that need his imagination

and those that require detailed

research. “A film which is just

entertainment depends on my

imagination to supply it with

all of its needs, and a film that is

historical fiction or completely

true is a film that requires less

imagination and a lot of research

and fact-checking and

confirmation of those facts,” he

explains. “So when I did Lincoln

and now with The Post, I probably,

with Josh Singer and Liz

Hannah the writers, did more

research to confirm that everything

that we were putting

in the story actually happened.

So my imagination would be

a hindrance to something like

The Post. I mean, I still have an

imagination with a historical

drama based on the pacing and

the timing and where the camera

goes and how I can more

dramatically tell the story. But

the facts are the facts, and in a

sense I had to become a journalist

to be able to tell the story in

the right way.”

In the past, Spielberg would

take years off at a time to be

with his wife of 26 years, actress

Kate Capshaw, and their seven

children—one by his previous

wife Amy Irving and two

from Capshaw’s previous marriage—whose

ages range from

21 to 40. “My family’s always

come first and in the past when

I didn’t make a movie for three

years, I was raising my kids,” he

says. But now that they have all

left home he has more time for

moviemaking. “As long as I have

good scripts, I’ll keep working,”

he asserts. “When I don’t have

them, I won’t work. It’s always

been that way.”

During his 55-year career,

Spielberg has produced more

than 160 movies and TV series

and directed 55 films, yet despite

his success and the stack

of awards he has accumulated,

he has retained a wide-eyed,

almost childlike enthusiasm for

his work.

“My body isn’t telling me

to slow down yet, and whenever

I find something new to do

I get excited and become like

a kid again,” he says. “For me,

the fountain of youth is an idea

or a story I have either come up

with myself or read somewhere

and I say, ‘I’ve got to tell that

story.’ That’s what keeps me

going and fuels my passion.

And I’m constantly grateful

that it does.”

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ALEXANDER

PAYNE

AND THE

LITTLE PEOPLE

by Daniel Eagan

An experimental miniaturization process that might ease overpopulation

is the jumping-off point for Paramount Pictures’

Downsizing. Starring Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Kristen

Wiig and Hong Chau, it’s the latest work from director, co-writer

and two-time Oscar winner Alexander Payne.

With its science-fiction elements, use of visual effects and

worldwide scope, Downsizing may not seem like an Alexander

Payne project on its surface. His last film, the intimate, black-andwhite

Nebraska, had a budget of $17 million and a shooting schedule

of 35 days.

Downsizing, on the other hand, took 80 days to shoot, and had

a budget of $70 million. It has 85 speaking parts and 750 effects

shots. Many scenes take place within a miniature world, but the

story also spreads out to Nebraska, New Mexico and Norway.

“When approaching this film, I had the fear, the concern

that the machinery of it, and perhaps commercial pressures given

its larger budget, could dilute its potency,” Payne says during a

promotional tour. “You can’t let the machinery of the effects mar

the quality of the acting. Or the intimacy of what’s being acted.”

The director singles out production designer Stefania Cella,

saying, “You can’t really talk about visual effects without simultane-

Kristen Wiig and Matt Damon play Audrey and Paul

Safranek, and Maribeth Monroe and Jason Sudeikis

play small people Carol and Dave Johnson, in Downsizing.

© 2017 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

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ously talking about production design. Because you want to build

as much as you can and can afford, and then use digital effects only

when you have to.”

Payne, who wrote the screenplay with his longtime collaborator

Jim Taylor, wanted Downsizing to be his next film after Sideways.

The team started writing the script over a decade ago, nurturing it

through a long development process until the project was approved

by Brad Grey at Paramount. (Grey passed away in May 2017.)

“We had an itching to have the kind of political and social

awareness that we had in Election and Citizen Ruth,” Payne says.

“We’re not overtly political filmmakers by any stretch, Jim and I.

But inasmuch as character enters the human arena often through

politics, that’s what we’re interested in.”

Payne sees Downsizing as a sort of culmination of his last six

films and their themes, with the return of actors like Laura Dern

and Phil Reeves.

“Downsizing very much related to my other films,” Payne

observes. “Almost disappointingly so. It would be nice to get away

from the Midwestern white male for a minute. The schnook from

Omaha going on some kind of journey of self discovery.”

The film follows Paul Safranek (Damon), an occupational therapist

at Omaha Steaks, who decides to undergo the miniaturization

procedure with his wife (Wiig). Complications set him on an entirely

different path, one involving genial Serbian smuggler Dusan

Mirkovic (Christoph Waltz) and a Vietnamese political dissident,

Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau).

“One of the joys of making this film was finding and working

with Hong,” Payne says. She has earned supporting actress nominations

from the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild for a

performance that is by turns spellbinding and bitterly funny.

Often during Payne’s movies, the sense of watching a

constructed narrative is replaced by the feeling that real life is

unfolding before your eyes. Tran at one point describes a horrific

Alexander Payne and Director of Photography Phedon

Papamichael confer on the set of Downsizing.

THE DIRECTOR

OF ELECTION, SIDEWAYS

AND NEBRASKA TURNS

HIS SATIRIC GENIUS

ON THE SMALL-WORLD

MOVEMENT WITH

past—the loss of her home and family, imprisonment, a forced

miniaturization as political punishment, the amputation of her

leg—that has brought her face-to-face across a kitchen table with

Paul, Dusan, and Konrad (Udo Kier), a renegade sea captain.

Her eyes brimming with tears, Tran delivers a speech that stops

time, that pulls her three listeners, and viewers, out of themselves.

Rather than shooting the moment like a conversation with cutaways

and complementary angles, Payne and director of photography

Phedon Papamichael chose to film Chau centered in the

frame, the camera pulling in slowly on her face through the speech.

“That scene is one of the most extreme hairpin turns in the

narrative,” Payne says. “How to get this foursome to Norway, where

we wanted the story to go. It’s a little bit contrived, but we had to

© 2017 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

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sell it. Often when you shoot widescreen, you’re told not to center

things, put her slightly off, one side or the other. No, we put her

in the center, because she’s direct and moral, and it’s nice to center

people like that.

“And then she just does it. That’s it. She so understood the

dialogue, the screenplay, that it was supposed to be funny and have

pathos at the same time. I couldn’t do that, deliver a performance

like that with the camera and the lights and me and the cinematographer

all right in her face.”

Miniaturized people in Downsizing.

Speaking at this year’s Camerimage festival, Papamichael revealed

that he too was crying at the end of Chau’s speech, and that

there may have been tears in the eyes of Payne and the other actors

as well. Papamichael also marveled about the “efficiency” of Payne’s

shooting methods, how he could accomplish so much in one shot

that other coverage wouldn’t be necessary.

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Akira Kurosawa’s 1965 Red Beard, in which Toshiro Mifune

plays a doctor in a rural medical clinic, was one inspiration for

Downsizing. Payne also cites the movies of William Wyler, Orson

Welles and Anthony Mann, praising their use of visual space.

“I’m still working on classical filmmaking,” Payne says about

his style. “Performance is the most important thing. If I’ve got it,

what else do you need? I don’t want every film to have the same

visual style, but in general I try to shoot as few shots as possible,

and get as much in every shot, and cut only when we need to cut.

I shoot wider lenses, because I like to see the figures in space and

see the background. I like seeing man in space, and the connection

between the two.”

The director’s self-deprecating tone can obscure how expertly

he elicits award-worthy performances from veterans and relative

newcomers alike. “The midwifing part of directing,” he calls it.

“Allowing the space or freedom or conditions for that to come out.

That’s the main job of the director, I think. And not just with the

actors, but with the technicians, to foment their creativity and give

them the right environment. A performance like Hong’s requires a

lot of relaxation and focus on her part.

“When we make films, there’s almost no rehearsal. However,

each day of shooting is in a way a rehearsal for the entire rest of the

film because the actors are falling more into their characters and

being at ease with the technicians, with me, with the shooting style.”

Payne achieves that safe space in part from using his own life

experiences in his work. Paul Safranek and his wife go to a highschool

reunion at the same Jesuit prep school Payne attended. “It’s

a nice place to set stories,” Payne says of Omaha, his home town.

“I used to have a mentor, he’s now deceased, the Czech director Jiří

Weiss. And he would say, ‘Oh my dear, in Omaha you have your

own little Czech republic in which to make films, with its own

mores. You can tell any story there.’”

Payne gives a direct example: “The name Safranek. John

Safranek sat next to me in Latin class for four years.”

Self-effacing to a fault (and captured to a T by Matt Damon),

the film’s Paul Safranek has been disappointed by a world that

seems to operate against him. Like Candide or Gulliver’s Travels,

Downsizing sets out systems for Paul to try. Materialism leaves

him feeling empty, romance doesn’t work, hedonism leads nowhere.

Religion, apocalyptic cults, politics, back-to-nature movements are

all dead ends. In terms far more terse and simple than Payne uses,

Paul must give up everything to make any progress.

“He finds himself in service to others,” the director says,

joking that “most people are selfish bastards. But many people find

meaning in service to others. And indeed it’s given away cornily

when he’s at his reunion, and he sees a banner, authentic by the

way, that ‘the door to happiness opens outward.’ It’s right there in

front of your face.”

Still, Payne is reluctant to ascribe themes to his films. “When

we do things, it’s at once unconscious and conscious. ‘Themes’ are

often detected only in hindsight. It doesn’t mean they’re not present,

but they’re not a priori. I just thought this was a good idea for

a movie. It allowed us to make a movie about the times. The entry

point was overpopulation, and by extension climate change. It’s a

‘what if,’ a science fiction what if, that allows us to touch on other

hideous elements in contemporary life.”

A first-time father with a 12-week-old daughter, Payne admits

that “the enormity of responsibility freaks you out a little bit.” He

also says that he has no idea what his next film will be.

“Of course I have four or five ideas,” he adds. “I’m also open to

something I haven’t thought of. The next film, I want to do something

genuinely different.”

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scn-film-journal-ER-170927-final.indd 1

9/27/17 1:47 PM


Noted screenwriter

Aaron Sorkin makes

his directorial debut

with star-studded,

dialogue-rich,

true-crime drama

about the mother

of all gambling dens

by John Hiscock

HIGH

24 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JANUARY 2018

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Michael Gibson © 2017 STX Financing, LLC.

Jessica Chastain

in Molly’s Game,

directed by

Aaron Sorkin

(inset).

© 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All rights reserved.

It’s a highly potent combination: the Oscar-winning screenwriter

Aaron Sorkin directing his first movie and the twice Oscar-nominated

actress Jessica Chastain starring in it.

The result is STX Entertainment’s Molly’s Game, based on the true

story of Molly Bloom, a charismatic young Olympic-hopeful skier who,

after a devastating injury, took a job running the world’s most exclusive

high-stakes underground poker game, where the players included Hollywood

royalty, sports stars and business titans.

Its path to the screen started with a book written by Bloom, whose

winning streak had come to a grinding halt when she become entangled

with Russian mobsters

and was arrested by

the FBI.

Sorkin was initially

reluctant to meet Molly,

nicknamed “the Poker

Princess” by the tabloids,

and did so solely as a

favor to an entertainment

lawyer he knew. “I

was not expecting to be

impressed. I thought I

was going to be meeting a

woman who was cashing

in on her decade-long

brush with celebrity and

that’s not something

I like,” he recalls during

a conversation in a

beachfront hotel in Santa

Monica. Calif. “I don’t

like gossip, I think it’s

bad for all of us. And I

certainly don’t like gossip

for money. So I went to

this meeting as a courtesy.”

Chastain with co-stars

Kevin Costner and Idris Elba.

But ten minutes into their first meeting, which would be followed

by many others, Sorkin knew he wanted to write her story and include

many of the facts she had omitted from the book. “Boy, did I want to

write it” he says. “This was like a blind date that you are not looking

forward to, but you leave knowing that this is going to be the person

you are going to spend the rest of your life with. Obviously I am not

talking about Molly the person, but Molly the story. It was love at

first sight and that had only happened once before, when I was having

lunch with Stacey Snider, who was then head of DreamWorks, and she

asked me if I’d heard about two guys claiming that Mark Zuckerberg

didn’t invent Facebook and that it was them. An hour after that, my

Linda Källérus © 2017 STX Financing, LLC.

Michael Gibson © 2017 STX Financing, LLC.

STAKES

JANUARY 2018 / FILMJOURNAL.COM 25

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agents made a deal for me to write The Social Network.”

Sorkin, who won an Oscar for writing The Social Network and is

a five-time Emmy winner for the TV series “The West Wing,” has

a distinctive and unmistakable style, although not everyone is a fan

of his witty, fast-talking dialogue and morality tales with politically

liberal messages. Still, “The West Wing” is considered by many to be

one of the best television dramas of all time.

To the Hollywood powers-that-be, he is a bona-fide moneymaker,

with hit movies going back to 1991’s A Few Good Men

(based on his stage play). He followed it with Malice and The

American President and created the highly praised half-hour series

“Sports Night” and the short-lived drama “Studio 60 on the Sunset

Strip.” Following his adaptation of Charlie Wilson’s War, he wrote

The Social Network and received more acclaim for Moneyball and

Steve Jobs, although his HBO cable drama “The Newsroom” received

more mixed reviews.

Reading Bloom’s book, Sorkin was worried about the implications,

because he had worked with some of the people she had written

about, including four very famous actors. Some were his friends.

He spent the next two years hearing more of her stories and

another year writing the screenplay. “I started out the same way I

have always started out, though, with quite a bit more enthusiasm,”

he recalls. “There was something here that was very special: I felt that

where other people were seeing a story of glamour and decadence

and sex and money and bold-faced Hollywood names, I was seeing

a story set against the backdrop of those things but I was also seeing

the story of an honest-to-God, real-life movie heroine—someone

with a kind of quiet integrity and character that is rare today, even

less common in popular culture. I just felt that I had found a hero in

the strangest place and that even Molly herself didn’t realize that.”

To avoid using the real-life names in the drama, he invented a

composite character, played by Michael Cera, to replace the highprofile

movie stars who were Molly’s regular clients and came up

with a fictional lawyer he called Charlie, played by Idris Elba, who

discovers there’s a lot more to Molly than was revealed in the salacious

tabloid stories.

But he had not even thought about directing Molly’s Game until

producer Mark Gordon asked him. “I didn’t pursue that job,” says

Sorkin. “I was asked to direct it and I am very grateful now that

I was. I knew I would be risking humiliating myself on a very big

stage because of the chance that the movie would tank, But I was

willing to do that rather than risk the movie in someone’s hands

being something else.

“In other words, if this was going to go bad, I wanted it to be

my fault,” he smiles.

Although this was Sorkin’s directorial debut, he was by no

means a novice on a movie set. “Because I have been a show runner

on four television shows that I created, and being a show runner

with a distinct voice, I have had experience,” he affirms. “And I have

been on the set every day of every film that I have written, which

doesn’t qualify as directing experience, but I think maybe I was a

little bit further along than other first-time directors.”

One of his concerns in deciding to direct the movie was gathering

the very best cast and crew around him. “Charlotte Bruus Christensen

was our DP, and Josh Schaeffer and Alan Baumgarten our

editors, but particularly, who was going to play Molly and who was

going to play Charlie? And would a Jessica Chastain or an Idris Elba

be willing to work with a first-time director and how would that go?

“And thank God they were willing, and they too felt like I

wasn’t a first-time director because of the other places where I had

had control.”

In fact, his first meeting with Chastain formed the foundation

of their mutual admiration society. “It wasn’t an audition, because

Jessica didn’t have to convince me of anything,” Sorkin says. “I went

simply to discover if Jessica Chastain—Golden Globe-winning

Jessica Chastain, two-time Academy Award-nominated Jessica

Chastain, who has been directed by Ridley Scott and Chris Nolan

and Kathryn Bigelow and Terrence Malick—would be willing to

take direction from a first-time director. Or would I be taking direction

from her?

“We sat down and exchanged pleasantries and about two minutes

into the meeting, she said, ‘This meeting is stupid, you should

just give me the part.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, okay, you’re right.’ And it

went on like that from there. Jessica was directing me a lot of the

time.” He laughs.

On Chastain’s part, she had no qualms at all about working with

a first-time director as long as it was Aaron Sorkin and he had written

the screenplay. “I kind of feel like all the work I’ve done up till

now has prepped me to do an Aaron Sorkin script,” she says before

Sorkin briefly joins her for a reunion hug. “He’s a political filmmaker

and in his writing there are these themes of justice prevailing against

the odds. Which is why we’re so inspired by ‘The West Wing,’ A Few

Good Men and ‘The Newsroom.’ I think he’s the best writer we have

in our industry and you definitely feel his own signature rhythm and

style. As an actor, you feel this music that’s within the language of

great writers, and because Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue is so musical, a lot

of the time I was singing musicals with Aaron.

“We’d be on set and someone would say, ‘OK, we’re going to

turn around, the camera’s going to turn around.’ And Aaron and I

would sing, ‘Turn around.’ It was like a game we would play every

day when someone would say something and we would just break

into a song-and-dance number that would go on and on.” She

laughs. “I’m hoping in the future he and I can work on something

musical together.”

Chastain also laughs about getting her brain to work at Sorkin

speed, saying it helped that she had learned to perform the work of

a wide range of modern writers while studying acting at Juilliard.

But it was by no means an easy shoot. “In fact, it’s the hardest

thing I’ve done,” Chastain says. “We did 47 pages of dialogue in the

very first week, which I’ve never done before on a film. I thought

Miss Sloane was a lot, and this one was double that. But it was like

theatre, so we had a great time.”

Sorkin has nothing but fulsome praise for his star. “Jessica straps

this movie to her back in her very first scene, runs a full sprint for

two hours and twelve minutes and doesn’t put the movie down until

the end credits roll. That is called ‘carrying a movie,’” he says.

Sorkin jokes that his directorial style is to say yes to people

when they have really good ideas. Then he adds seriously: “Yes, I do

like having the final say, but I am not looking for people to work

with who will simply follow my instructions; I am looking for people

who are better than my instructions. I am looking for people

who will push back and say, ‘I think I have got a better idea.’ I want

people who are bringing their own thing to the table.

“In the editing room, there was nothing better than having the

editors say, ‘We tried something, and it may sound crazy, but just

take a look at it.’ And sometimes it is crazy and sometimes it elevates

the entire movie. Those are the people that I want to be with,

and that is true with actors as well as cinematographers, production

designers, editors, cameramen and everybody.”

Now that Sorkin has directed his first movie, he wants more.

“I love working with great directors and I want to continue to do

so. But I had a wonderful time directing this movie and I am very

proud of what we did together. So I want to do it again. I would

like to direct more movies.”

26 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JANUARY 2018

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Zendaya co-stars

in The Greatest Showman.

by Rebecca Pahle

Michael Gracey is the first to admit that The

Greatest Showman is, “purely from a business perspective,

not a sure bet.” A big-budget spectacle from a

first-time feature director—that’s infrequent, but not exactly

unheard of. What makes The Greatest Showman truly rare

is that it’s not just a movie musical, but an original movie

musical, one not based on existing songs or properties.

“If it’s a jukebox musical, at the very least you know people

are going to like the music. If it’s based on [existing] IP, you

know there are thirty years’ worth of audiences who are going

to see the film,” explains Gracey. “When you’re investing

enormous amounts of money in creating a film, you want

some sort of security. And there is very little security in an

original musical [with songs] written by two guys who, at

the time, had done a Broadway musical that wasn’t a huge

success… It wasn’t so easy when I first wanted to work with

them, because everyone was like: ‘Who are these guys?’”

“These guys” are Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. When they

met Gracey, they’d just picked up a Tony nomination for

Photos: Niko Tavernise © TM & © 2017 20th Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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The Noblest Art

Hugh Jackman is P.T. Barnum in this exuberant musical

of the man whose motto was,

‘The noblest art is that of making others happy.’

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A Christmas Story: The Musical. Two days after the meeting, they’d

already written two of The Greatest Showman’s songs, one of which,

“A Million Dreams,” made the final cut. Flash forward, and Pasek

and Paul have become the reigning golden boys of Broadway, with

an Oscar and a Tony under their belts thanks to their songs for La

La Land and Dear Evan Hansen.

High-profile talent behind the camera was matched by highprofile

talent in front of it: Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya

and the greatest showman himself, Hugh Jackman. And now, eight

years after getting The Greatest Showman’s script from Jackman,

Gracey and 20th Century Fox are about to find out if their allsinging,

all-dancing risk is going to pay off.

Director Michael

Gracey and

cinematographer

Seamus McGarvey

Regardless of its eventual box-office take, The Greatest

Showman stands on its own as a bit of splashy, fun, crowd-pleasing

entertainment, befitting both its release date—Dec. 20, right

around the corner from Christmas—and its subject: P.T. Barnum,

1800s impresario and inventor of the circus.

Don’t let The Greatest Showman’s nonfiction roots fool you

into thinking that Bill Condon and Jenny Bicks’ script presents,

or intends to present, a straightforward, historical record of

Barnum’s life. “P.T. Barnum wrote his autobiography multiple

times, and he would burn earlier editions and destroy the plates,

because he wanted to reinvent himself each time,” Gracey says. “I

feel like this is the film that P.T. Barnum would make. He would

cast Hugh Jackman as himself, even though he looks nothing like

Hugh Jackman!”

At the same time, The Greatest Showman doesn’t shy away from

the fact that Barnum is a “deeply flawed character.” You could

call him a self-absorbed charlatan, and you wouldn’t exactly be

off-base. (Though Barnum never actually said, “There’s a sucker

born every minute,” Gracey admits that it’s the sort of thing he

would have said.) Jackman, then, was a necessary bit of casting:

You need someone charismatic and fundamentally good enough

that audiences root for Barnum to come out the other side of his

personal struggles with his soul intact. Explains Gracey, “There

are very, very few people who could play [Barnum] and do what

[ Jackman] does in this role.”

Factually speaking, The Greatest Showman hits the high points

of Barnum’s life: Barnum starting a museum and filling it with

human “oddities,” like the Bearded Woman (Keala Settle, a Tony

nominee with a powerhouse voice) and the dwarf who would come

to be known as General Tom Thumb (Sam Humphrey). A visit to

Queen Victoria (Gayle Rankin) designed to boost his credibility

www.nikotavernise.com

among the snooty upper classes. A creative dalliance with superstar

opera singer Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson) that took him away,

for a time, from his circus roots. In the spaces in between these

historical anchor points, in Gracey’s words, exists “a healthy dose of

imagination.”

The goal, Gracey explains, was to take the groundbreaking

spectacle and popularity of the original circus and translate it—not

completely, but somewhat—into modern terms, creating a sort of

“fantastic fairytale version” of Barnum and his story. To that end,

Jenny Lind belts out not an aria but the sort of “pop ballad Adele

would sing.” The musical number that opens the film, “The Greatest

Show,” has Jackman trying his hand at a “hip-hop beat.”

On the dancing side, the circus performers, led by ringmaster

Barnum, strut their stuff in group numbers choreographed by

Ashley Wallen. (Lest we forget, Jackman is no stranger to musicals,

having toplined theatrical runs of Oklahoma!, Carousel and

The Boy from Oz before starring in Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables in

2012.) One particular number, a romance duet shared by trapeze

artist Anne and Barnum’s upper-crust protégé Phillip, serves as

something of a nod to Cirque du Soleil, sending Zendaya and Zac

Efron soaring high above the circus floor.

Gracey notes that, with the exception of a few moves, all the

actors did their own dancing. “They signed up for ten weeks, and

they worked so hard at doing these really complicated sequences.

There were a few moments where it was such a big drama point,

such a big hit, that it becomes a stunt as opposed to a dance step.

People did get hurt, though. Michelle [Williams] cracked one

of her ribs” in a rooftop ballet-inspired number. “She was in a lot

of pain.”

The musical numbers—dynamic, intricate, high-energy—are

the most impressive part of The Greatest Showman. That’s why

it’s something of a surprise to learn that they were the element

of the film that Gracey was most confident about despite his

lack of experience with anything near The Greatest Showman’s

scale. That’s due to his background as a commercial director.

Working on “musical-driven” commercials has been “a common

theme running through my work,” he explains. “It was great

to bring a lot of those lessons into the world of The Greatest

Showman. Because it is my first film, I want to do it in a way

that is unique and bold and memorable… I don’t want it to be

what [audiences] expect.”

In a further concession to modernity, all the circus animals in

The Greatest Showman—the odd handful of horses, elephants and

lions—were created using CGI. “Myself as a filmmaker, and the

studio, were always very adamant that the way we were going to

approach this film was without any animals,” Gracey says. “No one

wants to repeat the acts of cruelty that went on at the circus in

regards to the animals… The public consciousness and the world,

fortunately, have evolved since then. Even though we were showing

what was true in the 1800s, the way in which we went about it was

with a contemporary approach.”

That mix of old and new extends to Ellen Mirojnick’s costume

design, which blends capes and tailcoats with more contemporary

touches like Zendaya’s pink hair. In crafting the look and feel of

the film, notes Gracey, “we would say, ‘This is what it was then.

What is the modern equivalent to that?’ In terms of the wardrobe,

we would ask, ‘What are the styles and cuts that are influenced by

the 1800s? That you would see on the cover of Vogue?’

“You take the best of the old and the best of the new and you

fit it in this pocket somewhere in between the two. And that pocket

is what’s unique to this film. That visual and musical signature

becomes The Greatest Showman.”

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THREE PALESTINIAN

WOMEN BALANCE

FAITH AND TRADITION

WITH MODERN LIFE IN

Yaniv Berman

IN BETWEEN…IN THE MIDDLE EAST

by Maria Garcia

Maysaloun Hamoud’s given name is drawn from a famous

incident in the history of the Arab world that took place

in present-day Syria. “My name is a story,” the Israeli-

Palestinian filmmaker says, in an interview in New York City. Her

debut feature, In Between (from Film Movement), will open in

theatres on Jan. 5.

The narrative bestowed on the filmmaker by her parents begins

at the end of the First World War. In a battle that helped to

topple the Ottoman Empire, the British-backed Sharifian Army

took Damascus. The leaders of that army hoped to unite their

people by establishing an Arabic state in Syria. In 1918, Emir

Faisal, a general and an Arab nationalist, formed a monarchy, but

by then the British had already betrayed their Arab compatriots;

in partitioning what is today called the Middle East, the British

promised Syria to the French. In 1920, at the Battle of Maysalun,

just west of Damascus, French forces encountered those of the

Arab Kingdom of Syria.

“We lost, of course,” Hamoud says, “but we see it as the first

brave resistance to colonialism of the Arab people. In a sense, the

battle sowed the seeds of Arab identity.” And, with In Between, Maysaloun

Hamoud sets out to redefine that identity in female terms.

Her film is about the day-to-day lives of three Israeli Palestinian

women, all with very significant names. Laila (Mouna Hawa, previously

seen in Zaytoun), meaning “night” in Arabic, is a shapely criminal

lawyer who enjoys Tel Aviv’s club scene. She shares an apartment

with Nur (Shaden Kanboura), “light” in Arabic, a younger woman

and a college student, and Salma (Sana Jammelieh) whose name in

Arabic and Farsi existed before the era of Islamization.

The names deepen the audience’s understanding of the characters,

who are subject to double standards as women and as

members of an ethnic minority in Israel. Hamoud, who holds undergraduate

and graduate degrees in history, says that In Between

overturns common stereotypes of Muslim women, and it does, but

what American audiences may miss is that Laila, Nur and Salma

▲ Maysaloun Hamoud (at left) directs Mouna Hawa,

Sana Jammelieh and Shaden Kanboura in In Between.

also represent subtle generational divides. “I am 35, and an older

member of the generation that includes Laila and Salma,” the

writer-director explains. Hamoud was 18 at the start of the Second

Intifada in 2000.

“Our parents faced the military regime, but we didn’t,” Hamoud

says. “We grew up more freely and the Second Intifada made

us more aware of our rights and identity as Palestinians.” When

Hamoud’s parents came of age, Israeli Palestinians were not permitted

to attend the country’s universities. They went to Hungary,

then part of the Soviet Union, which for political reasons had a

long history of supporting Palestinians in their struggle for statehood.

Her father was attending medical school in Budapest when

Hamoud was born.

Nur’s generation, nearly a decade after Laila and Salma’s,

reached maturity during the Arab Spring. “I can see that influence

in the subculture we have now, in cinema, music and art,” Hamoud

observes. “It is the same in all other Arab countries around us. We

are no different from the Arabs in Beirut or Cairo, even though we

live inside Israel, in Jaffa, Tel Aviv and Ramallah.” The filmmaker

remarks that during her stay in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, she was

reminded of Jaffa, the oldest part of Tel Aviv, where she has lived

for the last eight years. “We have an art scene, and gentrification,

too.” In In Between, which refers to the position of Hamoud’s

characters in Arab society, the women’s apartment is in the Yemeni

sector of Tel Aviv.

Nur’s fiancé, Wissam (Henry Andrawes), on his first visit,

has trouble finding the apartment, and calls her to ask directions.

“Their conversation is one of the small but important ones in the

movie, because Tel Aviv is built above several Palestinian neighborhoods,”

Hamoud says. “The Yemeni quarter is one of many places

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that was destroyed by the Zionist Israelis in 1948 to cover the

origins. The quarter was a Menashiya neighborhood.” Nur tells

Wissam that she is not far from the Hassan Bek Mosque, a Menashiya

building that was not razed. While these layers of history

and meaning, which refer to the Yemeni laborers who migrated to

Israel for jobs, may only be understood by Arab and Israeli audiences,

In Between has wider appeal, both because of its novelty and

Hamoud’s skill as a writer-director.

One of Hamoud’s favorite movies is Ridley Scott’s Thelma &

Louise (1991), and she is pleased when others are reminded of it

while watching In Between. (Look for an early scene in which the

three characters are in Laila’s car.) Hamoud’s film is a women’s

buddy movie, too, complete with the dark undertones of Thelma &

Louise. Salma has Christian roots, and Laila a Muslim background;

both are secular, while Nur is a practicing Muslim. Laila wears

pencil skirts and revealing tops, and Salma, a gay DJ, is sporty and

pierced. Nur is the new addition, and arrives wearing a hijab and

abaya. “Shaden won Best Actress at the Israeli Film Academy,” the

filmmaker notes, “and Mouna Best Supporting.” The characters are

shockingly unconventional, even for Israelis; American audiences

have never seen Arab women represented as they are by Hamoud.

In the course of the film, Salma’s family is scandalized when

they catch her kissing another woman, and Nur is victimized by

an abusive Wissam. Laila has a flirtation with a Jewish lawyer

but she reminds him that his family will reject her. She finds love

with Ziad (Mahmud Shalaby), although later she is disappointed

when he makes it clear that if they are to stay together, she will

have to stop smoking and start dressing conservatively. “Laila and

Salma have burned their bridges, and they have the label of sluts,”

Hamoud says. “They are not really welcomed inside the society, but

men like Ziad can travel and live with women and later take another

woman to marry and be accepted in society and by his wife’s

family.” With the exception of Nur’s loving father, and a male gay

couple, Western women may find the men in the film repugnant,

but Hamoud characterizes them as “weak.”

In Between is not a flattering portrait of Tel Aviv or of Israel.

Asked about the process of getting approval for her script in order

to receive state funding, she replies: “Of course, it is complicated,

but first, I am a Palestinian and they expected from me specific

stories about the occupation and about the conflict. I like to think

the story was so refreshing that they couldn’t refuse me.” At several

points in the film, the characters are subject to mild forms of

discrimination; one example is in a scene where Laila and Salma

are shopping. “In our everyday life, we are always confronting

racism,” Hamoud says. “Jewish Israeli audiences did not talk about

these scenes, but they connected with the social and feminist

aspects of the film.”

Hamoud’s next project is a television series for Israeli TV. “My

theme for the show is ‘in-between,” she says. She worries about

having to do commercial work to support her filmmaking. “I want

to be strong and resist and make my own movies,” she muses. “I am

a female and I will continue to make films from my point of view.”

As for portraying the lives of Palestinians in Israel, she points out

that her movie represents a progressive stance. “I did not really

want to include Israelis in the movie, because I think Palestinians

can stand by themselves and speak among ourselves,” she says. “I

think it’s an important step for all societies when they do not need

to see themselves through the Other or among the Other.”

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y Rob Rinderman

At street level, beneath what can

candidly be described as a funky,

multi-tiered pyramid structure that

also doubles as a Manhattan residential

apartment building (designed by renowned

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and

colleagues), is The Landmark at 57 West.

Debuting in mid-September 2017, this

is the newest location of the Landmark

Theatres chain, the only exhibitor

with a national footprint dedicated

primarily to showcasing independent

movies. Landmark is also a marketer of

indie films through its sister company,

Magnolia Pictures, a theatrical and home

distribution company.

Landmark Theatres is part of the

Wagner/Cuban Companies, a vertically

integrated group of media properties

co-owned by Todd Wagner and

charismatic “Shark Tank” investor

Mark Cuban. Wagner/Cuban also coowns

production company 2929 Prods.,

and high-definition networks AXS TV

and HDNet Movies.

The Landmark at 57 West features

eight state-of-the-art auditoriums

utilizing laser systems by NEC Display

Solutions, projected onto wall-to-wall

screens. According to the company, the

decision to go with laser was predicated

on its ease of maintenance, not to mention

the ability to deliver a superior viewing

experience unlike anything else on the

market. GDC, with a world-leading

digital cinema server installed base, is also

a key vendor.

Some of the posh auditoriums almost

have the feel of personal screening rooms

or home theatres, given their intimacy

and small seating capacity. For example,

several screens have approximately

20 reservable, reclining lounger seats

spread over just three rows. Talking and

cellphone usage are, not surprisingly,

discouraged.

In today’s era of luxurious cinema

seating, this location stacks up just fine.

Spanish supplier Figueras and Michiganbased

U.S. manufacturer Telescopic

Seating provide the very comfortable seats

at this location.

At the film showing I attended in

one of these tiny auditoriums, a theatre

employee introduced himself in between

the ads and trailers, encouraging guests

to contact him during their time at the

theatre if they had any questions or

concerns. This is a nice, personalized

touch lacking at most cinemas.

Another feature, invisible to most

theatregoers, is the use of theatre hearing

loops for those with hearing disabilities.

A hearing loop is an induction system

that magnetically broadcasts sound

directly via patrons’ hearing aids (with

t-coils) or cochlear implants. The sound

gets customized for individual hearing

instruments. This technology also has

the advantage of eliminating the need for

checking out and returning headsets that

typically deliver inferior, generic sound.

“I don’t think there is a theatre

anywhere in Manhattan that provides

the cinema experience we are providing

at West 57th,” says Landmark president

and CEO Ted Mundorff. “It’s a beautiful

building with terrific food offerings, a

comfortable bar and superb customer

service in a brand new space.”

Speaking of the bar, when patrons

enter the theatre they come through JD’s

Place, which offers a full array of adult

beverages, including craft beers, cocktails

and an extensive wine list. It’s ideal for

picking up a drink before or after the

movie, but also attracts its own clientele

of non-cinema ticket buyers. There’s no

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WEST

SIDE

STORY

The Landmark at 57 West

offers New York City

an elegant,

state-of-the-art

cinema

experience

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need to go through ticket takers to enter

and enjoy JD’s.

“We are dedicated to presenting

the features without distractions or

interruptions that may occur in dine-in

facilities,” continues Mundorff. There

are many other dining options beyond

just popcorn, fountain drinks and candy

available at the concessions counter. As

with other Landmark locations, there’s an

emphasis on carrying products produced

by locally based suppliers.

According to Mundorff, “We always

try to support the regional economy

by selling local goods. Our head of

concessions lives in New York City and

had a great time selecting the many items

we are offering.”

At 57 West, some samples of what

cinemagoers can purchase include pizza

slices from Two Boots, a New York City

pizza pioneer with a 30-year track record

of success and a unique cornmeal crust;

Eisenberg Gourmet Beef Franks on locally

baked Pretzel Buns from Bronx Baking

Co., and Bronx Pretzels, which can be

dipped in Sir Kensington’s (a craft condiment

company headquartered in Manhattan’s

Soho district) Spicy Brown Mustard.

If you’re seeking artisanal desserts from

nearby makers, you have lots of options:

Treat House Crispy Rice & Marshmallow

Treats; Sweet & Sara Vegan Smores; Sugar

and Plumm Macarons, and brownies from

Fat Witch. Melt Ice Cream Sandwiches

are also on the menu and available in seven

different flavors, including Morticia and

Elvis (yes, banana and peanut butter flavors

are combined in these).

Since the theatre’s immediate

neighborhood location is slightly off

the beaten path near the Hudson River,

a number of blocks away from higher

foot-trafficked neighborhoods of the

city and its network of subway lines, the

Landmark team has made it a point to

proactively reach out to nearby residents

to help drive attendance.

“After launching a rather extensive

advertising and publicity campaign, we

had a few open houses offering the nearby

residents a chance to check out their new

neighbor. So far, we have only had positive

observations,” Mundorff says.

An auditorium at the Landmark

at 57 West and, above, the lounge.

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Congratulations to

Landmark Theatres

on the Opening

of 57 West!

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we are looking to diversify our

business, to become less reliant on the

‘ATCineplex,

movie product and be seen more as an

entertainment destination for Canadians.”

Sarah Van Lange, director of communications for

the leading circuit of 163 theatres with 75 million

guests per year (www.cineplex.com), is talking about

“branching off” into initiatives such as The Rec Room,

introduced on these very pages one year ago, Cineplex

VIP and event-cinema offerings, eSports, as well as

Playdium game centers and plans to bring “Top Golf”

to the country (www.topgolf.com/us). “Canadians

can look forward to more and more of these types of

announcements and initiatives down the road.”

Just in time to ring in the holiday season, Cineplex

announced two major additions to its Scotiabank

flagship multiplexes in Toronto and Ottawa, leading

the way to what is arguably the hottest trend in

38 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JANUARY 2018

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VIRTUAL

CINEPLEX

by

Andreas Fuchs

Canada’s Leading Circuit Unveils

a New Entertainment Reality

entertainment: virtual reality (VR). Within a short

three weeks of each other, Nov. 17 and Dec. 7, to be

exact, the proudly Canadian exhibitor unveiled VR

experiences that were designed by two longstanding

Canadian partners, IMAX and D-BOX.

In 2009, making them one of the earliest adopters,

Cineplex began deploying D-BOX motion technology,

which is now in use at 88 auditoriums across the

circuit, including many premium offerings with the

newest D-BOX recliner models. Similarly, IMAX and

Cineplex can look back on a partnership that jointly

built 24 auditoriums across the country, including

downtown Toronto.

Located in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment

District, the IMAX VR Centre at Scotiabank Theatre

features the latest and greatest technologies that allow

visitors to step into other worlds. At its unveiling,

Mark Welton, president of IMAX Theatres, noted:

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“Together, we look forward to ushering in the next evolution

of immersive entertainment and bringing the highly social and

interactive IMAX VR experience to audiences in Toronto.” (For

a detailed roundup of all things IMAX VR, please read our

exclusive Q &A with Rob Lister, chief development officer at

IMAX Corp., on the following pages.)

A few weeks later, Claude Mc Master, president and chief

executive officer of D-BOX, talked about putting their successful

motion-seat technology at the service of VR storytelling at

Ottawa’s Scotiabank Theatre. “We are extremely proud of this

new venture and cannot wait for people to see just how immersive

the D-BOX VR Cinematic Experience is… We have created a

groundbreaking attraction the whole family can enjoy.” To live up

to its name and cinema location, D-BOX in fact selected “Raising

a Rukus,” a 12-minute adventure created by The Virtual Reality

Company to showcase its movable offerings.

According to D-BOX, this animated VR motion picture

experience is the first-ever in-lobby attraction offering “the

rich storytelling traditions of cinema” while being “creatively

amplified” by immersive powers of virtual reality and D-BOX

motion technology. “Our system is not a typical motion

ride,” explains Michel Paquette, VP of marketing at D-BOX

Technologies. “It is actually a unique experience that enhances

the overall journey of moviegoers, both with a strong cinematic

story and within a cinematic VR environment thanks to

360-degree visual and audio. D-BOX helps to bring the sense of

immersion to a new level.”

On a purely physical level as well, D-BOX VR is all about the

DNA of cinema. Paquette mentions sitting down comfortably

and securely, watching entertainment for all ages, and driven by

ease of use in operations. “Cinema DNA is all about storytelling.

Good storytelling is the main reason why people go to movie

theatres and D-BOX Cinematic VR continues along that line.”

Just like D-BOX motion seats have been doing for many major

films, one might add.

“Today, VR is still in the novelty stage,” Paquette observes.

“Nonetheless, cinemas are very keen on finding new ways

of presenting these stories. Our cinema-friendly proposal is

appealing to many exhibitors. We see a great opportunity for

many more of those projects in the near term.”

Feedback from customers and those tasked with assisting

them has been positive as well, he has observed. “It is quite

surprising to see how exciting content can create connections

amongst people. Moreover, D-BOX is proving that VR can be

monetized in the cinematic environment.”

Yet, one could say that virtual reality is really all about an

individual experience. “I am a big fan of virtual reality, personally,

and its ability to put yourself into the movies,” Cineplex’s Van

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Lange concurs. Recalling her first ride in the Batmobile at the

IMAX VR Centre, “That is what that one was certainly able to

do…it was pretty amazing. I tend to gravitate towards the more

social experiences. That complements what is going on upstairs

at Scotiabank Theatre as well, because going to the movies is an

inherently social experience.”

Bringing up multiplayer options of VR engagement such as

Star Trek Bridge Crew, Van Lange believes “that our guests right

now are also gravitating towards the more social virtual reality

experiences as well.” Although she and three others players who

assumed specific roles on the flight deck “did not succeed in

our assigned tasks,” she chuckles, the experience was awesome

entertainment.

Another social aspect of the IMAX VR Centre is that

friends can watch you from the back while you are roaming

around with the virtual gear. “There’s a rather embarrassing

video that was taken of me while I was driving the Batmobile,”

Van Lange confesses. “As you are driving, you are hitting

things, or running up over ramps. One of my colleagues caught

me hooting and hollering about, but that is also part of the fun

of virtual reality, you know?”

Ten individual IMAX VR spaces were created on the groundfloor

level of Scotiabank Theatre. Advances in mobile and online

ticketing allowed for fewer ticket-selling stations and their

relocation to the auditorium-level floor. Just as the VR action

coincides with showtimes for the theatre, Van Lange explains

that by “working with some of the leading filmmakers and

content creators, much of the IMAX content in the VR Centre

downstairs actually mirrors and complements the content upstairs

in our movie theatres.” Case in point, the Batmobile ride was part

of the “League of Legends” experience that Cineplex was able to

premiere alongside the launch of Justice League.

Operationally as well, there is more of that upstairsdownstairs

dynamic going on. “A number of the staff from the

theatre actually volunteered to just transition down and have

their role in the IMAX VR Centre.” Special training, Van Lange

continues, includes proper handling and thorough cleaning of the

equipment after each play, teaching guests how to use the gear

and making sure that all is safe and sound.

An equally careful strategy is in place for taking the next steps

into such virtual territory. Part of the plan for more VR at Cineplex

is gaining experience with the D-BOX and IMAX offerings along

with those of two other VR vendors that are operating at The

Rec Room destinations: “Ctrl V” at West Edmonton Mall and at

South Edmonton Commons (www.ctrlv.ca/locations); and “The

Void” at Toronto Roundhouse (www.thevoid.com/faq). “While

it is certainly burgeoning, the market for virtual reality right now

is in its infancy still,” Van Lange explains. “We are testing and

learning, seeing where our guests naturally gravitate to. In the

theatre business, we find guests vote at the box office with the types

of movies that they like. So, we are taking a similar approach here

by letting our guests tell us which one or which ones of the VR

options they like the best.”

THINK

VIRTUALby Andreas

Fuchs

IMAX Counts on Partners

for a New Premium Experience

‘A

lot of people are talking about

virtual reality,” says Rob Lister,

chief development officer at IMAX

Corp. “We have actually done something.

We are out there, operating a pilot business.

We are trying to understand how

to make this platform successful. It is really

very early. We do not want to raise

anybody’s expectations, we are not giving

models to analysts or talking about what

this will look like if it is scaled out as a full

business. Time will ultimately tell.”

Beginning a year ago in January with a

standalone location across from The Grove,

the most popular lifestyle-shopping destination

in Los Angeles, IMAX opened

its second VR Center at AMC Loews

Kips Bay Theatre in New York City in

May. The first location in Asia followed

in October, with partner Jinyi in Shanghai,

China; and two more opened in

November—at Odeon in Manchester,

United Kingdom, and the IMAX

VR Centre at Scotiabank Theatre in

Toronto, Canada. (You’ll find more

information in our story on the preceding

pages.) By time of publication, New

York City will have its second IMAX VR

42 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JANUARY 2018

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location at Regal E-Walk on 42nd Street.

You can access the full list at https://

imaxvr.imax.com.

Except the Los Angeles flagship location,

the IMAX VR Experience is located

within movie theatre destinations. Given

the choice, we asked Lister whether the

company would remain connected to

movie theatres to have that prime association.

“You hit the nail on the head in terms

of what we are trying to find out. Our

chief executive officer, Rich Gelfond, refers

to being in a pilot period in terms of VR

that is designed to find out the answers:

Is this a good product in a multiplex? Are

we bringing the right type of content into

it? Are we at the right price points? Do we

understand how to operate well? These are

all questions that we are trying to answer.”

Interest from exhibitors has been

strong, Lister assures. “Because of our

long-term relationships with virtually all

the big exhibitors in the world, we can roll

out a network very quickly if we decide

that this is in fact the type of platform

we want to build. Whereas we have the

ability, I think we need six more months,

at least, of information coming from these

locations to fully inform us as to whether

these are the places we want to locate the

centers… Does it work better in a retail

center or a shopping mall or another type

of entertainment destination? I think we

are going to try a few of these and see what

works best.”

What is already working, of course, is

“The IMAX Experience” itself. This exclusive

Q&A with Rob Lister is structured

around the greatest strengths of IMAX as

they are carried over into the world of virtual

reality—one being the IMAX brand,

the other the content. And there is all that

technology, of course.

FJI: IMAX spent a significant amount of

time determining the systems that would best

represent the IMAX brand and experience.

How did you find your technology partners?

IMAX VR is using an approach that is different

from your cinema systems that are built

in-house and with proprietary technology.

RL: When you are dealing with thirdparty

technology as we are with VR, the

process becomes to try and aggregate bestin-class

technology, and that could be a

moving target. That can change from year

to year, time to time. We may find a better

platform. We may find a better headset.

We start experimenting with free-roam

VR, and we may find better technology

there as well. My point is: This is an evolving

platform, and we will always queue to

Rob Lister

best-in-class. Right now, we consider the

very best to be the Star VR headsets from

our partners at Starbreeze, which have a

very large, close to an IMAX field-of-view.

And the HTC Vive headsets we find make

a very nice combo with some of the movie

IP that we developed. On top of that, we

look for other peripherals to add to the VR

experience, such as haptic vests, next-generation

hand controllers, D-BOX moving

seats. We try and aggregate these together

into an experience that is truly immersive

and brand-consistent.

FJI: If technology is in such a flux and

rapidly changing in the world of virtual reality,

does IMAX add a special ingredient to

the process? Other than the company’s obvious

expertise?

RL: When it comes to the design of

our centers and the look and feel of the

pods that house the VR experiences, all

that is quite proprietary. We developed

that ourselves with the goal of creating a

very social experience… From our standpoint,

trying to build a true location-based

entertainment center, we are focusing a

lot on the social environment… In addition,

we procure specialized content that

is optimized for IMAX VR centers. We

consider that to be a source of differentiation

as well.

We designed these centers almost like

a hub-and-spoke model. The hub is this

social center where you can watch your

friends play. There are monitors and the

pod themselves were built quite low to

the ground so that your friends can stand

around and watch you engage.

So far, we have been adjusting to

different environments. Most VR hubs

have gone into multiplex lobbies. We

are still very open, and as a matter of

fact we are keen on trying out an actual

auditorium. Screen number 16 or 17 that

does not generate a ton of box office, we

would like to try that option. We are quite

flexible within the overall design. At some

places, we installed as few as eight pods,

going to as many as twelve. Regal E-Walk

in Times Square will have a small number

because the pods are complemented by

Glo Station technology. This is our freeroam

VR partner [https://glostation.

com] at the Los Angeles flagship. Think of

“Deadwood Mansion” as an escape-room

zombie-shooting experience for multiple

players. We are really encouraged about the

results so far.

FJI: Even with multiplayer games for

two to six people at one time, the irony remains

that moviegoing is inherently social.

Instead of sitting with hundreds of people,

virtual reality is individual, and at best you

have someone watching you. Do you think

eventually this may become as large as one

hundred guests partaking in more of a movielike

shared experience?

RL: I think that the technology exists

right now—and not just in movie theatres

but in your home too—to have a fantastic

experience watching a movie without the

headset. Presented with great audio, visuals,

and one that is quite social. While

there can probably and will be further

improvements in that area, I do not think

that is where virtual reality needs to go

to find success. If you look at some of the

free-roam VR technology that is emerging

right now, such as what The Void is doing

[www.thevoid.com/faq], and Glo Station,

you will see more and more people—two,

four, eight, and I do think it will ultimately

be even a few dozen people—all interacting

in the same virtual environment… I

think, unlike moviegoing, that’s an area

where virtual reality has a ton to offer.

FJI: With regards to branding, IMAX has

some heavy hitting to offer as well. More than

any one of the new VR players, to say the least.

IMAX is well known worldwide for creating

immersive experiences.

RL: Whether relating to our large

screens, with immersive audio, and we

are really the inventors of the modern

incarnation of 3D, we are building a

laser system now—all the technology

that IMAX built on the cinema side has

been geared to create a more immersive

experience that puts the viewer inside

the movie. It is hard to think of another

platform where you are placed more inside

the content, and inside the experience,

than in virtual reality. In our cases, we

are really trying to err on the side of the

most interactivity possible. So instead of

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going to an IMAX VR pod and watching

a 360-degree video, you are interacting

with the environment. You have a gun, you

have hand controllers, you are impacting

the environment and the environment

is impacting you. The ultimate kind of

immersive entertainment is one where

you are literally interacting with the

environment, and that is IMAX VR.

FJI: The third element to IMAX VR is

content. In addition to some great experiential

tie-ins with new film releases from John

Wick to Justice League: Dawn of Justice,

does IMAX foresee digging deep into its

library and offering some of the classic assets,

such as nature documentaries?

RL: I would offer a little bit of a

twist on that thought. Rather than

going back and wrapping existing

movies into 360-degree videos, we can

instead leverage our relationships with

the content providers in creating VR

experiences out of movies that are in the

pipeline. For example, we just released

Justice League, both the IMAX movie and

the VR component, at the same time,

working with our friends at Warner Bros.

Our involvement in the VR experience

was completely piggybacking off our

involvement in the cinema experience.

Being at the table in discussions about

the Justice League film resulted in us being

able to talk with the same creators and

filmmakers about Justice League the VR

experience. Having those relationships

with studio executives and with filmmakers

allows us to get involved at the earliest

stage in terms of creating VR content

around tentpole movies… Think of people

like J. J. Abrams, and Christopher Nolan,

who are big-time IMAX filmmakers.

They are not the types of filmmakers that

will just allow their intellectual property

to be used by any new platform. Content

creators really must trust the technology

behind the platform, and we have

engendered that very trust over years of

working with them on the IMAX cinema

side. I think that gives us a big advantage

in virtual reality.

FJI: We talked about content, branding,

what type of locations and technology. What

we still need to know about is the underlying

business model. With a per-admission charge,

is the setup very much like for a film? How

does it work?

RL: With the multiplex operators, it is

a split revenue model [that] roughly breaks

down in thirds. One third goes to IMAX,

one to the exhibitor and a final third to the

content provider. While you remove the

multiplex partner at the standalone location,

we take two-thirds…while paying

rent and incurring operating expenses that

we don’t get to share with a partner. Multiplex

locations provide the space for us. We

provide all the hardware and install it, we

train their staffers, their staff runs the VR

experience.

FJI: Looking at the larger business model,

talking about scale and bigger pies, do you

foresee this becoming an affordable way for

people to experience IMAX VR in the home?

RL: I really don’t think that is the

ultimate goal, honestly. That is not what

we are looking for. IMAX is looking to do

what IMAX does best, which is locationbased

entertainment. We are about taking

a piece of great content or entertainment

and eventizing it, just like we do with our

movies. You know, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

is released very soon and it is going to be

an event in IMAX. I just do not anticipate

us to bring eventizing into the home. We

bring people to our events. That’s really

what the goal is here.

FJI: And it sounds like a good one indeed.

Thank you for the conversation.

JANUARY 2018 / FILMJOURNAL.COM 45

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COMMUNITY SPIRIT

Convergence Founder Russ Collins

Reflects on the Relevance of Art Houses

Convergence is a “coming together” of

art-house cinemas. We don’t care if they’re

for-profit or not-for-profit—all we care

about is that they’re community-based and

passionate about programming for the community.

We think of them as “communitybased,

mission-driven.” Independent cineby

Bob Gibbons

The timing was almost perfect. In

the early 1980s, as Russ Collins was

completing his graduate degree in

Arts Administration at the University of

Michigan in Ann Arbor, the Michigan

Theater, a former movie palace from the

1920s, was on the verge of being turned

into a food court. The community saved

it, but when volunteers tried to run it,

they floundered. In 1982, they hired Collins,

and he began his long career as its

executive director. Now, fully restored and

operated as a not-for-profit cinema and

performing-arts facility, the Michigan

Theater has been named the Outstanding

Historic Theatre in North America by the

League of Historic American Theatres.

Along the way, Collins turned his talent

for business and his passion for independent

cinema into a continually expanding

career. Today, he’s executive director of

both the Michigan Theater and Ann Arbor’s

State Theatre. He’s also artistic director

of the Cinetopia International Festival

in Detroit. And he’s the founding director

of the Art House Convergence.

The 2018 annual conference of the Art

House Convergence takes place Jan. 15-18

in Midway, Utah. Over four days, there are

dozens of speakers, 20 educational sessions,

several film screenings, and lots of opportunities

for art-house cinema operators to

learn from one another. In a wide-ranging

conversation, Collins began by talking

about the conference’s progress since its

inception.

On the beginnings

of the conference

In 2006, Sundance invited 14 respected

art-house cinemas from around the country

to join them at the Sundance Film

Festival to celebrate the 25th anniversary

of the Sundance Institute. We were one

of the theatres selected. We got together

with our colleagues and had a wonderful

time, sharing problems and solutions and

war stories. Sundance invited us back the

second year so we could continue the dialogue.

In the third year—2008—we went

off on our own and started the first Art

House Convergence conference.

That first year, twenty-seven people

attended. Last year, we registered 620

delegates; this year, we’re expecting to

have to turn people away. There have been

many people who’ve attended our conferences

and said: “I want to start a community-based,

mission-driven cinema in my

home town”—and they did. But I can’t

think of any established theatres that have

come to the conference and have gone out

of business.

On this year’s

conference themes

Russ Collins

We’re focusing on two important legal

and ethical issues. One is how well arthouse

cinemas do—or do not—deal with

diversity and inclusion. The other has recently

dominated weeks of the news cycle:

harassment and intimidation—particularly

sexual harassment and intimidation. But

we’ll also be talking about what theatres do

in terms of programming, marketing and

operations.

The role of the conference is to gather

people who are passionate about cinemas and

local communities and willing to share information

about how they’re achieving success

and how they can do things better. They help

each other through their collective experiences;

they discuss their successes and their

failures honestly with their colleagues.

The conference has exclusively a cinema

focus. But the ethos and the history of

performing arts—which as late as the early

20th century were exclusively commercial

enterprises and then gradually developed

both a commercial and cultural dynamic—

provide a good model for cinema exhibition.

Art-house cinemas often are operated

as highly commercial enterprises—and

simultaneously as institutions that focus

intently on artistic and cultural aspects.

On learning

from other performing arts

My background and training are in

nonprofit performing arts, and what I’ve

contributed to art-house cinema is helping

them to think of themselves as a cultural

organization that is of great benefit to their

local community. That’s how nonprofit arts

organizations function—as communitybased

philanthropic organizations. And

since cinemas have the same pressures and

face the same issues as other performing

arts, I used to wonder why there wasn’t

that same thinking going on for cinema.

We often consider cinema as exclusively

a commercial business. But we don’t do

that with music, for example. With music,

we understand there’s a commercial part—

and another part that’s more cultural. And

there are parts in between. And it seems to

me that cinema should be thought about

the same way. That’s especially important

in smaller towns, where cinemas may need

community support—beyond just ticket

sales—to survive. That’s where this notion

of culturally based cinema programs

exists—and that’s part of what the Art

House Convergence is about.

On the enduring purpose

of the Art House Convergence

46 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JANUARY 2018

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ma—art house cinema—it’s the same thing.

The purpose of the Art House Convergence

is to increase the quantity and

quality of art-house cinemas in North

America. Every year, about 900 movies

are released into the North American

market—and each art house is a curator

to a certain degree. How do we match the

films available with the interests and tastes

of the communities we serve? That doesn’t

always mean showing them the films that

they “want”; sometimes, it’s showing them

the films they need to see—so we have to

be a little ahead of the community’s curve

in terms of taste, but we can’t be too far

ahead, because if we do we can leave the

audience behind. It’s a tricky balancing act.

Quality has also to do with operating

the theatre. How well do we inform our

community about the films we’re playing?

How good is our customer service? How

good is the image on the screen? How

good does the audio sound? Are we being

a good curator? Are we thinking about that

long arc of quality—and not just the short

term? Do we know—and are we responding

effectively to—our community? Those

are the qualitative aspects we’re focusing

on. In terms of quantity, we’re convinced

the number of independent cinemas is increasing

and attendance is stable—but success

is in the hands of the local art-house

operators and in how effectively their communities

support them.

On being not-for-profit

There can be certain fiscal advantages

to being a nonprofit, mostly because you’re

compelled to engage with your community

and have your community engage with

you. But if someone becomes a nonprofit

simply as a tax dodge, they typically won’t

succeed, ultimately.

If you look around the country, many

places don’t have an independent or arthouse

cinema, so I think there’s a lot of

opportunity for growth. The thing that

independent cinema can and should do

best is to think about themselves as a community

cultural institution—even if they’re

a commercial business. That requires them

to get involved in their community—be

members of the Chamber of Commerce,

volunteer for community service projects,

serve on boards, be thought of as a community

leader. All of that helps people see

them not just as the local movie house, but

as someone who is thinking carefully about

the quality of the community and how the

cinema can broadly benefit the community.

That’s how they can remain vital.

In the “digital cinema panic era,” many

small for-profit and not-for-profit cinemas

discovered their communities really loved

them because when they said, “We’re

going to go out of business because we

can’t afford a digital projector,” in many

places around the country their community

stepped up and supported them. The

cinemas were surprised. But I think that’s

how an independent cinema can continue

to thrive—by being connected to their

community.

On what constitutes success

for art-house cinemas

Maintaining your passion and paying

your bills are important, but an independent

theatre should be run with passion;

it has to be motivated by passion before

profit. It’s not that you don’t want to make

money; every business—whether it’s forprofit

or not-for-profit—has to end up

taking in more money than it spends. But

art-house cinemas are businesses of passion

and they can succeed in any town, large

or small, if they have the right group of

people who are smart about business—and

dedicated to their community.

On the difference

between large chains

and small independents

If you’re a national chain, you make your

money by applying a formula broadly across

a wide geographical area. There are national

chains in all kinds of businesses—not just

cinema—and they’re run by smart businesspeople.

But there are also very successful

local businesses and they usually distinguish

themselves by being uniquely connected to

their community. My boss is my community,

it’s not someone in an office in some

major city. I don’t think that makes me a

better cinema, but it does mean that I can

operate by a different business model.

My uncle ran a hardware store in a

small town in southern Missouri at a time

when Walmart was putting local hardware

stores out of business. He did just fine in

the face of their challenge because if people

had an issue, they knew they could talk

to my Uncle Bill. He knew them, he could

relate to their problems, he was involved

in his community. He’d be fair, but he was

also a good businessman. Large cinemas

do fine, but some people really want that

special local connection—and we also play

many movies they can’t really find anywhere

else.

On the importance

of learning the language

of film

Young people today are much more

savvy in terms of cinema repertoire because

such a vast array of films are available for

them to watch on Blu-ray, DVD, at their

local library and via streaming. Two-yearolds

have Disney movies memorized from

watching them on iPads. Even people who

like to go to the cinema typically see more

movies at home on their TV or computer

screen than they see in a theatre. That’s

been true for many years. Still, most people

are generally ignorant about the nature of

cinema language. It’s like they’ve had a lot

of stories read to them but they’ve never

learned to read or understand English

grammar. Generally, people understand the

stories movies tell, but they don’t understand

how the art form is composed or the

techniques used to tell the story.

That cinema “grammar” is often taught

in colleges, in film-appreciation courses,

but a small minority of students take

those—and it’s really too late. Because

most people get most of their information

from audiovisual media—TV, phones,

computer and theatre screens—we should

be teaching the grammar of that media

at a very young age. Children need to understand

how that media tells its stories,

communicates its messages, convinces

them to make decisions. They need that

understanding to make intelligent choices

not just in the movies they see, but in the

way they live their lives.

On the future

Cinema—and the media in general—

are mature businesses, so we have to be

constantly aggressive and thoughtful and

imaginative about how we pursue our

business so we can stay in the market and

continue to be an effective service to our

customers. But human beings are creatures

of stories; our brains are organized around

stories and there’s something primal and

profound in sitting in a darkened room full

of strangers and having a story presented

by flickering lights. It’s primal desire. Cinema

fulfills that desire. Plus, people like to

go out and one of the best places to experience

quality stories is in a well-run movie

theatre. I like to think that the Art House

Convergence enables and encourages both

that primal desire and the chance to get

out of the house and escape our day-today

lives for a few hours. And that’s a very

good thing!

JANUARY 2018 / FILMJOURNAL.COM 47

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cannot change the world

if you don’t like each other.”

‘You

A fine guiding principle for

a nonprofit organization, a political

activist group, a self-help seminar…but

a production company? You bet—when

that production company is Participant

Media, which since 2004 has been

bringing movies that seek to affect social

change to the big screen.

“Compassion,” continues CEO David

Linde, “is central to the perspective

of Participant. We believe in a

compassionate world. And when you’re

talking about 75-plus movies and over

two billion dollars’ worth of box office,

I would say that there are a lot of people

who agree with us.”

A scan down Participant’s filmography

backs Linde up. Commercial and

critical successes—Lincoln; The Help;

Contagion; Food, Inc.; and this year’s

Wonder, just to name a few—abound.

There are Oscar winners—like Tom Mc-

Carthy’s Best Picture winner Spotlight,

about the Boston Globe’s investigation

into the Catholic Church’s child molestation

cover-up, and Best Documentary

Feature winners CITIZENFOUR, The

Cove and An Inconvenient Truth. Come

the 90th Annual Academy Awards on

March 4, they could have some new

brethren: Steven Spielberg’s The Post;

Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s documentary

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to

Power; and Chilean drama A Fantastic

Woman, from director Sebastián Lelio,

are all awards-season hopefuls.

Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary

PARTICIPATING

IN GOOD

Participant Media Spurs Social Change

Through the Power of the Movies

by Rebecca Pahle

duo The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence. Breathe, Andy Serkis’ biopic of Robin

Cavendish (Andrew Garfield), a crusader for the disabled. Based-on-a-true-story

actioner Deepwater Horizon. Spielberg’s Cold War drama Bridge of Spies. The films

Participant has (ahem) participated in

run the gamut, but they have one thing

in common: a shared determination to,

in the words of president of documentary

film and television Diane Weyermann,

“tell stories that are engaging and can

reach people, and that illuminate issues

that may or may not be in the spotlight.”

“One thing that film can do is

A scene in Kenya from Human Flow.

inspire,” elaborates Jonathan King,

Participant’s president of narrative film

and television. “In a climate where

political division is especially acute, we look for ways to draw people together. There’s

a movie out right now called Wonder”—about the experience of a young boy (Room’s

Jacob Tremblay) with facial differences who goes to a public school for the first time—

“that’s really about embracing differences and relating to people who may be different

than you are, and looking at them with compassion. That kind of movie is really

resonant with audiences. It is completely in line with our mission.”

Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep

in The Post.

Felicity Jones as Ruth Bader Ginsburg

in On the Basis of Sex.

48 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JANUARY 2018

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CEO David Linde (center) with Participant Media executives Jonathan King and Diane Weyermann.

In that same vein, Weyermann cites

upcoming Sundance Selects/IFC Films

release Far from the Tree, about families

where parents and children are profoundly

different from one another due to Down

Syndrome, dwarfism, being transgender

or some other cause. “It’s really a film

about love and acceptance and compassion.

In this polarized environment we

find ourselves in, where people don’t speak

to each other and there’s a lot of fear of

the ‘other,’ these are really important films

to get out there… We’re all looking for

ways to be more positive and more hopeful

and more inspired, rather than being

pulled down by division and fear.”

That hunt for “common ground,”

King explains, is one of Participant’s

primary raisons d’etre. It’s also something

that “in some ways, film as an art form is

uniquely suited to do.”

In the end, it all boils down to “spinach.”

That’s the word that Linde uses to describe the sort of films Participant doesn’t want

to make: chock-full of positive messages, but dry, dull and preachy. You may not want

to eat it, but hey, it’s good for you!

That is emphatically not the Participant way. “We don’t make spinach,” Linde says.

“We’re making movies. And television

shows and digital short film content.

There are lots of people out there making

spinach. That’s not us.” Story must

come first, always. “People want to be

entertained. They want to be thrilled.”

Or, put another way: “You can’t change

the world if nobody sees your movie.”

King cites Mimi Leder’s On the Basis

of Sex, out later in 2018, about the efforts

of young lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg

A scene from A Fantastic Woman.

(Felicity Jones) and her husband Marty

(Armie Hammer) to bring gender

discrimination cases before the Supreme Court. “It wouldn’t have made for a good

movie if it hadn’t been a really great, surprising, engaging, emotional story.”

Participant also teamed with Steven Spielberg to tackle gender equality in The Post.

Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay,

Izabela Vidovic and Julia Roberts

in Wonder.

Al Gore in An Inconvenient Sequel:

Truth to Power.

Photos courtesy Participant Media

016-057.indd 49

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On one level, it’s a ripping yarn about

a key moment in American history: the

publication of the Pentagon Papers.

On another, it’s about journalism and

freedom of the press. On yet a third,

says Linde, it’s “a fantastic story about

a woman [Washington Post publisher

Katharine Graham, played by Meryl

Streep] who is realizing her importance

and relevance in the world.” With those

two films, Participant is “engaging in

conversation about great woman leaders.

This year and next year. And people

who are going to be seeing On the Basis

of Sex are going to be reminded about

The Post. It’s a very organic process of

conversation.”

With these two films about “strong

women in professions that are primarily

male-dominated,” Weyermann points

out that Participant has landed “in the

right zeitgeist… [The Post and On the

Basis of Sex] land right at the time when

people can really relate to them and

respond to them. That’s something we

always look at: What stories are cresting?

What’s going on in the zeitgeist?”

Linde calls this “catching moments.”

“Moments” caught in Participant films

over the last few years include: the global

refugee crisis (Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow),

the leaking of classified government

information (Laura Poitras’ CITIZEN-

FOUR), the Arab Spring movement

(Jehane Noujaim’s The Square) and cyberterrorism

(Alex Gibney’s Zero Days).

John Goodman in the Participantbacked

2018 thriller, Captive State.

Through always looking ahead to

what issues people are hungry to engage

with, Participant Media, through its

films, sparks conversation. For Linde,

King and Weyermann, it’s not just a

matter of making films, handing them

off to the distributors and then moving

on to the next one. For many of its films,

Participant partners with NGOs in ways

that raise awareness and prompt real

change. For example, with An Inconvenient

Sequel: Truth to Power, Participant

partnered with the Climate Reality

Project, the Sierra Club, the Natural

Resources Defense Council and the Environmental

Defense Fund to help combat

climate change. An online “action

center” used social media to push out

videos that were seen 75 million times.

“We have a responsibility and a

mission to engage people around the

subject of each movie,” Linde explains.

“It’s not our job to market them into the

movie theatre. We’re not a distributor.

That’s what our partner does. But we’re

embracing a much broader spectrum

of partners around a movie than a

typical distributor would. They have

their stakeholders and partners and

audience, and we have our stakeholders

and partners and audience. And we

merge them together over the life of the

film to create as much awareness of the

movie and the issue as possible. The film

distributor actions them into the movie

theatre. Our NGO partners action them

to actual action. And you’re building

this very organic, dynamic life around a

movie”—one that extends well beyond its

theatrical release.

“You’d better bring a lot to the table,

if you’re going to survive in the media

business,” Linde adds. “You’d better

be distinct about what it is that you’re

doing. And this company is unique, and

it brings a lot to the table. And that’s

how we make ourselves different.”

Participant’s unique approach is

what the distributors want, what the

filmmakers want, what the NGOs

want…and also, increasingly, what

consumers want as well. For some

people, Linde notes, seeing a movie is

just seeing a movie, “and that’s fine.”

But by and large, he argues that we’re

in the “age of the conscious consumer,”

with people of all ages and backgrounds

showing an increasing interest in how

they can use their buying power to make

a positive impact on the world. These

consumers “are applying a new value

filter to their purchases. And that’s just

a fact. TOMS shoes and KIND bars

wouldn’t exist and be successful if that

wasn’t one of the momentum changes

going on.”

“Our task,” says Weyermann, “is to

bring stories to life that we hope can

get people to think about things in a

different way and maybe act towards

change.” And it’s working. Weyermann

recalls an event where the filmmakers

behind An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to

Power were honored by the California

League of Conservation Voters. There,

Weyermann spoke with a young

environmental activist—herself receiving

an award there—who recalled that

she attended one of Al Gore’s training

sessions after finding out about them in

the first An Inconvenient Truth.

Sometimes the impact is large: the

Indonesian government acknowledging

for the first time its genocide of

suspected communists as a direct result

of The Act of Killing and The Look of

Silence. Sometimes they’re smaller: all

the people who grew more conscious of

their eating habits as a result of seeing

Robert Kenner’s 2008 documentary

Food, Inc. “These kinds of things are

incredible,” Weyermann says. “It’s really

about how these films connect to viewers

and get them to think or change or

feel supported or feel acknowledged or

inspired. Whatever the case might be.

That’s what gives Jonathan and me a lot

of pride in what we do.”

50 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JANUARY 2018

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THE BEST

NETWORKING EVENT

IN THE INDUSTRY!

...

TO ALL OF OUR

PARTICIPANTS FOR MAKING

THIS SUCH A

SUCCESSFUL EVENT!

FROM THE ICTA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

INTERNATIONAL CINEMA

TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION

L.A. SEMINAR SERIES

JANUARY 15-17, 2018 — UNIVERSAL CITY, CA

ICTA-WEB.COM

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SPANNING

THE CINEMA WORLD

ICTA’s L.A. Seminar Provides

a Global Perspective on Exhibition

by Mark Mayfield, Director, Global Cinema Marketing, QSC LLC

For more than a decade, the International

Cinema Technology Association

has hosted its annual Los

Angeles Seminar Series. Initially conceived

as an educational session, the L.A. Seminar

Series has emerged to become one of

the most important industry gatherings

for keeping up with new developments in

cinema technology, monitoring business

issues and networking.

This January, the ICTA/LASS promises

to be one of the most comprehensive

events ever hosted by ICTA. Over two days,

attendees will participate in 16 sessions

including panel discussions, presentations,

and three offsite visits to local cinemas for

live demonstrations. Topics range from new

trends in cinema technology, theatre design

and operations, moviegoer research and

interactive attraction technologies to insights

on the global cinema market. And, as

always, attendees will get a preview of new

products and technologies from the industry’s

leading equipment manufacturers.

This year’s Los Angeles Seminar kicks

off on Monday evening, January 15, at

the Universal Hilton with the traditional

welcome cocktail reception open to all

attendees. The following day opens with a

keynote address featuring a global perspective

on the evolving international cinema

exhibition market, presented by Cinépolis

chief operating officer Miguel Mier.

Day one sessions continue on a vital

topic, as the cinema environment becomes

increasingly networked. James Pope, an

IT expert and sound/video engineer at

Charles Creative, will discuss “Network

Security Best Practices, Penetration Testing

and Horror Stories.”

One of the most dynamic and most

talked-about recent trends in cinema

over the past year is the potential of large

direct-view screens in theatrical exhibition

applications. Frank Tees of Moving Image

Technologies will lead a panel discussion

on “Direct View Cinema Displays.” featuring

industry experts and representatives

from equipment vendors. Panelists will

discuss the implications for theatre owners,

equipment manufacturers, installers and

the moviegoer.

While ICTA was originally conceived

as an organization for cinema equipment

manufacturers, over the past decade its

mission has expanded to include membership

and perspectives from all other

corners of the cinema industry. The year’s

Seminar features an “Exhibitor Roundtable,”

where technology managers from

several leading cinema chains will share

viewpoints on a variety of topics that impact

theatre operations.

Cinema sound technology is always

evolving, with new formats and methods

of delivering the auditory experience to

theatre patrons. Ultimately, that experience

comes down to the selection of equipment

and the environment in which it operates,

including power amplifiers, loudspeakers,

audio signal processing and room acoustics.

While some may view these as mature

technologies, they are certainly not indistinguishable,

as John F. Allen points out

in a session themed “Amplifiers Are NOT

All the Same.” This session covers the important

attributes of power amplifiers and

compares their different classes.

Afterwards, Mark Elliott, CEO of

Eomac. will lead an informative panel discussion

on the “Design and Construction

Challenges of Food and Beverage Services

in the Cinema of 2018,” which will include

concessions vendors, designers and architects.

Panelists will discuss how the expansion

of concession services has impacted

theatre interior design.

Looking toward the worldwide market,

attendees will get an opportunity to learn

about the current climate of global content

distribution in a one-on-one interview

with Andrew Cripps, president of 20th

Century Fox International Distribution.

What does today’s moviegoing audience

think about the current state of the

cinema industry? Since our true collective

end-customer is the moviegoer, this year’s

Seminar provides several sessions devoted

to listening to our customers. Billy Jones,

senior director, strategic marketing, with

leading cinema advertising network and

research firm National CineMedia, will

review some of the findings from their ongoing

frequent-moviegoers research initiative

“Ask The Audience” (a regular feature of

Film Journal International). Also, a group of

young moviegoers will present their opinions

of today’s moviegoing experience, in a

panel discussion led by Paul Dergarabedian,

senior media analyst at comScore.

The first day of LASS 2018 will conclude

with a post-dinner trip to the UCLA

James Bridges Theatre for an entertaining

“Look at 70mm”, hosted by UCLA’s Jess

Daily and Ioan Allen of Dolby Labs.

Day two will begin with a field trip

across the street to the AMC Universal

Cinemas for a fascinating presentation/

demonstration about archival film restoration.

Theo Gluck, director of library restoration

and preservation at Disney Studios,

will show film samples and trace the painstaking

process of restoring and preserving

classic film masterpieces.

One of the most promising technologies

on the horizon for motion picture image

quality is high dynamic range (HDR).

A panel discussion led by Christie’s Susie

Beiersdorf will offer different viewpoints

from studios, tech experts and filmmakers

on the definition of HDR, what we can

expect from it, and the realities of implementing

it in today’s cinema.

As cinema technologies evolve, we

sometimes lose perspective on the cultural

importance of the cinema. Is it fundamentally

an art form, entertainment or

a business? To lend some clarity to the

52 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JANUARY 2018

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Schedule of Events

topic, two presenters will provide different

viewpoints. One of the industry’s foremost

experts on image and projection quality,

Harry Mathias, professor at San Jose State

University, will discuss the crossroads of

technology and art in a special lecture.

Then, attendees will hear a research-based

perspective from Dan Cryan, executive

director of media and content at IHS

Markit, a global market intelligence firm.

Dan will discuss the relationship between

the cinema experience and the technology

used to deliver it.

Event cinema offers one of the most

promising revenue generators for theatre

operators to allow them to capitalize on

their investment in properties and technology.

Ray Nutt, CEO of Fathom Events,

will lead us through the current state of

this exciting opportunity, and how theatre

operators can be part of it.

The final business discussion for the

day dives into the world of data, focusing

on how cinemas are collecting tons of data

on their customer transactions and how

they can use that data in order to improve

the business. Alan Roe, CEO of Jack Roe,

and Leon Newnham, president of Vista

USA, will discuss “Using Data to Build

Your Business.”

Another opportunity for alternative use

of the cinema is recreating the excitement

of a live sporting environment in a movie

theatre. The final event of the Seminar will

be an offsite visit to Hollywood’s legendary

TCL Chinese Theatre, for an e-sports

demonstration and reception hosted by

MediaMation.

This year’s ICTA Los Angeles Seminar

offers a full 360-degree look at what’s

going on in the theatrical exhibition business.

If movie theatres are part of your life,

there is simply no better opportunity to

mingle with your peers, gain new insights

and learn ways to grow your business—and

have some fun along the way.

Monday, January 15

7:00 PM—Welcome Cocktail Reception

& Dinner (Ballroom C)

Tuesday, January 16

8:30 AM—Breakfast (Foyer A&B)

9:00 AM—Welcome: Mike Archer,

President, ICTA

9:15 AM—Keynote Address.

Speaker: Miguel Mier, COO Cinépolis

9:45 AM—“Network Security Best

Practices, Penetration Testing and

Horror Stories”

Speaker: James Pope, Sound/Video

Engineer & Editor at Charles Creative

10:30 AM—“Direct View Cinema

Displays: Let’s Talk Solutions, Not

Panels”

Moderator: Frank Tees

Special Remarks: Peter Lude, CTO,

Mission Rock Digital

Panelists: Barry Ferrell, QSC

John Batliner, Harman

Charles Robinson, Dolby

Chris Buchanan/Bill Mandell, Samsung

Gary Mandle, Sony Electronics

11:45 AM—Exhibitor Roundtable

Moderator: Joe DeMeo

Speakers: Mark Louis, Alamo Drafthouse

Mark Collins, Marcus Theatres

Kirk Griffin, Harkins Theatres

Jon Kidder, National Amusements

12:30 AM—“Amplifiers Are NOT

All the Same”

Speaker: John Allen,

President, High Performance Stereo

1:00 PM—Lunch (Ballroom C)

2:00 PM—2018 Annual ICTA Convention,

NAPA Marriott

Speaker: Joe DeMeo

2:15 PM—“Not Just Popcorn & Soda Pop—

Meeting the Design and Construction

Challenges of Food and Beverage

Services in the Cinema of 2018

Moderator: Mark Elliott, CEO, EOMAC

Speakers: Derek Galloway, Martek

Mike Cummings, TK Architecture

Bruce Proctor, Proctor Companies

Bob McCall, JKRP Architects

3:00 PM—Interview with Andrew

Cripps, President of 20th Century Fox

International Distribution

3:30 PM—“Ask the Audience”

Billy Jones, Senior Director, Strategic

Marketing, National CineMedia

4:00 PM—Panel of Students on Likes

and Dislikes of Today’s Cinema

Moderator: Paul Dergarabedian,

Senior Media Analyst, comScore

4:30 PM—Manufacturers’ Presentations

5:00 PM—Wrap-Up for Day 1

by Mike Archer

5:30 PM—Dinner Reception

(Ballroom C & D)

6:30 PM—“A Look at 70mm”

Hosted by Jess Daily, Motion Picture

Projection Services, UCLA

UCLA James Bridges Theatre

Buses depart at 6:30 pm and

return at 9 pm.

Wednesday, January 17

Mark Mayfield takes over as moderator.

8:30 AM—Breakfast (A & B Foyer)

9:30 AM—“One Frame at a Time:

Preservation, Restoration,

Reconstruction”

Speaker: Theo Gluck, Director,

Library Restoration & Preservation,

Disney Studios

11:00 AM—“HDR in the Cinema”

Moderator: Susie Beiersdorf,

VP Sales, the Americas,

Christie Digital

Speakers: Chris Witham

Walt Disney Studios

Mark Christiansen, Paramount Studios

Jerry Pierce, NATO Technology Advisor

Curtis Clark, ASC

Michael Zink, Warner Bros.

12:00 PM—Lunch (Ballroom C)

1:00 PM—“Technology vs. Art

in Today’s Cinema”

Speaker: Harry Mathias, Professor

at San Jose State University,

Department of Film and Theatre

1:30 PM—Research Report

Speaker: Dan Cryan, IHS Markit

2:00 PM—“The Evolution & Impact

of Event Cinema”

Speaker: Ray Nutt,

Fathom Entertainment

2:30 PM—“It’s Not What You’ve Got

But What You Do with It:

The Value of Data to Today’s

Movie Theatres.”

Speakers: Alan Roe, Jack Roe

Leon Newnham, Vista

3:00 PM—Manufacturers’

Presentations

4:00 PM—Wrap-Up for Day 2

by Mike Archer

5:00 PM—E-Sports Demonstration

and Reception,

Sponsored by MediaMation

Buses depart for TCL Chinese Theatre

promptly at 5:00 pm from the

Universal Hilton.

JANUARY 2018 / FILMJOURNAL.COM 53

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ESMP’s 47 Meters Down may become

the second-highest grossing indie film of 2017.

Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures

Looks for Broad-Appeal Releases

NEW PLAYER

IN TOWN

by Doris Toumarkine

Amid so many career-wrecking

scandals and horrifying fires, the

new theatrical distribution entity

Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures

(ESMP), an offspring of comedian/entrepreneur

Byron Allen’s L.A.-based global

media operation Entertainment Studios

(ES), is bringing some good news from

Hollywood to theatres and film fans.

As the abundance of quality

entertainment soars, dazzles and confuses,

the creation of ESMP, the new kid on the

distribution block, could be seen as risky.

But its odds rose this summer with its first

release, the hit thriller 47 Meters Down,

which may become the second-highest

grossing indie film of 2017. ESMP’S next

release, Hostiles, a western starring Christian

Bale that opened Dec. 22, suggests that that

47 wasn’t beginner’s luck. Releases to follow

(see below) suggest ESMP will continue to

deliver the goods.

As with all “kids,” good parenting

counts. ES founder and CEO Allen birthed

his new theatrical distribution business from

his 2015 purchase of Freestyle Releasing,

the well-established independent service

distribution company founded by industry

veteran Mark Borde, now ESMP president

of theatrical distribution, and the late Susan

Jackson. When the highly regarded Jackson

unexpectedly passed away, Allen, who had

been a friend of Jackson’s, bought Freestyle,

thus adding film distribution to the

25-year-old ES’ growing family of first-run

television syndication, game shows, OTT

sports and seven cable-network businesses.

Allen’s Freestyle purchase brought

into the ESMP fold two significant

Allen hires: Borde and Freestyle’s young

gun Chris Charalambous, now the

division’s head of acquisitions.

Californian Borde, an industry veteran

brought up in the biz, has roots in exhibition.

“I owned two theatres, one in L.A.

and the other in Monterey and I know

how theatres work from the inside out,” he

says. Charalambous, who went Hollywood

Byron Allen

(center), Mark

Borde (left)

and Chris

Charalambous.

54 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JANUARY 2018

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ESMP’s Chappaquiddick, with Jason Clarke as Sen. Ted Kennedy, and Hostiles, starring Christian Bale, open wide in 2018.

following a New York hospital administration

job, was raised in Queens (“only

a block and a half from where the Weinsteins

grew up”). Arriving West with a bit

of “star is born” backstory (“without a cent

or financial safety net”), he became a serial

temp, landing jobs at the E! Network,

MGM and, most importantly, a full-time

one with Pierce Brosnan’s production company

Irish DreamTime where he remained

eight years and met his first mentor, the

late Beau St. Clair, Brosnan’s friend and

production partner. Next on his C.V. was

the job at Freestyle and a new mentor in

Susan Jackson. As he explains it, St. Clair

taught him “show business, what production

was all about” and Jackson was “business

show,” a way into the nuts and bolts of

distribution and exhibition.

However different in age and background,

Borde and Charalambous share a

strong faith and focus—faith in the continuing

strength of the theatrical platform (Says

Borde, “People will always want to get out of

the house and kids want to go out on dates”)

and focus on bringing to large audiences

on as many as 3,000 to 4,000 screens highquality

mainstream entertainment (“with lots

of popcorn thrown in,” quips Borde).

But the mission is clear—ESMP,

whether initially appealing to action fans,

millennials or families, means to hit that

often coveted, sometimes elusive mid-budget,

MOR box-office sweet spot. Their slate

(this reporter was afforded a look) offers a

broad range of genres and subject matter

and supports the ESMP mission.

Charalambous, after dealing with

TWC’s Bob Weinstein, rescued Dimension

Films’ 47 Meters Down from a direct-to-

DVD fate. A pure genre exercise of thrills

and damsels in distress, it’s a fun thriller

about two sisters on vacation in Mexico

on a pleasure boat outing for underwater

shark-watching. Their cage takes them to

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JANUARY 2018 / FILMJOURNAL.COM 55

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the ocean bottom and a lurking shark, but,

alas, needed better maintenance.

As contrast, the current Hostiles, which

goes wide in January, has Christian Bale in

one of his best roles, here as an embittered

late-19th-century Army captain stationed

at a fort in the remote West. He’s ordered

to return a dying Cheyenne prisoner and

his family through dangerous territory to

his Montana homeland. With gorgeous

vistas and an unobtrusive undercurrent of

seriousness, Hostiles recalls the artistry and

western adventures of Hawk and Ford or

Zinnemann with High Noon.

Also for 2018, ESMP has the smart

Chappaquiddick, a gripping political drama

based on the 1969 scandal when Senator

Ted Kennedy, then a Presidential hopeful,

left the scene of a Martha’s Vineyard car

accident that took the life of his passenger,

Mary Jo Kopechne. Kate Mara as Mary Jo,

Jason Clarke as an uncannily credible Teddy

and Bruce Dern as the harsh Kennedy

patriarch add luster to a dark tale of crafty

political maneuverings.

The sci-fi thriller Replicas, starring

Keanu Reeves, has a scientist driven to

bring back to life his deceased family from

a tragedy he was involved in. It’s awash

in suspense and the snazzy visuals that its

tech-world setting demands.

Also moving “fast and furious” along

ESMP’s genre lane is Rob Cohen’s (The

Fast and The Furious) The Hurricane Heist,

about a massive heist attempt at an Alabama

U.S. Treasury mint facility during a

category-five hurricane.

Next year also puts ESMP in the animation

ring with Animal Crackers, about

a family’s struggle (using a magical box of

Animal Crackers!) to save a rundown circus

from an evil uncle. The impressive voice cast

(Emily Blunt, Danny DeVito, John Krasinski)

should please the whole family.

Borde is deservedly excited about this

lineup. He calls Hostiles “the best movie of

the year!” He labels Hurricane Heist “deep in

genre. It’s action, cars, a blast, popcorn film

and what I like about going to the movies.

No Academy Awards—just sit back and

enjoy.” He calls his bias toward genre “a

mainstream take with an indie bent.”

As Hostiles gets some buzz, so does the

upcoming Chappaquiddick. (Yes, subject

matter matters.) Says Borde, “It’s controversial

and a true story that reminds that some

things never change. When you’re in a position

of power you can make things happen,

make things go away. It’s mind-boggling

how some get away with that.”

ESMP’s overall m.o., says Borde, is “to

license mostly for the U.S. and Canada, but

on new titles we’re moving toward acquiring

all rights worldwide when available.”

ESMP isn’t (yet) in the tentpole business,

but, says Borde, “we target wide releases

and go after movies that can play 2,500 to

4,000 screens, which sets us apart from the

smaller companies. I like them [smaller

companies like Roadside Attractions, etc.],

we’re friends but not competitive, because

ESMP is in the studio space. We love

thrillers, horror, comedy, African-American,

animated. We try to find movies we

can target without using a shotgun.”

ESMP also has the indie SVOD/VOD/

DVD group Freestyle Digital Media and

its vast library, which Charalambous oversees.

“This programming feeds ES’ different

cable, digital and broadcast business lines,”

Borde notes.

Regarding what Borde sees as his

biggest challenge, his quick answer is:

“Finding what is called in the distribution

business ‘shelf space’; there’s certainly

no shortage of movies. Look at what we

get each week: maybe four or five studio

films and countless smaller films, and all

the amenity choices to deal with. The 3D

waves, IMAX, D-BOX. So many releases,

often ten to twenty new ones each week,

whether wide, limited, exclusive, but especially

at the end of the year.

“So my challenge is to deal with shelf

space, and as a distributor who’s been in the

business a while, it’s a need to know how

and when to hold or fold, or find that clear

runway for your comedy, thriller, whatever.

I’m very conscious of competition for the

week and even before, because trailerplaying

is critical to beginning traction. And

there are always surprises and shifts, so you

have to be nimble.”

Borde believes audiences today are different.

“They’re younger, as proven by Pixar and

Marvel [product]. Thematically, the audiences

are there for tentpoles and older filmgoers

are coming out for the right movie.”

As for exhibition’s seasonal attendance

bumps and slumps, Borde acknowledges,

“There are better times of the year for films,

such as summer for mainstream and blockbusters,

but it’s definitely a twelve-monthsa-year

business.” And there’s no bad playing

time. “Good films can play anytime and

cream rises to the top.”

Borde, who will be sticking to the 90-

day window, praises exhibitors for “trying

everything, even trying new ticket sales

programs like what Regal and Arclight are

doing. This is part of the evolution of a huge

cultural industry and things are happening

at lightning speed and we all have to cope

and stay relevant.”

On the acquisitions side of ESMP,

Charalambous says, “I’m looking for something

specific—the wide releases that can

go out to thousands of theatres and not the

indie darlings. I’m going after commercial

content, a movie-movie, an event of the

action, horror, thriller, family kind.” For

Freestyle Digital Media, he’s on the lookout

for limited-release product or smaller

discovery titles.

The company, he says, aims for a broader

audience than do most other indie distributors,

“Our mission,” he explains, “is to feed

the audience, not chase an audience. We

believed that our shark movie [47 Meters

Down] would appeal to teens, and older

audiences would follow. We are in the business

of finding things that make the most

sense and being able to say confidently, ‘This

is a good movie and you will like it.’”

With so much content to sift through,

how does Charalambous find what ESMP

needs? He immediately responds with a

claim of “good memory! And good networking

and knowing a lot of people. We

do great tracking, always talking to producers

and hitting the big festivals like Cannes,

AFM, Toronto, Sundance. As a company,

we have our eyes and ears on all the festivals,

even smaller, niche-ier ones.”

How ESMP landed 47 Meters Down

is testament to staying in touch and being

vigilant. “I knew the finance people and

they tipped me to the fact that it was going

to DVD. We felt it deserved better.”

ESMP’s western powerhouse Hostiles

too is quite a get. Says Charalambous, “We

knew the movie was out there and premiering

at Telluride. We heard there was good

response there, so we followed it to Toronto,

where we acquired it.”

As an acquirer, ESMP, he indicates,

also shows the money and generous P&A

commitments ($30-40 million potentially)

for release to thousands of theatres. Further

proof of deep pockets comes from reports of

lost bids. “We made the biggest bid for The

Birth of a Nation [a lucky loss, as the film’s

release was ultimately undone by scandal],”

he says, “and went big for Mudbound,” which

Netflix grabbed. (ESMP has an output deal

with Netflix.)

And now a shark alert: Distribution

soon won’t be ESMP’s only game, as it has

just begun the dive into production with

its undersea sequel 48 Meters Down. Says

Borde, “As with producing any film, it’s a

long and winding road. But we are so excited

to be following up our huge success

47 Meters Down. We have secured the same

creative team, although the film has not

been cast as of yet.”

56 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JANUARY 2018

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I N T E R N A T I O N A L

2018

The

DISTRIBUTION GUIDE

Distribution Guide provides ready reference information

on the theatrical film distribution companies, including contact

information and the names and titles of key executives.

A24

31 W 27th St., 11th Fl.

New York, NY 10001

(646) 568-6015

www.a24films.com

Founders: David Fenkel, Daniel Katz,

John Hodges

www.facebook.com/a24

Twitter: @A24

ABRAMORAMA

448 Manville Rd.

Pleasantville, NY 10570

(914) 741-1818

info@abramorama.com

www.abramorama.com

Pres.: Richard Abramowitz

www.facebook.com/AbramoramaInc

Twitter: @abramorama

ADOPT FILMS

2-14 50th Ave., Ste. 1006W

Long Island City, NY 11101

(718) 392-2783

www.adoptfilms.com

Founders: Tim Grady, Jeff Lipsky

www.facebook.com/AdoptFilms

Twitter: @AdoptFilms

ATLAS DISTRIBUTION

Los Angeles, CA

(310) 826-5000

www.atlasdistribution.com

Chairman: John Aglialoro

Pres.: Harmon Kaslow

COO: Joan Carter

CTO: Scott DeSapio

facebook.com/AtlasMovies/

Twitter: @AtlasMovies

AMAZON STUDIOS

1620 26th St., Ste. 4000N

Santa Monica, CA 90404

(310) 573-2305

COO: Albert Cheng

ANNAPURNA PICTURES

812 N Robertston Blvd.

West Hollywood, CA 90069

www.annapurna.pictures

Founder & CEO: Megan Ellison

www.facebook.com/AnnapurnaPics

Twitter, Instagram: @ AnnapurnaPics

ARGOT PICTURES

465 E 7th St. #6V

Brooklyn, NY 11218

(646) 732-3725

argotpictures.com

Instagram: @argot_pictures

Founder: Jim Browne

www.facebook.com/argotpictures

www.youtube.com/user/ArgotPic/videos

Twitter: @Argotpictures

BEIJING ENLIGHT PICUTRES

3rd Fl., Bldg. 3, Hepingli E St.

Dongcheng District, Beijing 100013 China

010-64516000

Fax: 010-84222188

www.ewang.com

www.facebook.com/enlight.pictures

BLEECKER STREET

116 East 27th St., 5th Fl.

New York, NY 10016

(212) 951-5700

www.bleeckerstreetmedia.com

www.facebook.com/BleeckerStFilms

Twitter: @bleeckerstfilms

BOND/360

466 Broome St., 4th Fl.

New York, NY 10013

hello@bondinfluence.com

bond360press.com

Founder: Marc Schiller

Pres.: Sara Schiller

BRAINSTORM MEDIA

280 South Beverly Dr., Ste. 208

Beverly Hills, CA 90212

(310) 285-0812

Fax: (310) 285-0772

info@brainmedia.com

www.brainmedia.net

Pres.: Meyer Swarzstein

Dir. of Marketing & Digital Distribution:

Michelle Swarzstein

BREAKING GLASS PICTURES

133 N 4th St.

Philadelphia, PA 19106

(267) 324-3934

Fax: (267) 687-7533

sales@bgpics.com

www.breakingglasspictures.com

SVP, Sales & Distribution: Michael Repsch

CEO, Co-Pres.: Richard Wolff

Co-Pres. & Dir. of Domestic Sales:

Richard Ross

www.facebook.com/BreakingGlassPictures

Twitter: @breakingglasspx

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BROAD GREEN PICTURES

6555 Barton Ave., 2nd Fl.

Los Angeles, CA 90038

(323) 688-1800

info@broadgreen.com

www.broadgreen.com

VP, Creative Affairs: Lauren McCarthy

CEO: Gabriel Hammond

SVP, Development & Production: Asher

Goldstein

Chief Creative Officer: Daniel Hammond

www.facebook.com/broadgreen

www.linkedin.com/company/broadgreen/

www.youtube.com/broadgreenpictures

Twitter: @broadgreen

CAVU PICTURES

630 Ninth Ave.,

Film Center Bldg., Ste. 405

New York, NY 10036

(212) 246-6300

CAVUpictures@aol.com

www.cavupictures.com

Pres.: Michael Sergio

Pres. of Distribution & Marketing: Isil Bagdadi

CBS FILMS

1100 Glendon Ave., Ste. 1100

Los Angeles, CA 90024

(310) 575-7000

Fax: (310) 575-7551

Andrew.Lee@cbs.com

www.cbsfilms.com

Pres.: Terry Press

Marketing Dir.: Alison Chavez

SVP, Production: Mark Ross

EVP, Distribution: Steven Friedlander

CFO: Reid Sullivan

EVP, Business Affairs: Jack Bleck

EVP, Post Production: Jack Schuster

EVP, Acquisitions: Scott Shooman

EVP & Gen. Counsel: Rik Toulon

EVP, Marketing, Publicity & Promotions:

Christine Batista

SVP, Creative Advertising: Eric Mickelson

VP, Marketing & Strategic Partnerships:

Eddie DeVall

VP, Regional Publicity & Promotions: Anne

Collins

VP, Interactive Marketing: Matt Gilhooley

SVP, Sales & Distribution: David Magedman

SVP, Communications: Grey Munford

VP, Publicity: Hayley Perry

Dir., Creative Advertising: Justin Hamann

www.facebook.com/cbsfilms

Twitter: @CBSfilms

CHINA FILM GROUP

www.zgdygf.com

Chairman & CEO: Sanping Han

Gen. Mgr.: Tong Gang

CHINA LION FILM DISTRIBUTION

1880 Century Park E, Ste. 1002

Los Angeles, CA 90067

(323) 396 9168

info@chinalionentertainment.com

www.chinalionfilm.com

COO: Robert Lundberg

www.facebook.com/chinalionfilm

www.youtube.com/chinalionfilm

Twitter: @chinalionfilm

CINEDIGM ENTERTAINMENT GROUP

15301 Ventura Blvd.,

Bldg. B, Ste. 420

Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

(424) 281-5400

www.cinedigm.com

Branch Office:

45 W 36th St., 7th Fl.

New York, NY 10018

(212) 206-8600

(212) 598-4898

Chairman of the Board & CEO: Chris McGurk

CFO: Jeffrey Edell

EVP, Content, Acquisitions & Digital Sales:

Yolanda Macias

EVP Corporate Marketing & Communications:

Jill Newhouse Calcaterra

Pres. of Cinedigm Entertainment Group:

Bill Sondheim

CINEMA GUILD, THE

115 West 30 St., Ste. 800

New York, NY 10001

(800) 723-5522

Fax: (212) 685-4717

info@cinemaguild.com

www.cinemaguild.com

Chairman: Mary-Ann Hobel

www.facebook.com/cinemaguild/

www.youtube.com/user/CinemaGuild

Twitter, Tumblr: @CinemaGuild

CINEMA LIBRE STUDIO

120 S Victory Blvd., 1st Fl.

Burbank, CA 91502

(818) 588-3033

Fax: (818) 736-5820

info@cinemalibrestudio.com

www.cinemalibrestudio.com

Pres.: Philippe Diaz

CFO/VP, Marketing & Business Development:

Beth Portello

COO/Head of Distribution & Acquisitions:

Rick Castro

Head of Foreign Sales: Mohamed Ouasti

VP, Int’l Sales & Television: Cristian Bettler

Head of Home Entertainment: Rick Rieger

www.facebook.com/cinemalibrestudio

Twitter: @cinemalibre

CINEMA SLATE

10915 Queens Blvd., Ste. 3B

Forest Hills, NY 11375

(347) 330-4738

rodrigo@cineslate.com

www.cinemaslate.com

Founder: Rodrigo Brandão

www.facebok.com/cinemaslate

Twitter: @cineslate

CINEMA TROPICAL

611 Broadway, Ste. 836

New York, NY 10012

(212) 254-5474

info@cinematropical.com

www.cinematropical.com

Co-Founder & Exec.: Carlos A. Gutiérrez

www.facebook.com/CinemaTropical

Twitter: @CinemaTropical

CJ ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA

3530 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 1220

Los Angeles, CA 90010

(213)-355-1600

Fax: (213) 355-1615

www.cj-entertainment.com

CEO & Pres.: Mark W. Shaw

COO: Angela Killoren

facebook.com/cjentertainmentusa

Twitter: @CJENT_USA

Instagram: @cjent_usa

COHEN MEDIA GROUP

750 Lexington Ave., 5th Fl.

New York, NY 10022

(646) 380-7929

www.cohenmedia.net

Chairman & CEO: Charles S. Cohen

EVP: John Kochman

EVP: Gary Rubin

VP Publicity: Maya Anand

VP Marketing: Josh Kappraff

Controller: Rudy Garcia

VP, Domestic Distribution: William Thompson

SVP, Int’l Distribution: Liz Mackiewicz

www.facebook.com/CohenMediaGroup

DADA FILMS

9660 Yoakum Dr.

Beverly Hills, CA 90210

(310) 273-1444

maggie@dadafilms.net

www.dadafilms.net

Pres.: MJ Peckos

Director of Marketing & Distribution:

Maggie Cohen

DIGINEXT FILMS, LLC

250 East Broad St.

Westfield, NJ 07090

(877) 286-7610

info@diginextfilms.com

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2018 DISTRIBUTION GUIDE

www.diginextfilms.com

Co-Founder/Mgrs.: Larry Meistrich, Bud

Mayo, Ari Friedman

DISTRIB FILMS US

32 Court St., Ste. 2107

Brooklyn, NY 11201

distribfilmsus@gmail.com

www.distribfilmsus.com

CEO, Acquisitions: François Scippa-Kohn

Dir. of Distribution & Bookings:

Clémence Taillandier

Chairman: Eric Brunswick

www.facebook.com/distribfilmsus

Twitter: @distribfilms

DRAFTHOUSE FILMS

612A E 6th St.

Austin, TX 78701

info@drafthousefilms.com

www.drafthousefilms.com

Founder & CEO: Tim League

CBO: Christian Parkes

COO: James Shapiro

VP, Marketing & Distribution:

Sumyi Khong Antonson

www.facebook.com/drafthousefilms

Twitter: @drafthousefilms

EDKO FILMS LIMITED

1212 Tower II, Admiralty Centre

18 Harcourt Rd.

Hong Kong

+852 2529 3898

Fax: +852 2529 5277

info@edkofilm.com.hk

www.cinema.com.hk

Exec. Dir.: Bill Kong

Gen. Mgr., Sales & Acquisitions: Esther Yeung

Sr. Mgr., Int’l Sales & Distribution: Julian Chu

ELECTRIC ENTERTAINMENT

Los Angeles, CA

www.electricentertainment.com

CEO: Dean Devlin

Founding Partner: Marc Roskin

Co-Founder & Partner: Rachel Olschan

COO: Dionne McNeff

CFO: Jeff Gonzalez

Head of Int’l Distribution: Sonia Mehandjiyska

SVP Int’l Distribution & Co-Production:

Nolan Pielak

SVP, Business & Legal Affairs: Craig Gates

VP, Development: Ben Kim

Twitter: @ElectricEnt1

ENTERTAINMENT ONE

134 Peter St., Ste. 700

Toronto, ON M5V 2H2

Canada

(416) 646-2400

entertainmentonegroup.com

Branch Office:

150 S El Camino Dr., Ste. 300

Beverly Hills, CA 90212

CEO & Pres.: Darren Throop

Co-President, Film, Television & Digital:

Steve Bertram

Pres. of Les Films Séville: Patrick Roy

EVP, WW Acquisitions: Lara Thompson

facebook.com/eOnefilms

Twitter: @entonegroup

ENTERTAINMENT STUDIOS

MOTION PICTURES

1925 Century Park E, 10th Fl.

Los Angeles, CA 90067

(310) 277-3500

www.esmp.com

Founder, Chairman, CEO, Entertainment

Studios: Byron Allen

Co-Founder, Entertainment Studios:

Carolyn Folks

Pres. of Theatrical Distribution, ESMP:

Mark Borde

Gen. Sales Mgr., ESMP: Mike Simon

Head of Acquisitions, ESMP: Chris Charalambous

EVP of Marketing & Creative Services:

Dick Roberts

EVP & Gen. Counsel: Mark DeVitre

EUROPACORP

345 N Maple Dr., Ste. 123

Beverly Hills, CA 90210

(424) 522-1200

www.europacorp-corporate.com/US/

Chairman: Luc Besson

CEO: Marc Shmuger

COO: Kevin McDonald

Pres., Development & Production: Lisa Ellzey

Head of Acquisitions: Federica Sainte-Rose

Pres., Domestic Television & Digital

Distribution: David Spiegelman

FACTORY 25

274 Willoughby Ave., #4R

Brooklyn, NY 11205

www.factorytwentyfive.com

Founder: Matt Grady

www.facebook.com/Factory-25-160451372230

Twitter: @factory_25m/

FILM ARCADE, THE

360 N La Cienega Blvd., 3rd Fl.

Los Angeles, CA 90048

(323) 951-9197

Fax: (323) 400-4246

info@thefilmarcade.com

thefilmarcade.com

Partners: Miranda Bailey, Jason Beck

Acquisitions Coordinator: Ayo Kepher-Maat

www.youtube.com/user/TheFilmArcade

www.facebook.com/TheFilmArcade

Twitter: @TheFilmArcade

FILM COLLABORATIVE, THE

137 N Larchmont Blvd., #606

Los Angeles, CA 90004

(323) 610-8128

Fax: (323) 908-4012

theatrical@thefilmcollaborative.org

www.thefilmcollaborative.org

Founder & Co-Exec: Orly Ravid

Co-Exec. Dir.: Jeffrey Winter

www.facebook.com/thefilmcollaborative

Twitter: @FilmCollab

FILM MOVEMENT

237 W 35th St., Ste. 604

New York, NY 10001

(212) 941-7744

Fax: (212) 941-7812

info@filmmovement.com

www.filmmovement.com

Pres.: Michael Rosenberg

VP, Sales: Demetri Makoulis

Mgr., New Media: Melissa Lyde

Dir., Non-Theatrical Sales: Maxwell Wolkin

Dir., Theatrical Sales: Clemence Taillandier

Mgr., Exhibitor Relations: James Weaver

facebook.com/FilmMovement

youtube.com/user/FilmMovement

filmmovement.tumblr.com

linkedin.com/company/film-movement

Twitter: @film_movement

Instagram: @filmmovement

FILMRISE

220 36th St., 4th Fl.

Brooklyn, NY 11232

(718) 369-9090

contact@filmrise.com

FilmRise.com

CEO: Danny Fisher

Pres.: Jack Fisher

Chairman: Alan Klingenstein

VP: Bob Jason

VP, Distribution: Elias Watamanuk

VP, Technical Operations: Thibault

Hermenault

Director, Creative Services: Aaron Hamel

VP, Communication & Distribution: Jess Mills

Director, Technical Operations:

Hector Peralta

Manager, Distribution & Marketing:

Gibson Merrick

www.facebook.com/FilmRise

www.youtube.com/user/FilmRiseTV

Twitter: @filmrisetv

FIRST RUN FEATURES

630 Ninth Ave., Ste. 1213

New York, NY 10036

(212) 243-0600

Fax: (212) 989-7649

info@firstrunfeatures.com

www.firstrunfeatures.com

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Pres.: Seymour Wishman

VP: Marc Mauceri

www.facebook.com/firstrunfeatures

Twitter: @firstrun

FOCUS FEATURES

100 Universal City Plaza,

Bldg. 2160/Ste. 7C

Universal City, CA 91608

www.focusfeatures.com

Pres., Distribution: Lisa Bunnell

SVP, Sales: Lawrence Massey

VP, In-Theatre Marketing: Eric Carr

Director, In-Theatre Marketing: Emily Maguire

Coordinator, Sales: Alec Doherty

www.facebook.com/FocusFeatures

Twitter, Instagram: @FocusFeatures

FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

A 20th Century Fox Company

10201 West Pico Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90035

(310) 369-1000

Fax: (310) 969-3165

www.foxsearchlight.com

Branch Office:

1211 Ave. of the Americas, 16th Fl.

New York, NY 10036

(212) 556-2400

Fax: (212) 556-8248

Pres., Fox Searchlight Pictures: Stephen Gilula,

Nancy Utley

EVP, Marketing: Michelle Hooper

EVP, Marketing, Creative Advertising

& New Media: Larry C. Baldauf

SVP, Gen. Sales Mgr.: Frank Rodriguez

Pres., Fox Searchlight Int’l: Rebecca Kearey

SVP, East Coast Publicity: Diana Loomis

SVP, Media & Market Research: Rob Wilkinson

VP, Audiovisual Creative Advertising: Flavia Amon

VPs, Ntl. Publicity: Melissa Holloway,

Angela Johnson, Barry Dale Johnson,

Cassandra Butcher

SVP, Creative Advertising: Heather Artis

VP, Ntl. Publicity (East Coast):

Barry Dale Johnson

Mgr., Creative Advertising:

Natalya Baryshnikova

VP, Field Publicity & Promotions:

Isabelle Sugimoto

Dir., Digital Marketing, Searchlight Marketing:

Alissa Norby

www.facebook.com/foxsearchlight

Twitter: @foxsearchlight

FUN ACADEMY STUDIOS

Atlanta, GA

funacademystudios.com

Pres.: Joseph B. Wilkinson Jr.

COO: Crystal Trawick

CFO: Tom Sheehan

www.facebook.com/funacademyinc

www.linkedin.com/company/fun-academymotion-pictures-inc.

www.pinterest.com/funacademyinc/

Twitter: @funacademyinc

GKIDS

225 Broadway, Ste. 2610

New York, NY 10007

(212) 528-0500

Fax: (212) 528-1437

dave@gkids.com

gkids.com

Principals: Eric Beckman,

David Jesteadt

GRASSHOPPER FILM

12 East 32nd St., 4th Fl.

New York, NY 10016

(646) 586-3060

info@grasshopperfilm.com

www.grasshopperfilm.com

Founder/Pres.: Ryan Krivoshey

www.facebook.com/ghopperfilm/

Twitter: @GhopperFilm

Instagram: @ryankrivoshey

GRAVITAS VENTURES

209 Richmond St.

El Segundo, CA 90245

(310) 388-9362

caleb@gravitasventures.com

www.gravitasventures.com

CEO & Founder: Nolan Gallagher

Pres.: Michael Murphy

SVP, Business Affairs: Brendan Gallagher

VP, Sales & Marketing: Laura Florence

VP, Operations: Karia Brown

Dir., Public Relations & Social Media:

AJ Feuerman

Dir., Acquisitions: Josh Spector

Marketing, Digital Sales, & Theatrical

Booking Coordinator: Caleb Ward

facebook.com/GravitasVentures

linkedin.com/company/gravitas-ventures/

Twitter: @GravitasVOD

Instagram: @gravitasventures

GUNPOWDER & SKY, LLC

2260 S Centinela Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90064

(310) 751-7065

info@gunpowdersky.com

gunpowdersky.com

www.facebook.com/gunpowdersky/

Instagram: @gunpowder_sky

Twitter: @GunpowderSky

CEO: Van Toffler

Pres.: Floria Bauer

HBO DOCUMENTARY FILMS

2500 Broadway

Santa Monica, CA 90404

(310) 382-3000

www.hbo.com

Branch Office:

1100 Ave. of the Americas

New York, NY 10036

(212)-512-1000

www.facebook.com/hbodocs

Twitter: @HBODocs

ICARUS FILMS

32 Court St., 21st Fl.

Brooklyn, NY 11201

(718) 488-8900

Fax: (718) 488-8642

mail@icarusfilms.com

www.icarusfilms.com

Pres.: Jonathan Miller

VP: Livia Bloom

www.facebook.com/IcarusFilms/

Twitter: @IcarusFilms

IFC FILMS/SUNDANCE SELECTS

11 Penn Plaza, 18th Fl.

New York, NY

(212) 324-8500

Fax: (646) 273-7250

ifcfilmsinfo@ifcfilms.com

www.ifcfilms.com

Co-Pres., IFC Films & Sundance Selects:

Jonathan Sehring

EVP, Sales & Distribution: Mark Boxer

EVP, Acquisitions & Productions:

Arianna Bocco

Co-Pres., IFC Films: Lisa Schwartz

SVP, Publicity & Promotions: Lauren Schwartz

www.facebook.com/IFCFilmsOfficial

Twitter: @IFCFilms

IMAX CORPORATION

2525 Speakman Dr.

Mississauga, ON L5K 1B1

Canada

(905) 403-6500

Fax: (905) 403-6450

info@imax.com

www.imax.com

Chairman: Bradley J. Wechsler

CEO, IMAX Corp.: Richard L. Gelfond

CEO, IMAX Entertainment & Sr. EVP, IMAX

Corp.: Greg Foster

Chief Legal Officer & Chief Business

Development Officer, IMAX Corp.:

Robert Lister

CTO & EVP, IMAX Corp.: Brian Bonnick

CFO & EVP, IMAX Corp.: Patrick McClymont

Chief Quality Officer & Pres. IMAX Post/DKP

Inc., Emeritus & EVP, IMAX Corp.:

David Keighley

Pres., Global Sales, Theatre Development &

Exhibitor Relations & EVP, IMAX Corp:

Don Savant

2018 DISTRIBUTION GUIDE

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2018 DISTRIBUTION GUIDE

Pres., IMAX Theaters, IMAX Corp.:

Mark Welton

CEO, IMAX China Holding Inc.: Jiande Chen

CMO, IMAX Corp.: JL Pomeroy

Chief Human Resources Officer & EVP, IMAX

Corp.: Carrie Lindzon-Jacobs

Pres., IMAX Home Entertainment & EVP,

IMAX Corp.: Jason Brenek

Branch Offices:

IMAX Corporation

110 East 59th St., Ste. 2100

New York, NY 10022

(212) 821-0100

IMAX Entertainment

12582 West Millennium Dr.

Los Angeles, CA 90094

(310) 255-5500

IMAX China Holding, Inc.

399 West Nanjing Rd.

A401-410 Tomorrow Square

Shanghai, China 200001

86-21-2315-7000

www.facebook.com/IMAX

www.youtube.com/imaxmovies

Twitter: @IMAX

INDICAN PICTURES

1041 N Formosa Ave.,

Formosa Building Suite 221

West Hollywood, CA 90046

(323) 850-2667

Fax: (800) 862-6234

contact@indicanpictures.com

www.indicanpictures.com

Pres.: Shaun Hill

www.facebook.com/indican.pictures

Twitter: @IndicanPictures

JANUS FILMS

215 Park Ave. S, Fl. 5

New York, NY 10003

(212) 756-8822

Fax: (212) 756-8850

booking@janusfilms.com

www.janusfilms.com

www.facebook.com/janusfilms

Twitter: @janusfilms

KETCHUP ENTERTAINMENT

13949 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 310

Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

(818) 572-1188

www.ketchupentertainment.com

CFO: Artur Galstian

COO: Vahan Yepremyan

CEO, Head of Acquisitions: Gareth West

www.facebook.com/ketchupentertainment

KEW MEDIA GROUP

19 Heddon St.

W1B 4BG London

Great Britain

+44 20 7851 6500

london@kewmedia.com

www.kewmedia.com

Pres. of Distribution: Greg Phillips

EVP Sales, Distribution: Jonathan Ford

KINO LORBER

333 West 39th St., Ste. 503

New York, NY 10018

(212) 629-6880

Fax: (212) 714-0871

contact@kinolorber.com

www.kinolorber.com

Co-Pres. & CEO: Richard Lorber

www.facebook.com/kinolorberinc

Twitter: @KinoLorber

LANTICA MEDIA

Juan Dolio, Autovía del Este Km. 55

San Pedro de Macorís, 21004

Dominican Republic

+1.809.544.0000

info@lantica.media

lantica.media

facebook.com/lanticamedia1

Twitter, Instagram: @lanticamedia

LEISURE TIME FEATURES

40 Worth St., Ste. 824

New York, NY 10013

(212) 267-4501

bpleisure@aol.com

www.leisurefeat.com

Pres.: Bruce Pavlow

LIONSGATE

2700 Colorado Ave., Ste. 200

Santa Monica, CA 90404

(310) 449-9200

generalinquiries@lionsgate.com

www.lionsgate.com

Branch Office:

530 Fifth Ave., 26th Fl.

New York, NY 10036

CEO: Jon Feltheimer

Vice Chairman: Michael Burns

Co-COO, Lionsgate & Pres., Lionsgate Motion

Picture Group: Steve Beeks

Co-COO: Brian Goldsmith

Chief Strategic Officer & Gen. Counsel:

Wayne Levin

CFO: Jimmy Barge

Co-Chairman, Lionsgate Motion Picture

Group: Patrick Wachsberger

Co-Chairman, Lionsgate Motion Picture

Group: Joe Drake

Co-Pres., Lionsgate Motion Picture Group:

Erik Feig

Pres., Production, Lionsgate Motion Picture

Group: Michael Paseornek

Co-Pres., Production, Lionsgate: Peter Kang

Pres., Production, Summit: Geoffrey Shaevitz

Pres., Acquisitions & Co-Productions:

Jason Constantine

Pres., Lionsgate Domestic Theatrical

Distribution: David Spitz

EVP, Exhibitor Relations/Operations:

Mike Polydoros

EVP, Gen. Sales Mgr., Lionsgate Domestic

Theatrical Distribution: Shaun Barber

EVP, Strategy, Operations, & Business

Development: Jen Hollingsworth

Chief Brand Officer & Pres., Worldwide

Theatrical Marketing: Tim Palen

Pres., Business & Legal Affairs, Lionsgate

Motion Picture Group: Patricia Laucella

EVP & Gen. Mgr., Business & Legal Affairs: B.

James Gladstone

Co-Pres., Business & Legal Affairs, Motion

Picture Group: Robert M. Melnik

EVP, Production: Jim Miller

EVP, Acquisitions & Co-Productions:

Eda Kowan

SVP, Exhibitor Relations: Will Preuss

Pres., Home Entertainment: Ron Schwartz

EVP, Worldwide Digital Marketing & Research:

Danielle DePalma

VP, Publicity: Mike Rau

SVPs, Theatrical Publicity: Meghann Burns,

Karen Lucente

SVP, Investor Relations & Exec.

Communications: Peter Wilkes

VP, Field Publicity & Promotions: Erin Lowrey

www.facebook.com/lionsgate

Twitter: @lionsgatemovies

MACGILLIVRAY FREEMAN FILMS

PO Box 205

Laguna Beach, CA 92652

(949) 494-1055

Fax: (949) 494-2079

info@macfreefilms.com

www.macfreefilms.com

Chairman: Greg MacGillivray

Pres.: Shaun MacGillivray

Dir. of Distribution: Patty Collins

VP, Post Production: Stephen Judson

Dir. of Marketing & Communications:

Lori Rick

Post-Production Coordinator:

Matthew Muller

Cinematographer: Brad Ohlund

Assoc. Editor: Rob Walker

www.facebook.com/macgillivrayfreeman

Twitter: @macfreefilms

MAGNOLIA PICTURES

49 West 27th St., 7th Fl.

New York, NY 10001

(212) 924-6701

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Fax: (212) 924-6742

info@magpictures.com

www.magpictures.com

Branch Office:

1614 W. 5th St.

Austin, TX 78703

(512)-474-0303

Fax: (512)-474-0305

Pres.: Eamonn Bowles

EVP, Acquisitions: Dori Begley

EVP, Marketing/Publicity: Matt Cowal

Head of Theatrical Distribution: Neal Block

Head of Home Entertainment: Randy Wells

www.facebook.com/MagnoliaPictures

Twitter: @MagnoliaPics

MENEMSHA FILMS

2601 Ocean Park Blvd., Ste. 100

Santa Monica, CA 90405

(310) 452-1775

Fax: (310) 452-3740

neilf@menemshafilms.com

www.menemshafilms.com

Pres. & Founder: Neil Friedman

www.facebook.com/menemshafilms

Twitter: @menemshafilms

MILESTONE FILMS

P.O. Box 128

Harrington Park, NJ 07640

(800) 603-1104

milefilms@gmail.com

www.milestonefilms.com

Co-Founders: Amy Heller, Dennis Doros

www.facebook.com/pages/

Milestone-Film/22348485426

Twitter: @MilestoneFilms

MISTER SMITH

77 Dean St.

London, W1D 3SH

Great Britain

+44 (0) 20 7494 1724

Fax: +44 (0) 20 7494 1725

mistersmithent.com/

CEO: David Garett

COO: Dan Fisher

EVP, Int’l Licensing & Distribution:

Ralpho Borgos

EVP, Marketing & Distribution: Jill Jones

MOMENTUM PICTURES

134 Peter St.

Toronto ON, M5V 2H2

CA

(416) 646-2400

momentumpictures@entonegroup.com

www.momentumpictures.net

MONGREL MEDIA INC.

1352 Dundas St. W

Toronto, ON M6J 1Y2

Canada

(416) 516-9775

Fax: (416) 516-0651

info@mongrelmedia.com

www.mongrelmedia.com

Pres.: Hussain Amarshi

www.facebook.com/mongrelmedia

Twitter: @MongrelMedia

MONTEREY MEDIA

125 Auburn Ct., #220

Westlake Village, CA 91362

(805) 494-7199

acquisitions@montereymedia.com

www.montereymedia.com

CEO: Scott Mansfield

CFO: Jere Rae-Mansfield

Publicity Dir.: Darrell Rae

www.facebook.com/montereymedia

Twitter: @indyfilmz

MONUMENT RELEASING

173 Richardson St.

Brooklyn, NY 11222

(718) 383-5352

Fax: (718) 362-4865

releases@monumentreleasing.com

www.monumentreleasing.com

Theatrical Distribution: Gavin Briscoe

Marketing & Publicity: Jerry Li

facebook.com/monumentreleasing

Twitter: @MonumentDist

Instagram: @MonumentReleasing

MUSIC BOX FILMS

173 N Morgan St.

Chicago, IL 60607

(312) 241-1320

Fax: (773) 248-8271

info@musicboxfilms.com

www.musicboxfilms.com

Pres.: William Schopf

Dir. of Distribution & Acquisitions:

Brian Andreotti

Dir. of Home Entertainment Sales:

Lisa Holmes

Marketing & Publicity: Becky Schultz

Theatrical Sales & Booking: Kyle Westphal

facebook.com/musicboxfilms

Twitter, Instagram: @musicboxfilms

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PARTNERS

485 Lexington Ave., 3rd Fl.

New York, NY 10017

(212) 656-0724

Fax: (212) 656-0701

filmdist@ngs.org

movies.nationalgeographic.com

VP, Film Distribution: Antonietta Monteleone

Dir., Film Distribution : John Wickstrom

www.facebook.com/natgeomovies

Twitter: @natgeomovies

NEON

580 Broadway, Ste. 1200

New York, NY 10012

hal@neonrated.com

neonrated.com

Founder & CEO: Tom Quinn

Co-Founder: Tim League

CMO: Christian Parkes

COO: James Emanuel Shapiro

EVP, Distribution: Elissa Federoff

SVP, Marketing & Distribution:

Sumyi Khong Antonson

VP, Content & Digital Distribution:

Jeff Deutchman

VP, Publicity: Christina Zisa

www.facebook.com/neonrated

Twitter: @NEONrated

NETFLIX

100 Winchester Cir.

Los Gatos, CA 95032

(408) 540-3700

netflix.com

Founder & CEO: Reed Hastings

CMO: Kelly Bennett

Chief Content Officer: Ted Sarandos

OPEN ROAD FILMS

12301 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 600

Los Angeles, CA 90025

(310) 696-7575

Fax: (310) 571-2278

www.openroadfilms.com

CEO: Tom Ortenberg

SVP, Acquisitions: Lejo Pet

EVP, Domestic Distribution: Elliot Slutzky

EVP, Domestic Distribution: Scott Kennedy

Pres. of Publicity: Liz Biber

www.facebook.com/OpenRoadFilms

Twitter: @OpenRoadFilms

THE ORCHARD

6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Ste. 230

Los Angeles, CA 90028

(212) 201-9280

losangeles@theorchard.com

www.theorchard.com

Branch Office:

23 E 4th St., 3rd Fl.

New York, NY 10003

Founder & VP, Int’l: Scott Cohen

Founder & CCO: Richard Gottehrer

CEO: Brad Navin

COO: Colleen Theis

CTO: JP Lester

EVP, Film & TV: Paul Davidson

EVP & Gen. Counsel: Tucker McCrady

SVP, Strategy: Prashant Bahadur

www.facebook.com/theorchard

www.linkedin.com/company/the-orchard

Twitter: @orchtweets

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ORION PICTURES

An MGM Company

1888 Century Park E, 7 th Fl.

Los Angeles, CA 90067

(310) 282-0550

Pres.: John Hegeman

EVP Distribution: Kevin Wilson

Twitter: @OrionPicutres

OSCILLOSCOPE LABORATORIES

140 Havemeyer St.

Brooklyn, NY 11211

(212) 219-4029

Fax: (212) 219-9538

info@oscilloscope.net

www.oscilloscope.net

Pres.: Dan Berger

Acquisitions: Aaron Katz

Publicity: Sydney Tanigawa

Sales: Andrew Carlin

www.facebook.com/oscopelabs

Twitter: @oscopelabs

PALADIN

11 Broadway, Ste. 865

New York, NY 10004

(212) 480-9500

contact@paladinfilms.com

Pres.: Mark Urman

SVP, Head of Marketing: Amanda Sherwin

www.facebook.com/PaladinFilm/

PANTELION FILMS

2700 Colorado Ave.,

Ste. 100

Santa Monica, CA 90404

(310) 255-4979

info@pantelionfilms.com

www.pantelionfilms.com

CEO: Paul Presburger

Chairman: Jim McNamara

Co-Head of Marketing: Brenda Rios

Dir. of Operations: Jacqueline Jimenez

www.facebook.com/PantelionFilms

Twitter: @PantelionFilms

PARAMOUNT PICTURES

5555 Melrose Ave.,

Marathon Building

Hollywood CA, 90038

(323) 956-5000

Fax: (323) 956-4836

paramount.com

Chairman & CEO, Paramount

Motion Picture Group: Jim Gianopulos

Pres., Int’l Theatrical Marketing & WW Home

Media Entertainment: Mary Daily

Pres., Int’l Theatrical Distribution: Mark Viane

Pres., Domestic Theatrical Distribution:

Kyle Davies

Co-Pres., Domestic Marketing:

Rebecca Mall

Co-Pres., Domestic Marketing:

Peter Giannascoli

EVP, WW Distribution Ops:

Mark Christiansen

EVP, Global Communication & Corporate

Branding: Chris Petrikin

SVP, WW Operations: Jim Smith

SVP, WW Distribution Services: Liza Pano

SVP, Non-Theatrical Sales: Joan Filippini

SVP, In-Theatre Marketing: Patricia Gonzalez

SVP, General Sales Manager: Joe Saladino

VP, EMEA Int’l Marketing & Distribution:

Richard Aseme

VP, EMEA Int’l Marketing & Distribution:

Yit-Ching Lee

VP, Asia/Pacific Int’l Marketing & Distribution:

Han Seng Lim

VP, LATAM Int’l Marketing & Distribution:

Ricardo Cortes

facebook.com/Paramount

Twitter, Instagram: @ParamountPics

PICTUREHOUSE

66 Palmer Ave., Ste. 13C

Bronxville, NY 10708

(646) 392-8831

contact@picturehouse.com

www.picturehouse.com

Pres.: Jeanne R. Berney

www.facebook.com/PicturehouseUS/

Twitter: @PicturehouseUS

PURE FLIX

18940 N. Prima Rd., Ste. 110

Scottsdale, AZ 85255

(480) 991-2258

info@pureflix.com

www.PureFlix.com

COO: Stephen Fedyski

CEO: Michael Scott

Co-Founder: David A.R. White

Managing Partner: Liz Travis

VP of Int’l Sales & Distribution: Ron Gell

facebook.com/PureFlix

Twitter: @Pure_Flix

RAINBOW RELEASING

1250 6th St., Ste. 101

Santa Monica, CA 90401

(310) 271-0202

Fax: (424) 238-5682

slester310@aol.com

www.rainbowreleasing.com

Pres.: Henry Jaglom

Dir. of Distribution: Sharon Lester Kohn

RELIANCE ENTERTAINMENT U.S. INC.

1588 US Hwy. 130

North Brunswick, NJ 08902

(212) 960-3677

sumit.m.chadha@relianceada.com

www.relianceentertainment.net

RIALTO PICTURES

120 E 23rd St., 5th Fl.

New York, NY 10010

(212) 620-0986

media@rialtopictures.com

www.rialtopictures.com

Co-Pres.: Bruce Goldstein, Adrienne Halpern

National Sales Dir.: Eric Di Bernardo

www.facebook.com/pages/Rialto-

Pictures/128986880461942

Twitter: @RialtoPictures

RLJ ENTERTAINMENT

The Trillum—East Tower

6320 Canoga Ave., 8th Fl.

Woodland Hills, CA 91367

media@RLJEntertainment.com

www.rljentertainment.com

Pres., RLJE U.S: Sylvia George

CEO: Miguel Penella

Chief Acquisitions Officer, Feature Film:

Mark Ward

Chief Marketing Officer: Sylvia George

ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS

7920 Sunset Blvd., Ste. 402

Los Angeles, CA 90046

(323) 882-8490

Fax: (323) 882-8493

info@roadsideattractions.com

www.roadsideattractions.com

Co-Pres.: Howard Cohen, Eric d’Aberloff

Head of Marketing: Dennis O’Connor

SVP of Distribution: Gail Blumenthal

SVP of Publicity: David Pollick

Sr. Dir., In-Theatre Marketing: Brian Flanagan

Twitter: @roadsidetweets

SABAN FILMS

10100 Santa Monica Blvd., Ste. 2525

Los Angeles, CA 90067

(310) 203-5850

info@sabanfilms.com

sabanfilms.com

Pres.: Bill Bromiley

CFO: Shanan Becker

SVP, Distribution, Sales & Marketing:

Jonathan Saba

SVP of Finance, Controller: Azniv Tashchyan

SAMUEL GOLDWYN FILMS

9570 W Pico Blvd., Ste. 400

Los Angeles, CA 90035

(310) 860-3100

Fax: (310) 860-3195

info@samuelgoldwyn.com

www.samuelgoldwynfilms.com

Branch Office:

30 W 26th St., 3rd Fl.

New York, NY 10010

(212) 367-9435

Fax: (212) 590-0124

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Pres.: Peter Goldwyn

Sr. Dir., Sales & Marketing: Meg Longo

Dir., Acquisitions & Theatrical Sales:

Miles Fineberg

Manager, Marketing & PR: Ryan Boring

facebook.com/samuelgoldwynfilms

Twitter, Instagram: @GoldwynFilms

SCREEN GEMS

10202 W. Washington Blvd.

Culver City, CA 90232

(310) 244-4000

www.sonypictures.com

Pres.: Clint Culpepper

EVPs, Marketing: Danielle Misher,

Damon Wolf

EVPs, Production: Glenn Gainor,

Scott Strauss

EVP & Gen. Mgr.: Pamela Kunath

EVP, Post Production: Brad Word

SVP, Production: Eric Paquette

SVP Creative Advertising: Alyson Jones

SVP, Field Publicity & Promotions:

Courtney Harrell

VP, Marketing & Promotions:

Kristie Alarcon

SCREEN MEDIA FILMS

800 3rd Ave.

New York, NY 10022

(212) 308-1790

Fax: (212) 308-1791

info@screenmedia.net

www.screenmediafilms.net

SVP, Int’l Sales: Almira Ravil

SVP, Worldwide Acquisitions: Seth Needle

VP, Business Affairs: Davic Fannon

Dir. of Operations: Donna Tracey

www.facebook.com/pages/

Screen-Media-Films/103301649764255

Twitter: @ScreenMediaFilm

SHADOW DISTRIBUTION

P.O. Box 1246

Waterville, ME 04903

(207) 872-5111

Fax: (207) 692-2482

shadow@prexar.com

www.shadowdistribution.com

Pres. & Acquisitions: Ken Eisen

SHOWTIME NETWORKS, INC.

10880 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 1600

Los Angeles, CA 90024

(310) 234-5200

www.sho.com

EVP, Corporate Communications:

Johanna Fuentes

SVP, Corporate Communications:

Erin Calhoun

www.facebook.com/showtime

Twitter: @showtime

SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

25 Madison Ave., 24th Fl.

New York, NY 10010

(212) 833-8833

Fax: (212) 833-8844

sony_classics@spe.sony.com

www.sonyclassics.com

Co-Pres.: Michael Barker, Marcie Bloom,

Tom Bernard

EVP, Operations: Grace Murphy

EVP, Acquisitions: Dylan Leiner

EVP, Marketing: Carmelo Pirrone

SVP, Sales: Tom Prassis

Exec. Dir. of Acquisitions: Seth Horowitz

www.facebook.com/SonyClassics

Twitter: @sonyclassics

SONY PICTURES RELEASING

10202 W Washington Blvd.

Culver City, CA 90232

(310) 244-4000

Fax: (310) 244-4337

www.sonypictures.com

Eastern Division:

555 Madison Ave., 9th Fl.

New York, NY 10022

(212) 833-7623

Canada Office:

1303 Yonge St., Ste. 100

Toronto, Ontario M4T 1W6

(416) 922-5740

Chairman, SPE, Motion Picture Group:

Tom Rothman

Pres., Worldwide Marketing & Distribution:

Josh Greenstein

Pres., Sony Pictures Releasing: Adrian Smith

EVP, Worldwide Operations, Marketing &

Distribution: Paula Parker

EVP, Worldwide Exhibitor Relations: Ann-

Elizabeth Crotty

EVP, Worldwide Marketing & Distribution &

Strategic Partnerships: Scott Sherr

SVP, Legal Affairs: Eric Gaynor

SVP, Gen. Sales Mgr., Canada: Michael Brooker

SVP, Worldwide Airline, Non-Theatrical &

Repertory Sales: Rana Matthes

VP, Worldwide Theatrical Financial

Administration: Darryl Banks

EVP & Gen. Sales Mgr.: Adam Bergerman

SVP, Specialty Releases & MPAA Ratings:

Wendy Armitage

EVP, Gen. Sales Mgr., Western & Southern

Region: Adam Bergerman

SVP, Ratings Administration: Wendy Armitage

SVP, Worldwide Distribution Analytics:

Steven Tsai

SVP, Worldwide Marketing & Distribution &

Strategic Partnerships: Jonathan Gordon

VP, Regional Sales: Janet Murray

VP, WW Sales Operations: Dane Shigemura

VP, Regional Sales: Patricia Dougherty

VP, Regional Sales: Carla Jones

VP, Sales: Lisa Mancini

VP, Sales: Stella Leong

VP, Print Operations: Rosemarie Ortiz

VP, Non-Theatrical Sales & Marketing:

Richard Ashton

VP, WW Marketing & Distribution Operations

& Strategic Partnerships: Tom Cotton

VP, WW Marketing & Distribution Operation

Strategy: Norman Tajudin

VP, Marketing & Distribution Operations

Strategy: Arjun Grover

www.facebook.com/SonyPictures

Twitter: @sonypictures, @sprER

SONY PICTURES RELEASING INT’L

10202 W Washington Blvd.,

Culver City, CA 90232-3195

(310) 244-4000

Chairman, SPE, Motion Picture Group:

Tom Rothman

Pres., WW Marketing & Distribution:

Josh Greenstein

Pres., Sony Pictures Releasing Int’l:

Steven O’Dell

EVP, Australia, NZ & Northern Asia:

Stephen Basil-Jones

EVP, WW Marketing & Distribution &

Strategic Partnerships: Scott Sherr

EVP, WW Exhibitor Relations:

Ann-Elizabeth Crotty

Sr. EVP, Int’l Distribution & Operations:

Ralph Alexander

SVP, Sales EMEA: Mark Braddel

SVP, Specialty Releases & MPAA Ratings:

Wendy Armitage

SVP, WW Airline, Non-Theatrical &

Repertory Sales: Rana Matthes

VP, WW Theatrical Financial Administration:

Darryl Banks

SVP, Int’l Distribution, Asia: Brett Hogg

EVP, WW Operations, Marketing &

Distribution: Paula Parker

VP, WW Sales Operations: Dane Shigemura

VP, Non-Theatrical Sales & Marketing:

Richard Ashton

SVP, WW Marketing & Distribution &

Strategic Partnerships: Jonathan Gordon

SVP, WW Distribution Analytics: Steven Tsai

SVP, Int’l Distribution: Andre Sala

VP, WW Marketing & Distribution Operations

& Strategic Partnerships: Tom Cotton

VP, IPS: Stephen Foligno

VP, WW Marketing & Distribution Operation

Strategy: Norman Tajudin

STRAND RELEASING

6140 W Washington Blvd.

Culver City, CA 90232

(310) 836-7500

Fax: (310) 836-7510

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strand@strandreleasing.com

www.strandreleasing.com

Co-Pres.: Jon Gerrans, Marcus Hu

VP, Theatrical Sales & Acquisitions:

Mike Williams

VP, Home Entertainment & Acquisitions:

Brandon Kirby

Dir. of Digital Distribution & Acquisitions:

Corey Gates

Dir. of Acquisitions, Home Entertainment:

Frank Jaffe

Dir. of Non-Theatrical Sales & Acquisitions:

Nathan Faustyn

Dir. of Publicity & Acquisitions: Jenna Martin

www.facebook.com/StrandReleasing

Twitter: @strandreleasing

STUDIOCANAL

1 Place du Spectacle

Issy-Les-Moulineaux, 92130

France

+33 1 71 35 35 35

gabrielle.tensorer@studiocanal.com

www.studiocanal.com/en

Branch Offices:

50 Marshall St.

W1F9BQ London, UK

+44 020 7534 2700

Neue Promenade 4

D-10178 Berlin, Germany

+49 30 810 969 0

Chairman & CEO: Didier Lupfer

Chief Financial & Strategy Officer:

Elisabeth D’Arvieu

EVP Int’l Production & Acquisitions: Ron Halpern

EVP Production & Distribution France:

Geraldine Gendre

EVP Business & Legal Affairs: Sylvie Arnould

VP Communication: Antoine Banet-Rivet

EVP Human Resources: Valerie Languille

CEO United Kingdom: Danny Perkins

CEO Germany: Kalle Friz

CEO Australia & New Zealand:

Elizabeth Trotman

EVP Int’l Distribution: Anna Marsh

www.facebook.com/STUDIOCANAL/

www.youtube.com/user/StudioCanal

www.dailymotion.com/studiocanal

Twitter, Instagram: @studiocanal

STX ENTERTAINMENT

3900 W. Alameda Ave., 32nd Fl.

Burbank, CA 91505

stxentertainment.com

Domestic Distribution:

Pres. of Domestic Distribution: Kevin Grayson

EVP, Head of Theatrical Sales: Mike Viane

VP & Assistant Head of Sales, Domestic

Distribution: Shari Hardison

VP, Theatrical Sales: Lisa DiMartino

VP, Theatrical Sales: Ryan Markowitz

Exec. Dir., Theatrical Sales: Sam Boskovich

Manager, Theatrical Sales: Justin Hamilton

VP of In-Theatre Marketing: Mark Mulcahy

Coordinator, In-Theatre Marketing:

Alysse Houliston

SVP, Theatrical Distribution & Operations:

Rob Springer

Exec. Dir., Theatrical Accounts:

Carina Stewart

Exec. Dir. of Theatrical Operations:

David Messinger

Manager, Theatrical Distribution Analysis:

Alex Keyes

Coordinator, Distribution Operations:

Isabel Meza

Coordinator, Domestic Distribution:

Rachel Levine

Int’l Distribution:

Pres. of Int’l Sales: John Friedberg

Mgr. of Int’l Sales: Holly Hartz

www.facebook.com/STXEntertainment

Twitter: @STXEnt

TLA RELEASING

110 S 7th St.

Philadelphia, PA 19106

(215) 733-0608

Fax: (215) 733-0668

contact@tlareleasing.com

www.tlareleasing.com

Branch Office:

12 Archer St.

London W1D 7BB, United Kingdom

+44 207 287 0605

asilver@tlareleasing.com

tlareleasing.co.uk

Pres.: Derek Curl

Operations Mgr., UK: Adam Silver

www.youtube.com/tlareleasing

TRISTAR PICTURES, INC.

A Sony Pictures Company

10202 W Washington Blvd.

Culver City, CA 90232

(310) 244-4000

www.sonypictures.com

Chairman, SPE, Motion Picture Group:

Tom Rothman

Pres., TriStar Pictures, Inc.: Hannah Minghella

SVP, Tristar Productions: Nicole Brown

Creative Execs.: Shary Shiraz,

Nick Krishnamurthy

TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX

P.O. Box 900

Hollywood, CA 90213

(310) 369-1000

Fax: (310) 369-3823

www.foxmovies.com

Atlantic Division Office:

1211 Ave. of the Americas, 16th Fl.

New York, NY 10036

(212) 556-8600

Fax: (212) 302-3069

Pacific & Central Division Office:

23975 Park Sorrento Dr., Ste. 300

Calabasas, CA 91302

(818) 876-7200

Fax: (818) 876-7291

Canada Office:

33 Bloor St. E, Ste. 1106

Toronto, Ontario M4W 3H1

(416) 515-3354

Fax: (416) 921-9062

Chairman: Stacey Snider

Exec. Dir., In-Theatre Marketing: Pablo Rico

VP, In-Theatre Marketing: Susan Cotliar

Dir., In-Theatre Marketing: Akira Egawa

Dir., In-Theatre Marketing Canada:

Darlene Elson

www.facebook.com/FoxMovies

Twitter: @20thcenturyfox

TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX

INTERNATIONAL PRODUCTIONS

A 20th Century Fox Company

10201 West Pico Blvd., Bldg. 88

Los Angeles, CA 90064

(310) 369-1000

Pres.: Tomas Jegeus

TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX INT’L

10201 West Pico Blvd., Bldg. 88, 2nd Fl.

Beverly Hills, CA 90035

(310) 369-1000

Fax: (310) 362-2299

www.foxmovies.com

Asia/Pacific Office:

Fox Studios Australia Driver Ave.,

Bldg. 61, Level 4

Moore Park, Australia 1363

Europe Office:

31/32 Soho Square

London W1D 3AP, England

Japan Office:

Aoba Roppongi Bldg., 6th Fl.

3-16-33 Roppongi, Minato-Ku

Tokyo 106-0032, Japan

Latin America Office:

Blvd. Manuel Avila Camacho, No. 40, Piso 12

Torre Esmerelda

Lomas de Chapultepec

C.P. 11000, Mexico D.F

Exec. Dir., Int’l Marketing: Laura Abele

VP, Publicity: Kimberly Wire

66 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JANUARY 2018

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UNIFRANCE

13 Rue Henner

Paris 75009, France

+33 1.47.53.95.80

Fax: +33 1.47.05.96.55

contact@unifrance.org

unifrance.org

Gen. Dir.: Isabelle Giordano

Pres.: Jean-Paul Salomé

Deputy Dirs.: Gilles Renouard,

Frédéric Bereyziat

UNITED INT’L PICTURES

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London W4 5YF, Great Britain

+44 (0) 20 3184 2500

Fax: +44 (0) 20 3184 2501

enquiries@uip.com

www.uip.com

UNIVERSAL PICTURES

100 Universal City Plaza

Universal City, CA 91608

(818) 777-1000

www.universalstudios.com

NBCUniversal:

CEO, NBCUniversal: Steve Burke

Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal: Ron Meyer

EVP, Communications, NBCUniversal:

Adam Miller

EVP, Global Communications, Universal

Filmed Entertainment Group, &

Corporate Affairs, NBCUniversal:

Cindy Gardner

Universal Pictures:

Chairman, Filmed Entertainment Group:

Jeff Shell

Chairman, Universal Pictures: Donna Langley

Pres., Universal Pictures: James Horowitz

Pres. & Chief Distribution Officer, Universal

Pictures: Peter Levinsohn

CFO, Filmed Entertainment Group:

Rowan Conn

Gen. Counsel, Filmed Entertainment Group:

Clarissa Weirick

Pres., Film Music & Publishing: Mike Knobloch

Pres., Universal Brand Development:

Vince Klaseus

Pres., WW Universal Pictures Home

Entertainment: Eddie Cunningham

SVP, Strategy & Business Development:

Pank Patel

SVP, Film Strategy & Operations: Allison Ganz

EVP, Global Communications, Universal

Filmed Entertainment Group, &

Corporate Affairs, NBCUniversal:

Cindy Gardner

Global Head of Human Resources, Filmed

Entertainment Group: Lissa Freed

EVP, Business Affairs: Jeff Goore

SVP, Global Talent Development & Inclusion,

Universal Pictures: Janine Jones-Clark

SVP, Media Relations & Global

Communications, Filmed Entertainment

Group: Evan Langweiler

SVP, Global Communications, Filmed

Entertainment Group: Jenny Tartikoff

Universal Pictures Distribution:

Pres., Domestic Distribution: Jim Orr

EVP, In-Theatre Marketing: John C. Hall

SVP, Distribution: Mia Matsuura

SVP, In-Theatre Marketing: Scott Rieckhoff

VP, Distribution Operations: Gary Chong

Dir., In-Theatre Marketing: Kelvin Chiang

Mgr. of Distribution Administration:

Miranda Mayfield

Mgr., Print Control: Betty Pollakoff

Universal Pictures Production:

Pres., Production: Peter Cramer

Pres., Physical Production: Jeff LaPlante

EVPs, Production: Erik Baiers, Jon Mone,

Mark Sourian

SVP, Production: Kristin Lowe

VPs, Production: Maradith Frenkel,

Jay Polidoro, Sara Scott

Universal Pictures Marketing:

Pres., WW Marketing: Josh Goldstine

Co-Pres., WW Marketing: Michael Moses

EVP, Creative Advertising: Maria Pekurovskaya

EVP, Media Advertising: Suzanne Cole

EVP, WW Creative Operations: Matt Apice

EVP, Global Franchise Management & Brand

Marketing: David O’Connor

EVP, Creative Strategy & Research:

Seth Byers

EVP, Creative Content: Austin Barker

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Brian Robinson

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EVP, Publicity: Megan Bendis

SVP, Creative Services: Julie Berk

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Robert Hill

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VP, Publicity: Alexandra Meltzer

VP, Publicity: Jennifer Lopez

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VP, Market Research & Strategy, Dani Paz

VP, Brand Marketing: Ruthie Wittenberg

VP, Creative Operations: Cendy Younan

VPs, East Coast Publicity: Stacey Zarro,

Peter Dangerfield

Universal Pictures Int’l Theatrical

Distribution & Marketing:

Pres., Distribution, Universal Pictures Int’l:

Duncan Clark

EVP, Distribution, Universal Pictures Int’l:

Niels Swinkels

Pres., Marketing, Universal Pictures Int’l:

Simon Hewlett

SVP, Distribution Strategy and Operations:

Noah Bergman

SVP, Int’l. Creative Advertising: Rachel Staff

(London Office)

SVP, Int’l Publicity: Mark Markline

VP, Int’l Publicity: Cathy Hsia

VP, Int’l Publicity: Cortney Lawson

Branch Offices: New York, Dallas,

Los Angeles, Toronto

Twitter: @UniversalPics

VERTICAL ENTERTAINMENT

2500 Broadway, Ste. F-125

Los Angeles, CA 90404

(424) 238-4456

www.vert-ent.com

Co-Pres.: Richard Goldberg, Mitch Budin

Acquisitions & Marketing: Peter Jarowey

VITAGRAPH FILMS

6712 Hollywood Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90028

(310) 701-0911

Fax: (323) 390-3822

info@vitagraphfilms.com

www.vitagraphfilms.com

Pres.: David Shultz

Twitter: @vitagraphfilms

WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

MOTION PICTURES

500 S Buena Vista St.

Burbank, CA 91521

(818) 560-1000

Fax: (818) 567-6303

Marketing Coordinator, Cinema Partnerships:

Samantha Black

Marketing Coordinator, Cinema Partnerships:

Stefanie Diaz-Decaro

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2018 DISTRIBUTION GUIDE

President, WDSMP Sales & Distribution:

Dave Hollis

VPs of Cinema Partnerships: David Sieden,

Ruth Walker

Asst. Chief Counsel Legal Affairs:

Rey Rodriguez

SVP, WDSMP National Sales North America:

Ken Caldwell

VP, WDSMP Strategic Planning Administration

& Operations: Paul Holliman

VP, WDSMPD Non-Theatrical:

Martin Sansing

www.facebook.com/WaltDisneyStudios

Twitter: @DisneyPictures

WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

MOTION PICTURES INT’L

500 S Buena Vista St.

Burbank, CA 91521

(818) 560-1000

Fax: (818) 841-3225

SVP, Sales & Distribution: Jeffrey Forman

Pres., TWDC EMEA: Diego Lerner

EVP/Country Mgr., Italy: Daniel Frigo

VP, Global Sales Planning & Analytics:

Dominic Hougham

SVP, Int’l Marketing: Ticole Richards

VP, European Publicity: Maggie Todd

VP, APAC Sales & Marketing:

David Kornblum

VP/Managing Dir., Australia & New Zealand:

Catherine Powell

Gen. Mgr., Brazil: Jose Franco

Exec. Dir., Marketing in Finland:

Jussi Makela

GM/Country Mgr., France:

Jean-Francois Camilleri

Gen. Mgr., TWDC APAC Singapore:

Tom Batchelor

VP/Gen. Mgr., Ireland: Trish Long

GM, Joint Venture Office in Mexico:

Philip Alexander

Exec. Dir., Nordic Sales: Inger Warendorf

Sr. VP/Gen. Mgr., Spain & Portugal

(Iberia: Simon Amselem

SVP/GM of Nordic: Casper Bjorner

Country Mgr., Switzerland: Roger Crotti

VP/Gen. Mgr., Taiwan: Laura Folta

Country Mgr/Head of Studio Distribution,

EMEA & UK: Tony Chambers

www.facebook.com/WaltDisneyStudios

Twitter: @DisneyPictures

WARNER BROS. PICTURES

DISTRIBUTION

4000 Warner Blvd.

Burbank CA, 91522

(818) 954-6000

warnerbros.com

Pres., WW Marketing & Distribution:

Sue Kroll

Pres., WW Marketing: Blair Rich

Pres., Domestic Distribution: Jeffrey Goldstein

EVP & General Sales Mgr.: Scott Forman

SVP & Assistant Gen. Sales Mgr.: Cary Silvera

SVP & Gen. Counsel: Connie Minnett

SVP, Exhibitor Marketing & Distribution

Strategy: Kelly O’Connor

SVP, Non-Theatrical Sales: Jeff Crawford

SVP, Distribution Services: Stella Burks

SVP, Sales Initiatives: Jennifer Amaya

SVP, Sales Planning & Forecasting:

Kevin Strick

VP, Sales & Marketing, Non-Theatrical Sales:

Angelica McCoy

VP, Exhibitor Services: Melissa Aronson

Exec. Dir., Exhibitor Services: Tanya Girmay

Dir., Exhibitor Services: Michael Lynch

Dir., Exhibitor Services: Francis Orante

VP, Business Resources & Systems:

Jocelyn Page

VP, Eastern Division: Bobbie Peterson

VP, Exhibition Innovation & Initiatives:

Jeff Wilk

VP, Midwestern Division: Gigi Lestak

VP, North Atlantic Division: Andy Strulson

VP, Sales Initiatives: Kim DiMarco

VP, Southern Division: Ron MacPhee

VP, Theatrical Revenue: Mary Weeks

VP, Western Division: David Ogden

VP, WW Distribution Planning: Vicki Evans

facebook.com/warnerbrosent

Twitter: @WBPictures

WARNER BROS. PICTURES INT’L

4000 Warner Blvd.

Burbank, CA 91522

(818) 977-6278

www.warnerbros.com

Pres., Int’l Distribution & Growth Strategies:

Veronika Kwan Vandenberg

EVP, Int’l Distribution: Thomas Molter

EVP, WW Theatrical Analytics & Planning:

Nancy Carson

EVP, Int’l Productions/Acquisitions & Latin

America Distribution: Monique Esclavissat

EVP, WW Operations & Finance, Theatrical

Marketing & Distribution: David Brander

SVP, WW Marketing & Distribution Finance:

David Williamson

SVP, Operations, Int’l Productions/

Acquisitions & Latin America: Jack Nguyen

SVP, Int’l Distribution: Brenda Danley

SVP, Int’l Distribution: Tonis Kiis

VP, Int’l Distribution: Karry Kiyonaga

Pres., WW Marketing: Blair Rich

Pres., Int’l Marketing & WW Planning &

Operations: Lynne Frank

EVP, Int’l Publicity: Lance Volland

EVP, European Marketing: Con Gornell

VP, Eastern European Sales: Jacques Dubois

VP, European Theatrical Distribution:

Sarig Peker

Pres., France: Iris Knobloch

SVP Theatrical, France: Olivier Snanoudj

SVP, Marketing, Data & Innovation France &

Benelux: Gregory Schuber

Pres. & Managing Dir., Germany: Willi Geike

SVP, Marketing: Tim Van Dyk

VP Sales Theatrical Distribution:

Volker Modenbach

Managing Dir., Holland: Hajo Binsbergen

Pres., Italy: Barbara Salabe

SVP Joint Marketing: Barbara Pavone

SVP Distribution & New Theatrical Ventures:

Thomas Ciampa

Managing Dir., Poland: Waldemar Saniewski

SVP & Gen. Mgr., Spain: Pablo Nogueroles

Managing Dir., Switzerland: Leo Baumgartner

Managing Dir., Turkey: Banu Oruc

Pres. & Managing Dir. WBUK, Spain & Harry

Potter Global Franchise Development:

Josh Berger

EVP & Group Marketing Director, WBUK &

Ireland & Chief Marketing Officer:

Polly Cochrane

VP & Deputy Managing Dir., UK:

Neil Marshall

EVP & Managing Director, China: Gillian Zhao

EVP & Managing Director, Asia:

Erlina Suharjono

SVP, Marketing, Asia, Weelin Loh

VP & Managing Dir., India: Denzil Dias

Pres., Japan: Masami Takahashi

VP Sales & Distribution: Kunio Yamada

VP Marketing: Tomohiro Doai

Gen. Mgr., Korea: Hyo-Sung Park

Gen. Mgr., Philippines: Francis Soliven

Managing Dir., Singapore: Peng-Hui Ng

Gen. Mgr., Thailand: Henry Tran

Gen. Mgr., Taiwan: Eric Shih

Gen. Mgr., Argentina: Griselda Fortunato

Gen. Mgr., Brazil: Patricia Kamitsuji

Gen. Mgr., Puerto Rico: Carmen Velez

www.facebook.com/warnerbrosent

Twitter: @WarnerBrosEnt

THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY

375 Greenwich St., 3rd Fl.

New York, NY 10013

(212) 941-3800

Fax: (212) 941-3949

www.weinsteinco.com

www.facebook.com/weinsteinco

Twitter: @WeinsteinFilms

WELL GO USA ENTERTAINMENT

3801 E. Plano Pkwy., Ste. 300

Plano, TX 75074

(972) 265-4317

Fax: (972) 265-4321

Jason@wellgousa.com

www.wellgousa.com

Chairman of the Board: Annie Walker

Pres. & CEO: Doris Pfardrescher

CFO & COO: Dennis Walker

68 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JANUARY 2018

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AS DETECTIVE

EVP of Sales: Tony Vandeveerdonk

SVP, Global Digital Distribution:

Jason Pfardrescher

SVP, Acquisitions & Theatrical Distribution:

Dylan Marchetti

VP of Production: Eddie Mou

Dir. of Marketing: Chrissy Walker

www.facebook.com/WellGoUSA

Twitter: @wellgousa

WOLFE RELEASING

21570 Almaden Rd.

San Jose, CA 95120

(408) 268-6782

info@wolfereleasing.com

www.wolfereleasing.com

Pres.: Jim Stephens

CEO: Kathy Wolfe

www.facebook.com/WolfeVideo

Twitter: @wolfevideo

WREKIN HILL ENTERTAINMENT

10685 Santa Monica Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90025

(310) 470-3131

Fax: (310) 470-3132

info@wrekinhill.com

www.wrekinhillentertainment.com

Pres. & CEO: Chris Ball

XLRATOR MEDIA

Los Angeles, CA

xlratormedia.com

CEO: Barry Gordon

Pres.: Michael Radiloff

Operations: Barbara Javitz

Publicity: Big Time PR

Twitter: @XLratorMedia

YASH RAJ FILMS USA INC.

301 N. Harrison St., Ste. 9F-715

Princeton, NJ 08540

(516) 280-5662

usoffice@yashrajfilms.com

www.yashrajfilms.com

Chairman: Aditya Chopra

Head of Operations, North & South America:

Vaibhav Rajput

www.facebook.com/yrf

Twitter: @yrfmovies

ZEITGEIST FILMS

333 W 39th St., Ste. 503

New York, NY 10018

(212) 274-1989

Fax: (212) 274-1644

mail@zeitgeistfilms.com

www.zeitgeistfilms.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/zeitgeistfilms/

Co-Pres.: Nancy Gerstman, Emily Russo

www.facebook.com/ZeitgeistFilms

Twitter, Instragram: @zeitgeistfilms

Untitled-2 1

neveR mIss an Issue:

www.fILmjouRnaL.com/

subscRIbe

BY JOHN HISCOCK

K

enneth Branagh has had his morning

espresso with honey—”brain food,”

he says—i smartly dressed in suit,

shirt and tie and ready to address the

big question surrounding his new

movie based on the Agatha Christie whodunit,

Murder on the Orient Express.

Branagh, who produces, directs and

stars in the Fox release, sporting an extravagantly

outsize moustache to play the

Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, concedes

that nearly everyone has eithe read the

book or seen Sidney Lumet’s 1974 movie

and knows just who dunnit.

So, how to make it fresh and different?

It was a question that came up constantly

in the many production meetings

before filming began. And Branagh dodges

revealing the solution that was arrived at,

saying enigmatica ly: “I’d have to ki l you if I

told you a l that. I’ l say this: There’s mystery,

bu there is rage and there’s loss and grief

underneath it a l. And everybody has a story.

“What we did was to create as much

paranoia and suspicion as we could. As for

the end of the movie and people’s familiarity

with it, the who and the how and the

why become rea ly important. And the

why become something that gives us great

suspense… We’ve had the chance to be

inventive and a bit imaginative about how

the story goes, so I think there are some

surprises.”

So that’s that. He is also cagey about

how closely the plot of his film resembles

Christie’s novel. “It’ sti l on a train and

you sti l have many of the same characters,

but how do you refresh it? Well, we have

added some pieces, no question, so we give,

for instance, a sense of who Poirot is earlier

and differently in this film than is the case

in the novel or the previous movie. Our

inspiration comes from the novel, but we

have also raided some of the other books.”

He won’t even confirm that Edward

Ratchett, the vi lainous American played

this time by Johnny Depp, i sti l the murder

victim, as he was in the book and the

previous movie.

We are talking in a marquee on the

massive set at Longcross Studios in Surrey,

where snowy mountains loom above

a life-size replica of the famed Orient

Express—a fu ly moving train comprised

of an engine, a tender and four complete

carriages and able to move along the nearly

one mile of track that was laid down at

what was once a Ministry of Defense tank

testing site. A l the interiors of the carriage,

the dining salon and sleeper cars were built

a second time, with lavish interiors and

floating wa ls to a low filming inside.

On a nearby soundstage, a replica of

Stamboul (now Istanbul) Station has been

constructed, with huge columns, two tracks

and platforms on either side, while on the

back lot a viaduct has been built, with a

mountainside and the mouth of a tunnel

a the top.

The train in the film i stalled by an

avalanche rather than a snowdrift, with the

passengers stranded on a perilously high

bridge, and 56-year-old Branagh’s Poirot is

physica ly much fitter than his predecessors.

With the 13-week shoot finished, we

talked again, this time a the Ham Yard Hotel

in Soho, where in the nearby theatre most

of his a l-star cast were posing for pictures.

Depp is one of a big-name group of

supporting characters who were happy

to be cast in roles that, while larger than

KENNETH BRANAGH

DIRECTS AND STARS

HERCULE POIROT

IN MURDER ON THE

ORIENT EXPRESS.

NICOLA DOVE © TM & © 2017 20TH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION. A L RIGHTS RESERVED.

cameos, did not demand too much of

their time. They include Miche le Pfeiffer,

Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi,

Daisy Ridley, Wi lem Dafoe, Josh Gad and

Olivia Colman.

“They are a lovely group, aren’ they?”

Branagh asks proudly. “You can te l that

this is a group with rapport. A rea ly critical

component was Judi Dench, who was

the first person I cast. I asked her if she

would do it and I hadn’t finished the question

when she said yes.

“Jud is a talismanic figure. Derek

and Judi know each other from a thousand

years ago; Johnny has worked with

Judi and he worships her. She was like a

weather vane. And also, she is always first

there. She has trouble seeing, but she never

complains about it.”

Although he has a fierce intensity of

focus, Branagh seems much more relaxed

in the confines of a luxury hotel than he

was on the fake snowy set at Longcross

where he was juggling directing and acting

duties while trying to keep his large cast

happy and involved.

“I tried never to waste their time,” he

says. “Always ge them when they are in

the mood, ge them on the train and shoot

quickly. Rea ly shoot quickly because that

is 16 actors times 16 makeup artists times

16 costume assistants and so that becomes

a bloody train carriage.”

Kenneth Branagh is no stranger to

both acting and directing, having doubled

up 20 time since Henry V in 1989, which

earned him Oscar nominations for both

acting and directing.

But he admits that Murder on the Orient

Express was a tough task. Although he

had stand-in who knew Poirot’s lines and

did a sterling job, Branagh had to learn to

speak French like a Belgian and to do so he

had a voice coach and tapes to practice with.

“Hours of tapes,” he says. “If my Jack Russe l

KENNETH BRANAGH ASSEMBLES

ALL-STAR CAST FOR STYLISH

REMAKE OF AGATHA CHRISTIE’S

MOST CELEBRATED MYSTERY

ALL ABOARD THE BRANAGH EXPRESS

26 FILMJOURNAL.COM / NOVEMBER 2017 NOVEMBER 2017 / FILMJOURNAL.COM 27

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CineEurope Issue INTERNATIONAL

July 2017

Film Journal international Exhibition GuidE

Exhibition Guide

publishing since 1934

The Leading Publication for Film Exhibitors,

with Essential Industry News and Reviews

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JANUARY 2018 / FILMJOURNAL.COM 69

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INTERNATIONAL • SINCE 1934 • FOR THE LATEST REVIEWS WWW.FILMJOURNAL.COM

BUYING & BOOKING GUIDE

VOL. 121, NO.1

THE POST

20TH CENTURY FOX/Color/1.85/115 Mins./Rated

PG-13

Cast: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Alison Brie, Carrie Coon,

David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Bob

Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Jesse Plemons, Matthew

Rhys, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bradley Whitford, Zach

Woods, Jessie Mueller, Deirdre Lovejoy, Pat Healy,

Philip Casnoff, John Rue, Stark Sands, Rick Holmes,

Will Denton, Michael Cyril Creighton, Dan Bucatinsky,

Austyn Johnson.

Directed by Steven Spielberg.

Written by Liz Hannah, Josh Singer.

Produced by Kristie Macosko Krieger, Amy Pascal, Steven

Spielberg.

Executive producers: Tom Karnowski, Josh Singer, Adam

Somner, Tim White, Trevor White.

Co-producers: Liz Hannah, Rachel O’Connor.

Director of photography: Janusz Kaminski.

Production designer: Rick Carter.

Editors: Sarah Broshar, Michael Kahn.

Music: John Williams.

Costume designer: Ann Roth.

A DreamWorks, Amblin Entertainment, Pascal Pictures

and Star Thrower Entertainment production.

Spielberg’s timely Pentagon Papers drama

is packed with great performances, none

more impressive than Meryl Streep’s vulnerable

turn as Katharine Graham, the newspaper

heiress who defied the business world and

the President himself.

For his most taut and dashing movie since

Munich, Steven Spielberg chose an unlikely

subject: the publishing of the so-called Pentagon

Papers in 1971. It’s not history that Spielberg

tends to favor. There are no great battles

or monumental court cases; well, there is the

latter, but Spielberg whips right past it without

pausing for gassy Amistad oratory. The

heroes are neither grand orators nor men of

action. Instead, they’re mostly disputatious

ink-stained wretches in off-the-rack suits

mixed in with a few townhouse grandees.

Nevertheless, as uncinematic as reporting

(on smudgy old newsprint no less!) about a

bunch of Xeroxed studies done by the Rand

Corporation would seem to be, the Pentagon

Papers did arguably bring an end to the Vietnam

War and took a chunk out of President

Nixon’s hide just before Watergate brought

him down. So, yes, there’s a hell of a movie

here. And that’s before one even considers

Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.

There are two stories going on in the

screenplay deftly concocted by Liz Hannah

and Josh Singer. The first is the more obvious

history lesson. This one tells how military

analyst Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys)—disenchanted

after having Secretary of Defense

Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood) agree

after a Vietnam visit in 1966 that America

wasn’t winning the war, only to see him

proclaim victory to the press—decided to

leak a classified report on the progress of the

war. Once the story breaks in 1971 that the

government knew the war was essentially lost

years earlier but kept fighting and sacrificing

thousands of young Americans to save face, it

hits like a tidal wave.

The big problem here for most of the

characters in this movie? The New York Times

got the story, not The Washington Post. This

irks Post editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), who’s

snapping at the chance to take down the Times

like a velociraptor going after a T. rex. “Any

one else tired of reading the news?” he barks

at his newsroom with the kind of gruff belligerence

that Hanks hasn’t delivered for years.

Bradlee’s eagerness to transform the Post

from a sleepy local paper into a national player

sets up the movie’s second and arguably more

interesting story. Just as Ellsberg is slipping

pages to the Times and Bradlee dispatches his

reporters to beat the bush for any crumbs of

the story to avoid getting scooped yet again,

the paper’s publisher Katharine Graham

(Streep) is undergoing her own crisis: the

public offering of her previously private family

company that runs the paper.

Streep’s Graham is a sublime creation, at

once a to-the-manner-born heiress who rules

the Georgetown cocktail circuit and a shy and

fluttery flibbertigibbet thrown off her game by

the dark-suited men telling her how to handle

the public offering. The Nixon Administration

turns its full fury on the Times, denouncing

them for publishing secret documents and

threatening legal doom to any other papers

that follow their lead; Spielberg uses real

audio of Nixon’s telephone rants about the

leaks here to frightening effect. The pressure

put on Graham by her investors ratchets up

to near panic level.

By putting so much stock in Graham’s

character, the movie keeps the audience from

too easily siding with Bradlee’s charismatic

band of pirates. As a woman in a man’s world

suspected of being in her job because the

predecessor was her deceased husband,

Graham has potentially more to lose than

anybody in the newsroom. Certainly, there’s

a chance they could all go to jail, but the

paper is her family and her legacy, not just her

job. Although there is never an instant when

the rightness of publishing stories about the

classified material in the Pentagon Papers is

seriously questioned, the movie doesn’t let us

imagine it was an easy right choice.

Spielberg plays the skittering triangulating

tensions between the government, the Post

and Graham’s investors so well it’s hard to

imagine anybody checking their watch during

this one. He’s helped along not just by the

top-line stars, but a deep bench of less glittery

talent, ranging from the various reporters

played by Bob Odenkirk and David Cross,

among others, to Graham’s advisors, particularly

Bradley Whitford and Tracy Letts (who

is quietly becoming one of Hollywood’s go-to

guys for the voice of wry wisdom).

A better thriller than Bridge of Spies and

a cracking good journalism movie, The Post

just about deserves ranking alongside All the

President’s Men and Spotlight (the latter of

which Singer co-wrote). It tells a history lesson

without much Spielbergian speechifying

and even makes a couple of pointed but subtle

notes about the glass ceiling; the scene where

Graham walks down the Supreme Court steps

through a crowd of young women watching

her with silent beaming pride is more powerful

for being so quietly handled.

There is triumph here, but it’s tempered

with a timely reminder about abuses of

power. The movie is in part about American

journalism finally coming into its own as true

investigative bloodhounds. But it also concludes

on a sobering note that will remind

audiences of their daily reality: a mad President

raging into the night. —Chris Barsanti

DOWNSIZING

PARAMOUNT/Color/2.35/Dolby Digital/135 Mins./

Rated PG-13

Cast: Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Hong

Chau, Udo Keir, Jason Sudeikis, Rolf Lassgård, Ingjerd

Egeberg, Rune Temte, Margareta Pettersson, Soren

Pilmark, Joaquim De Almeida, James Van Der Beek,

Neil Patrick Harris, Laura Dern, Niecy Nash, Margo

Martindale.

Directed by Alexander Payne.

Written by Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor.

Produced by Megan Ellison, Mark Johnson, Alexander

Payne, Jim Taylor, Jim Burke.

Executive producer: Diana Pokorny.

Director of photography: Phedon Papamichael.

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Production designer: Stefania Cella.

Editor: Kevin Tent.

Music: Rolfe Kent.

Visual effects supervisor: James E. Price.

Costume designer: Wendy Chuck.

An Ad Hominem Enterprises production, with Gran Via Prods.

Experimental process leaves occupational

therapist Paul Safranek five inches tall in a

gentle sci-fi satire from director Alexander

Payne.

By turns exceptional and merely amusing,

Downsizing applies director Alexander Payne’s

familiar themes to a science-fiction adventure.

A script bursting with timely ideas and

a breakout performance by Hong Chau are

the best elements of a movie that can feel

sidetracked at times.

Shot in the style of a brightly lit educational

film, a sprightly prologue explains how

Scandinavian scientists develop a process to

miniaturize humans as an answer to overpopulation.

At first a novelty, “downsizing”

eventually leads to several colonies of little

people across the world.

The main attraction for occupational

therapist Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and

his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) is that their

modest nest egg translates to a fortune in the

small world. They leave their home in Omaha,

Nebraska to undergo the procedure at Leisure

Land in New Mexico in a sequence that

makes great use of retro sci-fi visuals.

But the results force Paul to confront

a host of problems, old and new, in his life.

It also gives Payne and his co-writer and

longtime collaborator Jim Taylor the chance

to question contemporary life with both sharp

jabs and gentle asides.

Class differences don’t disappear in Leisure

Land. If anything, they are exacerbated by elites

like black marketeer Dusan Mirkovic (Christoph

Waltz), who casually oppresses workers

housed in an off-site ghetto. One of them is

Vietnamese dissident Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong

Chau), who escapes imprisonment, forced

miniaturization and the loss of her leg “so now

she can clean my house,” as Dusan puts it.

Downsizing makes its political points quickly,

like a barroom argument that little people

should only get one-eighth of a vote, or the

huge wall that separates workers from Leisure

Land mansions.

Rather than hit easy targets, Payne and

Taylor are more interested in what happens

to Paul, who tries romance, hedonism, religion

and whatever other system he can find

in an effort to bring meaning and happiness to

his life.

Paul’s journey through an unfriendly world

echoes ones in Payne’s earlier movies like

Sideways, The Descendants and Nebraska. Downsizing

gives answers that mainstream viewers

probably don’t want to hear, and it does so

with a rigorous logic that requires a lot more

concentration than most Hollywood releases.

But Downsizing offers extraordinary

rewards. With her imperious tone and pidgin

English, Tran may strike some as an uncomfortable

stereotype. But the script adds

intriguing layers to her character, and Chau’s

performance is simply phenomenal. She is

joined by Payne veterans like Laura Dern in an

extremely strong cast.

Phedon Papamichael’s classical lensing,

Rolfe Kent’s smart score and Stefania Cella’s

intriguing production design give Downsizing

a hyper-realistic feel in which special effects

are comparatively unimportant. Not all of the

subplots and tangents in the movie feel entirely

successful. But any filmmaker who can be this

entertaining while raising such important topics

deserves all the support he can get.

—Daniel Eagan

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

COLUMBIA/Color/2.35/Dollby Digital/119 Mins./

Rated PG-13

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan,

Nick Jonas, Bobby Cannavale, Alex Wolff, Madison

Iseman, Ser’darius Blain, Morgan Turner, Rhys Darby,

Marc Evan Jackson, Colin Hanks, Tim Matheson.

Directed by Jake Kasdan.

Screenplay: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg,

Jeff Pinkner.

Screen story: Chris McKenna, based on the book Jumanji

by Chris Van Allsburg.

Produced by Matt Tolmach, William Teitler.

Executive producers: David Householter, Jake Kasdan,

Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Ted Field, Mike Weber.

Director of photography: Gyula Pados.

Production designer: Owen Paterson.

Editors: Mark Helfrich, Steve Edwards.

Visual effects supervisor: Jerome Chen.

Music: Henry Jackman.

Costume designer: Laura Jean Shannon.

A Columbia Pictures presentation.

Reboot of the book and film project sends

an expert cast through a jungle journey as fun

as it is exciting.

With two of Hollywood’s biggest stars and

a brainy but family-friendly script, Jumanji:

Welcome to the Jungle is poised to cash in on

holiday viewers who can’t get into Star Wars:

The Last Jedi.

Chris Van Allsburg’s wonderful children’s

book from 1981 became a middling Robin

Williams vehicle in 1995, followed by a TV

series and videogames. A sequel more than

20 years later may not sound promising, but

Welcome to the Jungle works much better than

expected thanks to its generous spirit and

hard-working cast.

The script flips Van Allsburg’s original

premise, which brought the dangerous

characters of a board game to life in a

suburban home. Now, four kids are pulled

into a videogame, where they must search

for clues and succeed in a quest to return

to their lives.

The movie’s best twist is that the highschoolers

turn into Jumanji avatars. Nerd

Spencer (Alex Wolff) becomes hero Dr.

Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson); selfabsorbed

mean girl Bethany (Madison Iseman)

turns into rotund cartographer Shelly Oberon

(Jack Black); Spencer’s jock friend Fridge

(Ser’darius Blain) is now sidekick Franklin

“Moose” Finbar (Kevin Hart); and loner Martha

(Morgan Turner) ends up mankiller Ruby

Roundhouse (Karen Gillan).

It takes a while to get the kids (who meet

during detention) into their new bodies, and

for director Jake Kasdan to explain the rules

of Jumanji (mostly watch out for animals and

Bobby Cannavale’s villain Van Pelt). Since it’s

a videogame, some characters exist only to

plant clues (in verse). The avatars have a few

lives to spare, making their encounters with

rhinos and mambas a little less fraught.

Eventually Jumanji settles into chases and

battles that are legitimately nerve-wracking,

broken up by scenes typical for the genre. The

avatars’ visit to a native bazaar is just like the

shopping trips in Tomb Raider and Valerian. The

difference here is the game’s avatars are still

figuring out who they are.

Johnson is a delight as an insecure teen in

a weightlifter’s body, and his winning chemistry

with Hart from Central Intelligence remains

intact. Hart’s motormouth asides show why

he is such an admired comic. Gillan does

a hilarious bit trying to flirt with bad guys

before employing her avatar’s “dance fighting”

skills. And Black is a revelation, finding the

bewildered heart of a social-media showoff

without camping up her part.

The characters have a certain self-awareness,

but mostly avoid irony and snarkiness.

They complain about their bodies, their

costumes, even their genders, and can’t stand

the clichés that unfold before them. One of Jumanji’s

real pleasures is how it delivers exactly

what they fear the most—the bimbo clothes,

the deadly booby-traps, the snarling threats—

only to top their expectations.

Like a good family film, everyone here has a

lesson to learn—including viewers, who are gently

reminded about tolerance. The action scenes

are satisfying, and the effects fun, if not earthshaking.

But the best thing about Jumanji: Welcome

to the Jungle may be how well-crafted it is.

—Daniel Eagan

THE LEISURE SEEKER

SONY PICTURES CLASSICS/Color/2.35/111 Mins./

Rated R

Cast: Helen Mirren, Donald Sutherland, Christian McKay,

Janel Moloney, Dana Ivey, Dick Gregory.

Directed by Paolo Virzi.

Screenplay: Stephen Amidon, Francesca Archibugi,

Francesco Piccolo, Paolo Virzi, based on the novel by

Michael Zadoorian.

Produced by Fabrizio Donvito, Marco Cohen, Benedetto

Habib.

Executive producers: Alessandro Mascheroni, Dov

Mamann, Daniel Campos Pavoncelli, Cobi Benatoff,

David Grumbach, Mathieu Robinet, Gilles Sousa, Bryan

Thomas.

Director of photography: Luca Bigazzi.

Production designer: Richard A. Wright.

Editors: Jacopo Quadri.

Music: Carlo Virzi

Costume designer: Massimo Cantini Parrini.

An Indiana Prods. and RAI Cinema production, in

collaboration with Motorino Amaranto and 3 Marys

Entertainment

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A somewhat generic but mostly agreeable

road-trip movie about a long-married couple

(Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren) on

their final vacation.

Mounting predictability and a few credibilityfree

scenes notwithstanding, Paolo Virzi’s The

Leisure Seeker is an engaging road-trip movie

about two still-ambulatory seniors who are

nonetheless circling the drain. It’s John and

Ella Spencer’s (Donald Sutherland and Helen

Mirren) final vacation in their beloved 1975

Winnebago, which they’ve dubbed “the leisure

seeker.”

Deterioration, death, dying and “choosing”

how one dies—hot-button issue, that

one—are the thematic motifs coupled

with gentle life-affirming comedy and, yes,

romance. After 60 years of marriage, the

Spencers continue to be in love and are more

committed to each other than ever.

Loosely adapted from Michael Zadoorian’s

highly readable, entertaining yet poignant

novel, The Leisure Seeker recounts the Spencers’

adventures on that fateful expedition as

they travel down the East Coast along Route

1 from their home in Wellesley, Mass., to Key

West, Florida, where John, a retired English

professor and Hemingway authority, will visit

the iconic writer’s stomping ground. While

John enjoys moments of astonishing lucidity—he

knowledgeably discusses lofty literary

topics, quoting verbatim from one source or

another—he’s suffering from dementia; much

of the time he’s confused, forgetful and childlike

(in some ways the male counterpart to

Alice Howland in Still Alice).

Ella, his junior by at least ten years, is

mentally intact though gravely ill. She’s often

in pain, popping pills, and sports a wig. It

doesn’t take too much insight to surmise she

has cancer. (This movie has its share of suds.)

Still, for the most part she is cheerful and

relentlessly chatty, offering personal tidbits (in

an inconsistent Southern accent) to anyone

she encounters. When she’s not prattling away

to strangers, she’s John’s caretaker and guiding

force. In the novel, she’s the narrator.

The Spencers have two grown children,

the laid-back Jane (Janel Moloney) and the

frenetic Will (Christian McKay), the latter

spinning his wheels at what he views as an

imprudent misstep on the part of his parents.

But the Spencers refuse to be caged in by

their children, doctors or anyone else. They’ve

upped and left without telling a soul. This is

yet another Virzi testimonial to freedom, a

trope he sentimentally dramatized in his film

Like Crazy, about two mental patients who

escape an asylum and take to the road.

Along the way, the Spencers make stops

at diners, historic theme parks and campsites

where nightly Ella sets up a slide show,

projecting pictures of their earlier vacations

onto a screen in an effort to jog John’s

failing memory. Their excursion includes an

encounter with thugs who hold them up (the

confrontation has become de rigueur in roadtrip

pics), and in another scene Ella slips onto

the floor, John falls on top of her and both are

immobilized. The accident telegraphs their dilapidation

and interdependence. Indeed, their

disintegration forges a greater bond between

them. The film successfully captures their

intimacy on many fronts.

Still, festering wounds resurface and

secrets are exposed. The genre has come to

demand these revelations, and here they’re

particularly jarring. In his befuddlement John

can’t stop harping on Ella’s first boyfriend, Dan

Coleman, whom he’s convinced she’s had an

ongoing affair with throughout their marriage.

To put that notion to rest, Ella tracks down

Dan in a nursing home where he now resides.

She hasn’t seen the man in 60-plus years,

yet sets out to visit him with John in tow.

Dan (Dick Gregory in his final role) is now

wheelchair-bound and has no recollection of

who she is. Everything about the section is

fakery beyond redemption, short of Gregory’s

fine performance

Also out of left field and equally contrived,

at one point John confuses Ella for a neighbor

with whom he had a two-year sexual relationship

years earlier. Hallucinating, he spills all!

Naturally, Ella was clueless and now, in an

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enraged tailspin (a spurious response if ever

there was one), she unceremoniously deposits

John in the nearest nursing home. Admittedly,

she calms down, picks him up later and they

continue on their journey. But what has been

gained by any of it? The viewer shouldn’t be

asked to endure these gratuitous intrusions.

Still, the chemistry between the two actors

is palpable and a lifetime is evoked. Exasperated

at John’s decline, Ella plaintively asks,

“What is going on in that brain of yours?” and

when he voices a cogent, clear-headed moment,

Ella celebrates his “coming back” to her

as the John she knew and loved. It’s a touching

interlude made all the more so in light of its

short duration. Within seconds, he is groping

for words and unsure of where he is.

Sutherland gives a great performance.

No one conjures up the professorial persona

better than he does, whatever the character’s

mental competence. Who can forget

his stoned prof in Animal House? Mirren is, as

always, a consummate pro, though her intermittent

Southern accent is distracting. It’s not

clear why she had to be Southern at all.

Perhaps because it’s Virzi’s first Americanbased

film and thus a somewhat alien universe

to him, The Leisure Seeker feels generic. It

doesn’t, for example, have the nuance of the

recently released Our Souls at Night, also a

senior romance with Jane Fonda and Robert

Redford, or for that matter 5 Flights Up, a

touching 2014 film with Morgan Freeman and

Diane Keaton, or the most moving of the

lot, I’ll See You in My Dreams (2015), featuring

Blythe Danner and Sam Elliott. Still, to the

degree that The Leisure Seeker represents,

whatever its flaws, mature lovers for whom

the journey is now the destination, there’s

something to celebrate. —Simi Horwitz

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

20TH CENTURY FOX/Color/2.35/Dolby Digital/

105 Mins./Rated PG

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron,

Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Keala Settle, Paul Sparks,

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Austyn Johnson, Cameron

Seely, Sam Humphrey, Will Swenson, Byron Jennings,

Betsy Aidem, Damian Young, Tina Benko, Gayle

Rankin, Shuler Hensley.

Directed by Michael Gracey.

Screenplay: Jenny Bicks, Bill Condon.

Story: Jenny Bicks.

Produced by Laurence Mark, Peter Chernin, Jenno

Topping.

Executive producers: James Mangold, Donald J. Lee, Jr.,

Tonia Davis.

Director of photography: Seamus McGarvey.

Production designer: Nathan Crowley.

Editors: Tom Cross, Robert Duffy, Joe Hutshing, Michael

McCusker, Jon Poll, Spencer Susser.

Costume designer: Ellen Mirojnick.

Songs: Benj Pasek, Justin Paul.

Music score: John Debney, John Trapanese.

Choreography: Ashley Wallen.

A 20th Century Fox presentation of a Laurence Mark/

Chernin Entertainment production.

Eager-to-please musical about the struggles

of pioneering impresario P.T. Barnum will

have devotees and detractors.

The movie musical has made somewhat of a

comeback in the 21st century, with box-office

hits (and sometime award winners) like the

Broadway adaptations Chicago, Dreamgirls,

Mamma Mia!, Sweeney Todd and Les Misérables.

But original movie musicals are a rarer species:

The 2000s have brought us Moulin Rouge (not

so original with its recycled pop songs), the

animated blockbuster Frozen, the intimate

Once, and last year’s almost-Best Picture, La

La Land. The latter was equally beloved and

reviled, and the same divided reactions will

likely greet The Greatest Showman, the ambitious,

go-for-broke musical gloss of the life of

impresario P.T. Barnum, with songs from the

fecund La La Land/Dear Evan Hansen team of

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

“This is the greatest show!” blares the

cast in the opening number and, dammit,

they’re going to overexert every muscle to

get you to agree. Though the film is set in the

mid-1800s, it takes the anachronistic Moulin

Rouge route of conveying its show-biz origin

tale with a decidedly modern, decidedly pop

sensibility. Call it the Hamilton effect: How

else are you going to deliver a young audience

to an American history lesson? The fluffy

songs would be right at home on a Katy Perry

album, but as earworms they do their job.

So does Hugh Jackman, who is charismatically

ideal casting for the role of a dynamo like

Barnum, the poor son of a Connecticut tailor

whose drive and imagination led him to a literally

sensational career in New York City as

the founder of a museum specializing in exotic

displays, including live attractions like bearded

ladies, tiny “General” Tom Thumb and the

Siamese twins Chang and Eng. In pursuit of a

higher-class clientele, he also recruited Swedish

opera singer Jenny Lind and made her an

American superstar.

Jenny Bick and Bill Condon’s screenplay

is not a faithful retelling of Barnum’s life: His

chaste (at least here) relationship with Lind

may or may not have put a strain on his marriage

to his devoted, moneyed wife, Charity

(Michelle Williams), and scorn for his family of

“oddities” may or may not have sparked the

fire that engulfed his grand museum. (In fact,

Barnum had not one but two establishments

destroyed by fire.) The script also fabricates

a business partner for Barnum, Phillip Carlyle

(Zac Efron), a well-to-do theatrical producer

who runs away to the circus (and an interracial

romance with a trapeze artist played by

the singer Zendaya). That daring relationship

is but one facet of the movie’s underlined and

bold-faced 21st-century message of acceptance

of society’s outcasts.

There’s nothing subtle about The Greatest

Showman, but its high style and relentless

energy may very well seduce willing audience

members. Australian commercials director

Michael Gracey makes a confident feature debut,

abetted by the craft of cinematographer

Seamus McGarvey (Atonement) and especially

production designer Nathan Crowley

(Dunkirk, The Dark Knight). Jackman, Williams,

Efron and Zendaya are all up for the challenges

of their big numbers (with Zendaya and

Efron outdoing Pink on their trapeze duet),

and big-voiced Keala Settle as bearded lady

Lettie Lutz stops the show with the Golden

Globe-nominated “This Is Me.” And Rebecca

Ferguson makes a stunning and elegant Jenny

Lind, even if her powerhouse singing is dubbed

by Loren Allred.

Sort of like John Stephens pre-emptively

labeling himself a “Legend,” The Greatest Showman

insists that you’ll have a great time. If its immodesty

doesn’t seem too irksome, you just might.

—Kevin Lally

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

WALT DISNEY/Color/2.35/Dolby Atmos &

DTS:X/152 Mins./Rated PG-13

Cast: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Adam

Driver, Carrie Fisher, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson,

Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Kelly Marie Tran, Andy

Serkis, Gwendoline Christie, Billie Lourd, Justin Theroux,

Lupita Nyong’o, Anthony Daniels, Jimmy Vee.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson.

Produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Ram Bergman.

Executive producers: J.J. Abrams, Tom Karnowski, Jason

McGatlin.

Director of photography: Steve Yedlin.

Production designer: Rick Heinrichs.

Editor: Bob Ducsay.

Music: John Williams.

Costume designer: Michael Kaplan.

Visual effects supervisor: Richard Bain.

A Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures presentation of a

Lucasfilm production.

With Rian Johnson, the keys to the Star

Wars franchise are in the right hands.

When Disney announced its purchase of

Lucasfilm, there were some concerns in fan

corners—this fan among them—that the

franchise from a galaxy far, far away would suffer

homogenization at the hands of the Mouse

House. They’ve done it with the Marvel Cinematic

Universe over the years, after all, and

reports of existing characters like Han Solo

and Obi-Wan Kenobi getting prequel spinoffs

isn’t exactly indicative of a commitment to

originality. J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens, for

all it was an excellent start to a new Star Wars

trilogy, was essentially a soft remake of A New

Hope, with a new trio of adventurers standing

in for Luke, Leia and Han. Some sparks of risktaking

showed in Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One,

which abandoned the traditional space-opera

formula in lieu of a war movie populated

mostly by previously unknown characters.

With The Last Jedi, director Rian Johnson

mixes up the formula even more, to wonderful

effect. Official apologies are extended to

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. I’m

sorry I ever doubted you.

On the surface, The Last Jedi is par for the

Star Wars course. As with 1980’s The Empire

Strikes Back, we start with a group of scrappy

rebels—led by General Leia Organa (the late

Carrie Fisher) with the support of protégé

Poe (a dashing Oscar Isaac)—staring down

the barrel of imminent destruction. There are

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space battles and splashy, eye-catching locations,

like the Jedi island temple of Ahch-To

and the one-percenter casino planet Canto

Bight. If some of these detours drag on a bit,

hampering momentum and bulking up The Last

Jedi’s not-entirely-necessary two-hour-and

32-minute runtime, well, at least the various

locales are fun to look at. It’s Star Wars. They

always are.

Old favorites are present, notably Leia and

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who’s gone from

a wide-eyed farm boy to a grizzled cynic. In an

unexpected but thoroughly welcome move,

Hamill gets to show off his comedy chops in

a way the original trilogy never really let him.

Domhnall Gleeson, in a small but delightful role,

does his best Peter Cushing as scenery-gnawing

First Order villain General Hux. Some new

characters are in play, the most prominent being

Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose, who teams up with

Finn (John Boyega) for a side adventure. There

are a lot of characters at play here, but Johnson

weaves them together all but flawlessly. Every

character gets their moment, and even less

prominent characters—like Benicio Del Toro’s

scoundrel DJ or Laura Dern’s Rebel leader Amilyn

Holdo—feel fleshed-out despite a dearth of

screen time.

Two characters not mentioned yet are

Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam

Driver)—and it’s with them that The Last Jedi

really takes flight. The age-old conflict between

good and evil, light and dark, has always

been the driving force (sorry) of the Star Wars

franchise. In how he interweaves the evolution

of aspiring Jedi Rey and aspiring Sith Kylo Ren,

Johnson deepens the Star Wars mythology,

complicates it—makes The Last Jedi nothing

less than the smartest, most nuanced, most

ambitious Star Wars film ever made.

In doing so, Johnson widens the Star Wars

story, taking it from what it was—a relatively

personal saga of the Skywalker family, their

inner dramas and interpersonal conflicts writ

large across a galactic stage—to what it has

to be in order to move forward: a sprawling,

epic, full-fledged mythology that finally feels like

it’s stretching its fingers to the very edge of a

galaxy far, far away. —Rebecca Pahle

PHANTOM THREAD

FOCUS FEATURES/Color/1.85/Dolby Digital/

132 Mins./Rated R

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps, Lesley Manville,

Camilla Rutherford, Gina McKee, Brian Gleeson,

Harriet Sansom Harris, Lujza Richter, Julia Davis.

Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.

Produced by Joanne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan

Ellison, Daniel Lupi.

Executive producers: Adam Somner, Peter Heslop, Chelsea

Barnard.

Director of photography: Paul Thomas Anderson

(uncredited).

Production designer: Mark Tildesley.

Editor: Dylan Tichenor.

Costume designer: Mark Bridges.

Music: Jonny Greenwood.

An Annapurna, Perfect World Pictures and Joanne Sellar/

Ghoulardi Film Company production.

The mystery of artistic creation—in this

case, high-fashion gowns—is pretentiously

probed here by Paul Thomas Anderson and

Daniel Day-Lewis in a too self-conscious and

somewhat enervative style.

The golden age of haute couture—that most

rarefied and costly of fashion, requiring dozens

of seamstresses toiling over one dress

for a small eternity, to be sold at a prohibitive

cost to only the most wealthy—reached

its peak in the 1950s. Holding sway over

this most exclusive of butterfly worlds were

genius designers like Christian Dior, Jacques

Fath, Pierre Balmain, Hubert de Givenchy

and the two acknowledged innovative masters

of this art, wild and crazy Charles James,

whose sculptural gowns were complexly

structured so as to be practically architecture,

and sober, discreet Cristobal Balenciaga,

whose wildly coveted clothes reflected

the quiet elegance and deceptive simplicity of

the man himself.

There really has never been a film dealing

with this subject and period…until now. In

tackling it, appropriate names like Vincente

Minnelli or Pedro Almodóvar or even Tom

Ford might spring to mind, so it is all the

more surprising that Paul Thomas Anderson,

a director more known for gritty subjects as

in Boogie Nights, Inherent Vice and There Will

Be Blood, has undertaken the task. Supposedly

inspired by the need to do something

“fancy,” he’s said, after Inherent Vice, as well

as a spate of illness during which he was

faced with the novelty of his wife suddenly

being in charge of him while he steeped

himself in fashion publications, Anderson

approaches his theme with a well-researched

reverence. This quality is shared by his star,

Daniel Day-Lewis, who has revealed that he

even learned to sew for the role of eminent,

eminently difficult and temperamental designer

Reynolds Woodcock and, at a recent

Q&A after a screening, was dropping obscure

fashion designer names like Victor Stiebel as

if he were Anna Wintour.

Day-Lewis has also announced that this

decidedly offbeat role will be his swan song

from acting, and it’s interesting to think that,

if true, he is going out in a gay role, like the

one in My Beautiful Laundrette that helped

put him on the map some 30 years ago.

Woodcock is, to put it mildly, very set in his

ways, something that his devoted if toopresent

sister and lifelong business partner,

Cyril (Lesley Manville), has learned to live

with, however much it may chafe. Almost

the very definition of stuffy Englishman and

then some, Woodcock insists on his idea

of perfection in everything, whether it’s his

lavish garments or the level of noise he can

abide at breakfast (i.e., none), and his Paris

workspace and home are beyond pristine

in their excruciatingly ordered refinement.

Woodcock is both obsessed and subsumed

by his work, with something of a fanatic’s

reluctance to even let a dress leave his salon,

although bought and paid for.

One of the most diverting scenes

involves a deeply neurotic heiress (think Barbara

Hutton), played to a quiveringly neurotic

fare-thee-well by stage treasure Harriet Harris,

whom Woodcock rages against as being

“unfit” to wear a gown of his. He conspires

with a loyal cohort to invade her bedroom

and literally remove said dress as its wearer

lies in a drunken stupor. This episode was

obviously inspired by the antics of Charles

James, who would actually deprive his clients

of their rightful couture if he felt the fit was

less than perfect, for a myriad of reasons.

Thanks to Harris, this is also one of the

few divertingly funny moments in the film,

which goes the opposite route of Robert

Altman’s silly piffle of a fashion film, Ready-to-

Wear, with a surfeit of awestruck seriousness,

as if it were conceived by Woodcock

himself. Although elegant to look at, with

a very fancy music score by Johnny Greenwood,

there’s a sterility to it, due to the

very limited “tasteful” palette Anderson has

allowed himself—mostly black, muted grays

and blinding white. Woodcock’s designer

creations follow suit, which is fashionista

revisionist history, for the grand couturiers

were all famed for their vivid and flamboyant

sense of color. This is Anderson’s first film

set outside the U.S. and his direction feels

too tight and restrained overall. At over two

hours, not much really happens, apart from

the arrival into Woodcock’s life of that aforementioned

accomplice in theft, Alma (Vicky

Krieps, who does bring some welcome

slyness and surprise), a young immigrant

waitress he meets in a café one night and

becomes fascinated with, to the point where

she moves in and joins his firm. The reactions

to her over the years—for both women are

into Woodcock for the long haul—from the

jealous, possessive spinster Cyril provide the

main drama in the movie.

Given such a parched Anderson script,

even Woodcock’s actual, mentioned homosexuality

only evinces itself in some very

prissy, bitchy remarks—he evidently having

foresworn any obvious gay involvement,

whether physical or romantic. It’s a much too

easy dramatic choice by this heterosexual

director and star, and although Day-Lewis

and the quite wonderful Manville, in what

could be described as the “Mrs. Danvers”

role, score a lot of giggles through their constant

sibling warfare, the film feels severely

underpopulated and repetitive (with too

many shots of Day-Lewis, like a very calm and

purposeful mad scientist in the salon which

is his lab, sketching or measuring laid-out

patterns to be cut in the snowy, immaculate

muslin which is his vital tool). Anderson’s unfamiliarity

with fashion unfortunately reveals

itself in the Woodcock creations provided by

his film’s designer, Mark Bridges, which are

unmemorable, more costume-y than actual

hyper-refined clothing.

—David Noh

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IN THE FADE

MAGNOLIA PICTURES/Color/2.35/105 Mins./

Not Rated

Cast: Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Johannes Krisch,

Samia Chancrin, Numan Acar, Ulrich Tukur, Rafael

Santana, Hanna Hilsdorf, Ulrich Friedrich Brandhoff.

Written and directed by Fatih Akin.

Co-writer: Hark Bohm.

Produced by Nurhan Sekerci-Porst, Fatih Akin, Herman

Weigel.

Director of photography: Rainer Klausmann.

Production designer: Tamo Kunz.

Editor: Andrew Bird.

Music: Joshua Homme.

Sound supervisor: Kai Storck.

A Magnolia Pictures, Bombero International and Warner

Bros. Film Prods. Germany presentation, in coproduction

with Macassar Productions, Pathé, Dorje

Film and Corazón International, with the support of

Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, German

Federal Film Fund, Federal Government Commissioner

for Culture and the Media (BKM), Film und Medienstiftung

NRW, German Federal Film Board, in cooperation

with CANAL+ and CINÉ+.

In German, Greek and English with English subtitles.

Aftermath of a terrorist attack leaves a

mother searching for answers in a troubling

drama from director Fatih Akin.

The premise couldn’t be timelier. A happy

family, a terrorist bomb, a grieving widow

and mother on her own. Fatih Akin’s In the

Fade doesn’t just spring from news events, it

attacks its story with an intensity that leaves

characters and viewers alike emotionally

stunned.

A methodical filmmaker, director and

co-writer (with Hark Bohm), Akin builds In

the Fade in simple steps. Katja (Diane Kruger)

marries drug dealer Nuri (Numan Acar)

against her family’s wishes. Nuri reforms and

becomes an activist helping Kurdish refugees.

He’s with their son Rocco (Rafael Santana)

when a bomb destroys his office.

Akin uses a documentary style to portray

what follows. The police gather evidence and

question witnesses. They think rival drug

dealers are responsible at first, and for a time

Katja herself is a suspect. Each clue leads to

another, and with plodding thoroughness the

investigators find enough to bring a neo-Nazi

couple to trial.

The courtroom scenes unfold in excruciating

detail, with Katja forced to watch and

listen to medical testimony about what happened

to her husband and son. She is powerless

to stop the defense’s lies and smears. The

German justice system may seem unfamiliar,

but not the tactics lawyers use to twist facts

and malign witnesses.

The verdict sends Katja into an emotional

tailspin that is painful to watch. What she

learns from the trial enables her to seek her

own form of justice. And it’s exactly here that

Akin’s strict realism begins to cloud the story.

Katja’s anger may be justified to viewers,

but how she achieves her revenge in some

ways reduces her to the level of the terrorists

she is fighting. And by showing how terrorists

operate in such meticulous detail, Akin is in

danger of encouraging similar behavior.

Akin is too smart a filmmaker not to realize

the risks he is taking. In the Fade is made with

skill and precision, both on technical terms and

in its performances. Diane Kruger is a marvel,

effortlessly portraying a range of emotions,

never giving in to sentimental touches, never

flinching from her character’s behavior. The

other performers are uniformly excellent.

Akin makes passionate films that address

difficult questions. In the Fade will be an acid

test for his fans and for moviegoers in general.

It’s a film almost no one really wants to see, a

story of cruel, senseless bereavement without

a hint of closure. Yet it deals with some of the

central issues of our time, problems that are

argued daily. Given Kruger’s remarkable performance,

Akin’s determination as a director

and the movie’s excellent production values,

In the Fade is not to be missed, no matter how

difficult its subject matter.

—Daniel Eagan

HAPPY END

SONY PICTURES CLASSICS/Color/1.85/107 Mins./

Rated R

Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Mathieu

Kassovitz, Fantine Harduin, Franz Rogowski, Laura

Verlinden, Aurélia Petit, Toby Jones, Hille Perl, Hassam

Ghancy, Nabiha Akkari, Joud Geistlich.

Written and directed by Michael Haneke.

Produced by Margaret Ménégoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heidusck,

Michael Katz.

Director of photography: Christian Berger

Production designer: Olivier Radot.

Editor: Monika Willi.

Costume designer: Catherine Leterrier.

A Les Films du Losange, X Filme Creative Pool and Wega

Film presentation, in co-production with Arte France

Cinema, France 3 Cinéma, Westdeutscher Rundfunk,

Bayerischer Rundfunk and Arte, with the participation

of Arte France, France Télévisions, Canal Plus, Cine

Plus and ORF Film/Fernseh-Abkommen.

In French with English subtitles.

This blistering and timely account of the

privileged classes, relayed with dark humor

and impeccable craft, is a return to form

for the 75-year-old Austrian auteur Michael

Haneke.

In a film by Michael Haneke titled Happy End,

you can of course surrender any idea of a

conventional happy end. Haneke’s bracingly

acid brew about the discontents of a wealthy

French family includes many ingredients familiar

from his oeuvre: surveillance, cold-hearted

murder, the moral bankruptcy of the haute

bourgeoisie, an immigrant underclass shoved

to the margins. Add to this mix his signature

twisted humor, consummate craft and, in a departure,

a series of lo-res Instagram Live-style

videos and some X-rated sexting.

Some viewers will be put off by the film’s

grimness (in Cannes, home to Haneke loyalists,

the response was tepid and peppered with

boos). Others will be hugely entertained by the

steely control of the Austrian maestro as he assembles

this puzzle-like narrative into a scathing

critique of the world’s economic elites.

The film kicks off with a kid’s phone

videos showing a woman at her toilette, spliced

between the opening credits. The videos take a

more sinister turn when the kid films a hamster

overdosing on Mom’s tranquilizers (in what

may be a trial run). By cutting back and forth

to the credits, the opening sequence produces

a Brechtian distancing effect. Unlike in Amour,

Haneke does not ask for empathy for his

characters. What he does require is your unflagging

attention in order to piece together an

enigmatic story that plays like a thriller.

The video-maker of the opening turns out

to be one of Haneke’s more fascinating creations:

13-year-old Eve (Fantine Harduin), with

the pert-nosed, impassive face of either an angel

or a demon. Following her mother’s death

(which she may have nudged along), she comes

to live with her surgeon father, Thomas Laurent

(Mathieu Kassovitz), who has remarried,

in the palatial family residence in Calais. The

joyless, creepy household is presided over by

an infirm patriarch (Jean-Louis Trintignant)

who is bent on offing himself, and Thomas’

sister, Anne Laurent (the matchless Isabelle

Huppert in a role that fits like a second skin),

who runs the family construction empire.

Happy End interweaves several skeins.

The negligence of Anne’s grown son (Franz

Rogowski) triggers a fatal accident on their

construction site, sending the son off the

deep end (capped by his performance of the

Sia song “Chandelier” in a drunken karaoke

session). The patriarch doggedly pursues a

plot against his own life, even approaching

his barber for help. And Thomas conducts a

torrid affair (conveyed in kinky texts on yet

another screen) while his young wife cares for

their infant son.

The glacial heart of the film, though, is

Eve, who is onto her father’s extramarital

fling. In a telling scene, she begs her mystified

dad not to send her away to a “home.” In

fact, she has correctly zeroed in on her own

expendability and the core attitudes of people

who hold nothing dear but themselves. Eve

forms an unsavory alliance with the patriarch

based on a mutual willingness to take a step

too far. (In a reprise of Amour, he confesses

to smothering his wife.) At the blistering

denouement, Anne’s son disrupts her posh

engagement party by bringing an entourage of

immigrants, while she retaliates in a way only

Haneke could have imagined.

Who better than the Austrian maestro to

nail the corruption and bad faith of the onepercenters

(or at least his vision of them?)

And what subject, in the age of Mnuchin,

could be timelier? Of course, Happy End

includes a potshot at their cavalier treatment

of servants: In a party scene, Anne praises her

Arab cook as “a real pearl”—French code for

the ultimate condescension.

In keeping with his view of a surveilled

society, Haneke films several key sequences as

long shots that might appear on security-camera

footage. In a darkly funny traveling shot in

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front of noisy traffic, his camera follows the

grandfather as he approaches a bunch of kids

in hoodies. (We hear nothing but the roar of

cars, but may assume he’s requesting a killerfor-hire.)

When Anne’s son visits the projects,

where he’s presumably trying to make amends

for the construction accident, the scene is

filmed from such a remove you can only intuit

what triggers the ensuing violence. (It will be

later be used against the worker’s family in the

settlement.)

In American films about family dysfunction,

the usual cause is lack of parental love, sibling

rivalry, etc. etc. In Haneke, it’s the lopsidedness

of the larger world that warps character. Eve

is not so much a bad seed as the logical mutant

produced by her self-absorbed clan, a spawn

of the one-percenters who pushes their values

to a twisted extreme. She barricades herself

behind technology, the better to manipulate

a family who would show her no mercy, she

intuits, when push came to shove.

The confidence Haneke projects as he

maneuvers the scattered mosaics of his tale

into a cohesive whole is nothing short of

thrilling. And when the true “happy end”

circles back to Eve’s final video, it inspires the

darkest sort of laughter. In fact, Haneke’s brilliant

orchestration of his materials is as much

the subject—and triumph—of Happy End as

anything else. To criticism that his vision is

overly gloomy, the filmmaker replies, “I simply

present things the way they are.”

—Erica Abeel

FERDINAND

20TH CENTURY FOX/Color/2.35/Dolby Atmos &

DTS:X/106 Mins./Rated PG

Voice Cast: John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Anthony Anderson,

Bobby Cannavale, Raul Esparza, David Tennant, Belita

Moreno, Peyton Manning, Gina Rodriguez, Daveed

Diggs, Gabriel Iglesias, Jeremy Sisto, Boris Kodjoe,

Flula Borg, Sally Phillips, Carlos Saldanha, Juanes,

Jerrod Carmichael.

Directed by Carlos Saldanha.

Screenplay: Robert L. Baird, Tim Federle, Brad Copeland.

Screen story: Ron Burch, David Kidd, Don Rymer, based

on the book by Munro Leaf, Robert Lawson.

Produced by Bruce Anderson, John Davis, Lori Forte, Lisa

Marie Stetler.

Executive producer: Chris Wedge.

Director of photography: Renato Falcao.

Art director: Thomas Cardone.

Editor: Harry Hitner.

Music: John Powell.

A Blue Sky Studios, Davis Entertainment and Twentieth

Century Fox Animation production.

Fox sends in an animated animal act to do

battle with Star Wars for the Christmas trade:

a peace-loving bull who won’t fight—don’t

ask him.

If that Spanish bull named Ferdinand wasn’t

the first to stop and smell the flowers, he is

certainly the most famous, and Ferdinand (the

2017 film) celebrates that fame.

Munro Leaf dashed off this pacifistic

mammal in pencil on six sheets of yellow

legal pad in 40 minutes back in 1936 and gave

it to a friend, Robert Lawson, to illustrate.

That combo created a bestselling children’s

yarn beloved for generations. This version

boasts all the computer-generated bells ’n’

whistles of contemporary animation, weighing

in at 108 minutes—making it the longest

cartoon feature ever produced by Blue Sky

Studios. It has more padding than a matador’s

cummerbund.

Happily, none of this is dull. It’s frenetically

eventful and usually fun—once you forgive

the unnecessary plot tangents and irrelevant

additions. Okay, so there’s the obligatory bullin-a-china-shop

scene, but it’s nevertheless

calamitously entertaining.

The title toro (voice-casted with John

Cena for no apparent reason other than his

beefy persona) comes with a full complement

of cohorts. First and foremost and emphatically

funniest is Kate McKinnon’s Lupe, a calming

goat who is a long way from calm, functioning

primarily like Burgess Meredith to Cena’s

Sylvester Stallone.

Miraculously, the story’s overriding message

is not lost in all the extraneous detours

and par-for-the-cartoon-course silliness:

Ferdinand remains true to himself, smelling

flowers rather than butting heads. And he’s

right to resist the secret, silent agenda of Casa

del Toros, a camp in rural Spain that trains

bulls for Madrid’s arena.

Six screenwriters—Ron Burch, David

Kidd and Don Rymer for screen story; Robert

L. Baird, Tim Federle and Brad Copeland for

screenplay—are credited with refrying Leaf’s

40-minute concoction. As previously noted,

there are a lot of side trips in this movie, but

the beginning and the end are beautifully—

brilliantly—connected by a red carnation. As a

young calf, Ferdinand is bullied when a young

bull crushes a red carnation into the ground;

later, as a fully grown bull about to be sacrificed

to a matador’s blade, he zeroes in on a red

carnation thrown by the crowd and smells it.

—Harry Haun

IN BETWEEN

FILM MOVEMENT/Color/2.35/103 Mins./Not Rated

Cast: Mouna Hawa, Sana Jammelieh, Shaden Kanboura,

Mahmoud Shalaby, Henry Adrawes, Aiman Sohel Daw,

Riahd Sliman, Ahlam Canaan, Ferass Naser, Khawlah

Dipsy, Suhail Hadad, Eyad Sheety, Amir Khuri.

Written and directed by Maysaloun Hamoud.

Produced by Shlomi Elkabetz.

Director of photography: Itay Gross.

Production designer: Hagar Brotman.

Editors: Lev Goldser, Nili Feller.

Costume designer: Li Alembik.

Music: M.G. Saad.

A Deux Beaux Garçons Films and En Compagnie des Lamas

production.

In Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles.

A propulsive debut from Maysaloun Hamoud.

Girls just wanna have the freedom to have

fun in this electric debut from Arab-Israeli

filmmaker Maysaloun Hamoud. Her In Between

is a political film, critical of Arab culture

and Arab-Israeli relations, but thanks to the

strength of its characterizations it is never a

didactic film. Hamoud proves once again the

potency of a tried-and-true formula: Elucidate

the macro through the personal.

Three Palestinian twenty-something

women are sharing an apartment together

in Tel Aviv. There’s Lalia (Mouna Hawa), the

gorgeous-and-she-knows-it criminal lawyer

who plays just as hard as she works, which is

to an extreme. She is a thick-skinned, cosmopolitan

woman who has yet to abandon her

belief in romance and who is capable of great

tenderness. Lalia has been roommates for

some time with Salma (Sana Jammelieh), a DJ

who is cool to the point of sullenness, who

comes from a Christian family in Galilee, and

who is beginning to explore her feelings for

another woman. At the beginning of the film,

they’re joined by a devout Muslim student

named Nur (Shaden Kanboura), who rents

their third bedroom so she can be closer to

her university. Nur wears a hijab and doesn’t

know what raves are; her fiancée, a man so

unctuously pious one suspects he doth pray

too much, doesn’t like the drinking, smoking,

fornicating ways of her new roommates. But

after a rocky start, Nur bonds with Lalia and

Salma. She resists her fiancée’s attempts to

convince her to move elsewhere. We know

this cannot end easily.

Meanwhile, Lalia and Salma wrestle with

romantic entanglements of their own. The

seemingly liberal Arab man for whom Lalia has

fallen may not be as enlightened as he first appeared,

while Salma must juggle the romantic

freedom she enjoys while living on her own

in Tel Aviv with the unyieldingly traditional

viewpoints of her family. Again, no easy solutions

are in sight.

Without resorting to cumbersome flashbacks

or clunky exposition, we are given a clear

understanding of the life of each protagonist

as we follow her for a time solo. It is the time

taken to explore these women individually that

makes those occasions when they interact together

so impactful. When a moment of shocking

violence occurs, the emotionality of their

reactions is deepened by this understanding of

each in her turn, and continues to reverberate

to the film’s conclusion..

The film’s greatest strength lies in its unwillingness

to go for an easy sense of righteousness.

Yes, these women are asserting themselves; yes,

there are victories gained. But swimming against

the tide and living “freely” is not easy.

In Between ends on a note of ambiguity

over which a less confident filmmaker may have

glossed, or eschewed altogether. But Hamoud,

who, thanks to In Between, has become the target

of the first fatwa to be issued in Palestine since

1948, is nothing if not confident in her choices.

This story of clashing values and women chafing

and pretty young things in-and-out-of-love is

not novel, however of-the-moment it may be

politically. But when filtered through Hamoud’s

sensibility, the result is distinctive, a mix of rock

’n’ roll and sorrow.

—Anna Storm

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PITCH PERFECT 3

UNIVERSAL/Color/1.85/Dolby Digital/93 Mins./

Rated PG-13

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany

Snow, Anna Camp, Hana Mae Lee, Ester Dean, John Lithgow,

Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, Alexis Knapp,

Chrissie Fit, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner, Matt Lanter, Guy

Burnet, DJ Khaled, Ruby Rose, Cain Manoli.

Directed by Trish Sie.

Screenplay; Kay Cannon, Mike White.

Produced by Paul Brooks, Max Handelman, Elizabeth Banks.

Executive producers: Jason Moore, Scott Niemeyer, David Nicksay.

Director of photography: Matthew Clark.

Production designer: Toby Corbett.

Editors: Craig Alpert, Colin Patton

Music: Christopher Lennertz.

Costume designer: Salvador Perez.

A Universal Pictures and Gold Circle Entertainment presentation,

in association with Perfect World Pictures, of a

Gold Circle Entertainment/Brown Circle production.

The Bellas become action stars (of sorts) in a

sequel that fails to hit the high notes of the first

movie, but which nonetheless delivers laughs.

This third and seemingly final (you never

can tell) installment in the saga of the Barton

Bellas a cappella group is the flashiest of the

franchise. There are offshore bank accounts

in the Cayman Islands, explosions onboard

yachts and—most shocking of all—instruments

on stage. Bigger is rarely better, of course, and

Pitch Perfect 3 falls short in charm and narrative

coherence of 2012’s Pitch Perfect. Still, writers

Kay Cannon and Mike White are masters of the

one-liner and they do their darnedest to ensure

you know they know that we all know this is

the silliest of stuff. Once again, contemporary

pop songs and jokes about social awkwardness

prove an undoubtedly entertaining combination.

Save for Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), all of the

Bellas whom we have grown to love over the

past five years have graduated from Barton and

are struggling to find their places in the real

world. Just about all of them hate their jobs and

would do anything to relive their college glory

days and perform as an a cappella group once

again. Beca (Anna Kendrick) in particular is disillusioned

by what should have been her dream

job as a music producer.

Luckily, Aubrey’s (Anna Camp) military

father, whose harsh words of advice are a staple

of his daughter’s conversation and neuroses,

can secure the former Bellas a spot on an

international USO tour to entertain the troops.

This wouldn’t be a Pitch Perfect without a competition,

however, as the characters themselves

point out in one of many meta-reflections.

As it turns out, the Bellas will be touring with

real-life hip-hop impresario DJ Khaled and three

other bands. At the end of the tour, Khaled

will choose one group to open for him. Almost

immediately the Bellas are intimidated by the

competition, an all-girl collective named Evermoist

(fronted by Ruby Rose) especially. When

the dodgy father (played by John Lithgow) of

Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) shows up, things really

start to get complicated.

It would be easy to quibble the film to death.

Many new characters are introduced only to

hang about half-formed, including a hunky soldier

who acts as the girls’ escort, the sexy-sneering

ladies of Evermoist, a strange rapper who flirts

with the strangely near-silent Bella, and an attractive

music exec on Khaled’s team who has a

thing for Beca. Evermoist in particular is framed

as a major antagonist only to fall by the wayside

as other, bigger, kookier concerns take over.

Any one of these threads could have made for a

strong subplot in its own right, but all together

they prove a mishmash of bits and gags. But because

this is a comedy, the film gets away with its

scattered elements, though only just. In the end,

it is the Bellas’ story and everyone who is not in

the gang is something of a prop to be used by it.

Smartly, the story has aged with its

characters. The streak of earnestness that runs

through all the films and which was done best

in the first movie with the Benji (Ben Platt of

“Dear Evan Hansen”) and Jesse (Skylar Astin)

characters, both absent here and sorely missed,

focuses on the girls’ bumpy transition into

adulthood. This tale of Millennials being forced

to face adulthood is as timely as the movie’s

soundtrack and its emphasis on sisterhood. But

after turning Fat Amy into an action hero, there

aren’t many more places for the franchise to

go. Heaven forfend a Bad Moms angle should be

taken for any Pitch Perfect 4. Let this be indeed

their final song.

—Anna Storm

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD

TRISTAR/Color/2.35/Dolby Digital/132 Mins./Rated R

Cast: Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark

Wahlberg, Romain Duris, Timothy Hutton, Charlie Plummer,

Charlie Shotwell, Andrew Buchan, Marco Leonardi,

Giuseppe Bonifati, Nicholas Vaporidis.

Directed by Ridley Scott.

Screenplay: David Scarpa, based on the book by John

Pearson.

Produced by Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas, Quentin Curtis,

Chris Clark, Ridley Scott, Mark Huffam, Kevin J. Walsh.

Director of photography: Dariusz Wolski.

Production designer: Arthur Max.

Editor: Claire Simpson.

Music: Daniel Pemberton.

Costume designer Janty Yates.

A TriStar Pictures and Imperative Entertainment presentation

of a Scott Free and Redrum Films production.

Gripping account of the John Paul Getty

kidnapping in the 1970s opens a window into a

world of unimaginable wealth.

Against all odds, John Paul Getty III survived

a kidnapping that could have crashed and failed

several times. The same can be said of All the

Money in the World, a completed movie that was

a few weeks away from release when one of its

leads was accused of sexual harassment.

Christopher Plummer now plays J. Paul

Getty, described as not only the richest man

in the world, but the richest man in the history

of the world. The revered actor gives a precise,

chilling, damning performance as a 1970s

Citizen Kane, a man besotted by “things” and

incapable of ceding control. He is the frightening

heart and soul of this enormously entertaining

movie.

All the Money opens like a fairytale, with

Dariusz Wolski’s camera floating through a

black-and-white dolce vita vision of Rome. Still a

teenager, John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer)

ambles by a street of friendly, joshing prostitutes

when thugs pull him into the back of a van.

His mother Gail (Michelle Williams) thinks

their ransom demand is a joke at first. She then

turns to Getty, her father-in-law, who refuses to

negotiate with the kidnappers. Instead, he asks

security chief and ex-CIA agent Fletcher Chace

(Mark Wahlberg) to “fix” the problem.

Working from an adroit script by David

Scarpa, director Ridley Scott uses quick flashbacks

to flesh out the family’s background. Despite

Getty’s incredible wealth, his long-estranged

son John Paul Getty II (Andrew Buchan) and wife

Gail live in genteel poverty. Reaching out to his

father ruins Getty II, who dissipates himself with

drugs and alcohol in Morocco.

Divorced, penniless apart from child

support, Gail is assaulted by paparazzi and neglected

by indifferent policemen as she tries to

rescue her son. (All the Money delights in Italy’s

dysfunctions, from its hapless crooks to its inept

gangsters, cops, journalists, drivers, coroners,

etc.) Chace returns from Rome to tell Getty

that Paul’s kidnapping is a hoax.

Only it’s not, which Scott shows in scenes

with Paul and his captors that build breathless

suspense. Cinquanta (Romain Duris), one of

the kidnappers, forms a kind of relationship

with Paul. He and the rest of the world can’t

understand why the Gettys won’t pay.

That very reasonable question the movie

tries to answer by showing exactly what it

meant to be J. Paul Getty. As F. Scott Fitzgerald

wrote, and as Paul echoes in the narration, the

rich are different from you and me. Not just in

what they have, but in how they see themselves.

Getty is self-absorbed to a monstrous

degree, and his behavior, as depicted here, is

jaw-dropping.

Plummer captures the steel underneath

Getty’s jovial surface, his icy greed, his disdain,

his murderous contempt. It’s a beautifully calculated

performance that only occasionally verges

into overkill. The other actors are largely along

for the ride, responding in varying degrees of

disbelief to his behavior. As played by Williams

and Wahlberg, Gail and Chace have backbone,

but are powerless against an overwhelming foe.

Scott’s expertise as a director—his unerring

visual sense, narrative focus, mordant humor,

and ability to fine-tune performances—elevates

All the Money from TV-movie biopic to something

like a Ross Macdonald novel, a generational

saga of evil and decline that increases its

pull as it probes deeper into the murk.

And no matter how publicists spin the

story behind the production, this is one of the

director’s best efforts. Perhaps shooting it first

with Kevin Spacey showed him how to refine

and distill the story, to find a deeper, truer Getty,

to position him as one of the great villains

in cinema. Whatever the cause, this is a film of

hypnotic urgency, a cautionary tale so rich and

smart it will stand up to repeated viewings.

—Daniel Eagan

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EUROPE

by Andreas Fuchs

FJI Exhibition / Business Editor

CINEMA TECH COMMUNITY

RE-LAUNCHES

As we all make plans for doing/being/

feeling better, let us kick off the first column

of 2018 with one such forward-looking

makeover. Best of all, you can be part of that

enterprise.

CTC (Cinema Technology Committee)

announced a “significant re-launch with a

renewed vision of supporting the global

cinema industry,” the London, Englandbased

organization announced. Previously a

subcommittee of the International Moving

Image Society (www.societyinmotion.com),

CTC has become an independent, not-forprofit

industry network that is “focused on

bringing organizations, professionals and

students together from across the world to

share knowledge and expertise…with the aim

of improving the experience for moviegoers.”

“We believe that there is an inherent

need to bring the entire cinema community

closer together, from filmmakers through

to exhibitors and manufacturers, to address

some of the pressing issues relating to

technology and presentation of content,”

noted Richard Mitchell, president of CTC and

VP, global marketing, at Harkness Screens

(www.harkness-screens.com). This past

summer, Mitchell was tasked with expanding

the committee. (See our July 2017 column.)

In addition to providing guidance and

support to theatre operators “from large

multinationals through to small independent

operators,” CTC facilitates research projects,

white papers, training courses, lectures,

technical handbooks, educational visits, seminars

and networking events, to name a few

(www.cinema-technology.com/our-activities).

“Technology and innovation continue to drive

change not just across the cinema industry but

in the way consumers digest and interact with

content.” Mitchell hopes that the impartial

Andreas Fuchs runs the Vassar Theatre in Vassar, MI.

approach set forth by the group will “enable

the cinema industry to understand the opportunities

new technology can provide,” and

when and how they might be implemented.

Ultimately, he says, CTC is about “what makes

a better future for cinema.”

CTC is looking to establish an advisory

council that can provide “steering and support

on key focus areas and future outputs for

the organization to ensure these are aligned

to the objectives of the industry.” Cinema

industry members from across the globe “who

share the vision of improving the moviegoing

experience” are invited to nominate

themselves at info@cinema-technology.com.

Village Cinemas’ Sphera

Premium Cinema

at The Mall of Athens

ECLAIRGAME ON!

Ymagis Group (www.ymagis.com)

announced the launch of EclairGame, their

new esports-based entertainment system

“fully dedicated to gaming in cinemas.” For

Christophe Lacroix, senior VP of Ymagis Group,

this is a growing worldwide phenomenon,

“whether through fighting, strategy or sports

videogames.” Developing EclairGame aligns

perfectly with the company mission “to ensure

that cinemas remain the entertainment venue

of choice, while helping our cinema partners to

diversify their revenue stream.”

The first agreement was signed with Les

Cinémas Gaumont Pathé for France. During

so-called CineSessions, gamers and moviegoers

come together at the Pathé La Villette in Paris

(www.cinemasgaumontpathe.com/cinemas/

cinema-pathe-la-villette) “to enjoy the comfort,

conviviality and interactivity of a cinema auditorium,”

the company writes. “Powered by the

latest, sophisticated digital projection technologies,”

professional and amateur gamers engage

in in championships, “play today’s most popular

videogames and even undertake training sessions

in the comfort of a cinema auditorium.”

Nikos Karanikolas

In another first, CinemaNext, the exhibitor

services specialist in Ymagis Group, and

Village Cinemas launched the Sphera Premium

Cinema (www.spheracinema.com) at The Mall

of Athens, Greece (www.villagecinemas.gr/el/

aithouses/vmax-sphera). “The response from

moviegoers, national press and social media

has been overwhelming,” confirmed George

Christodoulou, chief executive officer of Village

Cinemas. “With Sphera, we keep our company

on the cutting edge of innovation while

maximizing our revenues, with a 50 percent

increase in average ticket price over a sevenweek

span.”

Centered by a 25-meter wide (82 feet)

wall-to-wall screen for 669 custom seats,

the high-contrast 4K projector and Dolby

Atmos sound come with “interactive ambient

lighting” that is fully automated and compatible,

with no specific DCP or programming

required. CinemaNext suggest that it makes

a perfect match “to all alternative content,

pre-shows, youth-oriented features or even

advertising programs.”

KINEPOLIS CONCLUDES

LANDMARK DEAL

After reaching an agreement with the

company shareholders to the tune of CAD

122.7 million (US$95.74 mil., € 84.2 mil.) in

mid-September, Kinepolis Group was able to

officially complete the acquisition of Landmark

Cinemas. On Dec. 7, the Minister of Canadian

Heritage approved the takeover of 44 movie

theatres with 303 screens in Central and

Western Canada. With a market share of

10%, Landmark Cinemas welcomed 10.6

million guests in 2016 to its 55,000 seats.

Back in Europe, where the Group

operates 48 cinemas in seven countries, a

separate set of 125,000 seats has just started

shaking. Just in time for The Last Jedi to invade,

Kinepolis opened its first 4DX auditoriums

in Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium. Also in

December, guests to Kinepolis Madrid, Spain,

will see all five senses tickled in sync with the

onscreen action, followed by the 4DX theatre

in Lomme, France, this January.

“Kinepolis has always been a leader

in introducing innovative technology that

intensifies the movie experience,” said

Eddy Duquenne, chief executive officer

of Kinepolis Group. “Cinema is all about

experiencing emotions together and 4DX

continued on page 82

JANUARY 2018 / FILMJOURNAL.COM 79

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ASIA

by Thomas Schmid

FJI Far East Bureau

CHINA BOX OFFICE

REACHES NEW RECORD

China’s State Administration

of Press, Publication, Radio,

Film and Television (SAPPRFT)

reported that on Nov. 20, 2017,

the country for the first time

broke the magical box-office

threshold of 50 billion yuan

($7.5 bil.), setting a new record.

The SAPPRFT report said a

total of 1.448 billion tickets had

been sold nationwide up until

that date, corresponding to an

increase of approximately 19

percent year-on-year.

Box-office revenues for

domestic movies reached 26.2

billion yuan, or 52.4 percent of

the total. The remainder of 23.8

billion yuan, or 47.6 percent of

total takings, was pocketed by

foreign films. A total of 78 films

had each earned 100 million

yuan or more, including 39

domestic ones. Among these

local offerings was action thriller

Wolf Warrior 2, which alone

raked in about 5.68 billion yuan

and turned out to be this year’s

fifth-highest-grossing movie

worldwide. Second place went to

the eighth installment of the Fast

and Furious franchise, The Fate of

the Furious, which pocketed 2.67

billion yuan, closely followed at

third place by domestic comedy

Never Say Die, which earned 2.2

billion yuan.

China, which effectively

has become the second-largest

movie market worldwide after

the United States, has seen its

box-office revenues increase

steadily over the past 15 years.

At the turn of the millennium

it accounted for less than one

billion yuan; by 2010 it had

reached 10 billion; in 2013 it

stood at more than 20 billion;

and in 2015 it already exceeded

40 billion yuan.

CineAsia 2018

As the Christmas and New

Year period will see the release

of a slew of high-profile local

and foreign movies—including

domestic action fantasy Legend

of the Demon Cat and the muchawaited

Star Wars: The Last

Jedi—it is expected that this

year’s total box-office earnings

might reach well over 55 billion

yuan by the end of December.

Meanwhile, Miao Xiaotian,

general manager of China Film

Co-Production Corp, was

quoted in a report released

by China’s official news agency

Xinhua with the prediction

that China would overtake the

United States to become the

world’s largest film market in

about three years.

CHINA TO BOAST WORLD’S

MOST SCREENS BY 2020

In a related development, a

SAPPRFT official has said that

Now in our 23nd year, CineAsia continues to be the best

and most effective way to network and do business with theatre owners,

managers, buyers, and operators from all over Asia.

At CineAsia, attendees will get the chance to hear about

the current trends and new state-of-the-art technologies

in the motion picture industry. Nowhere else in Asia can you accomplish

as much in a short period of time to sustain, and help grow,

your business in the year to come. Join your cinema exhibition,

distribution, and motion picture industry colleagues to network;

and see product presentations and screenings of major Hollywood

films soon to be released in Asia. Attendees will also get

the opportunity to visit the Trade Show where you will find the latest

equipment, products, and technologies to help make your theatre

a must-attend destination. CineAsia will take place at the Hong Kong

Convention & Exhibition Centre on December 11-13, 2018.

the country is going to have

over 60,000 cinema screens by

2020, which would make it the

world’s largest film exhibition

market. “By 2020, China will

produce around 800 movies

each year and the annual box

office will reach 70 billion yuan

[$10.6 bil.],” Zhang Hongsen,

deputy director of SAPPRFT,

told attendants at a symposium

in the eastern Chinese city

of Hangzhou on Nov. 26. It’s

also possible that China could

become the world’s new film

production hub, as recent

developments could provide

an incentive for some foreign

studios to choose China as a

production base. Some foreign

films, such as India’s sports

drama Dangal (2016), have taken

in higher box-office takings

in China than in their own

countries, making China an

increasingly attractive market

for foreign film producers,

Zhang told the symposium

participants.

HORROR FLICK TOPS

2017 INDONESIAN B.O.

A horror film co-produced

by Indonesian company Rapi

Films and South Korean

outfit CJ Entertainment has

reportedly turned out to be

Indonesia’s top box-office draw

this year. After its release

on Sept. 28, Pengabdi Setan

(Satan’s Slaves) topped the

country’s box-office ratings

for three consecutive weeks,

attracting more than 4.1 million

moviegoers nationwide, a

statement published by CJ

Entertainment said. This would

make Pengabdi Setan Indonesia’s

most popular film of the year in

terms of audience attendance.

The company also claimed the

movie to be Indonesia’s fourth

highest-grossing film of all time.

Pengabdi Setan is a remake

of a 1982 domestic horror

80 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JANUARY 2018

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12/19/17 3:43 PM


y David Pearce

FJI Australia / New Zealand Correspondent

DOWN UNDER

film of the same title. Directed

by Joko Anwar, the movie’s

storyline revolves around a

haunted house in which a girl

and her three brothers live

all by themselves after their

mother dies of a strange illness.

She eventually returns in tow

with evil spirits to pick up her

children and claim one of the

siblings as “the devil’s child.”

Pengabdi Setan was nominated

in 13 categories at this year’s

Festival Film Indonesia (FFI)

Citra Awards, of which it won

seven, including Cinematography,

Art Direction, Best

Visual Effects and Best Music.

According to CJ Entertainment,

the rights to the film have been

sold to 45 countries including

Japan, Malaysia and Poland.

KOREAN ANIMATION

EXPORTS RISE BY 30%

International exports of

Korean animation have risen by

more than 30 percent to $100

million this year, reported the

Korea Creative Content Agency

(KOCCA). This remarkable

growth materialized despite

extremely stiff competition from

China, KOCCA said, basing its

findings on the buyer response it

met at various international content

trade shows throughout the

year, where KOCCA operated

Korean booths in support of

approximately 50 Korean animation

enterprises. The agency said

the presence resulted in more

than 300 licensing deals and

co-production projects with 50

different countries. Broadcasters

made up 42 percent of the

deals, while new media platforms

including Netflix grabbed 26

percent. Of all deals signed, 31

percent were made with North

American countries.

For inquiries and feedback,

contact Thomas Schmid at thomas.

schmid@filmjournal.com.

Anyone who thinks that cinemagoing is on the

wane should head to Brisbane in Australia,

just north of the Gold Coast. Three new

cinema complexes with a total of 25 screens have

just opened, and five new complexes are on the

way with another 39 screens, making a total of 64

new screens over about three years. All of this

shows great faith in the industry along with some

new trends. Many of these new cinemas are going

up in areas where large new apartments are being

built, and are even part of the developments.

Dendy just opened a 10-plex in the redevelopment

of the Coorparoo Apartment complex. The independent

Sourris family have opened a new sevenscreen

cinema in a converted building, which

housed the Queensland Irish Association, and have

just lodged a development application to convert

a former skating rink into a five-screen cinema

in the suburb of Paddington. Reading has two

new complexes on the books, the eight-screen

Newmarket cinema opened on Dec. 14 and a new

complex among a series of residential towers at

Woolloongabba due to open 2021-22. The other

three complexes have not announced who will operate

the cinemas, but they include nine screens at

Mount Ommaney Shopping Center, eight screens

at the Ferny Grove apartment redevelopment and

a further eight screens at two eight-story apartments

in Wynnum.

h

Village Cinemas recently changed their name

to Village Entertainment, as they plan more 4DX

screens and launch their virtual-reality arcade

unit, XOVR. In 2018, Village will open what they

call their first “Full Concept Cinema” in the

Melbourne suburb of Plenty Valley. This will have

a collection of premium cinema-going experiences

including Vjunior, Vpremium, Vmax and Gold

Class, along with what Village says is a collection

of food and beverage options not yet seen in the

Australian cinema market.

h

It not just new cinemas in the news. The

Majestic Theatre in Taihape in New Zealand is

celebrating its 100th anniversary, although its

history is a bit older. The Station Street Theatre

was built in 1912 to show silent films. In 2018, it

was totally destroyed by fire and was rebuilt as

The Kings Picture Theatre. Then, in 1925, new

owners bought the cinema and it became The

Majestic. By 1981, the theatre was on its last legs,

The Majestic Theatre

in New Zealand

the council took over, sold the equipment and

then sold the building to a demolition company

in 1987. That was when the community decided

it was time to save the building. Over the years

funds were raised, firstly to pay out the demolition

company, then to restore the building and equip it,

and later to install digital equipment. Happily, we

can report that the old cinema is operating well

and looking forward to its centenary this year. The

theatre has a full history of the building on sale at

the cinema.

h

Greg Hughes has resigned as CEO of the local

exhibition/distribution group Dendy/Icon. No replacement

has yet been announced.

h

With director George Miller currently in a

legal tussle with Warner Bros. over Mad Max: Fury

Road monies, it looks like any new Mad Max film

will not be forthcoming anytime soon.

h

UPDATE: Several months ago, we reported

on the new Ned Kelly film The History of the Kelly

Gang, which films in 2018. Now much of the cast

has been announced, with British actor George

Mackay (Captain Fantastic) to play Kelly, a role

previously filled by Heath Ledger and Mick Jagger,

among others. Russell Crowe is also in the

cast along with Aussie Travis Fimmel (TV series

“Vikings”) returning home for the filming. They

will be joined by Essie Davis (The Babadook) and

Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road).

Send your Australia/New Zealand news to David

Pearce at insidemovies@hotmail.com.

Courtesy www.majestictaihape.co.nz

JANUARY 2018 / FILMJOURNAL.COM 81

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ADVERTISERS’ INDEX JAN. 2018

Arts Alliance Media. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

Barco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

comScore. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

C. Cretors & Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Dolphin Seating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

Eisenberg Sausages. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

Enpar Audio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

Entertainment Supply & Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . 31

Franklin Designs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

GDC Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

ICTA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

Lightspeed Design/DepthQ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

Moving Image Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Omniterm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55, 73

Proctor Companies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

QSC Audio. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84

Spotlight Cinema Networks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

St. Jude Children’s Hospital . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

TK Architects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

Ushio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

VIP Cinema Seating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Will Rogers Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

FJI Best of 2017

Kevin Lally:

Call Me By Your Name

The Shape of Water

Get Out

Dunkirk

Mudbound

The Florida Project

Okja

A Fantastic Woman

Lady Bird

Their Finest

Rebecca Pahle:

Colossal

Get Out

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

Blade Runner 2049

Okja

Nocturama

Mudbound

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Lady Bird

Your Name

Europe continued from page 79

will further increase this.” As of October 2017, Seoul, South Koreabased

CJ 4DPLEX had installed more than 49,000 4DX seats in 405

auditoriums across 49 countries (www.cj4dplex.com).

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Fast, Bright, Reliable...

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3D

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MEANWHILE AT MEDIAMATION…

Moving right along in the multi-sensory movie word, MediaMation

showcased its latest MX4D seating system at CineAsia. Partnering

with Europe’s leading 3D provider, Volfoni, MediaMation’s Dan Jamele

said, “The result is a fully immersive and interactive experience for

the audience.” Thierry Henkinet, chief executive officer of Volfoni,

added, “3D plus 4D equal a perfect combination,” after five years of

working closely together.

Along with Arts Alliance Media, MediaMation (www.MX-4D.com)

and Volfoni (www.volfoni.com) are both members of the Luxin-Rio

Group, a provider of turnkey solutions for entertainment equipment.

BERLINALE REVIVES ANCIENT LAW

For its “Berlinale Classics” program, the 68th Berlin International

Film Festival selected the 2K restoration of Ewald André Dupont’s

Das alte Gesetz (The Ancient Law, 1923). Together with a new score by

French composer Philippe Schoeller, this version will have its world

premiere on Feb. 16, 2018 in the Friedrichstadt-Palast (www.palast.

berlin/en/backstage).

The latest restoration drew upon nitrate prints in five different

languages found in Europe and the United States, the archival team at

Deutsche Kinemathek noted. When the original censor’s certificate

was uncovered, containing the text of the long-lost original title cards,

renewed research was initiated worldwide. The result is the first time

that a version corresponding to the 1920s German theatrical release

will be shown, both in its original length, and with the colorization—

as derived from two surviving prints—digitally restored.

Postmaster: Please send address changes to: Film Journal International, P.O. Box 215, Congers, NY 10920-0215.

Canadian Publication Mail Agreement #41450540. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: MSI, P.O. Box 2600, Mississauga, On L4T OA8.

82 FILMJOURNAL.COM / JANUARY 2018

070-082.indd 82

12/19/17 3:43 PM


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