Film Journal April 2018

  • No tags were found...

You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.

<strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International Event Cinema / Family Entertainment Centers Vol. 121, No. 4 / <strong>April</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

A <strong>Film</strong> Expo Group Publication<br />


<strong>April</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

FJI_Apr18_Cover.indd 1<br />

3/6/18 2:39 PM

From the Editor’s Desk<br />

In Focus<br />

The Wakandan Revolution<br />

As of March 4th, Disney and Marvel’s Black Panther<br />

became the tenth-highest-grossing domestic release of all<br />

time (not adjusted for inflation) in only its third weekend in<br />

theatres. It is also now the third-biggest superhero film of all<br />

time, soon to pass The Dark Knight and conceivably able to<br />

top the current champ, The Avengers.<br />

This would be a remarkable achievement under any<br />

circumstances, but Black Panther is historic in another way.<br />

It is also the first big-budget superhero movie with a nearly<br />

all-black cast. That makes it a game-changer.<br />

All around the country, exhibitors have witnessed<br />

the sheer joy of African-American audiences as they have<br />

finally gotten the opportunity to see actors who look like<br />

them propelling an exciting, fantastical, heroic story about<br />

a mythical African kingdom that delivers both immense<br />

pleasure and pride. The charismatic cast includes two<br />

Oscar winners and two Oscar nominees, and two very<br />

gifted rising stars as the main adversaries, T’Challa (aka<br />

Black Panther) and Erik Killmonger: Chadwick Boseman<br />

and Michael B. Jordan. And behind the camera is talented<br />

31-year-old African-American co-writer/director Ryan<br />

Coogler, who joined the Marvel family after two highly<br />

acclaimed films, Fruitvale Station and Creed.<br />

Black Panther’s $400 million foreign gross (to accompany<br />

its $500 million domestic tally) should finally put to rest<br />

the myth that Hollywood films with black stars don’t travel<br />

well. (One might have thought box-office giants of past<br />

decades like Eddie Murphy and Will Smith would have<br />

ended that argument long ago.) Even before Black Panther’s<br />

current triumph as a broad audience-pleaser, there were<br />

very obvious signs that things had changed. There’s the<br />

phenomenon of Jordan Peele’s Oscar Best Picture nominee<br />

Get Out, a $5 million horror film/social satire that has<br />

earned $255 million worldwide (and not just from the black<br />

audience to whom it so directly speaks). Tiffany Haddish<br />

became a breakout star in Girls Trip, a raucous $19 million<br />

comedy that earned $115 million domestically. And who<br />

are two of the most consistent box-office draws in movies<br />

today? None other than Samoan/African-American Dwayne<br />

Johnson and African-American Kevin Hart. Paired together<br />

for the second time in December’s Jumanji: Welcome to<br />

the Jungle, they were key players in a box-office juggernaut<br />

that has earned nearly $400 million domestically and a<br />

worldwide gross of $928 million.<br />

The past year has seen breakthroughs for other underestimated<br />

and underserved sectors of the population:<br />

Wonder Woman’s $820 worldwide gross proved that formidable<br />

females (both in front of and behind the camera)<br />

could drive a big superhero movie, and Pixar’s Coco ($740<br />

worldwide gross) embraced Mexican culture at a time<br />

when that country could use some love from the U.S.<br />

(And let’s not forget that Mexican directors have won the<br />

Oscar four times in the past five years.)<br />

The numbers don’t lie. At a time when many people<br />

are calling for more diversity in studio executive suites,<br />

there’s no need for extra motivation—it makes simple<br />

economic sense.<br />

Making Cinema an Event<br />

“Event cinema” is a programming category that’s developed<br />

incrementally, but its share of movie theatre income<br />

keeps rising. 2017 was an especially significant year, as leading<br />

purveyor Fathom Events reported 26 releases that each<br />

generated more than a million dollars, up from 14 in 2016<br />

(including top earner Disney’s Newsies: The Broadway Musical<br />

with $4.7 million) And remarkably, Fathom Events is now the<br />

13th-largest theatrical distributor in the United States. The<br />

company currently has a presence in some 35 countries, competing<br />

with similar alternative distributors around the globe.<br />

In this edition of FJI, associate editor Rebecca Pahle<br />

speaks with Fathom CEO Ray Nutt and chief content and<br />

programming officer Gordon Synn about the challenges<br />

still facing this sector. Chief among them is marketing. As<br />

Nutt explains, “Unless the content partner is coming to us<br />

with a significant amount of marketing assets available, we<br />

pass on that content. That’s a must.”<br />

But, with savvy outreach, Fathom Events is creating a new<br />

habit for cinema-goers with a broad range of interests: opera,<br />

ballet, live theatre, classic movies, sports, anime, faith-based<br />

attractions and much more. Often, it’s a communal experience<br />

unlike the traditional hushed atmosphere desired for a movie—<br />

boxing matches and movie sing-a-longs are two examples.<br />

As Fathom Events and other alternative-content<br />

distributors reinforce their branding and connect with<br />

their customer base, expect to see more special events<br />

coming to cinemas to help the exhibitor generate new<br />

revenue from non-peak times when their auditoriums<br />

would otherwise be nearly empty. The growth of event<br />

cinema is certainly something to root for.<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 3<br />

003-006.indd 3<br />

3/8/18 2:20 PM

Barco debuts<br />

technology<br />

column, pg. 31.<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / VOL. 121, NO.4<br />

A <strong>Film</strong> Expo Group Publication<br />


Brady Jandreau stars in The Rider, pg. 22.<br />

Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics<br />


The Drowning.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18<br />

John Curran recreates the tragic night<br />

in 1969 now known as Chappaquiddick.<br />

Vigilante / Virtuoso .. . . . . . . . . . . . 20<br />

Acclaimed director Lynne Ramsay<br />

helms powerful drama of suicidal assassin.<br />

Cowboy Blues .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22<br />

Chloé Zhao returns to the heartland<br />

for heartfelt story of a broken rodeo rider.<br />

Welcome to Beirut, 1982.. . . . . . . . . 26<br />

A traumatized American diplomat<br />

returns to Lebanon at the behest of the CIA<br />

to negotiate for the life of a friend.<br />

Living Their Brand .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28<br />

Exhibitors forge bonds with their<br />

communities by giving back.<br />


In Focus. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3<br />

Reel News in Review .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6<br />

Trade Talk. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8<br />

<strong>Film</strong> Company News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10<br />

Concessions: Trends .. . . . . . . . . . . . . 12<br />

Concessions: People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14<br />

Ask the Audience.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16<br />

European Update.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63<br />

Asia/Pacific Roundabout. . . . . . . . . . 64<br />

Family Entertainment Centers, pgs. 44-53<br />

Event Cinema,<br />

pgs. 32-43<br />

John Curran confers with the cast of Chappaquiddick, pg. 18.<br />

Claire Folger © 2016 Bridgewater Picture Finance, LLC. All Rights Reserved.<br />


Chappaquiddick. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54<br />

Final Portrait . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60<br />

Game Night. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61<br />

Gemini.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55<br />

Gringo .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62<br />

Journey’s End.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57<br />

Lean on Pete.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56<br />

Love, Simon.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55<br />

Red Sparrow.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61<br />

The Strangers: Prey at Night. . . . . . 59<br />

Thoroughbreds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58<br />

Unsane .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56<br />

Where is Kyra?.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60<br />

A Wrinkle in Time.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58<br />

You Were Never Really Here. . . . . . 54<br />

003-006.indd 4<br />

3/8/18 2:24 PM

REEL<br />

NEWS<br />


Weinstein Company<br />

Deal Falls Through<br />

The road to bankruptcy continues for<br />

The Weinstein Company. An investor group<br />

led by Maria Contreras-Sweet and Ron<br />

Burkle has opted not to follow through<br />

on their proposed purchase of TWC. Explained<br />

Contreras-Sweet in a statement,<br />

“After entering into the confirmatory<br />

diligence phase, we have received disappointing<br />

information about the viability of<br />

completing this transaction. As a result, we<br />

have decided to terminate this transaction.”<br />

According to insiders, TWC was discovered<br />

to have between $50 and $64 million more<br />

in liability than was initially reported. The<br />

TWC board called this revelation “an excuse,”<br />

noting that “the Company has been<br />

transparent about its dire financial condition<br />

to the point of announcing its own likely<br />

bankruptcy… We regret being correct that<br />

this buyer simply had no intention of following<br />

through on its promises.” The investor<br />

group still plans to create a woman-led studio<br />

and to that end will “consider acquiring<br />

[TWC] assets that may become available in<br />

the event of bankruptcy proceedings.”<br />

Top Execs Rumored<br />

to Leave Lionsgate<br />

According to sources, top Lionsgate<br />

executives Erik Feig (Motion Picture Group<br />

co-president) and Patrick Wachsberger<br />

(Motion Picture Group co-chairman) are on<br />

the way out. Though nothing official has yet<br />

been announced, the rumor mill says that<br />

Feig is eyeing the creation of his own youthoriented<br />

company. The departures, if they<br />

occur, come at a time when Lionsgate is said<br />

to be looking for a buyer.<br />

Distribution Prexy Hollis<br />

Is Leaving Disney<br />

Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis<br />

has opted to leave the Mouse House,<br />

where he’s led distribution operations since<br />

2011. His job will be taken over by Cathleen<br />

Taff, who currently runs franchise<br />

management and business and audience<br />

insights for Disney. She will take on theatrical<br />

distribution in addition to those<br />

roles, becoming in the process the only<br />

woman to currently head distribution<br />

at a major studio. Said Disney president<br />

Alan Bergman in a statement, “The<br />

creation of this new role is a significant<br />

step in more effectively supporting and<br />

expanding the presence of The Walt<br />

Disney Studios’ world-class collection of<br />

filmmaking studios, and Cathleen Taff is<br />

the perfect person to take it on.” Hollis,<br />

upon leaving Disney at the end of May,<br />

will assume the role of CEO at his wife<br />

Rachel Hollis’ Chic Media.<br />

Global Road Amasses<br />

$1 Billion for Production<br />

News out of the Berlin International<br />

<strong>Film</strong> Festival’s European <strong>Film</strong> Market: Studio<br />

Global Road Entertainment has accumulated<br />

a $1 billion war chest to spend<br />

on film production. Founded by Donald<br />

Tang in 2015, Global Road acquired<br />

North American distributor Open Road<br />

last year. According to Rob Friedman,<br />

CEO of Global Road’s entertainment<br />

division, the studio “anticipate[s] production<br />

spending in the $1 billion range”<br />

over the next three years. Tang has previously<br />

stated that the company’s goal is<br />

to produce somewhere in the neighborhood<br />

of 15 films per year.<br />

Universal Marketing Head<br />

Goldstine Is Removed<br />

Seven-year Universal veteran Josh<br />

Goldstine has been removed from his<br />

role as president of worldwide marketing<br />

following allegations of inappropriate<br />

conduct. Goldstine was placed on<br />

administrative leave in mid-February, at<br />

which point Universal <strong>Film</strong>ed Entertainment<br />

chairman Jeff Shell and Universal<br />

Pictures chairman Donna Langley noted<br />

to staff that an investigation into the<br />

marketing chief’s behavior was underway.<br />

On March 6, Goldstine was officially<br />

removed. His permanent replacement<br />

has yet to be announced. Said Shell and<br />

Langley in a February statement, “Our<br />

highest priority is to provide a working<br />

environment where every employee feels<br />

heard, seen and safe.”<br />

Subscriptions: 1-877-496-5246 • filmjournal.com/subscribe • subscriptions@filmjournal.com<br />

Editorial inquiries: kevin.lally@filmjournal.com • Ad inquiries: robin.klamfoth@filmexpos.com<br />

Reprint inquiries: fji@wrightsmedia.com • 1-877-652-5295<br />

825 Eighth Ave., 29th Floor<br />

New York, NY 10019<br />

Tele: (212) 493-4097<br />

Publisher/Editor<br />

Robert Sunshine<br />

President, <strong>Film</strong> Expo Group<br />

Andrew Sunshine<br />

Executive Editor<br />

Kevin Lally<br />

Associate Editor<br />

Rebecca Pahle<br />

Art Director<br />

Rex Roberts<br />

Senior Account Executive,<br />

Advertising & Sponsorships<br />

Robin Klamfoth<br />

Exhibition/Business Editor<br />

Andreas Fuchs<br />

Concessions Editor<br />

Larry Etter<br />

Far East Bureau<br />

Thomas Schmid<br />

CEO, <strong>Film</strong> Expo Group<br />

Theo Kingma<br />


Visit www.filmjournal.com<br />

for breaking industry news,<br />

FJI’s Screener blog and reviews<br />

Like us on Facebook<br />

www.facebook.com/<br />

filmjournalinternational<br />

Follow us on Twitter<br />

@film_journal<br />

for updates on our latest content<br />

<strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International © <strong>2018</strong> by <strong>Film</strong><br />

Expo Group, LLC. No part of this publication<br />

may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval<br />

system, or transmitted, in any form or by any<br />

means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,<br />

recording or otherwise, without prior written<br />

permission of the publisher.<br />

6 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

003-006.indd 6<br />

3/8/18 2:20 PM

How Laser Impacts the Movie<br />

Going Experience<br />

By Richard McPherson<br />

The Benefits of Laser Cinema Projectors<br />

With the number of different formats available today it is becoming increasingly difficult to fill<br />

seats in the theater. Exhibitors are looking for ways to bring in new customers while retaining<br />

their current customer base. Laser projectors can help exhibitors meet this objective. Among its<br />

many benefits, laser technology creates vibrant images and provides higher color saturation.<br />

Even better, the latest generation of high-lumen laser projectors provide incredible brightness<br />

levels that last longer, providing more consistency. Most importantly, they create a viewing<br />

experience so incredible that it keeps movie-goers coming back for more.<br />

Digital projection technology now accounts for more than 95 percent of all 163,000 cinema<br />

screens around the world. Exhibitors who have invested in up-to-date laser projection are<br />

enjoying greater operational and organizational efficiencies, and they’re better able to deliver<br />

the types of engaging experiences that today’s audiences demand. Cinema operators who have<br />

installed the newest generation of laser solutions have also achieved lower total cost of<br />

ownership (TCO). Some of these projectors support 3D, live streaming, and other cutting-edge<br />

display technologies. If you’re considering moving to a laser solution for the first time or are<br />

looking to upgrade from your aging projector, keep the following benefits in mind.<br />

Long-lasting brightness<br />

All projector light sources fade over time, but a laser projector’s brightness does not decay at the<br />

same rate as that of a lamp-based projector. Laser solutions provide more stable brightness over<br />

time than equivalent lamp-based models, and they also offer much greater contrast and<br />

resolution for a longer period of time.<br />

The number-one factor to look for in a digital projector is its lumen rating. Digital laser<br />

projectors offer an impressive 20,000 hours of use when used at full brightness. They also have<br />

another major advantage: Projectors with 10,000 ANSI lumen light output or higher also<br />

provide better flexibility in controlling brightness on the screen for 2D and 3D content. Using<br />

constant brightness control to lower the light output of the projector results in two key benefits.<br />

First, the images on the screen stay brilliant while producing an amazing effect on a projector’s<br />

light decay. Second, you can extend your projector’s life even further, resulting in lower TCO.<br />

Research has demonstrated that setting a laser projector at 80 percent brightness can slow<br />

light decay and extend its life to 35,000 hours — while keeping the projector set at a 50-<br />

percent brightness setting can slow light decay even more and extend its life to as many<br />

as 70,000 hours of use. In the following graph, the red line indicates the normal light<br />

decay and life expectancy of a laser projector set at full (100%) brightness. The green line<br />

shows the light decay and lifespan of a laser projector set at 80% brightness, and the cyan line<br />

demonstrates the light decay and life expectancy of a laser projector set at 50% brightness.<br />

100%<br />

90%<br />

80%<br />

70%<br />

50%<br />

10000h 20000h 30000h 35000h 40000h 70000h<br />

Normal<br />

Light Decay Curves of Normal vs. Constant Brightness Settings<br />

Buying a laser projector with a high lumens rating can enable you to extend your projector’s life<br />

by adjusting the brightness setting to less than full brightness — while still projecting an image<br />

that will be bright enough to support the DCI standard and beyond. And if you host an event<br />

that requires ambient light, you have the ability to project images effectively by using your<br />

projector’s full brightness setting.<br />

Cost, effciency and versatility<br />

Constant<br />

Brightness Constant<br />

Brightness Constant<br />

Brightness<br />

To maximize profits, it’s crucial for exhibitors to invest in a projector with a low TCO. Unlike<br />

traditional projectors, digital laser projectors never require replacement lamps, thus lowering<br />

labor and lamp replacement costs. This benefit alone adds up to significant cost savings over<br />

your projector’s life, especially when considering cinema projectors may operate for 10 hours or<br />

more hours every day.<br />

Some new laser projectors integrate media servers and internal cooling systems, eliminating<br />

the need for costly external chillers. They provide greater installation flexibility and lower<br />

installation costs and infrastructure needs. For new theater builds, these models may even<br />

eliminate the need for projection booths because a laser projector does not require the same<br />

heating ventilation system required for lamp-based projectors. This also means you may be able<br />

to pare down your entire projection staff to better suit the laser maintenance requirements.<br />

All these benefits, taken together, add up to one clear fact: Laser projectors do much more<br />

than just provide audiences with unparalleled viewing experiences. They also increase<br />

operational efficiencies for exhibitors, while remaining adaptable enough to support<br />

emerging technologies poised to enter the market over the next several years. The bottom<br />

line is that they provide a better long-term investment solution than lamp-based solutions.<br />

90%<br />

80%<br />

70%<br />

Constant<br />

Brightness<br />

50%<br />

Rich McPherson, senior product manager at NEC Display Solutions, has more than 25 years experience in the projection industry. He oversees<br />

marketing for projectors, including installation and digital cinema projectors.




Patrick Wachsberger,<br />

co-chairman of the Lionsgate<br />

Motion Picture Group, will<br />

be honored as <strong>2018</strong> “International<br />

Distributor of the<br />

Year” at CineEurope on June<br />

14 in Barcelona, Spain.<br />

Patrick Wachsberger<br />

“Patrick has set the bar<br />

incredibly high, leading Lionsgate<br />

to generate nearly $10<br />

billion at the global box office<br />

over the past five years,”<br />

stated Andrew Sunshine,<br />

president of the <strong>Film</strong> Expo<br />

Group, which manages Cine-<br />

Europe.<br />

Before joining Lionsgate,<br />

Wachsberger served as the<br />

co-chairman and president<br />

of Summit Entertainment,<br />

the company he helped<br />

launch in 1993, in addition<br />

to being chief executive<br />

officer of Summit International.<br />

During his tenure,<br />

Wachsberger led Summit’s<br />

evolution into one of the<br />

premier independent filmed<br />

entertainment studios<br />

worldwide, launching the<br />

blockbuster Twilight saga<br />

franchise and Oscar winner<br />

The Hurt Locker.<br />

Wachsberger joined Lionsgate<br />

Motion Picture Group in<br />

January 2012, serving as cochair<br />

with Joe Drake. His successes<br />

there include Wonder,<br />

La La Land, Hacksaw Ridge and<br />

the blockbuster Hunger Games,<br />

John Wick and Now You See<br />

Me franchises. Under Wachsberger’s<br />

leadership, Lionsgate<br />

has built a global distribution<br />

infrastructure encompassing<br />

nearly 20 output deals in major<br />

territories.<br />



Robert Carrady, president<br />

of Caribbean Cinemas, will<br />

receive CinemaCon <strong>2018</strong>’s<br />

“Career Achievement in Exhibition<br />

Award” during the<br />

convention’s International<br />

Day festivities on Monday,<br />

<strong>April</strong> 23 in Las Vegas.<br />

The largest theatre circuit<br />

in the Caribbean with 492<br />

screens and 59 locations in<br />

13 territories, Caribbean<br />

Cinemas is a family business<br />

founded in 1969 by Carrady’s<br />

father in San Juan, Puerto<br />

Rico. Under Carrady’s leadership,<br />

the circuit’s operations<br />

have expanded all over<br />

Puerto Rico, the Dominican<br />

Republic, the English-speaking<br />

Caribbean Islands and recently<br />

to other territories<br />

such as Guyana, Panama and<br />

Guadeloupe.<br />



National CineMedia<br />

(NCM) is pioneering interactive<br />

augmented reality gaming<br />

in theatres this spring with the<br />

launch of “Noovie ARcade,”<br />

a companion app to NCM’s<br />

“Noovie” pre-show and Lobby<br />

Entertainment Network.<br />

Noovie ARcade is available<br />

in the iOS and Android<br />

app stores. NCM expects it<br />

to be rolled out nationwide<br />

this spring on over 20,600<br />

screens in 1,700 theatres<br />

across the country.<br />

To play, audiences only<br />

need to download the app<br />

and arrive at their local<br />

Noovie theatre early to catch<br />

the Noovie pre-show, which<br />

will prompt them to take out<br />

their phone when it’s time<br />

to play. Then, the big screen<br />

and other triggers around the<br />

lobby will unlock larger-thanlife<br />

games enabled by aiming<br />

their cellphone.<br />

Noovie ARcade games at<br />

launch will include:<br />

▶ Cinevaders: A galactic<br />

wormhole opens up and<br />

aliens pour out to invade the<br />

theatre. It’s up to the player<br />

to use powerful lasers to protect<br />

the earth from certain<br />

destruction.<br />

▶ Emoji Escape: The emojis<br />

in your phone have escaped<br />

and are wreaking havoc<br />

in the theatre lobby. Catch<br />

them all before the movie<br />

starts!<br />

▶ Munchie Mania: Players<br />

will toss flying kernels to fill<br />

up their individual popcorn<br />

bucket.<br />



Movie theatre subscription<br />

service MoviePass announced<br />

the addition of three<br />

new members to its exhibitor<br />

relations team. The team,<br />

spearheaded by senior VP<br />

of exhibitor relations Bernadette<br />

McCabe, added Joe<br />

Whyte as director of exhibitor<br />

relations, Dean Moore as<br />

exhibitor relations financial<br />

analyst, and Kevin Brown as<br />

exhibitor relations associate.<br />

Whyte joins MoviePass<br />

from Twentieth Century Fox,<br />

where he previously served as<br />

director of sales. In his newly<br />

appointed role, he will work<br />

with movie theatre exhibitors<br />

to drive strategic initiatives<br />

and encourage collaboration<br />

with MoviePass.<br />

Moore, formerly a financial<br />

analyst at Lincoln Center<br />

for the Performing Arts, will<br />

aid the exhibitor relations<br />

team in forecasting exhibitor<br />

payments, analyzing payment<br />

trends and creating reporting<br />

materials. Brown joins MoviePass<br />

from Salesforce, where<br />

he served as a strategic innovation<br />

associate.<br />



Jean-Pierre Decrette, until<br />

recently director of development<br />

at Cinémas Gaumont<br />

Pathé, has been named the<br />

<strong>2018</strong> recipient of the UNIC<br />

Achievement Award, given<br />

each year in recognition of<br />

outstanding dedication and<br />

service to European cinema<br />

exhibition. The award will be<br />

presented as part of the Cine-<br />

Europe Awards Ceremony on<br />

June 14 in Barcelona, Spain.<br />

Named CEO of the Pathé<br />

Palace in 1995, Decrette later<br />

became development director<br />

at Les Cinemas Gaumont<br />

Pathé, the largest cinema<br />

operator in France, the Netherlands<br />

and Switzerland, in<br />

addition to its operations in<br />

Belgium. The circuit has over<br />

1,000 screens across more<br />

than 100 theatres.<br />

Decrette is also deputy<br />

8 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

008-016.indd 8<br />

3/8/18 2:27 PM

president of La Fédération<br />

Nationale des Cinémas Français<br />

(FNCF), senior VP of<br />

the Union Internationale des<br />

Cinémas/International Union<br />

of Cinemas (UNIC) and on<br />

the board of directors of<br />

UNICINE.<br />



Vista Group International<br />

announced its 2017 results,<br />

reporting substantial growth<br />

and profitability stats across<br />

its businesses.<br />

Vista Entertainment Solutions,<br />

Vista’s founding and<br />

largest business, reported<br />

793 new cinema sites installed<br />

with its Vista Cinema<br />

software in 2017 to achieve<br />

a cumulative total of 6,350<br />

sites. The achievement took<br />

Vista Cinema’s share of the<br />

world’s large-cinema circuit<br />

market to over 43% and<br />

equates to revenue growth<br />

of 22% (excluding the China<br />

consolidated revenue in<br />

FY2016 of $6.7 mil). Geographically,<br />

the company<br />

secured business in 11 new<br />

countries during 2017, notable<br />

being Brazil, Italy, Austria<br />

and Sweden.<br />

Movio, the Group’s business<br />

that delivers data-driven<br />

marketing solutions for the<br />

film industry, delivered a<br />

111% increase in EBITDA on<br />

a revenue acceleration of<br />

37% to NZ$15.5 million.<br />

Powster, providing creative<br />

services to the film<br />

industry to engage users<br />

with entertainment content,<br />

created more than 1,300<br />

online “movie destinations”<br />

representing growth of 46%<br />

on 2016 and attracting an<br />

estimated 422 million visitors<br />

to its sites—an increase of<br />

290% on the previous year.<br />



Sinemia launched the<br />

United States’ first movieticket<br />

subscription service to<br />

offer its members access to<br />

any movie, in any format, at<br />

any theatre, at any showtime.<br />

Already a presence in the<br />

United Kingdom, Canada,<br />

Turkey and Australia, Sinemia<br />

is now introducing its<br />

flexible monthly movie-ticket<br />

plan memberships to the<br />

USA. Prior to its U.S. launch,<br />

Sinemia counted three million<br />

global unique monthly<br />

visitors to its social web and<br />

app platforms with more<br />

than 20 million visits.<br />

Sinemia members receive<br />

as many as three monthly<br />

movie tickets for less than<br />

the cost of one. Unlike other<br />

movie-ticket subscription or<br />

even discount models, the<br />

tickets will not be met with a<br />

bevy of restrictions. Sinemia<br />

members have the ability to<br />

select virtually any movie<br />

format (from 3D to IMAX) at<br />

any cinema and at any time.<br />

In addition, Sinemia members<br />

benefit from advance ticket<br />

options and seat reservations.<br />

The service is also<br />

the first to offer couples’<br />

subscriptions with “Sinemia<br />

for Two.”<br />



AMC Theatres announced<br />

that AMC Stubs, the company’s<br />

loyalty program, now<br />

stands at more than 12 million<br />

member households.<br />

“The movie industry is more<br />

dynamic and complex than<br />

ever before, and data providing<br />

insights into the moviegoing<br />

habits and behavior of<br />

more than 30 million Americans<br />

is of incredible value to<br />

both AMC and to our studio<br />

partners,” said AMC CEO<br />

and president Adam Aron.<br />



Olga Zinyakova, president<br />

of the KARO cinema chain,<br />

was named the <strong>2018</strong> recipient<br />

of the “International<br />

Exhibitor of the Year Award”<br />

at CineEurope.<br />

Laura Houlgatte-Abbott,<br />

CEO of UNIC (the International<br />

Union of Cinemas),<br />

stated, “Russia has quickly<br />

become one of the key territories<br />

for growth in European<br />

cinema, and much of<br />

that is due to the energy,<br />

innovation and investment<br />

that KARO has brought to<br />

the sector.”<br />

KARO was the first<br />

circuit in Russia to introduce<br />

self-service ticket and F&B<br />

systems and online F&B sales,<br />

as well as U-Choose cinema<br />

bars offering more than 100<br />

items of goods. KARO is the<br />

owner of the two largest<br />

megaplexes in Russia, one<br />

of which is recognized as<br />

the largest cinema venue in<br />

Europe. Zinyakova has been<br />

president of KARO since<br />

2017.<br />



Eclair, a leader in content<br />

services for the motion picture<br />

and television industries,<br />

announced the appointment<br />

of Dan Clark as its commercial<br />

director in the United<br />

Kingdom. For the past four<br />

years, Clark was the commercial<br />

and client-relations<br />

manager of Motion Picture<br />

Solutions, and prior to that,<br />

Arts Alliance Media’s sales<br />

manager, content and distributor<br />

services.<br />



CinemaNext, European<br />

specialist in cinema exhibitor<br />

services, and Spanish seating<br />

supplier Ezcaray International<br />

announced the signing of a<br />

distribution agreement for<br />

Ezcaray’s seating solutions for<br />

cinema exhibitors. The alliance<br />

recognizes CinemaNext<br />

as an official distributor in 17<br />

European countries as well<br />

as in the U.S., Russia, Egypt,<br />

Kazakhstan and Morocco.<br />

CinemaNext is the exclusive<br />

reseller of Ezcaray’s full range<br />

of seating products for cinema<br />

in Germany.<br />



RealD Inc. announced<br />

that the European Patent<br />

Office’s (EPO) Opposition<br />

Division has upheld<br />

the validity of one of the<br />

company’s key patents for<br />

light-doubling 3D cinema<br />

projection systems. Volfoni<br />

and MasterImage had both<br />

challenged the EPO’s grant<br />

of RealD’s European patent,<br />

which covers optical architectures<br />

in light-doubling 3D<br />

cinema systems. On Jan. 24,<br />

<strong>2018</strong>, the EPO issued their<br />

detailed written opinion, dismissing<br />

the opposition, concluding<br />

that the patent will<br />

continue to be maintained<br />

as originally granted. As a<br />

result, the patent remains in<br />

full force. <br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 9<br />

008-016.indd 9<br />

3/8/18 2:27 PM


DISNEY<br />

Recent Oscar winner Sam<br />

Rockwell will play an ape in<br />

Disney’s The One and Only Ivan,<br />

director Thea Sharrock’s (Me<br />

Before You) adaptation of Katherine<br />

Applegate’s Newberry<br />

Medal-winning 2011 children’s<br />

book. Rockwell will play Ivan, a<br />

gorilla who lives in a cage in a<br />

shopping mall with an elephant<br />

(voiced by Angelina Jolie, also<br />

producing) and a stray dog. The<br />

arrival of a baby elephant spurs<br />

Ivan to confront his past and<br />

concoct an escape plan. Actor/<br />

writer Mike White (Pitch Perfect<br />

3, Beatriz at Dinner) penned the<br />

script.<br />

Paul King, director of the<br />

critically acclaimed Paddington<br />

and its <strong>2018</strong> sequel, has joined<br />

the Disney family as the helmer<br />

of their upcoming live-action<br />

Pinocchio remake. Jack Thorne,<br />

writer of last year’s familyfriendly<br />

tearjerker Wonder, will<br />

pen the script. No actors have<br />

yet been confirmed.<br />


<strong>Film</strong> aficionados hungry<br />

for a new Wim Wenders<br />

movie won’t have long to wait:<br />

Focus Features has set a May<br />

18, <strong>2018</strong> release date for the<br />

famed German director’s latest.<br />

Wenders collaborated<br />

closely with the Vatican for his<br />

documentary Pope Francis—A<br />

Man of His Word, which features<br />

extensive behind-the-scenes<br />

footage of the current Pope<br />

addressing matters of faith.<br />

GKIDS<br />

GKids acquired North<br />

American distribution rights to<br />

Mirai, the latest film from celebrated<br />

anime director Mamoru<br />

Hosoda (The Boy and the Beast,<br />

Wolf Children, Summer Wars,<br />

The Girl Who Leapt Through<br />

Time). The film centers around<br />

a four-year-old boy bristling at<br />

the arrival of a new baby sister.<br />

Upon running away from home,<br />

he discovers a magical garden<br />

that serves as a time-travel<br />

gateway, enabling him to have<br />

adventures with his mother as<br />

a young girl, his great-grandfather<br />

as a young man and his<br />

sister from the future.<br />


Actor Paul Dano tries his<br />

hand at directing with Wildlife,<br />

a portrait of a dissolving marriage<br />

set in 1960s Montana. IFC<br />

<strong>Film</strong>s acquired U.S. and Canadian<br />

rights to the film, which<br />

stars Oscar nominees Carey<br />

Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal<br />

as the doomed couple and Ed<br />

Oxenbould (Alexander and the<br />

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very<br />

Bad Day) as their 14-year-old<br />

son. Dano adapted Richard<br />

Ford’s short story with fellow<br />

actor Zoe Kazan. IFC is reportedly<br />

eyeing a fall release for<br />

prime awards consideration.<br />


French director Xavier<br />

Giannoli (2015’s Marguerite)<br />

returns to the big screen with<br />

The Apparition, U.S. rights to<br />

which have been acquired by<br />

Music Box <strong>Film</strong>s. Vincent Lindon<br />

(The Measure of a Man)<br />

stars as a journalist hired<br />

by the Vatican to investigate<br />

the case of a young woman<br />

(Galatea Bellugi) who claims<br />

to have seen the Virgin Mary. A<br />

theatrical release is planned for<br />

late this year.<br />


A fan-favorite casting<br />

choice looks like it might<br />

come to fruition. Rumor has<br />

it that Jessica Chastain is in<br />

talks to co-star in New Line’s<br />

It sequel, playing the adult version<br />

of Losers’ Club member<br />

Beverly Marsh. Sophia Lillis<br />

played Beverly in the first film,<br />

which grossed a much-higherthan-expected<br />

$700.3 million<br />

worldwide. Both It director<br />

Andy Muschietti and killerclown<br />

actor Bill Skarsgård are<br />

expected to return for the<br />

sequel, floating into theatres on<br />

Sept. 6, 2019.<br />

Basketball superstar<br />

LeBron James, together with<br />

his SpringHill Entertainment<br />

producing partner Maverick<br />

Carter, is set to produce a new<br />

entry in the popular ’90s House<br />

Party franchise. “Atlanta” writers<br />

Stephen Glover and Jamal<br />

Olori will write the script. No<br />

director or actors have been<br />

cast, but it’s likely that several<br />

high-profile musicians will appear<br />

in front of the camera.<br />

James himself has gotten into<br />

acting recently with a well-liked<br />

supporting turn in Judd Apatow’s<br />

Trainwreck, in which he<br />

played himself.<br />



Oscilloscope Laboratories<br />

picked up U.S. rights to Madeline’s<br />

Madeline, the latest from<br />

Butter on the Latch and Thou<br />

Wast Mild and Lovely director<br />

Josephine Decker. Newcomer<br />

Helena Howard stars as the<br />

eponymous Madeline, a theatre<br />

actor who gets a bit too intense<br />

about weaving facets<br />

of her own life into her onstage<br />

performances. A theatrical<br />

release is planned for <strong>2018</strong>.<br />


Daddy’s Home director<br />

Sean Anders reunites with<br />

Mark Wahlberg for Paramount<br />

comedy Instant Family, set for<br />

release on Feb. 15, 2019. Wahlberg<br />

and Rose Byrne star as a<br />

couple whose efforts to adopt<br />

a trio of little angels go awry<br />

when the kids they end up<br />

with (Gustavo Quiroz, Julianna<br />

Gamiz and Transformers: The<br />

Last Knight’s Isabela Moner)<br />

prove less than receptive to<br />

their parental wisdom. Octavia<br />

Spencer and Tig Notaro also<br />

star.<br />


John Cusack and Emile<br />

Hirsch star in the western<br />

Never Grow Old, about an undertaker<br />

(Hirsch) who faces a<br />

moral dilemma when a takeover<br />

of his town by ruthless<br />

outlaws does wonders for his<br />

business. Before long, his family<br />

is in the crosshairs. John<br />

Cusack co-stars in the movie,<br />

which was acquired by Saban<br />

<strong>Film</strong>s for North American<br />

distribution. Ivan Kavanagh (The<br />

Canal) directs his own script.<br />

Theatrical release is planned<br />

for late <strong>2018</strong>.<br />


Samuel Goldwyn <strong>Film</strong>s<br />

acquired North American rights<br />

to Christina Choe’s thriller<br />

Nancy, about a woman (Andrea<br />

Riseborough) who comes to<br />

believe that she was kidnapped<br />

as a child. Steve Buscemi, J.<br />

Smith-Cameron, Ann Dowd and<br />

John Leguizamo co-star in the<br />

film, which debuted to positive<br />

reviews at this year’s Sundance<br />

<strong>Film</strong> Festival. A <strong>2018</strong> theatrical<br />

release is in the works.<br />

SONY<br />

Thor himself is reportedly<br />

circling a non-Marvel franchise.<br />

Rumor has it Chris Hems-<br />

10 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

008-016.indd 10<br />

3/8/18 2:27 PM

worth is in early negotiations<br />

to star in Sony’s planned Men<br />

in Black spinoff, slated for release<br />

on June 14, 2019. F. Gary<br />

Gray (The Fate of the Furious)<br />

will direct, with Art Marcum<br />

and Matt Holloway (Iron Man)<br />

writing. The film will feature<br />

new characters, as opposed to<br />

those played by Will Smith and<br />

Tommy Lee Jones in the earlier<br />

Men in Black films.<br />

Producer Neal H. Moritz,<br />

who’s has great success with<br />

the Fast and the Furious franchise<br />

and TV’s “Prison Break” and<br />

“Preacher,” hopes to get another<br />

high earner under his belt<br />

with Infinite. Newcomer Jacob<br />

Chase penned the spec script<br />

for the film, which was picked<br />

up by Sony Pictures. Infinite is<br />

about a group of audacious explorers<br />

determined to uncover<br />

the secrets of the afterlife.<br />


Sony Pictures Classics<br />

picked up North American and<br />

Latin American rights to period<br />

drama The Happy Prince, the directorial<br />

debut of actor Rupert<br />

Everett. Everett also wrote and<br />

stars in the film, which chronicles<br />

the final days—less happy<br />

than tragic—of Oscar Wilde.<br />

Colin Firth plays writer Reggie<br />

Turner, one of the few friends<br />

who stayed loyal to Wilde after<br />

his much-publicized trial for<br />

sodomy and gross indecency.<br />

Emily Watson, Colin Morgan,<br />

Tom Wilkinson and Anna Chancellor<br />

also star.<br />


Actor Boyd Holbrook<br />

(Netflix’s “Narcos”) is venturing<br />

behind the camera to write<br />

and produce The Thirst for Fox.<br />

Holbrook will also likely star<br />

in the film, a dystopian action<br />

thriller set in a world where<br />

water is scarce. Holbrook also<br />

co-stars in Fox’s Logan and<br />

their upcoming action reboot<br />

The Predator.<br />


Directors Danny Boyle<br />

and Richard Curtis are joining<br />

forces for an unnamed<br />

Universal comedy said to take<br />

place in the ’60s or ’70s. Boyle<br />

will direct the film, with Curtis<br />

writing. Little is known about<br />

their collaboration save for the<br />

period setting and that it is reportedly<br />

musical-themed. Boyle<br />

is also rumored to direct the<br />

next installment in the James<br />

Bond franchise for MGM.<br />

Infinity War Moves to <strong>April</strong> 27<br />

A bold move from Disney: Avengers: Infinity War, set<br />

to hit theatres on May 4, <strong>2018</strong>, has moved up a week<br />

to <strong>April</strong> 27. The change comes mere weeks before the<br />

planned bow of the superhero tentpole and places it in<br />

line with the release of the film in many international<br />

markets. There were no comparable new studio releases<br />

already planned for the weekend of <strong>April</strong> 27, but<br />

Warner Bros. responded to the change by moving Rampage<br />

from <strong>April</strong> 20 to <strong>April</strong> 13.<br />

Tarantino Recruits Pitt and DiCaprio<br />

Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio will reunite with<br />

Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,<br />

the director’s eighth film. The movie is set in 1969 Los<br />

Angeles and revolves around the murder of actress Sharon<br />

Tate by the followers of Charles Manson. DiCaprio<br />

will play Rick Dalton, a washed-up actor who lives next<br />

door to Tate; Pitt will play his stunt double. Sony has set<br />

a release date of August 9, 2019.<br />

Davis, Nyong’o Team for Woman King<br />

Oscar winners Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o are<br />

set to star in historical drama The Woman King for TriStar<br />

Pictures. Co-produced and based on an idea by Maria<br />

Bello, the film is set in the Kingdom of Dahomey, a oncepowerful<br />

African state that was absorbed into the French<br />

colonial empire at the beginning of the 20th century.<br />

Davis and Nyong’o will play a mother-daughter warrior<br />

duo who fought for the independence of their nation.<br />


In a change of pace for an<br />

actress best known for comedy,<br />

Kristen Wiig is reportedly<br />

in talks to play the villainess<br />

Cheetah in Warner Bros.’ Wonder<br />

Woman sequel. Patty Jenkins<br />

is back on board to direct the<br />

film, which takes the Amazonian<br />

superheroine (Gal Gadot)<br />

from the trenches of World<br />

War I forward to the ’80s to<br />

grapple with the effects of the<br />

Cold War. Dramatic credits for<br />

Wiig include Welcome to Me<br />

and The Diary of a Teenage Girl.<br />

The Wonder Woman sequel hits<br />

theatres on Nov. 1, 2019.<br />

Yara Shahidi (“Black-ish,”) is<br />

set to topline The Sun Is Also a<br />

Star, an adaptation the popular<br />

young-adult novel of the same<br />

name by Nicola Yoon. The book<br />

centers on Natasha, a teenage<br />

New Yorker who falls in love<br />

just as her family is set to be deported.<br />

Yoon previously wrote<br />

Everything, Everything, which was<br />

adapted for the screen last year<br />

by director Stella Meghie. The<br />

Sun Is Also a Star will be written<br />

by Girls Trip’s Tracey Oliver<br />

and directed by Before I Fall’s Ry<br />

Russo-Young.<br />


John Gallagher (The Deli)<br />

directs Burt Young (Rocky),<br />

Sally Kirkland (Anna) and “The<br />

Sopranos” alumni Tony Sirico,<br />

Vincent Pastore, Frederico<br />

Castelluccio, William DeMeo<br />

and Artie Pasquale in Sarah<br />

Q, about a small-town girl<br />

(newcomer Emmy James) who<br />

moves to New York City to<br />

pursue acting. Gallagher wrote<br />

the script with Joe Benedetto<br />

(A Guy Named Rick).<br />

Anne Hathaway is in negotiations<br />

to star in The Last<br />

Thing He Wanted, based on Joan<br />

Didion’s 1996 political thriller<br />

about a journalist who ends<br />

up immersed in the world of<br />

arms-dealing after her father<br />

passes away. Dee Rees, coming<br />

off an Oscar nomination<br />

for Best Adapted Screenplay<br />

for her work on Mudbound<br />

(which she also directed), is on<br />

helming duty. Marco Villalobos<br />

penned the script.<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 11<br />

008-016.indd 11<br />

3/8/18 2:27 PM


TRENDS<br />


Coffee Becomes a Compelling<br />

Alternative in Cinemas<br />

by Larry Etter, Concessions Editor<br />

For decades, carbonated beverages have ruled the<br />

beverage channel in theatres. As times have changed,<br />

theatres have become something of a blend of<br />

foodservices rather than just serving concessions and<br />

snacks, including more versatile liquid offerings such as<br />

wine, craft beers, spirits and now hot beverages.<br />

The emergence of fast-food and quick-service menus has<br />

positioned cinemas to become as much local eateries as<br />

a cinema scene. And craft beers and coffees have become<br />

artisan additions to retail foodservice in theatres. Therefore,<br />

it is only natural that the integration of hot beverages is<br />

beginning to find prominence alongside the adult-beverage<br />

sector and carbonated sodas. Baristas serving espresso have<br />

become a niche in cinema lobby spaces, now competing with<br />

sparkling sodas as liquid quenchers.<br />

Typical coffee drinkers often feel a distinct relationship<br />

with their specialty brew. They seem to have an intense<br />

devotion and interest in specialized flavors and beans.<br />

Entrepreneurs and local businesses have recognized this<br />

passion for hot beverages and coffees and expanded their<br />

fare to include something more intimate than the retail<br />

coffee marts. What most people do not understand is<br />

that the highest-quality coffee takes time to brew; there<br />

is a clear correlation between time of formulation and<br />

distinction of flavor profile. The more time spent in the<br />

preparation process, the more rewarding the consumption<br />

experience. The trick is to create the handcrafted hot<br />

beverage in the same timespan as a soda in the theatre<br />

concession or coffee kiosk. And there are a few innovative<br />

manufacturers attempting to make that happen.<br />

Mars Drinks, a division of Mars Chocolate, recently<br />

introduced its version of consumable hot beverages. The<br />

mechanism for producing such coffee concoctions is similar<br />

to the espresso machines seen in most Lavazza Shops—but<br />

quicker. The unique packaging sets this dispenser apart<br />

from the other “puck” type systems used in homes. Mars<br />

incorporates a liquid pouch that can combine the standard<br />

roasted essence with several other extracts to offer a<br />

complete line of vanilla, chocolates, caramels and others.<br />

Karen Mendenhall, account manager at Mars Drinks NA,<br />

says Mars Drinks offers a wide range of café favorites,<br />

providing choices for different generations that visit theatres,<br />

from Millennials to Baby Boomers. The Mars brewers offer<br />

the option of one drink at a time, including coffee, teas and<br />

a variety of selections including mochas, cappuccinos, lattes<br />

and iced beverages.<br />

Tomas Budek, director of sales for Nespresso USA,<br />

a partner with Nestle, sees the coffee and hot beverage<br />

features in theatres as an added inducement for theatregoers.<br />

He highlights the fact that Nespresso can bring the same<br />

quality to theatres as offered in retail operations globally.<br />

“Incomparable coffee quality and taste coupled with a good<br />

movie is a recipe to transport the patron into the big screen.<br />

Nespresso is made from the finest one to two percent of<br />

the world’s coffee beans, while our bar pressures extract<br />

produces a golden-colored crema. This product supports<br />

over 70,000 farmers in 12 countries and insures you will only<br />

experience the best coffee.” Once again, this illustrates the<br />

confidence of coffee manufacturers that cinemas can extend<br />

their brands with pride and a diversity of selections.<br />

In the shadows of the next wave of hot beverages<br />

is an item called Hotshot. Hotshot is the brainchild of<br />

Danny Glossfeld, who assimilated a method developed in<br />

Japan: hot coffee in a can. In Japan, this new coffee offering<br />

represents a $14 billion entity. Glossfeld uses the Japanese<br />

influence and concepts while perfecting his own degree<br />

of excellence in the taste of Black Arabica Coffee itself.<br />

The coffee is shelf-stable and defines the next generation<br />

of single-serve coffees. Glossfeld patented a thermal<br />

label wrap that protects the hands from a 140-degree<br />

temperature aluminum can. It has become the latest device<br />

to unite a penchant for high quality with speed of service.<br />

Since the variety of coffees and hot chocolates are already<br />

prepared and sealed in the can, the only requirement is<br />

warming the vessel that rests in a heating cabinet. When a<br />

patron asks for a coffee, the attendant is only required to<br />

pull the can from the cabinet and hand it to the patron. Talk<br />

about “grab and go.” Hotshot is the first ready-to-drink,<br />

pre-made, always-consistent hot coffee in the U.S. There<br />

is no waste, no preparation, no equipment services, no<br />

cleaning and it’s 100% sanitized.<br />

Grossfeld first introduced the product on TV’s “Shark<br />

Tank,” where it received rave reviews. Recently, testing and<br />

sampling have taken place on the streets of New York City<br />

with kiosks and cart service for people on the go who<br />

don’t have time to wait for the brewing yet want a premium<br />

hot beverage. “Hot coffee has always been offered as a<br />

courtesy to patrons and has never really been considered a<br />

relevant sales driver at the concession counter, but Hotshot<br />

has changed all of that, not only increasing hot-beverage<br />

sales but as a ticket builder that increases the overall sales<br />

average,” Grossfeld reports. “With all that’s offered at home<br />

through technology, getting patrons excited when going out<br />

is more challenging than ever. Hotshot offers something<br />

unique, something patrons have never seen before. These<br />

are the little things that make an overall impression in<br />

someone’s night out.”<br />

Larry Etter is senior vice president at Malco Theatres<br />

and director of education at the National Association<br />

of Concessionaires.<br />

12 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

008-016.indd 12<br />

3/8/18 2:27 PM

NOW A<br />


to the<br />



Deliver a flavor experience that’s unrivaled in the entertainment industry with<br />

Home Market Foods. Our innovative culinary team creates craveable products that make<br />

eating fun. With quality at our core, we are your go-to provider for all things “delicious.”<br />

Get rolling with Eisenberg franks at info@HomeMarketFoods.com<br />

www.HomeMarketFoods.com | info@homemarketfoods.com | 800.367.8325<br />

©2017 Home Market Foods, Inc. 140 Morgan Drive, Norwood, MA 02062-5013<br />

Untitled-2 1<br />

12/18/17 8:48 AM


PEOPLE<br />


National Amusements’ Patrick Micalizzi<br />

Traces Cinema Roots to Pre-teen Years<br />

This month, <strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International shines its spotlight<br />

on a concessions professional with over 35<br />

years of experience: Patrick Micalizzi, assistant<br />

VP, food and beverage, at National Amusements Inc.<br />

Patrick has served theatre concessions operations since<br />

he was 11 years old, sweeping and collecting trash from<br />

auditoriums at his local cinema. His rise to his current<br />

position has been methodical. He now oversees operations<br />

domestically and assists in 946 screens in 81<br />

locations internationally, managing vast changes in the<br />

industry.<br />

Patrick was born and reared in Westchester County,<br />

a suburb of Manhattan, and attended a mix of public and<br />

private schools there. One of his greatest influences<br />

while growing up was his grandmother, Florence, now<br />

92, who stills works multiple days a week. “She is always<br />

laughing about something and does not take anything<br />

too seriously. Grandma ‘Nan’ always gives me great<br />

advice and makes me laugh. I have definitely inherited<br />

her work ethic. I hope to have her energy when I am<br />

92,” he marvels.<br />

You can sense his humor as he describes an early<br />

moment in his career while working in the booth with<br />

Teflon film—probably in the mid-’80s. “To enter the<br />

booth, I was required to go through the men’s restroom<br />

and then up a long flight of stairs. One day, while<br />

rewinding a 20-minute reel of a movie, I went to place<br />

the film on the upper magazine of a reel and it slipped<br />

off and proceeded to bounce all the way down the stairs,<br />

landing in the men’s room.” He “gracefully” retrieved the<br />

film and put it back together on the reel, all while trying<br />

to maintain a sense of dignity.<br />

The theatre business is in his blood. He recalls that<br />

he was known around town because of his affiliation with<br />

the theatre. His grandmother worked as an usherette<br />

in the 1940s. His great uncles, George, Sammy and<br />

Pasquale, also worked as ushers at the same time. Patrick<br />

says that tradition never skipped a generation. He ended<br />

up working in the same playhouse-style theatre. Even as<br />

the theatre was split into four screens, he and his cousins<br />

worked to open the doors and greet guests each day.<br />

He hopes his nephew will carry on the tradition in the<br />

coming years.<br />

Micalizzi believes today’s business retains many of<br />

the traits it had when he “was a kid.” But “at times it<br />

is unrecognizable. It is ever-changing.” Food and beverages<br />

are different, but the experience is the same. “The<br />

movies have always been a place for guests to escape<br />

and forget about reality, even if just for a little while.”<br />

He sees his responsibility as continuing to stretch and<br />

challenge the limits of movie entertainment to help that<br />

experience evolve.<br />

Enhancing food and beverage offerings are the greatest<br />

opportunities, he believes. That includes expanding<br />

adult beverages and “keeping the experience fresh,”<br />

while using innovation and leveraging technology to help<br />

achieve that goal. He feels it’s more difficult to entice<br />

patrons to “join us” at a time of stay-at-home comforts<br />

that compete for people’s time. “This is why we have<br />

to be the best at what we do,” he contends. He likens<br />

himself to a sculptor, taking something seen as routine<br />

(like selling popcorn and sodas) and transforming it<br />

into something special. Great promotions can help, and<br />

staff engagement can create that unforgettable moment<br />

guests will remember for a lifetime. Patrick’s passion for<br />

his job extends to creating specialty cocktails and developing<br />

unique food fare as well. Patrick Micalizzi never<br />

sees his occupation as work; for him, it’s more like a<br />

hobby. Throughout his illustrious career it’s been, well,<br />

just what he does! “I watched, I learned, I did. My goal<br />

was to always learn the next job function. I have been<br />

blessed to have incredible mentors. I remember wanting<br />

to learn everything I could from a cinema owner, Ralph<br />

Friedman, and his son Bobby.” It was so fascinating to<br />

him that at age 18, directly out of high school, he was<br />

given the option to take ownership of a single-screen<br />

cinema. Image that! At age 18, Patrick owned his own<br />

theatre. No wonder he has invested so much of his time<br />

in this industry. “It was fascinating then, and it still is<br />

today!” he insists.<br />

Mel Brooks’ The History of the World, Part I is his<br />

favorite film, a picture that depicts historic events in<br />

a comically outrageous way. “Who doesn’t like Mel<br />

Brooks?” he asks. “I could say something traditional<br />

like The Godfather, but this film reminds me not to<br />

take things too seriously.” Among his favorite actors<br />

is Morgan Freeman, and dream vacation spots include<br />

Egypt and Italy’s Amalfi Coast. His favorite book is by<br />

Dale Carnegie: How to Win Friends and Influence People,<br />

attributes that seem to be working, since Patrick has<br />

become one of the most respected exhibition leaders of<br />

his generation.<br />

—Larry Etter<br />

14 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

008-016.indd 14<br />

3/8/18 2:27 PM

Still making movie<br />

magic the hard way?<br />

Creating wonderful cinema-going experiences doesn’t have to be<br />

diffcult. Investing in the right Theatre Management System will give<br />

you easy control of your screens and content, eliminate human<br />

errors, and put a smile on everybody’s face.<br />

Arts Alliance Media provides the world’s leading TMS, delivering better cinema experiences<br />

across over 40,000 screens.<br />

Discover what you’re missing on Booth 219F at CinemaCon<br />

www.artsalliancemedia.com<br />

@ArtsAllianceM<br />

ArtsAllianceMedia<br />




Ask the Audience is a monthly feature from <strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International and National<br />

CineMedia (NCM) that allows you to ask an audience of 5,000 frequent moviegoers,<br />

known as NCM’s Behind the Screens panel, the pressing questions of our industry.<br />

Our industry is based on giving<br />

a good venue for the event they<br />

customers an entertaining experience, attended. Here’s where the money<br />

normally around a screening of a new comes in – 65% of people who had<br />

release. However, many in our industry attended an event arrived at the theatre<br />

are giving customers another opportunity earlier or stayed later than they would<br />

for a movie theatre experience. Classic if they had been there to see a movie.<br />

film screenings, concerts, even award That’s good news for you, because<br />

shows…hosting events outside of new the longer your customers are there,<br />

movie showings is a whole other world of the more they’re going to spend.<br />

potential revenue. We wanted to explore For example, 72% bought concessions<br />

how much customers utilize these<br />

while at the event, which is 28% more<br />

services, and what would make them than the number of panelists who say<br />

more interested in them in the future. they purchase snacks every time they<br />

To find out, we asked the audience. see a movie.<br />

83% of our Behind the Screens panelists So, how can we get the other 63% who<br />

are aware of events at theatres, and 37% haven’t attended an event on board?<br />

have attended an event in the past. Only 2% said they had no interest<br />

Of that 37%, 52% watched a classic film whatsoever in the events, so there’s<br />

and 36% hit up a concert. A whopping hope. When we asked the panelists why<br />

98% were satisfied with their experience, they had not previously attended an<br />

and 94% agreed that a theatre was<br />

event, about 25% said they didn’t know<br />

about them, and 15% said that,<br />

as far as they knew, they weren’t offered<br />

by their local theatre. Additionally,<br />

58% don’t think cinema events are<br />

advertised well, so it might be time to<br />

consider expanding your marketing. If<br />

you do, play to your strengths by using<br />

onscreen advertising; 82% of people<br />

who were aware of the events learned<br />

about them onscreen, such as through<br />

the Fathom Events advertisements<br />

included in NCM’s Noovie pre-show.<br />

Additionally, when we asked the panelists<br />

what kinds of events they would be most<br />

interested in attending in the future,<br />

movie marathons were the clear winner,<br />

with 71% expressing that they’d like to<br />

be able to watch past films in a franchise<br />

ahead of a new premiere.<br />

Conventional movie showings are always<br />

going to be your home base, but with<br />

the opportunities events present, it might<br />

be worth considering what steps you<br />

could take to expand that portion of your<br />

business and give your customers yet<br />

another reason to count on you for an<br />

entertaining experience.<br />

To submit a question, email<br />

AskTheAudience@ncm.com with your<br />

name, company, contact information,<br />

and what you would like to ask the<br />

Behind the Screens panel.<br />


71%<br />

MOVIE<br />


61%<br />


FILMS<br />

53%<br />

LIVE<br />


52%<br />


EVENTS<br />

48%<br />


SCENES<br />

47%<br />

COMEDY<br />

ACTS<br />

Millennials were 26x more<br />

likely than older generations<br />

to be interested in movie<br />

marathons.<br />

42% would purchase event<br />

memorabilia at the theatre,<br />

such as t-shirts, posters or<br />

other souvenirs.<br />

“I was able to<br />

watch a play and a<br />

Broadway musical<br />

that I would<br />

otherwise not have<br />

had access to, it<br />

was wonderful.”<br />


“It was great to be<br />

able to see the<br />

event on the big<br />

screen, locally, and<br />

at a much better<br />

price than it would<br />

have been to go to<br />

the actual show.”<br />

“It was great to<br />

watch the big fight<br />

on a big screen with<br />

lots of passionate<br />

fans who share my<br />

interest!”<br />

16 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

008-016.indd 16<br />

3/8/18 2:27 PM

For every stage of a film,<br />

comScore has a solution.<br />

Real-time demographic and<br />

Audience Measurement<br />

psychographic information<br />

Theater Effciency Solutions<br />

Exhibitor inventory and setlement management<br />

Box Offce<br />

Real-time geographic<br />

distinction<br />

Booking & Buying Sofware<br />

For distribution and exhibition<br />

Strategic Forecasting<br />

Long lead insight into upcoming films<br />

Comprehensive industry solutions for film<br />

exhibitors and distributors across the globe.<br />

comscore.com • learnmore@comscore.com

THE<br />





Jason Clarke as Ted Kennedy in Chappaquiddick<br />

Claire Folger © 2016 Bridgewater Picture Finance, LLC. All Rights Reserved.<br />

18 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

018-031.indd 18<br />

3/8/18 2:32 PM

It just had to be a jest of God that the<br />

weekend Neil Armstrong made his “giant<br />

leap for mankind” and carried John F.<br />

Kennedy’s legacy all the way to the Moon<br />

was the same weekend a tragic misstep killed<br />

the dream of another Kennedy White House.<br />

That tragedy was, in a word, Chappaquiddick—<br />

an isle adjoining Martha’s Vineyard where Ted<br />

Kennedy drove his car off a bridge into the drink,<br />

causing the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, who’d been<br />

a worker for the recently deceased Robert Kennedy.<br />

And now—49 years after her death and nine<br />

years after Teddy’s—it’s the title of a film that<br />

explores this upending, quirky event in painful,<br />

frequently unflattering detail. This exacting and<br />

thoroughly researched original screenplay is the<br />

first ever written by Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan, a couple of<br />

thirty-something newbies who, not for nothing, made Variety’s<br />

latest annual list of 10 Screenwriters to Watch.<br />

“I was particularly struck when I read the script about the<br />

timing—that the incident coincided with the Moon landing,”<br />

confesses the film’s director, John Curran, “and, in a way, I wanted<br />

the Moon landing to hang over the film. In terms of the sound<br />

design and music, it certainly bled into the direction we took,<br />

but, truthfully, until I read the screenplay, I have to admit I never<br />

conflated those two events. How ironic, right?”<br />

Opening on <strong>April</strong> 6 from Entertainment Studios Motion<br />

Pictures, Chappaquiddick, like Jackie, plays like a fresh wound for<br />

the generations who lived through the all-too-familiar events on<br />

the screen. Curran is in that number: “I was born in 1960, so I was<br />

nine when Chappaquiddick happened. At the time, I was living<br />

in New Providence, which is next door to Berkeley Heights, New<br />

Jersey, where the Kopechnes lived. I remember there was a lot of<br />

hoopla at school about the girl in the next town.”<br />

Curran started out illustrating children’s books. “When I<br />

realized I wouldn’t make any money doing that, I went on a more<br />

commercial-design path that led me into filmmaking. I suppose,<br />

on some level, my compositions and framing have something to do<br />

with that kind of training, but I also admired narrative storytelling.<br />

Even in the illustration style that I pursued, there was more<br />

narrative than expressionistic.”<br />

This background gives his movie a visual validity—an authenticity<br />

to the era it addresses. “With a period piece, what you want to<br />

have is not glaring mistakes. You want to create a visual look, a coloring<br />

for the film—and get all the details right. It draws you back and<br />

is reminiscent of some point in time without it being too overt.”<br />

Despite their youth, his writers displayed a marvelously<br />

evocative feel for the ’60s. “They didn’t even know what<br />

Chappaquiddick was until they were watching some news story<br />

and somebody mentioned that Teddy Kennedy would probably<br />

have been President had it not been for Chappaquiddick,” says<br />

Curran. “That started them researching it and thinking there was a<br />

fascinating, important story to tell there.”<br />

In a way, it makes sense that only a later generation would be<br />

game and uninhibited enough to attempt an even-handed retelling<br />

of the Chappaquiddick tragedy. The reason no one has stepped up<br />

to the plate until now, Curran believes, “is because Ted was alive—<br />

unless you were trying to do a one-dimensional takedown of Teddy<br />

Kennedy, and none of us wanted to do that. We’re all fans of the sort<br />

of legislation that Ted pursued throughout his career as a senator.<br />

Our interest was in trying to detail a very truthful story without<br />

pulling punches and create empathy for him.”<br />

What intrigued Curran most about<br />

this warts-and-all portrait of Ted Kennedy<br />

was the ebb and flow of sympathy for the<br />

character. “I tried to retain that reaction in<br />

the finished film. My allegiance to Ted was<br />

shifting scene by scene. There were scenes<br />

where I felt incredibly sorry for him, and<br />

there were scenes where I was disgusted by<br />

his decisions. And there are scenes where I<br />

would ask myself what would I have done<br />

in that situation. That shifting perspective is<br />

very important to the film.<br />

John Curran “You have to understand, in ’69 Bobby<br />

Kennedy had been dead only a year, and<br />

Teddy was still reeling from that. I come<br />

from a very large family of eight kids—Irish<br />

Catholics—and the idea of being the last brother after all your<br />

brothers have been killed in the line of duty would be an enormous<br />

weight of expectations on you. Also, there’s the question of whether or<br />

not you want to get into trying to fill their shoes.”<br />

When Curran took on the project, he sat down with Allen and<br />

Logan and presented them with a list of a dozen questions he had<br />

about their script. “I wanted to make sure they didn’t invent a lot<br />

of the pivotal plot turns, but there were some strange decisions and<br />

behaviors, some outrageous coincidences, and these were all drawn<br />

from facts or the inquest. There’s obviously dialogue that’s made up<br />

in characters that are sort of hybrids of real people, but we really<br />

tried not to take creative license with the facts of the case or with<br />

the decisions made from within the Kennedy camp.<br />

“Also, there was a very low appetite to prosecute Ted. It was<br />

Ted Kennedy country. They were all Democrats. Even the special<br />

prosecutor admitted on camera, in a subsequent documentary, they<br />

didn’t try too hard. If this accident had happened today, I think<br />

his career would have been over. It was a different time back then.<br />

There was a bit more hands-off quality to politicians, at least in<br />

terms of the press.”<br />

The director and his writers gingerly tiptoe through scenes that<br />

weren’t witnessed or documented. Whether Ted and Mary Jo were<br />

racing off to a tryst is left up to you.<br />

“Who knows? There are things only those two know about that<br />

night that none of us will ever know. I didn’t want to say there isn’t<br />

that possibility, but I certainly didn’t want to say it happened. It’s<br />

open to interpretation whether they did or they didn’t.”<br />

The one unhappy, unprintable line given to his wife, Joan, seems<br />

to point to a pretty miserable marriage and a very randy Teddy.<br />

“There’s enough evidence that he was sort of a serial philanderer,<br />

so you’d be creating a false history otherwise. You want to capture<br />

his character as well as you can, and I think it was part of his<br />

character.”<br />

The Australian actor tapped to play Ted Kennedy—Jason<br />

Clarke of Zero Dark Thirty and Mudbound—was actually born the<br />

day before the Chappaquiddick incident.<br />

And such “outrageous coincidences” don’t stop there. Curran<br />

met Clarke during the two decades he lived in Australia, “and<br />

he was actually in my first feature, called Praise, for about eight<br />

seconds. He was one of the lead characters’ boyfriends who appears<br />

for a brief moment in a party and then disappears for the rest of<br />

the film.<br />

“I’ve always really loved him as an actor, and when I got the<br />

script, Jason was already attached. The big reason I did it was I<br />

think he’s a phenomenal actor—I knew he’d do his homework and<br />

continued on page 66<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 19<br />

018-031.indd 19<br />

3/8/18 2:32 PM


Joaquin Phoenix stars in You Were Never<br />

Really Here, a brutal, kick-ass actioner<br />

in which a hammer-wielding fixer<br />

busts his way through a sex-trafficking<br />

ring in order to rescue the teenage<br />

daughter (Ekaterina Samsonov) of a<br />

political rising star.<br />

Scratch that.<br />

Joaquin Phoenix stars in You Were<br />

Never Really Here, a character study of<br />

a traumatized veteran still suffering the<br />

psychological aftershocks of an abusive<br />

childhood. A job gone wrong places<br />

Joe face-to-face with the ever-widening<br />

cracks in his own damaged psyche.<br />

However audiences interpret You Were<br />

Never Really Here is fine with director<br />

Lynne Ramsay, who also adapted the<br />

Jonathan Ames novella on which the film<br />

is based. “The thing that’s interesting<br />

to me about this film is that there will<br />

be so many different interpretations. It<br />

is an action movie, in a way, where the<br />

action is skewed on its head,” notes the<br />

writer-director in her heavy Glaswegian<br />

accent. “You always get typecast by your<br />

last movie,” in this case 2011’s We Need<br />

to Talk About Kevin. “But I always try<br />

to make a different movie every time. I<br />

was just excited to make this film about<br />

masculinity.”<br />

(There is one label, applied by some to<br />

You Were Never Really Here, that Ramsay<br />

bristles at: “guys’ film.” “Like you’re not<br />

meant to make it as a woman! Women<br />

can’t make these films, I guess. ‘Guys’<br />

film.’ What the fuck does that mean?”)<br />

Whatever genre you want to ascribe<br />

to You Were Never Really Here, the Amazon<br />

<strong>Film</strong>s release stands as a neo-pulp<br />

masterpiece, a testament to the artistic<br />

genius of one of the most talented directors<br />

working today. Brutal and harrowing,<br />

it takes the cliché of the hyper-masculine,<br />

violent “lone wolf”—your Eastwoods and<br />

Waynes, on through Taken’s Liam Neeson<br />

with his “very particular set of skills”—<br />

and turns it on its head, gifting audiences<br />

with a tour de force performance from<br />

Phoenix as a vulnerable, damaged man<br />

who craves human connection even as he’s<br />

busting skulls.<br />

Human connection—the desire<br />

for it, the lack of it, the inability to<br />

sustain it and the need to sometimes<br />

be cut off from it—is a common theme<br />

throughout Ramsay’s work. Her films are<br />

filled with characters—like Kevin’s Eva<br />

Khatchadourian (Tilda Swinton), unable<br />


Joaquin Phoenix<br />

and Ekaterina<br />

Samsonov<br />


to forge a bond with her son (Ezra Miller), or the title character (Samantha Morton)<br />

of 2002’s Morvern Callar, who at one point embarks on a solo jaunt across the Spanish<br />

countryside—who experience profound isolation. You Were Never Really Here’s Joe<br />

is no different. He has professional associates he intentionally avoids sharing any<br />

personal details with. The only person he really cares for is his elderly mother (Judith<br />

Roberts). The title refers to Ames’ description of Joe’s suicide attempt: “He felt<br />

himself diminishing, a shadow around the edges of his mind, and he heard a voice<br />

say, It’s all right, you can go, you were never really here.”<br />

Asked what attracts her to stories of isolation, Ramsay responds in her typical<br />

friendly, no-BS fashion: “Well, don’t we all [feel isolated]?” This is a “strange time”<br />

right now, she elaborates, one where a constant barrage of information shared via<br />

social media leads to “a heightened mood where you can speak to lots of people but<br />

still be in your bubble, still be extremely lonely in some ways.”<br />

Ramsay cut herself off from the onslaught while scripting You Were Never Really<br />

Here, which she penned while living on a small island in Greece. What drew her to<br />

/<br />

20 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

018-031.indd 20<br />

3/8/18 2:32 PM


Lynne Ramsay<br />

powerful drama of a suicidal assassin<br />

Ames’ book was the complexity of Joe, whom she describes as “a really interesting<br />

and pretty fucked-up individual, but one you care about as well. One minute you<br />

think he’s a psychopath, and the next he’s singing with him mom… I don’t know if<br />

Joe’s a good guy or a bad guy. He’s neither. He’s all of them.” He’s “the opposite of a<br />

knight in shining armor,” Ramsay says. “He can’t even save himself.”<br />

Another draw for Ramsay was Ames’ prose, which echoes the propulsive,<br />

“economical, but also very, very sharp” tone of pulp books and movies of the mid-<br />

20th century. Ramsay was determined that this carry through to her movie, which<br />

was intended to be (and succeeds in being) “tight and ferocious and economical,<br />

with not a bit of fat on it. Clean. [I wanted it to] not be self-indulgent and to keep it<br />

moving, but also to make it so you don’t really know where you’re going. These feel<br />

like opposite things, but that’s what I was trying to achieve.”<br />

Ames’ You Were Never Really Here is a quick, exciting read—very quick, given<br />

that it cuts off more or less in the middle of Joe’s story, a situation that left Ramsay to<br />

come up with a third act. That’s exactly the sort of challenge the filmmaker relishes.<br />

Alison Cohen Rosa © Amaxon Studios<br />

You Were Never Really Here’s shoot<br />

took place over 29 days, nestled in the<br />

middle of a sweltering New York summer.<br />

Phoenix, Ramsay recalls, “doesn’t like<br />

hanging around and waiting for things.<br />

The spirit was very, ‘Let’s go, let’s do it.’<br />

I’m shooting with him within the first<br />

two minutes, and the crew is like ‘What<br />

do you mean, they’re shooting?’ The film<br />

has that kind of energy and briskness.<br />

It’s its own lean, ferocious thing.” And<br />

“exciting” to shoot, owing in large part to<br />

Phoenix. “Joaquin never plays the same<br />

take twice,” Ramsay observes. “You never<br />

quite know where this guy’s going to go,<br />

which I think is really interesting for an<br />

audience because you never know what’s<br />

going to happen next.”<br />

Ramsay and her cast and crew “were<br />

having such fun in this place that was<br />

super-creative,” she says. “It was a bit<br />

like being in a band or something, and<br />

having a great jam.” The band metaphor<br />

is particularly applicable given the<br />

importance of sound to You Were Never<br />

Really Here. “In another life,” she explains,<br />

“I’d like to have been a mixer.” Instead,<br />

she worked closely with sound designer<br />

Paul Davies, who’s worked on all of her<br />

films save one short, and composer Jonny<br />

Greenwood (We Need to Talk About Kevin,<br />

Phantom Thread) to craft a soundscape<br />

that echoes Joe’s inner trauma.<br />

“There were no cars” on the Greek<br />

island where she had been living,<br />

Ramsay recalls, “so I came to New<br />

York and closed my eyes and felt like I<br />

was going crazy. This city’s mad if you<br />

listen to it!” That aural onslaught is a<br />

key component of the finished film,<br />

which uses an expertly blended mix of<br />

silence and cacophony to paint Joe as<br />

an outsider drifting through a cloud of<br />

chaos. “For me,” Ramsay says, “what<br />

sound does in this film is more than half<br />

the picture.”<br />

The result—of the sound design,<br />

the score, of Phoenix’s performance<br />

and Ramsay’s direction and everything<br />

else together—is a vital portrait of a<br />

complicated man. For no one is that<br />

vitality more acute than Ramsay herself.<br />

“I really feel it when I make films. I<br />

feel the things the actors do,” she says,<br />

recalling a nightclub scene in Morvern<br />

Callar where she unintentionally mirrored<br />

Samantha Morton’s back-and-forth sway<br />

from behind the camera. To be so in sync<br />

with what you’re filming “is exciting, and<br />

you hope that reflects in the movie at the<br />

end. Because if you’re not in it, then who’s<br />

going to be?” <br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 21<br />

018-031.indd 21<br />

3/8/18 2:32 PM

Brady Jandreau stars<br />

in The Rider, directed<br />

by Chloé Zhao, below.<br />

Photos courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics<br />

Cowboy Blues<br />

Chloé Zhao returns to the American heartland<br />

for this heartfelt story of a broken rodeo rider<br />

by Maria Garcia<br />

T<br />

he Rider centers on Brady (Brady<br />

Jandreau), a Native American bronco<br />

rider whose fall from his horse dramatically<br />

alters his life. The Sony Pictures Classics<br />

release, opening <strong>April</strong> 13, is written and<br />

directed by Chinese filmmaker Chloe Zhao,<br />

whose journey across America led her to the<br />

Lakota Reservation in South Dakota.<br />

“I arrived from Beijing and the U.K. a<br />

sheltered woman who did not speak English<br />

very well,” she confides, after a New<br />

York <strong>Film</strong> Festival screening last fall. “I<br />

dreamed of studying in America.” Zhao’s<br />

freshman year at Mount Holyoke College<br />

in Massachusetts began a few days before<br />

9/11. “I was ignorant of America when<br />

that happened,” she recalls. “Everything I<br />

knew about this country came from Hollywood<br />

movies.”<br />

In her elegiac second feature, Zhao<br />

portrays an America few Americans know.<br />

Indian reservations, even the dozen or<br />

so that welcome visitors, or<br />

that share grazing lands and<br />

a border with U.S. national<br />

parks, such as Grand Canyon<br />

and Badlands, are rarely visited<br />

by vacationers. Badlands is<br />

on the Pine Ridge Reservation,<br />

where The Rider is set<br />

and where it was filmed. In<br />

the 1970s, it was the home of<br />

Oglala Lakota Russell Means,<br />

a founder of the American Indian Movement.<br />

One of AIM’s most famous protests<br />

was an occupation of Mount Rushmore in<br />

1971, a monument built on land sacred to<br />

the Lakota. The Wounded Knee Massacre<br />

of Lakota in 1890 took place on what is<br />

now the Pine Ridge Reservation. The Lakota<br />

were among the organizers of recent<br />

protests at Standing Rock; the oil pipeline<br />

that was the object of those protests may<br />

endanger the reservation’s water supply.<br />

Chris Eyre’s Skins (2002), a story of a<br />

former Native American football player<br />

and his brother, was the first<br />

theatrical film shot on Pine<br />

Ridge, the most impoverished<br />

area of the United States.<br />

Zhao has produced both of her<br />

films there. The first, Songs My<br />

Brother Taught Me (2015), is<br />

about a young man, not unlike<br />

many other Native American<br />

men and women, whose prospects<br />

for a better life lie off the<br />

reservation and away from their loved ones.<br />

In contrast, The Rider profiles a cowboy, a<br />

man immersed in the mainstream ranching<br />

lifestyle of Native American reservations in<br />

the West and Southwest.<br />

“It is not as simple as saying Brady, as a<br />

cowboy, is a person of the land,” Zhao says,<br />

pointing to the complex nature of Native<br />

American identity. “We separated them<br />

from their land and put them in boarding<br />

schools. A couple of generations later,<br />

they’re on Snapchat, and some young people<br />

don’t know how to manage their land.”<br />

22 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

018-031.indd 22<br />

3/8/18 2:32 PM



Movie theaters around the<br />

globe trust the unmatched<br />

quality of USHIO.<br />


Impress your audience with the captivating brightness, contrast,<br />

color and sharpness of USHIO DXL lamps on your cinema screen.<br />

They are the only lamps that are tested, approved and certifi ed by<br />

all major projector manufacturers including Barco, NEC and Sony.<br />

SEE ALSO<br />

USHIO is an Exclusive Distributor of<br />

Washer & Dryer System<br />

for 3D Glasses.<br />


Recommended<br />

and approved by<br />

DOLBY ® & RealD<br />

for the maintenance<br />

of 3D glasses.<br />

Ushio America, Inc. www.ushio.com | Ushio Inc. www.ushio.co.jp

Zhao’s undergraduate degree is in<br />

political science, but she switched to film<br />

as a graduate student living in New York<br />

City. “I was in my third year in the film<br />

program, and I knew that my time in<br />

New York wasn’t going to work out,” she<br />

says. “It was expensive, and I was lost as a<br />

human being and a storyteller, so I went<br />

west.” By the time she began production<br />

on her first film, which she also wrote and<br />

directed, Zhao had moved to Denver, and<br />

was traveling back and forth between that<br />

city and the Pine Ridge Reservation.<br />

“Being someone who looks like me<br />

made it easy to be on the reservation,” she<br />

explains, “although my cinematographer,<br />

who is a tall, British guy, did not have it as<br />

easy as I did.” Joshua James Richards (last<br />

year’s acclaimed God’s Own Country) was<br />

Zhao’s director of photography on both of<br />

her films. “I can walk into someone’s home,”<br />

she adds. Lakota and Diné and other Native<br />

Americans welcome Asians and Asian-<br />

Americans as their Eurasian ancestors.<br />

The Rider features an all-Lakota cast<br />

playing themselves. Lane Scott, Brady’s<br />

hospitalized friend, was a local rodeo performer<br />

before he was severely injured in a<br />

car accident. Brady’s other co-stars, his<br />

father Tim, and his autistic sister Lily, are<br />

his real-life family.<br />

Zhao recalls that she was playing<br />

videogames when she first met Brady. “I<br />

thought: The camera is going to love that<br />

face,” she says. “I went outside and watched<br />

as he trained a horse. That evening, I asked<br />

him if he wanted to make a film with me.”<br />

Brady trains horses for a living, and<br />

was a rodeo bronco rider before his accident.<br />

It is a sport many Native American<br />

boys and men (and some women) aspire to.<br />

Bronco contestants ride a specially trained<br />

horse that bucks in an attempt to throw<br />

the rider, as Zhao illustrates in the film.<br />

Rodeos are the main sporting event on<br />

some reservations; while they include competitions<br />

in roping and herding, bronco<br />

riding is the epitome of masculine bravado.<br />

“I didn’t have a story for almost a year and<br />

a half,” Zhao says, “and then Brady got<br />

hurt and I had my story.”<br />

The Rider begins with Brady picking<br />

stitches out of his head, where he now has a<br />

metal plate. The film charts his recovery, and<br />

his far more painful realization that his rodeo<br />

days are behind him. “I was drawn to Brady<br />

because there is something so pure and authentic<br />

about who he is at a time when everyone<br />

is conforming to trends,” Zhao notes.<br />

“He is so unapologetically himself. I thought<br />

the camera would capture that.”<br />

Brady’s difficult relationship with his father<br />

is not invented, nor is his tender and candid<br />

way of being with Lily. As for the cowboy’s<br />

horse-training skills, Zhao staged some<br />

shots, but when Brady is in a corral calming<br />

a bucking horse, that is real—the horse is<br />

wild. The scene, which showcases Richards’<br />

handheld camera work, is also a particularly<br />

remarkable example of the delicate verisimilitude<br />

that distinguishes Zhao’s film.<br />

Zhao started with a 55-page script<br />

based on her actors’ lives. She remembers<br />

her first meeting with Lily: “She had taped<br />

scenes from TV shows, edited them incamera,<br />

and acted to that. Lily has been<br />

expressing herself through storytelling all of<br />

her life.” Reflecting on Lily’s autism, Zhao<br />

says that it was very important to her “to be<br />

able to cast someone who has disabilities<br />

but not making the film about that.”<br />

The Rider is shot almost entirely in natural<br />

light. “What lights we had, we bought at<br />

Walmart,” Zhao says. “It is hard to make a<br />

film beautiful and real, because it has to go<br />

beyond beautiful to make it real. I give that<br />

to Josh Richards.” As for the splendor of the<br />

landscape, the night sky and the horses, they<br />

needed no embellishment. “What Brady is<br />

seeing,” Zhao says, “is already so majestic.” <br />

24 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

018-031.indd 24<br />

3/8/18 2:32 PM

Courtesy Bleecker Street<br />

Rosamund Pike , Jon Hamm and Dean Norris in a scene from Beirut.<br />

Welcome to Beirut, 1982<br />





26 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

018-031.indd 26<br />

3/8/18 2:32 PM

y gina hall<br />

In 1991, Russia was one of 15 republics<br />

of the soon-to-be-disbanded Soviet<br />

Union, apartheid laws existed in South<br />

Africa, and the U.S. was engaged in a war<br />

in the Middle East. The Internet was made<br />

available to unrestricted commercial use.<br />

Dr. Seuss died that year, as did Star Trek<br />

creator Gene Roddenberry, It’s a Wonderful<br />

Life director Frank Capra, and Queen lead<br />

singer Freddie Mercury. Grunge music<br />

made its debut with the release of Nirvana’s<br />

Nevermind.<br />

That same year, a spec script about the<br />

relatively recent crisis in Beirut was picked<br />

up by a company called Radar <strong>Film</strong>s. In<br />

<strong>2018</strong>, the film version of that screenplay was<br />

unveiled at the Sundance <strong>Film</strong> Festival.<br />

It’s a long journey from the page to the<br />

screen. In the time between the penning<br />

and the production of Beirut, the world<br />

changed more than it ever had in any similar<br />

timespan. That Tony Gilroy screenplay<br />

may well have been written on a typewriter.<br />

<strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International spoke with<br />

director Brad Anderson about the process<br />

of getting Beirut to theatres.<br />

“I read the spec in 1991,” Anderson recalls.<br />

It was hardly a period piece back then,<br />

however, as the events of the hostage situation<br />

in Beirut, Lebanon were still very fresh<br />

to many Americans. “It was a movie that<br />

was a little touchy at the time—a little too<br />

close to the bone in early ’91, when it was<br />

just after the first Gulf War. A movie about<br />

a war-torn Middle Eastern country was too<br />

touchy for studios and financiers apparently,<br />

so the movie just didn’t get off the ground.<br />

So it went onto a shelf at Radar.”<br />

That was a tough break for Gilroy, because<br />

“the script had a lot of attention when<br />

he first wrote it,” Anderson notes. “Different<br />

directors, different actors were attached to<br />

various stages.” But it ultimately sat idle,<br />

collecting dust. Then, a few years back, a<br />

movie about another Middle East hostage<br />

crisis from that period earned Oscars for<br />

Best Picture and Best Director: Argo.<br />

Radar’s Michael Weber located the old<br />

Gilroy script with the aim of finally getting<br />

it into production. “I had a relationship<br />

with Tony because we had another project<br />

at one point we were trying to get off the<br />

ground that didn’t materialize.” Weber realized<br />

the two might be good collaborators.<br />

“I liked the idea of strictly working<br />

with Tony formally and respected him as a<br />

director and a writer of course, and sort of<br />

the pedigree of the project was intriguing,”<br />

Anderson says. “I loved the idea of doing a<br />

Director Brad Anderson<br />

movie, a period film particularly set in that<br />

exotic world, which I wasn’t that familiar<br />

with, frankly.<br />

“It reminded me a little bit of a movie<br />

that I loved, which was a Peter Weir film<br />

called The Year of Living Dangerously, with<br />

Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver. It’s a<br />

sort of war-torn love story set in Indonesia<br />

in the late ’60s. He plays a war correspondent.<br />

And it had the same kind of dark,<br />

exotic world that the script evoked.”<br />

Finding financing for the film wouldn’t<br />

be easy, of course. They attached Jon Hamm<br />

and Rosamund Pike, however, which got the<br />

ball rolling. And, of course, you must have a<br />

pretty good story to tell to get two A-list actors<br />

like that to jet off to the Middle East.<br />

The log line of Gilroy’s script, according<br />

to IMDb, goes like this: A U.S. diplomat<br />

(Hamm) flees Lebanon in 1972, after<br />

a tragic incident at his home. Ten years<br />

later, he is called back to war-torn Beirut<br />

by a CIA operative (Pike) to negotiate for<br />

the life of a friend he left behind.<br />

After considering their options, the<br />

filmmakers decided to shoot in Tangier,<br />

Morocco. That decision caused a minor<br />

stir on Twitter, which subsequently got the<br />

attention of The New York Times.<br />

The trailer for the film has been viewed<br />

more than five million times on YouTube,<br />

launching its own hashtag calling for a<br />

boycott of the movie. So what’s the controversy?<br />

For starters, neither Hamm nor<br />

Pike, the top-billed actors, is Lebanese. And<br />

Morocco, according to maps, isn’t Lebanon.<br />

“We cast [Hamm] because he really<br />

felt like a good fit for this guy, Mason<br />

Skiles,” says Anderson. “Based on what<br />

Jon has done in the past, [like] ‘Mad<br />

Men’…there’s a kind of intelligent worldweariness<br />

to the guy, there’s a kind of<br />

brokenness to him; the recovering from the<br />

trauma from his past; a guy who is kind of<br />

a little cynical, with a dry sense of humor,<br />

that’s Jon.”<br />

Mohammed Kamal / Bleecker Street<br />

Anderson adds, “We needed [someone]<br />

like Jon, who could bring that plausibility.<br />

You buy him as a member of the diplomatic<br />

corps, as a kind of negotiator, a<br />

talker… Jon has a lot of the attributes [to<br />

play] a guy who is just down on his luck…<br />

and given one more opportunity to pull<br />

himself up.”<br />

And what about filming in Tangier, as<br />

opposed to Beirut? Gilroy told The Times,<br />

“Lebanon today is so sleek and modern<br />

and so put together. It doesn’t provide the<br />

sort of skeleton that we need for an art<br />

department to create the kind of destruction<br />

that there was in 1982.”<br />

Anderson echoes that sentiment, “We<br />

really wanted to just make it look like we<br />

were really there…the patina of dust...that<br />

kind of special light that that place has…<br />

We wanted to make it feel very sort of<br />

grounded and real and a little dirty.”<br />

“We did a lot of research…looking at<br />

old documentaries from that era and photographs,<br />

and there are a lot of visual moments<br />

in the movie that we pulled literally<br />

right from some of the classic photographs<br />

from that war—like there’s one image of<br />

these kids playing on this abandoned artillery<br />

gun on the mountains around Beirut…<br />

We looked for locations and places<br />

that evoked what we considered to be what<br />

it must’ve been like back then.”<br />

Critics have voiced other complaints as<br />

well, such as the fact that Beirut depicts the<br />

Middle East as a violent place. Lebanese<br />

writer Nasri Atallah told The Times that<br />

while he doesn’t want films to downplay<br />

the violence of his country’s civil war, what<br />

he saw in the plotline of the Beirut trailer<br />

“does not appear to make efforts to dissect<br />

the time’s political complexities.”<br />

Even the title of the film, Beirut, has<br />

come under siege. Philippe Aractingi, a<br />

Lebanese director, told The Times that<br />

“Gilroy’s use of the name Beirut to signify<br />

danger in the American mind [is] offensive<br />

and so stereotypical.” If the name of your<br />

city does in fact signify danger in people’s<br />

minds, that’s probably an issue to take up<br />

with your chamber of commerce or your<br />

tourism board.<br />

But whether the criticism will affect<br />

audiences’ decision to turn out for Beirut<br />

waits to be seen. The Bleecker Streer release<br />

is set to open in theatres on <strong>April</strong> 11, which<br />

gives both sides on the argument ample<br />

time to debate the merits of their respective<br />

cases. And for filmmakers considering telling<br />

similar stories, using non-local actors<br />

and shooting in stand-in locations, Beirut’s<br />

opening-weekend box-office numbers will<br />

certainly be worth watching. <br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 27<br />

018-031.indd 27<br />

3/8/18 2:32 PM

Living<br />

Brand<br />

their<br />

Exhibitors Forge Bonds<br />

with Their Communities<br />

by Giving Back<br />

“Children are our special focus—and we’re also using the power of what we offer and who we are to promote<br />

visual health in children through the cinema,” says Annelise Holyoak, USA marketing manager, Cinépolis.<br />

by Bob Gibbons<br />

Back in my growing-up years in<br />

Rochester, New York, the Liberty<br />

Theatre was just down the street.<br />

It opened in 1927 and was demolished<br />

in 1959. Although always a<br />

“third-run house,” it saw itself as<br />

a small neighborhood theatre that<br />

tried to be a good neighbor.<br />

Beginning in 1929, the theatre<br />

began offering free use of its<br />

space to local schools and other<br />

community groups. At Wednesday<br />

evening performances during the<br />

winter of Depression year 1931, one<br />

lucky ticket holder won a ton of coal.<br />

During the ’40s, The Liberty offered<br />

reduced admissions for those who<br />

purchased war stamps. In the ’50s,<br />

to lure kids from television, the<br />

theatre gave away roller skates.<br />

Times have changed. There<br />

are now national philanthropic<br />

organizations to work with, local<br />

and regional causes to support. But<br />

theatres are still stepping forward<br />

to bring fresh ideas that help<br />

their communities. Here, several<br />

members of the exhibition business<br />

discuss how giving back enables<br />

them to “live their brand.”<br />

28 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

018-031.indd 28<br />

3/8/18 2:32 PM

Snapshots from the grand opening of Emagine Theatres in Saline, MI. “We want our guests to be immersed<br />

in an amazing experience,” says Melissa Boudreau, chief marketing officer, Emagine Intertainment Inc.<br />

“In some ways, that’s what’s also behind our charitable partnerships—especially those involved with our grand openings.”<br />

Lynne McQuaker (Senior Director,<br />

Public Relations and Outreach, Studio Movie<br />

Grill): Studio Movie Grill’s mission is to<br />

open hearts and minds, one story at a time;<br />

we look for outreach opportunities that are<br />

consistent with that purpose.<br />

Sarah Van Lange (Director of Communications,<br />

Cineplex, Inc.): A lot of our business<br />

is about empowering youth. We provide the<br />

first job for countless Canadian youths and<br />

WE is a charity that’s fully aligned with that;<br />

they’re dedicated to inspiring and empowering<br />

young people to make positive change<br />

both here in Canada and internationally. As<br />

our national charity partner, WE fits perfectly<br />

with who we are and what we do.<br />

Melissa Boudreau (Chief Marketing Officer,<br />

Emagine Entertainment Inc.): We stand<br />

for innovation; we want our guests to be<br />

immersed in an amazing experience. In some<br />

ways, that’s what’s also behind our charitable<br />

partnerships—especially those involved with<br />

our grand openings.<br />

Mark Mazrimas (Marketing Manager,<br />

Classic Cinemas): We brand ourselves as<br />

“Your Hometown Theatre” and because<br />

many of our theatres are historic and have<br />

been in the community for a long time, a lot<br />

of people think of our theatre as their theatre.<br />

That leads us into doing community events,<br />

working with local organizations, doing<br />

fund-raisers, school shows. We believe these<br />

are things we should do.<br />

Annelise Holyoak (USA Marketing<br />

Manager, Cinépolis): Our mission is to contribute<br />

to our communities and to provide<br />

entertainment to disadvantaged youth and<br />

others in the neighborhoods we serve. Children<br />

are our special focus—and we’re also<br />

using the power of what we offer and who<br />

we are to promote visual health in children<br />

through the cinema.<br />

Van Lange: Cineplex operates 163 theatres<br />

across Canada, and for the past seven<br />

years we’ve hosted a Saturday morning of<br />

free movies for Canadians to enjoy in all<br />

of them. We call it “Cineplex Community<br />

Day” and in addition to providing a free<br />

movie, we work with our concession partners<br />

to have discounted concession items<br />

like popcorn, pop and select candy. All proceeds<br />

from the day go to WE, our national<br />

charity partner, and since we began working<br />

with them, we’ve raised $3.5 million to support<br />

the cause. In support of this effort, over<br />

175,000 students and others—including<br />

Cineplex employees—have contributed over<br />

four million volunteer hours.<br />

Holyoak: “Let’s All Go To The Movies”<br />

initially started out in 1998 with our parent<br />

company, Cinépolis, in Mexico; we brought it<br />

to the U.S. in 2015. It’s our initiative to bring<br />

groups of children—including disadvantaged<br />

and underprivileged kids who couldn’t afford<br />

the experience—to the theatre and to<br />

give them a fun and enjoyable day at the<br />

movies. We have mariachis, we have clowns<br />

entertaining them—so it’s a whole miniadventure<br />

with a movie at the heart of it. Our<br />

parent company offers this program in 13<br />

countries; to date, Cinépolis has hosted 4.5<br />

million children worldwide. In 2015, we had<br />

about 600 U.S. children involved; in 2017, we<br />

brought in 2,000 children. Our program is<br />

still in its infancy here in the U.S., so there’s<br />

room to grow. In the U.S., we’ve partnered<br />

with the Mexican Consulate; they’re a great<br />

supporter, but we’re also finding additional<br />

resources and establishing smaller partnerships<br />

that make these events special. Our<br />

plan is to be able to hold one of these events<br />

each year at all of our locations.<br />

McQuaker: Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman<br />

inspired us to find and celebrate “Real Life<br />

Women Superheroes” who are making a difference<br />

in our theatre communities. We spread<br />

our net wide and found some wonderful<br />

women doing some amazing things. On our<br />

website we shared their stories; it was a true<br />

challenge to try to pick one special woman<br />

Craig Kielburger, co-founder of the WE movement, and Ellis Jacob,<br />

president and CEO of Cineplex, volunteering at a Community Day in 2017.<br />

from each community. Finally selecting 12<br />

very special women, we flew them to Dallas<br />

to honor them and celebrate the opening of<br />

Wonder Woman. We held an opening-night<br />

premiere; they walked the red carpet, we<br />

introduced them and created a special tribute<br />

video; we presented them with our “Opening<br />

Hearts and Minds Award” and made a donation<br />

to their charity of choice to support their<br />

work. It was a wonderful evening, a great way<br />

to bring our teams together and show how<br />

we try to live our mission and leave a positive<br />

wake at Studio Movie Grill. We’re continu-<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 29<br />

018-031.indd 29<br />

3/8/18 2:32 PM

From left: Lynne McQuaker, Sarah Van Lange , Melissa Boudreau, Mark Mazrimas, and Annelise Holyoak.<br />

ing the relationships we’ve built with these<br />

women, because how wonderful that we now<br />

have a female superhero in all our cities for<br />

every one of our teams to celebrate!<br />

Mazrimas: For the past ten years, we’ve<br />

donated our Tivoli theatre for a live musical<br />

review for a group called SEASPAR—an<br />

organization that provides activities for<br />

handicapped and challenged youths in 12<br />

surrounding communities. In Oak Park,<br />

we’ve worked with the Women’s Guild since<br />

their inception; they provide funds for people<br />

with ongoing life-threatening and financial<br />

challenges, and with our support they’ve<br />

raised $55,000. Elk Grove was celebrating<br />

their 60th anniversary and to support that,<br />

we ran a free movie a month for six months.<br />

On the first weekend in February, in Woodstock,<br />

Illinois, for more than 20 years we’ve<br />

been donating our movie theatre to show<br />

Groundhog Day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday<br />

free at 10 a.m. as part of the community’s<br />

events. This year is the 25th anniversary of its<br />

release and it was filmed there in Woodstock;<br />

we’ll probably have 500 or 600 people a day<br />

show up. We seem to work with countless<br />

organizations; some events are challenging,<br />

but they’re all important to the organizations<br />

doing good work for a cause.<br />

Boudreau: Every time we open a new<br />

location in a new community, we do a<br />

grand-opening party in partnership with<br />

a local charity. They sell the tickets for a<br />

semi-formal event—that includes a movie<br />

and a really nice meal; we host a beautiful<br />

event—and 100 percent of those proceeds<br />

go to their charity. It’s such a great way to<br />

meet people—and for people in that community<br />

to know that we support causes that<br />

are important to them. Over the holiday<br />

season, we also partnered with a radio station<br />

in metro Detroit where we’re based. We<br />

donated $25,000 and they picked families<br />

who aren’t able to afford gifts for the holiday<br />

season. During the morning radio show, they<br />

went “live” to knock on a family’s door and<br />

surprise the family with food and gifts. One<br />

particular family—where I participated—had<br />

a little girl who was three years old and had<br />

just been diagnosed with leukemia. Because<br />

of the expense of her medical treatments, her<br />

family wasn’t able to afford Christmas. So, we<br />

knocked on their door—and because of what<br />

Emagine donated we were able to provide<br />

gifts for all their children. Everyone was crying;<br />

it was an unforgettable experience.<br />

McQuaker: We’ve long admired Big<br />

Thought; they do an enormous amount of<br />

good with young people by igniting their<br />

imaginations and engaging the whole child<br />

through accessible educational programs.<br />

For the movie Wonder, we worked with them<br />

and other groups to show the movie to over<br />

13,000 students on 113 screens to create an<br />

impactful learning experience focused on the<br />

themes of the movie, like acceptance, belonging,<br />

empathy and kindness.<br />

Mazrimas: Wonder was a wonder. As of<br />

early February, we’d done 91 school shows,<br />

often with someone from the community<br />

introducing the movie or hosting a discussion<br />

afterwards. We had one class that came<br />

to see Wonder and now they’re studying the<br />

Vietnam War and they want to come back to<br />

see The Post and have a reporter here to talk<br />

about the movie.<br />

McQuaker: Our next project with Big<br />

Thought will be A Wrinkle in Time. Movies<br />

have the power to change lives and to ignite<br />

the imagination.<br />

Boudreau: We do so many things with<br />

so many organizations. At all of our locations<br />

starting on February 1, we’ve been selling<br />

pins to raise money for the American Heart<br />

Association—and to raise awareness of heart<br />

disease and stroke. As part of that, last year<br />

we trained all of our theatre managers to<br />

perform CPR as well.<br />

Holyoak: For <strong>2018</strong>, we’ve partnered with<br />

the Vision Of Children Foundation. It’s a<br />

national organization dedicated to curing<br />

hereditary blindness in children and bringing<br />

awareness to vision disorders in children.<br />

We’re currently running a PSA for the<br />

Foundation on our screens; it’s an emotional<br />

piece that helps people think of children who<br />

cannot see the screen—and enjoy the movies.<br />

It mentions that if guests are able to do so,<br />

donating is a great way to support cures for<br />

visual disorders.<br />

McQuaker: For Patriots Day last year,<br />

we provided tickets to first responders. Again<br />

this year, we’re collecting prom dresses and<br />

donating them to young ladies who perhaps<br />

otherwise might not go to their prom<br />

because they don’t have a dress. And we’re<br />

supporting the efforts of Chance the Rapper<br />

in Chicago by donating a portion of ticket<br />

sales to Social Works during Black History<br />

Month and hosting their Black History<br />

Month <strong>Film</strong> Festival.<br />

Van Lange: WE is our national charity<br />

partner, but we also have local activations in<br />

particular communities. For example, last<br />

year we worked in partnership with the IWK<br />

Health Centre and the IWK Foundation<br />

in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to build the O.E.<br />

Smith Auditorium. This special auditorium is<br />

a movie theatre in the hospital itself and it’s<br />

a place where patients and families can enjoy<br />

movies and hopefully a much-needed break<br />

from their health challenges.<br />

Boudreau: We want to make each<br />

community we’re in a better place—not<br />

only by bringing a theatre, but also by doing<br />

our part to support the community’s<br />

efforts to make it a better place to live, to<br />

work and to raise a family. We live in the<br />

communities where we have our theatres,<br />

so when we make them better, we’re improving<br />

life for us all.<br />

Mazrimas: When we receive a request<br />

to help out, to work with a school or other<br />

organization, to support a cause in some<br />

special way, our philosophy is to try never<br />

to say “no”—because that’s too simple. We<br />

try to listen, to figure out a way.<br />

Holyoak: Our goal in giving back is to<br />

share the magic of cinema entertainment<br />

with people who wouldn’t normally have<br />

the access or the opportunity to do that.<br />

Van Lange: Giving back is very<br />

ingrained in what we do—from a management<br />

perspective, from an employeeengagement<br />

perspective and from a charitable<br />

giving perspective.<br />

McQuaker: We’re very fortunate,<br />

because what could be better than having<br />

movies and meals to work with? What’s<br />

better than offering a gathering place for<br />

our neighbors? We have a gift and we want<br />

to use it for outreach with a sense of purpose,<br />

so that we can leave a positive wake. <br />

30 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

018-031.indd 30<br />

3/8/18 2:32 PM

Embracing Laser<br />

Theatres See the Benefit<br />

of New Projection Technologies<br />

Beginning with this issue, the worldrenowned<br />

cinema technology company Barco<br />

will have a monthly presence as technology<br />

contributor to <strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International.<br />

The column will alternate between Barco<br />

news and general insights into industry<br />

technological trends. We begin with a Q&A<br />

with Carl Rijsbrack, chief marketing officer<br />

for Barco Cinema’s new joint venture, about<br />

Barco’s fast-growing laser projection business<br />

and why so many exhibitors are jumping on<br />

the laser bandwagon.<br />

How is the company doing with worldwide<br />

laser projector deployment and what<br />

is your perception about overall industry<br />

adoption rates?<br />

Barco is leading the global trend of<br />

laser projection for cinema, setting a record<br />

for all-laser multiplexes, in which an exhibitor<br />

outfits every auditorium with either<br />

a Barco Flagship Laser or Smart Laser<br />

projector. We started off with our Flagship<br />

Laser portfolio (for premium screens) at<br />

the end of 2014 and complemented it with<br />

Smart Laser projectors (for all screens) as<br />

of 2015. The market has embraced laserpowered<br />

projection as the new norm and<br />

we’ve responded with the largest and most<br />

comprehensive portfolio of laser projectors<br />

in the industry to provide exhibitors with<br />

a perfect match for every screen that meets<br />

all their needs. As we add more models to<br />

our Smart Laser portfolio (we will have<br />

12 in March), we are able to offer laser<br />

benefits to all cinema screens for a business<br />

case that works. This is what we see coming<br />

back in the numbers: With 4,000-plus<br />

Smart Laser projectors in the field, we<br />

quadrupled the number of our laser projectors<br />

in one year up to the point where we<br />

now sell more laser projectors than lampbased<br />

projectors. We don’t expect this trend<br />

to reverse—rather, the contrary. We expect<br />

an acceleration as more and more exhibitors<br />

are convinced of going to laser.<br />

Are there any negating factors in your<br />

view that are holding back industry growth?<br />

Not really. Barco laser projectors come<br />

with higher image quality, easier operation<br />

and 80-percent lower yearly operating<br />

expense than the best lamp-based equivalents.<br />

Looking at our numbers, we clearly<br />

see that the shift to laser-powered projection<br />

is shifting into high gear.<br />

How do you differentiate?<br />

When developing visualization solutions,<br />

we focus on our customer needs.<br />

Exhibitors want to create amazing movie<br />

experiences while reducing operating costs,<br />

be it for their premium screens or for their<br />

mainstream screens. We take time to listen<br />

to them and leverage the minds of our<br />

1,000-plus engineers to come back with<br />

the right visualization system the cinema<br />

industry needs. I leave it up to the readers<br />

to compare our image quality, our ease of<br />

operation and the savings we generate in<br />

energy consumption, HVAC and lamps.<br />

Our SmartCare warranty program is<br />

also unique. Thanks to SmartCare, exhibitors<br />

don’t need to worry about how their<br />

projector’s light source output will evolve<br />

over time. By providing superior image<br />

quality with guaranteed light output, the<br />

program guarantees ten worry-free years<br />

of operation. SmartCare also includes 24/7<br />

service support and full parts coverage—<br />

talk about delivering real peace of mind.<br />

Is there any recent feedback from exhibitors<br />

on laser in general?<br />

There are many great examples. We<br />

have proven feedback that our Flagship<br />

Laser image quality helps drive profitable<br />

growth in our customers’ PLF strategies.<br />

Kinepolis, a long-term Barco customer,<br />

opened the first “all-Barco laser” multiplex<br />

in Europe in 2016 in the Netherlands. The<br />

ten-screen multiplex features one Barco<br />

Flagship Laser and nine Smart Laser<br />

projectors. “Visitor numbers have been<br />

exceeding our expectations since day one,<br />

which is fantastic,” says Vicky Vekemans,<br />

theatre manager for Kinepolis. Customer<br />

satisfaction surveys also clearly show that<br />

visitors prefer laser-illuminated projection.<br />

With regard to cost savings, laser<br />

projection is helping Kinepolis cut energy<br />

consumption by 30 percent. The exhibitor<br />

has since opened all-laser cinemas in three<br />

additional locations.<br />

Our Flagship Laser projectors deliver<br />

the ultimate visual experience as a costeffective<br />

PLF solution with the potential to<br />

generate significantly higher ticket revenues.<br />

It delivers unprecedented image quality,<br />

featuring outstanding 2D and 3D brightness,<br />

high brightness/contrast, constant<br />

light output and superior color performance<br />

for a premium viewing experience. Research<br />

indicates that moviegoers give the highest<br />

image quality scores to Flagship Laser-illuminated<br />

screens, are willing to pay higher<br />

ticket prices and convey that it will increase<br />

their visits to the cinema.<br />

We have multiple examples of customers<br />

that tested the yearly cost-savings<br />

potential for energy consumption and<br />

lamp consumption (i.e., excluding HVAC<br />

savings) for our Smart Laser projectors. All<br />

test points were in the 60 to 70-percent<br />

yearly opex savings ballpark.<br />

Gabriel Morales Becker, digital<br />

cinema strategy director for major<br />

international circuit Cinépolis, concludes:<br />

“The operational efficiencies of Barco<br />

Smart Laser projectors—and the<br />

elimination of costly lamps and associated<br />

maintenance—allow us to upgrade our<br />

cinema experience for the lowest possible<br />

total cost of ownership.” <br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 31<br />

018-031.indd 31<br />

3/8/18 2:32 PM

EVENT<br />

CINEMA<br />


an FJI overview of recent developments<br />

of an increasingly popular trend<br />

in theatrical exhibition<br />

Event<br />

Horizon<br />

Alternative Attractions Continue<br />

to Show Big Growth Potential<br />

by Melissa Cogavin<br />

In <strong>2018</strong>, the event cinema industry continues to generate good business as a solid ancillary for<br />

the shrewd exhibitor who is acutely aware of the value of his real estate, the technical prowess<br />

of his auditoria, the loyalty of his customers and the potential rewards in his extensive database.<br />

We have seen wonderful examples of how the exhibitor, in partnership with dedicated event<br />

cinema distributors, is continuing to evolve the business model, especially in markets like Brazil,<br />

Argentina, the USA, Canada and Italy. The U.K. is a mature market now and arguably places an<br />

overreliance on the arts to keep its revenues consistently high—a short-term problem as long as<br />

this is addressed now, given the aging demographic that attends in such numbers—but in other<br />

markets we are seeing reinvention and innovation. Playing around with release dates and encores,<br />

along with the principle of scarcity vs. flooding the market, have all been at work recently,<br />

gaining the attention of customers and, more importantly, keeping it.<br />

At our most recent ECA (Event Cinema Association) Conference held in London<br />

in February and attended by 250 industry professionals from all over the world, a panel<br />

on event cinema’s past ten years and future prospects considered aspects as varied as<br />

promoting multiple encores from the moment the tickets go on sale to 100-percent<br />

dedicated event cinema screens, something which Brad LaDouceur of Canada’s<br />

Cineplex has introduced so successfully the circuit is increasing the<br />

number from 12 to 30 this year.<br />

In the last 12 months, we’ve seen success with sport, anime and<br />

gaming. Standout hits were the Mayweather-MacGregor fight, for which<br />

Vue Entertainment in the U.K. secured exclusive rights from Sky, and a<br />

well-timed and cleverly marketed global outing of anime hit Pokemon—<br />

I Choose You! that won a gold medal at our recent ECA Box Office<br />

Awards ceremony for admissions in excess of 500,000 worldwide.<br />

The sense from the conference was that emerging markets are where<br />

the growth lies, and that the U.K. is both saturated with both arts content<br />

and providers of it. The key to future growth is connecting the dots<br />

to ensure that other industries see the excellent marketing exposure<br />

32 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

032-043.indd 32<br />

3/8/18 3:25 PM

that a release in cinemas can offer them. The exploitation of<br />

data—a hot topic given the imminent implementation of the<br />

GDPR data-compliance standards across Europe in May—was<br />

a key point raised. Richard Robinson of Cambridge Analytica<br />

pointed out that while complex and laborious, the pursuit of<br />

deep, detailed data on individual buying habits is an essential<br />

component to understanding your audience.<br />

Echoing this development, we have seen in the last year an<br />

increasing range of membership enquiries from China, Peru,<br />

Brazil, India, Indonesia, France and Germany, in addition to<br />

many more from the U.K., so the appetite for information and<br />

education in this area shows no sign of abating. Our mission to<br />

promote and support the industry means our remit is the same<br />

but the scope is larger than ever, and every territory has its own<br />

demands, idiosyncrasies and audiences. But that keeps the ECA<br />

continually evolving and on our toes. We have been canvassing<br />

our members to ensure that in <strong>2018</strong> our mandate now remains<br />

as relevant and vital as it was in 2012 when we launched.<br />

In June last year, we hosted a fascinating look at China for the<br />

first time and invited ECA member Citylights Events from Shanghai<br />

to showcase what the landscape is looking like for distributors<br />

of content in this complex and problematic territory. The<br />

rewards will be large, but the obstacles are too, and while there<br />

are ways around the censorship issue, it will take time and a<br />

deep collaboration with exhibition and homegrown distribution<br />

companies to allow the huge potential in this market to grow.<br />

What does the future hold? The sector is polished and wellestablished<br />

in key markets, producing a body of consistently<br />

good-quality work on a regular basis, provided by a small number<br />

of seasoned, passionate professionals who understand the<br />

risks of this business but stay committed anyway, sure in the<br />

Nigel Crow of sponsor Encompass, Janelle Mason<br />

of CinemaLive and Julie Harriss of the ECA at the<br />

ECA Box Office Awards.<br />

knowledge they are providing their audiences with something<br />

rare and valuable—a true shared experience that can’t be replicated<br />

on a laptop, a smart TV or a tablet.<br />

We are encouraged that in Southern Europe Giovanni Cozzi<br />

is hosting film festival Mallorca Arts on Screen in <strong>April</strong> this year,<br />

an industry first and a celebration of event cinema on a beautiful<br />

Balearic island. Supported by the ECA along with Unique Digital and<br />

featuring a large number of event cinema distribution companies<br />

based all over the world, this festival alone shows what strides have<br />

been made, how far we have come and how much potential there is<br />

to achieve in this exciting and increasingly vital area of exhibition.<br />

Melissa Cogavin is managing director of the Event Cinema<br />

Association.<br />

The Mayweather-McGregor fight was a major event for which Vue Entertainment in the U.K. secured exclusive rights.<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 33<br />

032-043.indd 33<br />

3/8/18 2:36 PM

EVENT<br />

CINEMA<br />

Unfathomable<br />

Success<br />

Fathom Events Takes Event Cinema<br />

to New Heights by Rebecca Pahle<br />

was a banner year for Fathom Events. You can see it<br />

2017 in the numbers.<br />

• Eleven: Number of Box Office Awards received at the <strong>2018</strong><br />

Event Cinema Association Conference.<br />

• Twenty-six: 2017 releases that grossed over a million dollars,<br />

almost double the 14 releases that passed that threshold in<br />

2016.<br />

• 4.7 million: The amount of dollars earned by Fathom’s<br />

screening of Disney’s Newsies: The Broadway Musical, making it<br />

the year’s highest domestic earner.<br />

• Thirty-five: the number of countries in which Fathom<br />

screened Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!, the year’s highest<br />

worldwide grosser with a total cume of $6 million.<br />

In the whole vast scheme of the exhibition industry, event<br />

cinema is still relatively new. Founded in 2002, Fathom Events<br />

has yet to cross the two-decade mark. But over its relatively<br />

short lifespan, it’s grown not-so-slowly and surely to become<br />

the 13th-largest distributor in the United States. “That’s something<br />

that’s a little-known secret,” says Fathom CEO Ray Nutt.<br />

“We’ll never be Disney or Warner Bros., but there’s a place for<br />

Fathom, and it’s a really nice place. We’re making a lot of fans<br />

really happy.”<br />

Fans of opera, faith-based content, sports, ballet, anime,<br />

comedy, classic film and more—the categories of content that<br />

Fathom programs is vast and expanding. Nutt name-checks<br />

“over the top,” or OTT content—online streaming content<br />

like YouTube Red’s “Step Up: High Water,” several episodes of<br />

which Fathom screened along with the first Step Up movie in a<br />

special January <strong>2018</strong> event—as one that has a lot of potential for<br />

growth. Ditto anime and faith-based events, the two verticals<br />

Fathom CEO Ray Nutt and<br />

Gordon Synn, Fathom’s chief<br />

content and programming officer,<br />

and a scene from the Royal Opera<br />

House’s production of Cendrillon.<br />

© Bill Cooper<br />

34 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

032-043.indd 34<br />

3/8/18 4:27 PM

EVENT<br />

CINEMA<br />

that saw the biggest growth in 2017.<br />

Even in more established verticals, like<br />

opera—Fathom’s longstanding partnership with<br />

the Metropolitan Opera brings in about 20% of<br />

Fathom’s revenue—the potential is there to reach out<br />

to a younger audience in addition to the older demographic<br />

that opera is currently associated with. “You have a<br />

lot of Baby Boomers who are now in retirement communities.<br />

They’re healthy and wealthy, and they’re mobile, and they can<br />

get to the theatre to see the Metropolitan Opera or the Bolshoi<br />

Ballet,” Nutt explains. At the same time, Fathom aims to “take<br />

some of the content that might seem more mature and reach a<br />

different audience with it.”<br />

Gordon Synn, Fathom’s chief content and programming officer,<br />

sees room for growth in television: “A lot of this [premium<br />

TV] content you can imagine being experienced on a big screen<br />

in a theatre, because the production values are there, and the<br />

creative vision is there. And it would make sense from an audience<br />

point of view to experience it in that way. Their experience<br />

of that content will become so much bigger, greater and more<br />

engaged… People want to have that communal experience. They<br />

want to be able to talk about it and share in it together with<br />

their friends. And you can’t do that when you’re watching on a<br />

device at home by yourself.”<br />

That communal experience is a key part of Fathom’s vision.<br />

Both Nutt and Synn emphasize that the goal at Fathom isn’t just<br />

to screen content, it’s to, in Nutt’s words, “eventize and create a<br />

different experience for most of our guests.”<br />

Audiences “are conditioned to show up to the theatre and<br />

[be told to] turn off their cellphones, to be quiet, to be courteous—and<br />

that’s very important on the exhibition side of the<br />

industry. No one knows that better than I do,” says Nutt, a<br />

veteran of Regal Entertainment Group before moving to Fathom<br />

in mid-2017. But with Fathom screenings—say, a sing-a-long or a<br />

boxing match like last August’s Mayweather vs. McGregor boxing<br />

match—“we want them to come and have a good time and<br />

be interactive. In most cases, it’s ‘Turn your cellphones on.’ It’s<br />

funny, because right now, when you go to a Fathom event where<br />

you expect them to be engaged, for the first five minutes or so<br />

everybody’s kind of looking around, like ‘Should I be clapping?<br />

Should I be yelling? Should I be doing anything?’ Then all of a sudden<br />

the dam breaks, and everybody starts doing their thing. It’s<br />

neat to see that transition.”<br />

Yes to chatting, to posting on social media, to engaging with<br />

what’s on the screen and the other fans you’re sharing the experience<br />

with. It’s not your typical model—but then, the point<br />

of Fathom Events is to always experiment, to not be tied down<br />

by the status quo. Working at Fathom “definitely isn’t cookiecutter,”<br />

Synn acknowledges. “There’s a lot of problem-solving<br />

that has to be done, because each opportunity has its own<br />

unique challenges. And it’s not always going to be presented to<br />

you in a beautiful box with a beautiful ribbon on it that you can<br />

just open up, and kaboom, it’s there. You have to figure out how<br />

to get over some of the hurdles to be able to make it happen<br />

in our theatres, so that at the end of the day it gets seen by an<br />

audience.”<br />

Traditionally, one of event cinema’s biggest hurdles has always<br />

had to do with advertising. Screen a first-run movie, and<br />

more often than not that movie comes part and parcel with millions<br />

of dollars’ worth of advertising provided by the studio. For<br />

something that’s going to screen one time—with an encore performance,<br />

maybe two if there’s enough demand—that’s not an<br />

option. What Fathom does have, however, is partnerships: with<br />

both exhibitors (Fathom is a joint venture of AMC, Regal and<br />

Cinemark and programs content with 57 other affiliate theatres)<br />

and content providers. Disney, for example, or the Metropolitan<br />

Opera, or distributor GKids, with which Fathom has a Studio<br />

Ghibli series planned for <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

“We look at about 2,500 to 3,000 titles a year, and about<br />

140 of those titles make it to the screen,” Nutt says. “It’s a highclass<br />

problem to have!” One criterion for content making it to<br />

theatres is that, per Synn, there’s something “special or unique”<br />

about it. “We ask ourselves, ‘What impact will this have on the<br />

audience?’ And if there isn’t a great answer for that, then we<br />

might keep looking for something that better fits that mantra.”<br />

Another must, explains Nutt, is that “unless the content partner<br />

is coming to us with a significant amount of marketing assets<br />

available, we pass on that content. That’s a must. We know the<br />

importance of there being a joint partnership with regards to<br />

marketing. Typically, whoever brings [content] to us has a database,<br />

and we have access to our owners’ loyalty programs and our own<br />

databases. We have a significant social department.”<br />

In building awareness among moviegoers, Nutt explains that<br />

the end goal—one that’s already well underway—is the bolstering<br />

of Fathom’s brand identity as a reliable provider of quality<br />

entertainment beyond whatever individual event the customer<br />

is initially attracted to. “We’re talking about touching base with<br />

the customer before, during and after an event. We’re engaging<br />

with them before, making sure that they come to that Tuesday<br />

night event at the cinema, because we know they have other<br />

entertainment options. And then certainly we’re making sure<br />

they have a great time when they get there—singing and dancing,<br />

depending on the content. And then [afterwards] we want<br />

to make sure we have the partnership with the fans so we keep<br />

them coming back to the next one. We’re trying to develop<br />

some series as well and get away from the one-off [model], so<br />

we’re not starting over all the time.”<br />

The end result is more and more fans having a standing date<br />

with Fathom. “We can condition the fans out there [to know<br />

that on] the first Tuesday of every month, for example, there’s<br />

some thematic event that they’re used to coming to and having a<br />

good time at.”<br />

So far, Fathom’s willingness to experiment with different<br />

types of content has been more successful than many in the<br />

industry anticipated. Last August’s Mayweather vs. McGregor<br />

fight screened in 532 theatres and cracked the top ten, a nearly<br />

unprecedented occurrence for event cinema. “We knew that it<br />

was going to be good. Now, did we know it was going to be as<br />

good as it was? Perhaps not,” Nutt says. “We never charged $40<br />

a ticket before for any of our events. On Pay-Per-View, individually<br />

it was $100, so we thought $40 was a fair price. And so did<br />

a lot of fans! I thought the way that it was promoted and teed up<br />

was fantastic.”<br />

The screening of Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! also marks<br />

a point of particular pride for the Fathom CEO, who sees the $6<br />

million success story as proof that there’s potential for Fathom<br />

in international markets. “The team really, really brought it<br />

together. To distribute content to 35 countries, to develop<br />

websites with the appropriate languages, to work with all the<br />

exhibitors, to do a promotion where we got collectible cards on<br />

a limited basis in the hands of fans… Everything came together<br />

from a marketing standpoint. You think, OK, what’s it going to<br />

do? And the next thing, you turn around and it’s being distributed<br />

all over the world to six million bucks.” <br />

36 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

032-043.indd 36<br />

3/8/18 2:36 PM

EVENT<br />

CINEMA<br />

A New<br />

Alternative<br />

Spotlight Cinema Networks Unveils<br />

Robust Lineup for Event Cinema Division<br />

CineLife Entertainment, Spotlight Cinema Networks’<br />

new division formed to distribute event cinema and<br />

other alternative programming to exhibitors around<br />

the world, has unveiled its introductory lineup of programming<br />

for the <strong>2018</strong>/2019 season. The lineup offers a diverse slate of<br />

programming including concerts featuring some of the world’s<br />

most popular artists, iconic musical theatre performances<br />

with international stars like Hugh Jackman, ballet and a play by<br />

Shakespeare. The programming represents Spotlight Cinema<br />

Networks’ deep commitment to helping its exhibitor partners<br />

leverage this rapidly growing segment of the exhibition industry<br />

and expand their revenue opportunities.<br />

The first program from CineLife Entertainment, Pretty<br />

Guardian Sailor Moon: The Musical—Le Mouvement Final,<br />

premiered on March 10, <strong>2018</strong>, in select theatres across the<br />

U.S. Sailor Moon was released in association with Tokyo-based<br />

Live Viewing Japan and marks the first time that a mangabased<br />

Japanese live stage musical production has been released<br />

in any format in the U.S. Sailor Moon was also distributed<br />

internationally by CineLife Entertainment in Canada, Australia<br />

and Latin America.<br />

Upcoming programs from CineLife Entertainment include:<br />

▶ “Yanni Live at the Acropolis.” Celebrate the<br />

25th anniversary of one of Yanni’s most popular concerts<br />

globally. Originally captured at the Herodes Atticus Theatre<br />

in his native Greece, this 1994 performance of the legendary<br />

performer and composer playing with his own six-piece band<br />

and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has been digitally<br />

remastered and is available now for the first time on the big<br />

screen.<br />

▶ “Scream for Me Sarajevo.” This extraordinary<br />

concert documentary, available now for the first time on<br />

the big screen, records an astonishing rock concert as Iron<br />

Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson became the only foreign artist to<br />

play a full show in Sarajevo during its four-year siege. It’s about<br />

extraordinary people defying the horrors of war and the<br />

musicians who risked their lives to entertain them. Exclusive<br />

theatrical-only bonus content will include a Q&A with<br />

Dickinson.<br />

▶ Great Stage On Screen. CineLife Entertainment<br />

has partnered with U.K.-based Stanza Media Ltd. to bring a<br />

series of nine amazing productions from around the globe<br />

beginning summer <strong>2018</strong>. This series includes such productions<br />

as the Tony Award-nominated classic Oklahoma! starring<br />

Hugh Jackman; Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice from The<br />

National Theatre, starring Ian McKellen; five-time Tony Award<br />

winner Kiss Me Kate, with Rachel York and Brent Barrett, and<br />

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty ballets.<br />

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon:<br />

The Musical—Le Mouvement Final<br />

Event Cinema Is Poised<br />

for Major Growth<br />

Spotlight Cinema Networks is committed to creating<br />

new opportunities that would benefit its exhibitor partners.<br />

It entered the event cinema marketplace because it sees the<br />

domestic marketplace as underdeveloped and poised for<br />

significant growth. While CineLife Entertainment will take full<br />

advantage of its parent company’s strong relationships with a<br />

core network of nearly 300 art-house and independent theatres<br />

representing 1,000+ screens, it will work with other exhibitors<br />

domestically and around the world on select events. Spotlight<br />

Cinema Networks’ relationship with art-house and luxury<br />

theatres gives it the highest-quality exhibitor network in the<br />

world for content producers who want to reach sophisticated,<br />

educated audiences. That makes it ideal to offer cultural<br />

programming like musicals, plays, ballet, opera and concerts.<br />

The Spotlight Cinema Networks audience is more receptive<br />

to programming that is edgier and more niche such as anime,<br />

theatre, cult movies and repertory films, as well as value-added<br />

content like interviews with directors and cast members.<br />

Spotlight Cinema Networks is uniquely well-positioned to<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 37<br />

032-043.indd 37<br />

3/8/18 2:36 PM

EVENT<br />

CINEMA<br />

support CineLife Entertainment’s venture<br />

into the event cinema marketplace in large part<br />

because of the technical expertise of another new<br />

division. Last October, Spotlight acquired Storming<br />

Images, a leading digital content delivery provider, and<br />

created Storming Images North America, a Spotlight<br />

Cinema Networks-owned company. One of the significant<br />

reasons for the acquisition was to execute against the longterm<br />

strategic plan of entering the event cinema business<br />

with a built-in technical system to cost-effectively distribute<br />

event cinema programming, as well as pre-show advertising<br />

content and movie trailers already being distributed to theatres<br />

nationwide.<br />

To support its marketing efforts, Spotlight Cinema<br />

Networks has employed its popular CineLife app to promote<br />

future event cinema releases, as well as enabling consumers<br />

to purchase event cinema tickets directly through the app.<br />

The CineLife app is the first consumer-facing app devoted<br />

to helping audiences connect with indie films to art houses<br />

across the U.S. The free app, available on all Android and iOS<br />

mobile devices, also features an extensive “special events”<br />

calendar that lists and promotes upcoming events, including<br />

programming from CineLife Entertainment, which will help<br />

drive audiences to theatres offering event cinema programs.<br />

For information regarding programming and distribution,<br />

contact Mark Rupp, managing director of CineLife<br />

Entertainment, at Mark@SpotlightCinemaNetworks.com<br />

(310.309.5776) or Ronnie Ycong, senior VP, exhibitor relations<br />

and operations, at Ronnie@SpotlightCinemaNetworks.com<br />

(310.309.5763). <br />

Coming<br />

Attractions<br />

Theatres Showcase Opera, Ballet,<br />

Shakespeare, <strong>Film</strong> Classics and More…<br />

Fathom Events<br />

March 25, 26 & 28<br />

Ponyo, 10th Anniversary<br />


March 18 & 21: Vertigo 60th Anniversary<br />

Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece creates a dizzying web of mistaken<br />

identity, passion and murder after an acrophobic detective<br />

(James Stewart) rescues a mysterious blonde (Kim Novak) from<br />

the San Francisco Bay. This 60th-anniversary event includes exclusive<br />

insight from TCM host Eddie Muller.<br />

March 19: The Riot and the Dance<br />

Biologist Dr. Gordon Wilson traverses our planet in this boisterous<br />

nature documentary. Whether he’s catching wildlife in<br />

his own backyard or in the jungles of Sri Lanka, Dr. Wilson celebrates<br />

God’s creatures in all shapes, sizes and species.<br />

March 22: National Theatre Live—Julius Caesar<br />

Nicholas Hytner’s production of the Shakespeare tragedy will<br />

thrust the audience into the street party that greets Caesar’s<br />

return to Rome, the congress that witnesses his murder, the<br />

rally that assembles for his funeral, and the chaos that explodes<br />

in its wake.<br />

March 24 & 26: Ice Dragon: Legend of the Blue Daisies<br />

Melody, a gifted young dreamer, and her feisty friend Leif must<br />

set aside their differences and use the power of magical Blue<br />

Daisies and an ancient song to save their world from an evil<br />

Ice Dragon in this animated feature.<br />

March 25, 26 & 28: Ponyo 10th Anniversary<br />

From the legendary Studio Ghibli and Academy Award-winning<br />

director Hayao Miyazaki comes a heartwarming family adventure<br />

about a young boy who rescues a stranded goldfish named Ponyo<br />

and gets more than he bargained for. Featuring the voices of<br />

Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Lily Tomlin and Liam Neeson.<br />

March 30, <strong>April</strong> 2, June 1 & 4: Best F(r)iends<br />

Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero reunite for a dream project<br />

that will thrill fans of The Room and The Disaster Artist.<br />

<strong>April</strong> 8: Bolshoi Ballet—Giselle<br />

Svetlana Zakharova and Sergei Polunin star in this classic ballet<br />

about a woman who dies of a broken heart and returns as a<br />

vengeful spirit.<br />

<strong>April</strong> 8 & 11: Grease 40th Anniversary<br />

Go back to high school with Pink Lady Sandy (Olivia Newton-<br />

John), and leader of the bad-boy T-Birds Danny (John Travolta)<br />

in this beloved musical.<br />

38 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

032-043.indd 38<br />

3/8/18 2:36 PM

scn-film-journal-ER-170927-final.indd 1<br />

9/27/17 1:47 PM

EVENT<br />

CINEMA<br />

<strong>April</strong> 12: The Amendment<br />

Inspiring true story of Brooks Douglass, who<br />

survived, along with his sister, an unthinkable attack<br />

in his youth that claimed the lives of his parents,<br />

and who eventually found triumph over tragedy through<br />

faith and forgiveness. After the attack, Douglass went on<br />

to become the youngest state senator in Oklahoma history<br />

and authored 15 pieces of legislation protecting victims’ rights.<br />

Mike Vogel and Taryn Manning star, and in his film debut, Douglass<br />

plays his own father, Richard. After the film, a panel of experts<br />

will discuss victims’ rights.<br />

<strong>April</strong> 16: Phoenix Wilder and the Great Elephant Adventure<br />

Phoenix Wilder, a 13-year-old orphaned American boy, goes<br />

to live with his only surviving relative in Africa. While out on<br />

safari with his uncle, he becomes separated from the rest of<br />

the party and must quickly learn to survive in the African bush.<br />

When the boy bonds with a giant bull elephant he frees from a<br />

trap, he decides to try to stop a band of poachers who prey on<br />

elephants.<br />

<strong>April</strong> 17: “The Dating Project”<br />

The way people find love has radically changed in an age of swiping<br />

left or right. “The Dating Project” follows five single people,<br />

as they search for meaningful relationships. Presented by Pure<br />

Flix and Paulist Productions.<br />

Aprii 22, 23 & 25: The Cat Returns<br />

Haru is walking home after a dreary day of school when she spies<br />

a cat with a small gift box in its mouth crossing a busy street, and<br />

she jumps in front of traffic to save the cat from an oncoming<br />

truck. To her amazement, the cat gets up on its hind legs, brushes<br />

itself off, and thanks her very politely. But things take an even<br />

stranger turn when the King of Cats shows up at her doorstep in<br />

a feline motorcade. Animated fun from Studio Ghibli.<br />

<strong>April</strong> 29, May 1 & 2: Labyrinth<br />

Jim Henson’s 1986 fantasy-adventure returns to the big screen<br />

as a nationwide fan celebration. Audiences are encouraged<br />

to attend the screenings in costume. The event will include<br />

exclusive introductions by Brian Henson and star Jennifer<br />

Connelly. In addition, audiences will enjoy a special theatrical<br />

screening excerpt from the award-winning fantasy series “The<br />

Storyteller.”<br />

May 1 & 3: Like Arrows—Parenting Is a Journey<br />

When rebellion creeps into their family, Charlie and Alice realize<br />

their approach to raising children isn’t working, and they start<br />

searching for answers. But is it too late?<br />

May 5: Canelo vs. Golovkin 2<br />

The showdown between explosive fighters Canelo Alvarez and<br />

Gennady Golovkin will be broadcast live from T-Mobile Arena in<br />

Las Vegas to movie theatres nationwide.<br />

May 10: Digimon Adventure tri.: Coexistence<br />

The fate of the world is once again in jeopardy in this latest anime<br />

action-fantasy adventure.<br />

May 13 & 16: Sunset Boulevard<br />

Gloria Swanson, as Norma Desmond, an aging silent-film queen,<br />

and William Holden, as the struggling young screenwriter who is<br />

held in thrall by her madness, created two of the screen’s most<br />

memorable characters in Billy Wilder’s 1950 classic.<br />

May 17: National Theatre Live—Macbeth<br />

Shakespeare’s intense tragedy will see Rory Kinnear and Anne-<br />

Marie Duff return to The National Theatre to play the ruthless<br />

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Directed by Rufus Norris, the production<br />

will be captured live one week before its cinema debut.<br />

Metropolitan Opera Live<br />

March 31 & <strong>April</strong> 4<br />

Così Fan Tutte<br />

40 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

032-043.indd 40<br />

3/8/18 2:36 PM

May 20, 21 & 23: Porco Rosso<br />

In this classic Studio Ghibli animated adventure set in and above<br />

the scenic port towns of the Adriatic Sea, Porco Rosso is a<br />

world-weary flying ace turned bounty hunter whose face has<br />

been transformed into that of a pig by a mysterious spell.<br />

May 22: Godspeed: The Race Across America<br />

Godspeed chronicles a first-time race team—Jerry Schemmel, noted<br />

author, speaker and sportscaster for the Colorado Rockies, and<br />

Brad Cooper, a four-time Iron Man triathlete—as they compete 24<br />

hours a day for seven days covering 3,000 miles of deserts, mountains<br />

and plains in the world’s most difficult cycling race, The Race<br />

Across America, to raise money for the orphans of Haiti.<br />

June 3 & 6: The Producers 50th Anniversary<br />

Writer-director Mel Brooks nabbed an Oscar for Best Original<br />

Screenplay of 1968 for this hilarious comedy about two connivers<br />

who deliberately set out to make a Broadway flop and profit from<br />

it. The new restoration is from Studiocanal and Rialto Pictures.<br />

June 10: Bolshoi Ballet—Coppélia<br />

The classic ballet centers on a feisty heroine, a fiancé with a<br />

wandering eye and an old dollmaker.<br />

June 17, 18 & 20: Pom Poko<br />

In this ecological fable from animation giant Studio Ghibli, tanuki<br />

raccoon dogs learn the ancient art of transformation, shapeshifting<br />

into a comical variety of humans and spirits as they try to<br />

scare away the humans threatening their woodland home.<br />

July 15 & 18: Big 30th Anniversary<br />

A 13-year-old boy, transformed into a 35-year-old man by a carnival<br />

wishing machine, becomes a successful executive by turning<br />

his juvenile intellect to toy design. Tom Hanks received his first<br />

Oscar nomination for this comedy classic.<br />

July 22, 23 & 25: Princess Mononoke<br />

In this animated classic from director Hayao Miyazaki, a young girl<br />

raised by wolves will stop at nothing to prevent humans from destroying<br />

her home and the forest spirits and animal gods who live<br />

there. Featuring the voices of Gillian Anderson, Billy Crudup, Claire<br />

Danes, Minnie Driver, Jada Pinkett Smith and Billy Bob Thornton.<br />

August 5 & 8: The Big Lebowski 20th Anniversary<br />

Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski doesn’t want any drama in his life…<br />

heck, he can’t even be bothered with a job. But he must embark<br />

on a quest with his bowling buddies after his rug is destroyed in<br />

a twisted case of mistaken identity. Jeff Bridges, John Goodman,<br />

Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman and John<br />

Turturro star in this comedy classic from the Coen Brothers.<br />

August 12, 13 & 15: Grave of the Fireflies<br />

In this wrenching animated film from Studio Ghibli, Seita and his<br />

younger sister Setsuko are forced to fend for themselves in the<br />

aftermath of fires that swept entire cities from the face of the<br />

Earth. Digitally remastered.<br />

August 26 & 29: South Pacific 60th Anniversary<br />

An American woman falls in love with a Frenchman while stationed<br />

as a Navy nurse in the South Pacific during World War II<br />

in the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical.<br />


March 31 & <strong>April</strong> 4: Così Fan Tutte<br />

Mozart’s comedy is transported to 1950s Coney Island. The cast<br />

includes Amanda Majeski as the conflicted Fiordiligi; Serena Malfi<br />

as her sister, Dorabella; Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara as their<br />

feisty maid, Despina, and Christopher Maltman as the cynical Don<br />

Alfonso. A co-production with the English National Opera.<br />

National Theatre Live<br />

March 23<br />

Julius Caesar<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 41<br />

032-043.indd 41<br />

3/8/18 2:36 PM

EVENT<br />

CINEMA<br />

<strong>April</strong> 14 & 18: Luisa Miller<br />

James Levine conducts a revival of the Verdi opera,<br />

which has not been seen at the Met since 2006.<br />

Sonya Yoncheva, Piotr Beczala and Plácido Domingo<br />

star in this tragedy of a young woman who sacrifices her<br />

own happiness in an attempt to save her father’s life.<br />

<strong>April</strong> 28 & May 2: Cendrillon<br />

Massenet’s opera, based on Cinderella, premieres at the Met conducted<br />

by Bertrand de Billy and directed by Laurent Pelly. Joyce<br />

DiDonato adds another role to her Met repertory as the title<br />

character, a role she has sung to acclaim at the Grand Teatre del<br />

Liceu, Santa Fe Opera, and Royal Opera, Covent Garden.<br />


March 23: National Theatre Live—Julius Caesar<br />

March 24: Family Favorites—Space Jam<br />

March 25: Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella<br />

The internationally acclaimed choreographer’s interpretation of<br />

the classic fairytale has at its heart a true wartime romance. A<br />

chance meeting results in a magical night for Cinderella and her<br />

dashing young RAF pilot, together just long enough to fall in love<br />

before being parted by the horrors of the Blitz.<br />

March 26: Sleepless in Seattle<br />

March 29: “Maker of Monsters—<br />

The Extraordinary Life of Beau Dick”<br />

Intimate look at the life of one of Canada’s greatest artists.<br />

Beau Dick worked within an ancient tradition and rose to the<br />

ranks of international success within the white-cube world of<br />

contemporary art.<br />

March 31: Family Favorites—Hop<br />

<strong>April</strong> 8: Bolshoi Ballet—Giselle<br />

<strong>April</strong> 12: Distant Sky—Nick Cave<br />

& the Bad Seeds Live in Copenhagen<br />

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds perform songs from their new<br />

album Skeleton Tree alongside their essential catalogue.<br />

<strong>April</strong> 15: Grease 40th Anniversary<br />

<strong>April</strong> 16: “Châteaux of the Loire—Royal Visit”<br />

The Loire Valley has been the playground of kings and<br />

noblemen for three centuries, spurring the construction of<br />

countless castles, each more opulent than the last. The result:<br />

a collection of architectural treasures spread across a beautiful<br />

natural setting.<br />

<strong>April</strong> 22: Stratford Festival HD—Timon of Athens<br />

Nobleman Timon lavishes gifts upon his friends and entertains<br />

in high style. He’s the most popular man in Athens —until his<br />

money runs out. Unable to find a friend in his hour of need,<br />

he takes to the wilderness, Director Stephen Ouimette sets<br />

Shakespeare’s tale in the 21st century.<br />

<strong>April</strong> 25: Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie<br />

<strong>April</strong> 26: Lady Windemere’s Fan<br />

This new production of Oscar Wilde’s social comedy, directed<br />

Fathom Events<br />

<strong>April</strong> 29, May 1 & 2<br />

Labyrinth<br />

42 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

032-043.indd 42<br />

3/8/18 2:36 PM

y award-winning writer, actor and director Kathy Burke, will<br />

be broadcast live to cinemas from the Vaudeville Theatre in<br />

London’s West End.<br />

<strong>April</strong> 30: Bridesmaids<br />

May 2: “Caravaggio—The Soul and the Blood”<br />

A moving journey through the life, works and tormented<br />

existence of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, one of the most<br />

controversial and mysterious figures in the history of art.<br />

May 4: Leadercast <strong>2018</strong>—Lead Yourself<br />

Leadercast is the world’s largest one-day leadership event.<br />

Broadcast live from Atlanta, GA to over 100,00 attendees<br />

participating in 20 countries, Leadercast brings together some<br />

of the world’s most respected leaders.<br />

May 6: All About Eve<br />

May 16: Comédie Française—The Fop Reformed<br />

Tale of a young Parisian whose parents have found a good match<br />

for him, a count’s daughter. But when he goes to visit her, he<br />

cannot open his heart to his lovely intended. Stung, the latter<br />

decides to teach him a lesson for his arrogance.<br />

June 3: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Classic <strong>Film</strong>s)<br />

June 10: Bolshoi Ballet—Coppélia<br />

June 13: Van Gogh—Of Wheat Fields and Clouded Skies<br />

A new look at Vincent Van Gogh, through the legacy of the largest<br />

private collector of artworks by the Dutch painter: Helene<br />

Kröller-Müller, who in the early 20th Century ended up buying<br />

nearly 300 of his works. The exhibit at the Basilica Palladiana in<br />

Vicenza brings together 40 paintings and 85 drawings from the<br />

Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, Holland.<br />

June 16: National Theatre Live—Macbeth<br />

July 28: “André Rieu’s <strong>2018</strong> Maastricht Concert—<br />

Amore, My Tribute to Love”<br />

Set against the stunning medieval backdrop of the town square in<br />

his Dutch hometown, the spectacular Maastricht concert features<br />

“King of Waltz” André Rieu in his element, along with his 60-piece<br />

Johann Strauss Orchestra, sopranos, tenors and very special guests.<br />


Current: The Room<br />

Another chance to see the jaw-dropping low-budget drama written,<br />

directed and produced by and starring the singular Tommy<br />

Wiseau—the movie that inspired the Oscar-nominated hit The<br />

Disaster Artist.<br />


See our coverage on page 37.<br />

film_journal_<strong>2018</strong>_Layout 1 02/03/<strong>2018</strong> 12:20 Page 5<br />

DEEPER,<br />

RICHER,<br />

AND MORE<br />








www.harkness-screens.com<br />

info@harkness-screens.com<br />

TM<br />


OF CINEMACON <strong>2018</strong><br />

BOOTH #2203A<br />



APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 43<br />

032-043.indd 43<br />

3/8/18 2:36 PM


Virtual<br />

Silver<br />

Screen<br />

Immersive<br />

Entertainment<br />

Is Making Inroads<br />

in the Cinema Space<br />

by Kevin Williams<br />

Immersive out-of-home<br />

entertainment specialist<br />

consultant Kevin Williams<br />

charts the resurgence<br />

in interest in the latest<br />

Virtual Reality (VR)<br />

technologies and how<br />

they are being targeted<br />

towards incorporating movie<br />

properties and inhabiting<br />

movie theatre lobbies and<br />

screening rooms.<br />

At a time of transition, there is a<br />

need to find technological solutions<br />

to address issues with the<br />

current business model of the movie<br />

theatre business—a need for an entertainment<br />

solution that can create a new<br />

revenue stream of its own and redefine<br />

the entertainment offering alongside the<br />

traditional movie business.<br />

The end of 2017 revealed the worst<br />

North American theatre ticket sales<br />

since 1992—this in the face of the<br />

best year ever for international sales.<br />

It is obvious that the domestic theatre<br />

business needs to address what some<br />

have called the “Millennial problem”—a<br />

problem traced to an ongoing battle with<br />

consumer entertainment offerings that<br />

provide a higher level of engagement.<br />

We have witnessed the investments<br />

that some theatres have made in projection,<br />

audio and seating, including 4D theatre<br />

seating as a complement to previous<br />

investments such as 3D projection technology.<br />

Now those investments are moving<br />

in a new direction way beyond just<br />

adding physical effects to cinema seating.<br />

One of those investing heavily in this<br />

area is CJ 4DPLEX, developer of the<br />

4DX motion-effects cinema seat system.<br />

The company signed agreements with<br />

Australia’s Village Cinemas to install eight<br />

4DX-equipped theatres in the U.S., with<br />

plans for over 20 by the end of <strong>2018</strong>. And<br />

where 4DX leads, 4DX VR is aiming to<br />

follow.<br />

4DX VR is CJ 4DPLEX’s entry into<br />

the growing deployment of Virtual Reality<br />

(VR) technology in the theatre business<br />

and beyond. The technology uses<br />

special head-mounted displays (HMD) to<br />

immerse a guest within a 3D-rendered<br />

environment, with physical effects complementing<br />

the level of engagement. VR,<br />

of course, has been in the zeitgeist for<br />

the last few years in the consumer sector,<br />

fueled by lavish investment from the likes<br />

of Facebook, Microsoft and Google.<br />

44 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

046-054.indd 44<br />

3/8/18 2:37 PM

D-Box 4D seats<br />

Opposite page (clockwise from top left):<br />

A VR Studios terminal, an IMAX gamer,<br />

a CJ 4DPLEX motion-effect cinema seat<br />

system, and a player negotiating<br />

TrioTech’s Virtual Maze.<br />

With the aim of employing VR in a<br />

theatre audience setting, CJ 4DPLEX has<br />

reinvested in their 4DX theatre seats,<br />

abetted by Samsung GearVR headsets<br />

enabling virtual ride experiences and<br />

more. The first systems are their 4DX<br />

VR Ride (a standalone ride experience)<br />

and their 4DX VR Disk two-seater<br />

motion-seat configuration with a unique<br />

360-degree rotational element. The company<br />

is also exploring interactive experiences<br />

with 4DX VR Racing.<br />

Another leading developer of 4D<br />

cinema seat systems branching into the<br />

virtual landscape is MediaMation, well<br />

known for their MX4D motion cinema<br />

seat. The company has launched their<br />

new Motion VR platform, a two-seat<br />

MX4D motion seat linked to HTC Vive<br />

VR headsets and controllers, able to<br />

be populated with a selection of modified<br />

consumer game content provided<br />

through a partnership with VivePort<br />

Arcade. The system can be deployed in<br />

cinema lobbies as well as purpose-built<br />

VR arcades.<br />

Another prominent 4D seat developer,<br />

D-BOX, has partnered with amusement<br />

manufacturer LAI Games to create<br />

“Virtual Rabbids: The Big Ride”—a<br />

standalone virtual ride experience based<br />

on the well-known Rabbids brand from<br />

game publisher Ubisoft. D-BOX has<br />

been investing in their own cinemacentric<br />

concepts in this space, with the<br />

launch in partnership with Canadian<br />

chain Cineplex of their first “D-BOX VR<br />

Cinematic Experience,” featuring 10 VR<br />

motion seats.<br />

The ability to build off the experience<br />

of the 4D cinema seat approach to VR<br />

experiences has inspired many developers<br />

looking to incorporate VR into the mix.<br />

Another adaptation of VR is that of allowing<br />

the player to roam unencumbered,<br />

wearing a special PC backpack powering<br />

their HMD, part of a free-roaming (or<br />

arena-scale) environment. Attractions<br />

developer TRIOTECH has partnered<br />

with European developer Asterion VR<br />

to launch their own compact solution<br />

with their “Virtual Maze” allowing individuals<br />

to navigate a virtual world—the<br />

first experience again based on Ubisoft’s<br />

Let us rev up your revenue engine.<br />

Food and liquor sales<br />

drive your success.<br />

To maximize your food and<br />

liquor profits, you need a facility<br />

that is designed to sell, sell, sell.<br />

Proctor Companies has been<br />

creating innovative designs<br />

that do just that for nearly five<br />

decades. Nobody does it better.<br />

Considering a new project? Give<br />

us a call.<br />

800-221-3699<br />

sales@proctorco.com<br />

Seaport_Half FJ.indd 1<br />

2/27/18 12:32 PM<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 45<br />

046-054.indd 45<br />

3/8/18 2:37 PM

“Virtual Rabbids: The<br />

Big Maze.” The marriage<br />

of immersive tech to a wellknown<br />

franchise has gathered<br />

momentum, and TRIOTECH and<br />

Ubisoft have revealed that their next<br />

plan for the “Virtual Maze” is to launch<br />

a game based on the popular videogame<br />

and movie property Assassin’s Creed.<br />

Another champion of a compact<br />

VR enclosure is A.i. Solve, creators of<br />

“WePlayVR,” a small enclosure using the<br />

PC backpack VR approach. The company<br />

has developed their own popular experiences<br />

with “Mayan Adventure” and<br />

“Alien Invasion” and revealed a brandnew<br />

release, “Clock Tower.” The system<br />

is in over 15 locations in family entertainment<br />

centers and amusement sites, but is<br />

also seeing cinema placement.<br />

Beyond the compact enclosures,<br />

there are developers of more expansive<br />

free-roaming platforms. Similar in practice<br />

to applying VR technology to the<br />

Lasertag business model, these multipleplayer,<br />

simultaneous VR experiences<br />

offer a new level of engagement and have<br />

captured the attention of several developers<br />

and operators, along with movie<br />

industry interest.<br />

Most notably, the deployment of The<br />

VOID “hyper-reality” VR experience has<br />

captured imaginations. The company has<br />

partnered their VR backpack experience<br />

with prominent movie properties—first<br />

through a partnership with Sony Pictures<br />

to create the “Ghostbusters Experience”<br />

at Madame Tussauds in New York, followed<br />

by Dubai and the Toronto Rec<br />

Room FEC operated by Cineplex.<br />

The VOID has partnered with The Walt<br />

Disney Company and the ILMxLAB to<br />

create “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire,” a<br />

15-minute immersive VR experience placing<br />

players in the heart of a battle with the<br />

Empire for their survival. The concept uses<br />

all the tricks of immersive free-roaming VR,<br />

along with physical show set elements married<br />

to the virtual experience.<br />

Currently, the experience has been<br />

created as a pop-up installation in London<br />

and at two permanent sites in Disneyland<br />

and Disney World, with future<br />

plans for L.A. and Las Vegas builds. But<br />

The VOID is only one of the many developers<br />

working and installing arena-scale<br />

VR experiences.<br />

Nomadic VR presented their concept<br />

at last year’s CinemaCon, a proposed<br />

VR experience aiming at a 20-footby-30-foot<br />

space, with multiple players<br />

and again using backpack PCs to create<br />

FAMILY<br />



the immersive effect. The company received<br />

over $6 million in seed funding<br />

and plans to open its first L.A. facility in<br />

a matter of months, with future placements<br />

in shopping malls and cinemas.<br />

Another location-based virtual-reality<br />

developer is Dreamscape Immersion.<br />

The start-up has just completed a popular<br />

series B investment phase and is about to<br />

launch its first platforms. Dreamscape has<br />

partnered with AMC to launch at least six<br />

locations using their backpack VR experience.<br />

The company is supported by investments<br />

from 21st Century Fox and Warner<br />

Bros. and sees a movie level of engagement<br />

as essential to draw an audience.<br />

Other developers in this sphere include<br />

SPACES, who have also secured<br />

considerable investment (some $9.5 million<br />

to date) from the theme park and<br />

entertainment sector towards developing<br />

their own unique mixed-reality experience<br />

based on the latest VR technology.<br />

The company looks to utilize well-known<br />

movie properties and is eyeing shopping<br />

malls, cinemas and entertainment destinations.<br />

Meanwhile, FoxNext Destinations<br />

has invested in a 2,000-square-foot<br />

multi-player VR experience concept,<br />

based around the Alien movie franchise.<br />

While these developers take a moviefranchise/movie-style<br />

experience approach,<br />

other developers in this field have already<br />

started to populate the landscape with interpretations<br />

of what can work best. Zero<br />

Latency is a developer of their own backpack<br />

VR experience, looking at a multiple<br />

players (up to eight) within a free-roaming<br />

environment. Creating their own content,<br />

they have brought their platform to over<br />

20 sites, including a partnership with Main<br />

Event Entertainment to operate at their<br />

Orlando, Florida facility.<br />

Another prominent trail-blazer in the<br />

free-roaming approach is VRstudios with<br />

the VRcade platform. Several major announcements<br />

of new openings using this<br />

hardware have been made, and the company<br />

is working on partnerships with technology<br />

providers such as TPCast to create<br />

the next level of immersive multiplayer<br />

experiences. Meanwhile in China, several<br />

developers have been working on their<br />

own approach to creating a memorable VR<br />

experience, including Skonec Entertainment<br />

and the recently opened SoReal<br />

immersive venue in Beijing.<br />

For the theatre business, the need<br />

to present an immersive entertainment<br />

offering has galvanized several pilot<br />

schemes towards creating a branded<br />

component that can be incorporated<br />

into existing properties. In China, several<br />

cinema chains have deployed VR pop-up<br />

film promotions and ultimately built permanent<br />

VR arcades within their lobbies.<br />

Most noticeable have been the experimental<br />

Wanda VR installations at flagship<br />

cinemas in the territory.<br />

The creation of a dedicated lobbybased<br />

offering has shaped IMAX’s thinking<br />

in the creation of their IMAX VR pilot<br />

scheme. Already, the corporation has<br />

opened VR entertainment sites in Los<br />

Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Toronto<br />

and the U.K., the majority of which have<br />

been housed as lobby companions to a<br />

cinema. On average, ten enclosures offer<br />

a selection of specially licensed VR game<br />

content for players to experience. The<br />

company works closely to license properties<br />

linked to major motion pictures,<br />

such as the recently launched “Justice<br />

League: An IMAX VR Exclusive” and the<br />

“John Wick Chronicles” VR experience.<br />

This content was developed by<br />

Starbreeze, a game developer that has<br />

pivoted towards creating out-of-home<br />

VR entertainment experiences linked<br />

to movie properties. Most recently, the<br />

company released “The Mummy Prodigium<br />

Strike,” based around the Mummy<br />

movie universe. These experiences forgo<br />

conventional consumer VR headsets<br />

repurposed for commercial entertainment—instead,<br />

the company deploys the<br />

StarVR headset, offering 210-degree, 5K<br />

resolution performance, squarely aimed<br />

at B2B business.<br />

VR has once again achieved a zeitgeist<br />

level of interest, and as in prior attempts<br />

to establish the technology, it hopes a<br />

major motion picture will be the clarion<br />

call towards further popularizing the concept—on<br />

this occasion, it is the Steven<br />

Spielberg feature Ready Player One, based<br />

on the sci-fi novel about a fierce virtualreality<br />

competition.<br />

How VR, or any kind of immersive<br />

entertainment experience, will drive<br />

new audiences to the theatres has yet<br />

to be fully defined. This is obviously the<br />

beginning of a dedicated move by the<br />

interactive entertainment sector to play<br />

a part in the moviegoing experience, with<br />

a drive towards a possible middle ground<br />

where the immersion of the movies can<br />

be experienced in the real world.<br />

Kevin Williams, a U.K.-born specialist in<br />

pay-to-play and prolific writer and presenter<br />

(including his own news service, The Stinger<br />

Report) can be reached at kwp@thestingerreport.com.<br />

46 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

046-054.indd 46<br />

3/8/18 2:37 PM


Pell City<br />

Premiere<br />

5G Studio Collaborates<br />

on Entertainment Center Design<br />

by Andreas Fuchs<br />

Welcome to Premiere Lux Ciné,<br />

Bowl & Pizza Pub, set to open<br />

in Pell City, Alabama, during<br />

the fourth quarter of <strong>2018</strong> (renditions at<br />

top and opposite). This 46,000-square-foot<br />

(4,300 sq. m) combination of a sevenscreen<br />

movie theatre with a 12-lane bowling<br />

venue, an arcade with some 50 attractions,<br />

dedicated food and entertainment<br />

spaces, as well as zip rides and plank walks<br />

“pioneers for the industry with a large and<br />

multi-faceted destination-center model<br />

that serves growing suburban areas in the<br />

United States.”<br />

Diving further into the project<br />

description furnished by 5G Studio<br />

Collaborative (www.5gstudio.com), with<br />

Premiere Pell City the multinational firm’s<br />

entertainment division “has designed an<br />

innovative entertainment destination<br />

center that is uniting numerous favorite<br />

classic American pastimes with modern<br />

approaches in one location, with stayand-play<br />

appeal that is precisely serving<br />

the needs of the Birmingham suburb’s<br />

consumer and marketplace.”<br />

As we take an exclusive peek ahead<br />

to the great things to come, we also look<br />

back to the inception of the project, some<br />

ten years in the making. Local newspapers<br />

first reported about plans for the<br />

development back in 2007, and the city of<br />

Pell City had always wanted to include a<br />

movie theatre as part of the development.<br />

Now they are getting one, and then some.<br />

“We were involved early with<br />

concept design and tested possible<br />

variations,” explains Mike Voegtle, partner<br />

at 5G Studio. The mission was to work<br />

alongside Premiere Cinemas’ president<br />

and chief executive officer Gary Moore<br />

on establishing the right size and right<br />

fit, from building footage and number of<br />

screens to amount of land and plenty of<br />

parking required. Much of this had to do<br />

with the city, going back and forth for a<br />

few years, with time gaps while waiting<br />

for responses. “Just about two years ago,”<br />

Voegtle says, “we really got into full design<br />

with Gary and his Premiere team.”<br />

Seems like a good idea to be in for<br />

the long haul with these types of projects?<br />

“More often than not these days, projects<br />

just take longer to get going,” Voegtle concurs.<br />

“It has become a lot more complicated:<br />

Financing has been a lot more complicated,<br />

and dealing with site constraints<br />

in different municipalities.” He goes on to<br />

mention two reasons. “One, there just is<br />

not as much land available as there used<br />

to be. With that, we are using more complicated<br />

sites. Zoning regulations always<br />

represent complications… Two or three<br />

years of development time, especially for<br />

large projects, is not unusual.” Secondly,<br />

any movie theatre and entertainment project<br />

is “at the mercy of the overall project<br />

when we are working with developers on<br />

a larger site and master plan.”<br />

Although that sounds like a potential<br />

source of frustration, Voegtle disagrees.<br />

“We love what we do, especially on the<br />

48 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

046-054.indd 48<br />

3/8/18 2:37 PM

cinema and entertainment side. Basically,<br />

we jump when we are asked to jump.<br />

And, over the course of several years,<br />

our exhibitor clients may change what<br />

they want to do as well. I believe when<br />

this started, there was no FEC [Family<br />

Entertainment Center] component to<br />

this location.”<br />

Over the course of the past ten years,<br />

exhibition has changed, of course. Not<br />

surprisingly, “as Gary started to see what<br />

was happening in the marketplace, he<br />

wanted to add the larger entertainment<br />

side, including bowling, gaming, ropes<br />

course, bar, pizza pub… That kind of<br />

expanded the program and expanded<br />

our design work. So, sometimes, as these<br />

things do take a long time to develop, it<br />

turns out to be better for the project<br />

because it evolves with the times.”<br />

Part of that evolution was the seating.<br />

“Even as recently as two years ago,”<br />

Voegtle relays, “we were still debating<br />

with our clients as to whether or not<br />

5G Studio Collaborative’s Mike<br />

Voegtle (at right) and Rick Walker.<br />

they should add reclining seats. I can tell<br />

you that 100 percent of them, right now,<br />

are doing recliner seating. We are not<br />

doing a single project with traditional<br />

seats.” And indeed, Pell City’s recliners<br />

will be electrically powered in all<br />

auditoriums, replete with USB ports and<br />

swivel tables for dining.<br />

Expanded food and beverage options<br />

are, of course, another relatively recent<br />

and certainly successful change. And those<br />

options will be available at Premiere<br />

Pell City with a “scratch pizza kitchen<br />

and pub with a full bar, ice cream and<br />

coffee destinations” as well. In addition<br />

to considering in-theatre service at<br />

this point, Voegtle notes, the concept<br />

includes a “walkup bar where guests can<br />

order food and carry it with them into<br />

the auditoriums,” before eating it while<br />

lying on their backs. Hail Caesar, enjoy<br />

your bacchanal! On a more serious note,<br />

Voegtle agrees that sightlines have become<br />

more critical than ever in a reclining<br />

environment, be it Roman or otherwise.<br />

“Deploying recliners and stadium seating<br />

makes the part of sightline study in our<br />

design process much more intense. We<br />

must make sure that the sightlines work<br />

both in an upright position and in the<br />

reclined position. We cannot sacrifice any<br />

one seat, they all have to work, and that<br />

has been a challenge.”<br />

As recliners require more space, did<br />

the overall building size grow from the<br />

original plans, or were individual auditori-<br />

Yen Ong<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 49<br />

046-054.indd 49<br />

3/8/18 2:37 PM

Untitled-1 1<br />

4/2/18 4:46 PM

um capacities adjusted<br />

downward, as is the case<br />

with today’s retrofits? “The<br />

seat capacity per auditorium<br />

is smaller,” Voegtle contends.<br />

“The amount of square footage<br />

that we have to stay within, and the<br />

market size, are the reasons. This is not<br />

a large urban, metropolitan area that<br />

requires large auditoriums with a lot of<br />

seats. I would say Premiere Pell City is a<br />

medium-sized facility.”<br />

Before one considers the entertainment<br />

component, one might add. Mentioning the<br />

size of the market again, how does one assess<br />

how large to go? And whether to build<br />

12 lanes of bowling versus just four? “Much<br />

of that is direction given to us by our client,”<br />

he explains. “We help them and provide the<br />

studies to show what that would look like in<br />

the form of a real estate footprint. We also<br />

work with other partners that our clients<br />

have, who are generating feasibility studies…<br />

A lot of that information is given to us as<br />

part of the program when we start designing,<br />

and then we take it from there.” One<br />

such partner is Brunswick Bowling, along<br />

with key technology and expertise from<br />

Barco, GDC and RealD 3D, and pre-show<br />

support from Screenvision.<br />

FAMILY<br />



Supporting the resulting investment<br />

of $9 million-plus is a question best<br />

asked of Premiere Companies’ owneroperator,<br />

Gary Moore. “You determine<br />

what amenities are missing in any given<br />

market and decide if the market is likely<br />

to support the offerings,” he responds.<br />

His personal favorite aspect of the venue?<br />

“The fact that there is nothing else like it<br />

in the area,” he enthuses. “I think cinema<br />

owners never stop looking for new ways<br />

to entertain their guests better. Any<br />

attractions that diversify the appeal of<br />

the facility are positives, provided you are<br />

able to draw from a large enough trade<br />

area to support them.”<br />

Making all these attractions<br />

and amenities into one attractive<br />

entertainment-center whole is key. “It really<br />

is,” Voegtle agrees. “That’s the challenge.<br />

And that is also what we feel sets us apart.<br />

We call it project mapping, entertainment<br />

programming. When we receive guidance<br />

from our client, we have to figure out how<br />

all of those elements align with each other.<br />

What are the adjacencies of those spaces?<br />

How do you get from one space to the<br />

next and have that circulation flow in a<br />

way that not only benefits the customer<br />

but also makes the most economic sense<br />

for the exhibitor?” It is about access and<br />

visibility, essentially, about where guests<br />

want to spend their time and money, he<br />

continues. “Ah, there’s the bar. I see the<br />

concession stand. I see bowling over there.<br />

The game room looks like a lot of fun. I<br />

know how to get to the movies…” By<br />

quoting customer impressions, Voegtle<br />

extracts his mission as architect and<br />

designer. “We have to bring those elements<br />

together so that the facility presents them<br />

properly; and we also to have to place<br />

them elegantly in a way that is beautiful<br />

architecturally. It is about how you align<br />

those individual spaces and combine<br />

them in a way that makes them flow well<br />

together. I think this project does that<br />

extremely well… It flows well, it works<br />

well. Pell City features some big, eyecatching<br />

elements. As you walk in, you<br />

know exactly where everything is located.”<br />

While signage and lighting are essential<br />

towards achieving that goal, it is more than<br />

that, Voegtle elaborates. “In this particular<br />

building, we use some pre-engineered<br />

metal building components which enabled<br />

us to have greater span, architecturally.<br />

Those larger spans allow us to capture<br />

larger spaces without too many columns.<br />

It is a very open floor plan where you can<br />


Even with import tax, our prices<br />

beat the competition.<br />


SOUND<br />

Stage speakers, subwoofer, surround speakers,<br />

amplifiers, rack and digital audio processors.<br />

Starting at $5,000<br />


Works with every movie through<br />

sound channels.<br />

WE SHIP<br />


Stetson Snell • stetsonsnell@enparaudio.com •505.615.2913<br />

50 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

046-054.indd 50<br />

3/8/18 2:37 PM

see across and through from one space<br />

to the other.” With other spatial elements<br />

such as different ceiling heights, the 5G<br />

Studio team created volumes that make<br />

those different areas of entertainment<br />

more identifiable as independent entities,<br />

he adds. “The strong, bold and substantial<br />

material elements in the creation of this<br />

open space give a fun chemistry in a<br />

modern environment that was created for<br />

a technology entertainment experience<br />

that is both exciting and relaxing.”<br />

Remaining on the topic of space, there<br />

is much more of it required behind the<br />

scenes. “Surely,” Voegtle concurs. “If you<br />

have a bar, you need a keg room. With<br />

that comes a lot of underground plumbing<br />

that needs to be coordinated within the<br />

structure and the rest of the space.”<br />

Twenty years ago, “16-, 20- or 24-screen<br />

megaplexes with traditional concessions<br />

were pretty simple to design. Nowadays,<br />

with food service, everything going digital<br />

and all the interactive systems, there’s<br />

a lot of integration going on. They are<br />

complicated little projects,” he deadpans.<br />

“The big one,” without doubt, is the<br />

kitchen, “especially when you are doing<br />

any type of dine-in service to the auditoriums.<br />

5G Studio designs have included the<br />

smallest kitchens of 1,200 to 1,500 square<br />

feet to as large as almost 4,000 square<br />

feet [140 and 370 sq. m, respectively]. This<br />

depends on the exhibitor’s offerings, how<br />

large their menu is, and what is included,<br />

as well as the type of food service presented.<br />

Either way, that very size is equivalent<br />

to one theatre auditorium. One may<br />

argue that you are sacrificing revenue-generating<br />

space for a kitchen, but that same<br />

kitchen is generating a lot of revenue as<br />

well. So, it is really a fair trade, if you will.”<br />

Voegtle also looks beyond functionality.<br />

“I think movie theatres in general, and<br />

family entertainment centers in particular,<br />

are ‘form-follows-function.’ Your readers<br />

have heard that before from architects,<br />

but it is particularly true in this case.<br />

Multi-function venues really need to be<br />

designed from the inside out. Ultimately<br />

what we have, that form, then should<br />

have some sort of aesthetic appeal.”<br />

Changing aesthetics notwithstanding, “as<br />

we are working with Premiere, Pell City<br />

represents more of… [Voegtle looks for<br />

the right word] more of a combination of<br />

industrialism and modernism. Especially<br />

with the integration of the pre-engineered<br />

metal building components, upon which,<br />

traditionally, architecture would look down<br />

upon as kind of a ‘cheap’ way of doing a<br />

building.” Instead, he says, 5G Studio “took<br />

advantage of that option. Yes, it is less<br />

expensive, which is great for our client,<br />

but this also delivers a large open span in<br />

a much better way than with traditional<br />

means of construction. Premiere Cinemas<br />

Pell City really is a great marriage of form<br />

and function.”<br />

With all due respect to Gary Moore’s<br />

fiancée, Michelle, 5 Studio and Premiere<br />

Cinemas are enjoying a great relationship.<br />

“We have been designing for Premiere since<br />

probably 2007,” Mike Voegtle says with pride<br />

in his voice. “Over the years some of the<br />

projects were built, many others are still in<br />

design or were postponed… No matter<br />

what, they have been wonderful clients of<br />

ours. One of the things that we love about<br />

Premiere and Gary is that he really adapts<br />

well to the changing environment in the<br />

cinema world. Gary allows us to try and be<br />

creative, not just for him but with him. He<br />

comes to the table with great ideas, and then<br />

he lets us explore those ideas and really try<br />

to push the boundaries of what we can do.<br />

This building in Pell City is a perfect example<br />

of all that,” Voegtle concludes. “He and the<br />

team just have always been a pleasure to<br />

work with.” <br />





For sales and product information email: sales@jackroe.com<br />

www.jackroe.com<br />

internet<br />

ticketing<br />

.com<br />

by jack roe<br />

8233 Jack Roe Advert ART.indd 1 23/02/<strong>2018</strong> 14:28<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 51<br />

046-054.indd 51<br />

3/8/18 2:37 PM

FAMILY<br />



ICTA Seminar Focuses<br />

on Multi-Purpose Centers<br />

The International Cinema<br />

Technology Association<br />

(ICTA) will host a session<br />

at CinemaCon in Las<br />

Vegas entitled “Theatre<br />

Entertainment Centers:<br />

Family Fun for Profitability”<br />

on Wednesday afternoon,<br />

<strong>April</strong> 25. The program will<br />

highlight the concept of<br />

“multi-entertainment” and<br />

the benefits of combining<br />

food and beverages<br />

with a variety of social<br />

entertainment options in a<br />

single venue offering much<br />

more beyond movies. Three<br />

of the participants in this<br />

seminar provide a preview<br />

of their own “extra added<br />

attractions.”<br />

Themed Attractions:<br />

Enhancing Your Guest<br />

Experience<br />

By Russ Van Natta<br />

VP of Sales,<br />

Creative Works<br />

In today’s market, operators have one<br />

choice: Diversify or die. A facility can no<br />

longer have one attraction or offering<br />

anymore, and still stay relevant to the<br />

guest. In order to draw guests off the<br />

couch, operators have to have a wide<br />

variety of things to do at their centers. In<br />

order to ensure they come to your facility,<br />

you have to have story-driven, immersive<br />

experiences that they can’t get at<br />

a competitor’s site. And as we know, the<br />

pool of competition is always growing.<br />

Learn about different attractions<br />

available for creating memories for your<br />

guests. See how to create Instagrammable<br />

moments and experiences for them<br />

to enjoy. Not to mention the added benefit<br />

of new profit centers for your space.<br />

Don’t be an entertainment commodity.<br />

Bowling centers, trampoline parks,<br />

family entertainment centers and other<br />

verticals have all been in an entertainment<br />

arms race for their guests’ experiences<br />

over the last six years. The cinema<br />

industry is uniquely positioned to be even<br />

more effective in adding attractions and<br />

creating a destination experience.<br />

We will cover everything from virtual<br />

reality, laser tag, arcades, bumper cars,<br />

rope courses and more. We’ll look at how<br />

to appeal to key demographics, revenue<br />

potential, operational best practices. Come<br />

learn how to dominate your competition,<br />

not merely compete. (thewoweffect.com)<br />

How Cinemas<br />

Are Cashing in<br />

on Attractions, Games<br />

and Esports<br />

By Heather Blair<br />

Head of Cinema Sales,<br />

MediaMation, Inc.<br />

MediaMation, Inc. (MMI) has been<br />

around for 27 years, initially providing<br />

system integration, show control and<br />

interactive theatres for attractions. We<br />

took our unique way of entertaining<br />

customers into the cinema market with<br />

our immersive 4D technology. Similar to<br />

4D ride and attraction films, which are<br />

generally seven to 30 minutes in length,<br />

we now program full-length feature titles<br />

with all the same effects you would find<br />

in an attraction, such as motion-based<br />

movements (programmed to match the<br />

action onscreen) air, mist, scent, tickles,<br />

pokes and even seat vibration. There are<br />

also environmental effects like fog, snow,<br />

rain and bubbles.<br />

As such, cinemas have benefited by<br />

having a specific screen or room dedicated<br />

to 4D movies. They have reported<br />

higher attendance and consistent occupancy,<br />

new customers and increased<br />

incremental revenue from their 4D ticket<br />

upcharge.<br />

We have also seen a rise in interest<br />

in Esports gameplay. Originally an online<br />

spectator sport, it has become very interesting<br />

to cinema exhibitors wishing<br />

to communicate with this coveted 18-40<br />

young-adult audience. We have deployed<br />

an Esports program at TCL Chinese Theatres<br />

as our first location. It has our patent-pending<br />

MX4D Esports players’ stations,<br />

a game-caster booth and broadcast<br />

capabilities. Our MX4D Esports events<br />

increase attendance during off-peak<br />

nights like Monday, Tuesday and Wednes-<br />

MediaMation: Cinemas report higher attendance and consistent occupancy,<br />

new customers and increased incremental revenue from their 4D ticket upcharge.<br />

52 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

046-054.indd 52<br />

3/8/18 2:37 PM

Brunswick Bowling Products: Bowling allows cinemas to drive food and beverage<br />

purchases with a social activity that can be enjoyed before or after a show.<br />

day by 60 to 120 people per event.<br />

Cinemas we have spoken to such as<br />

B&B Theatres, Harkins and Cinemaworld<br />

have discovered that additional children’s<br />

play areas, bowling, redemption and<br />

arcade games have performed well and<br />

increased profits for them, especially on<br />

nonpeak days and times. (mx-4d.com,<br />

mediamation.com)<br />

Cinema + Bowling =<br />

The Perfect Frame<br />

By John Roush<br />

VP, North American<br />

Capital Equipment Sales,<br />

Brunswick Bowling<br />

Products, LLC<br />

Cinemas have had to evolve. Netflix,<br />

DVRing, streaming—these viewing platforms<br />

are direct competition with the<br />

silver screen and are all accessible from<br />

the comfort of customers’ living rooms.<br />

To adapt, cinemas are diversifying<br />

their offerings to keep guests engaged<br />

and coming back to their theatre. And no<br />

anchor attraction is more suited for the<br />

task of getting people off the couch and<br />

through the doors than bowling.<br />

Bowling is a cash business that’s<br />

providing long-term value with an entertainment<br />

offering that attracts audiences<br />

young and old. Its mass appeal allows<br />

cinemas to retain guests and drive food<br />

and beverage purchases with a social<br />

activity that can be enjoyed before or<br />

after a show.<br />

That’s why cinemas like Santikos,<br />

Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille, Evo Entertainment,<br />

ShowBiz Cinemas, Showplace<br />

Cinemas, Splitsville and UltraStar Multitainment<br />

are choosing Brunswick—the<br />

Join us to help<br />

more kids live.<br />

During the holidays, theater partners<br />

donate pre-show advertising space to<br />

run the St. Jude Children’s Research<br />

Hospital ® PSA. This trailer raises<br />

awareness of the St. Jude Thanks and<br />

Giving ® campaign message, “Give<br />

thanks for the healthy kids in your life<br />

and give to those who are not.”<br />

Join today to support our mission:<br />

Finding cures. Saving children. ®<br />

stjude.org/theater<br />

world’s leading bowling equipment supplier—as<br />

their partner. Our process is turnkey<br />

and centered on education, bringing<br />

resources to the table to align teams and<br />

set the vision. That means we’re evaluating<br />

the opportunities, weaknesses and threats<br />

of the marketplace to ensure our recommendations<br />

and our clients’ concepts are<br />

optimized for success.<br />

With the winning combination of<br />

bowling’s margins and the game’s ability<br />

to drive foot traffic and retain customers,<br />

all while leveraging your cinema’s<br />

food and beverage offerings, cinemas and<br />

bowling come together to make the ultimate<br />

entertainment for guests of all ages.<br />

To learn more, join us on <strong>April</strong> 25 as we<br />

discuss the project process and expected<br />

ROI when cinemas choose to go bowling<br />

with Brunswick. For more information<br />

about our successful partnerships and to<br />

view our cinema portfolio, please visit us<br />

at www.brunswickbowling.com/cinema.<br />

Also participating in the seminar:<br />

▶ Erik Guthrie, VP, Sales and Marketing,<br />

LaserTag.com by Zone, the world’s<br />

oldest commercial laser tag supplier, with<br />

over 320 locations in North America and<br />

750 worldwide and over 20 million players<br />

annually. (lasertag.com)<br />

▶ Joe McCullagh, General Manager,<br />

Player One Amusement Group, a division<br />

of Cineplex, one of North America’s<br />

leading providers of interactive video,<br />

redemption, amusement gaming and<br />

vending equipment. (winwithP1AG.com)<br />

▶ Wendy Smith, Director of New<br />

Business Development & FEC Sales, QubicaAMF<br />

Worldwide, leading manufacturer<br />

and marketer of bowling and mini-bowling<br />

products with an installed base of more<br />

than 10,000 centers worldwide, and the<br />

organizer of the QubicaAMF Bowling<br />

World Cup, which promotes bowling on a<br />

global level. (qubicaamf.com) <br />

St. Jude patients<br />

Sarah and Azalea<br />

Thanks to our partners in the 2017 St. Jude Thanks and Giving ® movie trailer program.<br />

©2017 ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (31620)<br />

NEW STRAND Theatre<br />

West Liberty, Iowa Over 100 Years of Entertainment<br />

18-PRNS-31620-TnGThtr<strong>Film</strong><strong>Journal</strong>AdswAmc(4.5 x 4.5)RevCopy.indd 1<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 53<br />

9/26/17 2:47 PM<br />

046-054.indd 53<br />

3/8/18 2:37 PM



VOL. 121, NO.4<br />



Color/2.35/101 Mins./Rated PG-13<br />

Cast: Jason Clarke, Kate Mara, Ed Helms, Jim Gaffigan, Clancy<br />

Brown, Taylor Nichols, Olivia Thirlby, Bruce Dern.<br />

Directed by John Curran.<br />

Screenplay: Taylor Allen, Andrew Logan<br />

Produced by Campbell McInnes, Chris Cowles, Mark<br />

Ciardi.<br />

Executive producers: Taylor Allen, Andrew Logan, Tom<br />

Duterme, Doug Jones, Steven Schuler, Ben Rose.<br />

Director of photography: Maryse Alberti.<br />

Production designer: John Goldsmith.<br />

Editor: Keith Fraase.<br />

Music: Garth Stevenson.<br />

An Apex Entertainment, DMG Entertainment and Chimney<br />

Group LA production.<br />

A riveting recreation of the famous accident<br />

that quashed Ted Kennedy’s presidential<br />

bid and the cover-up by his political fixers,<br />

anchored by Jason Clarke’s perfectly pitched<br />

portrayal of a flawed man.<br />

From the opening montage of a man’s feet<br />

stumbling through marshland, then a close-up<br />

of Teddy Kennedy pleading his case on TV,<br />

Chappaquiddick grabs you by the throat. In<br />

those introductory moments, director John<br />

Curran (The Painted Veil, Tracks) telescopes<br />

the whole story: Kennedy flees the scene of<br />

a car accident, arguably in an act of criminal<br />

negligence, yet manages to reinstate his career<br />

as a public servant and go on to become the<br />

revered “Lion of the Senate.” This haunting,<br />

doomy recreation of the accident and its fallout<br />

will surely resonate with the generation of<br />

Americans who lived through the historyshaping<br />

events of July 1969, evoked simply by<br />

the word “Chappaquiddick.” Yet Curran’s film<br />

should prove an eye-opener to younger viewers<br />

as well, with its timely exposé of power<br />

and corruption in the cover-up orchestrated<br />

by Kennedy’s coterie.<br />

The fateful events kick off at a cottage<br />

owned by the Kennedys on “Chappy,” a short<br />

hop by ferry from Edgartown on Martha’s<br />

Vineyard. Teddy—Jason Clarke, who’s got his<br />

man’s profile and befuddled, brooding air—<br />

and his loyal retainer Joe Gargan (Ed Helms)<br />

are boozing it up with the campaign workers<br />

known as the “boiler room girls.” Teddy has<br />

shown a special interest (hinting at sexual<br />

overtones) in pert, blonde Mary Jo Kopechne<br />

(Kate Mara), who worked for Ted’s brother<br />

Bobby but quit Washington after the trauma<br />

of his assassination. At the party she spots<br />

Teddy in a deep funk, swigging from a bottle;<br />

they decide to go for a drive. No suspense<br />

here about the outcome of that drive, but,<br />

rather, that fascination mingled with dread<br />

when you already know the outcome (as in<br />

Greek tragedy, if that’s not too hi-falutin’).<br />

Careening away from a cop to avoid getting<br />

slapped with a DUI, Teddy guns the car toward<br />

the beach. He turns to look at Mary Jo, and in<br />

that moment the car veers off a rail-less bridge<br />

and plunges upended into the murky water. Teddy<br />

manages to escape; not so his passenger. Nor<br />

are we shown any effort on his part to rescue<br />

her. Back at the cottage, Teddy’s first words to<br />

Joe Gargan are “We’ve got a problem,” followed<br />

by “I’m not going to be President.”<br />

It remains mind-blowing that in that<br />

moment they don’t raise heaven and hell<br />

to rescue Kopechne. And it’s worse than<br />

what’s generally known: She remained alive<br />

in the car for roughly two hours before<br />

she drowned. The amazing Jason Clarke<br />

somehow conveys a man both in shock yet<br />

calculating: He delays reporting the accident<br />

for ten hours—presumably until the alcohol<br />

leaves his system. Back in Edgartown, he<br />

takes a bath. He sleeps. He phones his father.<br />

Joe Kennedy (Bruce Dern), the patriarch,<br />

disabled by a stroke, manages to rasp out a<br />

one-word command: “alibi.”<br />

The next section counts down the days<br />

following the accident, as Robert McNamara<br />

(Clancy Brown) and Ted Sorenson (Taylor<br />

Nichols), et al. spring into damage-control<br />

mode, struggling to spin the accident to limit<br />

Teddy’s culpability. Flailing around for alibis,<br />

Teddy resorts to lies—”I’ll say she was driving”—and<br />

pleads a concussion, donning a neck<br />

brace that convinces no one. It’s all about<br />

“putting a good face on this.” Teddy’s cohorts<br />

delight in seeing Neil Armstrong plant a flag<br />

on the Moon, because it will occupy TV and<br />

newspaper headlines. Even so, the challenge of<br />

putting forth a plausible story about the scandal<br />

prompts McNamara to snarl, “The Bay of<br />

Pigs was a better-run operation.”<br />

A rare scene that teases out the Kennedy<br />

family dynamic reveals just how cowed by his<br />

father Teddy has remained. “I’ve spent my<br />

whole life chasing your dreams for you,” the<br />

youngest son says. “You’re the head of the<br />

family now,” Joe replies. “Start acting like it.”<br />

In this case that seems to involve burying the<br />

truth. Which remains tantalizingly out of reach.<br />

“I have no recollection of how I got back, no<br />

recollection of how I got out of the car,” Teddy<br />

says of the accident. “I dove down repeatedly. I<br />

wandered around in a daze.” But did he?<br />

Thanks to longtime affiliations with<br />

the Edgartown police, facts and timing<br />

are fudged. Teddy pleads guilty to leaving<br />

the scene of an accident and receives a<br />

suspended sentence. Towards the end,<br />

campaign workers and folks from Teddy’s<br />

home state weigh in on this latest Kennedy<br />

tragedy. No one blames him.<br />

Shooting on location, DP Maryse Alberti<br />

captures the darkness and isolation of<br />

Chappaquiddick, and the white sea-light of<br />

Edgartown, lending the film the authenticity<br />

of a docudrama. It shares the seductive<br />

melancholy that marked The Painted Veil,<br />

Curran’s underappreciated adaptation of a<br />

novel by Somerset Maugham that dealt with<br />

redemption. Chappaquiddick extends beyond<br />

the screen because it needs to be seen<br />

against the later Teddy, who in the Senate<br />

became a force for good, achieving the gravitas<br />

and conscience so sorely lacking earlier.<br />

It’s as if he fashioned the remainder of his life<br />

post-Chappaquiddick as an ongoing effort at<br />

redemption. Given the powerful clan behind<br />

him, he was privileged with the opportunity<br />

to redeem himself; another man might have<br />

rotted behind bars for a lesser offense.<br />

But times change. Today, public opinion<br />

might be less cavalier about the death of<br />

a young female staffer who never stood a<br />

chance at receiving justice once that roomful<br />

of fixers rewrote the story. The film implicitly<br />

raises the question, is not America a better<br />

place because Teddy Kennedy—though a<br />

party to someone’s death—worked 50 years<br />

to advocate for equality and social justice?<br />

Chappaquiddick stops short of answering, yet<br />

the question shadows this searing film.<br />

—Erica Abeel<br />


AMAZON STUDIOS/Color/2.35/85 Mins./Rated R<br />

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, John McCleary,<br />

Alex Manette, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alessandro<br />

Nivola, Dante Pereira-Olson, Vinicius Damasceno,<br />

Frank Pando.<br />

Directed by Lynne Ramsay.<br />

Screenplay: Lynne Ramsay, based on the novella by<br />

Jonathan Ames.<br />

Produced by Rosa Attab, Pascal Caucheteux, Lynne Ramsay,<br />

James Wilson.<br />

Executive producer: Rose Garnett.<br />

Director of photography: Thomas Townend<br />

Production designer: Tim Grimes.<br />

Editor: Joe Bini.<br />

Music: Jonny Greenwood.<br />

Costume designer: Malgosia Turzanska.<br />

A Why Not Prods. presentation, in association with <strong>Film</strong>4,<br />

BFI, Sixteen <strong>Film</strong>s and JW<strong>Film</strong>s.<br />

54 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

054-062.indd 54<br />

3/8/18 2:13 PM

Lynne Ramsay retains her status as one of<br />

our greatest living filmmakers with You Were<br />

Never Really Here.<br />

Lynne Ramsay follows up 2011’s We Need to<br />

Talk About Kevin with another bona-fide masterpiece<br />

in You Were Never Really Here, a brutal,<br />

sharp jaunt through the psyche of a deeply<br />

traumatized man. Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) makes<br />

a living of rescuing missing girls from bad men.<br />

He more or less floats through life unencumbered<br />

and unfeeling, his only connection with<br />

his elderly mother (Judith Roberts) who,<br />

together with Joe, survived years of abuse at<br />

the hands of Joe’s late father.<br />

But a job—involving the teenage daughter<br />

(Ekaterina Samsonov) of an aspiring politician<br />

(Alex Manette)—goes wrong, as they tend to,<br />

sending Joe down a blood-soaked path involving<br />

a prostitution ring, hired killers and maybe<br />

something of a conspiracy.<br />

The plot, as described above, could belong<br />

to any number of direct-to-VOD bores starring<br />

a washed-up B-lister who desperately<br />

needs to pay off a mortgage or two. But in<br />

the hands of Ramsay—who adapted Jonathan<br />

Ames’ novella for the screen in addition to<br />

directing—Joe’s story is transformed into a vital,<br />

visceral examination of isolation and pain.<br />

There’s action, too, of course. Clocking in at<br />

a slim 85 minutes, You Were Never Here has been<br />

stripped of every ounce of fat by Ramsay, lending<br />

the film a sense of forward momentum that<br />

never lets up. On one level, the film is a bloody,<br />

pulpy, B-movie-inspired action thriller in which<br />

a grizzled, uber-masculine hero races against the<br />

clock to save an innocent victim. On another<br />

level, it’s a subversion of those same tropes. Joe,<br />

unlike the proudly “lone wolf” antiheroes of films<br />

past, is physically and emotionally vulnerable.<br />

Joe craves connection and a sense of<br />

worth. Every frame of DP Thomas Townend’s<br />

footage and note of supervising sound editor<br />

Paul Davies’ sound design bears this out.<br />

Joe is frequently pictured in something of a<br />

bubble—isolated, with the visual and aural<br />

cacophony of New York City taking place just<br />

beyond his reach, less alluring than intimidating.<br />

Sound is an often-underappreciated element<br />

of film. Davies’ sound design, along with<br />

Jonny Greenwood’s score, makes You Were<br />

Never Really Here one of a handful of films<br />

in recent memory that truly illustrates the<br />

heights to which sound in film can ascend.<br />

—Rebecca Pahle<br />

GEMINI<br />

NEON/Color/2.35/93 Mins./Rated R<br />

Cast: Lola Kirke, Zoë Kravitz, John Cho, Ricki Lake, Greta Lee,<br />

Michelle Forbes, Nelson Franklin, Reeve Carney, Jessica<br />

Parker Kennedy, James Ransone, Todd Louiso.<br />

Written, directed and edited by Aaron Katz.<br />

Produced by Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy, Adele Romanski.<br />

Director of photography: Andrew Reed.<br />

Production designer: Tracy Dishman.<br />

Music: Keegan DeWitt.<br />

Costume designer: Emily Batson.<br />

A Syncopated <strong>Film</strong>s and PASTEL production, in association<br />

with Rough House Pictures.<br />

A smart and taut murder mystery that<br />

engages from start to finish.<br />

This stylish whodunit<br />

from talented writerdirector<br />

Aaron Katz<br />

(Land Ho!) is a patient<br />

exercise in plotting.<br />

Gemini is only 90<br />

minutes long, but it is Zoë Kravitz<br />

in no rush to leave the<br />

tarmac or bring us to ground before conditions<br />

are propitious.<br />

During the opening setup portion of the<br />

film, we spend a good deal of time—none of it<br />

wasted—with celebrity personal assistant Jill<br />

(Lola Kirke) as she passes what appears to be<br />

a typical Hollywood evening with her spoiled<br />

and childlike best-friend boss, Heather (Zoë<br />

Kravitz). Tonight, Heather is pissing everyone<br />

off. Jill is fielding calls from Heather’s furious<br />

ex-boyfriend, who is threatening “to kill” the<br />

starlet for ditching him for a woman, when she<br />

isn’t informing a furious director that Heather<br />

is pulling out of his project. The director<br />

could just “kill Heather.” Heather knows her<br />

agent won’t be too thrilled with her decision<br />

either, and sure enough, soon she’s receiving<br />

a call from said agent, who, yup, is so furious<br />

she could “kill Heather.” A creepy fan who<br />

invades Heather’s personal space doesn’t<br />

help matters, so that when Heather asks Jill<br />

for Jill’s gun because she doesn’t feel safe, her<br />

request, although dramatic, is not altogether<br />

unreasonable.<br />

Jill and Heather booze it up with Heather’s<br />

lover at a karaoke bar. A drunken Jill<br />

spends the night at Heather’s lavish home, one<br />

of those creepy sorts of houses, so beloved<br />

by the rich and excessive, where the walls are<br />

made entirely of windows. The girls joke and<br />

chat. One of the reasons the extended setup<br />

in Gemini works so well is the actress’ bestfriend<br />

chemistry is very real, very endearing,<br />

even when Heather is whining, even when<br />

Jill is slurring her words. From a plot-driven<br />

point of view, it’s necessary to establish the<br />

dynamic of their friendship, but their humor<br />

and warmth draw you in with them even as<br />

you know you are only being lulled in order<br />

to make the fall for which you are waiting that<br />

much more impactful.<br />

In the morning, Jill accidentally sets off the<br />

gun she’s given Heather, but everything’s fine,<br />

no one is hurt, only some glass has been shattered.<br />

Shaken, Jill heads out for a meeting, in<br />

which she is yet again informing someone that<br />

Heather will not do what she has promised to<br />

do. Returning to Heather’s house, Jill stumbles<br />

upon a violent scene that is decidedly not fine.<br />

And now our story gets underway. Jill has<br />

become a prime murder suspect (her prints<br />

are all over that gun, you know), but she, a<br />

celeb-wrangling, former Exeter-attending,<br />

motorcycle-driving woman, will not be pinned<br />

for what she did not do. While a dogged<br />

detective (a terrific John Cho) whose softspoken<br />

manner is an entertaining front for his<br />

cold tenacity, runs his official investigation, Jill<br />

does some amateur sleuthing of her own. God<br />

knows she has no shortage of angry suspects<br />

to sniff around.<br />

The call for us to suspend our disbelief<br />

sounds rather loudly as we watch Jill uncover<br />

clues and follow leads. Electronic keys to hotel<br />

rooms are conveniently “forgotten” where<br />

Jill can find them, and sexy motorcycle outfits<br />

lie in wait just when she needs them. And<br />

yet, none of the stretches demanded of our<br />

imagination are quite so egregious as to ruin<br />

the fun of the chase.<br />

The perceptive viewer might guess something<br />

of the plot twist before it occurs, but<br />

it works so well with the “Gemini” theme of<br />

the film about one doozy of a co-dependent<br />

relationship in our celeb-obsessed world, the<br />

surprise matters less than its neat integration<br />

with the whole. Is it too neat? Maybe a<br />

bit. But without such tidiness the point of the<br />

film would be lost, and so, in this instance,<br />

narrative efficiency acts in favor of thematic<br />

comprehensibility. It works.<br />

Engaging from start to finish, with superb<br />

plotting, stylish shots, actors on their game and<br />

a classical reference unforcedly invoked for<br />

modern commentary, Gemini is a well-made film.<br />

—Anna Storm<br />


20TH CENTURY FOX/Color/2.35/Dolby Digital/<br />

109 Mins./Rated PG-13<br />

Cast: Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Jennifer Garner,<br />

Josh Duhamel, Logan Miller, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge<br />

Lendeborg, Jr., Keiynan Lonsdale, Joey Pollari, Tony<br />

Hale, Natasha Rothwell, Talitha Bateman, Clark Moore,<br />

Miles Heizer.<br />

Directed by Greg Berlanti.<br />

Screenplay: Elizabeth Berger, Isaac Aptaker, based on the<br />

novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky<br />

Albertalli.<br />

Produced by Isaac Klausner, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen,<br />

Pouya Shahbazian.<br />

Executive producer: Timothy M. Bourne.<br />

Director of photography: John Guleserian.<br />

Production designer: Aaron Osborne.<br />

Editor: Harry Jierjian.<br />

Music: Rob Simonsen<br />

Costume designer: Eric Daman.<br />

A Fox 2000 presentation of a Temple Hill production.<br />

Engaging coming-of-age comedy with<br />

a difference: The lead of this major studio<br />

release is a gay teen.<br />

‘Everyone deserves a great love story” is<br />

one of the taglines for Love, Simon, and though<br />

there have been countless indie coming-out/<br />

coming-of-age movies, this Fox release is<br />

apparently the first big-studio film to feature<br />

a gay teen lead. And, indeed, it’s way overdue.<br />

Love, Simon has the same endearing quality as<br />

the John Hughes teen comedy classics of the<br />

1980s but, as producer Wyck Godfrey pitched<br />

it, “instead of Molly Ringwald, it’s a guy. And<br />

Jake Ryan is still Jake Ryan.”<br />

Nick Robinson stars as Simon Spier (an<br />

apt surname for this quiet observer), a decent,<br />

rather typical 17-year-old except for his big se-<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 55<br />

054-062.indd 55<br />

3/8/18 2:13 PM

cret. Simon has loving parents (Jennifer Garner<br />

and Josh Duhamel) and a tight circle of friends<br />

and enjoys his life in the suburbs of Atlanta, but<br />

there’s something slightly aloof about him—he’s<br />

just not ready to announce his sexual desires<br />

to the world. His first step toward openness<br />

begins when he becomes aware of an anonymous<br />

post on a social-media site from a fellow<br />

student who’s also anguished about hiding his<br />

sexual orientation. Simon and the writer named<br />

“Blue” begin an intimate correspondence, and<br />

Simon becomes obsessed with discovering his<br />

secret confidant.<br />

The plot takes a dark turn when the class<br />

buffoon, Martin (Logan Lerman), accidentally<br />

sees one of Simon’s e-mails and blackmails<br />

Simon into helping him get closer to his crush,<br />

Simon’s friend Abby (Alexandra Shipp). When<br />

that plan runs aground in spectacular fashion,<br />

Martin retaliates by outing Simon.<br />

Adapted by Elizabeth Berger and Isaac<br />

Aptaker (both writers for the NBC hit “This<br />

Is Us”) from Becky Albertalli’s 2012 youngadult<br />

novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,<br />

Love, Simon can perhaps be faulted for being<br />

too cautious and eager to appeal to the widest<br />

possible audience (whose potential size,<br />

even in <strong>2018</strong>, remains an open question).<br />

There’s but one flamboyant character in the<br />

whole movie, an out, gender-blurring boy<br />

with plenty of attitude (Clark Moore), and<br />

even when Simon participates in a fantasy<br />

production number set to Whitney Houston’s<br />

“I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” he seems<br />

a bit hesitant. But perhaps that’s the point:<br />

to place this groundbreaking (for a studio)<br />

character in an aggressively “normal” context,<br />

and see how mainstream viewers respond.<br />

Robinson underplays the role, with no clichéd<br />

mannerisms—he’s just a very appealing kid<br />

dreading a momentous decision (despite all<br />

the no-doubt-supportive people around him),<br />

whose efforts to hide have unintended, hurtful<br />

repercussions. (That’s director Greg Berlanti’s<br />

“Dawson’s Creek” TV-melodrama roots seeping<br />

through.)<br />

As in a John Hughes movie, the supporting<br />

cast is a boon here. Katherine Langford (Netflix’s<br />

“13 Reasons Why”) is poignant as Simon’s<br />

childhood friend Leah, who’s had a lifelong<br />

unrequited crush on him. Garner is touching<br />

as his psychologist mother who always sensed<br />

something holding back her son, while erstwhile<br />

hunk Duhamel has a winning and funny emotional<br />

moment with his newly liberated boy.<br />

Shipp is charming as the new girl in school who<br />

has two avid suitors, but Lerman never quite<br />

overcomes the obnoxiousness of his scheming<br />

character. Special mention goes to scene-stealer<br />

Natasha Rothwell (“Insecure”) as a high-school<br />

drama teacher who always speaks her mind.<br />

Fox deserves praise for bankrolling a<br />

film centered on an (ultimately) unapologetic<br />

gay teenage lead. Even if the gamble<br />

doesn’t bring huge box-office numbers, it’s<br />

good to know that kids like Simon can now<br />

see themselves up on the big screen, just as<br />

Molly pined for Jake.<br />

—Kevin Lally<br />

UNSANE<br />


Color/1.66/97 Mins./Rated R<br />

Cast: Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, Juno<br />

Temple, Amy Irving.<br />

Directed and photographed by Steven Soderbergh.<br />

Written by Jonathan Bernstein, James Greer.<br />

Produced by Joseph Malloch.<br />

Executive producers: Dan Fellman, Ken Meyer, Arnon<br />

Milchan.<br />

Production designer: <strong>April</strong> Lasky.<br />

Editor: Mary Ann Bernard (Steven Soderbergh).<br />

A Bleecker Street Media and Fingerprint Releasing presentation<br />

of an Extension 765, New Regency Pictures and<br />

Regency Enterprises production.<br />

An involuntary patient at a mental institution<br />

plans her escape from her longtime<br />

stalker in an effective Steven Soderbergh<br />

psychological thriller with urgent presentday<br />

significance.<br />

Throughout his diverse career, the famously<br />

efficient filmmaker Steven Soderbergh has<br />

proved to be at ease with switching gears between<br />

big-scale Hollywood flicks and smaller,<br />

artistically risky projects. Just as he followed<br />

up his star-studded Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s<br />

Twelve films with the modestly sized Full<br />

Frontal and Bubble, respectively, he drops his<br />

economical thriller Unsane on the heels of the<br />

big, wildly entertaining heist film Logan Lucky.<br />

Mostly set within the confines of a remote<br />

Pennsylvania mental institution, Unsane is an<br />

often truly disturbing entry in the genre that<br />

draws its visual and thematic inspirations from<br />

the psychological thrillers of the 1990s and<br />

the likes of Shutter Island and One Flew Over the<br />

Cuckoo’s Nest. Finding real-world urgency in<br />

the countless sexual-misconduct and assaultsurvival<br />

stories that continue to surface,<br />

Soderbergh’s film dissects the ripple effects<br />

of male predatory behavior and its clueless<br />

enablers who invalidate female credibility.<br />

Written by Jonathan Bernstein and James<br />

Greer, Unsane follows young white-collar<br />

Sawyer Valentini (“The Crown” and Breathe<br />

actress Claire Foy), who’s recovering from<br />

a past trauma involving a persistent stalker<br />

of two years. Relocated from Boston to<br />

Pennsylvania in order to start a new life after<br />

her abuser is issued a restraining order (succinct<br />

flashbacks give us the details), Sawyer<br />

does well at her corporate job, yet struggles<br />

to regain a healthy personal life. She suffers<br />

through unsuccessful blind dates with seemingly<br />

well-meaning guys she dismisses out of<br />

fear, while dutifully continuing her therapy<br />

sessions and regularly checking in with her<br />

mother Angela (Amy Irving) through lunchtime<br />

phone calls.<br />

As a follow-up to one of her usual<br />

treatment sessions, Sawyer finds herself<br />

at Highland Creek Behavioral Center and<br />

unknowingly signs papers that voluntarily<br />

check her into the suffocating facility for 24<br />

hours. Held at the premises against her will by<br />

an uncooperative staff unwilling to listen, and<br />

immediately at odds with emotionally unstable<br />

patient Violet (Juno Temple, sufficiently<br />

spine-chilling), Sawyer understandably displays<br />

erratic behavior in self-defense, and her stay<br />

becomes mandatory. To make matters worse,<br />

she recognizes staff member George Shaw<br />

(Joshua Leonard) as her convicted harasser<br />

with a disguised identity. But who would believe<br />

a female patient under heavy medication<br />

at a mental institution? Thankfully, she finds<br />

a reliable ally in the mysteriously resourceful<br />

co-patient Nate (Jay Pharoah).<br />

In a curious marketing decision, the film’s<br />

distributor Bleecker Street is selling a slightly<br />

misleading premise for Unsane, insinuating that<br />

Sawyer’s experience at the mental institution<br />

might be real or a figment of her delusion.<br />

Yet, the suspenseful play between reality<br />

and fantasy isn’t quite the point of Soderbergh’s<br />

film—at least not for long. In fact,<br />

Unsane disentangles this brief (but effective)<br />

uncertainty quite quickly (deciding in favor of<br />

Sawyer’s evident sanity) and proceeds with its<br />

actual themes around institutional corruption<br />

in healthcare and female susceptibility to its<br />

unsympathetic authority figures.<br />

Again behind the camera as his own<br />

cinematographer, Soderbergh purposely<br />

establishes his shots in a stalker-y sense,<br />

giving us both a taste of Sawyer’s justified<br />

anxiety and the visual impression of invading<br />

the unsuspecting woman’s privacy. Flawlessly<br />

balancing her character’s vulnerability with<br />

physical and emotional strength, Foy believably<br />

portrays a woman all females can relate<br />

to: one who knows exactly how to hide her<br />

fear and apprehension underneath a façade<br />

of confidence and how to stroke fragile male<br />

egos to safeguard herself from physical harm.<br />

No stranger to female-driven storylines led<br />

by intricate characters facing big predicaments<br />

(think Erin Brockovich and Side Effects),<br />

Soderbergh proves his deep understanding of<br />

the unique challenges women face in a world<br />

that inherently normalizes bad male behavior.<br />

With Unsane, he successfully delivers a<br />

claustrophobic, disquieting nail-biter with<br />

contemporary significance, through the relatable<br />

story of a hardened woman searching<br />

for an escape path to survival.<br />

—Tomris Laffly<br />


A24/Color/1.85/122 Mins./Rated R<br />

Cast: Charlie Plummer, Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny,<br />

Travis Fimmel, Steve Zahn, Justin Rain, Lewis Pullman,<br />

Bob Olin, Teyah Hartley, Kurt Conroyd, Alison Elliott,<br />

Rachael Perrell Fosket, Jason Rouse, Amy Seimetz.<br />

Directed by Andrew Haigh.<br />

Screenplay: Andrew Haigh, based on the novel by Willy<br />

Vlautin.<br />

Produced by Tristan Goligher.<br />

Executive producers: Lizzie Francke, Ben Roberts, Daniel<br />

Battsek, Sam Lavendar, David Kosse, Vincent Gadelle,<br />

Darren Demetre.<br />

Director of photography: Magnus Jonck.<br />

Production designer: Ryan Warren Smith.<br />

Editor: Jonathan Alberts<br />

Costume designer: Julie Carnahan.<br />

Music: James Edward Barker.<br />

A Bureau production.<br />

56 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

054-062.indd 56<br />

3/8/18 2:13 PM

Writer-director Andrew Haigh’s first film<br />

set in the American West includes a cast of<br />

itinerant characters eking out a living, and<br />

one lonely young man who longs for stability.<br />

Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete is about a<br />

teenage boy and is set in America’s West and<br />

Pacific Northwest. The movie is not very<br />

different from the writer-director’s 45 Years<br />

(2015), the story of an aging British couple<br />

who are planning their 45th wedding anniversary.<br />

Both center on subtle and not-so-subtle<br />

betrayals. Some are suffered at the hands of<br />

loved ones, and the others derive from a tacit<br />

acceptance of cultural values that enshrine,<br />

in the case of 45 Years, the institution of<br />

marriage, and in Lean on Pete, the rugged selfdetermination<br />

that informs Americans’ views<br />

of their heritage.<br />

The wife in 45 Years discovers her<br />

husband’s deceit that at first appears to be<br />

little more than a sin of omission. Later, it<br />

profoundly alters Kate’s (Charlotte Rampling)<br />

memories of her married life. In the end, the<br />

ritual celebration of a wedding anniversary<br />

with friends, the party that the couple had<br />

put off for five years because of Geoff’s (Tom<br />

Courtenay) illness, is a public mockery for<br />

Kate, a celebration of betrayal. In Lean on Pete,<br />

Charley (Charlie Plummer of All the Money<br />

in the World), in the tradition of many classic<br />

heroes, is motherless and symbolically bereft<br />

of the meaningful existence mothers confer<br />

on their children. His mother left shortly<br />

after he was born for reasons never explained<br />

to him. Not unlike the sin of omission in 45<br />

Years, Charley’s affectionate but irresponsible<br />

father Ray (Travis Kimmel) never confesses to<br />

his son his obvious complicity in his wife’s departure.<br />

Ray also cuts ties with Aunt Martha<br />

(Rachael Perrell Fosket), Charley’s only other<br />

relative, motivated by the same desire to hide<br />

his shortcomings, and to ensure the boy’s love<br />

for him.<br />

Charley is sweet and trusting. His father’s<br />

failures have not made him angry or resentful,<br />

although he longs for a stable family life.<br />

On the verge of an important milestone,<br />

Charley’s acceptance on the football team of<br />

his Wyoming high school, Ray moves them to<br />

Portland, Oregon, where the movie opens.<br />

Charley is unpacking when he hears voices<br />

behind his father’s bedroom door. They live in<br />

a dilapidated, roach-infested house. Realizing<br />

Ray has company, the 15-year-old decides to<br />

go for an early morning run; when he returns,<br />

Ray’s date makes them breakfast. Ray tells<br />

Charley that she is married, apparently to a<br />

dangerous guy. Then he gives his son spending<br />

money, and Charley buys groceries, hoping<br />

his father will cook dinner. Charley tells Ray<br />

about the nearby Portland Downs that has<br />

piqued his curiosity in horses. He later lands<br />

a job with Del (Steve Buscemi), who races<br />

quarter horses.<br />

Del is only slightly less irresponsible than<br />

Ray, but he develops a fondness for Charley.<br />

His feelings are tested when the boy realizes<br />

he is abusing the horses. Then, Ray is assaulted<br />

and is admitted to the hospital, leaving<br />

Charley entirely on his own. When he asks his<br />

father for Aunt Martha’s phone number, Ray<br />

tells him that they are just fine on their own.<br />

Charley embarks on several road trips with<br />

Del. He also meets Bonnie (Chloë Sevigny), a<br />

jockey who races Del’s horses. She is protective<br />

of Charley, and tries to hide the less<br />

savory practices of horse racing from him, but<br />

she depends on Del for work. When Charley<br />

learns that Del plans to sell his favorite horse,<br />

Lean on Pete, to the slaughterhouse, the boy<br />

runs off with his truck and trailer, Lean on<br />

Pete in tow. Charley’s plan is to find Aunt<br />

Martha, who now lives in Laramie, Wyoming,<br />

more than a thousand miles from Portland.<br />

Haigh’s screenplay is adapted from<br />

Willy Vlautin’s novel of the same name; the<br />

movie has Charley traversing three states and<br />

various terrains to get to Laramie, a journey<br />

the filmmaker took before filming. Haigh<br />

sometimes uses the same locations to double<br />

for different deserts and national forests,<br />

which is disorienting, but a minor flaw in a film<br />

that meticulously charts Charley and Ray’s<br />

working-class, itinerant lifestyle. Lean on Pete<br />

will inevitably be compared to Chloé Zhao’s<br />

The Rider, which opens a week later and<br />

chronicles a little-known segment of Native<br />

American life. (Zhao gets the geography right.)<br />

Both are quest films about young men, aimed<br />

at adult audiences, and are notable for their<br />

emphasis on unfit fathers. Haigh’s film is what<br />

Hollywood calls “coming of age” and Zhao’s is<br />

not; different sorts of horse culture are central<br />

to the narratives. Neither Zhao nor Haigh<br />

knew the American West before writing and<br />

directing their movies.<br />

Lean on Pete is a more abstract indictment<br />

of American values and the pressures<br />

they place on young men than The Rider,<br />

although no less scathing. As in all archetypal<br />

quest stories, the heroes’ childhood wounds<br />

render them vulnerable to betrayal—and the<br />

journeys are fraught with danger. In Lean on<br />

Pete, so many adults are cruel or indifferent<br />

to Charley that three-quarters of the way<br />

through, a note of implausibility creeps in;<br />

for instance, a drunk’s explosive attack is too<br />

abrupt and lengthy, and Charley’s response is<br />

uncharacteristically violent. During the long,<br />

lonely trek to Laramie, as the boy runs out of<br />

money and slowly loses hope of ever getting<br />

there, his already lean frame becomes emaciated.<br />

Diminished physically and psychologically,<br />

death appears inevitable—for Charley<br />

and Lean on Pete, especially after Del’s truck<br />

breaks down and Charley must make his way<br />

on foot.<br />

Charlie will not ride the horse—because<br />

of Del, he has come to see that as an<br />

exploitation of the animal—but he confesses<br />

his life story to him, a sad tale of yearning in<br />

which his aunt represents the sole reprieve.<br />

In these scenes, Haigh’s visual style suggests<br />

that the vastness of America’s landscape<br />

overwhelms the individual, although this<br />

does not fit Charley’s characterization as a<br />

Wyoming boy and is too palpable to be metaphorical.<br />

That false note muddles the other,<br />

broader source of betrayal for men that<br />

forms the subtext of the film, that of America’s<br />

mythology of self-reliance. It is Charley’s<br />

measure of manhood, which he learned from<br />

Ray—and it very nearly destroys him. In the<br />

end, the simplicity of Haigh’s plot highlights a<br />

wonderful performance by Charlie Plummer<br />

that transforms an awkward denouement<br />

into a piercing revelation of the ways in<br />

which Western culture injures men.<br />

—Maria Garcia<br />



Dolby Digital/107 Mins./Rated R<br />

Cast: Sam Claflin, Asa Butterfield, Paul Bettany, Toby<br />

Jones, Tom Sturridge, Stephen Graham, Robert<br />

Glenister, Miles Jupp, Rupert Wickham.<br />

Directed by Saul Dibb.<br />

Screenplay: Simon Reade, based on the play by R.C<br />

Sherriff and novel by Sherriff, Vernon Bartlett.<br />

Produced by Simon Reade, Guy de Beaujeu.<br />

Executive producers: Anthony Seldon, Mary Burke,<br />

Steve Milne, Christian Eisenbeiss, Adrian Politowski,<br />

Bastien Sirodot.<br />

Director of photography: Laurie Rose.<br />

Production designer: Kristian Milsted.<br />

Editor: Tania Reddin.<br />

Music: Hildur Gudnadóttir, Natalie Holt.<br />

Costume designer: Anushia Nieradzik.<br />

A BFI and Wales Screen presentation, in association<br />

with Metro International Entertainment, British <strong>Film</strong><br />

Co. and Umedia, of a Fluidity <strong>Film</strong>s production, in<br />

association with Third Wednesday <strong>Film</strong>s.<br />

Beautifully realized, hard-hitting yet<br />

intimate anti-war tale of a British military<br />

company embedded on the front lines in the<br />

final deadly months of WWI is exemplary<br />

art-house fare.<br />

Wartime fighting<br />

ain’t pretty. Nor is<br />

awaiting the call to<br />

mobilize, signaling<br />

that the in-the-bunker<br />

Journey’s End is not a<br />

conventionally “feelgood”<br />

film. But quality<br />

Asa Butterfield<br />

seekers will certainly leave satisfied, thanks<br />

largely to magnificent performances from a<br />

gaggle of top Brit dependables, including Sam<br />

Claflin (The Hunger Games), Asa Butterfield<br />

(Hugo), Paul Bettany, Toby Jones, Tom Sturridge<br />

and Stephen Graham, and an exquisite<br />

production miraculously delivered even in the<br />

story’s claustrophobic confines. It should be<br />

noted that the film is also gifted with a subtle,<br />

suspense-heightening score that never gets in<br />

the way.<br />

Director Saul Dibb (The Duchess, Suite<br />

Française), with help from screenwriter Simon<br />

Reade, delivers a polished and moving work.<br />

The film’s structure and handful of varied<br />

relatable characters (based on R.C. Sherriff’s<br />

acclaimed 1928 play) may be a familiar scheme,<br />

but it works. Furthering the realism the film<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 57<br />

054-062.indd 57<br />

3/8/18 2:13 PM

is intent on delivering is Laurie Rose’s canny<br />

camera placement: handheld or rigged (Steadicam)<br />

approaches that put viewers beside the<br />

soldiers in the cramped bunkers and trenches.<br />

Unlike the war (battle, really) that Journey’s<br />

End depicts, the film is a victory for both<br />

sides—filmmakers and upscale viewers.<br />

The time is spring 1918, after nearly four<br />

years of battle and just before the horrific,<br />

German-initiated “Spring Offensive” that<br />

saw the loss of hundreds of millions of lives.<br />

The film focuses on a group of C-company<br />

British officers housed in quarters below<br />

the muddy bunkers where the soldiers<br />

wait. The whole company is on a duty of<br />

dread, a kind of wartime roulette when<br />

all companies must serve six days out of<br />

the month on the front lines with no one<br />

knowing when they’ll be called to battle.<br />

In C-company’s case, it’s rather like lambs<br />

lined up, a “darkest hour” indeed as they<br />

learn there’s no backup for them.<br />

As the grim countdown drags, we meet<br />

a cross-section of officers and soldiers.<br />

Foremost are Captain Stanhope (Claflin), the<br />

battle-scarred, deeply troubled upper-class<br />

leader gone south because he’s experiencing<br />

a premature stress disorder and has sunk<br />

into alcoholism; young, starry-eyed innocent<br />

Raleigh (Butterfield), just out of training and<br />

eager to serve, especially under his former<br />

schoolhouse monitor Stanhope, who is also<br />

the sweetheart of Raleigh’s older sister;<br />

Officer Osborne (Bettany), a composed,<br />

pipe-smoking, calming figure who is like ballast<br />

to those anxious souls around him; Hibbert<br />

(Sturridge), a panicky sort paralyzed by what<br />

just might lie ahead; the officers’ cook Mason<br />

(Jones), a cynical bloke with edge who serves<br />

dishes he can’t quite describe that whet no<br />

appetites; and Trotter (Graham), a cheery<br />

soldier whose nature could be a cover-up for<br />

dread smoldering within.<br />

During the six days of watch-and-wait,<br />

much is revealed about these captives of<br />

horrible circumstance, all betraying varying<br />

degrees of unease and terror. Most importantly,<br />

the men are all too human. Stanhope<br />

has become so paranoid that Raleigh’s letter<br />

home to his sister will betray his pathetic<br />

condition, he orders it destroyed. And<br />

there’s a pop-up raid that brings tragedy and<br />

causes deeply troubled Hibbert to demand<br />

that Stanhope have him hospitalized. A nasty<br />

showdown follows, with each revealing dark<br />

secrets. Tensions mount until that day when,<br />

after a captured German shares the date of<br />

the imminent enemy offense, orders come<br />

for the company to arm for battle and gather<br />

in the warren of dark, filthy trenches for the<br />

attack.<br />

Regarding what follows, let’s just say that<br />

with the film’s final, ironic coda and its wealth<br />

of talent displayed on both sides of the cameras,<br />

Journey’s End will reward a journey to see<br />

it in theatres, even if it will more likely thrive<br />

from lifelines beyond the big screen.<br />

—Doris Toumarkine<br />


FOCUS FEATURES/Color/2.35/86 Mins./Rated R<br />

Cast: Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, Paul<br />

Sparks, Francie Swift, Kaili Vernoff.<br />

Written and directed by Cory Finley, based on his play.<br />

Produced by Kevin J. Walsh, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, Andrew<br />

Duncan, Alex Saks.<br />

Executive producers: Ryan Stowell, Ted Deiker, Declan<br />

Baldwin.<br />

Director of photography: Lyle Vincent.<br />

Production designer: Jeremy Woodward.<br />

Editor: Louise Ford.<br />

Music: Erik Friedlander<br />

Costume designer: Alex Bovaird.<br />

A B Story, Big Indie Pictures and June Pictures production.<br />

Girls go bad in this intelligent black<br />

comedy.<br />

A darkly good time is Thoroughbreds, the<br />

confident feature debut from playwright Cory<br />

Finley. The film has drawn comparisons to<br />

American Psycho and Heathers, which are both<br />

apt parallels, but the real fun of the movie<br />

is its intelligent, deadpan distinctiveness.<br />

Lead actresses Anya Taylor-Joy (Split) and, in<br />

particular, Olivia Cooke (“Bates Motel”) are<br />

perfectly cast as the rich Connecticut teens<br />

whose “good breeding” goes horribly “bad.”<br />

Thoroughbreds is a wonderful example of<br />

the sparks that can fly when a great script is<br />

brought to life by the right cast.<br />

Lily (Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Cooke)<br />

used to be friends during their halcyon days<br />

of middle school, but they’ve grown apart in<br />

recent years. It seems Lily has been attending<br />

a posh boarding school and working a coveted<br />

internship in finance, while Amanda has been<br />

acting…troubled. See, Amanda lacks the<br />

ability to feel. So she tells Lily on a play-date<br />

of sorts that has been arranged by Amanda’s<br />

mother. Amanda has gotten by in the world by<br />

mimicking the behavior of other people. “This<br />

doesn’t make me a bad person,” she insists. “It<br />

just means I have to work a little harder than<br />

everyone else.” Lily is taken aback by this confession,<br />

but when Amanda’s frankness forces<br />

her to speak candidly in her turn (clearly not<br />

something she does very often), she begins to<br />

warm to her former friend. Certainly it helps<br />

to have someone else bear witness to the<br />

jerky conduct of her stepfather, Mark (a terrific<br />

Paul Sparks). And if Mark is annoyed by<br />

Amanda’s presence, so much the better.<br />

One night, in typical feeling-less fashion,<br />

Amanda casually floats the idea of murdering<br />

Mark. After an initial period of resistance that<br />

is textbook the-lady-doth-protest-too-much,<br />

Lily agrees. They decide to enlist the services<br />

of a loser drug dealer (the late, great Anton<br />

Yelchin) to aid them in their plot. As their plan<br />

unfolds, assumptions of just who is “good” and<br />

who is “bad,” who is moral and who is psycho,<br />

entertainingly and unnervingly shift.<br />

Finley’s dialogue is laugh-out-loud sharp,<br />

his plotting careful and unhurried, and his<br />

choice of music, working with composer Erik<br />

Friedlander, spot-on. The filmmakers opt for<br />

a score that is partly suspenseful, with its<br />

high-pitched whines and squeals, and partly<br />

jungle-feverish, with booming drums and<br />

cacophonously overlapping sounds. There’s<br />

great humor in the style of the filmmaking,<br />

as the movements of the girls through their<br />

beautifully decorated houses are set to this feral<br />

music. It’s as if their interiority is booming<br />

out at us without the need for voiceover.<br />

Which is why it’s a bit frustrating when, at<br />

the end of the film, Amanda writes a letter in<br />

which, through voiceover, she explains some<br />

of the film’s themes. Horses in various scenes<br />

and images recur throughout the movie.<br />

Given the circumstances, the animalism of the<br />

music and the dramatic climax, the film ably<br />

conveys why these animals are important and<br />

how they’re functioning within the narrative.<br />

There may be some ambiguity, but when<br />

Amanda explains it all outright while staring<br />

at a poster of a horse, the reaction is not the<br />

relief of, Oh, good, now I understand, but rather<br />

the disappointment of, Don’t tell us what you’ve<br />

already shown!<br />

Happily, though, this moment of oversharing<br />

is anomalous in a film that is otherwise<br />

nicely restrained in its acidity, delightfully<br />

caustic without feeling mean-spirited, nihilistic<br />

or cynical. A good deal of the credit must go<br />

to Cooke, whose “unfeeling” character could<br />

have easily sounded robotic or too detached<br />

for us to follow. This is her film, though both<br />

Taylor-Joy, as an ice princess who cracks, and<br />

Yelchin, as a sensitive doofus, offer the considerable<br />

strength of their performances. The<br />

film is dedicated to Yelchin, who passed away<br />

in 2016. Thoroughbreds is one of the last films<br />

he made, and is both a reason to lament what<br />

has been lost and to celebrate what was.<br />

—Anna Storm<br />


WALT DISNEY/Color/2.35/3D/Dolby Atmos/<br />

109 Mins./Rated PG<br />

Cast: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon,<br />

Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Levi<br />

Miller, Zach Galifianakis, Rowan Blanchard, André<br />

Holland, Michael Peña, Deric McCabe, Bellamy Young,<br />

David Oyelowo.<br />

Directed by Ava DuVernay.<br />

Screenplay: Jennifer Lee, Jeff Stockwell, based on the<br />

novel by Madeleine L’Engle.<br />

Produced by Jim Whitaker, Catherine Hand.<br />

Executive producers: Adam Borba, Douglas C. Merrifield.<br />

Director of photography: Tobias Schliessler.<br />

Production designer: Naomi Shohan.<br />

Editor: Spencer Averick.<br />

Music: Ramin Djawadi.<br />

Visual effects supervisor: Rich McBride.<br />

Costume designer: Paco Delgado.<br />

A Walt Disney Pictures presentation of a Whitaker<br />

Entertainment production.<br />

Hindered by disjointed flow and a monotonous<br />

tone, the creatively ambitious A Wrinkle<br />

in Time falls short of its worthy intentions.<br />

How we engage with works of art is oftentimes<br />

partly informed by the cultural and<br />

sociopolitical landscape we live in. Especially<br />

58 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

054-062.indd 58<br />

3/8/18 2:13 PM

for certain pop-culture entertainments, like<br />

the recent, wildly successful blockbusters<br />

Wonder Woman and Black Panther, the lens<br />

of contemporary social discourse (around<br />

feminism and racism, for instance) is both<br />

an inevitable means of interpretation and a<br />

relevant one. The ambitious but flatly realized<br />

A Wrinkle in Time, from director Ava DuVernay<br />

(Selma, 13th), is one such film that braves the<br />

topical struggles that surround it.<br />

Adapted from Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless<br />

1962 classic by Jeff Stockwell and Frozen’s<br />

acclaimed screenwriter Jennifer Lee, A Wrinkle<br />

in Time singlehandedly packs a number of filmindustry<br />

rarities within its wide scope, defying<br />

the status quo: It’s helmed by an unapologetically<br />

risk-taking woman of color, led by a<br />

marvelously diverse, mostly female cast, and<br />

follows the coming-of-age adventures of a<br />

young black girl in charge of her own destiny.<br />

These refreshing-on-paper qualities elevate<br />

Wrinkle’s significance in the cultural sphere. If<br />

only the film itself weren’t so stiffly written and<br />

awkwardly paced. In noticeable need of a more<br />

fluid touch and a heightended sense of wonder,<br />

A Wrinkle in Time is an unfortunate case of noble<br />

intentions missing their target creatively, despite<br />

occasional flashes of skill.<br />

Mirroring its source material, the eternal<br />

battle between good vs. evil and right vs.<br />

wrong is at the heart of DuVernay’s film. And<br />

in the enduring tradition of countless tales<br />

featuring a “chosen one,” it’s up to one misunderstood<br />

underdog to rise to the occasion.<br />

In Wrinkle, the honors belong to the young<br />

Meg Murry (a sturdy-beyond-her-years Storm<br />

Reid), a troubled early-teen misfit. Suffering<br />

the cruelty of bullies at her school, Meg lives<br />

with her scientist mother Kate (Gugu Mbatha-<br />

Raw) and her fearless brother Charles Wallace<br />

(Deric McCabe) in a house haunted by<br />

the memories of her father (Chris Pine), who<br />

mysteriously disappeared several years before<br />

while working to prove the existence of tessering:<br />

a break (or wrinkle, if you will) within<br />

the universe and time that enables traveling<br />

between planets.<br />

The Murrys’ routine is disturbed one day<br />

by the arrival of bickering but sweet-natured<br />

Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), an<br />

ethereal being in human form who confirms<br />

the reality of this phenomenon. Soon joined<br />

by the wise Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling), who<br />

frequently quotes famous thinkers and artists<br />

(including Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda in<br />

a modern-day spin), a towering Mrs. Which<br />

(Oprah Winfrey) and their schoolmate Calvin<br />

(Levi Miller), Meg and Charles embark on<br />

an intergalactic voyage through a tesseract in<br />

search of their father.<br />

With stopovers at the lush and colorful<br />

Uriel and the foggy Orion, their adventure<br />

transports them to various planets with<br />

distinct textures, looks and colors (thus, a<br />

range of production design needs). But it isn’t<br />

until the clan reaches Camazotz, the planet<br />

under the reign of an evil power called “IT,”<br />

that their voyage takes an ominously dangerous<br />

turn. It is within Camazotz’s uncanny,<br />

treacherous settings—including an eerily<br />

overcrowded beach, a dark forest and an<br />

alarmingly uniform suburban neighborhood—<br />

that we see DuVernay’s capable handing of<br />

action and tension.<br />

Outside of a few engaging scenes of the<br />

rising stakes at Camazotz, the CGI-heavy A<br />

Wrinkle in Time feels static and drifts monotonously<br />

without amplifying the bold rebellion<br />

at the core of its story. Some curious creative<br />

choices don’t help matters. Cinematographer<br />

Tobias Schliessler’s camera insistently chases<br />

close-ups and reaction shots. This frequently<br />

distracting artistic decision does favors to<br />

neither the characters nor the heavy-handed<br />

work of the makeup artists. At certain<br />

moments, we desperately want to see the<br />

impressive scale of the production design and<br />

take in the rich costuming (by Paco Delgado)<br />

in a larger context. Instead, we find ourselves<br />

looking at makeup brushstrokes, detecting<br />

imperfections of glittery lipstick and severe<br />

eye shadow.<br />

Despite all its issues, however, A Wrinkle<br />

in Time is a meaningful attempt at big-budget<br />

filmmaking that, for a change, casts its central<br />

hero as a black girl, while making her search for<br />

identity and purpose universally relevant. Even<br />

a shaky step in the right direction is worthy of<br />

note and demands the continued support of<br />

Hollywood to inspire and activate generations<br />

of underserved audiences. Let’s hope we are<br />

steadily approaching the day where likeminded<br />

films are the norm, and not an anomaly.<br />

—Tomris Laffly<br />


AVIRON PICTURES/Color/2.35/85 Mins./Rated R<br />

Cast: Bailee Madison, Lewis Pullman, Christina Hendricks,<br />

Martin Henderson, Emma Bellomy, Lea Enslin, Damian<br />

Maffei.<br />

Directed by Johannes Roberts.<br />

Screenplay by Ben Ketai, based on an original screenplay<br />

by Bryan Bertino.<br />

Produced by Wayne Marc Godfrey, James Harris, Robert<br />

Jones, Ryan Kavanaugh, Mark Lane.<br />

Executive producers: Alastair Burlingham, Brett Dahl, David<br />

Dinerstein, Charlie Dombek, Ken Halsband, Trevor<br />

Macy, Jason Resnick, William Sadleir, Jon D. Wagner.<br />

Co-producer: Babak Eftekhari.<br />

Director of photography: Ryan Samul.<br />

Production designer: Freddy Waff.<br />

Editor: Martin Brinkler.<br />

Music: Adrian Johnston.<br />

Costume designer: Carla Shivener.<br />

An Aviron Pictures presentation of a Fyzz Facility and<br />

White Comet <strong>Film</strong>s production, in association with<br />

Bloom and Rogue Pictures.<br />

Beautiful but derivative.<br />

The Fog. Halloween. Christine. The Texas Chainsaw<br />

Massacre. Director Johannes Roberts<br />

wears his inspirations on his sleeve when it<br />

comes to slasher flick The Strangers: Prey at<br />

Night, loosely related companion film to the<br />

2008 film in which Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman<br />

are tormented by a trio of masked killers<br />

who use a trailer park as their hunting ground.<br />

This time around, it’s parents Cindy (Christina<br />

Hendricks) and Mike (Martin Henderson),<br />

along with their teenage kids Kinsey (Bailee<br />

Madison) and Luke (Lewis Pullman), who must<br />

make it through the night. As a homage to<br />

horror classics of years past, Strangers: Prey<br />

at Night is well-crafted. As a piece of original<br />

filmmaking, it and the works of Roberts’ clear<br />

icon John Carpenter aren’t even in the same<br />

trailer park.<br />

Opening credits done in the Halloween<br />

font give us our first hint as to the derivativeness<br />

that is to come. Kinsey, sporting the dyed<br />

black hair, band t-shirt and tied-around-thewaist<br />

flannel that’s the laziest possible way to<br />

spell out “moody teen,” is being carted off to<br />

boarding school by her overwhelmed parents.<br />

Their last night of familial togetherness—the<br />

three of them, plus Kinsey’s golden-boy older<br />

brother (Lewis Pullman)—is set to take place<br />

in a trailer park managed by Cindy’s aunt and<br />

uncle. But the trailer park’s deserted in the<br />

off-season, and the poor aunt and uncle went<br />

and got murdered by three anonymous, maskwearing<br />

killers—apparently the same people<br />

from the first film, though played by different<br />

actors. Suffice it to say, the trailer park’s<br />

new visitors’ plans have changed from “play<br />

cards and go to sleep early” to “get stalked by<br />

weapon-wielding maniacs.”<br />

The problem—from the viewer’s perspective,<br />

not the family’s—is that the “weaponwielding<br />

maniacs” portion of the evening<br />

takes so damned long to start. Instead, Prey at<br />

Night’s script is front-loaded with a heavy dose<br />

of Family Dynamics Theatre: Sister resents<br />

brother, mother is tough on daughter because<br />

of her own wild youth, dad is well-meaning<br />

but mostly clueless, etc. etc.<br />

While getting to know these characters<br />

does help our emotional investment once the<br />

carnage starts to go down, Prey at Night still<br />

never really establishes anything that resembles<br />

a driving sense of momentum. Instead,<br />

we skip from set-piece to set-piece (swimming<br />

pool! car wreck! fire!), strung together<br />

in a ham-fisted manner by the age-old horror<br />

tradition of protagonists making really stupid<br />

decisions in order to advance the plot. No<br />

matter how well individual scenes work, the<br />

movie as a whole can never shake its pervasive<br />

sense of repetitive dullness.<br />

What saves Prey at Night from being a waste<br />

of time—elevating it from “avoid at all costs”<br />

to “sure, I’ll see it if it’s on Netflix”—is that<br />

those set-pieces are gorgeously photographed<br />

and sometimes quite scary. So is the whole film,<br />

really, even if the plot and characters are less<br />

than compelling. Roberts and cinematographer<br />

Ryan Samul bring a distinct visual flair to Prey at<br />

Night that isn’t the sort of thing you necessarily<br />

expect from a decade-delayed horror sequel. All<br />

stark shadows and ominous fog (Hi again, John<br />

Carpenter), the trailer park is at once creepy<br />

and beautiful. The team behind Prey at Night is<br />

great at building tension and atmosphere—one<br />

only wishes they knew how to deliver a payoff.<br />

—Rebecca Pahle<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 59<br />

054-062.indd 59<br />

3/8/18 2:13 PM


SONY PICTURES CLASSICS/Color/2.35/90 Mins./<br />

Rated R<br />

Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Armie Hammer, Tony Shalhoub,<br />

Sylvie Testud, Clémence Poésy, James Faulkner.<br />

Written and directed by Stanley Tucci.<br />

Screenplay: Stanley Tucci, based on the memoir<br />

A Giacometti Portrait by James Lord.<br />

Produced by Gail Egan, Nik Bower, Ilann Girard.<br />

Director of photography: Danny Cohen.<br />

Production designer: James Merifield.<br />

Editor: Camilla Toniolo.<br />

Costume designer: Liza Bracey.<br />

A Potboiler <strong>Film</strong>s, Riverstone Pictures and Arsam<br />

International production.<br />

Alberto Giacometti paints a portrait of<br />

his friend James Lord in this sterile exercise<br />

that fails to gain dramatic traction from the<br />

artist’s quest for perfection.<br />

What could the creators of Final Portrait<br />

have been thinking? This film asks the viewer<br />

literally to watch paint dry as renowned artist<br />

Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush) paints,<br />

wipes out, cusses, and re-paints a portrait<br />

during some 18 sittings by his friend, the<br />

dapper James Lord (Armie Hammer). It’s as<br />

exciting as watching a writer write.<br />

Writer-director Stanley Tucci, the esteemed<br />

actor and Academy Award nominee, attempts<br />

to compensate for Portrait’s schematic premise<br />

by sketching in la vie boheme in the artist’s Paris<br />

atelier, which could be situated in some Montparnasse<br />

of tourist fantasy. But the film never<br />

gains amplitude, keeping claustrophobically<br />

focused on Giacometti’s maddening struggle to<br />

complete the portrait. You can lecture, write<br />

books and perhaps make a short doc about the<br />

artistic process, but, at least in the case of Final<br />

Portrait, you can’t pistol-whip it into a dramatic<br />

feature film.<br />

In 1964, while on a brief trip to Paris, Lord,<br />

a wealthy art writer and a kind of American<br />

flaneur, is asked by Giacometti to sit for a<br />

portrait. The process, Giacometti assures Lord,<br />

will take only a few days. Flattered and intrigued,<br />

Lord agrees. “A few days” expands into weeks,<br />

possibly months of sittings that point to no conclusion<br />

because Giacometti, who can never find<br />

satisfaction with the work—or even understand<br />

the nature of “finished”—continually destroys<br />

it. “That’s the terrible thing,” he explains to<br />

the dismayed Lord. “The more one works on<br />

a picture, the more impossible it becomes to<br />

finish it.” In an ongoing motif, Lord is repeatedly<br />

seen phoning home to say he’ll be cancelling his<br />

flight yet again. Given that it’s Armie Hammer<br />

on the phone, we itch to know whom he’s calling,<br />

what awaits him stateside, and more—but<br />

no such luck.<br />

Tucci pads Lord’s mind-numbing sittings—<br />

which feel like they occur in real time and bring<br />

new meaning to “static”—with vignettes from<br />

Giacometti’s turbulent life. The archetypal “art<br />

monster,” he mistreats his forlorn, heat-starved<br />

wife Annette (the marvelous Sylvie Testud,<br />

disserved by the role)—at one point throwing<br />

cash at her for a warm coat—and makes no<br />

secret of his craving for Caroline (Clémence<br />

Poésy), a prostitute and his lover of four years.<br />

After the studio has been ransacked, he buys off<br />

Caroline’s pimps for a princely sum. His dealer<br />

arrives with a fortune in franc notes, and Giacometti,<br />

who has no use for banks, playfully asks<br />

Lord where in the atelier they should store the<br />

bundles of cash. The production designers took<br />

great care to recreate an authentic image of<br />

the artist’s atelier, with his famous sculptures of<br />

elongated figures as a backdrop; you can all but<br />

smell the turpentine and overflowing ashtrays<br />

and feel the dank chill. The set acts as another<br />

leading player.<br />

Rush pulls out all the stops to convey an<br />

artist in frantic pursuit of some unattainable<br />

ideal, uncorking such lines as “There is no better<br />

breeding ground for doubt than success.”<br />

He bears a remarkable physical resemblance<br />

to Giacometti and nails his grotesque selfabsorption,<br />

doggedness and, at moments,<br />

madness. But Rush’s performance works more<br />

as an acting-class exercise than a dramatic<br />

engagement with other players. The most<br />

glaring void is his unexplored relationship with<br />

Lord, who is called upon merely to puzzle<br />

at the painter’s frustration, act genteel-y<br />

pissed off and squirm from sitting in the same<br />

position in a freezing studio. Why did Armie<br />

Hammer lend himself to this sterile exercise?<br />

The script wants nothing of him except his<br />

beauty, using him simply as a poster boy for<br />

“rich WASPy American.” I suppose you could<br />

almost make an hour-plus feature simply by<br />

pointing the camera at this actor’s face—but<br />

not quite. That Hammer accepted such an<br />

underwritten role is especially disappointing<br />

after his indelible turn in Call Me by Your<br />

Name. The main takeaway from Final Portrait is<br />

that he is in need of a new agent. It’s said that<br />

Lord, who was homosexual, conducted a fullblown<br />

affair with the older, overbearing Dora<br />

Maar, though in his Picasso and Dora: A Memoir<br />

(1993), he never explicitly admits to a consummation.<br />

Now there’s a film I’d like to see.<br />

—Erica Abeel<br />


PALADIN/Color/2.35/98 Mins./Not Rated<br />

Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Kiefer Sutherland, Sam Robards,<br />

Tony Okungbowa, Marc Menchaca, Babs Olusanmokun,<br />

Joel Marsh Garland, Gabe Fazio, Suzanne Shepherd.<br />

Directed by Andrew Dosunmu.<br />

Screenplay: Darci Picoult.<br />

Story: Andrew Dosunmu.<br />

Produced by Christine Vachon, David Hinojosa, Rhea<br />

Scott.<br />

Executive producers: Andrew Dosunmu, Darci Picoult,<br />

Erika Hampson, Jim Reeve, Robert Halmi, Jr.<br />

Director of photography: Bradford Young.<br />

Production designer: Lucio Seixas.<br />

Editor: Oriana Soddu.<br />

Music: Philip Miller.<br />

Costume designer: Mobolaji Dawodu.<br />

A Great Point Media presentation of a Killer <strong>Film</strong>s<br />

production, in association with Oldgarth Media.<br />

Michelle Pfeiffer has a rare, boldly deglamorized<br />

lead role in a film that is unfortunately<br />

unworthy of her.<br />

Kyra (Michelle Pfeiffer) is literally at her wit’s<br />

end, having been downsized from a good job<br />

as an accountant and, in the current harsh<br />

and ageist market, perpetually unable to find<br />

work. Lonely, divorced and saddled with an<br />

aged mother (Suzanne Shepherd), she tries<br />

everything, including making herself up and<br />

dressing in a way to hopefully slice 30 years<br />

off her age. When Mom dies, however, she<br />

resorts to another disguise: actually impersonating<br />

the dead woman in order to collect<br />

the pension checks she desperately needs<br />

to survive. It’s nothing she’s proud of, that is<br />

for sure, and she struggles to conceal it from<br />

Doug (Kiefer Sutherland), a genial new suitor<br />

she meets in a bar, between job searching.<br />

If anything, Andrew Dosunmu’s film should<br />

be saluted for seriously addressing the current<br />

economic crisis affecting so many Americans,<br />

which is rarely presented on our screens<br />

with such unflinching honesty. Downsized U.S.<br />

citizens may not seem the sexiest cinematic<br />

theme, but one feels that the public may actually<br />

be sick of glossy portrayals of the rich and<br />

entitled and truly hungry for films they can<br />

relate to and maybe even glean some survival<br />

ideas from. Unhappily, although the premise of<br />

Where Is Kyra? could have been the springboard<br />

for both trenchant social commentary and rich<br />

drama, Dosunmu‘s unsureness and faulty sense<br />

of pacing make it a dawdling, ineffective bore.<br />

He lingers on shots too long and hasn’t much<br />

visual sense, as he takes a very literal approach<br />

to portraying poverty as an entirely sad and<br />

dun-colored prospect, with nary a glimmer of<br />

found beauty to be had anywhere. His Brooklyn<br />

looks like we are in 1957.<br />

A telling moment occurs in the crucial<br />

scene in which Kyra hits absolute rock bottom,<br />

doing what she (and, indeed, every New<br />

Yorker) feels is the nightmare job of them<br />

all, standing on a sidewalk, wearing a sign and<br />

shilling. A properly tactful director would have<br />

respected his heroine’s humiliation and filmed<br />

this degradation subtly, but Dosunmu vulgarly<br />

puts Pfeiffer in the star spot, front and center<br />

of the screen, facing forward, all the better to<br />

savor the miserable spectacle of a fallen superstar<br />

in the most inappropriately grandstanding<br />

and exploitative way.<br />

Pfeiffer, who was a reigning Hollywood<br />

movie queen in the 1980s-90s, has had a very<br />

sporadic career of late, and it would be nice to<br />

say that this is a major comeback, in a leading<br />

role, for her. But there’s not much she can do<br />

with the underconceived role and a director<br />

who wasn’t much good at helping her fill in the<br />

blanks. The film is an unrelenting downer and<br />

so, I’m afraid, is she, more mousy than even<br />

that classic mouse, Maggie Smith, in that masochistic<br />

masterpiece The Lonely Passion of Judith<br />

Hearne ever dreamt of being. Pfeiffer does<br />

have a few fine moments of bracing fury when<br />

the walls really close in on her. But watching<br />

her slog through this monotonous dirge of a<br />

movie, my mind wandered, comparing Kyra,<br />

who can’t even land a job as a waitress in a<br />

greasy spoon, to Jo Ann, the ultra-glamorous,<br />

60 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

054-062.indd 60<br />

3/8/18 2:13 PM

sportscar-driving owner of a posh restaurant<br />

she played in the delectable guilty pleasure<br />

that was Robert Towne’s Tequila Sunrise, with<br />

the dazzling choice of Mel Gibson and Kurt<br />

Russell, at their respective juiciest, as her<br />

choice of lovers.<br />

I’ve never quite gotten the appeal of Kiefer<br />

Sutherland, apart from his adeptness at playing<br />

faux everymen. He is completely convincing as<br />

a schlubby loser, but audiences deserve some<br />

semblance of real charisma from their stars.<br />

Opposite Pfeiffer, he is unable to conjure up any<br />

romantic charge or true emotional bond that<br />

could make you invest in their relationship. This<br />

film also had the potential to a be a stirringly<br />

effective study of love among the down and out,<br />

as with the young and tender Spencer Tracy and<br />

Loretta Young in Frank Borzage’s A Man’s Castle,<br />

or even Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway<br />

in Barbet Schroeder’s adaptation of Charles<br />

Bukowski’s Barfly, but such is Dosunmu’s ineptitude<br />

that it doesn’t happen. —David Noh<br />


20TH CENTURY FOX/Color/2.35/Dolby Atmos/<br />

139 Mins./Rated R<br />

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts,<br />

Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling, Ciarán Hinds,<br />

Joely Richardson, Mary-Louise Parker, Douglas Hodge,<br />

Sakina Jaffrey, Nicole O’Neill, Sergei Polunin.<br />

Directed by Francis Lawrence.<br />

Screenplay: Justin Haythe, based on the novel by Jason<br />

Matthews.<br />

Produced by Peter Chernin, Steve Zaillian, Jenno Topping,<br />

David Ready.<br />

Executive producers: Garrett Basch, Mary McLaglen.<br />

Director of photography: Jo Willems.<br />

Production designer: Maria Djurkovic.<br />

Editor: Alan Edward Bell.<br />

Music: James Newton Howard.<br />

Costume designer: Trish Summerville.<br />

A TSL Entertainment and Chernin Entertainment production.<br />

Jennifer Lawrence smolders as a deceptive<br />

bird of prey in this erotic spy thriller.<br />

Beware of any spy asking, “Are you a<br />

patriot?” It’s an especially loaded question as<br />

posed by a secret agent trained to seduce,<br />

manipulate and/or kill enemies of the state.<br />

Jennifer Lawrence stars in Red Sparrow as just<br />

such an agent, Dominika Egorova, a patriot<br />

willing to lay down her body or her life for<br />

Mother Russia.<br />

Reuniting with her most frequent Hunger<br />

Games helmer, Francis Lawrence (no relation),<br />

Jennifer Lawrence bares a ruthless confidence<br />

and corrupted innocence as Dominika in this<br />

seamy psychological thriller set among statesponsored<br />

professional liars in the business<br />

of stealing secrets. However, the film evinces<br />

little interest in exactly which secrets are being<br />

kept, sold or traded.<br />

The battle lines are clearly drawn between<br />

perennial adversaries, the Russians and the<br />

Americans, and their stealthy moles hidden on<br />

either side, but what intelligence they’re after<br />

is not as pressing a concern as their seedier<br />

methods of espionage: sex, coercion, torture.<br />

Based on the Edgar Award-winning 2013<br />

novel by Jason Matthews, Red Sparrow tracks<br />

Dominika’s transformation from damaged<br />

prima ballerina into a lethal Russian spy honed<br />

for sexual manipulation.<br />

Rather than focus on the gadgets or fight<br />

skills she acquires, the film marks the depths<br />

of her exploitation as a code-named Sparrow<br />

for her government’s foreign intelligence<br />

service. Under the supervision of the agency’s<br />

deputy director, her leering uncle Ivan (Matthias<br />

Schoenaerts), Dominika struggles to retain<br />

some shred of independence as she operates<br />

in Moscow and Budapest to uncover the<br />

identity of a Russian double agent. She uses<br />

lust as much as her wits in order to extract<br />

information from undercover CIA agent Nate<br />

Nash (Joel Edgerton) and to enact a plan to<br />

free herself from this sordid web of spies.<br />

The layered plotting and emotionally<br />

complex characterizations—from Lawrence’s<br />

icy turn as the morally conflicted agent to<br />

Charlotte Rampling’s brief but biting appearance<br />

as the steely Matron who oversees Sparrow<br />

training—set a tone closer to film noir than 007,<br />

despite the decidedly 21st-century graphic sex<br />

and violence. Red Sparrow isn’t a high-flying, highbody-count<br />

affair, but the deadly gun battles<br />

and knife fights tend to be gruesome, just as<br />

the scenes of seduction and sexual degradation<br />

also pull no punches. The serpentine narrative<br />

occasionally feels farfetched, but no more so<br />

than scandalous U.S.-Russia relations reported<br />

daily in the news.<br />

In fact, the movie conveys a peculiar<br />

sense of melancholy in evoking some of the<br />

real-life lengths to which governments might<br />

go to achieve the slightest edge in a seemingly<br />

never-ending quest to stay one data dump<br />

ahead of the curve. Spy masters Ivan and the<br />

Matron and their bosses would break the sons<br />

and daughters, or in this case, nieces, of the<br />

republic in the name of God and country. The<br />

Sparrows, no less than army snipers, have to<br />

jettison some part of their humanity to be<br />

ready to take out a target on command, and<br />

with no hesitation.<br />

A slightly less feral La Femme Nikita,<br />

Dominika stalks a dark path, and neither the<br />

movie nor its star shy away from uncomfortable<br />

scenes of the character’s descent from<br />

artist to antihero. Yet, even amidst the moral<br />

ugliness, director Lawrence maintains a glamorous<br />

Hollywood sheen for the globetrotting<br />

affair, with the tony cast elegantly costumed<br />

on sets art-directed in warm shades of amber<br />

and red, cut with flashes of snowy white.<br />

The big-budget artifice stays readily<br />

apparent, even while the well-paced suspense<br />

and potent chemistry between Lawrence and<br />

Edgerton, and especially between Lawrence’s<br />

sly Dominika and Schoenaerts’ creepy uncle<br />

Ivan, lure the viewer into overlooking the<br />

obvious wigs and odd accents to experience<br />

the sad, sexy, brutal facts of secret-agent life.<br />

Everyone is after something and no one can be<br />

trusted. It’s a dirty business, but somebody’s<br />

got to do it.<br />

—André Hereford<br />


WARNER BROS.–NEW LINE/Color/2.35/100 Mins./<br />

Rated R<br />

Cast: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Billy Magnussen,<br />

Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse<br />

Plemons, Danny Huston, Chelsea Peretti, Michael C.<br />

Hall, Kyle Chandler.<br />

Directed by John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein.<br />

Screenplay: Mark Perez.<br />

Produced by John Davis, John Fox, Jason Bateman,<br />

James Garavente.<br />

Executive producers: Toby Emmerich, Richard Brener,<br />

Michael Disco, Dave Neustadter, Marc S. Fischer.<br />

Director of photography: Barry Peterson.<br />

Production designer: Michael Corenblith.<br />

Editors: Jamie Gross, Gregory Plotkin, Dave Egan.<br />

Costume designer: Debra McGuire.<br />

Music: Cliff Martinez.<br />

A New Line Cinema, Davis Entertainment and Aggregate<br />

<strong>Film</strong>s production.<br />

A quiet game with friends turns into a fight<br />

with felons in this Jason Bateman comedy.<br />

Midway through Game Night, Jason Bateman’s<br />

Max and Rachel McAdams’ Anne talk<br />

about how they’d raise their son, if they ever<br />

had one.<br />

“You don’t want him to peak too soon,”<br />

Max warns. “Like a child actor.”<br />

Ouch.<br />

There was a time—like, most of the ’90s—<br />

when it seemed Bateman had done just that,<br />

back on the previous decade’s “Silver Spoons”<br />

and “Valerie.” But the kid star came back as an<br />

adult with “Arrested Development” and since<br />

then he’s notched a series of movie-comedy successes.<br />

The broadly comic Game Night—directed<br />

by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein,<br />

the team behind Bateman’s Horrible Bosses hits—<br />

gives him another blandly sympathetic role as a<br />

guy with a taste for competitive games. Luckily<br />

for him, his wife shares his passion. Unluckily for<br />

him, his brother, played by Kyle Chandler, is even<br />

more competitive—and has been all their lives.<br />

So the stakes are high when they get together<br />

with friends to do some murder-mystery<br />

role-playing. And the stakes get even higher when<br />

it turns out these aren’t roles. This is happening<br />

for real, and now Max and Anne and their buddies<br />

have to rescue his brother from mobsters.<br />

Bateman is as affable as ever, and Mc-<br />

Adams’ dimpled smile has rescued far worse<br />

movies than this. But the script by Mark Perez<br />

hasn’t given them enough great characters<br />

to interact with—the gangsters remain stick<br />

figures, and their friends would need several<br />

rewrites to even begin to be clichés.<br />

Like some real-life game nights, Game Night<br />

goes on too long (even though a few scenes<br />

feel abruptly shortened in editing). Particularly<br />

annoying is its conviction that, like every other<br />

comedy these days, it needs a car chase. It<br />

probably didn’t—and it certainly didn’t need<br />

three, along with several fight scenes, which<br />

take time away from the characters. Game<br />

NIght is not about to become a cult hit, but it<br />

should please couples looking for a safe date<br />

movie. And it should go a bit to calming any<br />

fears Jason Bateman may still be holding onto.<br />

He hasn’t peaked, yet. —Stephen Whitty<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 61<br />

054-062.indd 61<br />

3/8/18 2:13 PM

GRINGO<br />

STX FILMS & AMAZON STUDIOS/Color/2.35/<br />

110 Mins./Rated R<br />

Cast: David Oyelowo, Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton,<br />

Amanda Seyfried, Harry Treadaway, Thandie Newton,<br />

Sharlto Copley, Carlos Corona.<br />

Directed by Nash Edgerton.<br />

Screenplay: Anthony Tambakis, Matthew Stone.<br />

Produced by A.J. Dix, Nash Edgerton, Beth Kono, Anthony<br />

Tambakis, Charlize Theron, Rebecca Yeldham.<br />

Executive producers: Trish Hofmann, Matthew Stone.<br />

Director of photography: Eduard Grau.<br />

Production designer: Patrice Vermette.<br />

Editors: Luke Doolan, David Rennie, Tatiana S. Riegel.<br />

Music: Christophe Beck.<br />

Costume designer: Donna Zakowska.<br />

An STX <strong>Film</strong>s and Amazon Studios presentation of a Denver<br />

& Delilah <strong>Film</strong>s and Blue-Tongue <strong>Film</strong>s production.<br />

In English and Spanish.<br />

An assured comedic turn by David<br />

Oyelowo is the highlight of this otherwise<br />

uneven action romp.<br />

Late in the action-comedy Gringo, formerly<br />

mild-mannered corporate exec Harold Soyinka,<br />

portrayed by Selma star David Oyelowo, fires a<br />

fatal gunshot at one of the multitudes of kidnappers,<br />

mercenaries and thugs who’ve chased the<br />

so-called gringo negro all over Veracruz, Mexico.<br />

Without any significant pause in the frenetic<br />

action, the camera registers Harold’s shock and<br />

distress, conveyed succinctly by Oyelowo’s stricken<br />

expression. Then, he and the film barrel ahead<br />

towards the all-guns-blazing climax this sort of<br />

triple-cross caper always comes to in the end.<br />

It’s to the credit of director Nash Edgerton<br />

and his editors that throughout the wild machinations<br />

of the movie’s pharma-deal-gone-south<br />

storyline, Gringo stays attuned to the subtleties of<br />

Oyelowo’s performance. The actor also carries<br />

off the grander comic gestures underlining Harold’s<br />

underdog charm and delightful awakening as<br />

the mastermind of his own fake kidnapping, in a<br />

ransom plot that goes predictably awry.<br />

Unfortunately, the script, by Anthony Tambakis<br />

and Matthew Stone, and the direction are not<br />

as well attuned to several other major characters<br />

filling out the cast. Namely, the main villains at the<br />

bottom of this lighthearted but deadly intrigue—<br />

the ruthless Richard Rusk (Joel Edgerton) and<br />

Elaine Markinson (Charlize Theron), Harold’s<br />

bosses at Chicago-based Promethium Pharmaceuticals—seem<br />

miscalculated. Oscar-winner<br />

Theron, who so wonderfully tapped into a darker<br />

comedic vein playing mean yet sympathetic<br />

in the underrated 2011 dramedy Young Adult,<br />

has less success here making viperous, un-PC<br />

businesswoman Elaine more than just mean. She’s<br />

definitely not as scorchingly funny as intended.<br />

And, as it turns out that Elaine is more<br />

invested than she’d like to admit in the affair she’s<br />

been having with colleague Richard, she’s also not<br />

as heartless as she pretends to be, yielding a shaky<br />

contradiction in characterization that neither Edgerton’s<br />

direction nor Theron’s performance pulls<br />

off convincingly. As the outrageously self-satisfied<br />

Richard, co-star Edgerton has fewer cards to play<br />

essaying a heel who’s beyond redemption, but his<br />

deadpan portrayal doesn’t deliver many laughs.<br />

This pair of promiscuous cutthroats are<br />

written as cold-blooded bosses from hell, in the<br />

vein of The Devil Wears Prada’s Miranda Priestly<br />

or the abusive Buddy Ackerman from Swimming<br />

with Sharks, but rather than packing a fierce and<br />

funny sting, Richard and Elaine are, more or less,<br />

duds. At least they serve greater purpose within<br />

the texture of this world of unlikeable criminals<br />

and capitalists than pure plot-device characters<br />

like Harry Treadaway’s Miles, a bumbling drug<br />

mule, and Amanda Seyfried’s Sunny, the drug<br />

mule’s unsuspecting girlfriend.<br />

Miles and Sunny are tossed early on into the<br />

mix, during a bone-dry setup that takes too much<br />

time configuring all the pieces in this puzzle, involving<br />

Promethium’s illicit partnership with a notorious<br />

Mexican drug dealer known as the Black<br />

Panther (Carlos Corona). The follow-through,<br />

during which most of Richard’s and Elaine’s and<br />

the Black Panther’s schemes are elaborated,<br />

revealed or foiled, also proceeds rather sluggishly.<br />

On the bright side, Corona, in his few scenes as<br />

the boilerplate Hollywood movie Latino drug<br />

dealer, manages to inject some verve into his<br />

threats and Tarantinoesque digressions parsing<br />

the relative quality of Beatles albums.<br />

Director Edgerton too often hedges suspense,<br />

by just tossing something—a van, a man,<br />

a bullet—at whoever has the jump on the hero<br />

Harold. The narrative train consistently switches,<br />

stalls and nearly derails, but ultimately the story<br />

keeps rolling, such as it does, because of Harold,<br />

and Oyelowo’s spirited portrayal of the regular<br />

guy at the center of this only intermittently<br />

amusing affair.<br />

—André Hereford<br />

62 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

054-062.indd 62<br />

3/8/18 4:53 PM

y Andreas Fuchs<br />

FJI Exhibition / Business Editor<br />

EUROPE<br />



Love was in the air on<br />

Feb. 14, as UNIC and MEDIA<br />

Salles both reported some<br />

lovely numbers for European<br />

cinema-going in 2017. Although<br />

all stats published so far—and<br />

mentioned in this summary—<br />

are still preliminary, with some<br />

data remaining to be collected<br />

and certain countries offering<br />

estimated figures, “2017 was<br />

another year of growth for the<br />

European cinema industry.”<br />

The International Union of<br />

Cinemas (www.unic-cinemas.<br />

org) further noted that total<br />

admissions for all 37 member<br />

territories increased by 2.1% to<br />

more than 1.3 billion visits. This<br />

was the result of “both cinema<br />

operators’ continued investment<br />

in audience-development<br />

initiatives and a slate of highly<br />

successful local films across<br />

Europe,” UNIC stated. “As has<br />

been the case for previous years,<br />

however, box office was mainly<br />

driven by international titles.”<br />

The respective strengths<br />

of local titles did, in fact,<br />

determine fluctuations<br />

across the more established<br />

Western European markets.<br />

Positive highlights are France<br />

experiencing its third best year<br />

of the past 50 years, despite<br />

losing around four million<br />

spectators (-1.8%); record<br />

box office and attendance in<br />

the United Kingdom (+2.5%<br />

Andreas Fuchs also runs the Vassar<br />

Theatre in Vassar, MI.<br />

and +1.4%, respectively); and<br />

Russia, with over 200 million<br />

moviegoers, becoming “the<br />

biggest UNIC territory in terms<br />

of admissions.” Also crossing<br />

a milestone—of more than 70<br />

million admissions—was Turkey,<br />

rising 22.1% as more and more<br />

new cinemas opened.<br />

MEDIA Salles reported 1.349<br />

billion tickets in 36 countries as<br />

the Milan, Italy-based organization<br />

noted “different trends<br />

emerge” across different areas<br />

(www.mediasalles.it). The 18<br />

Western countries, with a total<br />

881.9 million admissions, reveal a<br />

dip of 1.5%, losing over 13 million<br />

spectators. The spread is quite<br />

wide, with increases of up to 6%<br />

in some countries and drops as<br />

high as 10% in others. By contrast,<br />

cinemas in the remaining<br />

18 countries issued 447.4 million<br />

tickets, compared to the 406.4<br />

million in 2016 (plus 10.1%).<br />

UNIC spoke of “varying<br />

fortunes in Southern Europe<br />

and Scandinavia” and hailed the<br />

“assertive Central and Eastern<br />

European markets.” Poland<br />

added another record year to<br />

the history books (with three<br />

local films in the top five for<br />

a market share of 23.2%). In<br />

Slovakia, admissions increased<br />

by more than one million, as<br />

the Czech Republic enjoyed its<br />

second-best performance of<br />

all time and Romania, Bulgaria<br />

and Hungary “all experienced<br />

similarly positive results.”<br />

MEDIA Salles added information<br />

about “territories that<br />

increased more than average”<br />

throughout 2017, with the Serbian<br />

Republic taking the lead with<br />

a rise of 27.7%, and the neighboring<br />

Slovakian Republic with an<br />

18.1% increase. For the first time,<br />

MEDIA Salles presented the<br />

figures for Georgia, the Ukraine<br />

(UNIC member territory since<br />

July 2017) and Montenegro, with<br />

growth rates of 12.4%, 3.4% and<br />

2.4%, respectively.<br />

With all that, admissions per<br />

capita for all UNIC territories<br />

remained at 1.6 visits per year.<br />

France and Ireland experienced<br />

the highest rates of cinemagoing<br />

(both at 3.3), as “the<br />

industry looks forward to a busy<br />

and exciting release schedule in<br />

<strong>2018</strong>.” For UNIC, the lineup is<br />

“full of promising European as<br />

well as international titles.”<br />



“Let’s make our planet great<br />

again!” On Feb. 19 in Berlin,<br />

Germany, the Cinema for Peace<br />

Gala “honored some of the year’s<br />

best movies,” bringing together<br />

filmmakers, politicians and<br />

activists from around the world.<br />

The Post was voted “The Most<br />

Valuable <strong>Film</strong>,” beating out other<br />

worthy contenders including<br />

Battle of the Sexes, The Big Sick,<br />

Call Me by Your Name, Darkest<br />

Hour, Dunkirk, First They Killed My<br />

Father, The Florida Project, In the<br />

Fade and Wonder Woman.<br />

In line with the winning<br />

picture, “the rights of the free<br />

press” were one theme for the<br />

evening, organizers noted about<br />

the 17th annual event. Taking<br />

place at Bebelplatz, where 85<br />

years ago Nazis burned more<br />

than 20.000 books, one of the<br />

night’s keynote speakers was<br />

Daniel Ellsberg. “Civil courage<br />

is a too rare courage,” said<br />

the man behind releasing the<br />

Pentagon Papers, appealing<br />

to media and the public to<br />

scrutinize governments.<br />

Originally introduced at<br />

the gala by Leonardo DiCaprio<br />

and Mikhail Gorbachev, the<br />

“International Green <strong>Film</strong><br />

Award” was given to Jane,<br />

the Producers Guild Awardwinning<br />

film about Jane Goodall.<br />

The leading advocate for the<br />

preservation of wildlife and<br />

an UN ambassador of peace<br />

received a special Honorary<br />

Award celebrating her “lifelong<br />

work devoted to studying and<br />

protecting chimpanzees.” The<br />

“Justice Award” was presented<br />

to The Breadwinner and this<br />

year’s “Doc Award” to Cries<br />

from Syria, appealing to the<br />

world to stop the war in Syria.<br />

Addressing current attempts<br />

at fostering a film industry<br />

without fear and harassment,<br />

Cinema for Peace invited the<br />

heads of Germany’s equality<br />

platform. ProQuote <strong>Film</strong> is<br />

calling for more jobs for women<br />

in the film industry and a<br />

chairwomen for the Berlin <strong>Film</strong><br />

Festival, beginning 2020.<br />



At the risk of causing a<br />

number-crunching burnout,<br />

we are reporting on another<br />

continued on page 66<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 63<br />

063-066.indd 63<br />

3/8/18 2:17 PM

ASIA<br />

by Thomas Schmid<br />

FJI Far East Bureau<br />



While the Cinematic LED<br />

Screen developed by South<br />

Korea’s Samsung Electronics<br />

debuted at home last year, being<br />

installed in two Lotte Cinema<br />

venues in Seoul and Busan,<br />

the revolutionary technology<br />

has now also been adopted<br />

in neighboring China for the<br />

first time. “On February 4th,<br />

Samsung Electronics and our<br />

partner Wanda Cinemas, the<br />

world’s largest theatre operator,<br />

celebrated the launching of the<br />

Cinema LED Screen in Wanda’s<br />

Wujiaochang theatre, located<br />

in Shanghai’s Yangpu District,”<br />

the high-end electronics firm<br />

announced in a press release.<br />

The LED screen in Shanghai<br />

measures 10.3 meters by 4.5<br />

meters, with a 4K resolution<br />

(4,096 × 2,160) and HDR (high<br />

dynamic range) display. Its peak<br />

brightness level is nearly 10<br />

times greater than that of typical<br />

cinema standards and the screen<br />

minimizes color distortion.<br />

Meanwhile, Wanda Cinemas has<br />

already revealed a plan to convert<br />

a second cinema in China’s<br />

capital Beijing during the first<br />

half of this year.<br />



Both Thailand and Switzerland<br />

are soon to become the<br />

next two countries to introduce<br />

the technology as well. Announced<br />

in December last year,<br />

a Samsung Cinema LED Screenequipped<br />

theatre will “sometime<br />

in spring” be opened by Swiss<br />

multiplex operator Arena Cinemas<br />

in Zurich. Meanwhile,<br />

Thailand’s leading operator Major<br />

Cineplex Group is gearing up<br />

to treat its first audience to a<br />

Samsung LED Screen experience<br />

at Bangkok’s posh Siam Paragon<br />

shopping mall in March.<br />

Although the agreementsigning<br />

ceremony with Samsung<br />

Electronics already took place<br />

in Bangkok in November and<br />

opening the screen was originally<br />

planned for February, Major Cineplex<br />

had to push back the date<br />

due to a delivery delay of the<br />

sound system needed. “We had<br />

to change [our] current sound<br />

system from Dolby Atmos to<br />

Harman, as this is [currently] the<br />

only sound system compatible<br />

with the Samsung LED screen,”<br />

Narute Jiensnong, Major Cineplex’s<br />

director of international<br />

business, told FJI. ”The delay is<br />

due in part that we have tried to<br />

work out with Dolby to be part<br />

of Samsung LED Screen. Those<br />

negotiations eventually turned<br />

out futile, so we had to order<br />

from Harman and the shipment<br />

from the U.S. arrived quite late.<br />

We are now looking at a tentative<br />

opening date of early to<br />

mid-March,” he said.<br />

Join your cinema exhibition, distribution,<br />

and motion picture industry colleagues to network,<br />

and see product presentations and screenings of major Hollywood<br />

films soon to be released in Asia. Attendees will find the latest<br />

equipment, products and technologies to help make your theatre<br />

a must-attend destination. CineAsia will take place at the Hong Kong<br />

Convention & Exhibition Centre on December 11-13, <strong>2018</strong>.<br />



Although having established<br />

itself in Turkey through its local<br />

venture CJ Entertainment Turkey<br />

only in May last year, South<br />

Korea’s CJ E&M has already risen<br />

to become a key player in the<br />

country’s film exhibition industry.<br />

During the winter season from<br />

October to January, CJ Entertainment<br />

Turkey has grown quickly,<br />

capturing just short of one-third<br />

of all theatre ticket sales in Turkey<br />

during that period. According<br />

to a statement released by Korea’s<br />

regulatory body KOFIC, CJ<br />

Enteråtainment Turkey released<br />

its first film on Oct. 30 and since<br />

then has released four additional<br />

movies. The five titles, which<br />

were all financed, produced and<br />

distributed by CJ E&M, have to<br />

date sold a combined 8.86 million<br />

tickets in Turkey, representing a<br />

market share of 31%.<br />

“CJ Entertainment Turkey<br />

achieving a 31% market share<br />

is impressive considering that<br />

winter is Turkey’s most competitive<br />

season for film releases. It is<br />

estimated that 70% of [the country’s]<br />

total annual movie audience<br />

is driven by the winter peak<br />

season, which lasts from October<br />

to <strong>April</strong>,” the statement said. Of<br />

the five CJ E&M titles released so<br />

far, two have even landed in the<br />

all-time top ten list for domestic<br />

ticket sales in Turkey.<br />

CJ Entertainment Turkey is<br />

already making plans for the current<br />

year with a road map that<br />

includes teaming up with BKM,<br />

Turkey’s largest film studio, as<br />

well as investing in and distributing<br />

ten locally produced films by<br />

the end of <strong>2018</strong>. Additionally, the<br />

company is in talks to produce<br />

Turkish versions of hit Korean<br />

films such as The Spy: Undercover<br />

Operation (2013) and Miss Granny<br />

(2014). In 2017, CJ E&M also<br />

purchased Mars Entertainment<br />

Group, which operates Turkey’s<br />

64 FILMJOURNAL.COM / APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

063-066.indd 64<br />

3/8/18 2:17 PM

y David Pearce<br />

FJI Australia / New Zealand Correspondent<br />


largest cinema chain, boasting 736<br />

screens at 83 locations across 28<br />

cities. CJ E&M has made no secret<br />

of its plans for aggressive global<br />

expansion. Already the largest film<br />

distributor and exhibitor in South<br />

Korea, the company has worked to<br />

expand its international footprint<br />

and currently operates studios or<br />

theatre chains in several territories<br />

including China, Indonesia, Thailand,<br />

Vietnam and Russia.<br />



The just wrapped seven-day<br />

Chinese New Year, China’s most<br />

important national holiday period,<br />

has brought a new box-office record,<br />

raking in around CNY5.7<br />

billion ($902.6 bil.) in six days. This<br />

represented an impressive 67 percent<br />

increase over last year’s festival<br />

season, which had grossed about<br />

CNY3.38 billion. Theatres across<br />

the country accommodated an estimated<br />

140 million viewers since the<br />

second day of the official New Year.<br />

The first day, also known as Spring<br />

Festival Day, was not taken into<br />

account, as traditionally no blockbusters<br />

open on it because Chinese<br />

families generally stay home preparing<br />

for the New Year festivities.<br />

Director Raman Hui’s familyoriented<br />

fantasy film Monster Hunt<br />

2 was the most anticipated picture,<br />

breaking presale records and earning<br />

more than CNY300 million<br />

(US$47.25 million). It also owned<br />

its opening day on Feb. 16, smashing<br />

previous single-day records<br />

with total box-office takings of<br />

CNY540 million. The runner-up, director<br />

Chen Sicheng’s sleuth comedy<br />

Detective Chinatown 2, grossed<br />

CNY337 million that day while two<br />

other highly anticipated blockbusters,<br />

Cheang Pousoi’s The Monkey<br />

King 3 and Dante Lam’s Operation<br />

Red Sea, earned CNY162 million<br />

and CNY128 million, respectively.<br />

Contact Thomas Schmid at<br />

thomas.schmid@filmjournal.com.<br />

The Australian film industry has long had a<br />

benchmark figure for box office set at 10%<br />

of U.S. grosses, but in Australian dollars.<br />

Thus, if a film makes US$100 million at the box<br />

office, the local distributor is aiming for A$10<br />

million. A recent survey put the figure at closer<br />

to 11% but with wide fluctuations. <strong>Film</strong>s that seem<br />

rather like American flag-waving do less well<br />

locally, as do films centered on American sports<br />

and faith-based films. <strong>Film</strong>s from Britain normally<br />

do better than the 10% norm compared to U.S.<br />

box office for these films, and there are always<br />

films that break out here and capture the public’s<br />

imagination.<br />

The recent release of Three Billboards Outside<br />

Ebbing, Missouri, has been one such example. As of<br />

Feb. 21, the film had taken US$48.7 million at the<br />

U.S. box office. At 10% that would mean around A$5<br />

million locally, but the British movie, set in the U.S.<br />

has taken almost double that with A$9.4 million and<br />

will certainly surpass A$10 million or more, depending<br />

on its Oscar performance. By comparison, the<br />

rather pro-American gung-ho Clint Eastwood film<br />

The 15:17 To Paris, which was at US$25 million from<br />

ticket sales in the U.S. as of Feb. 21, has not gained<br />

the interest of local filmgoers. Locally, it opened at a<br />

very disappointing A$440,000 and will not make A$1<br />

million, well short of the A$2.5 million hoped for<br />

using the 10% rule.<br />

With the move to digital projection, the wait<br />

between U.S. release and Australian release has<br />

shortened, especially for bigger-budgeted films,<br />

with many now opening day-and-date, But arthouse<br />

and independent films often lag in their<br />

release dates, as distributors attempt to find<br />

the best date for films with smaller advertising<br />

budgets. Many of these arrive up to 60 days after<br />

a foreign release. And the resulting difference in<br />

competing films at release time can certainly also<br />

C<br />

affect the final box office and make international<br />

M<br />

comparisons harder.<br />

Y<br />

***<br />

CM<br />

MY<br />

Outdoor cinemas operate in most Australian<br />

CY<br />

cities over the summer period, but they are at the<br />

CMY<br />

mercy of the weather. The Moonlight Cinema in<br />

K<br />

Sydney’s large Centennial Park fell victim to the<br />

elements on Valentine’s Day. The movie was The<br />

Greatest Showman and a large storm descended on<br />

the site, ripping out most of the screen, so that it<br />

hung loosely from the top and blew in the wind.<br />

The night’s screening was cancelled.<br />

***<br />

Westfield is expanding their shopping center<br />

at Newmarket in Auckland from 30,000 square<br />

feet to 73,000 square feet, and including a new<br />

SHOWEAST-2017-AD 2.pdf 1 5/25/17 4:41 PM<br />

event cinema complex in the upgrade. Completion<br />

is set for the end of 2019.<br />

***<br />

The musical play Daffodils has been a strong<br />

success on stage in New Zealand, playing at venues<br />

around the country. The romance is set against<br />

classic Kiwi songs written by Neil Finn, Dave<br />

Dobbyn, Chris Knox and Bic Runga and centers<br />

around a field of daffodils where several members<br />

of one family found true romance. Kiwi director<br />

and producer David Stubbs is about to make a<br />

film of the production, in what is said to be New<br />

Zealand’s first movie musical. Casting is now being<br />

finalized.<br />

***<br />

When two women discover that they are being<br />

two-timed by the same man, they join together<br />

and form The Breaker Uperers, a group that accepts<br />

payment to break couples up. Executive produced<br />

by Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), the film is<br />

written, directed by and stars Madeleine Sami and<br />

Jackie Van Beck. After a premiere at SXSW, the<br />

movie opens in New Zealand in May. World rights<br />

are currently being sold.<br />

Send your Australia/New Zealand news to David<br />

Pearce at insidemovies@hotmail.com.<br />

Dec. 11-13, <strong>2018</strong><br />

www.filmexpos.com/cineasia/<br />

APRIL <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 65<br />

063-066.indd 65<br />

3/8/18 2:17 PM

ADVERTISERS’ INDEX APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

Arts Alliance Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15<br />

Barco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2<br />

comScore. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17<br />

Dolphin Seating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47<br />

Eisenberg Sausage Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13<br />

Enpar Audio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50<br />

Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures. . . . . . . . . 1<br />

Fathom Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35<br />

Franklin Designs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24<br />

GDC Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5<br />

Harkness Screens. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43<br />

Jack Roe USA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51<br />

Lightspeed Design/DepthQ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66<br />

NEC Display . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7, 68<br />

Proctor Companies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45<br />

Spotlight Cinema Networks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39<br />

St. Jude Children’s Hospital . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53<br />

Telescopic Seating Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67<br />

Ushio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23<br />

Will Rogers Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25<br />

Europe continued from page 63<br />

good year for a leading circuit. In 2017, Kinepolis Group posted<br />

9.4% higher turnover, with 6.2% more guests counting 25.3 million<br />

admissions, the Belgium-based exhibitor reported. “The continued<br />

implementation of Kinepolis’ three-pillar strategy and premium<br />

product innovation” helped to alleviate “a changeable and often less<br />

successful film program. The integration of acquired cinemas and<br />

realization of the intended improvement potential is going according<br />

to plan.”<br />

The rise in admissions was driven by acquired and newly opened<br />

cinemas in France (Rouen and Fenouillet), the Netherlands (Dordrecht,<br />

Breda, Utrecht) and Spain (Granada). Also adding to the tally<br />

are ticket sales at Canada’s Landmark Cinemas, effective Dec. 8, the<br />

Group noted. On Valentine’s Day, Eddy Duquenne, CEO of Kinepolis<br />

Group, and Bill Walker, CEO of Landmark Cinemas, launched the<br />

eight-screen, all-recliner multiplex at Jensen Lakes Crossing in St.<br />

Albert, Canada.<br />

At home in Belgium, the Court of Appeal made a judgment not to<br />

allow the decision of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) “to relax<br />

the behavioral measures imposed on Kinepolis” since 1997. On May<br />

31, prior conditions had been lifted, allowing Kinepolis Group NV to<br />

“open new cinemas in Belgium without prior approval” from the BCA.<br />

Other behavioral measures, such as the need to obtain prior approval<br />

for the acquisition of existing Belgian cinemas or the prohibition to<br />

request exclusivity or priority from film distributors, were maintained<br />

for another three years. According to the news release, two Belgian<br />

cinema groups had appealed against the May decision, with the Court<br />

of Appeal deeming “the reasoning of the Belgian Competition Authority<br />

insufficiently motivated” to cancel the building component of the<br />

behavioral restrictions.<br />

While the BCA will have to review its decision, “Kinepolis<br />

regrets the decision of the Court of Appeal and has confidence in the<br />

Belgian Competition Authority with regard to the further treatment<br />

of this case.” <br />

Chappaquiddick continued from page 19<br />

figure out a dialect that wasn’t distracting—but also he had that<br />

sort of malleable face that you sort of recognize. If you cast a big<br />

star in that role, it’s hard to get beyond that, whereas I think Jason<br />

just disappears into the role.”<br />

Kate Mara has the relatively brief role of the tragic Mary Jo.<br />

Most of the film focuses on the crisis of Kennedy conscience that<br />

followed her death, which was even worse than originally reported.<br />

The film suggests she may have remained alive underwater<br />

anywhere up to two hours. “There’s certainly proof from the diver<br />

who found her,” says Curran. “The body position suggested that she<br />

was holding herself up into an air pocket. It’s been corroborated<br />

with a couple of medical experts. The evidence was strong that<br />

leaned toward her suffocating rather than drowning. There wasn’t<br />

a lot of water in her lungs. The evidence suggested she had died of<br />

suffocation, which meant she ran out of air as opposed to her lungs<br />

filling with water. How long she was alive nobody can say. It didn’t<br />

appear, by all evidence, she died immediately.”<br />

Curran contends that the script was a tragedy that evolved into<br />

almost a farce. Thus, “I needed actors who could play the straight<br />

drama with gravity and seriousness but also had an element of<br />

humor to them so that I could draw on that when it was necessary.”<br />

Consequently, he cast two comedic actors in heavy-duty roles—Ed<br />

Helms as Ted’s cousin and lawyer, Joe Gargan, and Jim Gaffigan<br />

as the Massachusetts Attorney General, Paul Markham. “I got two<br />

very smart, intelligent actors,” he says.<br />

“Joe Gargan and his sister, Ann, had parents who died when<br />

they were very young. Their mother was Rose Kennedy’s sister, so<br />

Joseph Kennedy Sr. took them in and almost adopted them. Both<br />

of them grew up in the Kennedy household. Ann became almost<br />

the nursemaid to Joe after he was incapacitated through a stroke,<br />

and Joey was sort of the fix-it man for the family, an accomplished<br />

lawyer in his own right, but, for all intents and purposes, he was<br />

Ted’s buddy and guardian growing up.”<br />

The Chappaquiddick incident marked a parting of the ways<br />

for Gargan and the Kennedy clan. “He hung with the Kennedys<br />

through the subsequent inquest but, afterward, had a break from<br />

the family and remained estranged the rest of his life.”<br />

The performance that haunts you is Bruce Dern’s patriarch<br />

Joe Kennedy, an 80-year-old stroke victim four months from the<br />

grave. He even wins in a scene where he’s not visible (he’s the first<br />

person Teddy phones after the car accident, and he responds with<br />

emotional, guttural sounds but does manage to get out one word:<br />

“Alibi”). When he’s visible with the facial distortion and spittle, he’s<br />

award-worthy.<br />

“It’s a hard thing to ask of older actors,” understates Curran.<br />

“They just aren’t that keen on playing stroke victims and characters<br />

near death because that’s too close to the bone—and this is a<br />

character who can’t really speak. He’s got, like, three lines in the<br />

whole film, but Bruce was aggressively eager to play that role. He<br />

loved the idea that he could play it with his eyes and that he didn’t<br />

have to play it with words.”<br />

In this torrent of words and excuses and alibis, even silence can<br />

speak volumes. <br />

Postmaster: Please send address changes to: <strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International, P.O. Box 215, Congers, NY 10920-0215.<br />

Canadian Publication Mail Agreement #41450540. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: MSI, P.O. Box 2600, Mississauga, On L4T OA8.<br />

063-066.indd 66<br />

3/8/18 2:17 PM

Untitled-1 1<br />

3/8/18 12:48 PM

Time to replace your<br />

Series 1 projector?<br />

Upgrade to a new level.<br />

Experience the benefits of Laser.<br />

Offer an unrivaled movie experience with NEC digital cinema laser projectors! Innovative<br />

laser technology provides the most vibrant and spectacular chromatic reproduction for<br />

incredibly real scenes. Create a unique and immersive movie experience to captivate your<br />

audience and keep them coming back. With the lowest total cost of ownership - maximum<br />

reliability, maintenance-free operation, low power consumption and up to 30,000 hours<br />

of life with the laser light source. We help you deliver an enhanced theater experience.<br />

NEC offers you the best projection technology in its class - from small screens to premium<br />

large format (PLF) theaters - and all sizes in between!<br />

Save on<br />

operating<br />

costs while<br />

delivering an<br />

exceptional<br />

visual<br />

experience<br />

with Laser!<br />

NEC Display Solutions. Full theater solutions with you in mind.<br />

bortiz@necdisplay.com 630.467.4327<br />

Untitled-1 1<br />

2/27/18 2:37 PM

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!