Film Journal May 2018

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<strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International CINEMACON VOL. NO. MAY CinemaCon Vol. 121, No. 5 / <strong>May</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />


A <strong>Film</strong> Expo Group Publication <strong>May</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

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+1.662.539.7017 • sales@vipcinemaseating.com • vipcinemaseating.com<br />

101 Industrial Drive • New Albany, MS 38652<br />

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From the Editor’s Desk<br />

In Focus<br />

QSC—50 Years and Forward<br />

How many companies make it to 50 years and find<br />

themselves stronger and more vibrant after their first<br />

half-century? Not many, but QSC, which started as<br />

“Quilter Sound Things,” has done just that. They’re<br />

firmly entrenched today as one of the most prolific and<br />

important sound companies in the world, with an array of<br />

award-winning products.<br />

QSC has over 500 employees in several states in the<br />

U.S. as well as other sites around the globe. The company<br />

prides itself on collaboration and open communication.<br />

QSC also gives back to the industry. By being focused on<br />

other businesses and not entirely on cinema, the company<br />

is able to share technologies, products and resources.<br />

QSC has been an avid supporter of the International<br />

Cinema Technology Association, with several of its key<br />

employees serving on the ICTA board of directors.<br />

The <strong>Film</strong> Expo Group is proud to single out QSC for<br />

50 years of innovation and quality audio for the movies.<br />

Congratulations!<br />

The Year of the Woman<br />

Congratulations to the Top 50 Women in Global<br />

Cinema. This is the third year that this list has been<br />

compiled by Celluloid Junkie, and <strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International<br />

has agreed to publish their selections as well as have Dana<br />

Moutis of the <strong>Film</strong> Expo operations group volunteer to<br />

help organize the process, especially this time around as<br />

we are so aware of the #Me Too, Time’s Up and 50-50 by<br />

2020 campaigns.<br />

It is a truly global listing and ultimately doesn’t just<br />

celebrate the women on it but every amazing woman who<br />

works in the cinema industry and makes a difference. In<br />

upcoming issues of <strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International, we plan to<br />

publish in-depth profiles of a number of these honorees.<br />

So look for them and feel free to reach out to Dana with<br />

any suggestions you might have for next year’s Top 50!<br />

The Rise of eSports<br />

Contributing writer Rob Rinderman explores the topic<br />

of eSports in this issue, via interviews with several of the<br />

major cinema-related participants and the beneficiaries<br />

of eSports’ trajectory. To say this is a growing trend and<br />

business is an understatement.<br />

Just look at some of the statistics: Rinderman reports<br />

that estimated 2017 worldwide revenues for eSports<br />

were $655 million, a fivefold increase compared to 2012<br />

eSports levels. Statista, the source for this figure, projects<br />

the eSports industry to reach $1.5 billion in annual<br />

revenue by 2020.<br />

To really put this in perspective, Rinderman notes that<br />

an estimated 360 million viewers watched the “League of<br />

Nations” mid-seasonal invitational. That compares to the<br />

111 million that tuned into Super Bowl LI in 2017 and 30<br />

million viewers watching last year’s NBA finals.<br />

The numbers are outrageous. eSports is attracting all<br />

levels of players, from amateur level to paying audience<br />

members when the pros play in major competitions for<br />

large purses. How this all connects to traditional movie<br />

theatres will be something to watch for in the future. We<br />

are certain you will find this article of great interest and<br />

relevance.<br />

Excitement at CinemaCon<br />

The <strong>2018</strong> edition of CinemaCon, the annual<br />

convention of the National Association of Theatre<br />

Owners, will offer a number of exciting firsts. The yearly<br />

“State of the Industry” session will feature the debut<br />

address by the new chairman and CEO of the Motion<br />

Picture Association of America, Charles Rivkin. (See<br />

page 142 of this issue for a very insightful interview with<br />

this former Jim Henson Company executive and veteran<br />

of the State Department.) Cinépolis CEO Alejandro<br />

Ramírez Magaña, the first non-American recipient of the<br />

prestigious NATO Marquee Award, will outline his plans<br />

for the brand-new Global Cinema Federation that he<br />

helped create. And a must-attend session will focus on<br />

Saudi Arabia’s historic decision to open the Kingdom to<br />

cinemas after a 35-year ban. Finally, a record-breaking<br />

eleven studios will be revealing their movie slates for<br />

<strong>2018</strong> and beyond. Get ready for a busy, rewarding and<br />

newsworthy week at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.<br />

Remembering Stew Harnell<br />

Last month, the industry lost one of the good guys<br />

when Stew Harnell passed away at the age of 79. Harnell<br />

was a very charitable individual who supported numerous<br />

nonprofits including the Will Rogers Motion Picture<br />

Foundation, where he served as a board member. He<br />

was a board member and active participant in Variety<br />

The Children’s Charity of Georgia. Other organizations<br />

that received his support were the Cinema Advertising<br />

Council, the American <strong>Film</strong> Institute and the National<br />

Association of Concessionaires.<br />

In 1977, Stew founded Cinema Concepts, an industry<br />

leader in the creation and distribution of movie trailers<br />

and theatre advertising. He began his career at National<br />

Screen Service and eventually rose to executive VP and<br />

worldwide sales manager. We will miss you, Stew!<br />

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Capability+Experience<br />

Equals The Ideal Partner<br />

Contact us today or stop by our booth. Let’s Talk.<br />

+1.662.539.7017 • sales@vipcinemaseating.com<br />

101 Industrial Drive • New Albany, MS 38652 • www.vipcinemaseating.com BOOTH #901F

MAY <strong>2018</strong> / VOL. 121, NO. 5 PUBLISHING SINCE 1934<br />

FJI’S<br />



Pgs. 60-74.<br />

TOP 50 WOMEN<br />


Pgs. 76-97.<br />

PGS. 98-115<br />

Cruise Control. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28<br />

An all-star cast joins Tom Cruise for the<br />

sixth installment in the M:I franchise.<br />

Marvelous .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32<br />

Twenty-two superheroes in one actionpacked<br />

extravaganza, Avengers: Infinity War.<br />

Chameleon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38<br />

Celebrated performance-capture artist<br />

Andy Serkis sees greater possibilities for tech.<br />

Dare Not Speak.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42<br />

Forbidden love clashes with faith in an Orthodox<br />

Jewish community in Disobedience.<br />

Game On! .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46<br />

eSports is the new game in town, and worldwide<br />

revenues are soaring. Plus, an in-depth<br />

look at National CineMedia and TimePlay.<br />

A Good Ol’ (New) Time.. . . . . . . . 116<br />

Study shows the drive-in is going strong.<br />

Declaration of Independence .. . . . 120<br />

Exhibitor Alliance aims to preserve<br />

the cinema experience.<br />

Changing with the Times.. . . . . . . 122<br />

Alan Roe and JACRO continue<br />

to serve cinemas’ needs.<br />

The Price of Success. . . . . . . . . . . 126<br />

New models are shaking up<br />

the movie theatre business.<br />

How Long Will Your<br />

Projector Last? .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128<br />

Ensuring your technology is reliable<br />

and up-to-date.<br />

A Significant Event.. . . . . . . . . . . 130<br />

ECA founder Melissa Cogavin<br />

looks back on six years of growth.<br />

ratinG rotten toMatoes . . . . . . . 132<br />

Is the review aggregate site<br />

getting a fair appraisal?<br />

Toward a More Balanced Industry.. 134<br />

Celluloid Junkie’s Top 50 Women list<br />

salutes groundbreaking executives.<br />

FJI’s coverage of the <strong>2018</strong> convention<br />

includes interviews with NATO’s<br />

John Fithian, MPAA’s Charles Rivkin,<br />

profiles of honorees Alejandro Ramírez,<br />

Kurt Rieder and Robert Carrady, plus<br />

reports on the business and technology<br />

trends changing the exhibition industry,<br />

pgs. 136-183.<br />


In Focus. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6<br />

Reel News in Review .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9<br />

Trade Talk. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12<br />

<strong>Film</strong> Company News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18<br />

Concessions: Trends .. . . . . . . . . . . . . 22<br />

Concessions: People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24<br />

Ask the Audience.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26<br />

Buying and Booking Guide .. . . . . . 184<br />

Calendar of Feature Releases.. . . . . 194<br />

European Update.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198<br />

Russia in Review.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199<br />

Asia/Pacific Roundabout. . . . . . . . . 200<br />

Advertisers’ Index. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .202<br />

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

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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 />

REEL<br />

NEWS<br />


CEO Gary Barber<br />

Leaves MGM<br />

In an unexpected executive shake-up,<br />

Gary Barber has left his post as MGM’s<br />

CEO. Barber joined the company in 2010,<br />

after MGM emerged from bankruptcy.<br />

Over the subsequent eight years, MGM<br />

racked up several hits, notably James<br />

Bond outings Spectre and Skyfall. More<br />

recently, videogame adaptation Tomb<br />

Raider bowed to middling numbers. Barber’s<br />

departure is particularly abrupt<br />

given the fact that he renewed his contract<br />

in October of last year and was<br />

expected to remain at MGM through the<br />

end of 2022.<br />

Weinstein Co. Files<br />

for Bankruptcy Protection<br />

In the wake of the falling apart of a<br />

potential purchase by an investor group<br />

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

Burkle—detailed in last month’s Reel<br />

News in Review—The Weinstein Company<br />

has filed for bankruptcy protection.<br />

Lantern Asset Management has been<br />

lined up as a “stalking horse” bidder,<br />

essentially meaning it is in a position<br />

to acquire the bulk of The Weinstein<br />

Company’s assets after it officially files<br />

for Chapter 11. In other TWC news, a<br />

spokesperson has said that the company<br />

will release victims of Harvey Weinstein<br />

from their NDAs, freeing them to speak<br />

out about alleged sexual harassment.<br />

AMC to Open<br />

First Saudi Cinema<br />

If all goes according to plan, by the<br />

time you read this Saudi Arabia will have<br />

opened its first movie theatre, courtesy<br />

of AMC. The country lifted a 35-year ban<br />

on public cinemas last year, a move that<br />

prompted AMC and several international<br />

chains to announce their intentions to<br />

leap into the new market. The first the-<br />

atre will open on April 18 in Riyadh’s<br />

King Abdullah Financial District; AMC<br />

has said that they plan to open 40 cinemas<br />

in 15 cities within five years.<br />

China Box Office<br />

Surpasses North America<br />

China’s box office for the first<br />

quarter of <strong>2018</strong> surpassed America’s<br />

over the same period of time, to the<br />

tune of RMB20.2 billion (approximately<br />

$3.17 billion) compared to $2.89 billion<br />

in the U.S. and Canada. The RMB20.2<br />

billion figure marks a 39% jump from the<br />

same period last year, though the growth<br />

period for <strong>2018</strong> as a whole will likely end<br />

up much lower. North America’s firstquarter<br />

box office, on the other hand,<br />

dropped by nearly 4% from what it was<br />

in 2017.<br />

MoviePass Lowers<br />

Price Once Again<br />

Another month, another lowered<br />

price point for exhibition disruptor MoviePass.<br />

The company, a movie theatre<br />

subscription service that lets users buy<br />

a film ticket a day for a flat monthly fee,<br />

has chopped its price to $6.95 a month<br />

for new subscribers. Said MoviePass<br />

CEO Mitch Lowe, “Our vision has always<br />

been to make the moviegoing experience<br />

easy and affordable for anyone,<br />

anywhere. With the current growth and<br />

support we’ve seen within the last several<br />

months, our studio and exhibitor revenues<br />

and other marketing partnerships<br />

have motivated us to lower the price<br />

once again.” The card currently works at<br />

over 91% of American theatres.<br />

A24 Loses<br />

Founding Partner<br />

John Hodges, a founding partner<br />

of A24, has announced his intention to<br />

leave the indie distributor. No news has<br />

been offered as to why Hodges is leaving<br />

or where he is going; A24 did note,<br />

however, that his departure will not<br />

necessitate any changes in management<br />

structure. Said Hodges in a statement,<br />

“Over the past six years I have been<br />

fortunate to work with a diverse group<br />

of talented storytellers across film and<br />

TV and I look forward to continuing<br />

those collaborations in my future<br />

endeavors.” <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 />

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Vision III Imaging Inc. entered into<br />

a sales-promotion agreement with<br />

leading cinema-advertising company<br />

Screenvision Media. Together they will<br />

make v3 glasses-free three-dimensional<br />

imaging technologies available for<br />

advertisers targeting moviegoers<br />

nationwide.<br />

Vision III has pioneered the concept<br />

of “parallax over time” to create spatially<br />

enhanced viewer perceptions on standard<br />

displays like theatrical screens and<br />

in-lobby monitors. The Vision III technologies<br />

are marketed under the v3®<br />

and Real Shot brand names. Real Shot<br />

is a patented technology that creates a<br />

dramatic three-dimensional appearance<br />

with picture elements “popping” off the<br />

screen.<br />

Screenvision Media plans to make<br />

the v3 technologies available in-lobby to<br />

advertisers across the company’s more<br />

than 2,300-theatre network starting in<br />

the second quarter of <strong>2018</strong>.<br />



Movie theatre subscription service<br />

MoviePass announced an agreement<br />

with Landmark Theatres, the nation’s<br />

largest theatre circuit dedicated to exhibiting<br />

and marketing independent film.<br />

MoviePass will be integrated into Landmark<br />

Theatres’ ticketing system. MoviePass<br />

members who use the service at<br />

Landmark theatres will be able to take<br />

advantage of added benefits and features<br />

including e-ticketing, advanced screening<br />

reservations and in-app seat selection.<br />


SETS <strong>2018</strong> CONFERENCE<br />

Mid-Atlantic NATO (National Association<br />

of Theatre Owners) of Maryland,<br />

Virginia, and the District of Columbia<br />

will be holding their regional conference<br />

on Wednesday, <strong>May</strong> 23, <strong>2018</strong> in<br />

Springfield, VA. Dubbed “Cinema Show<br />

& Tell”, the annual event draws a few<br />

hundred theatre owners and managers<br />

from throughout the East Coast to<br />

meet with industry suppliers and service<br />

providers as well as exhibitor-relations<br />

representatives. <strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International<br />

is a Gold Sponsor. For information on<br />

how you can participate, visit midatlanticnato.com.<br />



Digital Cinema Distribution<br />

Coalition (DCDC) announced new<br />

record levels of exhibitors, content<br />

providers, feature releases and events<br />

amid double-digit growth in 2017.<br />

The North American theatrical<br />

content distribution company, founded<br />

by AMC Theatres, Cinemark Theatres,<br />

Regal Entertainment Group, Universal<br />

Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment,<br />

has seen its customer base expand<br />

to more than 250 independent,<br />

small- and medium-sized exhibitors and<br />

50 content providers, including all of the<br />

top theatre circuits and major studios.<br />

DCDC has delivered over 1,000<br />

features (including 163 versions) and<br />

more than 150 events and special<br />

content to theatres totaling over one<br />

million deliveries since its launch in 2013<br />

through 2017.<br />



Arts Alliance Media (AAM)<br />

announced the appointment of Patrick<br />

Foley as their new CEO, following the<br />

planned departure of John Aalbers.<br />

Foley joined AAM as chief financial<br />

officer and two years ago took the<br />

position of chief operating officer. He<br />

was instrumental in the development of<br />

AAM’s VPF solution and helped drive<br />

the recent investment efforts that led to<br />

AAM being acquired by Luxin-Rio.<br />


500TH SCREEN<br />

CJ 4DPLEX has reached the 500-<br />

screen milestone for its 4DX concept with<br />

the launch of its newest location at Pathé<br />

Belle Épine Cinema in Thiais, France.<br />

4DX, which features motion seats<br />

and environmental effects, is the<br />

fastest premium format to reach 500<br />

screens, having launched in 2009. With<br />

this opening, more than 61,000 4DX<br />

seats have been installed in theatre<br />

auditoriums across 58 countries.<br />

The accelerated growth of 4DX has<br />

been driven by Europe, which added 35<br />

screens in 14 European countries since<br />

its 400th site September 2017. In the<br />

past seven months, the volume of 4DX<br />

theatres has grown by 64% (from 54<br />

sites to 89 sites). To date, more than<br />

11,000 4DX seats have been installed at<br />

89 screens in 21 European countries.<br />



mk2, the leading virtual-reality<br />

experience provider in Europe, unveiled<br />

the first VR plug-and-play solution for<br />

professionals: the mk2 VR Pod. The<br />

announcement comes one year after the<br />

opening of mk2 VR, the first and biggest<br />

VR space in Europe.<br />

With this large VR offering, mk2<br />

will become the first VR distribution<br />

network worldwide with an end-to-end<br />

premium and white-labeled product line.<br />

mk2 VR offers twelve virtual reality pod<br />

offerings featuring three technologies<br />

(HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation<br />

VR) and two full-body immersive<br />

simulators: the Holodia rowing<br />

machine and Birdly®. By including all<br />

the necessary technology within an<br />

aluminum-ballasted structure, the VR<br />

Pod can be installed anywhere within a<br />

few hours.<br />



Bob Raposo has joined Sony<br />

Electronics’ Professional Solutions<br />

Americas group as head of its theatre<br />

business. The exhibition industry<br />

veteran will focus on expanding Sony’s<br />

relationships with exhibitors and<br />

advancing Sony’s Crystal LED directview<br />

technology and its HDR-Ready 4K<br />

laser projector. Raposo was previously<br />

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continued<br />

VP, sales, for the Americas and EMEA, at<br />

D-BOX Technologies and VP of theatre<br />

and sales at IMAX Corporation.<br />



Malco Theatres announced its<br />

partnership with the mobile feedback app<br />

SurveyMe. Malco will use SurveyMe’s app<br />

to get input from its moviegoers and to<br />

reward them with items like popcorn<br />

and candy instantly. This initiative has<br />

been launched in all of Malco’s 34 movie<br />

theatres across six states.<br />

SurveyMe is working with<br />

many other movie theatre companies<br />

to help them drive sales to concession<br />

stands, while also improving the overall<br />

customer experience. Moviegoers are<br />

given the chance to download the free<br />

mobile app and answer a few short<br />

questions to earn a reward.<br />



Movio’s Audience Insights tool<br />

launched globally, aiming to change how<br />

cinemas engage with their customers<br />

by predicting the most likely audience<br />

for each film. A world-first, cinemacentric<br />

tool, it draws on past audience<br />

behavioral data, helping cinema<br />

marketers connect moviegoers with<br />

the films most suited to them. They can<br />

then work out how best to incentivize<br />

attendance.<br />

Using Movio’s proprietary Propensity<br />

Algorithm TM , the product allows film<br />

marketers to determine the likelihood<br />

a moviegoer will see a particular movie,<br />

on average predicting the 10-15% from<br />

that audience who will most likely<br />

attend. Marketers can then focus efforts<br />

on creating personalized, relevant<br />

communications.<br />



Beau Bartoni was promoted to VP<br />

of sales at Packaging Concepts Inc. A<br />

20-year veteran of the company, he<br />

is an active member of the National<br />

Association of Concessionaires and<br />

serves as the Mountain West Regional<br />

VP and chairman of the education<br />

committee.<br />



Kristina Warner, former senior VP<br />

of marketing at RealD and former New<br />

Line Cinema VP, recently launched her<br />

own consulting firm. The seasoned<br />

entertainment marketing exec is<br />

currently working with Govino, the first<br />

and only shatterproof drinkware that’s<br />

accepted by leading sommeliers.<br />


DIES AT AGE 79<br />

Veteran cinema industry member<br />

Stewart Harnell passed away at the age<br />

of 79 on March 15 in Atlanta, GA.<br />

Dubbed “the Titan of Trailers,” the<br />

CEO of Cinema Concepts began his<br />

career as a trailer scriptwriter and then<br />

booker/salesman for National Screen<br />

Service. He moved to production<br />

and distribution, founding Harnell<br />

Independent Productions in the<br />

1970s, but later returned to National<br />

Screen Service as its executive VP and<br />

worldwide sales manager. In 1977, he<br />

founded Cinema Concepts, an industry<br />

leader in the creation and distribution of<br />

movie trailers and theatre advertising.<br />

Harnell supported numerous<br />

nonprofit organizations, including the<br />

Will Rogers Motion Picture Foundation,<br />

where he served as a board member.<br />

He was a board member and lifelong<br />

supporter of Variety Tent 21, the<br />

Children’s Charity of Georgia.<br />



Marcus Theatres, a division of<br />

The Marcus Corporation, saluted its<br />

2017 “Vendor Partners of Excellence”<br />

at its Spring Leadership Conference<br />

in Cancun, Mexico on March 15. Six<br />

organizations were honored, including<br />

Cloud Industries, J&J Snack Foods<br />

Corporation, The ICEE Company,<br />

Fearing’s, C. Cretors & Company and<br />

Lionsgate <strong>Film</strong>s.<br />

“Our Vendor Partners of Excellence<br />

are selected based on the impact<br />

they’ve made on Marcus Theatres’<br />

business throughout 2017,” said Rolando<br />

Rodriguez, chairman, president and<br />

CEO of Marcus Theatres. “With their<br />

support, we are able to deliver an<br />

extraordinary guest experience. We are<br />

incredibly appreciative of their efforts<br />

and are excited to recognize them with<br />

these awards.”<br />



Atom Tickets, the social movieticketing<br />

platform, announced that<br />

Allison Checchi has been promoted<br />

to chief operating officer. Checchi<br />

spent nearly a dozen years at Bain &<br />

Company. Recently, she served as chief<br />

marketing officer at YP, a leader in local<br />

digital marketing solutions for small<br />

businesses.<br />



CinemaNext recently deployed a<br />

complete Martin by Harman LED wall<br />

lighting system in its first Sphera theatre<br />

installation at Village Cinemas in Athens,<br />

Greece.<br />

Owned by Ymagis Group,<br />

CinemaNext is Europe’s leading cinema<br />

exhibition services provider, offering<br />

theatre technologies like ÉclairColor<br />

HDR projection. CinemaNext recently<br />

debuted its new premium-format Sphera<br />

theatre concept at Village Cinemas in<br />

the Mall of Athens. The theatre includes<br />

an 82-foot-wide wall-to-wall screen,<br />

669 luxury seats, 4K digital video<br />

projectors and a Dolby Atmos surround<br />

sound system. CinemaNext decided<br />

to incorporate Martin VDO Sceptron<br />

LED video fixtures to create a dynamic<br />

lighting system that complements the<br />

visuals on the screen. <br />

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A24<br />

Moonlight’s Ashton Sanders<br />

is in negotiations to star in<br />

Native Son, the feature directing<br />

debut of artist Rashid Johnson.<br />

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright<br />

Suzan-Lori Parks adapts Richard<br />

Wright’s classic 1940 novel,<br />

about a young African-American<br />

man living in poverty in Chicago.<br />

Parks’ script will place the action<br />

in the present day. The supporting<br />

cast includes Margaret<br />

Qualley (“The Leftovers”), Nick<br />

Robinson (Love, Simon), KiKi<br />

Layne (Barry Jenkins’ upcoming<br />

If Beale Street Could Talk) and Bill<br />

Camp (“The Night Of”). A24 has<br />

acquired worldwide rights.<br />

DISNEY<br />

The Lego Ninjago Movie codirector<br />

Charlie Bean is moving<br />

over to Disney for their Lady and<br />

the Tramp remake. Brigham Taylor,<br />

co-director of Jon Favreau’s<br />

The Jungle Book, will co-produce<br />

this new Disney reboot, which<br />

Hemsworth, Thompson Eye<br />

Men in Black Reboot<br />

If all the requisite deals go through, Thor: Ragnarok costars<br />

Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson will reunite<br />

for Sony’s Men in Black reboot. F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta<br />

Compton, Fate of the Furious) will direct the film, which will be<br />

set in the same world as the original Men in Black trilogy but<br />

centered around new characters, not Will Smith and Tommy<br />

Lee Jones’ alien-hunting federal agents. A release date has<br />

been set for June 14, 2019.<br />

Ava DuVernay to Summon New Gods<br />

Fresh off of A Wrinkle in Time, director Ava DuVernay has<br />

been tapped by Warner Bros. to helm comic-book saga The<br />

New Gods. Created by late comics legend Jack Kirby, the “New<br />

Gods” are a race of superpowered beings who live on a pair<br />

of warring planets, one an idyll, the other a hellscape. The<br />

war extends to Earth when the leader of the dystopian planet<br />

discovers that humankind holds the key to controlling all life.<br />

It is unknown how, or even if, The New Gods will play into<br />

Warner Bros.’ existing DC universe.<br />

Production Begins on Creed II<br />

Production is underway on Creed II, a follow-up to Ryan<br />

Coogler’s 2015 boxing blockbuster about the son (Michael<br />

B. Jordan) of Rocky antagonist Apollo Creed. Jordan returns<br />

this time around, as do Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson,<br />

Phylicia Rashad, Wood Harris and Andre Ward, though<br />

Coogler is back only as an executive producer. Directing this<br />

time around is Steven Caple, Jr., who directed 2016’s The<br />

Land and several episodes of “Class” and “Black-ish” spinoff<br />

“Grown-ish.” Joining on the cast side are Dolph Lundgren,<br />

reprising the role of Ivan Drago from Rocky IV, and Romanian<br />

boxer Florian “Big Nasty” Munteanu as Drago’s son. Stallone<br />

wrote the screenplay with “Luke Cage” showrunner Cheo<br />

Hodari Coker; Warner Bros.-MGM has set a Nov. 21, <strong>2018</strong><br />

release date.<br />

will combine live action and CG<br />

elements. The film is reportedly<br />

being made for the new digital<br />

streaming project that Disney<br />

plans to launch in 2019; additional<br />

plans for a theatrical release are<br />

yet unknown. Andrew Bujalski<br />

(Results) penned the script.<br />


<strong>Film</strong>Rise has acquired North<br />

American rights to The Miseducation<br />

of Cameron Post, the<br />

U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize<br />

winner at this year’s Sundance.<br />

Chloë Grace Moretz stars as<br />

eponymous Cameron, a teen<br />

who’s sent to a gay conversiontherapy<br />

camp run by a strict<br />

doctor (Jennifer Ehle) and her<br />

“cured” reverend brother (John<br />

Gallagher, Jr.). Forrest Goodluck<br />

and American Honey lead<br />

Sasha Lane co-star as two fellow<br />

conversion-therapy victims with<br />

whom Cameron bonds. Desiree<br />

Akhavan (Appropriate Behavior)<br />

directed and co-adapted Emily<br />

M. Danforth’s novel with Cecilia<br />

Frugiuele.<br />

GKIDS<br />

GKids acquired North<br />

American distribution rights to<br />

Fireworks, the latest from anime<br />

directors Nobuyuki Takeuchi and<br />

Akiyuki Shinbo. Co-produced<br />

by Genki Kawamura, one of the<br />

producers behind 2016 worldwide<br />

hit Your Name, Fireworks<br />

puts a sci-fi twist on the tale of a<br />

teenage love triangle.<br />


After several years of cast<br />

and director shake-ups, the<br />

crime drama Triple Frontier—<br />

named for the border zone<br />

between Paraguay, Argentina<br />

and Brazil, which is a hotbed of<br />

organized crime—is finally out of<br />

development and into pre-production.<br />

Ben Affleck and Oscar<br />

Isaac star as friends determined<br />

to take down a South American<br />

drug lord; they’re joined in supporting<br />

roles by Charlie Hunnam,<br />

Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal<br />

and Adia Arjona. J.C. Chandor<br />

(All Is Lost, A Most Violent Year)<br />

directs in addition to rewriting<br />

a script from regular Kathryn<br />

Bigelow collaborator Mark Boal<br />

(The Hurt Locker).<br />

NEW LINE<br />

Elisabeth Moss has joined<br />

Tiffany Haddish and Melissa<br />

McCarthy in New Line’s The<br />

Kitchen, based on the DC/Vertigo<br />

comic series by Ollie Masters<br />

and Ming Doyle. The “Kitchen”<br />

in question is New York City’s<br />

Hell’s Kitchen, specifically Hell’s<br />

Kitchen as it existed in the<br />

’70s, when it was run by gangs.<br />

Andrea Berloff, co-writer of<br />

Straight Outta Compton, makes<br />

her directorial debut telling the<br />

story of a group of Irish mob<br />

wives who take over the family<br />

business after their husbands are<br />

thrown in jail. The Kitchen will<br />

be released in theatres on Sept.<br />

20, 2019.<br />

Director Bill Condon reunites<br />

with Gods and Monsters<br />

and Mr. Holmes star Ian McKellen<br />

for New Line and Bron Creative’s<br />

The Good Liar. Helen Mirren<br />

co-stars in the crime thriller,<br />

about an experienced con artist<br />

(McKellen) who begins to feel<br />

genuine emotion for his latest<br />

mark (Mirren), a rich widow he<br />

meets online. Jeffrey Hatcher<br />

(Mr. Holmes) adapts Nicholas<br />

Searle’s novel.<br />

SONY<br />

It’s still far from confirmed,<br />

but rumor has it that Spike Lee<br />

may direct comic-book movie<br />

Nightwatch for Sony Pictures.<br />

When not cavorting around in a<br />

futuristic metal suit, Nightwatch<br />

goes by the name Dr. Kevin<br />

Trench. One day, he discovers<br />

his own corpse wearing said suit<br />

(time-travel problems), and heroics—often<br />

involving a partnership<br />

with Spider-Man—ensue. Sources<br />

say that “Luke Cage” showrunner<br />

Cheo Hodari Coker is writing the<br />

script. Other superhero movies<br />

on the docket for Sony include<br />

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continued<br />

Venom, starring Tom Hardy as<br />

the eponymous anti-hero; Gina<br />

Prince-Bythewood’s Silver & Black,<br />

about superheroines Black Cat<br />

and Silver Sable; and a sequel to<br />

last year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming,<br />

with Tom Holland reprising<br />

the central role.<br />


Julien Faraut directs the<br />

documentary John McEnroe: In<br />

the Realm of Perfection, which was<br />

picked up for U.S. distribution by<br />

Oscilloscope Laboratories following<br />

its world premiere at the<br />

Berlin International <strong>Film</strong> Festival.<br />

Narrated by Mathieu Amalric,<br />

the film uses archival 16mm<br />

footage of McEnroe, then the<br />

world’s top-ranked tennis player,<br />

at the 1984 French Open to paint<br />

a portrait of the sport of tennis<br />

and its most famously volatile<br />

player. A theatrical release is set<br />

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

Oscilloscope gets its hands<br />

on another doc about a famous<br />

figure with Hal, director Amy<br />

Scott’s tribute to director Hal<br />

Ashby, the man behind a string of<br />

’70s classics—Harold and Maude,<br />

Shampoo and Being There among<br />

them. Scott utilizes archival<br />

materials, audio recordings, letters<br />

and interviews with a string<br />

of Hollywood notables, including<br />

Jane Fonda, Jeff and Beau Bridges,<br />

Louis Gossett, Jr. and Dustin<br />

Hoffman.<br />


Kumail Nanjiani (The Big<br />

Sick, “Silicon Valley”) and Dave<br />

Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy)<br />

join forces for the action comedy<br />

Stuber, to be directed by Goon<br />

helmer Michael Dowse for 21st<br />

Century Fox. Nanjiani will play<br />

an Uber driver who picks up an<br />

unlikely fare: a no-nonsense cop<br />

(Bautista) on the hunt for a killer.<br />

Tripper Clancy penned the script.<br />

The writing duo of Jonathan<br />

Goldstein and John Francis Daley<br />

(Horrible Bosses, Spider-Man:<br />

Homecoming) produce.<br />

Joe Wright, fresh of the<br />

success of his Oscar-winning The<br />

Darkest Hour, has been tapped to<br />

direct The Woman in the Window<br />

for Fox 2000. Actor/Pulitzer<br />

Prize-winning playwright Tracy<br />

Letts adapts A.J. Finn’s bestselling<br />

novel, a Rear Windowtinged<br />

thriller about a reclusive<br />

doctor who routinely spies on<br />

her neighbors and—surprise,<br />

surprise—one day sees something<br />

she shouldn’t. The cast of<br />

The Woman in the Window has<br />

yet to come together. Wright<br />

is also attached to Blumhouse<br />

Productions’ Stoner, based on<br />

John Williams’ 1965 novel about<br />

a poor farmer-turned-academic<br />

(Casey Affleck).<br />

Scarlett Johansson is in talks<br />

to co-star in Fox Searchlight’s<br />

Jojo Rabbit, a World War II-set<br />

film from What We Do in the<br />

Shadows and Thor: Ragnarok director<br />

Taika Waititi. Waititi also<br />

scripted the film, about a young<br />

German boy who discovers that<br />

his mother (Johansson) is hiding<br />

a Jewish woman in their home.<br />

The boy has yet to be cast.<br />


Steven Spielberg has confirmed<br />

that Colin Trevorrow<br />

(The Book of Henry, Safety Not<br />

Guaranteed) will write and direct<br />

the third Jurassic World movie,<br />

with Spielberg (as expected)<br />

executive producing. Trevorrow<br />

directed the first Jurassic<br />

World, which was the second<br />

highest-grossing movie of 2015.<br />

J.A. Bayona (The Impossible, A<br />

Monster Calls) took over director’s<br />

duties for Jurassic World:<br />

Fallen Kingdom, out this summer.<br />

The third Jurassic World film will<br />

debut on June 11, 2021.<br />

Wet Hot American Summer<br />

and The Big Sick director<br />

Michael Showalter will join<br />

forces with Jessica Chastain and<br />

Octavia Spencer for an untitled<br />

Universal comedy. Crazy Rich<br />

Asians’ Peter Chiarelli is scripting<br />

the film, about two women<br />

braving the elements in an attempt<br />

to make it home in time<br />

for Christmas.<br />


The cast of Wonder Woman<br />

2 is shaping up. Director Patty<br />

Jenkins is returning for a second<br />

crack at comic book history’s<br />

most popular superheroine,<br />

to be played once again by Gal<br />

Gadot. Chris Pine, who costarred<br />

in Wonder Woman, is<br />

rumored to return in some capacity.<br />

(His character died in the<br />

first film, so…flashback, maybe?)<br />

New to the cast will be Kristen<br />

Wiig as Cheetah, one of Wonder<br />

Woman’s key comics adversaries,<br />

and—the latest announcement—Pedro<br />

Pascal (“Game of<br />

Thrones”) in an unspecified role.<br />

Wonder Woman 2 will reportedly<br />

be set in the ’80s against a Cold<br />

War backdrop.<br />


Following the enormous success<br />

of It, another Stephen King<br />

classic is set for a feature film<br />

adaptation. This time around, it’s<br />

King’s 1987 book The Tommyknockers,<br />

about a town infected by<br />

an invisible extraterrestrial gas<br />

that gives its inhabitants both a<br />

genius intellectual capacity and an<br />

increased tendency towards violence.<br />

Director/producer James<br />

Wan (Saw, The Conjuring, Insidious)<br />

and producer Roy Lee (It) are<br />

producing through their respective<br />

banners, along with producer<br />

Larry Sanitsky (1993’s “The Tommyknockers”<br />

miniseries). Other<br />

upcoming Stephen King adaptations<br />

include Paramount’s Pet<br />

Sematary and New Line-Warner<br />

Bros.’ It: Chapter 2.<br />

Hugh Jackman has some<br />

time on his hands now that he’s<br />

hung up the adamantium claws<br />

associated with his most famous<br />

character, X-Men’s Wolverine.<br />

Reportedly now on the A-lister’s<br />

upcoming slate is Bad Education,<br />

to be directed by Thoroughbreds’<br />

Cory Finley. Little is known<br />

about the film, save that it is<br />

based on an event from the highschool<br />

days of screenwriter Mike<br />

Makowsky, of the upcoming sci-fi<br />

drama I Think We’re Alone Now. La<br />

La Land’s Fred Berger and Brian<br />

Kavanaugh-Jones are two of Bad<br />

Education’s producers.<br />

Kevin Bacon is set to<br />

reteam with low-budget horror<br />

powerhouse Blumhouse<br />

Productions, which produced the<br />

Bacon-starring The Darkness, for<br />

You Should Have Left. Bacon will<br />

star in and co-produce the film,<br />

which is based on a 2017 novel<br />

about a screenwriter who begins<br />

to go a bit squirrely while holed<br />

up with his young daughter in a<br />

house in the German Alps. David<br />

Koepp, who directed Bacon in<br />

1999’s Stir of Echoes, will adapt<br />

the book for the screen as well<br />

as direct.<br />

Michael B. Jordan puts on his<br />

producer hat for The Liberators,<br />

to be co-produced by the burgeoning<br />

superstar actor through<br />

his Outlier Society Productions<br />

shingle. The film is based on a<br />

spec script from Madison Turner<br />

(6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain)<br />

about the 761st Tank Battalion,<br />

an African-American combat unit<br />

that fought during World War II.<br />

Jordan is either producer or executive<br />

producer on two upcoming<br />

projects in which he is set to<br />

star, Destin Daniel Cretton’s Just<br />

Mercy and Ramin Bahrani’s “Fahrenheit<br />

451” miniseries; it has not<br />

been confirmed whether he will<br />

star here.<br />

Manchester by the Sea’s Lucas<br />

Hedges will play actor Shia<br />

LaBeouf—and Shia LaBeouf will<br />

play his own father—in Honey<br />

Boy. The film, co-written by<br />

LaBeouf under a pseudonym,<br />

tells the story of the actor’s<br />

troubled relationship with his<br />

alcohol-abusing father; it will<br />

take place in the early 2000s,<br />

when LaBeouf was still a child<br />

actor on the brink of stardom.<br />

Alma Har’el (Bombay Beach) will<br />

direct. <br />

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TRENDS<br />


Promotion in Motion Unveils<br />

New Gummi Fun Mix Line<br />

by Larry Etter, Concessions Editor<br />

Promotion in Motion plans to punch its way into the<br />

summer exhibition season with a powerful new mix<br />

of confections. Nearly everyone knows that the<br />

over the past few years the trend in sweets has turned<br />

away from always-reliable chocolates to sours and gummies.<br />

The offerings in these sweet categories are quite<br />

competitive and there is a plethora of pickings to choose<br />

from. Promotion in Motion has decided to make it easy<br />

for everyone by offering a Fun Mix, which combines a<br />

variety of textures and tastes in a single bag.<br />

Theatre operators are constantly challenged by the<br />

countless candy options and limited space for display<br />

and storage. A number of exhibitors have created<br />

more counter space and extend the brands by placing<br />

racks in front of the concession line for a “grab and<br />

go” selection that broadens the number of brands<br />

displayed. As a result, candy sales have accelerated, yet<br />

it’s still a complicated decision on what can be offered<br />

and many times what cannot. While self-serve candy<br />

zones have allowed for a delightful display, they require<br />

a considerable amount of volume and maintenance to be<br />

successful financially.<br />

The summer of <strong>2018</strong> will offer another opportunity to<br />

meet the demands of the cinema guest while preserving<br />

the operational efficiencies needed to be profitable. The<br />

first entry in this new class of candy will be the Original<br />

Gummi Fun Mix, presented through Promotion in<br />

Motion. This entertaining blend will include an exciting<br />

line of delicious gummies, sour gummies and other great<br />

sugary treats in a variety of shapes, sizes, flavors and<br />

colors. Consider it a rainbow of soft delicacies with an<br />

array of taste. It will be a stroll through the self-serve<br />

candy line without the hassle or overindulgence.<br />

According to Jeff Scudillo, VP, special markets,<br />

for Promotion in Motion, “Our new Gummi Fun Mix<br />

products feature up to 18 delicious varieties in a single<br />

bag, tapping into the experimental purchasing patterns<br />

of Millennials who demand multiple benefits from their<br />

purchases and flat out bringing the fun of eating candy to<br />

totally new heights. Every bag of Original Gummi Fun Mix<br />

is a party in a bag.”<br />

There will be six assortments of titled combinations.<br />

Gummi Party is an exciting mix of Gummi favorites<br />

with as many as 18 variations in each bag, including<br />

worms, bears, sharks, cherries, swirly drops and more.<br />

Sour Party is a gathering of sour gummies, including<br />

sour rainbow belts, sour bears, sour filled licorice<br />

straws, sour mini worms and sour swirly drops. It will<br />

also include crème-filled licorice straws, sour rainbow<br />

belts and other confections in addition to the gummies.<br />

If this is not enough, Gummi Soda Pops will offer<br />

bottle shapes with six favorite soft drink flavors, including<br />

classic cola, lemon-lime, grape and orange soda. Then<br />

there are Fruit Rings, featuring a yummy assortment<br />

of gummi rings in fan favorites: peach, apple, lemon,<br />

strawberry, blue raspberry and watermelon.<br />

Adding to the excitement, Mixed Berries will<br />

introduce a larger and more complete line of berries,<br />

expanding the current two flavors of strawberry and<br />

blackberry by adding blueberry, raspberry and black<br />

raspberry.<br />

The last of the six packaging innovations will be<br />

Seriously Sour. There are approximately 17 tempting<br />

flavors: Sour twin cherries, sour fruity rings, sour mini<br />

worms, sour strawberry soda bottles and sour soothers<br />

all join the merrymaking in this assorted bag.<br />

These varieties will all release in early <strong>May</strong>, just in<br />

time for the summer season. Once again, this proves<br />

that the exhibition channel continues to be a great<br />

source for launching products for the retail markets to<br />

gain traction. Scudillo notes, “Promotion in Motion has<br />

always looked to exhibition as the greatest entry point to<br />

launch its leading line of confectionery and snack brands<br />

to the consumer market. Once again, our company<br />

is launching and releasing Original Gummi Fun Mix to<br />

theatre concessions and moviegoers first! Eventually the<br />

brand will be sold in all channels of trade. Moviegoers will<br />

get first dibs and proper bragging rights at having tried<br />

them first at the movies. It’s been a winning strategy at<br />

our company for almost 40 years. No need fixing what<br />

works.”<br />

Let’s get the party started!<br />

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

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

of Concessionaires.<br />

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PEOPLE<br />


B&B’s Brock Bagby Carries<br />

on a Family Tradition<br />

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

on Brock Bagby, executive VP at B&B Theatres.<br />

Brock represents the fourth generation of the<br />

eighth-largest cinema circuit in the U.S., representing 391<br />

screens. He has strong roots in the Midwest, adopting<br />

traits from both of his grandfathers, Elmer Bills and Sterling<br />

Bagby, while following in the footsteps of his father, Robert<br />

Bagby, who leads the way at the family-operated enterprise.<br />

Like so many legends of privately held family exhibition<br />

companies, Brock earned his stripes by starting at an early<br />

age cleaning auditoriums and eventually working his way up<br />

to the concession stand. He is now regarded by his peers<br />

as one of the luminaries in the exhibition industry, named<br />

to Box Office magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40.” He is frequently<br />

mentioned in periodicals such as Variety, Deadline,<br />

St. Louis Post and Kansas City Star and serves on NATO’s<br />

Government Relations Committee, Young NATO Board,<br />

Technology Committee and Vision/Mission Task Force. His<br />

presence and opinions are constantly sought at conventions<br />

and conferences around the U.S.<br />

Brock Bagby was born in Columbia, Missouri, and spent<br />

his early years in Salisbury, Missouri. He attended Missouri<br />

State University and in 2012 earned a degree in General<br />

Business. He cites his grandfathers as genial influences in<br />

his life. “Elmer Bills was a bit more conservative and offered<br />

a dry sense of humor, while Sterling Bagby had a<br />

great attitude toward life and wanted to grow the company<br />

quickly.”<br />

Brock says he gained knowledge from them equally.<br />

However, he compliments his father as being the buffer,<br />

somewhere in the middle, that steadied the ship. “My father<br />

had the greatest influence on me growing up. All three had<br />

strong personalities and amazing traits,” he proudly attests.<br />

Bagby’s decision to stay in the family business was an<br />

easy one. “What’s more fun than the movie business? Ours<br />

is the only business that changes product every week and<br />

creates an escape for our guests all year long.” He adds,<br />

“My family never pushed me to work in the business, but<br />

at an early age I grew fond of the business and the glamour<br />

of Hollywood. Now I am in love with the numbers, grosses,<br />

demographics, theatre designs and programming.” He appreciates<br />

the fact that he and his sisters work as one to<br />

present the highest-quality entertainment package in their<br />

sector.<br />

Bagby believes the biggest challenge for B&B Theatres is<br />

keeping pace with all the innovations in the cinema world<br />

and managing the costs that accompany those advances.<br />

“We aren’t publicly traded, so it can be difficult to quickly<br />

expand without the available capital.” He is proud to men-<br />

tion that under his direction 50% of the circuit will be outfitted<br />

with recliners by June 1, <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

Brock sees himself more as a sculptor and developer<br />

rather than an administrator—probably because his duties<br />

require him to oversee development and construction of<br />

the theatres. “I feel like I am a member of a well-oiled machine.<br />

I am working with industry professionals who know<br />

what they are doing.” While he does have administrative<br />

responsibilities as a senior executive at B&B, everyone<br />

knows he loves the development side. “Sculpting the theatre<br />

from beginning to end is very exciting. We are very<br />

hands-on and we are always trying to improve plans to<br />

create both the best moviegoing experience for guests and<br />

the best operational experience for our team.” In addition<br />

to his duties in construction and operations, Brock directs<br />

the booking department and supervises the placement of<br />

film in each cinema.<br />

Bagby has excelled in this competitive channel by testing<br />

the limits: “I have been pushing my family to innovate<br />

and create bigger screens.” He has engineered and initiated<br />

substantial changes in the design of B&B theatres. “We<br />

used to design the screens around the box that was given<br />

to us. We now design the boxes around the screens,” he<br />

testifies. “Every room is custom-designed to fit the biggest<br />

screen possible. I have tried to push the limits on new<br />

theatre designs, from our PLF Grand Screens to MX4D,<br />

Marquee Suites [deluxe 21-and-older rooms], screenPLAY<br />

[theatres for families with small children] and other concepts.”<br />

He makes every effort to be at the forefront of<br />

technology and innovation without compromising the ROI.<br />

On the personal side, Brock Bagby loves basketball. At<br />

six feet tall, he confides he was never tall enough to play<br />

in the big leagues, yet even today he still can be found on<br />

the courts Sunday afternoons in adult leagues. Most people<br />

do not know he is an accomplished singer and entertains<br />

Kansas City audiences regularly in local live performances.<br />

He and his family even have choral groups that croon for<br />

Sunday services.<br />

True to his exhibition foundation, he does have a favorite<br />

movie: The Dark Knight. “That movie had it all, it was<br />

nearly a real-life believable villain.” His favorite actor: Tom<br />

Hanks. His favorite book: Shoe Dog, the story of Phil Knight<br />

and his creation of Nike (in line with his love of basketball).<br />

When visiting his theatres for a movie, he enjoys funnel<br />

cake fries, popcorn and a B&B breaded chicken sandwich.<br />

Brock and his wife of four years, Jennifer, are expecting<br />

a new baby boy on <strong>May</strong> 8, <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

—Larry Etter<br />

24 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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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 />

People head to the movies to sit<br />

So it’s not a big leap for audience<br />

back, relax, and BATTLE AGAINST<br />

members to imagine being able to play<br />


games as part of their movie theatre<br />

experience. When it comes to movie<br />

Well, not quite yet, but it could be<br />

pre-shows, 70% say they prefer interactivity,<br />

heading that way. NCM has explored and 78% would play a mobile game that<br />

the topic of in-theatre gaming extensively allows them to interact with what’s on<br />

over the past year in preparation for<br />

screen. 51% of the respondents would<br />

the launch of Noovie ARcade, the<br />

arrive early specifically to play games,<br />

pioneering companion app to NCM’s including 56% of our Gen X panelists and<br />

Noovie pre-show that uses the big screen 57% of Millennials. An immersive pre-show<br />

to unlock larger-than-life, interactive<br />

experience allows you to deliver on your<br />

augmented reality mobile gaming for patrons’ desire for interactive content<br />

movie audiences. Now, Ask the Audience while also encouraging them to get to<br />

is giving you an inside look at what<br />

the theatre early, all without incurring<br />

moviegoers want when it comes to<br />

additional costs for your business.<br />

in-theatre gaming and how you can<br />

capitalize on the experience.<br />

The most popular game with our panelists<br />

was trivia, such as Name That Movie<br />

Movie audiences are used to playing featured in the Noovie pre-show, with<br />

games on the go in their everyday life. 82% overall expressing interest in more<br />

82% play games on their phone, with interactive trivia options, including<br />

40% playing a mobile game daily.<br />

88% of adults aged 18 to 54. 60% also<br />

wanted to try augmented reality gaming<br />

while at the theatre (enter: Noovie ARcade).<br />

When it comes to additional incentives,<br />

material goods unsurprisingly made up<br />

the top 3 on the most-wanted list, with<br />

88% ranking free movie tickets as the top<br />

motivation, 87% interested in cash prizes,<br />

and 86% hoping for free concessions.<br />

Plus, 66% of Millennials were interested in<br />

gaming tournaments at their local movie<br />

theatre. So, you might want to think about<br />

creating a “game night” on an evening<br />

that is typically slower that allows your<br />

customers to compete for small prizes<br />

as an effective way to increase traffic and<br />

customer spending.<br />

The movie theatre experience is constantly<br />

evolving, and with the Behind the Screens<br />

panel’s consistent message that they value<br />

interactivity, more advanced in-theatre<br />

gaming is the next step in enhancing<br />

that experience. At NCM, the answer to<br />

that call was the development of Noovie<br />

ARcade. The next generation of in-theatre<br />

gaming is here. The question is —<br />

are you ready to play?<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 />




60%<br />

are more likely<br />

to play the game<br />

if they are in a<br />

group of friends.<br />



1. Tomb Raider<br />

(2001)<br />

1. Others in auditorium<br />

2. Friends<br />

3. Theatre’s high scores<br />

4. Their own previous scores<br />

5. Regional<br />

6. National<br />

43%<br />

of Gen X’ers<br />

would share<br />

their scores on<br />

social media.<br />

SHARE<br />

2. Super Mario Bros.<br />

(1993)<br />

3. Resident Evil<br />

(2002)<br />

4. Mortal Kombat<br />

(1995)<br />

26 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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CRUISE<br />

Christopher<br />

McQuarrie<br />

Movie franchises aren’t supposed to last as long<br />

as Mission: Impossible. An offshoot of a 1960s<br />

TV series, the first entry, starring Tom Cruise,<br />

appeared in 1996. Since then, Cruise has appeared in four<br />

sequels, all of them worldwide hits. The fifth,<br />

Mission: Impossible—Fallout will be released<br />

by Paramount on July 27. In it,<br />

Ethan Hunt (the Cruise role) is a<br />

target of enemy and government<br />

agents in an international conspiracy.<br />

Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie, who also wrote and<br />

directed the fifth entry, Rogue Nation, took time out from a<br />

busy postproduction schedule to answer questions by e-mail.<br />

<strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International: The last time we spoke, for Rogue Nation, you<br />

talked about the IMF (Impossible Mission Force) as a kind of substitute family<br />

for agent Ethan Hunt, who otherwise had sacrificed the idea of domestic life. But<br />

with the return of Hunt’s wife Julia (played by Michelle Monaghan), can we<br />

expect more about his personal life in Fallout?<br />

Christopher McQuarrie: I asked Tom at the very start of this project:<br />

What’s the one thing you want to do with the character? Tom said a<br />

great many people still ask him about Julia and he wants to bring them<br />

resolution. I had assumed the end of Ghost Protocol [the fourth entry] had<br />

done that, but I’ve since realized it left too much to the imagination. Tom<br />

wanted to make it clear.<br />

28 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong> Photos © <strong>2018</strong> Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved. / McQuarrie by Christian Black<br />

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An all-star cast<br />

joins Tom Cruise<br />

for the sixth<br />

installment<br />

in the fabled<br />

Mission:<br />

Impossible<br />

franchise<br />

by Daniel Eagan<br />

MAY <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 29<br />

028-056.indd 29<br />

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I was only too happy to do that, but I insisted it could not be<br />

a detour from the central narrative, since experience has taught<br />

me we’d just end up cutting it. If the story of Ethan and Julia<br />

was to have any place in this movie, the main story would have<br />

to collide with it.<br />

This necessitated a reintroduction of Julia. As much as this<br />

film is connected directly to previous installments, Tom and I<br />

insist that it has to stand alone. I’m not expecting you to see the<br />

other films in the franchise or hold onto their emotional details.<br />

The question then became how to introduce Julia in a way that<br />

tells us something personal about Ethan. The answer led to a<br />

deeper emotional connection with the character. I knew then<br />

that we were onto something different for the franchise. You’ll<br />

feel that difference in the opening frame.<br />

FJI: You’ve also talked about how the IMF is by its very structure<br />

in conflict with the government, which forces Ethan on the run.<br />

How can you keep that theme fresh?<br />

CM: In Mission, it’s not whether or not Ethan and the team<br />

will end up at odds with their own side, it’s how. Remove that<br />

element and you remove conflict. You remove drama. I leaned<br />

into that conflict. It started at the end of Rogue Nation when the<br />

team more or less recruited CIA Director Alan Hunley [Alec<br />

Baldwin] to become the new Secretary. By introducing Erika<br />

Sloan [Angela Bassett] as the new head of the CIA and Walker<br />

[Henry Cavill] as her number-one man in the field, I created a<br />

yin to Hunley and Ethan’s yang. The conflict is overt and present<br />

from the very start. But it is a conflict between the IMF and<br />

the CIA—rooted in their very different approaches to solving<br />

problems. Ethan is a scalpel, Walker is a hammer and they are<br />

forced to work together, leading to yet more conflict.<br />

FJI: For Rogue Nation, you described an organic style of screenwriting<br />

in which you discover the story as you’re shooting. Did that<br />

occur during this production?<br />

CM: I’ve always said, Mission has a mind of its own. It goes<br />

where it wants to. I struggled with that on Rogue Nation. This time<br />

I just rode the lightning. The movie is so much the better for it.<br />

FJI: Can you give an example of how the story changed from<br />

what you originally expected?<br />

CM: Only in one respect and not without spoiling the<br />

movie. For the most part I just went where the story (and the<br />

demands of having to justify the many locations and action<br />

sequences in the film) took me. There is one idea that was a<br />

major touchstone for me—the scene that made me want to do<br />

the movie. I held onto it for as long as I could—too long, in<br />

fact—trying to bend the narrative to go there. When I let it go,<br />

the second half of the film came together. It turns out Mission<br />

had other plans.<br />

FJI: You shot a sequence at an iconic Norwegian mountain called<br />

Preikestolen. Can you talk about what that involved?<br />

CM: That sequence required the danger of falling. I was<br />

scouting New Zealand, which is a magnificent place to shoot, by<br />

the way. But everywhere I went, I could not find the fall I wanted.<br />

There are many impressive mountains there, but they slope. I<br />

needed a sheer precipice. I told my location coordinator: “Don’t<br />

bring me a place I can fall down. Bring me a place I can fall off.<br />

When he showed me a picture of Pulpit Rock [Preikestolen], I<br />

knew immediately that was the place.<br />

Everything had to be brought in by helicopter, including<br />

the helipads to land the helicopters (the only other way to the<br />

summit is a two-hour hike). Cranes, stunt rigs, crew facilities,<br />

catering—it was all brought in over a period of two days. A<br />

massive undertaking. I had three days to shoot what I needed.<br />

Experience taught me I’d likely lose half my time up there to<br />

bad weather, so I planned accordingly and, sure enough, we lost<br />

a day and a half. Twenty minutes after the last shot, it started<br />

raining. Our helicopter made it out minutes before the weather<br />

would have grounded us. Moments later it was snowing and the<br />

rock stayed buried for the rest of the winter. We were that close<br />

to not finishing. As we like to say, and we say it often, it ain’t<br />

Mission: Difficult.<br />

It’s important to note that I am not a lover of extreme<br />

environments. I like my couch and my dogs and a cup of hot tea.<br />

Yet somehow the requirements of story take me to these places<br />

and I go with them. My producer, the incomparable Jake Myers,<br />

also worked on The Revenant—which is legendary for its remote,<br />

bitterly cold locations. While making that movie, he ran into a<br />

couple of crew who had worked on Jack Reacher with us. They<br />

said: “This is bad, but it doesn’t come close to the quarry in Jack<br />

Reacher. That was hell.”<br />

I don’t say this as a point of pride. I say this so you can<br />

appreciate the work our crew put into the movie. These people<br />

were incredible. They moved mountains, sometimes literally.<br />

FJI: The M:I series has raised the bar for chases. You even developed<br />

proprietary equipment for a Rogue Nation sequence. Can you<br />

talk about Cruise on a motorcycle in Paris in this movie?<br />

CM: Tom and I both love Paris and wanted a chase that<br />

would celebrate the city. I showed him a short film called<br />

Rendezvous which, if you haven’t seen it, you should check out<br />

on YouTube. It’s a single, uninterrupted eight-minute POV<br />

speeding though the streets of pre-dawn Paris past all the major<br />

landmarks. It became a touchstone for us. I designed a sequence<br />

to show as much of the city as I could—in, over, under. Cars,<br />

boats, trucks, motorcycles, helicopters. The city was incredibly<br />

accommodating. I still can’t believe they let us do it.<br />

Tom and I learned a lot from the motorcycle chase in Rogue<br />

Nation and wanted to take that to the next level. But narrow<br />

city streets were much more challenging than a wide-open<br />

Moroccan highway. We devised rigs that would allow Tom to<br />

navigate the city more safely without a helmet, but those rigs<br />

failed. I looked at Tom on the first day and asked: “What do we<br />

do now?”<br />

Tom sighed and said: “We gotta shoot, man.”<br />

He mounted up and took off.<br />

The next night I went to watch dailies at a theatre the production<br />

had rented. I came to find out it was owned by the director<br />

of Rendezvous.<br />

If I never make another film, I’ll always have Paris.<br />

FJI: Some cast members in Fallout return from previous entries,<br />

including Monaghan, Baldwin and Ving Rhames. And Rebecca<br />

Ferguson, who was a standout in the previous movie, is back as Ilsa<br />

Faust. Why do you think she is such a good foil for Ethan Hunt?<br />

CM: Rebecca has the remarkable capacity to convey inner<br />

strength and vulnerability at the same time. She is tough, focused,<br />

dedicated, driven—while at the same time conveying and<br />

inspiring sympathy simultaneously. And she does it all without<br />

ever losing her sense of humor. All of this comes together to<br />

form Ilsa’s real power: When she leaves, you can’t wait for her to<br />

come back. This allows her to move in and out of the story with<br />

ease and keeps her from ever becoming a mere accessory.<br />

Most importantly, Ilsa has her own story, her own problems<br />

to deal with independent of Ethan’s. In Rogue Nation those<br />

problems were aligned. In this movie they are in conflict.<br />

Ultimately, Ilsa is great with Ethan precisely because she’s<br />

not a foil. She’s her own person. <br />

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22 Superheroes in one action-packed extravaganza<br />

by Daniel Eagan<br />

One of the most anticipated movies<br />

of <strong>2018</strong> has a built-in problem—The<br />

Avengers: Infinity War is only<br />

the first half of a story whose outcome<br />

won’t be fully revealed until 2019. No<br />

matter what happens in Infinity War<br />

(a Disney release opening on April<br />

27), fans won’t get all the answers they<br />

want for another year.<br />

So directors Anthony and Joe<br />

Russo are understandably protective<br />

about plot details. Speaking by phone<br />

from their office, they will admit that<br />

their two Avengers movies continue a<br />

storyline that started with their 2014<br />

hit Captain America: The Winter Soldier.<br />

“If you look at the Marvel Universe<br />

over the last ten years, these are the<br />

final chapters,” Joe says. “My brother<br />

and I told a very personal story over the<br />

course of our four Marvel films. They’re<br />

related, they tie together characters and<br />

themes. It’s a quartet of movies I think<br />

you can view as a single narrative.”<br />

Joe confesses that he still has a box<br />

filled with comic books about these<br />

characters, and that the emotional<br />

bonds the brothers formed for these<br />

superheroes when they were youngsters<br />

remain strong.<br />

“It’s cathartic to be able to correlate<br />

those feelings to the thematic<br />

issues that involve the Marvel community<br />

today,” he says. “I can’t go into it<br />

because it will spoil the next two movies,<br />

but we were able to tie together<br />

our themes, starting with questioning<br />

the surveillance state in Winter Soldier,<br />

on the grandest scale we’ve ever used.”<br />

Fans are notoriously defensive<br />

about the Marvel Universe, quick to<br />

object to perceived slights and inac-<br />

From left: War Machine (Don Cheadle), Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Black Widow(Scarlett Johansson),<br />

Captain America (Chris Evans), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Okoye (Danai Gurira), Falcon (Anthony Mackie)<br />

and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman); at top, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Thanos ( Josh Brolin);<br />

and directors Anthony and Joe Russo.<br />

<strong>Film</strong> Frame © Marvel Studios <strong>2018</strong><br />

028-056.indd 32<br />

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3/28/18 8:09 AM

curacies. Infinity War compounds the issue<br />

by including crossover characters from<br />

Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange.<br />

Thanos, the movies’ chief villain (played<br />

here by Josh Brolin), has been collecting<br />

“infinity stones,” a strategy that pulls the<br />

Avengers and other superheroes together to<br />

defeat him.<br />

The brothers laugh when asked how<br />

they keep track of the storylines and characters.<br />

“There’s not like a Marvel ‘fact checker,’”<br />

Joe says. “Mac and Chris [screenwriters<br />

Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus]<br />

have written six films for Marvel, so they<br />

know as much as anybody. It’s really the<br />

four of us collectively telling the story that<br />

we want to tell. You just find the mythology<br />

as you tell the story, the timelines, things<br />

that you want to have correlations to. But<br />

storytelling is paramount, that’s the thing<br />

that we focus first and foremost on.”<br />

“Joe and I love ensemble storytelling,<br />

it’s in a lot of our work, like our first film,<br />

Welcome to Collinwood, and through a lot of<br />

our television work,” Anthony adds. “We<br />

like multiple points of view in a narrative.<br />

Your access points are these characters.<br />

Everybody finds different favorite characters,<br />

and they become your access points to<br />

the narrative.<br />

“Inevitably, like in Civil War for instance,<br />

some characters are going to have<br />

more prominent storylines and some less<br />

prominent. But even for those characters,<br />

it’s our job as storytellers to find a satisfying<br />

arc for the smallest moments they may have.<br />

I think that’s one thing that we feel particularly<br />

happy about in terms of what we were<br />

able to do in Civil War—we were able to<br />

find good story moments based on character<br />

for even someone like Ant Man, something<br />

that enabled them to intersect with these<br />

other characters in our overarching narrative.<br />

That’s basically the same process we’re<br />

going through on these films, only with<br />

even more characters.”<br />

Infinity War’s cast includes prominent<br />

stars like Robert Downey, Jr., Josh Brolin,<br />

Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth,<br />

Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner,<br />

Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Chadwick<br />

Boseman, Zoe Saldana and Paul Rudd.<br />

Some directors might be daunted wrangling<br />

so many egos into line.<br />

“Here’s the thing, Joe and I love actors,”<br />

Anthony says. “These are hard movies to<br />

make, acting is a hard job, things can get<br />

complicated. But Joe started as an actor.<br />

We’re very focused on actors, very respectful<br />

of what they do. And I think they’re happy—they<br />

love the roles, they love the films,<br />

they love the process. Some of the actors are<br />

used to have entire films built around their<br />

characters. They know they’re in a situation<br />

now where they’re only a piece of the puzzle,<br />

and they behave accordingly. They know<br />

they need to help, they know that what’s<br />

happening isn’t all about them.”<br />

The brothers keep tabs to a certain<br />

extent on the other films in the Marvel<br />

Universe, but feel that each title stands apart<br />

from the others. “One of the things we love<br />

about Marvel is their philosophy that every<br />

movie wants to be its own film,” Joe says.<br />

“They want filmmakers to have the freedom<br />

to tell a story that is the most original, the<br />

most surprising. Marvel never gets happier<br />

than when you surprise them.”<br />

“Taika Waititi’s interpretation of Thor<br />

is very different than our interpretation<br />

of Thor and Joss Whedon’s interpretation,”<br />

Anthony says. “Our interpretation of<br />

Black Panther is very different than Ryan<br />

Coogler’s. It’s just like in the comics, where<br />

different artists and writers would work<br />

with characters. It’s the core mythology that<br />

people respond to.”<br />

The Russos shot the two Avengers<br />

movies (the second remained untitled at<br />

the time of writing) back-to-back. Production<br />

began in January 2017 and wrapped<br />

in January <strong>2018</strong>. They had two weeks off in<br />

July in between movies. Locations for the<br />

first film included everything from Atlanta<br />

to Scotland and Queens, New York.<br />

Over such a long shoot, factors like<br />

weather can disrupt shooting schedules.<br />

And the size of the productions makes<br />

quick shifts in planning difficult.<br />

“Joe and I spent many years producing<br />

television as well as directing television,”<br />

Anthony points out. “We have producer<br />

brains. We are very adaptable, and we understand<br />

that sometimes you’re going to<br />

spend more than you initially intended,<br />

sometimes less. At the end of the day the<br />

movie balances out, but it’s our job as filmmakers<br />

to try to make sure that it does.<br />

“We were lucky in Scotland,” he adds,<br />

“but there’s still a lot of planning that goes<br />

into how you dance with weather variability.<br />

We make sure certain scenes are adaptable.<br />

Like this scene could happen in any weather<br />

condition and we’re okay. Or we can shoot<br />

this section of this scene if the weather’s not<br />

perfect. Or we have ‘cover sets,’ scenes we<br />

can substitute in case the weather’s too bad.”<br />

“We’ve learned how to accommodate<br />

for weather that will change over the twenty<br />

days it may take to shoot an action scene,”<br />

Joe says. “We have giant cranes with mattes<br />

that create a shaded base that we can execute<br />

in to account for the sun moving in<br />

and out of the clouds, for example. Rain is<br />

a different story. You can work in very light<br />

rain, because some lenses won’t pick up rain<br />

in the distance. Heavier rain you don’t want<br />

the crew out there anyway.”<br />

Because of the size and expense of the<br />

production, pre-planning was crucial. The<br />

brothers relied on storyboards and pre-viz<br />

before the shoot began.<br />

“We have pre-vized every sequence,”<br />

Anthony says. “We pre-animated for<br />

months with a team of animators and<br />

creative collaborators, going through every<br />

shot, talking stylistically about where we<br />

want the camera placed, how we want it lit,<br />

the story that we’re trying to tell. We can<br />

experiment in a digital realm with executing<br />

the movie, and then go to the set and we<br />

execute the plan based on what we came up<br />

with.”<br />

The brothers sound jealous describing<br />

their visit to the set of Jon Favreau’s liveaction<br />

Lion King. “He has virtually created<br />

all of his sets,” Anthony says admiringly.<br />

“He and his crew can wear VR headsets<br />

and scout locations. They can scout the<br />

actual digital locations, Jon can pick shots,<br />

he can pick cameras, he can pick lenses. All<br />

in virtual space. And then he can execute<br />

with cameras by looking at monitors and<br />

seeing the virtual location through the<br />

camera eyepiece.”<br />

But the Russos believe the key to technologies<br />

like pre-viz and VR is being able<br />

to adjust to the moment. “You can go to<br />

set as a director with a very specific vision<br />

of how you want to shoot a scene and<br />

sometimes you can execute it to the detail<br />

you imagined,” Anthony says. “But very<br />

often you can’t because there are variables<br />

in the equation that you couldn’t account<br />

for in your mind. The most significant of<br />

which is the actor. You don’t want an actor<br />

to simply be a parrot of what you had in<br />

your mind, you want to find what’s organic<br />

to that actor, and figure out how you draw<br />

that into the scene. So that changes how<br />

you execute it.”<br />

“Organic performance is paramount<br />

for us, so we won’t force an actor into a<br />

situation where it doesn’t feel organic,” Joe<br />

explains. “So on the day if we find that<br />

there’s better storytelling being told through<br />

a performance, we’ll adjust. We have our<br />

entire VFX team there with us, our crew is<br />

dialed in, everybody understands. It happens<br />

all the time on our shoots.”<br />

Joe compares the process to working<br />

with a storyboard: “You create the plan<br />

and then throw the plan away. Pre-viz is<br />

just a more complex, three-dimensional<br />

storyboard. That doesn’t mean the location<br />

will work with the way the actor wants to<br />

34 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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ehave. But at least you’ve started with a<br />

core plan, you can see if that’s appropriate<br />

to the day.”<br />

The Russos give the airport action sequence<br />

at the end of Civil War as an example.<br />

About half the sequence was based on<br />

pre-viz, but the other half was improvised<br />

on the spot.<br />

“We were rehearsing a fight with Iron<br />

Man, Captain America and the Winter<br />

Soldier, and we felt like it was missing a<br />

critical moment where Cap and Bucky<br />

teamed up together against Tony,” Joe says.<br />

“So we choreographed it in twenty minutes<br />

and shot it. That’s the amazing thing of<br />

having a crew that you work with over and<br />

over again. You have a shorthand with them,<br />

a Vulcan mind-meld.”<br />

Action in the brothers’ movies may have<br />

a spontaneous, improvised feel, but it is also<br />

unusually focused and easy for viewers to<br />

follow. It’s not just random shots cut together,<br />

there’s a narrative to it.<br />

“The reason we do action like that is because<br />

we have such an extensive background<br />

in comedy,” Anthony explains. “There’s an<br />

incredible amount of improvisation in the<br />

comedy work we’ve done over the years.<br />

Also, we started in independent filmmaking,<br />

and we’ve learned that some of the best<br />

work, the best ideas that you come up with<br />

are in the moment. If you’re prepared for<br />

the moment, then you can throw everything<br />

away and be inspired by what’s happening<br />

in front of you.”<br />

The Russos and their team were still<br />

completing effects shots at the time of this<br />

interview. Their live-action material has<br />

been cut together and test-screened. But<br />

computer-generated effects often introduce<br />

new complexities to the movie.<br />

“When you’re shooting live action,<br />

the image you will edit to, you can see the<br />

movement right there. But when you’re<br />

shooting digital, you’re dealing with animated<br />

scenes. When the finished product<br />

comes in, sometimes the movement is a<br />

little different. <strong>May</strong>be in a good way, compared<br />

to what the animated version was.<br />

That will change how you edit. The movement’s<br />

a little fast, the movement’s a little<br />

slow, something was a little higher in the<br />

frame or a little lower in the frame. We need<br />

to be a little tighter or wider. As we get<br />

these shots in, the changes necessitate a sort<br />

of series of recalibrations of the edit, how<br />

we work the rhythms through the scene.”<br />

“Effects work is all about the details,”<br />

Joe adds. “That’s the phase we’re in right<br />

now, as we start to get these finished shots<br />

in, we’re working very hard with our editor<br />

Jeff Ford to make sure they are rhythmically<br />

correct. And if they’re not, how do we get<br />

them there? Because we’re getting late in<br />

the process, maybe it’s how do we massage<br />

what’s around it to make it work ideally. So<br />

it’s a really active process for us.”<br />

The Russos will have worked some five<br />

years almost nonstop on Marvel projects<br />

by the time the next Avengers movie is<br />

released. But their credits include a wide<br />

range of material, notably influential television<br />

comedies like “Arrested Development”<br />

and “Community.” Do they think about<br />

returning to more intimate, less effectsdriven<br />

work?<br />

“We definitely do, there’s a whole range<br />

of films that Joe and I have been working<br />

on together through the years that we<br />

look forward to getting to at some point,”<br />

Anthony answers. “But to be honest with<br />

you, we’ve been consumed by both of these<br />

films for a few years now. It’s been hard to<br />

make two movies back-to-back, and we still<br />

have the entire second movie to work on for<br />

another year. So in terms of speaking about<br />

what we’re going to do next, I don’t think<br />

we have the brain space to focus on that.<br />

Hopefully sometime in the next year that<br />

space will open up.” <br />

A R C H I T E C T S<br />

TK<br />

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Chameleon<br />

Celebrated Performance-Capture Artist<br />

Andy Serkis Sees Greater Possibilities<br />

for Groundbreaking Technology<br />

by John Hiscock<br />

Until fairly recently, few people<br />

outside the film industry knew<br />

who Andy Serkis was, despite his<br />

having portrayed some of the best-known<br />

characters in cinema history. But now,<br />

thanks to an appearance at the Oscars and<br />

on award-show red carpets, this diminutive<br />

actor from a London suburb is finally<br />

being recognized as the leading pioneer in<br />

performance-capture technology.<br />

He is the man who created, among others,<br />

Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy;<br />

King Kong in Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake;<br />

Supreme Leader Snoke in three Star Wars<br />

films, and Caesar, the dignified leader of the<br />

apes in the Planet of the Apes trilogy.<br />

Performance-capture technology<br />

entails an actor wearing a skintight suit<br />

with markers that allow his movements<br />

and expressions to be electronically tracked<br />

and translated into computer-generated<br />

imagery to bring a film character to life.<br />

It has helped 54-year-old Serkis rise from<br />

being a dependable though obscure British<br />

actor to one with a specific talent that has<br />

earned him industry-wide<br />

recognition and a dedicated<br />

fan following.<br />

“When you think about<br />

it, an actor, regardless of<br />

their age, their height,<br />

their sex, the color of their<br />

skin, can now play any<br />

character as long they can<br />

imagine themselves to be<br />

that character,” he says. “And so to play a<br />

chimpanzee like Caesar in the trilogy of<br />

the Apes movies is only an extension of the<br />

human connection to anthropomorphizing<br />

these animal creatures and characters.<br />

“And it’s all about the actors; it’s<br />

about acting those roles. So I find it to be<br />

thrilling and will continue to act and direct<br />

movies using that technology to enable<br />

films to be made like that.”<br />

But the rapidly evolving performancecapture<br />

technique that he helped define has<br />

landed Serkis at the center of an ongoing<br />

debate among industry pundits who are divided<br />

over whether an actor who specializes<br />

in performance capture should be eligible<br />

for awards recognition due to the amount of<br />

CGI used to render his expressions.<br />

© Imaginarium<br />

Andy Serkis as Gollum<br />

(Lord of the Rings:<br />

Return of the King),<br />

Caesar (War for the Planet<br />

of the Apes) and Ulysses<br />

Klaue (Black Panther).<br />

Serkis has no doubt. “It’s<br />

all to do with performance,” he<br />

tells me during our interview at<br />

a London hotel. “Caesar and all the other<br />

computer-generated characters I have ever<br />

played are driven by one thing and that<br />

is acting. Audiences want to be moved by<br />

acting, not by a visual effect.<br />

“The reason the audience feels what<br />

it does towards these characters is purely,<br />

I believe, because of performance. As far<br />

as awards are concerned, a performance<br />

is a performance and if it’s engaging and<br />

moving and transforming and captures<br />

your imagination, it should be judged in<br />

exactly the same way as any live acting<br />

performance, because the process is no<br />

different and I can’t stress that enough.”<br />

His outspoken views in the past have<br />

angered digital artists, who claim he<br />

minimizes the role of the animators who<br />

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make his performances possible, something<br />

Serkis vehemently denies.<br />

“I’ve been badly misquoted as saying<br />

horrendous things like ‘Andy Serkis does<br />

everything and the animators do nothing,’<br />

which I would never say in a million years,”<br />

he insists. “I have an extraordinary relationship<br />

with animators and visual-effects artists.<br />

Two things have to be understood: The<br />

authorship of a performance happens on<br />

set with a director and other actors in a very<br />

conventional live-action sense. The animation<br />

process is what happens afterwards,<br />

and the skill and artistry and the brilliant<br />

work the animators do in interpolating that<br />

performance and manifesting it onscreen is<br />

an art form which is unparalleled.”<br />

Then, almost defiantly, he adds: “Acting<br />

is acting and visual effects are visual effects<br />

and it’s a marriage, but the authorship<br />

of performance—everything you watch<br />

onscreen that you feel and think about a<br />

character—comes from the actor.”<br />

Although the issue of whether performance-capture<br />

artists should be entitled to<br />

acting awards remains a contentious topic,<br />

Serkis himself has removed himself from<br />

the debate by branching out into producing,<br />

directing and taking performance-capture<br />

techniques into live stage productions.<br />

One of the busiest people in the film<br />

industry, he has his own performancecapture<br />

and production company,<br />

Imaginarium. Last year it produced a<br />

horror film, The Ritual, and he made his<br />

live-action directing debut with Breathe, set<br />

in the 1950s and starring Andrew Garfield<br />

and Claire Foy. He also directed Mowgli,<br />

a new version of The Jungle Book due for<br />

release from Warner Bros. later this year.<br />

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Cate<br />

Blanchett, it is said to be “more savage” than<br />

the Disney version. In it, Serkis once again<br />

dons a performance-capture suit to portray<br />

Baloo the bear.<br />

Imaginarium has been working for<br />

six years on a version of George Orwell’s<br />

Animal Farm, but it was put on the back<br />

burner because of the demand for Serkis’<br />

performance-capture talents in the Star<br />

Wars sagas and as villain Ulysses Klaue in<br />

the Avengers and Black Panther movies.<br />

Now he is also looking to bring the<br />

technique to the stage and other outlets<br />

with ideas and plans he believes will revolutionize<br />

the entertainment industry. “We’re<br />

working on virtual reality and augmented<br />

reality, so there are lots and lots of different<br />

areas where performance capture is now<br />

becoming a common tool for storytelling<br />

for the next generation,” he observes.<br />

“There is a decline in cinema-going,<br />

except for tentpole movies, so there’s a need<br />

to find new ways that are part theatre and<br />

part film. Performance capture sits in the<br />

middle of this new technology.”<br />

The ebullient Serkis, the son of an<br />

Iraqi father and English mother, is cheery,<br />

outgoing and laughs a lot but is very serious<br />

when talking about his work and his career.<br />

He enthusiastically expounds on his vision<br />

for the future of entertainment.<br />

“I reckon in about 10 or 15 years’ time<br />

we won’t be watching things on big flat<br />

screens but we’ll be watching events that<br />

we will be part of, with augmented-reality<br />

glasses, where part of it is real, part of it is<br />

performance capture, part of it is cinematic<br />

and part of it is like a theatre piece.<br />

“These are the sort of things that we’re<br />

involved in and trying to understand. What<br />

is storytelling? What is the next generation?<br />

What is this common experience that we<br />

want to have? It seems that we want a more<br />

visceral experience, and so it’s how we might<br />

bring those things together.”<br />

He and his Imaginarium company<br />

worked for a year on making Ariel the sprite<br />

come to life in a tech-infused performance<br />

for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s<br />

The Tempest for the 400th anniversary<br />

of Shakespeare’s birth, integrating the<br />

technology into the performance in a way<br />

that enhanced the live theatre and didn’t<br />

overwhelm it. “Using performance capture,<br />

we made Ariel shape-shift and change into<br />

all these apparitions,” he says.<br />

Although Serkis has made his name—<br />

and most of his money—by imitating the<br />

movements of creatures while wearing<br />

a performance-capture suit, he began<br />

his career as a stage actor in touring<br />

companies. His roles included the MC<br />

in Cabaret, the Fool in King Lear and<br />

parts in The Threepenny Opera and Steven<br />

Berkoff ’s Decadence.<br />

“I did 60 plays before I started doing<br />

film and television and before Lord of the<br />

Rings happened in 1999. But all the time in<br />

the back of my mind, I had started to write<br />

stories and make short films,” he recalls.<br />

He realized he was becoming known as<br />

a personality in his own right when people<br />

started approaching him, usually when<br />

he was on a bus or in the subway. “People<br />

would come up to me and try and be<br />

secretive and say, ‘Can you do the Gollum<br />

voice for me?’” he says. “And I’m like, ‘Are<br />

you kidding? It’s 8:30 in the morning on<br />

the Victoria Line.’”<br />

He did, however, do voicemail<br />

messages for friends in the croaking<br />

gurgle he adopted for the voice of Gollum,<br />

the piteous and treacherous creature he<br />

portrayed in Peter Jackson’s Rings trilogy.<br />

“I absolutely loved Gollum and he was<br />

a huge part of my life and transformed it in<br />

many, many ways. He opened me up to a<br />

fantastic array of interesting, wild, out-there<br />

characters.”<br />

It was through collaborating with<br />

Jackson that he learned the craft of<br />

directing the hard way. “After working<br />

with him on King Kong, he asked me to<br />

direct second unit on The Hobbit, which<br />

was a big challenge because it wasn’t the<br />

sort of stage where a first-time director is<br />

making a small auteur movie with maybe<br />

four or five weeks to shoot and a very small<br />

story with maybe two or three actors in<br />

a room and very personal,” he recalls. “I<br />

went straight onto the Hobbit trilogy with<br />

a crew of 150 people shooting 48 frames a<br />

second and a huge cast of actors, shooting<br />

all over New Zealand for 200 days. That<br />

was my first experience of directing and it<br />

was monumental, and I can’t thank Peter<br />

Jackson enough for the film education that<br />

I got from doing that, because it was an<br />

extraordinary experience.<br />

“I shot everything, from all of the aerials<br />

to the performance with every single cast<br />

member to pick-up shots and entire scenes.<br />

It was a huge, huge step for me, so when it<br />

came to helming Mowgli, the Jungle Book<br />

movie, I had a lot of confidence and I felt<br />

very comfortable. And then when it came<br />

to Breathe, again I felt like I had been on a<br />

long enough journey to be able to really tell<br />

the story in the way that I wanted to.”<br />

What tends to be forgotten now is<br />

that during his almost 30-year career<br />

Serkis has portrayed several real people<br />

in movies, including infamous English<br />

Moors murderer Ian Brady; Lord<br />

Longford in “Longford,” which earned<br />

him a Golden Globe nomination; the<br />

grave-robber William Hare in Burke and<br />

Hare; Manchester record producer Martin<br />

Hannett in 24 Hour Party People, Albert<br />

Einstein in the BBC movie Einstein and<br />

Eddington and the polio-afflicted rock<br />

singer Ian Dury in Sex & Drugs & Rock<br />

& Roll. Serkis’ performance-capture<br />

gallery also includes the drink-sodden<br />

Captain Haddock in Steven Spielberg’s The<br />

Adventures of Tintin.<br />

There is talk of two more Tintin movies<br />

and a possible fourth Planet of the Apes<br />

tale, and although Serkis will be a willing<br />

participant, his sights are now elsewhere.<br />

“I love acting, but I haven’t been<br />

onstage for nearly 20 years and I would<br />

quite like to do a play,” he says. “But apart<br />

from that, directing is very much where<br />

I’m heading.” <br />

40 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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Photo and copyright Agatha A. Nitecka<br />


Forbidden love clashes with<br />

traditional faith in a London Orthodox<br />

Jewish community in Disobedience,<br />

the English-language debut of<br />

Chilean director Sebastián Lelio<br />

by Harry Haun<br />

Between Glorias—his breakout Chilean film of 2013 and<br />

his forthcoming American remake of <strong>2018</strong>—44-year-old<br />

writer-director Sebastián Lelio has struck a mother lode<br />

of cinematic gold and glory with the two films he premiered last<br />

fall at the Toronto International <strong>Film</strong> Festival. His IMDB tally:<br />

“29 wins & 25 nominations.”<br />

The first—A Fantastic Woman, about a transgender woman<br />

fighting for the right to mourn her older, married, bisexual<br />

boyfriend—waltzed off with the Golden Guy as Best Foreign-<br />

Language <strong>Film</strong> at the <strong>2018</strong> Academy Awards. The other, his<br />

English-language debut—Disobedience, about a free-spirited<br />

female who returns to her Orthodox Jewish roots in North<br />

London and her lesbian lover from childhood—is coasting into<br />

general release from Bleecker Street April 27 on a wave of raves<br />

from its Toronto launch.<br />

There hasn’t been a one-two arrival punch like that since—<br />

well, since the previous fall when fellow Chilean director Pablo<br />

Larraín (who, incidentally, produced the first Gloria and A<br />

Fantastic Woman) hit Toronto with his pair of award contenders:<br />

Neruda, an “anti-biopic” on the exiled Chilean poet which represented<br />

Chile for the 2016 Foreign-Language <strong>Film</strong> Oscar, and<br />

Jackie, his take on the newly widowed Jacqueline Kennedy that<br />

put Natalie Portman in the Oscar running for Best Actress.<br />

So it’s small wonder Lelio found himself being saluted last<br />

fall by festival scribes as “one of the brightest lights of Chile’s<br />

golden generation of filmmakers”—a distinction he modestly<br />

dirt-kicks aside as marvelous timing rather than calculated<br />

planning.<br />

42 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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4/4/18 2:20 PM

Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams star in Disobedience, directed by Sebastián Lelio, at left.<br />

<strong>Film</strong> still courtesy Bleecker Street<br />

“I knew what they meant by saying that, but I don’t operate<br />

that way,” he admitted recently in a phone interview. “My<br />

cause is cinema. I just like to make films. That’s all I care about.<br />

I know Chile is going through a very special moment right now,<br />

and I’m proud of that—proud of the entire generation behind<br />

this film movement.”<br />

He was also taken aback a bit when the press started congratulating<br />

him on completing his “trilogy.” It seems, goes their<br />

argument, the trans Fantastic Woman and the Orthodox Jewish<br />

lesbians of Disobedience are cinematic sisters to the Glorias who<br />

bookend both of those films: a middle-aged divorcée looking<br />

for love in dance halls (Paulina Garcia in ’13, Julianne Moore in<br />

’18). Although their struggles and objectives are different, these<br />

are all strong women who cross societal boundaries.<br />

This penchant for female-led film explorations, Lelio insists,<br />

is not “some part of a strategy or agenda. I just believe in following<br />

my intuition, whatever intrigues me. These are not women<br />

we are used to being exposed to. They should be secondary characters,<br />

really, existing on the fringes of society, but I’ve put them<br />

in the absolute center and made their portraits an examination<br />

as well as an exaltation. I like to see them fall, then stand up and<br />

find the tools to overcome what they’re going through.”<br />

The screen rights to Disobedience, Naomi Alderman’s 2006<br />

novel, were acquired by a native of North London, Oscar winner<br />

Rachel Weisz, who saw the Spanish-speaking Gloria and<br />

decided Lelio was perfect to adapt and direct the film version—despite<br />

the language barrier. Happily, that deficiency was<br />

an asset: “The alien perspective let me concentrate on what was<br />

going on, on a human level among the characters. I accepted the<br />

assignment because the story was beautiful and it was really an<br />

amazing challenge to have to learn about a world that you didn’t<br />

know much about.”<br />

Here, Lelio functions as designated tour guide for all strangers<br />

in a strange land, learning on the job, tentatively inching<br />

into the secretive ways of life and traditions and customs of<br />

North London Orthodox Jews. “I felt I had a strange familiarity<br />

to this world and story, even though I am not British or Jewish,<br />

but there was something about the dynamics of those characters,<br />

trying to be themselves, operating against an oppressive background<br />

with a very concrete, fixed set of ideas.”<br />

Weisz plays a photographer in New York who returns home<br />

for the funeral of her rabbi father. His congregation greets her<br />

with disdain as the black sheep who bolted from the Orthodox<br />

Jewish life to form her own identity on another continent, but<br />

the visit does rekindle romantic affairs with the rabbi who’s her<br />

father’s heir apparent (Alessandro Nivola) and, troublingly, his<br />

wife (Rachel McAdams). These overlapping triangles grind to a<br />

life-changing conclusion in an already complicated world.<br />

The two Rachels originally met in 2012 on a one-day shoot<br />

for a scene that was subsequently cut from Terrence Malick’s<br />

To the Wonder, but Lelio was present when they met again—for<br />

Disobedience. “I had strong, strong feelings this combination was<br />

going to be electric and strange and beautiful,” he recalls, “and,<br />

when I saw them walking in and sitting down in front of me, I<br />

was over the moon, because it was so clear to me that there was<br />

real chemistry between them. I could actually see it.”<br />

Nivola, as the odd man out in this triangle, also draws praise<br />

from Lelio. “He really, really gave everything he had—that was<br />

my impression,” the director relays. “He became an Orthodox<br />

Jew, and the process of his transformation was quite a thing to<br />

MAY <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 43<br />

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C<br />

M<br />

Y<br />

CM<br />

MY<br />

CY<br />

CMY<br />

K<br />

FE17_172x145_bleeds.pdf 1 1/15/18 2:14 PM<br />

Rachel Weisz, Rachel<br />

McAdams and Alessandro<br />

Nivola in Disobedience.<br />

Courtesy Bleecker Street<br />

witness. He started to work on the role<br />

by getting close to Orthodox Jews in<br />

New York where he lives, and when he<br />

got to London—because he’s so good<br />

with accents—the Orthodox Jews we<br />

worked with thought he was one of<br />

them. He really went for it and managed<br />

to create this very layered performance<br />

that represents—simultaneously with<br />

great authority and grace—a type of<br />

masculinity that is rare.”<br />

Lelio, who co-authored the screenplay<br />

with Ida scripter Rebecca Lenkiewicz,<br />

has said that he writes characters as<br />

a device to get to the persons interpreting<br />

the roles.<br />

“I’m interested in people, and I love<br />

characters—up to a point, then the actors<br />

take charge, and it’s all about the artistic<br />

battle the actors give in front of the<br />

camera. I promise to protect them in the<br />

editing and urge them to take chances<br />

and risk.”<br />

To his credit, Lelio did not lay the<br />

film’s primary source of conflict at the<br />

doorstep of the community. Rather, he<br />

placed it squarely on the shoulders of<br />

the conflicted trio in the center ring.<br />

“The easy thing to do would have been<br />

to make the community really bad and<br />

super-strict—like a villain—but the real<br />

antagonism was inside these three people.<br />

Two of them belonged to the community,<br />

so the precise set of rules and understanding<br />

of the world was very important, but<br />

Rachel Weisz’s character had run away<br />

from those rules and managed to shape a<br />

new persona in a new world.<br />

“What connects them is the fact that<br />

the main obstacles are within the characters<br />

themselves. I think films are really<br />

beautiful when they capture the light and<br />

the shadow of a person. In this case, I<br />

really tried to embrace this complexity in<br />

the portraying of the characters as well<br />

as the community as honestly as I could.”<br />

For a Chilean who now film-makes in<br />

English, Lelio is based—bizarrely!—in<br />

Berlin, of all places. “Six years ago, they<br />

gave me a grant and invited me there for<br />

a year,” he explains. “I fell in love with<br />

the city, and I stayed and stayed and<br />

stayed until it became officially my home.<br />

The paradox is that I haven’t been to Berlin<br />

for longer than two-week spurts in<br />

two years because I’ve made three films<br />

back-to-back.”<br />

He can’t say what language he’ll be<br />

writing and directing in next, but, being<br />

a wide-eyed newcomer to the international<br />

spotlight, it’s safe to say he’ll see<br />

little of home. <br />

44 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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Fans fill an arena for a CS:GO<br />

(Counter-Strike: Global<br />

Offensive) tournament.<br />

An FJI exclusive report<br />

by Rob Rinderman<br />

GAME<br />

According to Wikipedia, at its most basic level eSports is defined as<br />

a form of videogame competition. Most commonly, eSports take the<br />

form of organized, multiplayer competitions, particularly between<br />

professional players. The most popular videogame genres associated with<br />

eSports are real-time strategy, fighting, first-person shooter (FPS) and multiplayer<br />

online battle arena (MOBA).<br />

There’s no denying it…no matter whether you choose to spell it with a<br />

lowercase or an uppercase “e,” eSports is hot and getting hotter. Estimated<br />

2017 worldwide revenues were $655 million, a five-fold increase compared<br />

46 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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eSports is the new game<br />

in town, and worldwide<br />

revenues are soaring<br />

ON!<br />

to 2012 eSports levels (source: Statista). This<br />

same organization currently projects eSports to<br />

reach approximately $1.5 billion of annual revenue by<br />

2020, more than double the present run rate.<br />

To put some additional perspective around its growing global popularity,<br />

an estimated 360 million viewers watched the “League of Legends” Mid-<br />

Season Invitational. This compares to the 111 million that tuned in for Super<br />

Bowl LI in 2017 and 30 million viewers watching last season’s NBA Finals.<br />

<strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International recently spoke to a wide array of cinema-<br />

MAY <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 47<br />

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elated participants and beneficiaries of the hockeystick-like<br />

eSports growth trajectory. We checked in with<br />

a Wall Street analyst and an industry consultant (a former<br />

eSports founder) who closely follow the sector. We also<br />

received in-the-trenches feedback from a young gamer<br />

who frequents MediaMation’s new L.A.-based eSports<br />

venue with his friends.<br />

In connecting eSports to traditional movie theatres,<br />

many of the individuals we spoke with are primarily<br />

focusing on attracting grassroots, amateur-level players<br />

via hosted local events and leagues. But many of these<br />

avid gamers are also more likely to be paying audience<br />

members when the pros play in major competitions for<br />

large prize money. These professional events, many of which<br />

are held in large arenas around the world, are increasingly<br />

being broadcast via live streams onto cinema screens.<br />

Cineplex (Wim Stocks, General Manager/CEO<br />

at WorldGaming & Collegiate Starleague, divisions<br />

of Cineplex)<br />

One of the most forward-thinking theatrical exhibitors is<br />

undoubtedly Cineplex, our neighbor to the north. They have been<br />

proactively pushing the envelope to become a diversified entertainment<br />

company, not content to merely rest on their laurels as<br />

Canada’s leading cinema chain. It should therefore come as no<br />

surprise that their organization was on the leading edge of bringing<br />

the eSports revolution to the cinema, and beyond.<br />

Back in 2015, Cineplex acquired a majority 80% interest in<br />

WorldGaming for $15 million and then invested a further $5 million<br />

to create an eSports league to operate out of its theatres. They<br />

have also been opening The Rec Room-branded locations across<br />

the country, which are ideal hubs where gamers congregate to meet<br />

and compete with family, friends and fans that turn out in droves<br />

to watch and cheer them on.<br />

In addition to eSports and traditional physical games like ping<br />

pong and pool, Rec Rooms feature a wide array of food and beverage<br />

service as well as live entertainment, including comedians and<br />

concerts. They even show movies on occasion, but that’s far from<br />

their main attraction.<br />

“WorldGaming provides us with the unique opportunity to engage<br />

a new customer base as well as expand the concept in markets<br />

outside of Canada,” points out Stocks. “We have created a community<br />

that connects live online gaming with unique in-theatre tournament<br />

experiences held in Cineplex theatres across the country.<br />

We see huge opportunities for growth both in Canada and in the<br />

United States for WorldGaming.”<br />

According to Stocks, Cineplex and WorldGaming are not<br />

focusing much on pro eSports leagues and competitions. Instead,<br />

they are taking a more developmental approach by targeting grassroots<br />

gamers. They host tips and tricks sessions and clinics, which<br />

help develop more skilled eSports players and raise overall interest.<br />

A recent example is WorldGaming’s “Call of Duty: WW II”<br />

tournament that began with over 500 teams of four players each.<br />

Online competition winnowed the competition down to eight<br />

quarterfinalists, who were invited to compete for total prize money<br />

of $60K in a live event held at Cineplex’s Scotiabank Theatre in<br />

Toronto. In addition to the cash, the winning foursome earned a<br />

slot to vie for the World Championship title later in <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

Cineplex’s Collegiate Starleague (CSL) is addressing the<br />

university-age gamer market. CSL is the largest organized North<br />

American college gaming organization, with 1500+ schools presently<br />

participating. Based on this success to date, they are also expanding<br />

CSL across the pond into the U.K.<br />

Cinemeccanica (Andrea Riva, Account Manager<br />

of eSports)<br />

The Cinemeccanica organization, founded in Milan, Italy, dates<br />

all the way back to 1920. It was originally launched as a motion<br />

picture projector manufacturer. Although the company is still very<br />

involved in the projection and cinema equipment manufacturing<br />

business, including Lux-branded laser systems, we were interested<br />

in exploring their expanding role in the global eSports ecosystem.<br />

Cineplex WorldGaming<br />

Tournament<br />

Cinemeccanica<br />


competition<br />

According to Riva, the organization organizes gaming competitions<br />

inside theatres in Italy as well as in other parts of the world.<br />

Their ESPARENA platform facilitates the transformation of a<br />

standard movie theatre auditorium into an arena for gaming competitions.<br />

ESPARENA includes the requisite hardware and software necessary<br />

to play games in-theatre, providing promotion services and<br />

technical support. It also organizes the competitions and manages<br />

the contacts between the gamers and their respective communities.<br />

It is available worldwide with different and customizable technical<br />

and marketing solutions, so it can properly be adapted to each<br />

country where the platform resides.<br />

“We would like to increase the number of events and find<br />

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Untitled-1 1<br />

4/2/18 4:46 PM

ands willing to sponsor these initiatives that can be an excellent<br />

opportunity for visibility for companies interested in being<br />

involved,” states Riva.<br />

Cinemeccanica is also launching a home version of its gaming<br />

station, which was presented in cinemas last year. “Our goal is to<br />

link the videogame world more and more closely to the cinema, as<br />

it is an excellent opportunity to diversify the offer of cinema and<br />

attract new audiences. We are working on the implementation of<br />

tournaments that will directly involve the cinemas as a meeting<br />

point for gamers.”<br />

MediaMation Tournament<br />

MediaMation (Dan Jamele, Chief Innovation<br />

and Technology Officer)<br />

MediaMation is one of the leading suppliers of full 4D (motion<br />

and effects) theatres to the cinema market, with installs in almost<br />

300 theatres worldwide. ESports has seemingly been a perfect fit<br />

for its MX4D® Motion EFX Theaters, as well as the company’s<br />

exhibitor partners and their cinema-going customers.<br />

The company has developed a “tournament style” in-cinema<br />

experience utilizing its patent-pending Gaming Stations, adding<br />

and adapting technology to create an enticing experience for both<br />

players and spectators.<br />

“As we push into the growing eSports marketplace, we are<br />

looking to leverage our worldwide footprint and years of experience<br />

in the attraction and cinema markets to create a network of immersive<br />

live eSports event venues around the world,” says Jamele. “This<br />

concept really melds our passion in both markets to create something<br />

that taps into the expanding eSports market as well as bringing<br />

new customers to the cinemas, especially on the ‘off days’ of<br />

Monday to Thursday.”<br />

Each of MediaMation’s “hybrid” theatres convert from movie<br />

to eSports mode in about an hour, providing a full broadcast setup<br />

for streaming including cameras, lights, equipment and announcer<br />

desks, making them the most convenient eSport venue available,<br />

according to Jamele.<br />

MediaMation opened its pilot MX4D® eSports EFX Theatre<br />

at the world-famous TCL Chinese Theatre last November and this<br />

site has already hosted a steady flow of eSports tournaments since<br />

its debut. Importantly, the auditorium offers the dual use and revenue<br />

streams of movies and eSports.<br />

“We believe adding competitive gaming [eSports] tournaments<br />

in the MX4D room is a fantastic way to utilize the screen during<br />

slow and off-peak times,” Jamele asserts. “We created Hollywood<br />

Esports, which is a combination of MediaMation, the TCL Chinese<br />

Theatre and high-end entertainment management partners,<br />

in order to be able to offer not only the technology but the content<br />

and organization needed to run eSports within each theatre we<br />

install.”<br />

Running eSports activities within a cinema is clearly a different<br />

marketing model than simply selling movie tickets. “This is an<br />

active and engaged community that is growing, especially amongst<br />

Millennials,” Jamele observes. Serving those interests and retaining<br />

those customers is something that the exhibitor will have to work<br />

on and adapt to.<br />

MediaMation is working closely with game publishers and<br />

organizers to make its rollout as smooth as possible, but that cannot<br />

happen without support from the cinema chains as well. “The<br />

upside is, of course, increased revenue and profits,” according to<br />

Jamele, “but those that are more forward-looking will be the ones<br />

that benefit the most as this takes off. There is little doubt that<br />

eSports is huge and growing and requires compelling venues such<br />

as our MX4D® Esports EFX Theatres, as well as a steady flow of<br />

content, to draw in the players and competitors.”<br />

Super League Gaming (Ann Hand, Chairman & CEO)<br />

Super League Gaming works with theatrical exhibitors to<br />

transform their auditoriums, on given nights, into gaming arenas to<br />

create amateur eSports experiences. The company has established<br />

16 gaming clubs and local leagues across the U.S.<br />

Clubs are based in New York, Dallas, Denver, San Francisco<br />

and 12 other U.S. cities where players can compete in several<br />

games, including “Minecraft,” for younger audiences, and “League<br />

of Legends,” which attracts older players. There are also variations<br />

in skill level. Super League’s corporate partners include Riot<br />

Games and Microsoft.<br />

“Super League is a local community connector for amateur<br />

gamers—we are all about creating ways for players to unite around<br />

the games they love,” says Hand. “Think of us as a local match.<br />

com for gamers and an alternative content provider to exhibitors.”<br />

“We have been at this for a few years and have run thousands<br />

of experiences,” she says. “Our theatre partners love to see their<br />

auditoriums full of players engaging with their locations in new<br />

and different ways. They [theatres] are our most important channel,<br />

so we are committed to bringing new audiences and more gaming<br />

experiences to them.”<br />

Hoyts (Scott Russell, General Manager,<br />

Corporate Solutions, NSW & Regional)<br />

Hoyts is the leading cinema exhibitor in Australia and New<br />

Zealand. Founded in 1909, the company has a combined 430<br />

screens and 65,000 seats across its regional footprint.<br />

Earlier this year, Hoyts announced a major partnership with<br />

Gfinity Esports Australia (a provider of both online and offline<br />

tournaments since 2012), with long-term plans to create a chain of<br />

dedicated eSports arenas across Australia, all within current Hoyts<br />

cinema locations. “This was a natural progression from the success<br />

of previous eSports viewing party screenings at Hoyts where sessions<br />

were completely sold out,” explains Russell.<br />

The first dedicated arena is located at Hoyts Entertainment<br />

Quarter in Sydney’s Moore Park, but events taking place there will<br />

also be live-streamed to other Hoyts cinemas nationwide for fans<br />

in many other cities to enjoy. “Like any sport, fans do enjoy coming<br />

together in person to have the shared experience only live venues<br />

can deliver,” Russell says, “and Hoyts want to establish themselves<br />

as the cinema associated with eSports.”<br />

How’s it going so far? “Hoyts were thrilled with the success of<br />

holding viewing parties and this really opened the door for us to<br />

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get across eSports in more detail. The arena at Hoyts Entertainment<br />

Quarter boasts state-of-the-art gaming equipment alongside<br />

a full broadcast and production suite, all designed to attract the<br />

growing number of professional events that will be coming to Australia.<br />

This will also be the standout destination for eSports fans to<br />

enjoy top-class action all year round,” adds Russell.<br />

The eSports genre continues to grow within the Australian<br />

market and Hoyts wants its guests to experience these events the<br />

best way possible, on the big screen and in an electrifying atmosphere.<br />

“The dedicated eSports arena will be unlike anything else<br />

in Australia and it’s exciting for Hoyts to bring the cinema of the<br />

future to our guests,” says Russell.<br />

With more than a century of creating out-of-home entertainment<br />

experiences on their side, Russell and his colleagues believe<br />

eSports is a natural fit for the cinema environment, as it brings an<br />

entertainment experience that traditionally has been isolated to<br />

the home computer and Internet cafes to an environment that is in<br />

its essence truly social on a much larger scale. “We want to create<br />

an eSports community that provides the best experience for both<br />

viewers and gamers alike,” he concludes.<br />

A player competing in a CS:GO ) Counter-Strike:<br />

Global Offensive) major competition.<br />

DCDC (Randy Blotky, CEO)<br />

Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition (DCDC) was originally<br />

formed by AMC, Cinemark and Regal, the three largest domestic<br />

theatrical exhibitors, in partnership with two of Hollywood’s top<br />

movie studios, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros.<br />

The mission is to provide the industry with theatrical digital<br />

delivery services across North America through a specially created<br />

network comprised of next-generation satellite and terrestrial<br />

distribution technologies. This network is capable of supporting<br />

feature, promotional, pre-show and live content distribution into<br />

theatres.<br />

DCDC was designed to ensure audiences have the highestquality<br />

entertainment experience, while exhibitors and content<br />

providers achieve a strategic, secure and cost-effective distribution<br />

model. As digital distribution has overwhelmingly replaced traditional<br />

physical media for content distribution in recent years, users<br />

of DCDC’s network are enjoying access to a whole host of delivery<br />

options and resources.<br />

Blotky considers himself to be a major proponent of eSports<br />

as an important mainstay of the cinemas of the future. Over the<br />

past three years, DCDC has transmitted, live to U.S.-based theatres,<br />

gaming championships involving “League of Legends” and<br />

“SMITE.”<br />

“On the DCDC end of things, I am very pleased with what we<br />

have accomplished so far,” Blotky states. “However, improvements<br />

are necessary in marketing eSports spectator events, and in understanding<br />

with greater specificity where the audiences reside that<br />

will readily attend such events.”<br />

He is hoping to see more active involvement from the cinema<br />

chains themselves in promoting, producing and developing eSports<br />

competitions that can be a regular feature of their ongoing programming<br />

mix.<br />

“As the DCDC Network evolves into the hybrid delivery<br />

mechanism of the future, there will be technologies that will allow<br />

much faster multi-way communications and exchanges of data<br />

among all users of the network. This will allow for the close-toreal-time<br />

Twitch times [referring to the popular live-streaming<br />

site] that will be required for game competitions between and<br />

among geographically dispersed venues.<br />

“To the extent that we can be helpful to the exhibitors and the<br />

content providers—both game companies and studios—wanting<br />

to be part of this growing phenomenon, we are happy to do so. It<br />

is a logical step for DCDC to take in its continuing role as a true<br />

industry initiative,” Blotky concludes.<br />

Cloud9 eSports/Eldridge Industries (Dan Fiden,<br />

President of Cloud9, and Mark Genender, Managing<br />

Director of Eldridge)<br />

According to Dan Fiden, Cloud9 owns and operates the largest<br />

multi-team eSports ownership structure in the Western world (and<br />

perhaps globally). Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Santa<br />

Monica, CA, Cloud9 boasts unmatched viewership hours and<br />

provides extensive benefits packages for its players and staff.<br />

The company lists a wide range of corporate partners on its<br />

website, including Twitch, the world’s leading social video platform<br />

and community for gamers, videogame culture and the creative<br />

arts. On a typical day, close to 10 million visitors gather to watch<br />

and talk about videogames with more than two million streamers.<br />

Other industry alliances listed include HTC, iBUYPOWER,<br />

HyperX, Crunchyroll, MSI, NEEDForSEAT USA and LoLwiz.<br />

Cloud9 currently fields and owns a dozen professional teams<br />

that participate in nine leading eSports games including “League<br />

of Legends,” “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” and “Overwatch.”<br />

According to the October 2017 Nielsen Report, Cloud9 is the<br />

most followed eSports organization across top Western markets.<br />

One of its players, Shroud, boasts 3.8 million combined socialmedia<br />

followers.<br />

“Our franchised teams participate in viewing parties at movie<br />

theatres as well as in-person competitions. We believe multiplexes<br />

have all the ingredients in place for hosting and promoting eSports.<br />

Cloud9 is emphasizing youth and grassroots investments, including<br />

eSports amateur leagues, and is also focusing on the developmental<br />

side of games as well.<br />

(Disclosure: Eldridge Industries is the parent company of <strong>Film</strong> Expo<br />

Group, publisher of <strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International and also an investor in<br />

Cloud9.)<br />

Morris Strategic (Brett Morris, President)<br />

In addition to managing his own eSports and consumer-related<br />

consulting practice that focuses on go-to market strategies for<br />

companies, Morris also previously served as president and COO<br />

of Super League Gaming and founded the country’s inaugural,<br />

city-based eSports league.<br />

Morris has a very firm opinion on the interrelationship between<br />

theatrical exhibition and eSports, and the urgency to solidify this<br />

bond ASAP. “I hope it’s not a missed opportunity for cinema,” he<br />

says. “Some of them need to be more serious about hosting eSports,<br />

52 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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ecause the growth of new arenas geared especially for eSports is<br />

super-hot now. The strategy is to create spaces where people, primarily<br />

between ages 16 and 34, can play, socialize and learn together.<br />

I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the eSports-specific stadiums<br />

decide to compete with theatres and start showing movies too.”<br />

The Benchmark Company (Mike Hickey,<br />

Senior Research Analyst)<br />

Benchmark is a New York City-based, full-service investmentbanking<br />

firm with a 30+ year legacy. Hickey has been with the firm<br />

more than four and a half years, covering cinema, eSports, entertainment<br />

software and several other sectors.<br />

Says Hickey, “Theatre companies are in an opportunistic position<br />

as it relates to the astonishing growth from Esports, as they<br />

can leverage core competencies over an event platform for competitions,<br />

effectively offsetting presumed secular attendance pressure<br />

over the exhibitor medium and creating an ancillary long-term<br />

growth opportunity.”<br />

We conclude our update on the growing symbiosis between<br />

theatrical exhibition and eSports with thoughts from an avid gamer:<br />

Carsen Warner, a 16-year-old male from Los Angeles.<br />

What appeals to you about playing and watching others play videogames<br />

in a movie theatre environment?<br />

I like watching people play videogames for the same reason<br />

other people like to watch football, which is for the competitiveness.<br />

It’s epic to play in the theatre, but really it’s a stadium the way<br />

the TCL Chinese Theatre has it set up. The MX4D audience seats<br />

add to the experience. They move with the battles. I feel like I’m a<br />

part of it.<br />

Do you have a favorite game?<br />

“Arma 3,” “Kerbal Space Program,” “Minecraft,” “Overwatch,”<br />

and “Legend of Zelda.” I have so many favorites and different<br />

consoles, it’s hard to pick just a few.<br />

Any suggestions to make the in-theatre experience even better?<br />

It would be awesome with VR for the audience.<br />

Do you attend movies too, or just eSports?<br />

I love movies too, just lately I’ve been going to eSports events.<br />

They are completely different things, even though it’s in a theatre.<br />

Other thoughts related to the above?<br />

eSports is going to be bigger than soccer internationally.<br />

#PCMasterRace<br />

FYI: The #PCMasterRace hashtag indicates that one prefers<br />

PC over console. The serious gamers use PC, according to Warner,<br />

and the TCL Theatre is outfitted with PCs that are stored<br />

in the floor, but they can also hold mobile videogame tournaments<br />

there too. <br />

Waiting for the Movie?<br />

Shall We Play a Game?<br />

by Rob Rinderman<br />

NCM’s Noovie pre-show<br />

T<br />

here are many reasons to get to the theatre<br />

early, but with the relatively new amenity<br />

of advance reserved seating, some cinemagoers<br />

are opting to arrive closer to the scheduled<br />

showtime of the main feature film, skipping the<br />

pre-show advertising reel as well as studio trailers<br />

for upcoming titles.<br />

Companies like National CineMedia and<br />

TimePlay are focusing on designing multiple ways<br />

to get you into your seat as early as possible, and<br />

one of these incentives for doing so is being able<br />

to participate in their pre-show gaming events.<br />

National CineMedia<br />

National CineMedia (NCM) is “America’s Movie Network.”<br />

As the number-one Millennial weekend network in the U.S.,<br />

NCM connects brands with movie audiences. Over 750 million<br />

moviegoers attend theatres currently under contract to present<br />

NCM’s “Noovie” pre-show, which plays on the cinema screens of<br />

49 leading national and regional theatre circuits including the three<br />

largest domestic-based<br />

ones: AMC, Cinemark<br />

and Regal.<br />

NCM’s cinemaadvertising<br />

network<br />

offers broad reach and<br />

audience engagement<br />

with a footprint of over<br />

20,600 screens (more<br />

than half of all U.S.-<br />

based auditoriums) in<br />

1,700 theatres across<br />

187 Designated Market<br />

Areas (DMAs). NCM Digital goes beyond the big screen,<br />

extending in-theatre campaigns into online and mobile marketing<br />

programs to reach entertainment audiences.<br />

Company president Cliff Marks states, “When we set out to<br />

reimagine the pre-show with the launch of Noovie this past fall, we<br />

designed it to stretch beyond the theatre to be an integrated Noovie<br />

digital ecosystem delivering entertaining content, purposeful<br />

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3/19/18 9:48 AM

commerce, and interactive gaming<br />

opportunities for movie audiences.<br />

“Last year’s acquisition<br />

of Fantasy Movie League, the boxoffice<br />

predictions game co-created<br />

by ESPN’s senior fantasy analyst<br />

Matthew Berry that combines the<br />

fierce competition of fantasy sports<br />

with the insanely popular world of<br />

entertainment and movies, was the<br />

first step in our gaming strategy.”<br />

Subsequent to that purchase,<br />

NCM introduced its “Name That<br />

Movie” trivia game onscreen and on its Noovie social<br />

channels. During CinemaCon week, the company is also<br />

officially launching its first Noovie companion app, Noovie<br />

ARcade.<br />

“Noovie leads people to what’s next in entertainment,<br />

and for today’s Millennial and Gen-Z moviegoers, that is<br />

Augmented Reality,” says Marks. “People love gaming, and<br />

our ability to integrate mobile gaming with movie-centric<br />

content is sure to be a hit with audiences.”<br />

Noovie ARcade is the first to allow audiences to play<br />

interactive augmented-reality games on the big screen<br />

and beyond using their cellphone as the game controller,<br />

with games like “Cinevaders,” “Emoji Escape” and “Munchie<br />

Mania.”<br />

NCM also plans to build out a variety of driving, throwing,<br />

tossing and shooting games, which can be easily skinned to<br />

incorporate brand or studio partner IP into the action. These<br />

games are just the first step in the future of cinema advertising,<br />

according to the company.<br />

As more and more people download the Noovie ARcade app,<br />

driving meaningful audience engagement, NCM thinks AR<br />

can play an important role in creating audience satisfaction as<br />

well as giving moviegoers a key reason to arrive earlier at the<br />

theatre—which is obviously good for advertisers and exhibitors<br />

alike.<br />

From a cinema-advertising perspective, Noovie digital<br />

products are designed to be complementary to NCM’s core<br />

onscreen and lobby elements in order to create new integrated<br />

marketing capabilities, digital inventory and first-party data<br />

that the organization believes will be key to future ad revenue<br />

growth for its exhibitor partners.<br />

“Entertaining content is also a core element of Noovie,”<br />

Marks says, “and we’d like to present more great content like<br />

our ‘Noovie Backlot’ segments, which have featured exclusive<br />

behind-the-scenes looks at upcoming films including Avengers:<br />

Infinity War, Solo: A Star Wars Story and The Incredibles 2, to<br />

also encourage audiences to get to the theatre early and see<br />

things they can’t find anywhere else.”<br />

Looking ahead, NCM plans to continue remaining on the<br />

cutting edge of the pre-show experience. Gaming is apparently<br />

just the beginning of that inititative. Says Marks, “We’re using<br />

the pre-show as the trailer for the digital experience, driving<br />

audiences from our Noovie pre-show to our Noovie digital<br />

properties and back again to engage audiences at every step in<br />

their movie journey.”<br />

The company’s vision is to clearly be the connector between<br />

brands and movie audiences—creating great experiences for<br />

theatre patrons and fans, and therefore great opportunities for<br />

advertisers looking to reach them.<br />

TimePlay’s free-to-install app<br />

TimePlay<br />

TimePlay is deployed<br />

nationally across Canada at<br />

Cineplex theatres and in the<br />

U.S. at Emagine Entertainment<br />

and Frank Theatres locations.<br />

TimePlay runs in the preshow<br />

before the movie starts.<br />

According to Cineplex’s<br />

Sarah Van Lange, the<br />

company’s communications<br />

and public relations strategist,<br />

“TimePlay enables our guests to use their phones to interact with<br />

content on the big screen before a movie begins. They can play games<br />

and participate in other onscreen challenges for the opportunity to<br />

win prizes, including concession items and SCENE points.<br />

“From a Cineplex Media perspective, TimePlay is a proven asset<br />

to marketers and advertisers that provides them the opportunity to<br />

sponsor a game or develop a custom interactive experience to reach<br />

and engage with their target audience. It’s available on 729 screens in<br />

56 Cineplex theatres in markets across Canada.<br />

“From a guest experience perspective, at Cineplex we are always<br />

on the lookout for new and innovative ways to entertain our guests<br />

and that includes options for our guests before their movie begins.<br />

TimePlay allows guests to interact with one another, our brand<br />

and other brands, which ultimately delivers a more immersive and<br />

engaging experience at our theatres.”<br />

The free-to-install TimePlay app connects user mobile devices<br />

to a server that broadcasts player inputs on a second screen in real<br />

time and provides immediate individual feedback. The server records<br />

player performance and sends prizes directly to the mobile device’s<br />

Mystuff folder within the app.<br />

The introduction of interactive cinema pulls patrons in to<br />

participate and drives earlier and more frequent visits. As Van<br />

Lange acknowledges, TimePlay’s platform provides real two-way<br />

engagement with the entire audience.<br />

In addition, users can receive information, rewards or offers sent<br />

directly to their devices based on demographics, movie title or how<br />

they interacted with the content. TimePlay also provides exhibitors<br />

with valuable analytics and data about consumer behavior while they<br />

are inside the auditorium.<br />

“We have also worked with a multitude of brands to create<br />

interactive ads, which deliver significantly higher engagement than<br />

linear ads,” says Aaron Silverberg, TimePlay’s VP of marketing.<br />

The company recently launched event-based gaming through<br />

a tournament program at Emagine and Cineplex, consisting of<br />

a four-minute casual gaming experience where participants can<br />

compete to go to a final event and ultimately win cash prizes. “This<br />

capitalizes on the growth trend of gaming and eSports, but with<br />

TimePlay everyone in the theatre can participate and compete,”<br />

Silverberg observes.<br />

“The feedback we’ve received from our tournament program is<br />

that there is a big opportunity for event-based gaming at the cinema,<br />

and we will broaden our offering in that area,” he promises.<br />

“We have built a cult following in the markets where we are<br />

running. We are delivering significant value to consumers, brands<br />

and exhibitors,” Silverberg notes. “The world has gone interactive<br />

and we believe we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of the<br />

overall cinema opportunity.”<br />

The company plans to continue increasing its pre-show footprint,<br />

collaborating with studios and brands to deliver lots of additional<br />

memorable and immersive content for moviegoers. <br />

56 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

028-056.indd 56<br />

4/4/18 2:20 PM



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060-074.indd 58<br />

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Beat the Heat:<br />

Summer <strong>2018</strong><br />

gives moviegoers<br />

a wealth<br />

of options<br />

The heat of summer<br />

bears down on us—and<br />

with it comes a crop of<br />

Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Mindy<br />

Kaling, Awkwafina, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne<br />

Hathaway and Sarah Paulson in Ocean’s 8.<br />

new movies that hope to<br />

inspire and entertain.<br />

From superhero movies<br />

to Star Wars to indie<br />

foreign gems, the<br />

next few months have<br />

something for everyone.<br />

by Rebecca Pahle<br />

<strong>May</strong> Highlights<br />

Chris Pratt in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.<br />

Josh Brolin, Jeffrey Donovan and Benicio Del Toro<br />

60 in Sicario: WWW.FILMJOURNAL.COM Day of the Soldado.<br />

/ MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

Bob Fisher and Rob Greenberg direct a<br />

gender-swapped remake 1987’s Overboard,<br />

originally starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt<br />

Russell. This time around, a working-class<br />

woman (Anna Faris) tricks a rich man<br />

stricken by amnesia into thinking he’s her<br />

husband. (Lionsgate-Pantelion; <strong>May</strong> 4)<br />

Directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West<br />

examine the life and legacy of Supreme<br />

Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in RBG.<br />

(Magnolia Pictures; <strong>May</strong> 4)<br />

Saoirse Ronan, Elisabeth Moss, Annette<br />

Bening and Corey Stoll star in director Michael<br />

<strong>May</strong>er’s The Seagull, based on Anton<br />

Chekhov’s famed play of romantic entanglement.<br />

(Sony Pictures Classics; <strong>May</strong> 4)<br />

Charlize Theron reunites with her Young<br />

Adult director Jason Reitman for Tully,<br />

about an overworked mom (Theron) who<br />

forms a relationship with her night nanny<br />

(Mackenzie Davis). (Focus Features; <strong>May</strong> 4)<br />

“Jackass” alum Johnny Knoxville cowrote<br />

and stars in Action Point, playing one<br />

of a group of friends who design a wild,<br />

unsafe and completely unpredictable amusement<br />

park. (Paramount; <strong>May</strong> 11)<br />

Gabrielle Union finds herself in a<br />

reverse-Panic Room situation in Breaking In,<br />

playing a mother who must break into the<br />

Photos courtesy studios. Release dates subject to change.<br />

060-074.indd 60<br />

4/4/18 3:35 PM

From left:<br />

Ryan Reynolds<br />

returns for<br />

Deadpool 2;<br />

Craig T. Nelson<br />

voices Bob Parr<br />

in Incredibles 2;<br />

and Lily James<br />

swings Mamma Mia:<br />

Here We Go Again.<br />

Below: Evangeline<br />

Lilly and Paul Rudd in<br />

Ant-Man and the Wasp;<br />

Alden Ehrenreich stars<br />

in Solo: A Star Wars Story;<br />

Vanessa Kirby and Tom Cruise<br />

in Mission: Impossible—Fallout.<br />


060-074.indd 61<br />

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Pictured: Anna Faris, Eugenio Derbez<br />

Directors: Bob Fisher, Rob Greenberg<br />



Pictured: Melissa McCarthy<br />

Director: Ben Falcone<br />


highly defended home where her children are<br />

being held captive. (Universal; <strong>May</strong> 11)<br />

Melissa McCarthy and director/husband<br />

Ben Falcone unite for the third time with<br />

Life of the Party, about a housewife who goes<br />

back to college, ending up with her daughter<br />

as a classmate. (Warner Bros.; <strong>May</strong> 11)<br />

Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen, Candice<br />

Bergen and Diane Keaton play lifelong<br />

friends whose attitudes towards sex are<br />

changed after reading Fifty Shades of Grey<br />

in Book Club. (Paramount; <strong>May</strong> 18)<br />

The merc with a mouth (Ryan Reynolds)<br />

is back in Deadpool 2, director David Leitch’s<br />

sequel to 2016’s record-breaking R-rated superhero<br />

flick. (20th Century Fox; <strong>May</strong> 18)<br />

The child-killing creature known as<br />

Slender Man—a late 20th-century urban<br />

legend whose origin story was sketched out<br />

in Internet message boards and comment<br />

threads—takes center stage in a horror story<br />

of his very own, courtesy of director Sylvain<br />

White. (Screen Gems; <strong>May</strong> 18)<br />

Scruffy-looking nerf herder Han Solo<br />

gets an origin story in Ron Howard’s Solo:<br />

A Star Wars Story, which introduces moviegoers<br />

to Han (Hail Caesar’s Alden Ehrenreich)<br />

and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover)<br />

years before joining the Rebellion. Woody<br />

Harrelson and “Game of Thrones”’ Emilia<br />

Clarke co-star. (Disney; <strong>May</strong> 25)<br />

Also in <strong>May</strong><br />

A teenage girl (Qi Wen) who’s the only<br />

witness to a sexual assault opts not to go to<br />

the police in Vivian Qu’s Angels Wear White.<br />

(KimStim; <strong>May</strong> 4)<br />

John Carroll Lynch and Matt Bomer<br />

star in Anything, based on director Timothy<br />

McNeil’s play about a widower (Lynch) who<br />

strikes up an intense friendship with a trans sex<br />

worker (Bomer). (Great Point Media; <strong>May</strong> 4)<br />

A pair of burglars break into a house, only<br />

to discover that a woman is being held captive<br />

there in Bad Samaritan. (Electric Entertainment;<br />

<strong>May</strong> 4)<br />

A live-in maid (Paulina García) who gets<br />

let go by the family that has employed her<br />

for years has her perspective on life changed<br />

when she’s stranded in a small desert town in<br />

The Desert Bride. (Strand Releasing; <strong>May</strong> 4)<br />

A mother (Nathalie Baye) and daughter<br />

(Laura Smet) must maintain their farm<br />

while the men of their family are off at war<br />

in Xavier Beauvois’ World War I drama<br />

The Guardians. (Music Box <strong>Film</strong>s; <strong>May</strong> 4)<br />

Mackenzie Davis stars in Christian<br />

Papierniak’s Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town<br />

as a hot mess of a woman who has a matter<br />


Pictured: Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton<br />

Director: Bill Holderman<br />


62 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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of hours to book it across Los Angeles to<br />

break up her ex-boyfriend’s engagement party.<br />

(Shout! Factory; <strong>May</strong> 4)<br />

Jim Loach directs Measure of a Man,<br />

about a bullied teen (Blake Cooper) who<br />

learns to stands up for himself. Donald<br />

Sutherland, Judy Greer and Luke Wilson costar.<br />

(Great Point Media; <strong>May</strong> 4)<br />

A man tries to break the record for oldest<br />

person in the world in 102 Not Out. (Columbia<br />

Pictures; <strong>May</strong> 4)<br />

The struggles of those who walk the Camino<br />

de Santiago—a network of paths that serves<br />

as one of Europe’s most popular pilgrimages—<br />

are examined in Tristan Cook’s Strangers on the<br />

Earth. (First Run Features; <strong>May</strong> 4)<br />

A young woman (Jessie Buckley) living in<br />

an isolated community falls for a charismatic<br />

stranger who may or may not be responsible<br />

for a handful of local murders in Michael<br />

Pearce’s Beast. (Roadside Attractions; <strong>May</strong> 11)<br />

Sara Driver directs Boom for Real: The<br />

Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat,<br />

a documentary about the early years of the<br />

famed New York artist. (Magnolia Pictures;<br />

<strong>May</strong> 11)<br />

Eric Stoltz directs high-school comedy<br />

Class Rank, about an overachiever (Olivia<br />

Holt) and a nerd (Skyler Gisondo) who join<br />

forces to take over the local school board.<br />

Bruce Dern and Kristin Chenoweth co-star.<br />

(Cinedigm; <strong>May</strong> 11)<br />

The wife of a cheating, self-absorbed book<br />

publisher accuses the wrong person of being<br />

her husband’s mistress in Korean auteur<br />

Hong Sang-soo’s The Day After. (Cinema<br />

Guild; <strong>May</strong> 11)<br />

Tony Zierra directs the documentary<br />

<strong>Film</strong>worker, about an actor (Leon Vitali of<br />

Barry Lyndon) who abandoned his acting<br />

career in order to work as Stanley Kubrick’s<br />

longtime assistant. (Kino Lorber; <strong>May</strong> 11)<br />

A man becomes the subject of a dangerous<br />

scientific experiment in order to save<br />

his family in the sci-fi thriller Higher Power<br />

(Magnet Releasing; <strong>May</strong> 11)<br />

The humdrum existence of a small seaside<br />

town is thrown into chaos by the arrival of<br />

ADRIFT<br />

Pictured: Sam Claflin, Shailene Woodley<br />

Director: Baltasar Kormákur<br />


64 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

060-074.indd 64<br />

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a music-loving mermaid in Masaaki Yuasa’s<br />

animated kids’ movie Lu Over the Wall.<br />

(Gkids; <strong>May</strong> 11)<br />

A wealthy man takes his mistress (Matilda<br />

Lutz) and two friends to a remote getaway<br />

with bloody results in writer-director Coralie<br />

Fargeat’s Revenge. (Neon; <strong>May</strong> 11)<br />

Sundance Selects releases a restored version<br />

of the long-thought-lost That Summer,<br />

commissioned by artist Peter Beard and<br />

Lee Radziwill, sister of Jackie Onassis, as a<br />

portrait of Big and Little Edie Beale of Grey<br />

Gardens. (Sundance Selects; <strong>May</strong> 11)<br />

A pastor (Ethan Hawke) has a crisis of<br />

faith that culminates in an act of violence in<br />

Paul Schrader’s First Reformed. (A24; <strong>May</strong> 18)<br />

Willem Dafoe narrates Jennifer Peedom’s<br />

Mountain, a documentary about the experiences<br />

of those who risk their lives to climb<br />

the world’s highest peaks. (<strong>May</strong> 18)<br />

Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle play a<br />

young couple whose relationship is challenged<br />

by their different socioeconomic backgrounds<br />

and attitudes towards sex in Dominic Cooke’s<br />

On Chesil Beach. (Bleecker Street; <strong>May</strong> 18)<br />

Wim Wenders gained nearly unprecedented<br />

access to the Pope for his documentary<br />

Pope Francis—A Man of His Word, in<br />

which Roman Catholicism’s highest authority<br />

film_journal_<strong>2018</strong>-cinemacon_Layout 1 23/03/<strong>2018</strong> 14:44 Page 1<br />

addresses such issues as poverty, the refugee<br />

crisis, atheism and homosexuality. (Focus Features;<br />

<strong>May</strong> 18)<br />

The early days of film get new life in Saving<br />

Brinton, about the discovery of a cache of<br />

century-old movie reels in the heartland of<br />

Iowa. (Barn Owl Pictures; <strong>May</strong> 18)<br />

Alan Cumming, Stanley Tucci, Gabriel<br />

Iglesias, Shaquille O’Neal and Ludacris get<br />

in touch with their canine sides by lending<br />

their voices to Show Dogs, in which a police<br />

dog and his human companion (Will Arnett)<br />

must infiltrate a prestigious dog show in order<br />

to stop an animal smuggling ring. (Open<br />

Road <strong>Film</strong>s; <strong>May</strong> 18)<br />

A young man (McCaul Lombardi) tries<br />

to reintegrate back into society after completing<br />

his prison sentence in writer-director<br />

Matthew Porterfield’s Sollers Point. (Oscilloscope;<br />

<strong>May</strong> 18)<br />

Former Vogue editor-at-large and fashion<br />

maven André Leon Talley gets his movie<br />

close-up in Kate Novack’s The Gospel According<br />

to André. (Magnolia Pictures; <strong>May</strong> 25)<br />

Six-year-old Frida (Laia Artigas) is sent to<br />

the country to live with relatives following the<br />

death of her mother in Spanish director Carla<br />

Simón’s Summer 1993. (Oscilloscope; <strong>May</strong> 25)<br />

Documentarian Matthew Miele provides<br />

a history lesson on a New York institution<br />

in Always at the Carlyle, about the famed<br />

Carlyle Hotel. A cavalcade of celebrities,<br />

among them Jon Hamm, Vera Wang, George<br />

Clooney, Elaine Stritch and Naomi Campbell,<br />

share their remembrances. (Good Deed<br />

Entertainment; <strong>May</strong>)<br />

June Highlights<br />

The death of their matriarch results in<br />

uncovered secrets for the Graham family in<br />

A24 horror outing Hereditary. Toni Collette,<br />

Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro and<br />

Ann Dowd star. (A24; June 8)<br />

A group of women concoct an elaborate<br />

Met Gala heist in Ocean’s Eleven spin-off<br />

Ocean’s 8. Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway,<br />

Sandra Bullock, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham<br />

Carter, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina and<br />

Rihanna co-star. (Warner Bros.; June 8)<br />

Documentarian Morgan Neville (Twenty<br />

Feet from Stardom) directs Won’t You Be My<br />

Neighbor?, an examination of the life and<br />

legacy of children’s-TV icon Mister Rogers.<br />

(Focus Features; June 8)<br />

Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and their superhero<br />

children are back in the long-awaited<br />

Pixar sequel Incredibles 2. Writer-director<br />

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Pictured: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter<br />

Director: Brad Bird<br />



Pictured: Isabela Moner,<br />

Benicio Del Toro<br />

Director: Stefano Sollima<br />


Brad Bird returns, as do voice actors Craig T.<br />

Nelson, Holly Hunter and Samuel L. Jackson.<br />

(Disney/Pixar; June 15)<br />

Jason Mitchell stars in music-video helmer<br />

Director X’s remake of the 1972 blaxploitation<br />

classic SuperFly, about a drug dealer who<br />

needs to make one last deal so he can quit the<br />

business. (Columbia Pictures; June 15)<br />

Jon Hamm, Leslie Bibb, Jeremy Renner,<br />

Rashida Jones, Isla Fisher, Jake Johnson and<br />

more star in first-time feature director Jeff<br />

Tomsic’s ensemble comedy Tag, based on<br />

a Wall Street <strong>Journal</strong> story about a group of<br />

friends who have played an elaborate game<br />

of tag over the course of decades. (Warner<br />

Bros.; June 15)<br />

Former dino theme-park workers Owen<br />

(Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard)<br />

must save their killer former charges<br />

when a long-dormant volcano unexpectedly<br />

becomes active in J.A. Bayona’s Jurassic World:<br />

Fallen Kingdom. (Universal; June 22)<br />

Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro return<br />

for Sicario: Day of the Soldado, which sees<br />

the conflict between U.S. forces and Mexican<br />

drug cartels escalate. Catherine Keener costars.<br />

(Columbia Pictures; June 29)<br />

Boots Riley made a splash at Sundance<br />

and SXSW with his directing debut Sorry to<br />

Bother You, an offbeat satire starring Lakeith<br />

Stanfield, Tessa Thompson and Armie Hammer.<br />

(Annapurna Pictures; June 29)<br />

Vera Farmiga and Christopher Plummer<br />

star in Country Strong director Shana Feste’s<br />

Boundaries, in which a mother goes on a<br />

road-trip with her son and her estranged, potdealing<br />

father. (Sony Pictures Classics; June)<br />

Writer-director David Robert Mitchell<br />

follows up his indie horror hit It Follows<br />

with Under the Silver Lake, starring Andrew<br />

Garfield as a man trying to uncover a 1%-er<br />

conspiracy. (A24; June)<br />

Also in June<br />

Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin play<br />

a couple stranded in the sea by a deadly hurricane<br />

in Baltasar Kormákur’s (Everest) factbased<br />

Adrift. (STX Entertainment; June 1)<br />

Four university students—played by Barry<br />

Keoghan, Evan Peters, Jared Abrahamson and<br />

Blake Jenner—use their limited knowledge<br />

of heist movies to try to plan a heist of their<br />

very own in the documentary-narrative hybrid<br />

American Animals. (The Orchard; June 1)<br />

Jim Parsons and Claire Danes play a<br />

Brooklyn couple tempted to leverage their<br />

four-year-old child’s possible transgender<br />

identity to secure entry to an exclusive private<br />

school in A Kid Like Jake. (IFC <strong>Film</strong>s; June 1)<br />

A technophobe (Logan Marshall-Green)<br />

gets an experimental tech implant in horror<br />

writer/producer Leigh Whannell’s sci-fi<br />

thriller Upgrade. (BH Tilt; June 1)<br />

Director Jim McKay provides a<br />

glimpse into the lives of undocumented<br />

Mexican immigrants in Brooklyn’s Sunset<br />

Park neighborhood in En el Séptimo Día.<br />

(Cinema Guild; June 8)<br />

Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons<br />

play a father-daughter songwriting duo in<br />

Hearts Beat Loud, from I’ll See You in My<br />

Dreams and The Hero director Brett Haley.<br />

(GunPowder & Sky; June 8)<br />

Kiernan Shipka, Stanley Tucci and Mi-<br />

66 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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the world’s invasion of a species of monsters<br />

characterized by their extraordinarily strong<br />

hearing. (Open Road <strong>Film</strong>s; June 8)<br />

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over an inconveniently placed tree turns<br />


Pictured: Thomasin McKenzie, Ben Foster<br />

Director: Debra Granik<br />


violent in Icelandic director Hafsteinn Gunnar<br />

Sigurðsson’s Under the Tree. (Magnolia<br />

Pictures; June 8)<br />

Natalie Portman narrates Eating Animals,<br />

director/producer Christopher Quinn’s documentary<br />

about the cruelties of factory farming.<br />

(IFC <strong>Film</strong>s; June 15)<br />

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem star in<br />

Fernando León de Aranoa’s Loving Pablo,<br />

based on the real-life story of a journalist<br />

who falls in love with notorious drug kingpin<br />

Pablo Escobar. ( June 15)<br />

Tye Sheridan, Jack Huston, Alden Ehrenreich,<br />

Jennifer Aniston and Toni Collette star<br />

in Alexandre Moors’ war drama The Yellow<br />

Birds, about the experiences of two young<br />

soldiers (Ehrenreich and Sheridan) and their<br />

troubled mentor (Huston) during the Iraq<br />

War. (Saban <strong>Film</strong>s; June 15)<br />

A recently released convict embarks on a<br />

quest for revenge against the onetime friends<br />

he believes let him take the fall for the crime<br />

they committed as a group in director John<br />

Pogue’s Blood Brother. (Lionsgate; June 22)<br />

A father (Ben Foster) and his teenage<br />

daughter (Thomasin McKenzie) live off the<br />

land in an expansive Portland park in Leave<br />

No Trace, director Debra Granik’s follow-up<br />

to 2010’s critically acclaimed Winter’s Bone.<br />

(Bleecker Street; June 29)<br />

A once-great basketball player (Kylie<br />

Irving) gets the old gang—“old” like wheelchairs,<br />

blindness and grey-hair old—back<br />

together to play in a street basketball tournament<br />

in sports comedy Uncle Drew. Get<br />

Out’s LilRel Howery co-stars. (Lionsgate-<br />

Summit; June 29)<br />

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Pictured: Paul Rudd<br />

Director: Peyton Reed<br />


A divorcing couple fights for custody<br />

of their two children in the French drama<br />

Custody, co-starring Léa Drucker and Denis<br />

Ménochet. (Kino Lorber; June)<br />

Writer-director Antonio Méndez Esparza<br />

used nonprofessional actors for Life & Nothing<br />

More, about a poor African-American<br />

family struggling to get by in Florida. ( June)<br />

Actress Lea Thompson directs daughters<br />

Madelyn and Zoey Deutch in The Year of<br />

Spectacular Men, about the romantic exploits<br />

of a post-college young woman. (MarVista<br />

Entertainment; June)<br />

July Highlights<br />

The Purge franchise—in which there’s one<br />

night a year in which no laws apply—goes for<br />

a prequel in The First Purge, which chronicles…well,<br />

you get it. Burning Sands helmer<br />

Gerard McMurray directs, with Marisa Tomei<br />

and Melonie Diaz starring. (Universal;<br />

July 4)<br />

Petty criminal-turned-superhero Ant-<br />

Man (Paul Rudd) teams up with the Wasp—<br />

Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), who got<br />

a superhero upgrade since the first movie—in<br />

Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, the<br />

summer movie season’s second Marvel Cinematic<br />

Universe entry (after April’s Infinity<br />

War). (Disney; July 6)<br />

Joaquin Phoenix stars in Gus Van Sant’s<br />

He Won’t Get Far on Foot as John Callahan,<br />

a real-life cartoonist who struggles with<br />

alcoholism in the aftermath of a car accident<br />

that leaves him paralyzed. (Amazon Studios;<br />

July 13)<br />

Dracula (Adam Sandler) and his family<br />

go on one monster (ha ha) of a cruise, only<br />

to discover the cruise ship captain is the de-<br />


Pictured: Mel Brooks, Fran Drescher, Adam Sandler,<br />

David Spade, Kevin James, Keegan-Michael Key, Selena Gomez<br />

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky<br />


70 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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Pictured: Tom Cruise<br />

Director: Christopher McQuarrie<br />



Pictured: Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep<br />

Director: Ol Parker<br />



Pictured: Ewan McGregor<br />

DISNEY<br />

scendent of the legendary vampire hunter Van<br />

Helsing, in Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer<br />

Vacation. (Columbia Pictures; July 13)<br />

Conjuring spinoff The Nun stars Demián<br />

Bichir as a priest sent by the Vatican to investigate<br />

the mysterious suicide of a nun. Taissa<br />

Farmiga co-stars. (Warner Bros.; July 13)<br />

Dwayne Johnson re-teams with his Central<br />

Intelligence director Rawson Marshall<br />

Thurber (Dodgeball, We’re the Millers) for the<br />

action thriller Skyscraper. Johnson plays a<br />

former FBI agent/current skyscraper security<br />

expert who must rescue his family from a<br />

painful death when the tallest building in the<br />

world is set on fire. (Universal; July 13)<br />

Director Antoine Fuqua and star Denzel<br />

Washington re-team for The Equalizer 2,<br />

with Washington gearing back up to play<br />

CIA agent-turned-vigilante for hire Robert<br />

McCall. Pedro Pascal, Bill Pullman and Melissa<br />

Leo co-star. (Columbia Pictures; July 20)<br />

Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), now pregnant,<br />

learns more about the life and loves of her late<br />

mother—Meryl Streep, played by Lily James<br />

in flashbacks—in Ol Parker’s Mamma Mia!<br />

Here We Go Again. Oh, and there are ABBA<br />

songs. Christine Baranski, Colin Firth, Pierce<br />

Brosnan, Julie Walters, Stellan Skarsgård and<br />

Dominic Cooper reprise their roles, joined by<br />

series newcomers Andy Garcia, Jeremy Irvine<br />

and Cher. Take a chance on it. (Universal;<br />

July 20)<br />

Mark Wahlberg reunites with frequent<br />

collaborator Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Patriots<br />

Day, Deepwater Horizon) for Mile 22,<br />

about an American intelligence officer who<br />

must smuggle a police officer who possesses<br />

top-secret intel out of the country. (STX Entertainment;<br />

July 20)<br />

Tom Cruise does a few more deathdefying<br />

stunts as IMF operative Ethan Hunt<br />

in Mission: Impossible—Fallout. Mission:<br />

Impossible—Rogue Nation director Christopher<br />

McQuarrie returns for the sixth movie<br />

in the M:I franchise, which sees Hunt and<br />

his team deal with the aftermath of a mission<br />

gone wrong. Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg,<br />

Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett and Michelle<br />

Monaghan co-star. (Paramount; July 27)<br />

A popular animated children’s show gets a<br />

movie adaptation with Teen Titans Go! To the<br />

Movies. It’s your average group of superheroes—except<br />

they’re all teens. Nicolas Cage,<br />

Kristen Bell, James Corden and more lend<br />

their voices. (Warner Bros.; July 27)<br />

Also in July<br />

Kevin Macdonald directs the documentary<br />

Whitney, about the life of the late musical<br />

icon Whitney Houston. (Miramax; July 6)<br />

Comedian Bo Burnham directs Eighth<br />

72 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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Grade, about a teenage girl (Elsie Fisher)<br />

trying to make it through her last week of<br />

middle school (A24; July 13)<br />

Ian Bonhôte directs McQueen, which<br />

pulls from interviews with friends and family,<br />

archives and visuals to paint a portrait of the life<br />

and career of legendary fashion designer Alexander<br />

McQueen. (Bleecker Street; July 13)<br />

A suburban mother (Kelly Macdonald)<br />

discovers a love of jigsaw puzzles in Marc<br />

Turtletaub’s Puzzle. (Sony Pictures Classics;<br />

July 13)<br />

Vincent Cassel plays post-Impressionist<br />

painter Paul Gauguin in Gauguin, Edouard<br />

Deluc’s biopic about the artist’s affair with<br />

a younger woman during his time in Tahiti.<br />

(Cohen Media Group; July 20)<br />

Documentarian Lauren Greenfield follows<br />

up 2012’s The Queen of Versailles—about<br />

a fabulously wealthy duo forced to economize<br />

after the 2008 financial crash—with fellow<br />

money-themed doc Generation Wealth,<br />

this time focusing on the current state of<br />

American culture and capitalism. (Magnolia<br />

Pictures; July 20)<br />

Daveed Diggs (Broadway’s Hamilton) and<br />

Rafael Casal play lifelong friends navigating<br />

the gentrifying landscape of Oakland, Calif.,<br />

in Carlos López Estrada’s Blindspotting. (Lionsgate;<br />

July 27)<br />

August Highlights<br />

A group of teen resistance fighters raise<br />

hell in a dystopian future in Jennifer Yuh<br />

Nelson’s The Darkest Minds. Amandla Stenberg,<br />

Harris Dickinson, Mandy Moore and<br />

Gwendoline Christie co-star. (20th Century<br />

Fox; August 3)<br />

Best friends Audrey (Mila Kunis) and<br />

Morgan (Kate McKinnon) get entangled in a<br />

world of espionage after one of them discovers<br />

their ex is a spy in The Spy Who Dumped<br />

Me. “Outlander” lead Sam Heughan co-stars.<br />

(Lionsgate; August 3)<br />

An all-grown-up Christopher Robin<br />

(Ewan McGregor), a family man beaten down<br />

by the business world, reconnects with his<br />

childhood pal Winnie the Pooh in Marc Forster’s<br />

Christopher Robin. (Disney; August 8)<br />

Director Jon M. Chu adapts Kevin<br />

Kwan’s best-selling novel Crazy Rich Asians,<br />

about a Chinese-American woman (Constance<br />

Wu) thrust into the world of—well,<br />

crazy rich Asians—when she discovers her<br />

boyfriend is the heir of one of China’s wealthiest<br />

families. (Warner Bros.; August 10)<br />

Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson co-star<br />

in Chris Addison’s The Hustle, a remake of<br />

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. As before, two conmen—conwomen,<br />

this time around—compete<br />

to seduce and swindle a rich target. Tim Blake<br />

Nelson co-stars. (MGM; August 10)<br />

Jason Statham takes on a giant prehistoric<br />

shark in The Meg, directed by National Treasure’s<br />

Jon Turteltaub. Rainn Wilson and Ruby<br />

Rose co-star. (Warner Bros.; August 10)<br />

Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ Rupert Wyatt<br />

returns to the world of sci-fi for Captive<br />

State, set in a futuristic Chicago that ten years<br />

prior was taken over by an extraterrestrial<br />

force. John Goodman, Vera Farmiga and<br />

Madeline Brewer co-star. (Focus Features;<br />

August 17)<br />

Rose Byrne plays a woman whose current<br />

boyfriend (Chris O’Dowd) is obsessed with<br />

her singer-songwriter ex (Ethan Hawke) in<br />

the comedy-drama Juliet, Naked. (Roadside<br />

Attractions; August 17)<br />

Matthew McConaughey plays the title<br />

character in White Boy Rick, about a man<br />

recruited to be an FBI informant in his teens<br />

who was later sentenced to life in prison for<br />

drug trafficking. (Sony; August 17)<br />

James Franco and Jack Reynor star in the<br />

sci-fi thriller Kin, about an ex-convict and his<br />


060-074.indd 73<br />

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other forced to go on the run from a vengeful<br />

criminal (Franco). Zoë Kravitz and Dennis<br />

Quaid co-star. (Lionsgate; August 31)<br />

Domhnall Gleeson reunites with his Frank<br />

director Lenny Abrahamson for The Little<br />

Stranger, based on Sarah Waters’ 1940s-set<br />

novel about a doctor (Gleeson) who bonds<br />

with the residents of a country manor seemingly<br />

infested by some supernatural force.<br />

Charlotte Rampling, Ruth Wilson and Will<br />

Poulter co-star. (Focus Features; August 31)<br />

THE MEG<br />

Pictured: Jason Statham<br />

Director: Jon Turteltaub<br />


Also in August<br />

Trine Dyrholm plays late Velvet Underground<br />

singer Nico in Susanna Nicchiarelli’s<br />

Nico, 1988, a drama about the last year in the<br />

artist’s life before she died at the age of 49.<br />

(Magnolia Pictures; August 1)<br />

Guillaume Canet plays a man determined<br />

to rescue his missing son in the Christian<br />

Carion-directed French thriller My Son.<br />

(Cohen Media Group; August 3)<br />

John Cho plays a man looking for his<br />

missing daughter in Searching, a thriller that<br />

takes place entirely on computer screens.<br />

(Screen Gems; August 3)<br />

A group of Los Angelenos are brought<br />

together by their love of dogs in Ken Marino’s<br />

Dog Days. Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens and<br />

Finn Wolfhard co-star. (August 10)<br />

Charlie Hunnam, Tommy Flanagan and<br />

Rami Malek star in a remake of Papillon, in<br />

which a wrongly convicted prisoner concocts<br />

an elaborate scheme to bust out of an island<br />

prison. (Bleecker Street; August 14)<br />

Joel Kinnaman stars in director Andrea<br />

Di Stefano’s Three Seconds, about a prisonerturned-special<br />

ops soldier who gets himself<br />

incarcerated in a maximum-security prison so<br />

he can infiltrate the mob for his FBI handlers.<br />

Clive Owen, Rosamund Pike and Common<br />

star. (Aviron Pictures; August 17)<br />

A scientist (Keanu Reeves) clones his<br />

dead family members in Jeffrey Nachmanoff ’s<br />

Replicas. Alice Eve and Thomas Middleditch<br />

co-star. (Entertainment Studios; August 24)<br />

The Measure of a Man’s Vincent Lindon<br />

stars in Jacques Doillon’s Rodin, a biopic of<br />

the famed sculptor, with specific attention<br />

paid to his relationships with with his wife<br />

(Séverine Caneele) and mistress (Izia Higelin).<br />

(Cohen Media Group; August 24)<br />

Summer<br />

A group of women from the small, peaceful<br />

town of Salem, Mass., embark on a quest<br />

for vengeance when a cache of salacious personal<br />

data is released in Assassination Nation.<br />

(Neon; Summer)<br />

Mélanie Thierry star as the young Marguerite<br />

Duras in director Emmanuel Finkiel’s<br />

A Memoir of War, about a French Resistance<br />

fighter who enters into a relationship with a<br />

Nazi collaborator (Benoît Magimel) whom she<br />

hopes can help her find and save her missing<br />

husband. (Music Box <strong>Film</strong>s; Summer)<br />

A satellite-turned-girl, young man-turnedcow<br />

and wizard-turned-roll of toilet paper<br />

(really) join forces to defeat an evil monster in<br />

Chang Hyung-yun’s animated adventure Satellite<br />

Girl and Milk Cow. (GKids; Summer)<br />

Adolescent romance is beset by supernatural<br />

complications in anime romance Fireworks,<br />

from directors Akiyuki Shinbô and Nobuyuki<br />

Takeuchi. (GKids; Summer) <br />


Pictured: Constance Wu,<br />

Sonoya Mizuno<br />



Pictured: John Goodman<br />

Director: Rupert Wyatt<br />


74 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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CHEERS!<br />

to our friend and colleague,<br />


AMC Theatres<br />

and the other amazing<br />

TOP 50<br />

WOMEN IN<br />


Share a<br />

at the movies<br />

with...<br />

© <strong>2018</strong> The Coca-Cola Company.

Celluloid Junkie presents<br />

u<br />

Top 50 Women<br />

in Global Cinema<br />

<strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International is pleased to publish Celluloid Junkie’s <strong>2018</strong><br />

list of the top women in global cinema, timely as ever in this era of women<br />

speaking out and the “50-50 by 2020” campaign.<br />

Yu Xin, Dadi Cinemas (China)<br />

China’s second-largest exhibitor, Dadi Cinemas continued its steady growth guided by General<br />

Manager Yu Xin (Donna Yu). Dadi is present in over 180 cities across China, and following strategic<br />

investments from Alibaba Pictures and Huayi Bros, it is also vertically integrated with the most significant<br />

media companies in China. In 2017, Dadi launched live events as part of the Movie+ strategy of<br />

expanding the offerings of cinemas, with over 100 events planned for this year. Meanwhile, <strong>2018</strong> will<br />

be the year that Dadi completes the transition to laser projection for all of its cinemas.<br />

Elizabeth Frank, AMC Theatres (USA)<br />

Led by Elizabeth Frank, AMC has expanded with the acquisition of Odeon & UCI Cinemas and<br />

Nordic Cinema Group in Europe, not to mention Carmike in the U.S. As Executive Vice President<br />

of Worldwide Programming and Chief Content Officer, Frank works from AMC’s corporate<br />

headquarters in Kansas City to oversee film-buying groups in Los Angeles, London and Stockholm.<br />

Frank is AMC’s primary representative to movie studios and distributors and has worked diligently to<br />

expand the company’s programming promotion capabilities and create flexible pricing at AMC.<br />

v<br />

w<br />

Martine Odillard, Les Cinémas Gaumont Pathé (France)<br />

President Martine Odillard led Les Cinémas Gaumont Pathé to an exceptional year in 2017. The<br />

largest exhibitor in Europe’s largest cinema territory signed an agreement with Dolby to roll out 10<br />

Dolby Cinemas in France and the Netherlands and also pacted with IMAX to launch six of the largeformat<br />

screens across the same territories. In addition, Gaumont Pathé and EclairGame Cinemas<br />

launched CinéSessions in late 2017 and announced in December that they would roll out 4DX to 40<br />

European locations by 2020.<br />

Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen, Novo Cinemas (U.A.E.)<br />

Under CEO Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen’s leadership, Novo Cinemas has opened a 12-screen cinema at<br />

IMG Worlds of Adventure, including one IMAX and three seven-star VIP screens. “There is a focus on technology<br />

and luxury,” says Stanford-Kristiansen, "and audiences have become critics in their own right.” Novo<br />

has reached “peak cinema innovation”—its latest offerings include frozen popcorn and “the world’s largest<br />

human maze” record attempt, to tie in with the launch of the last Maze Runner film. Stanford-Kristiansen’s<br />

biggest test: whether Novo can overcome geopolitical issues to enter the newly opened Saudi Arabian market.<br />

x<br />

76 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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4/4/18 2:29 PM



Congratulations to AMC Theatres Executive Vice President<br />

of Worldwide Programming and Chief Content Offcer<br />

Elizabeth Frank for being named to Celluloid Junkie’s <strong>2018</strong><br />

Top 50 Women in Global Cinema.<br />

Innovative, creative, smart and a passionate leader –<br />

Elizabeth, you are truly AMC Amazing.<br />


y<br />

Laura Houlgatte, UNIC (Belgium)<br />

the T op 50 W omen in G lobal C inema<br />

Mariam El Bacha, Cinepax (Pakistan)<br />

Mariam El Bacha went from being Director of Operations at Malaysia’s MBO Cinemas to CEO of<br />

Cinepax in Pakistan. Cinepax currently has 11 cinemas across eight cities, but with an ambitious expansion<br />

plan of 150 screens by 2020, as Pakistan tries to reinvigorate its domestic film industry that<br />

has wilted in the shadow of its giant neighbor, India. The company is also launching innovations such<br />

as Platinum, Gold, Silver, 4DX, Dolby Atmos and CMAXX formats. Bacha is a frequent and inspiring<br />

speaker at international events, including CineAsia and Norway’s <strong>Film</strong>&Kino in the past year.<br />

Corinne Thibaut & Lourdes “Lou” Grill,<br />

The Coca-Cola Company (Belgium & USA)<br />

As International Director, Cinema & Leisure, Corinne Thibaut has been a tireless<br />

champion of improved retail and customer experience, not least in her work<br />

with UNIC and CineEurope. Lourdes Grill has led the development of Coke’s global<br />

cinema channel strategy and value approach and is currently responsible for global<br />

cinema channel business development, as well as the Cinemark account.<br />

{<br />

Veronica Lindholm, Odeon Cinemas Group (Finland & Baltics)<br />

As head of the northernmost corner of the global Wanda/AMC empire, Veronica Lindholm<br />

helped transition the Finnkino and Forum family of cinemas into the Odeon Group in the past year.<br />

Finland had a stellar cinema year in 2017, which smoothed over a ticket price increase to help pay for<br />

Finnkino’s investments in new service and movie theatre concepts, including the refurbishment and<br />

reopening of Finland’s oldest movie theatre, Maxim, in February. Lindholm is also on the board of<br />

Palta, the representative association for service sector businesses and organizations in Finland.<br />

z<br />

|<br />

Laura Houlgatte’s appointment as CEO of European cinema trade body UNIC to replace Jan<br />

Runge was by all accounts a unanimous UNIC board decision. As UNIC’s EU Affairs Executive, she<br />

had proved herself adept at navigating the intricate politics of the European Commission in Brussels.<br />

Houlgatte has hit the ground running since taking over UNIC, juggling responsibilities such as the<br />

Women’s Cinema Leadership Scheme, CineEurope, the Global Cinema Federation, the UNIC<br />

Brussels conference and the UNIC Retail Group.<br />

}<br />

Anna Marsh, StudioCanal (France)<br />

StudioCanal is arguably Europe’s leading studio to match Hollywood and distributes more<br />

than 50 films per year, with hits such as Paddington 2 and classics such as The Graduate and Terminator<br />

2: Judgment Day. Responsible for international distribution, Anna Marsh stepped into the<br />

large shoes of Rodolphe Buet a year ago, but has quickly made the role her own. She joined the<br />

International Sales department of Tele Images International in 2002 before becoming International<br />

Sales Manager at TF1 International. She was hired by StudioCanal in 2008 and has been<br />

rising rapidly ever since.<br />

Bernadette McCabe, MoviePass (USA)<br />

Bernadette McCabe took up the role of Senior VP of Exhibitor Relations and Business Strategy<br />

at MoviePass, which made headlines when it lowered its movie theatre subscription price to $9.99<br />

per month and added subscribers at a staggering rate. McCabe is in charge of working directly with<br />

cinema operators throughout the U.S. in an effort to help MoviePass scale in size and find new<br />

revenue opportunities. She first entered the cinema industry in 2005 when she joined Screenvision<br />

Media, where she was responsible for overseeing Screenvision’s 170 exhibition partners.<br />

~<br />

78 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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Untitled-1 1<br />

3/20/18 1:39 PM

Untitled-2 1<br />

3/26/18 8:44 PM

the T op 50 W omen in G lobal C inema<br />

11<br />

Dertje Meijer, Pathe<br />

Dertje Meijer has been quick to make<br />

her mark, as Pathé had one of its best-ever<br />

cinema years, with admissions up 7%. Meijer<br />

has been pushing the refurbishment of older<br />

multiplexes, with reopened ones like De<br />

Kuip in Rotterdam posting record numbers.<br />

16<br />

Sau Fong (Fiona) Chow,<br />

Orange Sky Golden Harvest<br />

Led by CEO Sau Fong Chow, Orange<br />

Sky Golden Harvest bought Village Roadshow<br />

from its Singapore Golden Village<br />

joint venture and now focuses on Singapore,<br />

Hong Kong SAR and Taiwan.<br />

12<br />

Carol Welch, Odeon<br />

17<br />

Olga Zinyakova, KARO<br />

Carol Welch has overseen the refurbishment<br />

of seven Odeon Luxe cinemas<br />

and the launch of Oscar’s Bar, outpacing<br />

even AMC in their spending uptick. Welch<br />

is also heading Costa’s coffee chain to<br />

improve Odeon’s retail offering.<br />

The dynamic and growing Russian<br />

cinema KARO has pioneered the “new<br />

generation cinema” concept. President<br />

Olga Zinyakova and her team will receive<br />

the “International Exhibitor of the Year<br />

Award” at CineEurope in June.<br />

13<br />

Mei Lee Koh, Golden Screen<br />

Golden Screen Cinemas is Malaysia’s<br />

favorite brand of cinemas. Mei Lee Koh cut<br />

the ribbon for the 10-screen multiplex in<br />

Melawati Mall in August and Johor’s biggest<br />

multiplex this past January, with GSC Paradigm<br />

JB boasting a total of 16 screens.<br />

18<br />

Michelle Walsh,<br />

Majid Al Futtaim Cinema<br />

Michelle Walsh has worked with Vox<br />

for over eight years and has a broad range<br />

of responsibilities as COO. Vox will be<br />

one of the first operators to open cinemas<br />

in Saudi Arabia.<br />

14<br />

Jill Jones, Mister Smith Ent.<br />

19<br />

Helen Moss, Paramount<br />

Led by Jill Jones, Mister Smith<br />

Entertainment has been responsible for<br />

films such as The Girl on the Train and<br />

Spielberg’s B.F.G. Previously, Jones was<br />

EVP, International Marketing and Publicity,<br />

at Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment.<br />

Helen Moss joined Paramount Pictures<br />

in 2008. In 2012 the international head office<br />

was relocated to L.A. and Moss played<br />

a key role in the successful transition. She<br />

assumed her current role as Senior VP of<br />

International Distribution in 2014.<br />

15<br />

20<br />

Jane Hastings, Event<br />

Hospitality and Entertainment<br />

Jane Hastings, new CEO of Event Cinemas’<br />

parent company, Event Hospitality<br />

and Entertainment, declared at the outset<br />

that “everything [is] under review” and<br />

new opportunities are key to growth.<br />

Adrianna Trautman, Laura Abele, Susan Cotliar,<br />

20th Century Fox<br />

With six major Oscar wins for The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, 20th Century Fox’s marketing<br />

team deserves major recognition. The trio of Adriana Trautman (VP of Marketing, Latin America), Susan Cotliar (VP of In-Theatre<br />

Marketing) and Laura Abele (Executive Director of International Marketing) are living proof that original films can be nurtured to<br />

become hits that even surprise the industry. Adriana Trautman has overseen the releases of many films that have overindexed in the<br />

region, including Boss Baby and Ice Age: Collision Course. Laura Abele oversees trade marketing for the International Theatrical team.<br />

Susan Cotliar spearheads the focus on how to leverage technology and social media to create meaningful experiences for moviegoers.<br />

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AND<br />



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21 23<br />

Julie Borchard-Young<br />

BY Experience<br />

Co-founded by Julie and Robert<br />

Bochard-Young in 2003, BY Experience<br />

is a global force in the distribution of<br />

live events and alternative content to<br />

cinemas.<br />

22 24<br />

Katy Loria and Darryl Schaffer,<br />

Screenvision Media<br />

Screenvision Media Chief Revenue<br />

Officer Katy Loria and EVP of Operations<br />

& Exhibitor Relations Darryl Schaffer<br />

work with 150 cinema chains (including<br />

AMC, Marcus, Harkins and Malco) on<br />

their premium video strategy. Loria<br />

has oversight of strategy and revenue<br />

generation for national and local<br />

advertising sales and is a strong advocate<br />

of the role of the moviegoing audience in<br />

a landscape of declining TV viewership.<br />

Schaffer is responsible for overseeing<br />

Screenvision’s network of exhibitor<br />

partners as well as network operations,<br />

including content distribution.<br />

25<br />

Dr. Edna Epelbaum, Cinevital<br />

As well as being third-generation CEO<br />

of her family’s cinema business, Cinevital,<br />

across five cities, Edna Epelbaum is also<br />

head of the Swiss French <strong>Film</strong> Festival,<br />

President of the Swiss Cinema Federation<br />

and a board member of UNIC.<br />

Amy Wood, Lionsgate<br />

During Amy Wood’s tenure as Lionsgate’s<br />

EVP of International Distribution,<br />

the studio has earned over $10 billion at<br />

the global box office for franchises such as<br />

The Hunger Games, The Twilight Saga, John<br />

Wick and Now You See Me.<br />

Kymberli Frueh, Fathom Events<br />

For the past 13 years. Kymberli Frueh,<br />

VP of Programming, has worked for Fathom<br />

Events in content programming in one<br />

form or another, helping the company<br />

grow from a couple million dollars in revenue<br />

to one that earns $75 million per year.<br />

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Novo Cinemas would like to offer congratulations to our<br />

CEO, Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen,<br />

on her achievement of having<br />

Ranked Fourth On The Top 50 Women In Global Cinema.<br />

Your commitment and passion for your work has been key in achieving<br />

such industry recognition and is an inspiration to the entire Novo team.<br />

Our hard work and dedication is a testament to your leadership.<br />

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26<br />

27<br />

29<br />

Valerie Shortall, Cinemark<br />

This September, Cinemark VP of<br />

International Marketing Valerie Shortall<br />

will celebrate her 20th anniversary with<br />

the circuit. Shortall increased the visibility<br />

of Cinemark through promotions, events<br />

and partnerships.<br />

Jannicke Haugen, Nordisk <strong>Film</strong><br />

Nordisk <strong>Film</strong> CEO Jannicke Haugen<br />

helped lead the reopening of the legendary<br />

888-seat Colosseum cinema in Oslo after<br />

extensive refurbishment. She is currently<br />

overseeing expansions in Denmark and<br />

Sweden.<br />

Ann Stadler, Marcus Theatres<br />

Ann Stadler joined Marcus Theatres in<br />

2014 in the newly created role of VP and<br />

Chief Marketing Officer. She oversaw the<br />

launch of Marcus’ loyalty program and the<br />

integration of the Wehrenberg cinema<br />

circuit.<br />

28<br />

Kathy Conroy, Jackie<br />

Brenneman, and Esther Baruh,<br />

NATO<br />

The women at NATO help ensure<br />

that it is a trade body that punches<br />

way above its weight. VP and chief<br />

operating officer Kathy Conroy handles<br />

everything from finance to ops and<br />

coordinates the work of NATO’s<br />

boards, committees and task forces.<br />

And she participates in the recruiting,<br />

hiring, supervision and evaluation of<br />

NATO staff. Director of Government<br />

Relations Esther Baruh deals with<br />

public policy strategy and promotes<br />

participation in the advocacy process.<br />

Director of Industry Relations Jackie<br />

Brenneman’s responsibilities include<br />

movie theft, technology, the ratings<br />

appeals board, social media and<br />

education. The National Association<br />

of Theatre Owners is the largest<br />

exhibition trade organization in the<br />

world, representing over 33,000 movie<br />

screens in all 50 states, and additional<br />

cinemas in 91 countries worldwide.<br />

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It is these and other women<br />

at the organization that help ensure<br />

NATO is a trade body that punches<br />

way above its weight.<br />

Kathy Conroy, Esther Baruh,<br />

and Jackie Brenneman named to<br />

Celluloid Junkie’s Top 50<br />

Women in Global Cinema.<br />

Our secret is out.<br />

Movies and movie theatres. They were made for each other.<br />

National Association<br />

of Theatre Owners<br />

Advancing the Moviegoing Experience<br />

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the T op 50 W omen in G lobal C inema<br />

30<br />

Christine Fenby, Vista Group<br />

33<br />

Sherry Yard, iPic Entertainment<br />

Vista Group Marketing Director<br />

Christine Fenby is the public face of<br />

Vista, Veezi, Movio, MovieTeam, Numero,<br />

Macca, Cinema Intelligence, Powster and<br />

Flicks across seven HQs and nine regional<br />

partners in 80+ countries.<br />

Upon joining iPic in 2014 to oversee<br />

the circuit’s culinary program, Sherry Yard<br />

immediately made waves with menu items<br />

designed to eat in the dark. Yard was then<br />

promoted to COO, responsible for all<br />

theatre and restaurant operations.<br />

31<br />

Vilma Benitez, Bardan Intl.<br />

34<br />

Stephanie Mills, Hoyts<br />

Bardan International continues as<br />

one of the world’s leading cinema service<br />

providers under Vilma Benitez. As CEO<br />

for the past 11 years, she helped Bardan<br />

grow its market share throughout Latin<br />

America and the Caribbean<br />

As Hoyts' GM of Marketing and Studio<br />

Relations, Stephanie Mills has been a force<br />

in redefining Australia’s second-largest circuit’s<br />

relationship with Hollywood studios.<br />

In addition, she launched an industry-first<br />

loyalty partnership with Quantas.<br />

32<br />

Nora Dashwood, ArcLight<br />

35<br />

Bobbie Bagby Ford, B&B<br />

Nora Dashwood has spent the last 18<br />

as the COO of not one, but two circuits;<br />

ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres.<br />

She has helped 110-theatre ArcLight<br />

maintain brand awareness as a premium<br />

cinema venue.<br />

Bobbie Bagby was born into B&B<br />

Theatres, the Kansas City-based cinema<br />

chain founded by her great-grandfather<br />

founded in 1924. Now EVP, she oversees<br />

the team that handles marketing for the<br />

U.S.’ seventh-largest theatre chain.<br />

Top 50 Women in Global Cinema<br />

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36 39<br />

Fatima Djoumer, Europa<br />

Fatima Djoumer is now in her third<br />

decade at the European art-house chain<br />

Europa Cinemas, which represents over<br />

2,800 screens in 43 territories. She oversees<br />

international relations and events<br />

such as the Europa Cinema Awards.<br />

37 40<br />

Sandie Caffelle, Jack Roe<br />

As Sales and Marketing Manager at<br />

Jack Roe, Sandie Caffelle has transitioned<br />

from supplying 35mm film products to the<br />

core elements of the company’s business:<br />

ticketing and point of sale, digital signage,<br />

mobile apps and data analytics.<br />

38 41<br />

Ingrid Jahra, CinemaOne<br />

Ingrid Jahra has been CEO of Cinema-<br />

One for just over a year, but has an extensive<br />

background in the industry. She was<br />

CEO of Giant Screen Entertainment Ltd.<br />

and was instrumental in bringing one of<br />

the first IMAX screens to the Caribbean.<br />

Karina Agadzhanova,<br />

Cinema Star<br />

Karina Agadzhanova recently<br />

celebrated her fifth year as CEO of<br />

Cinema Star, an exhibitor that has<br />

pioneered innovations such as its “Play<br />

Lab” entertainment zones for kids.<br />

Clara Cheo, Golden Village<br />

As CEO of Golden Village, Clara Cheo<br />

has focused on delivering quality experiences<br />

for her customers. Golden Village<br />

became the first exhibitor in Singapore to<br />

open an all-digital multiplex (using Barco<br />

smart lasers) in Paya Lebar last year.<br />

Sarah Lewthwaite,<br />

EMEA, Movio<br />

As Movio’s MD and SVP for EMEA,<br />

Sarah Lewthwaite is a ubiquitous presence<br />

at trade shows and conferences, detailing<br />

how big data can help drive marketing<br />

efforts and thus increase revenue.<br />

Congratulations<br />

To the<br />

Top 50 Women<br />

in Global Cinema<br />

of <strong>2018</strong><br />

“It is an honor and a privilege to<br />

work with many of the talented<br />

women on this list”.<br />

From the team at<br />

Lighting Technologies<br />

International<br />

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Congratulations, Ann!<br />



Ann Stadler - VP and Chief Marketing Officer<br />

Named to Celluloid Junkie’s “<strong>2018</strong> Top 50 Women in Global Cinema”<br />


the T op 50 W omen in G lobal C inema<br />

42<br />

Karen Stacey, DCM<br />

The CEO of DCM (U.K. and Ireland),<br />

Karen Stacey has driven the re-invigoration<br />

of cinema as a premium-advertising proposition.<br />

In the past year, DCM has launched a<br />

production department studio, podcast and<br />

fantasy film league.<br />

44<br />

Suvanee Chinchiewchan<br />

SF Group<br />

As CMO of Thailand’s second-largest<br />

cinema chain, Suvanee Chinchiewchan and<br />

her team work with distributors to build<br />

audiences for all kinds of films in a country<br />

known for quality of cinema experiences.<br />

43<br />

Grace Wong, June Wong,<br />

Multiplex Cinema Ltd.<br />

Intercontinental Group Holding’s MCL<br />

continues to improve the city’s movie experience,<br />

led by General Managers Grace and<br />

June Wong. 2017 saw the reopening of the<br />

Grand Kornhill Cinema and MCL Telford<br />

Cinema, both of which were extensively<br />

refurbished and now offer the House FX<br />

Theatre and MX4D Motion Theatre. Grace<br />

Wong has over 30 years of experience in<br />

the industry and was involved in the setting<br />

up of over 10 cinema projects in both Hong<br />

Kong and the PRC. Over the past decade,<br />

June Wong has expanded the MCL circuit<br />

from five to eight cinemas, making MCL one<br />

of the largest cinema circuits in Hong Kong.<br />

45<br />

46<br />

Dee Vassili, Vue Intl.<br />

As Executive Director of Group HR,<br />

Dee Vassili has overseen the massive<br />

growth of Vue International. Vassili is<br />

currently focused on standardizing operattions<br />

across territories like the U.K.,<br />

Poland and Italy.<br />

Heather Blair, MediaMation<br />

Heather Blair was one of the first to<br />

explore interest in converting existing<br />

auditoriums into MX4D theatres offering<br />

motion seats and environmental effects.<br />

Today, she is the Head of Cinema Sales,<br />

in charge of securing new exhibitors.<br />

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47<br />

48<br />

Claire Beswick,<br />

The Living Room Cinema<br />

Claire Beswick began as a staffer in a<br />

multiplex before working in bookings for<br />

Odeon and Curzon Cinemas. Her new venture<br />

is Living Room Cinema, “a chain that<br />

revolutionizes the cinema-going experience.”<br />

Suzanna (Renhuldt) Holmqvist,<br />

Svenska Bio<br />

CMO Suzanne Holmqvist represents<br />

the fourth generation in family-owned<br />

Svenska Bio. Having helped expand into<br />

Nordic countries, she was instrumental in<br />

the chain going cashless.<br />

50<br />

Beth Cretors and<br />

Shelly Oleson,<br />

C. Cretors & Co.<br />

Popcorn pioneer C. Cretors & Co<br />

has not rested since its founding in<br />

1885 and that legacy is being enhanced<br />

today by the latest generation,<br />

including Marketing Communications<br />

exec Beth Cretors and VP of Sales<br />

& Marketing Shelly Olesen, who<br />

dispenses popcorn and advice about it<br />

at tradeshows across the country and<br />

globe. Offering much more than just<br />

popcorn solutions, C. Cretors & Co<br />

is the company that makes the cinema<br />

experience complete.<br />

49<br />

Tatiana Tolstaya, Cinamon<br />

Despite only joining the cinema industry<br />

in 2013, Tatiana Tolstaya has made her<br />

mark on the business as CEO of Cinamon.<br />

The circuit now has five cinemas across<br />

the three Baltic States, with three more in<br />

the pipeline.<br />

In-depth profiles of select<br />

honorees will appear in the<br />

July, November and<br />

December editions of FJI.<br />

and<br />

Congratulate<br />

the Top 50 Women<br />

in Global Cinema<br />

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from everyone at Vue International<br />

Named one of the<br />

Top 50 Women in Global Cinema <strong>2018</strong><br />

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QSC CEO Joe Pham<br />

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Barry Andrews<br />

Pat Quilter<br />

John Andrews<br />

brought sounds of change.<br />

1968 The Yardbirds, Cream, The<br />

Mamas & The Papas and Lovin’ Spoonful<br />

all disbanded. At the Grammys, the<br />

“Record of the Year”—Simon and<br />

Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson”—came<br />

from a movie soundtrack. The tribal<br />

love-rock musical Hair brought fourletter<br />

words to the theatre stage.<br />

Richard Harris’ “MacArthur Park”—at<br />

seven minutes and 20 seconds—broke<br />

the AM radio taboo against long singles.<br />

And in a small industrial building in<br />

Costa Mesa, Calif., QSC—then called<br />

Quilter Sound Things—was born.<br />

Fifty years later, Pat Quilter, founder<br />

and chairman of the board of QSC, is<br />

standing in front of his open garage,<br />

strumming a ukulele—and talking about<br />

the importance of minimalism, the<br />

elements of “tone” and his ability to build<br />

stuff that solved problems. “I was a geeky<br />

kid,” he knew, “one of those guys who<br />

had a personal soundtrack running in the<br />

back of my mind; there was always some<br />

sort of music going on. Music became the<br />

thing I wanted to build stuff for.”<br />

Pat believed that “my high school<br />

physics course taught me everything<br />

I needed to know to get started in<br />

electronics” and so, over the summer<br />

of 1967, he built an amp that was “loud,<br />

powerful and reliable” for the bass<br />

player in his brother Matt’s garage band,<br />

The Blown Mind. The amp was crude<br />

“but finally played pretty well.” And<br />

then Pat heard a musician who, for him,<br />

changed everything.<br />

QSC<br />

Sounds<br />

Like<br />

the Future<br />

by Bob<br />

Gibbons<br />

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“I saw this picture on an album<br />

cover, this guy looking at the camera<br />

with attitude,” Pat remembers, “and my<br />

brother said, ‘That’s Jimi Hendrix. Listen<br />

to him.’ He was cranking the amp up to<br />

10; it was over-driving like crazy, but<br />

Hendrix was riding this wild horse—and<br />

that’s what really got me inspired to<br />

realize: This is a new wave of electric<br />

music and none of the amps out there<br />

are very good at handling that. And I<br />

thought: I could do something with this. It’s<br />

just an engineering problem; how hard can<br />

it be?”<br />

Pat’s vision “was to take over the<br />

world for high-powered, giant guitar<br />

amps.” By the early 1970s, he had a<br />

partner in Barry Andrews, whose<br />

skill was building cabinets for Pat’s<br />

technology. A few years later, Barry’s<br />

younger brother John joined them,<br />

running the front office part-time while<br />

he was still in college at the University<br />

of Southern California. When John<br />

graduated and joined QSC full-time,<br />

their father was furious—at Barry. “We<br />

never thought you’d amount to much,”<br />

he yelled, “but we had expectations for<br />

John.”<br />

Those first years didn’t meet<br />

anyone’s expectations. The three<br />

partners had made some progress in<br />

demonstrating the reliability of their<br />

solid-state electronics over still-popular<br />

tube amps, but competition was<br />

formidable—they were losing money,<br />

but not enthusiasm.<br />

John Andrews, founder and board<br />

member, remembers failure as an asset.<br />

Pat Quilter with an early<br />

amp and, at right, in the<br />

QSC office in 1979.<br />

“Not having early success,” he believes,<br />

“was one of the keys to our ultimate<br />

success, because we had to learn how<br />

to run the business. We realized we<br />

had to become excellent operationally,<br />

excellent in our product development,<br />

and in our sales and marketing efforts—<br />

and become excellent manufacturers.<br />

And this was at a time when we weren’t<br />

very good at any of those things.”<br />

They decided to drop their dreams<br />

for guitar amplifiers and refocus their<br />

limited resources on power amplifiers.<br />

They renamed Quilter Sound Things as<br />

QSC Audio Products and began providing<br />

power amps for live performances<br />

and installations in permanent venues.<br />

Slowly, their fortunes began to change.<br />

Barry Andrews, founder and board<br />

member, joins the conversation: “It’s<br />

never been a story of skyrocketing<br />

success,” he offers. “It’s consistently a<br />

story of determination over failure. Part<br />

of our hallmark is to have a vision and<br />

keep investing in the future.”<br />

By 1978, they had their first patent;<br />

a year later, QSC sales exceeded $1<br />

million.<br />

Back in those days—the late ’70s<br />

and early ’80s—audio companies were<br />

largely specialists. Some made power<br />

amplifiers; others made loudspeakers;<br />

some made mixers; others made<br />

equalizers or other signal-processing<br />

components. QSC’s power amplifiers<br />

brought them to the attention of the<br />

cinema business about the time Dolby<br />

was marketing the early Dolby stereo<br />

processors. The success of Star Wars<br />

in Dolby stereo led George Lucas to<br />

▲ QSC's first big contribution:<br />

the Digital Crossover Monitor, or<br />

DCM, "the first time that anyone<br />

made digital signal processing easy<br />

to implement in the cinema."<br />

form THX, a quality-control program<br />

that defined performance standards<br />

for loudspeakers and amplifiers and<br />

processors, cinema acoustics and the<br />

theatre’s sound configuration.<br />

QSC helped provide the foundation<br />

for cinemas meeting those THX specifications.<br />

Its Series One amplifiers introduced<br />

in 1983 were the first amplifiers<br />

to make active bi-amp systems affordable<br />

and easy with QSC’s “octal” crossover<br />

accessories. They became the standard<br />

amplifier for cinemas; Dolby purchased<br />

them in quantity and QSC private-labeled<br />

them for Dolby sound racks.<br />

Two years later, QSC put their<br />

own brand on cinema products. United<br />

QSC markets Quilter its Sound first products Things starts outside in small the<br />

QSC receives QSC markets its first patent its first for products outside the<br />

QSC receives its first patent QSC breaks for $1 million in annual sales<br />

local area industrial by attending building the in NAMM Costa Show Mesa, CA<br />

AC-coupled local circuit area by technology attending the NAMM Show<br />

AC-coupled circuit technology<br />

1977 1968 1978 1977 1978 1979<br />

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Artists—then a major chain with a<br />

respected technical department—<br />

selected a QSC amplifier for all of their<br />

screens, and by the late 1980s QSC had<br />

become widely known as the amplifierof-choice<br />

in the cinema business all over<br />

the world.<br />

Still, with a very limited product line,<br />

cinema still wasn’t high on QSC’s radar.<br />

And then, in 1990, Barry Ferrell joined<br />

the company.<br />

Ferrell brought a background in cinema<br />

and he believed that market could<br />

be more important to QSC’s business.<br />

“I knew the customers and we started<br />

addressing them,” he says, “and the first<br />

big contribution that QSC provided<br />

was the Digital Crossover Monitor. The<br />

DCM replaced a separate booth monitor<br />

and crossover with one self-contained<br />

unit that also brought the QSC<br />

DataPort wiring concept to the cinema.<br />

That concept allowed fast and easy rack<br />

wiring and has been so successful it’s<br />

now the standard of the industry.”<br />

Today, Ferrell is senior VP and chief<br />

Barry Ferrell<br />

strategy officer at QSC, and with his<br />

widespread knowledge of the business,<br />

he’ll drive this story forward into QSC’s<br />

future.<br />

“DCMs were the first time that<br />

anyone made DSP—digital signal<br />

processing—easy to implement in the<br />

cinema,” Ferrell remembers. “The<br />

combination of our DCM and DCAseries<br />

amplifiers—which we developed<br />

in the late ’90s and have been the<br />

industry standard ever since—gave us a<br />

really high-performing package. But at<br />

that point, that’s as far as we went.”<br />

Meanwhile, the company continued<br />

to innovate with new product<br />

introductions for its other markets:<br />

1992 saw the debut of QSControl, the<br />

company’s first software platform for<br />

network audio; two years later, the<br />

introduction of DataPort provided<br />

control and telemetry to QSC<br />

amplifiers; and in 1995, they brought<br />

the PowerLight series of lightweight<br />

amplifier technology to market.<br />

Equally notably, the 1990s were<br />

also a time when the company<br />

turned its attention to dramatically<br />

increasing its capacity and capability for<br />

manufacturing—and for growth.<br />

In 1993, QSC opened its new<br />

headquarters in Costa Mesa in a<br />

55,000-square-foot building that<br />

now includes its corporate offices,<br />

engineering, sales, marketing, technical<br />

support and service. Five years later,<br />

on an adjacent strawberry field, QSC<br />

broke ground for an 81,000-squarefoot<br />

manufacturing facility designed<br />

with build-to-order capability, giving<br />

▲ The DPA Series represents<br />

a revolutionary advancement<br />

in amplifier technology<br />

and innovation. Each model<br />

provides efficient, robust and<br />

extraordinarily high fidelity<br />

power to drive multiple channels<br />

and configurations of loudspeakers<br />

while simultaneously deploying<br />

sophisticated digital processing –<br />

all with optimal energy and rack<br />

space efficiency.<br />

the company ability to respond rapidly<br />

to customer needs while keeping both<br />

parts and finished goods inventory at<br />

efficient levels.<br />

With its unique barcoding system—<br />

and when lines are running at capacity—<br />

this factory can produce a mix of<br />

products at over 500 units per eighthour<br />

shift. Partners in Asia also handle<br />

some of the manufacturing. QSC has a<br />

sales, distribution and support network<br />

in over 100 countries and offices on<br />

three continents. They all work towards<br />

common goals.<br />

“Our focus is on maintaining clarity<br />

of vision,” says Joe Pham, QSC president<br />

and CEO. “We work hard to ensure<br />

the future destination of the company<br />

with plans and efforts that are balanced<br />

and sensible, aspirational yet achievable,<br />

QSC breaks $1 million in annual sales OEM manufacturer of amplifiers for Dolby ®<br />

Labs heralds QSC entry into Cinema<br />

1979 1981 1983<br />

Series One introduced, representing<br />

the company’s first true value-oriented<br />

amplifier series for professional use<br />

MAY <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 101<br />

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and supported by a consensus-based<br />

approach where leadership listens and<br />

invests for the long term.”<br />

As QSC passed its 30th anniversary,<br />

the company decided to enter the<br />

market for loudspeakers—a product line<br />

that could have long-term application<br />

in all its markets. “We struggled with<br />

that,” Barry Andrews admits, “until we<br />

developed the first K series and we went<br />

from nowhere to the number-one brand<br />

almost overnight.”<br />

That took eight years. “There were<br />

numerous times we could have given up<br />

because of the daunting road ahead,”<br />

remembers his brother John. “But we<br />

never lost confidence in our ability to<br />

be successful. Our company has a long<br />

history of learning from failures and<br />

successes—and becoming stronger as a<br />

result.”<br />

“Our powered K Family loudspeaker<br />

units just exceeded one million<br />

units shipped,” Ferrell says proudly<br />

in <strong>2018</strong>. “Speakers were a natural<br />

progression,” he adds, “but it was<br />

really the advent of digital cinema that<br />

brought uncompressed digital audio to<br />

the theatre and brought it all together<br />

for us. It standardized the soundtrack<br />

for movies and enabled us to enter the<br />

innovative market with our DCP series. solutions We put for professionals<br />

innovative solutions for professionals innovativ<br />

the cinema processor, booth monitor<br />

Every and innovation crossover we’ve all introduced into one over box—and the prior decades has pushed the state-of-the-art Every innovation forward. we’ve The introduced ultimate goal over is the always prior to decades empower has our pushed customers’ the state-of-the-art forward. The Every ultimate innovation goal is always we’ve int to<br />

added our DataPort wiring concept,<br />

ability to deliver impactful experiences for their audiences, employees, guests and ability patrons. to deliver Whether impactful powering experiences a live musical for their performance, audiences, employees, a crucial remote guests and patrons. Whether powering ability to a deliver musical impactful perfoe<br />

so it would easily plug into the DCA<br />

conference amplifiers.” call, or the latest immersive cinema sound experience, we innovate conference the system platforms call, the and latest solutions immersive that cinema make the sound entire experience, communication we innovate the system platforms and conference solutions call, that or make the late the<br />

The DCP, coupled with “our DCS<br />

experience more intuitive and<br />

Digital Cinema Speakers, inspiring.<br />

enabled us<br />

to provide a complete solution for<br />

audio—from processor to loudspeaker,”<br />

Ferrell adds. “It gives QSC an unmatched<br />

ability to optimize the performance of<br />

own<br />

the night<br />

solutions for unforgettable experiences<br />

experience more intuitive and inspiring.<br />

the entire system by having the entire<br />

audio chain under a single brand. No<br />

solution of multiple brands can have<br />

this level of integration. No field-based<br />

measurement can match the accuracy of<br />

what we measure in our acoustics lab. So<br />

we turned our attention to making the<br />

system better than the sum of its parts.”<br />

Some changes were small, but<br />

common-sense-based and extremely<br />

helpful. “In most theatres, the big<br />

subwoofer is put against the wall,”<br />

Ferrell notes. “Our competitors attach<br />

the wires at the back, where they’re<br />

▲ To meet customer demand, the<br />

company's build-to-order factory,<br />

located at its global headquarters<br />

in Costa Mesa, can output up to 500<br />

units per hour.<br />

tough to get to; we attach them on<br />

the side, where they’re accessible. On<br />

the surround speakers, we tape a little<br />

plastic bag on top with the mounting<br />

screws for the speakers. When the<br />

installers are up on the ladder, the<br />

experience more intuitive a<br />

QSC provides first QSC-branded products<br />

to the Cinema market<br />

Release of EX Series Amplifiers, QSC provides the first QSC-branded products Debut of QSControl, the Release company’s of EX first Series Amplifiers, the<br />

introduction of “open architecture”<br />

to the Cinema market<br />

software platform for network introduction audio of “open architecture”<br />

amp design<br />

amp design<br />

QSC provides Debut first of QSC<br />

to the Cinema software market plat<br />

1985 1991 1985 1992 1991 1985 199<br />

102 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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4/4/18 2:34 PM

mounting screws are already with them.”<br />

Other changes were significant and<br />

far-reaching. “We felt we could do a<br />

better job on the three-way speakers,”<br />

Ferrell explains. “We wanted a midrange<br />

that had a broader frequency than<br />

the conventional systems out there. And<br />

we did that. The next thing we looked<br />

at was high-frequency performance.<br />

We wanted a compression driver that<br />

would get through the screen better<br />

and reduce distortion and have a flatter<br />

frequency response all the way up. And<br />

we came up with a coax solution where<br />

one compression driver is really split<br />

into two transducers—one optimized<br />

for the very highest frequencies and the<br />

other optimized for the lower half of<br />

those frequencies.”<br />

The result: QSC created a very highperformance<br />

four-way cinema screenchannel<br />

system that’s widely used for<br />

PLF—premium large format—cinema<br />

screens. “To be able to contribute<br />

to—and help advance—the immersive<br />

experience of cinema is extremely<br />

rewarding,” founder Barry Andrews says.<br />

It’s always been innovation that<br />

makes sense to the customer. “Our<br />

dedication to reliability, to incremental<br />

product improvements that protect<br />

prior investments, and our ability to<br />

design advanced systems for a welldefined<br />

space make us appealing to<br />

live live sound. QSC QSC<br />

too expensive to buy, too difficult to<br />

install or too hard to use. We have<br />

manufacturing and service members<br />

on the same team with acoustics,<br />

hardware and software engineers—<br />

all working together to optimize the<br />

performance of the system in products<br />

that are buildable, installable and easily<br />

serviceable. Broad cross-functional<br />

effort results in better products.”<br />

In today’s digital world, Ferrell<br />

describes cinema as the closest thing<br />

in professional audio to a standardized<br />

recording and playback system. When<br />

dubbing-stage standards are transferred<br />

into theatre acoustics and playback,<br />

“cinemas have the best opportunity of<br />

recreating the desired experience of<br />

those who create the movies. You can<br />

get a clear, bright, crisp picture at home;<br />

but you are going to be hard-pressed to<br />

duplicate the audio experience you can<br />

get in the cinema—without disturbing<br />

your neighbors,” he says with a smile.<br />

And, in a time of increasing audio<br />

formats, “QSC is format-agnostic,”<br />

insists Mark <strong>May</strong>field, director of global<br />

cinema marketing. “We’re trying to<br />

make it as cost-effective as possible for<br />

live live sound. sound. systems. systems. cinema. cinema.<br />

theatres to invest in immersive sound—<br />

and to make every format sound great,<br />

be easy to use and affordable.”<br />

At the same time, QSC is stepping<br />

out from behind the curtain, bringing its<br />

brand—and the importance of superior<br />

cinema sound—to the attention of<br />

moviegoers. “Audio formats get the<br />

publicity,” Ferrell adds, “but when it<br />

comes to the actual quantity of audio<br />

equipment in the theatre, there is a<br />

whole lot more QSC than anything else.<br />

It’s really our system that moviegoers<br />

are listening to.”<br />

QSC has developed a teaser-trailer<br />

to make moviegoers aware of the QSC<br />

brand. They offer a certified cinema<br />

program to help their partners design,<br />

create and install better cinemas.<br />

They’ve listed certified cinemas on their<br />

website and they provide lobby posters<br />

and plaques to help theatres promote<br />

their efforts at delivering superior<br />

sound. “Many times,” Ferrell notes,<br />

“audiences don’t complain about bad<br />

sound; they just don’t come back.”<br />

QSC’s goal is to encourage audiences<br />

to return to the cinema; it’s important to<br />

them to help their customers succeed.<br />

Live Sound products Live Sound inspire products great inspire performances. great performances. They set up They quickly, set sound up quickly, great, sound look and great, feel look and feel<br />

professional, professional, are easy to use are easy and are to use road-proven—confidently and are road-proven—confidently reliable year reliable after year. year Our after products year. Our and products systems and are systems also designed are also to designed be flexible to and be interchangeable<br />

flexible and interchangeable<br />

in a myriad of in configurations, a myriad cinema of owners,” configurations, allowing adds you allowing to Quilter, flex, grow you the to and flex, one above grow all, and deliver above high-quality, all, deliver high-quality, unforgettable unforgettable experiences experiences for your audiences. for your audiences.<br />

who started it all.<br />

But, Ferrell acknowledges, “the<br />

greatest product won’t sell if it is<br />

▶ QSC has over 500 employees at<br />

offices in several U.S. states and<br />

around the globe.<br />

Company’s Company’s new 55,000 new square 55,000 foot square foot<br />

headquarters headquarters provides quality provides quality<br />

manufacturing manufacturing of over 500 units of over per 500 day units per day<br />

QSC Develops QSC DataPort Develops , providing DataPort TM control , providing control PowerLight TM<br />

PowerLight Series amplifiers TM<br />

Series usher amplifiers in a new usher in a new<br />

and telemetry and to telemetry QSC amplifiers to QSC amplifiers<br />

era of lightweight era of amplifier lightweight technology amplifier technology<br />

1993 1993 1994 1994 1995 1995<br />

104 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

098-113.indd 104<br />

4/4/18 2:34 PM

[ ]<br />

celebrates<br />

systems. QSC QSC<br />

is a globally is recognized a globally recognized manufacturer manufacturer of audio, video of audio, and control video and solutions control for solutions huddle rooms for huddle to stadiums— rooms to stadiums—<br />

and everything and everything between. in Our between. systems Our make systems it easy make for your it easy team for to your design team and to design integrate and flexible, integrate scalable flexible, solutions scalable and solutions deliver and the native deliver IT the integration native IT integration<br />

“The cinema business is part of the controls and monitors the health of many network channels and greatly<br />

and standards-based heart of standards-based QSC,” technology Pham acknowledges.<br />

technology your customers your expect. customers connected expect. amplifiers and loudspeakers. expanded DSP capability. “Cinemas will<br />

“The cinema experience is well aligned<br />

with our core competencies, capabilities<br />

and technology platforms. We<br />

listen to our customers, using what we<br />

learn to grow our portfolio and expand<br />

our business. Our relationships—combined<br />

with our relentless pursuit of<br />

quality—have resulted in QSC introducing<br />

groundbreaking products in our<br />

50-year history.”<br />

Q-SYS provides proof that legacy<br />

continues. Q-SYS is an integrated audio,<br />

video and control platform that runs<br />

on Intel processors; in the cinema,<br />

it interconnects all the devices over<br />

standard gigabit networks. Not only<br />

does Q-SYS transmit audio, it also<br />

Via iPhone, iPad or other iOS device<br />

on the cinema’s Wi-Fi network, theatre<br />

staff using Q-SYS have access to a full<br />

control panel for every auditorium in<br />

the complex.<br />

As theatres experiment with new<br />

designs—including those minimizing<br />

or even eliminating projection<br />

booths—Q-SYS enables equipment<br />

to be spread out in multiple locations,<br />

rather than together in a sound rack.<br />

All that’s needed is a place to plug in<br />

the components—and a network jack.<br />

Massive bundles of speaker cables can<br />

be a thing of the past.<br />

The Q-SYS Core processor is on<br />

its second generation—with twice as<br />

benefit from using Q-SYS to process,<br />

control and transport audio and picture<br />

content,” Ferrell points out. “<strong>2018</strong> is<br />

just the start of us launching it into the<br />

mainstream cinema multiplex. Our new<br />

DCIO—digital cinema I/O—brings<br />

Q-SYS to the entire complex at an<br />

affordable price.”<br />

Today, Q-SYS leads an extensive<br />

QSC cinema product line that includes<br />

digital cinema processors with monitors<br />

and crossovers; multi-channel power<br />

QSC becomes QSC the becomes world’s first the world’s first<br />

licensee of CobraNet licensee of ® CobraNet ®<br />

Ground is broken Ground for is a broken new 81,000 for a new square 81,000 square<br />

foot state-of-the-art foot state-of-the-art facility, adjacent facility, to adjacent to<br />

existing headquarters.<br />

existing headquarters.<br />

Debut of RMX Debut Series of RMX Amplifiers, Series first Amplifiers, joint first joint<br />

venture into venture contract into manufacturing<br />

contract manufacturing<br />

1996 1996 1998 1998 2000 2000<br />

MAY <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 105<br />

098-113.indd 105<br />

4/4/18 2:34 PM

amplifiers; a full range of speakers;<br />

cinema media servers; and accessibility<br />

solutions—including closed-caption and<br />

assistive-listening products that bring<br />

the movies to an even wider audience.<br />

QSC’s closed-captioning devices<br />

were developed by Ultra Stereo<br />

Laboratories, which QSC purchased last<br />

year. “USL is the first acquisition in our<br />

company’s history,” Pham says. “They’re<br />

a leader in cinema technologies; they<br />

support our business today as well as<br />

QSC’s vision for the future of cinema<br />

entertainment technology.”<br />

“Our ability to provide innovative<br />

and reliable products backed by exceptional<br />

customer service are qualities<br />

valued by our cinema clients,” John<br />

Andrews explains. “We’ve invested in<br />

a team of cinema professionals who<br />

have come from the industry and are<br />

passionate about helping our clients<br />

succeed.”<br />

Part of that passion is directed<br />

at supporting the industry—through<br />

involvement in ICTA technical seminars<br />

and leadership; through audio support<br />

for CinemaCon presentations; through<br />

a training program for theatre managers<br />

and a certified program for dealers; and<br />

through a variety of other causes and<br />

activities that are important to their<br />

customers.<br />

“It’s about bringing something back<br />

to the industry,” Ferrell emphasizes.<br />

“It’s not just about the success we’ve<br />

had. We have a small but dedicated<br />

team; many of us started out as ushers,<br />

managers and projectionists in theatres.<br />

We love this business. We strive to<br />

meet customer needs and have a good<br />

time while doing it.”<br />

“Word Hard/Have Fun” is one of<br />

the company values QSC posts on its<br />

website: “Joy and hard work go hand in<br />

hand,” the company writes. “Nothing of<br />

lasting merit can be achieved without<br />

hard work, but hard work cannot be<br />

sustained without enjoying the work.<br />

Our goals and standards make hard<br />

work essential. At the same time, make<br />

sure to have fun all along the way.”<br />

Their employees have consistently<br />

voted QSC a “Best Place to Work.”<br />

“The culture at QSC is one of our<br />

most important assets and a key reason<br />

for the success of the company,” John<br />

Andrews believes. “It’s centered on<br />

respect for employees, customers<br />

and suppliers—as well as passion,<br />

personal responsibility and constant<br />

improvement.”<br />

Today, the company has over 500<br />

employees at QSC offices in several<br />

states in the U.S. and other sites<br />

around the globe. And what’s the key<br />

to managing a worldwide workforce?<br />

“Communication,” answers Ferrell. “You<br />

can’t have too much.”<br />

▼ Q-SYS is an integrated audio,<br />

video and control platform that<br />

interconnects all devices over<br />

standard gigabit networks.<br />

“The essence of our company,” Pham<br />

agrees, “centers around collaboration<br />

and open communication. Everyone<br />

has a voice; we’ve always cultivated<br />

a highly collaborative, positive work<br />

environment where people genuinely<br />

care about each other and about the<br />

success of their team contributing to<br />

QSC’s success.”<br />

Add to that a unique combination<br />

of honesty and humility, drive and<br />

determination, and a passionate focus on<br />

providing a superior experience to the<br />

customers in these times of change.<br />

“Industry consolidation and<br />

technological changes have created<br />

both challenges and opportunities in<br />

our cinema business,” John Andrews<br />

acknowledges.<br />

“You never know what technology<br />

is going to deliver, expect or make<br />

possible,” Ferrell admits. “At the same<br />

time, as cinema chains consolidate and<br />

outsource many of the people with the<br />

capabilities they used to provide, there<br />

could be a need for more services to<br />

be sold by QSC, maybe us getting more<br />

involved at the cinema design stage—<br />

or having more resources available<br />

for installation and integration and<br />

certification of sites.<br />

They’d be serving customers they<br />

know, and who trust them. “As always,”<br />

Ferrell recognizes, “this is a business<br />

about relationships. We deal with<br />

people, with companies. QSC needs to<br />

Debut of ACE Series loudspeakers<br />

QSC introduces DCS loudspeakers,<br />

entering Cinema loudspeaker market<br />

2001 2003 2003<br />

QSC releases ModularDesign TM<br />

Series loudspeakers for installed sound<br />

106 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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stay in touch with all of our key partners<br />

and customers, to understand their<br />

needs, then meet and exceed them.”<br />

“Change at QSC is a given,” John<br />

Andrews emphasizes, “and those who<br />

embrace it do best here.”<br />

Whatever form change takes,<br />

Ferrell believes the cinema team at<br />

QSC is equipped to confront it. “We<br />

have a small team of dedicated cinema<br />

employees backed by a big team of<br />

experts in all aspect of technology and<br />

running a business,” he says. “Having<br />

only a cinema focus wouldn’t afford us<br />

the resources QSC can provide. Not<br />

having a dedicated cinema team would<br />

result in a big company that wouldn’t<br />

understand the market and the needs<br />

of the customers. We have the best of<br />

both worlds.”<br />

Today, QSC’s worldwide business<br />

divides into three units, distinct in terms<br />

of customers, but overlapping in terms<br />

of resources and product applications.<br />

The Systems Business Unit—<br />

which concentrates on permanent<br />

fixed installations—has the broadest<br />

number of applications. They range from<br />

corporate AV in boardrooms, lobbies<br />

and other locations—to business music<br />

in restaurants, shopping malls and other<br />

communal places with foreground or<br />

background sound. Large venues—such<br />

as stadiums, arenas and convention<br />

centers—are served by this unit. Q-SYS,<br />

for example, is in the vast majority<br />

of NFL football stadiums. And QSC’s<br />

products are widely used on cruise ships<br />

for entertainment and for the ship’s<br />

emergency and life-saving systems.<br />

A second business unit is the<br />

Professional or Live Sound Division.<br />

It includes a variety of products ranging<br />

from powered speakers for musicians<br />

and DJs to the TouchMix, QSC’s<br />

resources from the other business units.<br />

“No company that was focused purely<br />

on cinema could afford to do the things<br />

we do,” Ferrell acknowledges. “The<br />

amount of technology in Q-SYS, for<br />

example, would never be affordable if<br />

the only application was in the cinema.<br />

We’re able to share technologies, share<br />

products, share resources, even share<br />

purchasing power. And our customers<br />

benefit.”<br />

QSC is widely known and highly<br />

respected. “We do business with<br />

virtually every theatre circuit in the<br />

world,” <strong>May</strong>field explains. “Most circuits<br />

buy some part of our product line. Up<br />

to 70 percent of the theatres in the<br />

world are already using our amplifiers;<br />

we think that 30 to 40 percent are<br />

using our loudspeakers. Now that<br />

we’ve acquired Ultra Stereo Labs, we’re<br />

probably the largest supplier of cinema<br />

processors as well.”<br />

line of small-format digital mixers—all “When we look at the level of<br />

the way up to racks and line arrays performance of the products we’re<br />

used by tour sound companies to<br />

building today—and the quantities<br />

moving moving forward forward to the<br />

rig<br />

to the future<br />

arenas and stadiums for major<br />

we’re shipping—this business is bigger<br />

future<br />

concert performances. This unit also today than we ever dreamed it would<br />

As a growth As company, a growth company, QSC is committed QSC is committed to expanding to expanding as both a as technology sells both products a technology platform to rental leader platform companies and leader a customer and for a customer experience be experience ten leader years in the leader ago,” markets in Ferrell the we markets admits. serve. we “If serve.<br />

ballroom events.<br />

I look at the state of cinema sound<br />

Across the Across organization, the organization, we’re committed we’re to investments to Cinema investments to fuel global is to the fuel growth smallest global in growth areas business such areas as technology, such in as the technology, infrastructure, ’80s versus infrastructure, today, marketing, great marketing, and sound our and our<br />

in terms of revenue, but “our market has never been so affordable and<br />

most important most important asset – our asset people. – our And people. we’re And continuing we’re continuing to innovate<br />

position to new innovate standards<br />

is new something standards for delivering<br />

we for worked delivering sophisticated<br />

very sophisticated digital<br />

widely<br />

audio, digital available.<br />

video audio, and video control<br />

I’ve always and solutions control had<br />

that solutions high that<br />

hard to secure and it is a significant expectations, but over the past years,<br />

elevate customer elevate customer experiences, experiences, add more add value more for our value partners for our and partners create and new create opportunities new opportunities for our employees. for our employees. In this world, In this everybody world, everybody wins. wins.<br />

part of our overall business,” John<br />

Andrews emphasizes “Things we’ve<br />

learned while working in the cinema<br />

space have helped us in our other<br />

business segments. The needs of the<br />

cinema market align very well with the<br />

strengths of our organization.”<br />

The advantages go both ways;<br />

Cinema also is able to leverage<br />

especially, we’ve greatly exceeded<br />

those—and a lot of that really came<br />

◀ QSC’s decision to enter the<br />

loudspeaker market 20 years ago<br />

has been a smash success.<br />

Peak Audio’s Peak R&D Audio’s team R&D joins team QSC, joins setting QSC, setting QSC launches QSC Q-SYS launches integrated Q-SYS TM<br />

integrated audio, audio, QSC introduces QSC introduces K Series powered K Series loudspeakers,<br />

powered loudspeakers,<br />

the concept the of concept Q-SYS of in Q-SYS motion in motion<br />

video & control video platform & control platform<br />

establishing establishing the “New Standard” the “New Standard” for the industry for the industry<br />

2006 2006 2009 2009 2009 2009<br />

108 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

098-113.indd 108<br />

4/4/18 2:34 PM

service, service, transparency and and collaboration<br />

Technologies Technologies will change, will but change, our enduring but our commitment enduring commitment to be a trusted to be provider a trusted of provider platforms, of platforms, solutions and solutions systems and that systems set new that industry set new standards industry standards remains remains<br />

a constant a passion. constant As passion. we work As closely we work with closely the thousands with the thousands of QSC service of QSC professionals, service professionals, dealers and dealers affiliates and in affiliates 100+ countries in 100+ countries around the around globe, the we globe, will we will<br />

continue to continue invest in to infrastructure invest infrastructure and expertise and expertise<br />

to serve customers serve customers where they where live and they work. live and work.<br />

about through international growth.”<br />

Today, QSC’s cinema business<br />

split is about 60/40—international to<br />

domestic sales—which is the flip of<br />

the other divisions of the company.<br />

In the U.S. and worldwide, they sell<br />

direct to large circuits, but they<br />

also have a strong and loyal dealer<br />

base. For three years in a row, U.S.<br />

dealers have awarded QSC the ICTA’s<br />

“Manufacturer of the Year” Award—<br />

proof of the respect they have for the<br />

way QSC supports their efforts. It’s<br />

one more thing the company tries to<br />

do right.<br />

After five decades, QSC has become<br />

a globally recognized and trusted<br />

leader in the design and manufacture<br />

of professional audio/video system<br />

solutions. With so many resources<br />

and capabilities under one brand, QSC<br />

continues to leverage its technologies<br />

to deliver products and systems<br />

that outperform the sum of their<br />

parts—and set the audio standards<br />

for customers worldwide. But they’re<br />

restless achievers.<br />

“AV today has so much more<br />

potential to the end customer, to the<br />

consumer, to the audiences, and to the<br />

channel partners than what it’s actually<br />

delivering,” Pham asserts. “We are going<br />

to be a technology platform leader and<br />

we’re going to be a customer experience<br />

leader. It’s not about products anymore.<br />

It’s really about the technology system,<br />

the technology solution, the platform<br />

and the experience.”<br />

What could that mean to customers<br />

of tomorrow? What would the founders<br />

and current management of QSC see if<br />

they could step another 50 years into<br />

s,<br />

y<br />

QSC opens QSC its first opens subsidiary: its first subsidiary:<br />

QSC wins QSC the first wins of the seven first “Top of seven Work “Top Work QSC enters QSC digital enters mixer digital market mixer with market the with the<br />

QSC Asia, QSC in Hong Asia, Kong in Hong Kong<br />

Places” in Places” Orange in County Orange awards County awards<br />

introduction introduction of the TouchMix of the TouchMix Series Series<br />

2010 2010 2010 2010 2014 2014<br />

MAY <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 109<br />

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the future and look back at what their<br />

company has yet to deliver—and is yet<br />

to become?<br />

Pat Quilter: “Anything past 20 years<br />

from now is inherently hard to guess,<br />

but I would hope that we will look<br />

back on this current moment in our<br />

history—taking our first steps outside<br />

of ‘pro audio’ and mass entertainment<br />

into the world of fostering interpersonal<br />

multimedia communication and data<br />

transfer for professional purposes—as<br />

a turning point in redefining the level of<br />

service that QSC products can provide.”<br />

Barry Andrews: “I would hope to find<br />

a company that still treats its people<br />

and customers with genuine care. I<br />

would hope to see a thriving business<br />

still pioneering useful technology that<br />

helps people connect emotionally, artistically<br />

and functionally through sound<br />

and sight. I would hope the company<br />

was still a breeding ground for passion<br />

and the pursuit of excellence. And then<br />

2015<br />

I’d hope I could check out and begin the<br />

big sleep.”<br />

John Andrews: “If QSC is around<br />

in 100 years, it will be because we<br />

continued to embrace change and<br />

improvement and we continued to<br />

understand the importance of having<br />

very passionate and capable people<br />

driving the company forward. If that is<br />

the state of QSC in 100 years, it will<br />

make me very proud.”<br />

Joe Pham: “The QSC founders built<br />

voted best place to work by our employees<br />

From the beginning, QSC has always been an organization where engaging our employees has been at the heart of creating a positive work environment.<br />

Our unique culture is centered upon open communication and collaboration in a relaxed, yet highly-focused and determined atmosphere. With dedication to<br />

our core values of quality, integrity,<br />

service, commitment, teamwork and work hard/play hard, it’s no surprise we’ve been consistently voted a<br />

Best Place to Work by our employees. Our company thrives and grows by making sure our people grow along with the business and opportunities for<br />

a very personal special company and professional and culture. development I abound.<br />

would be most proud to see our unique<br />

QSC culture flourishing across a global<br />

team and company, where employees<br />

are growing and thriving, still delighting<br />

customers and partners by creating,<br />

delivering and supporting groundbreaking<br />

products and services that have<br />

continued to redefine product categories<br />

and markets—and have enabled the<br />

creation of superior entertainment and<br />

collaboration experiences for people<br />

around the world.”<br />

As QSC enters its next halfcentury,<br />

Barry Ferrell concludes<br />

with the goal that has driven the<br />

The Colosseum at Caesars<br />

Palace, with audio equipment<br />

behind the screen.<br />

company since that first guitar amp<br />

50 years ago. “QSC has always<br />

believed in bringing out the magic in<br />

cinema sound,” he says. “We’ve built<br />

a reputation for unmatched quality,<br />

performance and reliability as the<br />

only major manufacturer of complete<br />

cinema solutions. Now is the time to<br />

prove it.” <br />

QSC launches Q-SYS TM<br />

Conference Room<br />

Solution, including Core 110f processor<br />

QSC establishes office in Bangalore, India<br />

2015 2015<br />

2016<br />

QSC opens new manufacturing facility in<br />

Tecate, Mexico<br />

110 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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4/4/18 2:34 PM

The Sound of the Colosseum<br />

Converting the Colosseum at Caesars Palace (pictured at<br />

left) into “the world’s largest movie theatre” has always<br />

been a big job; this year, according to Mark <strong>May</strong>field,<br />

director of global cinema marketing at QSC, the job was even<br />

more “colossal.”<br />

Why? “Because this year,” <strong>May</strong>field elaborates, “for the<br />

first time, we’re delivering Dolby Atmos sound to the entire<br />

Colosseum, including the second mezzanine—which adds about<br />

800 seats. We are taking the Atmos overhead speakers and<br />

moving them up another 50 feet so they will trim at about 90<br />

feet to keep them out of the second mezzanine sightline. In order<br />

to maintain the proper Atmos specifications, the new design<br />

incorporates QSC WideLine 10 loudspeakers.”<br />

Working with Boston Light & Sound, Dolby and installers<br />

from Caesars, QSC’s Jon Graves and his team are using more<br />

speakers than they’ve ever put up before—and a type of loudspeaker<br />

that’s not normally used in movie theatres. To maintain<br />

Atmos specifications, QSC had to add new amps and speakers,<br />

and re-engineer the entire network.<br />

Altogether, the system uses 39 WideLine-10 line-array<br />

speakers and nine double 18 subwoofers for the screen channels.<br />

Twenty-four WideLine-8’s and eight WideLine double 12 subwoofers<br />

make up the rear surrounds. The Atmos overhead speakers<br />

use 32 WideLine-10 loudspeaker arrays with custom-made yokes<br />

from Adaptive Technologies. The Atmos experience in the first<br />

balcony is handled by an additional 32<br />

SR 1030 surround speakers.<br />

The result is the biggest Dolby<br />

Atmos sound rig ever installed. “Every<br />

loudspeaker has its own amplifier<br />

channel and could conceivably get separate sound, so we have routing<br />

of up to 64 different channels—this system is using 44,” <strong>May</strong>field<br />

adds. “And the only way to accomplish what needs to be done in<br />

the Colosseum this year is through our Q-SYS platform.”<br />

Q-SYS is basically a very powerful computer on an Intel<br />

platform; it can handle complex routing, do all the DSP audio<br />

signal processing, and monitor the status of every loudspeaker in<br />

the system. “This year, we’re using 48 amplifiers—so in the unlikely<br />

event that any channel goes down, Q-SYS will tell us which<br />

amp and which channel—and we can go in and fix the problem.”<br />

As an added challenge, “multiple studios are showing their<br />

product,” <strong>May</strong>field says, “and each has its own sound and image<br />

expert—who may want to adjust the audio for their particular<br />

reel. Fortunately, Q-SYS has a virtually unlimited number of presets,<br />

so we can tweak each movie to the way they want to hear<br />

it. And then, for each show, it’s basically just a button-push to<br />

get to their preferred configuration.”<br />

Total amplifier power for the entire system exceeds one<br />

million watts. “That,” concludes <strong>May</strong>field, “is the biggest ever.”<br />

—Bob Gibbons<br />

Adaptive Congratulates<br />

Adaptive Technologies Group congratulates QSC on their<br />

50th anniversary and recognizes them as a true leader in<br />

the Pro-AV industry. Thank you for the amazing products<br />

and your dedication to the Audio & Cinema community.<br />

AV Mounting<br />

Systems<br />

QSC ADS-S12 & ADS-S112-SW<br />

Mounted with Adaptives MultiMount ® MM-120<br />

and custom developed Dual Mount U-Bracket<br />

Direct View LED Mounting Systems<br />

• Surround Mounts & Hardware<br />

• Digital Signage<br />

• Direct View LED Mounts<br />

• Projector Lifts & Mounts<br />

www.adapttechgroup.com<br />

cinema@adapttechgroup.com<br />

562-424-1100<br />

MAY <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 111<br />

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In Praise of QSC<br />

I didn’t know a decibel from a cowbell. But thanks to the<br />

incredible support of Barry Ferrell, Danny Pickett and the<br />

incomparable Jon Graves, the mission was accomplished to<br />

perfection. When you have studio chiefs, talent, directors and<br />

producers walking out of The Colosseum with huge smiles<br />

on their faces talking about the great presentation, need I say<br />

more? Congratulations, QSC, on your 50th anniversary. You<br />

are part of the lifeblood and true success of CinemaCon.”<br />

—Mitch Neuhauser,<br />

Managing Director, CinemaCon<br />

“Over the past 50 years, QSC has cemented their place<br />

as leaders on the forefront of innovation. In the 20+ years<br />

we’ve been in business with QSC, we’ve seen them reshape<br />

the industry with their inventive solutions to problems, both<br />

through technological breakthroughs and novel product<br />

introductions. They have given us the tools we need to exceed<br />

customer expectations, elevating the cinema experience for<br />

audiences across the country. QSC isn’t just ‘on the cutting<br />

edge’—they are sharpening the edge.”<br />

—Patty Boucher,<br />

President/CEO, American Cinema Equipment<br />

ring reliable, scalable<br />

“Around 1984, I was seeking a source for power amplifiers,<br />

as Dolby Labs was introducing a line of complete sound<br />

systems. qsc I scheduled at visits a with glance<br />

two manufacturers of power<br />

amplifiers. The first visit and meeting at a prominent firm feedback from my customers, all of which allows my team to<br />

was rather Uniquely difficult. leveraging Unfortunately a broad range for them, of technologies my next under visit one roof, QSC focus products on selling and systems and not outperform being bogged the sum down of their with parts customer by delivering reliable, scalable<br />

was to QSC.<br />

and flexible solutions for professional installed, portable, production,<br />

complaints<br />

corporate and<br />

and<br />

cinema<br />

equipment<br />

customers<br />

returns. I still go back to my field<br />

worldwide.<br />

I was quite struck with QSC’s facility and location—basically<br />

a couple of Quonset huts on a busy street, close to the<br />

beach. The employees and the vibe of the place immediately<br />

• Over 500 employees at QSC offices around the globe<br />

• 1000s of channel partners and service affiliates worldwide<br />

• Comprehensive sales, distribution and support partner network in over 100 countries<br />

• QSC offices in North America, Europe and Asia<br />

• Worldwide multi-language training and customer support<br />

impressed me. Industrious yet somehow laid-back.<br />

QSC’s reputation for quality, reliability and friendly customer<br />

service was already established. Ultimately, I chose<br />

QSC. Others in the industry saw Dolby’s choice as a product<br />

endorsement and followed suit. Congrats, QSC, you’re a class<br />

act and have earned your incredible success.”<br />

—Sam Chavez,<br />

Bay Area Cinema Products<br />

“Words cannot do justice to how I feel about the team at<br />

QSC. Back in 2010 when CinemaCon plans first started for<br />

converting The Colosseum in Caesars Palace into a state-ofthe-art<br />

theatre, the task was daunting and overwhelming—<br />

conferencing<br />

simplified<br />

AV solutions for reliable meetings<br />

“QSC has always had the best amplifiers in the cinema<br />

market, I learned that by listening to the many field technicians<br />

that I’ve worked with in my career. After opening Integrity<br />

Entertainment Systems in 2003, I learned this firsthand, not<br />

only from my field team, but also with the support I receive<br />

directly from QSC, the reliability of their products, the<br />

team to see how these new products have been received and<br />

the answer is always the same: ‘It saves us time, it doesn’t<br />

break down, it’s easier to service.’ I rely on QSC for their<br />

reliable products and their incredible support.”<br />

—Gary Engvold, President,<br />

Integrity Entertainment Systems, LLC<br />

“In the mid to late 1980s in our MTS days, our fairly<br />

longtime amp supplier decided to raise prices significantly.<br />

This set us on a mission to get sample amps from around 15<br />

vendors, which we proceeded to test vigorously. Our testing<br />

led to the failure of all but the QSC Series One amps. That led<br />

us to a very long and satisfying relationship with the Andrews<br />

brothers and their team. Hats off to the gang at QSC!”<br />

—Mel Hopland,<br />

President, Bright Star Systems<br />

th year<br />

QSC purchases USL (UltraStereo Labs),<br />

the company’s first acquisition<br />

QSC deploys Q-SYS TM<br />

real-time operating<br />

system on standard server hardware and<br />

expands presence in EMEA<br />

QSC celebrates its 50th year<br />

2017 2017 <strong>2018</strong><br />

112 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

098-113.indd 112<br />

4/4/18 2:34 PM

We congratulate QSC on<br />

50 years of innovation.<br />

calable<br />


conferencing<br />

simplified<br />

AV solutions for reliable meetings<br />

Robert and Andrew Sunshine<br />

The <strong>Film</strong> Expo Group<br />

MAY <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 113<br />

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098-113.indd 115<br />

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a Good<br />

ol'(new)<br />

Time<br />

Study Shows That the Drive-in<br />

Is Still Going Strong<br />

by Rebecca Pahle<br />

There are a couple of misconceptions<br />

about drive-in theatres that Lee Evans,<br />

and Donna and Rod Saunders<br />

would like to dispel.<br />

One: They’re a sordid make-out spot<br />

where teens go to park and party. Not<br />

true, says Donna Saunders, co-owner<br />

with husband Rod of Ohio’s two-location<br />

Field of Dreams Drive-in. “It’s not like<br />

that anymore. I joke that the teenagers<br />

don’t know what we used to do back then!”<br />

Donna chuckles. “It’s very much familyoriented<br />

now. You do get groups of teenagers<br />

that come in, but they camp outside<br />

their vehicles. They have their lawn chairs,<br />

and everybody sits outside and enjoys the<br />

movie together.”<br />

Two: The drive-in movie theatre is<br />

dead. There are a few still hanging around,<br />

sure, but the bulk of them shuttered their<br />

gates when audiences turned en masse to<br />

the multiplex. The ones still in existence<br />

are tumbleweed-infested dinosaurs, their<br />

business model no longer relevant to the<br />

wider world of exhibition.<br />

Wrong, wrong and wrong again.<br />

And you don’t have to rely on anecdotal<br />

evidence to know it: Cold, hard data from<br />

SurveyMe’s <strong>2018</strong> study on drive-in movie<br />

theatres, presented at the 18th annual<br />

UDITOA (United Drive-in Theatre<br />

Owners Association) Convention, paints<br />

a picture of a corner of the exhibition<br />

world that’s far from dead. In fact, argues<br />

SurveyMe CEO and founder Lee Evans,<br />

moviegoers want more of the drive-in<br />

experience. “They want more drive-ins<br />

and more drive-ins open year-round.<br />

Obviously, in states like Pennsylvania and<br />

Ohio, where drive-ins are the strongest,<br />

that’s not possible, because of the weather.<br />

But I think there’s room for more drive-ins<br />

to be opened.”<br />

SurveyMe’s drive-in survey polled<br />

nearly 4,000 moviegoers representing 116<br />

drive-in theatres across 36 states, a number<br />

that represents a third of the country’s<br />

total. 71% of the respondents were female,<br />

and 57% were of a “‘family unit’ age”—aka<br />

a person between the ages of 31 and 50,<br />

the most likely demographic to bring<br />

children to the drive-in. Indeed, 25% of<br />

drive-in attendees cite “family experience”<br />

as the number-one factor behind their<br />

visits to the drive-in.<br />

Those in the 31-50 range are also<br />

willing to travel the longest distance to get<br />

to a drive-in theatre: 39.1 miles, more than<br />

twice the distance your average moviegoer<br />

is willing to traverse to visit an indoor, or<br />

“hardtop,” theatre. “On a regular basis,”<br />

says Donna, Field of Dreams attendees<br />

116-134.indd 116<br />

4/4/18 4:02 PM

Survey Says…<br />

SurveyMe asked 3,783 moviegoers, representing<br />

116 U.S. drive-in movie theatres across 36 states<br />

11 questions about their drive-in movie theatre<br />

experience. This survey was conducted between<br />

December 2017 and January <strong>2018</strong>, and then analyzed<br />

by age and gender.<br />

This survey’s results may not be completely accurate<br />

for each drive-in, as they all have their own individual<br />

needs, but the methodology used for collecting the data<br />

is statistically sound and verifiable.<br />

Of the 3,783 respondents, 96% have visited a drivein<br />

and 84% visited within the last 12 months. 71% of<br />

respondents were female (31% between the ages of 31<br />

and 40) and their responses suggest they are the gender<br />

most likely to influence their friends and families’<br />

decision to go to the drive-in.<br />

Overall, the largest group of respondents at 30%<br />

were between the ages of 31 and 40, 27% of respondents<br />

were in the 41-50 age bracket and 23% of respondents<br />

can be defined as Millennials (18- to 30-year-olds).<br />

Overall, the average age for drive-in moviegoers<br />

tends to be older than hardtop movie theatres, but<br />

Millennials comprise a more significant age demographic<br />

at drive-ins than the Baby Boomer generation.<br />

While generational influence is crucial to drive-ins,<br />

social media and word of mouth are popular amongst<br />

Millennials. SurveyMe discovered that there are two<br />

demographics significant to the future of drive-in movie<br />

theatres: “Rockstar Memory-Makers” and “Millennial<br />

Memory-Makers.”<br />

A drive-in Rockstar Memory-Maker is a female<br />

between 35 and 45 and the strongest advocate for the<br />

future of drive-ins. The number-one reason Rockstar<br />

Memory-Makers state for going to the drive-in is “a<br />

family experience” and they are typically the decisionmakers<br />

determining whether their family will attend the<br />

drive-in.<br />

Still, Rockstar Memory-Makers want more value and<br />

flexibility within their family experience and they don’t<br />

hesitate to vocalize the changes they want made. 56%<br />

of suggestions regarding children’s play areas came<br />

from Rockstar Memory-Makers, 37% of all comments to<br />

ban smoking or smoke-free areas came from Rockstar<br />

Memory-Makers, and only 0.5% of Rockstar Memory-<br />

Makers suggested alcohol should be sold at drive-ins.<br />

Millennial Memory-Makers were the second most<br />

engaged feedback group and 41% made positive<br />

suggestions about how to improve their experience. This<br />

group is one of the most active on social media, and it’s<br />

no surprise that 58% purchase movie tickets online or<br />

via an app ahead of the movie showing. They also don’t<br />

mind spending money to get food items that interest<br />

them, spending 27% more at the concession area per<br />

visit (on average) than other age groups.<br />

Despite this, 10% of Millennials admit<br />

to wanting to bring their own food into<br />

the drive-in, although 14% of Millennials<br />

also want some form of car delivery at<br />

the drive-in. In other words, variety and<br />

personalization are important factors in their<br />

decision-making process.<br />

Qualitative evidence (seen through<br />

open-ended comment questions) implies<br />

drive-ins are a low-cost social experience for younger<br />

generations. To encourage this experience, drive-in<br />

owners should consider creating a safe social space for<br />

Millennials. Today’s Millennials will be the family drivein<br />

Memory-Makers within ten years.<br />

Here are some other key findings from the 11<br />

questions asked on the survey:<br />

The older you are, the more likely you are to<br />

have visited a drive-in and the more likely you are to<br />

recommend that experience to your social network; 99%<br />

of respondents over 51 have been to a drive-in, making<br />

them the influencers of future drive-in Memory-Makers.<br />

Overall, guests are 25.2 times more positive (scoring<br />

6-10) than negative (scoring 0-4) about visiting a<br />

drive-in—in fact, 72% of respondents said they were<br />

“extremely likely” (score of 10) to recommend visiting<br />

to a friend. This means both genders are equally<br />

evangelical about the drive-in experience within their<br />

social network.<br />

The data also shows that the average distance a<br />

drive-in moviegoer will travel is just over twice as far as<br />

the average travel distance to a hardtop (18.1 miles on<br />

average).<br />

Interestingly, Millennials will also travel more than<br />

twice as far for a drive-in experience (38.5 mile average)<br />

than to a hardtop theatre (16.3 mile average).<br />

This study found that the top five reasons to visit<br />

included: Family Experience, Nostalgia, Personal Space,<br />

Atmosphere, and Multiple Movie Viewings.<br />

Quite simply, the older you are the less pre-show<br />

advertising you want to see. As each demographic<br />

increases, the tolerance to pre-show advertising<br />

decreases by at least 30 seconds.<br />

The top five genres are:<br />

▶ Comedy (81%)—most popular with women (83%)<br />

▶ Action (76%)—most popular with men (86%)<br />

▶ Adventure (70%)<br />

▶ Family (68%)<br />

▶ Animation (62%)<br />

Fountain soda (84%) is the most popular beverage<br />

across genders and age demographics and bottled<br />

water (53-62%) is the second most popular choice, but<br />

iced tea (41%) is consistently purchased across all age<br />

demographics.<br />

Though 11% of male and 12% of female guests are<br />

happy with their current experience, over 2,500 ideas for<br />

improvement were presented (25% coming from the 31-40<br />

age demographic).<br />

Lee Evans<br />

MAY <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 117<br />

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“usually come from 50 miles away. And<br />

specifically in our Liberty Center location,<br />

it’s not unusual to have international<br />

folks”—visitors from Australia, Denmark<br />

and “all over the place” who want a taste of<br />

good, old-fashioned Americana.<br />

Your average moviegoer, per the<br />

MPAA, visits a hardtop theatre 3.4 times<br />

a year. SurveyMe found that that number<br />

among drive-in attendees jumps to five<br />

annual visits. Narrow the field to the key<br />

18-23 demographic, and it’s six. If you<br />

think those figures are impressive, know<br />

that they actually undersell the level of<br />

loyalty drive-in movie theatres typically see<br />

from their customers, since—as pointed<br />

out by the survey—many drive-ins are only<br />

open six months out of every 12.<br />

Through statistics, the reality of the<br />

modern drive-in landscape emerges. The<br />

drive-in is populated by loyal, passionate<br />

customers. It’s centered around community.<br />

The drive-in experience is not sitting down,<br />

shutting up and watching a picture. “It’s<br />

more of a group experience instead of an<br />

individual car experience now,” Rod says.<br />

“The chairs and the camping equipment<br />

that’s available now at very low prices<br />

have changed the drive-in. People get to<br />

our drive-in, they set up their little camp<br />

area for the night, and they’re ready to be<br />

entertained. Part of that entertainment<br />

is: Who are you going to meet, and who<br />

are you going to make friends with?<br />

Everybody’s there for the same reason and<br />

the same goal. If you’re a young family<br />

and you have little kids and they’re noisy,<br />

nobody’s upset about that. If you take them<br />

to an indoor [theatre], people get upset. At<br />

the drive-in, nobody cares.”<br />

“You’ll see people talk amongst their<br />

vehicles,” adds Donna. “They didn’t know<br />

each other before they got there. But<br />

by the end of the night, they’re got new<br />

friends, people who just happened to park<br />

next to them.”<br />

“It’s inexpensive, but not cheap,” says<br />

Rod; at the Field of Dreams theatres, it’s<br />

$25 per carload of people, plus an additional<br />

$5 if you want to bring your own food.<br />

(Individual prices are available as well.) “For<br />

$30, a family of five or six can come in and<br />

have a great time, from seven at night to<br />

two in the morning. There aren’t too many<br />

places that you can do that.”<br />

And it’s not just families with young<br />

kids that love the drive-in. Millennials,<br />

too, are among drive-in theatres’ most<br />

loyal customers; per SurveyMe’s findings,<br />

“qualitative evidence suggests that the<br />

drive-in is a popular low-cost social<br />

experience for younger generations.”<br />

Contrary to conventional opinion, the<br />

survey indicates that “Millennials comprise<br />

a more significant age demographic at<br />

drive-ins than Baby Boomers.”<br />

Millennials “are coming because the<br />

online social capital that they’re so busy<br />

building is driven by the excitement and<br />

the entertainment and the experiential<br />

value they get” from drive-in theatres’ more<br />

social-oriented atmosphere, Evans explains.<br />

“You’ve got a group of Millennials who are<br />

passionate about these experiences. They<br />

absolutely love it. It’s unique.”<br />

Though many erroneously associate<br />

drive-ins with the past, much of what<br />

moviegoers love about them is reflective<br />

of the issues that the exhibition industry<br />

as a whole is dealing with today. The<br />

communal atmosphere of the drive-in<br />

echoes that which the ever-more-popular<br />

realm of event cinema strives to achieve.<br />

As indoor movie theatres struggle with if/<br />

how to allow to phones and social media,<br />

drive-ins take advantage of the fact that<br />

younger generations find the drive-in<br />

experience inherently more #hashtaggable<br />

and #FOMO-inducing (that’s “Fear Of<br />

Missing Out” in Insta-slang) than its<br />

hardtop counterpart.<br />

And the owners of drive-in cinemas,<br />

Evans explains, are a nimble bunch who<br />

“listen and take action” based on the desires<br />

of customers. At the Field of Dreams, that<br />

translates to their own version of reserved<br />

seating (you can pay $10 to claim a spot<br />

in advance, enabling you to roll up in your<br />

packed minivan at the last moment) and<br />

the seat-side (well, car-side) delivery of<br />

pizza. When summer rolls around, ice<br />

cream is getting added to the menu.<br />

That results in high customer<br />

commitment, shown in the average drivein<br />

Net Promoter Score—reflecting how<br />

likely a customer is to recommend a<br />

business to others—of 9.3 out of ten. “The<br />

only company I’ve ever seen with that high<br />

of a Net Promoter Score is Apple at its<br />

height. It’s because [owners] listen to their<br />

guests that the guests are so committed<br />

and engaged and return more frequently<br />

than they do to a hardtop.” Donna<br />

estimates, based on Field of Dreams’<br />

loyalty program, that around 20 percent<br />

of their visitors are regular customers who<br />

“come back on a monthly basis. A much<br />

smaller percentage are even more regular<br />

than that, coming two or three times a<br />

month.”<br />

People still love drive-in theatres.<br />

They always have, despite their decreasing<br />

numbers over the years. Evans argues<br />

that the closing of drive-ins has less to do<br />

with audience apathy than “the financial<br />

angle,” specifically regarding tax money—a<br />

big-box store is going to bring in more<br />

taxes than a drive-in theatre on the same<br />

plot of land. The drive-in that Donna and<br />

Rod Saunders went to when then were<br />

growing up, Rod recalls, closed because, as<br />

the nearby town grew, “it was harder and<br />

harder [for] them to operate with all the<br />

lights and noise pollution.” Nowadays, the<br />

drive-in world has gotten more niche—<br />

but, conversely, more accessible in some<br />

ways, given the increased availability of<br />

affordable sound and digital projection<br />

equipment. “Drive-ins are known for not<br />

having the best equipment, but still putting<br />

up a good picture,” Rod says. “As the price<br />

comes down on equipment, I think you’ll<br />

start seeing [more] drive-ins pop up.”<br />

Rod and Donna’s experience—and the<br />

information laid out by SurveyMe—reveal<br />

a beloved bit of American culture that<br />

belongs to the present and the future, not<br />

just the past. “The drive-in industry is not<br />

dying. It doesn’t have as big of a footprint<br />

as it did in its heyday, but they’re alive and<br />

doing well,” Rod asserts. “If you get out to<br />

one, you’re going to have a great time. It’s<br />

awful hard not to have a good time at a<br />

drive-in. You gotta be one miserable type<br />

of person not to have fun. That’s the point<br />

that really needs to be made.” <br />

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Exhibitor Alliance Aims to Preserve the Cinema Experience<br />

by Andreas Fuchs<br />

As the exhibition industry becomes<br />

ever more global—as evidenced<br />

in this month’s CinemaCon <strong>2018</strong><br />

coverage—we must not forget that all business<br />

is local. And that there is probably no<br />

other segment of this industry that knows<br />

their respective moviegoing markets better<br />

than the independent theatre owner and<br />

operator.<br />

Randy Hester, president and chief executive<br />

officer of Hometown Cinemas (www.<br />

hometowncinemas.com), is one of those<br />

exhibitors, and he’s joined the Independent<br />

Cinema Alliance, a new advocacy group<br />

(ICA, www.cinemaalliance.org). “We give<br />

independents a voice they otherwise lack on<br />

industry issues,” Hester says of the mission,<br />

also naming “developments that threaten<br />

the survival of independents and the overall<br />

health of the motion picture industry,”<br />

such as PVOD and otherwise shrinking<br />

windows. “We are all about representing the<br />

independent and small-town theatre owner.<br />

All of us have our unique points of view and<br />

we never had a voice. Hundreds of companies<br />

on their own are much less likely to get<br />

the attention of studios and other industry<br />

stakeholders. The ICA gives a voice to independents<br />

they otherwise would not have.<br />

And it is a much more efficient way for<br />

them to get their concerns actually heard.”<br />

<strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International is pleased to<br />

present this exclusive conversation during<br />

the early days and weeks of the Independent<br />

Cinema Alliance, ahead of meetings<br />

and further announcements scheduled at<br />

CinemaCon. The organization is still refining<br />

its goals and structure. “We are in the<br />

process of forming our board, going through<br />

the actual corporate formation,” Hester explains,<br />

pointing out a unique opportunity to<br />

help shape a new organization. The Alliance<br />

is currently managed by a task force of likeminded<br />

exhibitors including Bill Campbell<br />

(Orpheum Theatre, Sheldon, Wyoming),<br />

Byron Berkley (www.foothillsentertainment.com),<br />

Jeff Benson (www.<br />

cinergy.com), Gina DiSanto<br />

(www.pearltheatres.com) and Joe<br />

Paletta (www.spotlighttheatres.<br />

com), all of whom volunteer their<br />

time and expertise. In addition, the<br />

ICA also counts on the support of<br />

a steering committee, Hester says,<br />

comprised of ten independent exhibitors<br />

“who provide the task force with direction<br />

and guidance on issues of concern.”<br />

“Independent theatre owners know one<br />

another very well,” Hester notes, giving<br />

credit to Bill Campbell as their leader. “He<br />

has a lot of experience in general industry<br />

issues and helping to get things done. Bill<br />

realized that there was a need for this kind<br />

of group. Small theatre owners like myself<br />

looked at this and agreed, ‘You’re absolutely<br />

right, we need a voice, and this is a terrific<br />

way to have one.’”<br />

How is this approach different from<br />

committees that are already part of our<br />

industry organization, such as NATO?<br />

“Those are important and effective voices,”<br />

Hester acknowledges. “NATO does great,<br />

great work, and we do exist alongside their<br />

advocacy on behalf of our industry. ICA is<br />

not part of NATO. Our purpose is a little<br />

bit different, and we only represent a small<br />

segment of the industry, whereas NATO’s<br />

combined membership represents over 90<br />

percent of box-office market share,” he estimates.<br />

“So, they cast a vastly wider net than<br />

we do in terms of membership. We are more<br />

of a niche, and we can focus on just the issues<br />

that our members feel to be important. The<br />

issues that independents face can sometimes<br />

be different from the bigger companies. Like<br />

availability of prints, for example. Because of<br />

our size, smaller theatres can get overlooked.<br />

So, we needed a voice that could talk about<br />

those kinds of specific issues. In addition,<br />

unlike NATO, the ICA will not conduct any<br />

lobbying efforts.”<br />

At press time, ICA had about 110<br />

companies onboard, operating some 1,200<br />

screens—from single auditoriums in small<br />

Randy Hester<br />

towns to multiplexes in larger<br />

cities, with some members operating<br />

just one theatre and others<br />

managing multiple locations.<br />

They are located across 35 of the<br />

United States and in two Canadian<br />

provinces and represent a domestic<br />

box-office market share of roughly<br />

20 percent. “The point of ICA is to show<br />

that combined, this is a significant part of<br />

the industry,” Hester adds. “We need to<br />

speak with one voice rather than be fragmented<br />

among hundreds of companies that<br />

represent thousands of screens. This is a<br />

much more efficient way to communicate<br />

going in both directions.”<br />

Heading into Las Vegas, “We are going<br />

to have a presence at CinemaCon to<br />

answer questions and listen to what our<br />

members want,” Hester assures. “We want<br />

to hear from them about what is important<br />

to them. Owning theatres is their livelihood,<br />

and it takes on a much higher level<br />

of importance. Sometimes they do not have<br />

access to the studios, or they feel uncomfortable<br />

calling them on their own with<br />

questions or suggestions or complaints. That<br />

is why the Independent Cinema Alliance is<br />

here. If we do not hear from our members,<br />

then we are not of much good.”<br />

With an anticipated not-for-profit<br />

status and a membership that is free at this<br />

time, the Independent Cinema Alliance<br />

will be doing much good, for sure. “We are<br />

asking for and have received financial contributions<br />

to help offset costs. We are really<br />

pleased with the response,” Hester gratefully<br />

acknowledges, “and with the progress<br />

that the Alliance has made so far.” Hester<br />

encourages everyone to sign up and become<br />

a member, bringing their indie best to the<br />

exhibition-distribution table. “Nobody<br />

knows their market better than the local<br />

theatre owner. I absolutely believe we can<br />

bring forward good ideas, because all of us<br />

are on the front line with the customers. At<br />

the end of the day, our customers matter<br />

the most.”<br />

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changing<br />

with thetimes<br />

Alan Roe and JACRO<br />

Continue to Serve Cinemas’ Needs<br />

by Rob Rinderman<br />

JACRO (aka Jack Roe Companies) bills<br />

itself as a global cinema IT company<br />

with a primary focus on managing five<br />

sub-sectors: PoS (Point of Sale), digital<br />

signage, mobile apps, phone systems and<br />

websites.<br />

According to CEO Alan Roe, the “PoS”<br />

label is misleading, as it’s too narrow a<br />

definition for an overall area that is the key<br />

driver of the company’s multigenerational<br />

success. “It’s what the systems started out as,<br />

not what they are today,” he notes.<br />

“All the ‘PoS companies’ have written<br />

so much more than a point-of-sale<br />

system. Time clock, inventory, gift cards,<br />

loyalty system, purchase ordering, payroll…the<br />

list goes on.<br />

“Now our Analytics services are becoming<br />

so extensive that we’re wondering if it’s<br />

worth offering those also as a bolt-on product.<br />

I had no particular appetite to get into<br />

the market, but if we get attacked, then we<br />

have to react.”<br />

Comprehensive<br />

PoS solutions<br />

For JACRO, its cinema PoS system is<br />

the main source of the data that facilitates<br />

interoperability and cross-functionality. It is<br />

best and most powerful when customers deploy<br />

PoS alongside the IT provider’s other<br />

products. This is for a couple of reasons.<br />

According to Roe, “The first is convenience.<br />

Customers can quickly move between<br />

scheduling their performances, then push out<br />

a notification to their mobile app users, and<br />

finally reschedule the trailers in their lobbies.<br />

“Cinema managers are so busy that we<br />

feel it’s little time savings like this that help<br />

our customers to leave their desks clean<br />

and on time—a few minutes saved in not<br />

needing to re-enter data and a minute or<br />

two saved by not needing to switch between<br />

programs adds up, and that’s a huge part of<br />

our proposition.<br />

“The second reason is data<br />

accessibility. If we’ve written<br />

something for ticketing, then the<br />

data is immediately available for the<br />

other features. It’s live too. So there’s no<br />

API, no integration costs, no integration<br />

delay, no one-hour lag, and no confusion of<br />

what fields/data mean.”<br />

JACRO also has customers who utilize<br />

its bolt-on modules as standalone products,<br />

often using them in tandem with one or<br />

more products of a competitor, but Roe is<br />

fine with that scenario. “I feel that we’re<br />

competitive, but we’re not aggressive. If<br />

a cinema is happy with their product, we<br />

don’t phone them every week trying to<br />

catch them on a bad day.<br />

“I’m pleased that they’re happy, even<br />

if it’s with a competitor’s product. We see<br />

it as a big pie that everyone can enjoy. Just<br />

last week I recommended a competitor’s<br />

product because of the way that the conversation<br />

was going. We’re a good fit for<br />

cinemas that ‘get’ the complete package<br />

that we’re able to provide.”<br />

Overseas coverage<br />

JACRO has an international footprint,<br />

with its two strongest markets where they<br />

have established offices, in the U.S. (Nashville,<br />

TN) and Europe (Ross-on-Wye,<br />

U.K.). In some cases, they service just a<br />

single location in a country, but that can<br />

sometimes be more trouble than it’s worth.<br />

“One country that we recently moved<br />

into has a special tax printer that is controlled<br />

by the government,” he says. “Although at<br />

first it sounded like a small change, it took<br />

weeks of development to fulfill all of the<br />

government requirements. But now that the<br />

work is done, we’re the natural choice for any<br />

new cinemas in that country.”<br />

Sometimes accessibility to customers can<br />

also be a challenge, even in countries where<br />

its offices are based. In the U.S., they have<br />

one customer that it takes three flights to<br />

Alan Roe, great-grandson<br />

of JACRO's founder,<br />

and an early company ad.<br />

reach, and in the U.K. the slow<br />

roads around some parts of the<br />

country can mean that it’s quicker<br />

to fly to a customer located abroad<br />

than to drive to one in the same country.<br />

But, with modern communications and<br />

cutting-edge technology, updates and troubleshooting<br />

a customer on the other side of<br />

the planet can often be done remotely and<br />

considerably faster than in-person.<br />

Evolving family business<br />

Alan Roe, great-grandson of the company’s<br />

founder, is at the helm today of this<br />

multigenerational organization. “It’s not been<br />

without its challenges,” he admits. “When<br />

my parents, Brian and Juliet, became involved<br />

in the family business, they were several years<br />

older than I was when I came on full-time.<br />

They brought with them much more experience.<br />

It was actually my mum’s background<br />

in computers that led us to starting a computer<br />

division, originally unrelated to cinema,<br />

in 1982. We still have most of those customers,<br />

35 years later. For me, the timing didn’t<br />

work like that—the opportunity came much<br />

sooner, and it wasn’t something that could<br />

be postponed. So, it’s been a lot of mistakes,<br />

a lot of late nights and that’s taken its toll on<br />

my personal life too.”<br />

There is a constant need to reinvent<br />

the company and its products and that can<br />

prove tiring, Roe confides. “One point of<br />

encouragement for me has been to look<br />

back at the change that has happened in the<br />

past,” he says. The company has reinvented<br />

itself over the decades, and he believes that<br />

despite all the changes, things aren’t all that<br />

different now from how they always have<br />

been for the organization.<br />

“For years, reselling carbons was our<br />

primary source of income. In the late 1940s/<br />

early 1950s we focused on reconditioning<br />

spools and other equipment because of<br />

metal shortages,” Roe recounts. “I’m told<br />

that my grandfather, Ron, was able to take<br />

122 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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spools and carefully restore them back into<br />

pristine condition, using skills similar to a<br />

panel beater on a car.”<br />

The company eventually commenced<br />

manufacturing splicing tape and this took<br />

over as its primary source of income for<br />

over a decade. Since Roe does not have any<br />

children or heirs to potentially turn the<br />

family business over to down the road, he is<br />

considering buying subscriptions to various<br />

business journals to get his nephews started<br />

at any early age. “They’re only two and four,<br />

though, so maybe there’s an audio version.”<br />

Digital transition<br />

and transformation<br />

“Beyond a doubt, the biggest change<br />

that I have seen so far is from 35mm to<br />

digital,” Roe says. “At one time, 35mm supplies<br />

were not just the bread but the bloodline<br />

of our company. There’s some left, but<br />

it’s just as a peripheral business now.”<br />

During the industry’s digital metamorphosis,<br />

first the console manufacturers<br />

were affected, as things became more<br />

competitive because of a slump in projector<br />

sales; then the projector manufacturers,<br />

as complete machines were stripped for<br />

parts, and finally the supplies business was<br />

impacted. Cinemas needed supplies right<br />

up until their final 35mm show, which kept<br />

JACRO in the game.<br />

As Roe came onboard in 2005, it was<br />

the start of a chain of analog/35mm market<br />

destruction at the core of the exhibition<br />

business, and fortunately it was the tail end<br />

of that downward trend.<br />

“I guess it was classic good news, bad<br />

news,” he recalls. “The death warrant was<br />

being signed for our core business, but we<br />

were put to the bottom of the pile. We<br />

could see it happening from the sidelines,<br />

but more like in slow motion. It was a huge<br />

amount of work transitioning into purely an<br />

IT business, but we had plenty of notice and<br />

a strong IT product and PoS installation<br />

base to begin with.”<br />

CinemaCon preview<br />

“We are always debuting something<br />

new at CinemaCon,” Roe declares.<br />

“Sometimes it’s a harebrained scheme that<br />

amounts to nothing. I remember once (under<br />

my misdirection) we spent considerable<br />

investment on projectorparts.com, a central<br />

repository of parts information from where<br />

cinema dealers could easily upload lists of<br />

wonderful and weird projector parts.”<br />

Aside from a few really strange inquiries<br />

where the team dug parts from<br />

the corners of remote warehouses around<br />

the U.S. and sent them off to Asia, it all<br />

amounted to nothing for the company.<br />

“Just a total waste of time and money,” according<br />

to Roe. “But that’s part of the fun<br />

of it. In the same way that a cinema looks<br />

at the release schedule, wondering where<br />

the box-office gold is hidden in the year<br />

ahead, for us it is products and features.”<br />

At CinemaCon last year, JACRO<br />

launched internetticketing.com, the online<br />

portal for its ticketing system, TaPoS. Says<br />

Roe, “I’ve never launched a product with<br />

such a positive response before. It was overwhelming,<br />

and that was very encouraging.<br />

It’s been under rapid development ever<br />

since, now incorporating our digital signage,<br />

mobile app integration, etc.”<br />

Imitation is often a form of flattery, and<br />

JACRO has witnessed major competitors<br />

launching their own equivalents, but Roe<br />

remains focused on remaining ahead of the<br />

pack. At this year’s Caesars Palace tradeshow,<br />

they will be launching some major<br />

new features for internetticketing.com.<br />

In his view, “lots of cinema websites<br />

aren’t very good, and they take too long to<br />

maintain. That can hurt a cinema’s business.”<br />

JACRO aims to save them time and<br />

money, while also helping increase the flow<br />

of customers. “But then I know that my<br />

competitors are reading this, so is that really<br />

the horse that our money is on, or is it the<br />

one that we put in the race as a distraction?<br />

Again, that’s where the fun is. This isn’t<br />

business really, it’s poker,” he adds coyly.<br />

Looking forward,<br />

ahead of the curve…<br />

There’s only one guarantee, and that’s<br />

that it will change. “For this I will refer to<br />

my grandfather [ Jack’s son], or more specifically<br />

a radio interview that he did in the<br />

1970s,” says Roe, “about a decade before the<br />

first real multiplex.”<br />

He said, “In the next ten years there will<br />

be small video cinemas, instead of projected<br />

film, the big screen will be operated by video,<br />

a fairly big screen in a small cinema. I envisage<br />

a rather small plush cinema with perhaps<br />

not the normal cinema seats in rows, displays<br />

about a hundred feet, displays here there and<br />

everywhere and perhaps a small bar at the<br />

back where they can have a drink.<br />

“Even television in years to come, the<br />

actors will actually be on your carpet. You’ll<br />

either walk around them or walk through<br />

them. The trouble at the moment is the<br />

product. We haven’t got the product at the<br />

moment. When films like Grease and Saturday<br />

Night Fever came out, I noticed a big<br />

uptake in business.”<br />

“That’s a nice summary of the current<br />

trends and cyclical nature of the cinema<br />

industry, recorded over 40 years ago,” says<br />

Roe. “It’s a reminder also that it’s the story<br />

and production that sells the event. Everyone<br />

knows that the computer-game industry is<br />

huge. What have they developed even more<br />

than their graphics capabilities over the past<br />

decades? The stories behind the games. The<br />

plots. I’d much rather see a classic movie in a<br />

fleapit than a bad one with great tech. We’re<br />

seeing much more diversity in cinemas too—<br />

small VIP screens and also megalithic PLF<br />

screens. Gaming arcades attached to movie<br />

theatres and now of course VR. I think that<br />

increasingly ‘cinema’ will become a broader<br />

term that encompasses lots more variation.”<br />

For a tech company like Jack Roe, this<br />

can only mean more opportunities. They<br />

will need to remain alert to both their ideas<br />

and those of the industry, and to help facilitate<br />

operations for cinema owners. “For<br />

example, we have already developed and<br />

deployed a complete module for play areas<br />

and VR so that users can buy blocks of time<br />

in a shared experience. (<strong>May</strong>be that’s really<br />

the horse our money’s on at CinemaCon.)”<br />

20/20 hindsight<br />

We asked Roe if there is anything he<br />

would do differently if he had the chance,<br />

knowing all he does now and with the benefit<br />

of years of cinema industry experience<br />

under his belt.<br />

“Yes. Trying to run a business without<br />

any experience or formal training might be<br />

bold, but not very smart. It turns out that<br />

a physics degree has very little relevance to<br />

running a business.<br />

“I looked at starting an MBA around<br />

2008 but decided that I was too busy at<br />

the time. Finally, I started it in 2016 and<br />

can only say that it should have been ten<br />

years sooner. I learned things the long, hard<br />

and expensive way—from experience, and<br />

I wouldn’t do that again or recommend it.<br />

There’s no sense trying to reinvent 21stcentury<br />

business management from scratch.<br />

“It’s much better to combine knowledge<br />

and experience with that of others, from<br />

books, teachers and others in the industry,<br />

and I was very slow to learn that. I’m less<br />

the enthusiastic overachiever now who<br />

drinks coffee all night trying to do everything<br />

(sometimes not very well…sleep is<br />

actually quite useful) and more the guy who<br />

takes time out for kombucha and yoga and<br />

tries to identify what we shouldn’t be doing<br />

so that we can do what we do very well.<br />

“Above all, I reach out to others for help<br />

more. I have some great colleagues who are<br />

as much a part of this company as I am. Certainly,<br />

we achieve things together that I could<br />

never come close to achieving by myself.” <br />

124 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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We’ve<br />

Got It<br />

Covered!<br />

theprice<br />

of success<br />

New Models Are Shaking Up<br />

the Movie Theatre Business<br />

by Sonny Waheed,<br />

Chief Marketing Officer, Arts Alliance Media<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 />

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Follow us on Twitter<br />

@film_journal<br />

for updates on our latest content<br />

Businesses the world over carve out<br />

their own niches by playing around<br />

with the four P’s of Marketing. They<br />

differentiate themselves from their competition<br />

by tweaking any of: their core Product,<br />

their distribution/availability (Place), how<br />

they Promote their brand and messaging<br />

and, of course, their Pricing strategy.<br />

Pricing has typically not been used<br />

as much of a differentiator amongst exhibitors.<br />

Most cinema operators within<br />

a market price themselves comparably to<br />

their competitors and only offer variance<br />

through loyalty schemes, special offers or<br />

seating/3D/PLF upgrades. Even then, the<br />

same off-peak offers can usually be found at<br />

cinemas across an area. The main ways audiences<br />

have chosen between cinemas in the<br />

past has been a result of their Place (location<br />

and film times) and Product (Is there a<br />

bar or just popcorn? Are there comfortable<br />

recliners or worn seats? Are they hosting an<br />

indie with a Q&A session, or are they playing<br />

the latest blockbuster?).<br />

However, this is now changing. Exhibitors<br />

have started to play around with their<br />

commercial models to drive increased loyalty,<br />

visits and revenue. Dynamic pricing encourages<br />

lucrative behavior like pre-booking<br />

tickets, “all-you-can-watch” memberships<br />

cater to a thrifty generation of cord-cutters<br />

who are used to paying regular entertainment<br />

subscriptions, and affordable family-friendly<br />

screenings are helping to fill otherwise empty<br />

auditoriums during the day.<br />

Pricing is becoming a key weapon in<br />

securing customers, and may yet prove to<br />

be the best way to harvest and make use of<br />

customer data.<br />

And as we’re seeing more and more in<br />

the news, data is all-powerful. Whoever<br />

“owns” the customer owns their data, and<br />

that can be hugely profitable as an internal<br />

resource as well as a resalable asset. Cinemas<br />

with loyalty or subscription services will<br />

find that the power of the data they capture<br />

is essential for their long-term success.<br />

But as exhibitors start proving the viability<br />

of new pricing models and implementing<br />

new services to keep customers coming<br />

back, they find themselves under threat from<br />

businesses whose primary focus is on the<br />

data, and not the customer. Entrants from<br />

completely outside the industry are inciting<br />

a value war on them and, for now at least,<br />

can use pricing more effectively to attract<br />

audiences and entice studios with the lure of<br />

better demographic and behavior data.<br />

In China, third-party online ticket<br />

providers regularly sell tickets significantly<br />

cheaper than cinemas do, and they now have<br />

the majority of the market share. In the U.S.,<br />

MoviePass is happy to lose money day after<br />

day, because cinemagoers are now their customers,<br />

and not exhibitors’. And this month,<br />

the same model is trying to establish itself in<br />

the U.K. with the launch of C-Pass.<br />

With third-party companies muscling<br />

in on the sale of tickets, the perceived value<br />

of tickets could also be slowly eroded. Today,<br />

most cinemagoers think that a trip to the<br />

cinema is worth, say, $10. But in the new<br />

models, $10 is a whole month’s worth of cinema<br />

visits. The longer this model is available,<br />

the harder it will be to persuade customers to<br />

spend $10 to see a single film again.<br />

Whether these newcomers to cinema<br />

ticketing and their pricing models are sustainable<br />

in the long term is another matter<br />

altogether. But what is certain is that pricing<br />

is now a significant strategic tactic, and<br />

exhibitors are no longer simply competing<br />

amongst themselves.<br />

So take heed: You are no longer profiting<br />

fully from your customers if the only<br />

thing you obtain from transactions is their<br />

money. Their data could be just as valuable,<br />

if not more so. <br />

126 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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how long will your<br />

projector<br />

last?<br />

Ensuring Your Technology<br />

Is Reliable and Up-to-Date<br />

by Jeff Kaplan<br />

Keeping projectors and other cinema<br />

equipment up and running is a primary<br />

concern for exhibitors. If you<br />

own a Series 1 or an early Series 2 projector,<br />

you may already be facing worrisome<br />

cost-of-ownership issues, including more<br />

frequent breakdowns, longer downtime<br />

and rising maintenance costs. Even worse,<br />

manufacturers may no longer support your<br />

equipment—or may soon stop supporting<br />

it—making replacement parts expensive or<br />

even unavailable.<br />

No matter what type of projection<br />

equipment you own, it’s wise to periodically<br />

evaluate whether your current technology<br />

is approaching the end of its useful<br />

life. Here are some suggestions on how to<br />

approach this essential assessment.<br />

What are the risks?<br />

All exhibitors seek to keep theatres<br />

full to maximize ticket sales, concession<br />

profits and other revenue streams. The risk<br />

of a projector system breakdown becomes<br />

greater as the equipment ages. Any time<br />

that a computer board or some other part<br />

goes bad, it presents a problem for exhibitors,<br />

but a failure may happen at a particularly<br />

inopportune time, such as during the<br />

run of a summer or holiday blockbuster.<br />

A dark screen will quickly eat into your<br />

profits.<br />

The temptations<br />

It’s a common—and natural—impulse<br />

for a business to postpone or sidestep a<br />

large capital expenditure. For exhibitors,<br />

it’s tempting to delay the purchase of a<br />

new projector. Your current projectors are<br />

still working, and you’ve been able to still<br />

keep them running so far. Or perhaps<br />

you’re hoping the price of new projectors<br />

will drop if you wait just a little longer, or<br />

maybe it seems sensible to wait for 6P and<br />

Direct LED technologies that are now<br />

on the horizon. The drawback with these<br />

temptations is that you’ll still need to carry<br />

on your business with aging equipment<br />

until the “right” time comes along.<br />

Along the same lines, it may be appealing<br />

to buy used equipment. Similar to buying<br />

a used car or computer, this temptation<br />

also has a downside. A used projector may<br />

work fine in the short run, but you’re buying<br />

older technology and placing yourself<br />

farther along the maintenance cost curve.<br />

You’ll soon face the same high repair costs<br />

and breakdown risks that you’re dealing<br />

with now.<br />

When counting on these types of shortterm<br />

solutions, the key factor to consider is<br />

your level of confidence that your current<br />

projector will reliably bridge the gap until<br />

you’re ready to buy a new projector. Some<br />

exhibitors fall into the trap of delaying until<br />

a projector breaks down for good.<br />

What’s the secret formula?<br />

Unfortunately, there’s really no secret<br />

formula. Each exhibitor’s circumstances are<br />

unique. You’ll have to make a basic assessment<br />

of your current equipment and take a<br />

close look at the suitability of new technology<br />

at the time you make your assessment.<br />

The basic calculus is: If you have a Series 1<br />

or an early Series 2 projector and it’s been<br />

in use for 30,000 hours or more, consider<br />

whether the maintenance costs and risks of<br />

lost revenue due to downtime exceed the<br />

cost of a new projector.<br />

An example<br />

Let’s say your average concession<br />

revenue per patron is $4.75. During the<br />

week, if you average ten tickets sold per<br />

show, five shows per day in an eight-screen<br />

theatre, your daily concession revenue is<br />

$1,900. Subtracting payroll, concession<br />

inventory and other costs, so far you may<br />

be in the red for the week. But the new release<br />

for Friday night promises to fill your<br />

auditoriums with 200-plus patrons each.<br />

The expected weekend revenues could put<br />

you comfortably back in the black.<br />

Then an older projector breaks down.<br />

No ticket sales that weekend in that auditorium<br />

could cost you thousands of dollars<br />

in lost revenues that you’ll never recoup.<br />

And you still have to pay your employees,<br />

mortgage or rent, and other expenses. Remember,<br />

regardless of how wonderful your<br />

concession design and food variety are as<br />

enticements, your customers don’t come<br />

to your theatre to eat the popcorn. If the<br />

movie isn’t playing, they won’t be there to<br />

buy the popcorn.<br />

The bottom line<br />

At the end of the day, your projectors<br />

are an essential part of your business.<br />

Without them, you can’t drive ticket sales<br />

and other revenue. You’ll have to replace a<br />

projector at some point, and that day may<br />

come sooner than you hope. But you can’t<br />

be afraid of making a decision.<br />

When replacing your aging cinema<br />

projector, the best approach is to be in<br />

control. Addressing the replacement issue<br />

early will give you the time you need to research<br />

the best solution for your theatre, to<br />

ensure that the model you want is in stock<br />

and to negotiate the best price possible.<br />

The alternative—when your projector stops<br />

working and you need to get back onscreen<br />

immediately—is to find whatever model is<br />

available at whatever price.<br />

Jeff Kaplan, National Account Manager,<br />

Digital Cinema, at NEC Display Solutions<br />

has more than 15 years of experience in the<br />

digital cinema field, beginning at Texas Instruments<br />

in the DLP marketing division<br />

and currently with NEC Display Solutions<br />

selling digital cinema projectors and display<br />

technology.<br />

128 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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a<br />

significant<br />

event<br />

ECA Founder Melissa Cogavin<br />

Looks Back on Six Years of Growth<br />

Melissa Cogavin is stepping<br />

down as managing director<br />

of the London-based Event<br />

Cinema Association, an<br />

organization for alternativecontent<br />

presenters and<br />

providers she founded<br />

in 2012. In this exclusive<br />

interview, she looks back<br />

on six years of remarkable<br />

growth of special attractions<br />

in the cinema space.<br />

<strong>Film</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> International: What was<br />

it that motivated you to set up the ECA in<br />

2012?<br />

Melissa Cogavin: I was consulting for<br />

a variety of clients all in the event cinema<br />

space—then called alternative content—<br />

and we were all working so hard to<br />

promote the events in cinemas, get tickets<br />

sold, etc. I saw that a central information<br />

resource was necessary to provide that<br />

industry credibility, cohesion amongst<br />

providers, a community space for people<br />

to gather, and crucially the branding<br />

essential to allow audiences to ask for<br />

event cinema by name, which at that point<br />

was completely lacking.<br />

FJI: What was the industry reception<br />

to your idea at the time and how did you<br />

convince people to join?<br />

MC: I knew I had made the<br />

right decision in doing this by the<br />

overwhelmingly warm reception I had<br />

amongst people I approached to be<br />

founder board members. Some only<br />

wanted to join the Association if they<br />

could be on the board, so I could see I was<br />

onto something. Selling membership after<br />

that was a challenge in some respects,<br />

as the industry was very young and the<br />

ECA had no track record, but the need<br />

for what I was offering was so obvious<br />

that people took a leap of faith and we<br />

grew fast. My experience consulting for<br />

distributors had given me clear insight<br />

into the information and activities that<br />

were needed to help grow the sector.<br />

FJI: What are you most proud of and<br />

what would you do differently if you had your<br />

time again?<br />

MC: I am very proud of how quickly<br />

we established ourselves and became the<br />

go-to resource for the sector given our<br />

nil capital injection at the start, and the<br />

industry support we received. I am proud<br />

of the events we hosted all over the world,<br />

including the ECA Conference and<br />

Awards, which were always met with such<br />

enthusiasm from members—time and<br />

time again we were told the networking<br />

opportunities we offered made the membership<br />

completely worthwhile. I am very<br />

proud of the Technical Delivery Handbook<br />

and the industry reports, which gave<br />

credibility to an industry that at that point<br />

had few tangible statistics and official<br />

best-practice recommendations to back up<br />

the passion of its creators. I’m also proud<br />

of the network I believe the ECA has<br />

done much to help grow internationally.<br />

I have been told that the ECA has been<br />

widely credited with raising the profile of<br />

event cinema and I am very proud of that.<br />

FJI: What have you learned in the last<br />

six years?<br />

MC: Running your own business<br />

means you have to be good at so many<br />

things and be able to do a lot of varied<br />

roles at the same time. I was chairing<br />

board meetings and committees, writing<br />

articles, talking to the press, handling<br />

the marketing and the website, tweeting,<br />

organizing events, selling membership,<br />

raising sponsorship, maintaining<br />

membership, managing staff and<br />

overseeing the accounts—all in a day’s<br />

work.<br />

FJI: What have you enjoyed the most<br />

about running the ECA?<br />

MC: I love the industry. I love the<br />

people. It’s a very approachable industry<br />

populated by small companies and startups,<br />

so it’s a very warm space. I have made<br />

a lot of friends in the last six years.<br />

FJI: What are you looking forward to<br />

most in your new consulting role post-ECA?<br />

MC: I have so many new skills now—I<br />

feel much more rounded as a professional.<br />

So I am looking forward to applying what<br />

I know and who I know to benefit my<br />

clients on a more one-to-one basis. <br />

130 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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Magazine <strong>Film</strong> journal_avril <strong>2018</strong> 8″½ X 10 7/8

Rating<br />

Is the Review Aggregate Site<br />

Getting a Fair Appraisal?<br />

by Kevin Hong<br />

As consumers, we rely on ratings<br />

and reviews to discern whether<br />

the purchase of a product or<br />

service is worth our hard-earned dollars.<br />

I cannot imagine buying a book on<br />

Amazon or going to a restaurant that I<br />

located on Yelp without inspecting its<br />

reviews. Movies are no different. Before<br />

watching a film at the theatre or even on<br />

Netflix, Rotten Tomatoes has been my<br />

trusted adviser for years.<br />

Thus, when numerous articles<br />

blaming Rotten Tomatoes for poor boxoffice<br />

numbers surfaced on the web last<br />

fall after Hollywood’s worst summer in<br />

20 years, without hesitation I jumped<br />

on the bandwagon. Last September, The<br />

New York Times published an article,<br />

“Attacked by Rotten Tomatoes,” citing<br />

key Hollywood executives’ hostility<br />

towards the movie-rating website.<br />

According to the piece, a CEO at a<br />

major movie studio made it his personal<br />

mission to destroy the movie-rating site.<br />

Not too long after, in October, legendary<br />

film director Martin Scorsese wrote<br />

an article for The Hollywood Reporter<br />

complaining that film-review aggregators<br />

such as Rotten Tomatoes “rate a<br />

picture the way you’d rate a horse at the<br />

racetrack, a restaurant in a Zagat’s guide<br />

or a household appliance in Consumer<br />

Reports.” He added, “These firms and<br />

aggregators have set a tone that is hostile<br />

to serious filmmakers—even the actual<br />

name Rotten Tomatoes is insulting.”<br />

At first, I was convinced by these<br />

arguments. But wait a second…<br />

Rotten Tomatoes is owned by<br />

Fandango Media, which is 70% owned<br />

by NBCUniversal and 30% owned by<br />

Time Warner. So the very executives<br />

who are criticizing the site work for<br />

companies that own it. Which made<br />

me wonder: Why would Hollywood<br />

have a site that would shoot itself in<br />

the foot? And can Rotten Tomatoes be<br />

solely blamed for the poor performance<br />

of movies? How much of this sentiment<br />

is solely anecdotal? Besides, just as a<br />

parent would never give up on her child,<br />

it’s hard to imagine an executive ever<br />

admitting that her film was bad. Thus,<br />

Rotten Tomatoes becomes the perfect<br />

scapegoat for a Hollywood bomb.<br />

If only we actually had data to see<br />

if there is any correlation between<br />

Rotten Tomatoes ratings and box-office<br />

numbers, wouldn’t that be great? Lucky<br />

for us, that data exists. A few months<br />

ago, Yves Bergquist, a data scientist from<br />

the University of Southern California’s<br />

Entertainment Technology Center, had a<br />

chance to look at the numbers.<br />

For those of you who took statistic<br />

courses back in school, the method Bergguist<br />

used was the Pearson Product-Moment<br />

Correlation Coefficient (PMCC). The<br />

idea of this methodology is to calculate<br />

the correlation between two variables, X<br />

and Y. If the value results in 1, this indicates<br />

a perfect correlation; if the value is<br />

-1, this indicates a perfect negative correlation.<br />

A value closer to 0 means that<br />

there is less correlation. After examining<br />

150 titles for 2017, the result was a<br />

PMCC of just 0.12, or 12%, meaning<br />

there is basically no correlation. Furthermore,<br />

according to the research, contrary<br />

to what might be public opinion, Rotten<br />

Tomatoes scores have been going up.<br />

The median score was 51 in the 2000s<br />

and in the 2010s it was 53. Last year,<br />

when the article was written, the median<br />

score was 71.<br />

This research seems to substantiate<br />

some of the inconsistencies we have<br />

seen. According to a recent article<br />

on Marketwatch, Blade Runner 2049<br />

had all the ingredients worthy of<br />

a blockbuster hit, including strong<br />

Rotten Tomatoes ratings, but it grossly<br />

underperformed at the box office. If<br />

Rotten Tomatoes is to blame for poor<br />

movie performance, why is it that we<br />

never hear an executive thank Rotten<br />

Tomatoes for a box-office hit?<br />

After examining the numbers,<br />

the attacks on Rotten Tomatoes seem<br />

baseless. If Hollywood is struggling<br />

to put more butts in seats, there’s a<br />

deeper problem at the core. After all,<br />

reductionism of movie critiques is<br />

nothing new. When the star rating<br />

system was introduced in the 1920s and<br />

the thumbs-up and down metrics were<br />

introduced in the 1980s, many industry<br />

experts debated whether these elemental<br />

judgments were helping the industry.<br />

Rotten Tomatoes is just a 21st-century<br />

remix of what happened in the past.<br />

What’s most fascinating about<br />

Berqquist’s research is that, according to<br />

the math, the audience’s scores and the<br />

critics’ scores are becoming increasingly<br />

correlated, according to the PMCC<br />

value. As of September 2017, when the<br />

article was published, the PMCC score<br />

was a whopping 0.87, an 87% correlation.<br />

So when Hollywood complains about<br />

Rotten Tomatoes scores, they are<br />

essentially complaining about the<br />

audience’s tastes. Nowadays, it’s basically<br />

the same thing.<br />

Kevin Hong is the former chief sales<br />

officer of Cinema Intelligence.<br />

132 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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towards<br />

a more balanced<br />

industry<br />

Celluloid Junkie’s Top 50 Women List<br />

Salutes Groundbreaking Executives<br />

by Laura Houlgatte & Edna Epelbaum<br />

With the publication of Celluloid<br />

Junkie’s “Top 50 Women in<br />

Global Cinema,” we would like<br />

to take this opportunity to congratulate all<br />

of the nominated female industry leaders. It<br />

is an honor for us to be included alongside<br />

these inspiring women.<br />

In many UNIC territories, women<br />

make up over half of the cinema audience,<br />

yet they are not equally represented in the<br />

boardroom. Although hardly any data is<br />

available on the subject, estimates suggest<br />

that in some territories, less than six percent<br />

of leadership positions in cinema exhibition<br />

are occupied by women.<br />

We strongly believe that a workforce<br />

that reflects our audience would allow<br />

our sector to realize its full potential. As a<br />

start—and on the basis that you can only<br />

manage what you can measure—together<br />

with our national associations we are looking<br />

into the representation of women at all<br />

levels in the exhibition sector, with the intention<br />

of broadening our understanding of<br />

gender diversity in the industry and gaining<br />

a fuller picture, territory by territory.<br />

The need to promote more women into<br />

management positions in cinema is strongly<br />

rooted in a business rationale as much<br />

as it is in equality. Numerous studies have<br />

demonstrated that companies that strive<br />

for gender-balanced leadership outperform<br />

others in terms of profitability, turnover<br />

and shareholder value.<br />

Last year at CineEurope, UNIC<br />

launched its Women’s Cinema Leadership<br />

programme—a groundbreaking mentoring<br />

scheme for women in cinema exhibition—<br />

aiming to provide an opportunity for six<br />

talented women from the sector to receive<br />

one-on-one career advice, network and<br />

learn from outstanding women executives<br />

across the cinema landscape. The<br />

initiative was warmly welcomed by<br />

the industry and has proved to be a<br />

great success.<br />

It involves outstanding mentors<br />

such as Veronica Lindholm (CEO, Finnkino),<br />

Montse Gil (Vice President & General<br />

Manager, Paramount Spain), Corinne<br />

Thibaut (International Director, Cinema &<br />

Leisure, Coca-Cola), Dee Vassili, (Executive<br />

Director, Group HR, Vue Entertainment),<br />

Sarah Lewthwaite (Managing<br />

Director, Senior Vice President, EMEA<br />

Region, Movio) and the undersigned Edna<br />

Epelbaum (CEO, Cinevital, and President,<br />

Swiss Cinema Association).<br />

Equally inspiring are our mentees—<br />

“up-and-coming” female leaders representing<br />

cinema operators and associations from<br />

across Europe. From their passion, enthusiasm<br />

and vision for the industry, we can rest<br />

assured that the future is in good hands.<br />

It has been fascinating to see how<br />

rewarding the process has been for both<br />

mentors and mentees alike. A number of<br />

mentees have underlined how empowering<br />

it is to be able freely to discuss their professional<br />

and personal concerns with a leader<br />

outside their company. On the other side,<br />

some mentors have indicated that the experience<br />

has involved “reverse mentoring” as<br />

well; sometimes they were the ones receiving<br />

advice and gaining new perspectives.<br />

UNIC will launch the second edition of<br />

the programme at CineEurope in June, involving<br />

new mentors and mentees. We will<br />

work together with them to create a community<br />

of support and action within the<br />

industry, with the intention that the mentees<br />

of today become perhaps the mentors<br />

of tomorrow. Our key long-term objective<br />

is to broaden and deepen the talent pool for<br />

leadership in our sector and to further raise<br />

business awareness around the importance<br />

of more gender-balanced leadership.<br />

We also believe that it is equally important<br />

to bring the industry together<br />

more frequently to discuss how we can<br />

stimulate change. Last year at CineEurope,<br />

we organized a panel debate focused<br />

on “Women in Cinema—The Business<br />

Case,” which explored the issue of genderbalanced<br />

leadership in the industry. This<br />

year, we will continue the discussion and,<br />

together with the European Commission,<br />

will organize a session on the female audience.<br />

The panel will look into reaching the<br />

female audience more effectively today,<br />

when society and social attitudes are being<br />

reshaped by developments such as the<br />

#MeToo movement and when films with<br />

strong female characters, such as Wonder<br />

Woman, dominate the box office.<br />

We believe that our industry is becoming<br />

more committed to achieving genderbalanced<br />

leadership, although there is still<br />

much work to be done. Content is key when<br />

it comes to the perception of women—there<br />

is a clear need for more representative<br />

content and powerful portrayals of female<br />

characters. Female-led and centered films<br />

are key to the profit-making equation, and<br />

promoting more diverse leadership is high<br />

on UNIC’s agenda. Join us on the journey!<br />

Laura Houlgatte is CEO of the<br />

International Union of Cinemas (UNIC).<br />

Edna Epelbaum is CEO of Cinevital,<br />

President of the Swiss Cinema Association,<br />

and Vice President of UNIC.<br />

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We will do what it takes to help you<br />

going from standard to different,<br />

as many of our customers are doing,<br />

from rocker through recliners.<br />

One room, different styles and we have them all.<br />

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3/24/18 4:03 PM

Caesars’<br />

Eleven<br />

Record Number of Studios Join NATO Show<br />

by Kevin Lally<br />

CinemaCon is setting another<br />

record this year,<br />

with an unprecedented<br />

eleven movie studios highlighting<br />

their upcoming slates. “The studios<br />

have a lot they want to showcase,”<br />

says managing director Mitch<br />

Neuhauser, and so the eighth annual<br />

convention of the National<br />

Association of Theatre Owners<br />

will eschew feature screenings for<br />

an array of product presentations.<br />

The big show runs April 23-26 at<br />

Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.<br />

With those product presentations<br />

comes a dazzling touch of<br />

showmanship. “My associates and I<br />

are privy to some of the plans that<br />

the studios have, and if even half<br />

of them occur, there will be things<br />

happening in the Colosseum that<br />

have never happened before—exhibitors<br />

will walk away floating on<br />

air,” Neuhauser promises.<br />

Disney, Fox, Lionsgate,<br />

Paramount, Sony, Universal and<br />

Warner Bros. will all be staging<br />

events, along with relative<br />

newcomer STX Entertainment.<br />

Focus Features will sponsor a<br />

luncheon following their successful<br />

15th-anniversary event last year.<br />

And Amazon Studios returns for a<br />

third year. “The major difference<br />

this year,” Neuhauser notes, “is<br />

that now when they address the<br />

delegates, they will not just be a<br />

supplier of product working with<br />

other distributors, they are now<br />

handling their own films.”<br />

The newbie at the show is<br />

Entertainment Studios Motion<br />

Richard Foreman, Jr. SMPSP © 2017 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.<br />

© 2014 Subzero <strong>Film</strong> Ent., Altitude <strong>Film</strong> Ent., Egolitossell <strong>Film</strong><br />

CinemaCon <strong>2018</strong> honorees include Benicio Del Toro, Dakota Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson.<br />

136 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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Pictures, sponsors of the Wednesday morning breakfast,<br />

where CEO Byron Allen will outline his vision for<br />

the company.<br />

“The audience at the Colosseum isn’t there simply<br />

to have fun,” Neuhauser observes. “Yes, they’re being<br />

entertained, but they’re looking at things for the very<br />

first time and doing so from a business standpoint.<br />

They’re looking at product that they need to book,<br />

that they need to make forecasts on, because they<br />

have financial responsibilities to their boards, to their<br />

companies. In many instances this is the very first time<br />

that the theatre owners get to see anything visually<br />

about upcoming product and it gives them the opportunity<br />

to think about how those films are going to do.”<br />

One of the most newsworthy events at<br />

CinemaCon <strong>2018</strong> will be the Monday afternoon<br />

session on the opening of the Saudi Arabian market<br />

to movie theatres after a 35-year ban. “John Fithian<br />

[president of NATO] is going to spearhead the panel<br />

discussion and we’re delighted to have one of the top<br />

executives from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Redha<br />

Al-Haidar, president of the General Commission for<br />

Audiovisual Media,” Neuhauser says. “This is a huge<br />

opportunity. We’re honored to have him attend<br />

CinemaCon with some of his associates. There are<br />

some reports that the Saudi market could one day by<br />

over a billion-dollar market.”<br />

Monday’s International Day programming will also<br />

feature a one-on-one discussion between Phil Clapp<br />

of UNIC and Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, chair of<br />

the new Global Cinema Federation. “This is going<br />

to be the first public discussion of the initiative and<br />

its goals,” Neuhauser notes. “Alejandro has been an<br />

incredible leader and a driving force behind the GCF<br />

along with the other 12 founding companies.” Ramírez<br />

Magaña is also the first non-American to receive<br />

NATO’s prestigious Marquee Award.<br />

Other highlights include the first address to the<br />

industry by new MPAA chairman and CEO Charles<br />

Rivkin; an “Industry Think Tank” featuring insights<br />

from Fox chairman and CEO Stacey Snider, Cinemark<br />

CEO Mark Zoradi and Avatar producer Jon Landau;<br />

and a panel on the success of independent and specialty<br />

films featuring executives from Fox Searchlight,<br />

Focus Features and NEON.<br />

As always, the show culminates with the Cinema-<br />

Con “Big Screen Achievement Awards” ceremony. At<br />

press time, this year’s honorees included Samuel L.<br />

Jackson, Dakota Johnson, Benicio Del Toro, Jonah Hill,<br />

Kate McKinnon and Girls Trip breakout star Tiffany<br />

Haddish. <br />

Highlights<br />

Monday, April 23<br />

International Day Awards Luncheon,<br />

including honors for Caribbean Cinemas’<br />

Robert Carrady, 20th Century Fox<br />

International’s Kurt Rieder and Jurassic<br />

World: Fallen Kingdom director J.A.<br />

Bayona, 12 Noon-1:30 pm<br />

“The New Frontier: Saudi Arabia” Panel<br />

Discussion, 2:30-3:30 pm<br />

Sony Pictures Entertainment Gala Opening<br />

Night Studio Event, with After-Party at<br />

Omnia, 6:30-10:30 pm<br />

Tuesday, April 24<br />

“The State of the Industry” Program,<br />

including a Presentation from Walt<br />

Disney Studios, 9:00-11:30 am<br />

Warner Bros.’ “The Big Picture” Product<br />

Preview, 4:00-5:45 pm<br />

“An Evening with STX <strong>Film</strong>s,” 7:30-9:00 pm<br />

Paramount Pictures Presents “Lights,<br />

Camera, Action Point,” 9:15-11:00 pm<br />

Wednesday, April 25<br />

Breakfast and Presentation from<br />

Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures,<br />

7:45-9:30 am<br />

Universal Pictures Product Presentation,<br />

10:00-11:30 am<br />

Luncheon and Focus Features Product<br />

Presentation, 2:15-2:00 pm<br />

“Industry Think Tank: Meeting the<br />

Expectations of the Savvy Moviegoer,”<br />

2:45-3:45 pm<br />

Paramount Pictures Product Presentation,<br />

4:30-6:00 pm<br />

Will Rogers “Pioneer of the Year” Dinner<br />

honoring Tom Cruise, 7:15-9:30 pm<br />

Thursday, April 26<br />

Independent and Specialty Market Panel,<br />

8:15-9:30 am<br />

Twentieth Century Fox Product<br />

Presentation, 10:00-11:30 am<br />

Luncheon and Amazon Studios Program,<br />

12:15-2:00 pm<br />

Lionsgate Product Presentation, 2:30-4:15 pm<br />

CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement<br />

Awards Ceremony, 7:30-9:15 pm<br />

Big Screen Achievement Awards After-<br />

Party, 9:30-11:30 pm<br />

MAY <strong>2018</strong> / FILMJOURNAL.COM 137<br />

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Global<br />

Strength<br />

NATO’s John Fithian Sees Passion for Cinema Across the Board<br />

by Andreas Fuchs<br />

John Fithian<br />

President, NATO<br />

‘<br />

With everything<br />

happening in our<br />

space right now,<br />

I think the<br />

most historic is<br />

welcoming<br />

a country that<br />

has not had cinema<br />

for over 35 years—<br />

the Kingdom<br />

of Saudi Arabia.<br />

’<br />

The world welcomes the<br />

movies. And CinemaCon<br />

welcomes the world. “One of the<br />

major new themes this year for<br />

CinemaCon is the globalization of<br />

our industry,” notes John Fithian,<br />

president and chief executive<br />

officer of the National Association<br />

of Theatre Owners (NATO).<br />

“Last June in Barcelona, 12 of the<br />

largest exhibition companies in the<br />

world, along with our counterparts<br />

at European trade body UNIC,<br />

launched the Global Cinema<br />

Federation. Many more companies<br />

are now signing up to join, and<br />

International Day at CinemaCon<br />

will provide further opportunity<br />

for exhibitors from around the<br />

world to learn from each other.<br />

Our key issues are now global, such<br />

as preserving theatrical exclusivity<br />

and fighting movie theft, as we are<br />

working with our content providers<br />

to achieve the best technological<br />

presentation of their movies in our<br />

members’ cinemas.”<br />

At press time, there were<br />

“almost a thousand delegates for<br />

our international programming<br />

alone,” Fithian reports. Attendees<br />

from more than 90 countries are<br />

expected at Caesars Palace in Las<br />

Vegas, Nevada, for the full week.<br />

As this will certainly result in<br />

another record-breaking number of<br />

registrations, just as the productpresenting<br />

film companies at<br />

CinemaCon <strong>2018</strong> reach eleven for<br />

the first time, Fithian points out that<br />

the tradeshow floor is fully booked<br />

as well, including new products from<br />

abroad. “That’s a pretty good sign<br />

that the market has gone global.”<br />

Another sign of the global times<br />

is that “the NATO Marquee Award,<br />

which is what we consider our most<br />

significant honor…is going to a non-<br />

American for the first time ever.”<br />

Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, chief<br />

executive officer of global exhibition<br />

powerhouse Cinépolis and board<br />

chairman of the Global Cinema<br />

Federation, is “such a terrific<br />

guy,” Fithian says, but he feels the<br />

recognition “also shows that we are<br />

mindful of the global nature of the<br />

industry.”<br />

Equally exciting is the opening<br />

of an entirely new market to<br />

moviegoing. Fithian is talking about<br />

the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,<br />

of course. “With everything<br />

happening in our space right<br />

now, I think the most historic is<br />

welcoming a country that has not<br />

had cinema for over 35 years.”<br />

Reminding our readers that he and<br />

a seven-strong NATO team were<br />

invited to Riyadh back in December<br />

and “helped with a training program<br />

for the government,” Fithian<br />

138 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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Paramount Pictures<br />

Congratulates<br />

CinemaCon <strong>2018</strong> Award Recipients<br />

Director J.A. Bayona<br />

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Kurt Rieder,<br />

EVP, Theatrical,<br />

20th Century Fox International<br />

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Robert Carrady,<br />

President, Caribbean Cinemas<br />

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Alejandro Ramírez Magaña,<br />

CEO, Cinépolis<br />

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CinemaCon Big Sreen Achievement Awards<br />

Tiffany Haddish<br />

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Lil Rel Howery<br />

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Gabrielle Union<br />

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Dakota Johnson<br />

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Kate McKinnon<br />

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Samuel L. Jackson<br />

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is pleased to return the courtesy. “We are very<br />

excited that one of the key officials of the agency<br />

that will be regulating cinemas is coming to speak<br />

at CinemaCon”: Redha Al-Haidar, president of the<br />

General Commission for Audiovisual Media in the<br />

Kingdom. Having back-to-back panels with such<br />

high-profile and world-spanning discussions “signifies<br />

important historical aspects of the globalization of<br />

our industry.”<br />

Another top-of-mind topic is the ongoing<br />

consolidation on both the exhibition and distribution<br />

sides. From our end, Fithian views circuit mergers<br />

and screen acquisitions “as a sign of strength of<br />

the marketplace. Big international operators, who<br />

know this business well, are investing here in the<br />

United States. While that is certainly a good sign of<br />

confidence in our local market, we also view the fact<br />

that several of these companies are consolidating<br />

operations around the world—and in some cases on<br />

multiple continents—as a sign of the strength of this<br />

business everywhere. As the issues at hand go global,<br />

and are similar everywhere, it just makes sense that<br />

our operators go global as well.”<br />

By way of example, Fithian brings up “the<br />

biggest, most recent transaction in our business”:<br />

the acquisition of Regal Cinemas by Cineworld<br />

that is creating the second-largest exhibitor in the<br />

world. “That may sound like, ‘Oh, it’s just another<br />

corporate raider, further consolidation.’ However,<br />

exactly the opposite is the case. The Greidinger<br />

family has been in the exhibition business for three<br />

generations,” going back to one movie theatre<br />

in Israel, sometime around 1929, then expanding<br />

and building across Eastern Europe to the United<br />

Kingdom. “They run great cinemas, and they know<br />

what they are doing,” he assures. “There is always<br />

turmoil and changes in an acquisition like that and<br />

some of the most highly respected executives will<br />

not be at Regal anymore… I do not worry about the<br />

people acquiring this company, they are passionate<br />

about the business.”<br />

Of equal note, Fithian recalls that “when<br />

Wanda took a majority ownership share in AMC,<br />

everybody thought that the Chinese cultural wars<br />

are invading America. Again, that is not what it<br />

was. Here is a company engaged with passion in<br />

the cinema business in China that…wanted to<br />

learn more from the American perspective.” In<br />

view of the size of those deals, we should not<br />

forget that both Regal Entertainment Group and<br />

AMC Theatres planted their roots in much smaller<br />

soil. “Out of their passion for this business, Mike<br />

Campbell and the people around him grew Regal<br />

from an independent into the biggest company in<br />

the United States for a time. AMC was founded by<br />

the Durwood family [in 1920], and Lee Roy Mitchell<br />

started Cinemark as small discount theatres.”<br />

Beginning as a family-run business and growing<br />

into national players by acquisition and/or organic<br />

expansion “has been in the DNA of the industry<br />

from the beginning,” Fithian knows.<br />

“These acquisitions are positive,” he continues,<br />

“because they are led by people who care about the<br />

business and who show confidence in the business.<br />

And at the same time as we are heeding globalization<br />

and consolidation in exhibition, this industry<br />

also remains very diverse and broad-based in terms<br />

of company sizes and makeup. There are mid-sized<br />

companies, small companies, and we represent some<br />

400 companies with under ten screens, and all of<br />

them remain a strong and vital part of the industry.<br />

While most of our membership is made up by companies<br />

that are quite small, the top three members<br />

have over 50% of the business across the country.<br />

Yes, there is consolidation at the top, but then there<br />

are hundreds and hundreds of small independent<br />

companies as well.”<br />

What all of them have in common is being a strong<br />

part of their communities, Fithian asserts. “It is about<br />

something that people love doing. We talk about this<br />

all the time: At the end of the day, we represent an<br />

industry whose main task is giving people a good time.<br />

And that is just a great job to have, and the people<br />

that are in the industry all feel the same way. They<br />

are passionate about movies, and they are passionate<br />

about their local communities. NATO has some<br />

600 members. Located in every state in the country,<br />

they operate in major cities and small towns. That is<br />

the nature of our business and it will continue to be. I<br />

think that some of the small and mid-sized operators<br />

will pick up theatres and grow into larger companies<br />

over time. At the same time, we will also see new<br />

companies arrive in the marketplace who are starting<br />

up because they love the business, and they too will<br />

grow. Others will sell their family businesses to other<br />

payers who love the movie theatre business as well.<br />

That is just the history of the industry as it has developed<br />

from the beginning.”<br />

The world is waiting, not just at CinemaCon<br />

<strong>2018</strong>. <br />

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From Muppets<br />

to MPAA<br />

New CEO Charles Rivkin Realigns Entertainment and Politics<br />

by Andreas Fuchs<br />

Charles Rivkin<br />

Chairman, CEO,<br />

MPAA<br />

‘<br />

I have been<br />

surprised that so<br />

many people do not<br />

understand that this<br />

industry extends<br />

beyond Los Angeles<br />

and New York—<br />

that we are so much<br />

more than glamour<br />

and premieres.<br />

We are going<br />

to change that,”<br />

he insists. “We will<br />

tell the story of the<br />

American film and<br />

television industry<br />

on the global stage<br />

as compellingly<br />

’<br />

as we can.<br />

ell, we never leave the<br />

‘WMuppets, do we? They are<br />

always in our hearts.”<br />

The onetime president and<br />

CEO of The Jim Henson Company,<br />

Charles Rivkin left the entertainment<br />

world for Washington, DC<br />

in the 2000s, though he insists he<br />

“was never a politician. But I did decide<br />

that maybe it was time to start<br />

working with people who weren’t<br />

either green, fuzzy or pink.”<br />

Today, Rivkin blends his dual<br />

backgrounds as head of the Motion<br />

Picture Association of America.<br />

“When I had the incredible honor to<br />

serve my country for seven years—<br />

as an ambassador and leading the<br />

State Department’s economic and<br />

business agenda—I saw a powerful<br />

connection between creative businesses<br />

and government. Both can<br />

be—and must be—forces for good.<br />

As chairman and CEO of the MPAA,<br />

I saw an opportunity to combine<br />

my passions, my perspective and my<br />

experience to advance the industry’s<br />

overwhelmingly positive impact on<br />

the world.”<br />

He adds, “The MPAA plays a<br />

critical role in promoting creativity,<br />

economic prosperity and American<br />

values on the global stage. And right<br />

now, the importance of safeguarding<br />

and enhancing that mission is rising<br />

steadily as the film and television industry<br />

continues to transform on an<br />

almost daily basis.”<br />

On the job every day, as chief<br />

executive since September 2017 and<br />

chairman since December, Rivkin is<br />

headed to CinemaCon for the first<br />

time. We had to play catch-up with<br />

his busy agenda, and we thank him<br />

and his communications team for letting<br />

us provide our readers with this<br />

exclusive interview.<br />

“I have been active on many<br />

fronts,” he confirms. “I have spent<br />

a lot of time in Los Angeles—not<br />

only meeting with my CEOs and<br />

board members, but also with<br />

their physical production teams,<br />

marketing executives, business<br />

executives, international executives.<br />

If I am going to represent the men<br />

and women of this industry, I need<br />

to listen to every voice. I need to<br />

understand fundamentally what<br />

makes this industry tick.”<br />

Rivkin has also traveled abroad<br />

and is “looking forward to many<br />

opportunities on the international<br />

calendar”; he enjoyed speaking at the<br />

Dijon <strong>Film</strong> Festival in France and during<br />

the Berlinale in Berlin, Germany,<br />

back in February. “I have been meeting<br />

with culture ministers around the<br />

world…as well as justice ministers,<br />

to talk about our mutual commitment<br />

to fighting piracy, and to discuss<br />

how we can advance creativity<br />

in the regions.”<br />

Closer to home base, “on Capitol<br />

Hill, we are heavily involved in supporting<br />

public policies and legislation<br />

142 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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that enhance the important work we do. Lately, much of<br />

our effort has centered on tax reform. My studios had<br />

$20 billon of taxes paid at 35 percent, so we are very<br />

pleased with the legislation that was passed.”<br />

What are some of his early learnings on the job? “I<br />

have been surprised that so many people do not understand<br />

that this industry extends beyond Los Angeles and<br />

New York—that we are so much more than glamour<br />

and premieres. We are going to change that,” he insists.<br />

“We will tell the story of the American film and television<br />

industry on the global stage as compellingly as we<br />

can. We will continue to support millions of jobs and<br />

Meet Charles H. Rivkin<br />

f course, popcorn is<br />

‘Oalways my go-to,”<br />

Charles Rivkin notes about<br />

his favorite movie snack.<br />

“And I drink Diet Coke with<br />

that. I am always on the<br />

lookout for a box of Jujubes.<br />

If I cannot find those, I buy<br />

Starburst.” While we do not<br />

know whether his favorite<br />

movie theatre, the Esquire in<br />

downtown Chicago, offered<br />

either one of the treats, we<br />

do know that Chicago holds<br />

dear many of his movie<br />

memories, including one<br />

of the first. “Looking back,<br />

I would say it was Chitty<br />

Chitty Bang Bang. Such a<br />

wonderful movie. As for my<br />

favorite theatre memory, in<br />

high school in Chicago I was<br />

a repeat visitor to midnight<br />

showings of The Rocky Horror<br />

Picture Show. I would go with<br />

all my friends. It was the<br />

interactive experience of<br />

throwing things at the screen,<br />

not to mention dressing up.<br />

Something I will never forget.<br />

I was exhausted by the end!”<br />

Other favorite movies?<br />

“That’s a long list. Isn’t it for<br />

everyone? But some of the<br />

movies that have always<br />

stayed with me include Singin’<br />

In the Rain, The Graduate,<br />

Pulp Fiction, Stand By Me,<br />

the original Charlie and the<br />

Chocolate Factory and A River<br />

Runs Through It.”<br />

Rivkin previously served as<br />

Assistant Secretary of State for<br />

Economic and Business Affairs<br />

from February 2014 to January<br />

2017. He led the bureau<br />

at the U.S. State Department<br />

responsible for managing<br />

trade negotiations, investment<br />

treaties, economic sanctions,<br />

transportation affairs,<br />

telecommunications policy,<br />

international finance and<br />

development-related issues,<br />

as well as intellectual property<br />

rights protection. The Bureau<br />

is also the State Department’s<br />

primary link to the private<br />

sector through its Office of<br />

Commercial and Business Affairs,<br />

which supports U.S. business<br />

interests overseas and<br />

works to create American jobs<br />

at home by facilitating foreign<br />

investment. In addition, Rivkin<br />

provided guidance to the Department’s<br />

1,600 economic officers<br />

around the world and to<br />

the U.S. Mission to the Organization<br />

for Economic Cooperation<br />

and Development.<br />

Prior to his appointment,<br />

Rivkin served for more than<br />

four years as the United States<br />

Ambassador to France and<br />

Monaco, leading a diplomatic<br />

mission that contained six<br />

constituent posts throughout<br />

France and represents more<br />

than 50 U.S. government<br />

agencies.<br />

Rivkin joined government<br />

service after working in<br />

media for over 20 years,<br />

where he served as president<br />

and CEO of award-winning<br />

entertainment companies such<br />

as The Jim Henson Company<br />

and Wildbrain. He helped<br />

engineer the sale of The Jim<br />

Henson Company in 2000<br />

for nearly $1 billion and his<br />

contribution to the television<br />

landscape has influenced<br />

generations of viewers.<br />

(Details above from Rivkin’s<br />

official MPAA bio.)<br />

144 FILMJOURNAL.COM / MAY <strong>2018</strong><br />

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hundreds of thousands of small businesses here at<br />

home. Outside the United States, films and television<br />

shows drive international economies and are some of<br />

our country’s greatest ambassadors and exports. They<br />

serve as a cultural force for good in the world. That<br />

is the story I want to share broadly—because it is a<br />

great one to tell.”<br />

Rivkin says his “immediate priorities” also include<br />

“promoting a strong creative economy, encouraging<br />

the production of new movies and television shows<br />

to drive continued job creation, defending intellectual<br />

property, reducing piracy and expanding access<br />

to markets around the world.” Sounds like not that<br />

much has changed since his time at The Jim Henson<br />

Company and animation production house Wildbrain.<br />

“Thanks to innovations in storytelling, advances in<br />

technology and many other factors, the film and<br />

television industry is changing rapidly,” he corrects<br />

our assumption. “Change is a constant part of this<br />

environment. So, we are supporting and championing<br />

creative companies that are charting new strategies to<br />

not only develop the best content but deliver it how<br />

and when audiences want it.”<br />

Moving forward, Rivkin believes “we must ensure<br />

creators can take advantage of these opportunities.<br />

Global piracy remains a significant threat, especially in<br />

the form of pre-loaded devices and infringing apps. But<br />

we are making progress. Through initiatives like the Alliance<br />

for Creativity and Entertainment [ACE], we are<br />

working with other content creators to reduce online<br />

piracy. Using the content protection expertise and resources<br />

of the MPAA, ACE brings together 30 leading<br />

content companies, including Netflix and Amazon, who<br />

are all committed to reducing online piracy and protecting<br />

the legal marketplace for creative content.”<br />

Rivkin is equally committed to the theatrical marketplace.<br />

He says meeting with his counterparts at<br />

the National Association of Theatre Owners was<br />

a priority. “I made a point of meeting with John Fithian<br />

before my first official day at the MPAA. One<br />

of my first events as CEO was to speak at NATO’s<br />

board meeting, where I had the opportunity to meet<br />

many NATO members. John is a tireless advocate for<br />

NATO members and the theatrical experience. I really<br />

look forward to working together with him in the<br />

years ahead. The MPAA and NATO have a longstanding,<br />

strong relationship” that goes beyond film ratings,<br />

he concurs. “Every day, filmmakers put their trust in<br />

theatres to present their art in the way they intended—to<br />

bring audiences around the world the stories<br />

they have poured their time, energy and talents into<br />

bringing to life. As both filmmakers and theatre owners<br />

continually invest in new technologies, it is clear<br />

both sides are committed to advancing great storytelling.<br />

I have no doubt this will continue going forward.”<br />

And on a global scale, one might add. “Movies and<br />

television shows are one of America’s greatest and<br />

most sought-after products,” Rivkin says, noting that<br />

the industry generates exports of $16.5 billion to more<br />

than 140 countries. “The global box office hit a record<br />

high of $40.6 billion in 2017. The number of cinema<br />

screens around the world also grew last year, jumping<br />

eight percent—led by double-digit growth across the<br />

Asia-Pacific region. There are opportunities in all parts<br />

of the world, because audiences everywhere crave<br />

imaginative stories and powerful performances.”<br />

As for opportunities looming large in Las Vegas,<br />

Rivkin is “thrilled” to attend CinemaCon for the first<br />

time with the MPAA. “Since day one here, I have heard<br />

so much about this tradeshow. This is the place where<br />

you have permission to feel like a kid again—from the<br />

concessions and candy to virtual-reality experiences<br />

and the very best movie chairs! You are reminded what<br />

a great industry this is and how important it is to make<br />

the moviegoing experience as compelling as possible for<br />

all ages, but especially for younger generations who are<br />

among our most enthusiastic supporters. I cannot wait<br />

to see what the show has in store. And I cannot wait to<br />

share this experience with people who share my love<br />

for film and commitment to advancing this industry.”<br />

As an adult, setting aside the candy and in a more<br />

official capacity, what is the focus of his CinemaCon<br />

keynote speech? “Again, I am going to CinemaCon<br />

to emphasize that we are committed to building on<br />

the great relationship we have enjoyed with theatre<br />

owners and exhibitors for decades—and that we will<br />

continue to work together, hand in glove, far into the<br />

foreseeable future. I look forward to underscoring<br />

that great relationship and to emphasizing our appreciation<br />

for the valuable role [exhibitors] play with<br />

respect to our shared moviegoing experience. Most<br />

importantly, I look forward to hearing what is on the<br />

minds of this important community.”<br />

Rivkin’s favorite characters on “The Muppet Show”<br />

may reveal something about his personality and approach<br />

to business. “I always admired Kermit for keeping<br />

his cool, mostly, while chaos swirled around him.<br />

But my favorite was the much-overlooked Janice, who<br />

was the lead guitar player for Dr. Teeth’s Electric <strong>May</strong>hem.<br />

She could have been a big hit on “Star Search.’” <br />

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Untitled-3 1<br />

3/28/18 5:31 PM

Leader<br />

of the Federation<br />

NATO Puts Alejandro Ramírez Magaña on the Marquee<br />

by Andreas Fuchs<br />

Alejandro Ramírez<br />

CEO Cinépolis<br />

‘<br />

How are we<br />

making sure<br />

that our guests<br />

are having<br />

a seamless<br />

and enjoyable<br />

experience?<br />

From the moment<br />

they make<br />

the decision<br />

to purchase a ticket<br />

to the moment they<br />

walk out<br />

of the theatre,<br />

we want<br />

to ensure that<br />

their experience<br />

is as gratifying<br />

’<br />

as possible.<br />

On International Day during<br />

CinemaCon 2013, Alejandro<br />

Ramírez Magaña, chief executive<br />

officer of Cinépolis, received the<br />

“Global Achievement in Exhibition”<br />

Award on behalf of more than<br />

20,000 employees worldwide. Flash<br />

forward to the opening ceremony<br />

of CinemaCon <strong>2018</strong>, and Ramírez<br />

Magaña will find his global exhibition<br />

powerhouse and more than 40,000<br />

team members, including himself,<br />

once again in the spotlight.<br />

For the first time, the National<br />

Association of Theatre Owners will<br />

bestow the NATO Marquee Award<br />

on someone who is not American.<br />

“As our industry becomes increasingly<br />

global, it is appropriate that<br />

our most significant award goes to<br />

a truly global exhibitor,” explained<br />

John Fithian, the trade organization’s<br />

president and chief executive officer.<br />

“With operations across four different<br />

continents, Cinépolis brings moviegoing<br />

magic to millions of guests.<br />

On a personal level, with his commitment<br />

as chairman of the Global<br />

Cinema Federation, Alejandro has<br />

become the leader of a united global<br />

industry. On behalf of theatre owners<br />

everywhere, congratulations.”<br />

Ramírez Magaña graciously<br />

thanks “my friends at NATO, particularly<br />

John Fithian, for having<br />

considered me for this important<br />

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AND ALL OF THE <strong>2018</strong> CINEMACON HONOREES<br />

FJI_0518_Fox_CineCon.indd 1<br />

3/23/18 3:35 PM

award. It is a great honor to receive this recognition<br />

from my peers in the global industry in such an<br />

important moment for global exhibition.” Equal gratitude<br />

goes to “my extraordinary team at Cinépolis,<br />

from my senior executives to all the cinema managers<br />

and personnel. Without the outstanding Cinépolis<br />

team, we could have never grown as much as we<br />

have in the past decade. Finally, I would like to thank<br />

the Cinépolis board of directors, especially my father<br />

Enrique, who is our chairman, for his inspiration, example<br />

and guidance all these years.” Asked about his<br />

proudest achievements in business, he names “having<br />

Q&A: Chairing the Global Cinema Federation<br />

You were instrumental in<br />

the formation of the GCF.<br />

Describe the goals of the<br />

organization.<br />

The Global Cinema Federation<br />

is an association established<br />

to represent the global<br />

cinema exhibition community<br />

and to make representations<br />

to global stakeholders on their<br />

behalf. The Federation seeks to<br />

increase industry effectiveness<br />

in providing input to international<br />

regulatory bodies and to<br />

contribute more effectively to<br />

the international dialogue on<br />

issues of common interest.<br />

How do you define your role<br />

as chair? Was it an “easy” decision<br />

to take on the post?<br />

I was honored to be selected<br />

as chair in the Federation’s<br />

first gathering in 2017. My<br />

role is mainly to preside over<br />

meetings, send communications,<br />

call meetings, etc. It was<br />

certainly an “easy” decision<br />

to take on the responsibility to<br />

serve as chair, given the importance<br />

of the body and the<br />

challenges we face as exhibitors<br />

around the world.<br />

What are some the reasons<br />

that led to the GCF’s formation?<br />

Given expanding consolidation<br />

in the industry, and<br />

more importantly the shared<br />

challenges and opportunities<br />

that confront exhibitors<br />

across national and regional<br />

borders—such as release<br />

windows, global supply of film<br />

content, technology developments,<br />

trade barriers, standards<br />

and movie theft—<br />

it seems logical that leading<br />

exhibitors should work closer<br />

together on a global basis.<br />

Along with NATO in the<br />

United States and UNIC in<br />

Europe, other regions of the<br />

world have established trade<br />

associations at the national or<br />

regional level, and many of<br />

those trade associations also<br />

seek a role in greater global<br />

coordination. Some other regions<br />

of the world including<br />

Africa, and most of Asia, the<br />

Middle East and Latin America,<br />

do not have established trade<br />

associations, and could use<br />

support from a global group.<br />

Which are the issues that<br />

members hope to address?<br />

There are seven key initiatives<br />

the GCF is working<br />

on. Namely, (1) movie theft,<br />

(2) theatrical exclusivity, (3)<br />

music rights, (4) accessibility<br />

and related regulations,<br />

(5) work with studios and the<br />

creative community, (6) technology<br />

and standards and (7)<br />

international trade and foreign<br />

investment.<br />

What can the Federation do<br />

for the exhibition industry?<br />

Within the key initiatives<br />

that we decided to work on,<br />

the Federation’s activities<br />

include:<br />

▶ advocating on behalf of<br />

exhibitors globally to global<br />

regulatory groups, standardsetters,<br />

studios and related<br />

bodies, among others, in order<br />

to increase the industry’s<br />

effectiveness;<br />

▶ assisting individual<br />

members in establishing dialogue<br />

with national regulators,<br />

when and where invited, and if<br />

agreed to by all members;<br />

▶ contributing to a global<br />

dialogue on issues of common<br />

interest by formalizing contact,<br />

cooperation and dialogue<br />

among global exhibitors, associations<br />

and stakeholders,<br />

consistent with all applicable<br />

laws;<br />

▶ educating exhibitors<br />

globally with greater information<br />

collection and sharing;<br />

▶ sharing non-commercially<br />

sensitive information and<br />

research; and<br />

▶ providing information<br />

on positions taken by the Federation.<br />


136-167.indd 150<br />

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een able to expand Cinépolis beyond the Mexican<br />

borders to 14 countries in four continents and to<br />

have been able to bring the magic of the movies to<br />

over 300 million people last year.”<br />

Taking a global perspective is certainly in order at<br />

Cinépolis and in the larger industry as well, Ramírez<br />

Magaña agrees, and not just in his position at the Global<br />

Cinema Federation. (For more information, please refer<br />

to our sidebar conversation.) “In our industry you<br />

always heard the distinction between domestic and international<br />

markets. It has been several years now since<br />

the international box office surpassed the domestic box<br />

office, and thinking of the whole world as one has never<br />

been more important. In 2017, 72 percent of global box<br />

office originated in countries outside the United States<br />

and Canada. This is a substantial change from what it<br />

represented in 2006, when I became chief executive officer<br />

of Cinépolis—back then it was 62 percent.”<br />

Another substantial development is consolidation,<br />

Ramírez Magaña continues. “We are witnessing a new<br />

wave of mergers and acquisitions in the exhibition industry.<br />

Size is an important factor for exhibition companies<br />

in obtaining economies of scale, so it is a natural step<br />

forward when there is limited growth in the territories<br />

where one operates. We are also seeing consolidation<br />

among distributors, so the landscape in the cinema industry<br />

points towards fewer players in both sectors.”<br />

As little as three years ago, he reminds our readers,<br />

Regal, AMC and Carmike “were very large exhibitors<br />

with interests only in the United States. Today<br />

those three circuits are part of a group with theatres<br />

in several countries.” The pending acquisition of Regal<br />

by Cineworld is indeed indicative that “borders are<br />

not so significant anymore in our industry.”<br />

At Cinépolis as well, the “capitals of cinema” have<br />

long expanded their borders. When Ramírez Magaña<br />

was honored for global excellence, Cinépolis operated<br />

340 theatres and over 3,000 screens in 128 cities and<br />

11 countries. Today, the company operates some 650<br />

theatres and 5,334 screens in 236 cities across 14 countries.<br />

In 2012, Cinépolis had welcomed 161.8 million<br />

guests; last year, the company reached a total of 338.4<br />

million guests. How did it all happen? What did it take to<br />

get there? “Our growth in the past five years has been<br />

mostly a matter of focus,” he reflects. “We established a<br />

very specific goal of reaching 400 million guests by 2020.<br />

We are halfway there, and the number does not look<br />

that distant anymore. To get to this goal, Cinépolis had<br />

to venture into mergers and acquisitions, something we<br />

had not done before. This way we were able to go into<br />

markets such as Spain, Chile and Argentina.”<br />

Has his perception changed as Cinépolis added different<br />

countries to its footprint? “We are definitely<br />

learning every day about the nuances and particularities<br />

of every market and culture,” Ramírez Magaña<br />

contends. “These nuances may go from theatre design<br />

and the color we use in our lobbies to the tastes in<br />

movie genres, selection of showtimes and offering<br />

dubbed or original versions.”<br />

Cinépolis VIP is one of those learnings that the<br />

company applied across other markets. “This model<br />

is a luxurious experience with reclining leather seats<br />

and at-your-seat service. In Mexico we were able to<br />

improve this model through several iterations, and in<br />

other markets where we have opened VIP theatres<br />

we have had great success. We assume that in certain<br />

markets there will always be a need for a more sophisticated<br />

experience.”<br />

What are some of other elements that assure moviegoing<br />

is a wonderful experience at Cinépolis? “The number-one<br />

element is making sure that all our decisions<br />

revolve around our customers.” Ramírez Magaña and his<br />

teams “continually ask ourselves, ‘How are we making<br />

sure that our guests are having a seamless and enjoyable<br />

experience?’ From the moment they make the decision<br />

to purchase a ticket to the moment they walk out of<br />

the theatre, we want to ensure that their experience is<br />

as gratifying as possible. All the other elements play into<br />

this equation,” he believes, also naming innovation, quality<br />

of service and technological improvements.<br />

This commitment is reflected in the company motto,<br />

he adds. “Our philosophy is best conveyed in our mission:<br />

Be the best choice in entertainment. And strengthening<br />

our leadership in the worldwide film industry by<br />

offering a fun, innovative and remarkable service.”<br />

On the way towards 400 million guests by 2020, Cinépolis<br />

is expanding into additional countries. “This year<br />

we will be opening our first theatres in the Middle East,”<br />

Ramírez Magaña says, confirming locations in Oman and<br />

Bahrain. “In addition to that, we will be opening somewhere<br />

between 400 and 500 screens worldwide.”<br />

So, in another five years from now, are we still going<br />

to the movies? “Of course, we will,” he enthuses. “It is<br />

likely that the experience will be enhanced in many ways,<br />

and we are working tirelessly to be at the forefront of<br />

that innovation. But, honestly, my bet is that the experience<br />

will continue to be the same: a group of strangers<br />

gathered in a dark auditorium immersed in a different<br />

world, enjoying the best projection and sound technology,<br />

the best food and drink, and the best stories.” <br />

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Untitled-1 1<br />

3/26/18 12:21 PM

Change<br />

on Many Fronts<br />

Technology Innovations Are Driving a Consolidating Market<br />

by David Hancock<br />

David Hancock,<br />

IHS Markit<br />

‘<br />

Our industry<br />

is now set<br />

on a path<br />

of structural<br />

change that will<br />

affect it profoundly:<br />

the consolidation<br />

of cinema circuits.<br />

The leading<br />

ten circuits now<br />

account for 30%<br />

of all screens,<br />

up from 26%<br />

’<br />

a year ago.<br />

The last year has been a fascinating<br />

one for cinema exhibition,<br />

with box office exceeding $40 billion<br />

globally and innovation seen in<br />

all areas. Every aspect of the cinema<br />

offer is now open to change, which is<br />

proving a boon for customers.<br />

Our industry is also now set on<br />

a path of structural change that will<br />

affect it profoundly: the consolidation<br />

of cinema circuits. The leading<br />

ten circuits now account for 30% of<br />

all screens, up from 26% a year ago,<br />

and that is set to change further if<br />

the European company Cineworld<br />

succeeds in acquiring the major U.S.<br />

circuit Regal Entertainment. That<br />

would put 15% of the world’s screens<br />

in the hands of two groups, an unprecedented<br />

number in a traditionally<br />

fragmented industry.<br />

3D is the favored format for<br />

cinema screens globally, with over<br />

99,000 in place at the end of 2017<br />

(equivalent to 58.9% of screens), of<br />

which half are in China. Despite this,<br />

the format accounted for only 17% of<br />

revenues globally in 2016 (the last full<br />

year of data). In some markets, the<br />

format has almost been abandoned.<br />

In Italy, event cinema generated<br />

more revenues than 3D in 2017. The<br />

position of 3D, although eminently<br />

salvageable, is a salutary warning of<br />

how the industry needs to maintain<br />

the quality levels of a new technology<br />

if it wants it to endure.<br />

Possibly of more interest to<br />

exhibitors now is 4D and immersive<br />

motion seating (IMS), although not<br />

in absolute terms. At 1H 2017, there<br />

were 1,220 screens equipped with<br />

either immersive motion seating<br />

(from D-BOX) or 4D cinema<br />

(motion seating plus effects) from<br />

mainly 4DX (CGV) or MX4D<br />

(MediaMation). Following the steep<br />

growth of the last two years, the<br />

combined market is now 2.8 times<br />

larger than it was in 2014.<br />

Immersive sound is still growing<br />

fast, with over 4,400 screens<br />

equipped with one of the three<br />

systems being commercialized at the<br />

end of 2017. The numbers exceed<br />

the installed base of premiumlarge-format<br />

screens globally, and<br />

this underlines how immersive<br />

sound systems are being installed<br />

in all sorts of screens, not just the<br />

flagship auditoriums. The issue of<br />

standards (or lack of them) has held<br />

up progress to some extent.<br />

RGB laser continues to grow its<br />

installed base of screens, with nearly<br />

700 in place at the end of 2017. The<br />

prices for high-end laser are coming<br />

down and all DLP projector manufacturers<br />

are offering RGB machines<br />

(Barco, NEC and Christie). There<br />

are also over 10,000 laser phosphor<br />

machines installed in cinemas globally<br />

now, many in China.<br />

continued on page 161<br />

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Untitled-2 1<br />

3/30/18 12:02 PM

Asia<br />

Authority<br />

Fox’s Kurt Rieder Earns <strong>2018</strong> Passepartout Award<br />

by Thomas Schmid<br />

Kurt Rieder<br />

‘<br />

While I think<br />

that all other<br />

developing<br />

markets such as<br />

Indonesia, Vietnam,<br />

Pakistan, Myanmar,<br />

Cambodia and<br />

Sri Lanka are<br />

finally being<br />

adequately<br />

addressed by<br />

both exhibition<br />

and distribution,<br />

we should direct<br />

greater focus<br />

’<br />

at Bangladesh.<br />

Though this year’s CinemaCon<br />

Passepartout Award laureate<br />

Kurt Rieder joined 20th Century<br />

Fox in Singapore less than a year ago,<br />

his career in Asia spans more than a<br />

quarter century.<br />

Hearing his full name—Kurt<br />

Ernst Rieder—one may be forgiven<br />

for assuming he’s a German national.<br />

But then Rieder starts speaking in his<br />

distinctive West Coast accent and<br />

it becomes unmistakably clear that<br />

he’s an American. His explanation<br />

for the name is straightforward: “My<br />

paternal grandparents were German<br />

and emigrated to the U.S. in the<br />

early 1900s. My father then kept the<br />

‘German theme’ going when naming<br />

my brothers and me. Whenever I fly<br />

Lufthansa, even the cabin staff will<br />

address me in German until I correct<br />

them.”<br />

Early Seeds<br />

Now in his 50s, Rieder was born<br />

and raised in sunny California, where<br />

he also received his education. While<br />

in college, he spent two years in<br />

Indonesia as an exchange student—<br />

in East Kalimantan province from<br />

1984 to 1985 and in Central Java<br />

from 1988 until 1989, in the process<br />

acquiring a rather sound command<br />

of the local language, Bahasa<br />

Indonesia. He might not have been<br />

fully aware of it at that point, but<br />

those two overseas stints probably<br />

planted the seeds that led to his later<br />

professional career in the Far East.<br />

After returning to the States,<br />

Rieder graduated from the University<br />

of California at Berkeley with<br />

a Bachelor’s Degree of Arts, South<br />

& Southeast Asian Studies, in 1989.<br />

Apart from the Orient, another<br />

subject that had always fueled his<br />

passion was the motion picture business.<br />

This prompted him to join the<br />

Peter Stark Motion Picture Producing<br />

Program at the University of<br />

Southern California’s School of <strong>Film</strong><br />

and Television, which he attended<br />

from 1990 to 1991.<br />

Grabbing an Opportunity<br />

While still engaged with the USC<br />

program, Rieder’s first job in the<br />

movie industry was an internship<br />

at Universal Studios’ international<br />

publicity department. “I was looking<br />

to convert this internship into a<br />

full-time job, as our second-year<br />

courses were shifting to night<br />

classes,” he recalls. Alas, it turned<br />

out that Universal didn’t have any<br />

job openings at the time. A little<br />

disappointed, Rieder then stumbled<br />

across an article in Variety on<br />

how Warner Bros. had recently<br />

established an office in Indonesia.<br />

Rieder saw his chance and grabbed<br />

it. After all, he had already been<br />

to that country and even spoke its<br />

language. “I wrote the executive<br />

quoted in the article, offering my<br />

services,” he says.<br />

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Soon invited in for a meeting, he was told that<br />

while no L.A.-based jobs were available, he could<br />

be a trainee in Burbank and Singapore and later<br />

move on to a home office representative position<br />

in Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta, where WB’s<br />

local licensee was based. Rieder accepted the offer.<br />

Warner Bros. kept their promise, too, eventually<br />

dispatching him to Singapore, where he would serve<br />

as general manager for Singapore, Malaysia and<br />

Indonesia from 1994 until 1998. During that time, he<br />

also met and married his first wife, an Indonesian,<br />

with whom he had two children.<br />

The First Career Milestone of Many<br />

But his general manager assignment for Warner<br />

Bros. was only the first major milestone in what<br />

would turn out to be a long and distinguished career<br />

spanning decades. Leaving WB in 1998, Rieder<br />

joined Australian entertainment group Village<br />

Roadshow (VR), an outfit that has played a crucial<br />

role in developing the cinema infrastructure of many<br />

countries across Asia. However, it wasn’t Asia where<br />

VR deployed him initially. He was—of all places—sent<br />

to Argentina instead, where he oversaw the local<br />

VR-operated cinema chain Village Cines as general<br />

manager. But he was soon to return to the realm<br />

nevertheless when he was appointed CEO of the<br />

VR-owned EGV chain in Thailand (which has since<br />

been bought out by local Major Cineplex Group). He<br />

eventually returned to Singapore as managing director<br />

of the country’s largest theatre chain, Golden Village,<br />

a joint venture between Hong Kong-based Golden<br />

Harvest Co. and Village Roadshow.<br />

From Singapore to Turkey<br />

After his involvement with VR had ended in<br />

2003, Rieder remained in Singapore, moving on to<br />

United International Pictures as senior VP for Asia,<br />

a position he held until 2009. He next applied his by<br />

now considerable professional experience as managing<br />

director of Artisan Gateway, Asia’s leading film and<br />

cinema industry consulting firm. But a couple of<br />

years further down the road, Golden Village once<br />

again beckoned, making him the chain’s CEO. In<br />

2013, Rieder left Singapore for the first time in years.<br />

He had in the meantime remarried to a Chinese-<br />

Singaporean and—accompanied by his new wife —<br />

accepted the CEO position at Turkey’s leading chain,<br />

Mars Cinema Group. “Well, at least I arguably still was<br />

in Asia, sort of,” he smirks.<br />

Asia: Top Five Fox Titles of 2017/18 and Top-Performing Territories<br />

Rank<br />

Title<br />

Regional Total<br />

Box Office (US$)<br />

Top<br />

Territories<br />

Territory’s<br />

Box Office (US$)<br />

1 Kingsman: The Golden Circle $182M<br />

2 War for the Planet of the Apes $172M<br />

3 Maze Runner: The Death Cure $106M<br />

4 The Greatest Showman $94M*<br />

5 Alien: Covenant $86M<br />

China<br />

South Korea<br />

Japan<br />

China<br />

South Korea<br />

Australia<br />

China<br />

South Korea<br />

Australia<br />

Japan<br />

Australia<br />

China<br />

China<br />

South Korea<br />

Japan<br />

$72M<br />

$36M<br />

$15M<br />

$112M<br />

$15M<br />

$8M<br />

$49M<br />

$18M<br />

$8M<br />

$37M**<br />

$24M<br />

$16M<br />

$45M<br />

$9M<br />

$8M<br />

*Box office by mid-March **Forecasted ultimate box office<br />

Note: Even though Australia is not directly supervised by Fox Singapore (it reports directly to L.A.), the territory is nevertheless included in<br />

the regional financial summaries and thus also reflected in the above regional box-office figures.<br />

Source: 20th Century Fox International, Singapore<br />

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West Liberty, Iowa<br />

Over 100 Years of Entertainment<br />

You brought St. Jude<br />

to the silver screen.<br />

Because of your generosity during the holiday season,<br />

we were able to help more children and families at<br />

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital ® in 2017.<br />

Every year, theater partners like you donate<br />

pre-show screen time to run the St. Jude<br />

Thanks and Giving ® campaign trailer.<br />

Featuring a cast of infl uential celebrities,<br />

this trailer captures the hearts of<br />

moviegoers everywhere. Thank you<br />

for helping us raise awareness and<br />

support for our lifesaving mission:<br />

Finding cures. Saving children. ®<br />

St. Jude patients<br />

Sarah and Azalea<br />

For more information, please email chance.weaver@stjude.org or visit stjude.org/theaters<br />

NEW STRAND Theatre<br />

©<strong>2018</strong> ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (33819)

Returning Home<br />

During the first half of 2017, 20th Century Fox<br />

International finally put into action a long-planned<br />

relocation of its regional office from Sydney, Australia,<br />

to Singapore. Rieder, who had since returned to the<br />

city state at the southern tip of the Malayan peninsula,<br />

was invited to take over as executive VP for the APAC<br />

region from outgoing industry icon Sunder Kimatrai,<br />

effective as of June 19, 2017. It was a call too enticing<br />

for him to pass up, considering that Singapore had<br />

had such a dramatic impact on his life, both on a<br />

professional and personal level. “I’ve spent 22 years<br />

in Asia, my wife’s Asian, my kids are half-Asian.<br />

Singapore’s home for me, so I didn’t regard my new<br />

role as merely a posting.”<br />

A Carefully Orchestrated Relocation<br />

The carefully orchestrated relocation was of<br />

course entirely based on practical considerations.<br />

“Traveling anywhere within Asia from Sydney was<br />

time-consuming and expensive. Moreover, the<br />

time zone difference, while fine for comfortably<br />

staying in touch with L.A., was problematic for the<br />

[Asian] territories, as the Sydney workday ends<br />

mid-afternoon Asia time,” Rieder explains. Although<br />

China had in the meantime matured into the world’s<br />

second-largest film market after the U.S., relocating<br />

to Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong apparently was<br />

never even contemplated, as Fox’s Chinese alldivision<br />

office reports directly to L.A. anyway.<br />

“Besides,” Rieder elaborates, “five out of six MPA<br />

studio regional offices are [presently] located in<br />

Singapore.” And for good reason, too, as the city<br />

state certainly boasts some distinct advantages:<br />

“Not only is Singapore’s media and digital scene<br />

robust, but the country is also a better hub for<br />

visiting the fast-growing markets of South and<br />

Southeast Asia, where we’re ramping up oversight<br />

and support of our third-party distributors.”<br />

Great, But Not Flawless<br />

Yet Singapore is not a flawless dream location.<br />

Rieder is too much of a seasoned and experienced<br />

professional to not also acknowledge that there<br />

are some disadvantages. “The local theatrical<br />

market is relatively small [Singapore has barely six<br />

million people] and has plateaued in terms of annual<br />

admissions,” he notes. “I would also say that markets<br />

like China and Korea have the latest in cinema<br />

technology such as 4DX and ScreenX, while Singapore<br />

does not yet. But that being said, IMAX does exist<br />

in Singapore and it is my favorite way to screen new<br />

films.” And another issue is presently occupying his<br />

mind as well: “Clearly, all of us at Fox are eager to<br />

understand the ramifications of the proposed Disney<br />

merger, but there are so many possible scenarios it’s<br />

impossible to forecast the outcome.”<br />

Harnessing the APEC Market<br />

Still, Rieder feels very confident about the APAC<br />

market’s potential as a whole. While he has seen<br />

some mature territories in the region flatline or<br />

even decline, he’s also noticed rather steady growth<br />

in China, Indonesia, Vietnam and the—as he calls<br />

it—“frontier markets” of Cambodia, Myanmar,<br />

Mongolia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and others. And a territory<br />

that in his opinion deserves more attention<br />

from an exhibition standpoint is Bangladesh, which<br />

has a very high population density but virtually no<br />

multiplex infrastructure whatsoever. “While I think<br />

that all other developing markets such as Indonesia,<br />

Vietnam, Pakistan, Myanmar, Cambodia and<br />

Sri Lanka are finally being adequately addressed by<br />

both exhibition and distribution, we should direct<br />

greater focus at Bangladesh.” It’s yet another challenging<br />

task, but one that Rieder without doubt is<br />

going to master almost in his stride.<br />

What Asians Like to Watch<br />

So…what sort of films do Asian audiences<br />

actually enjoy watching during those precious couple<br />

of hours snuggled up in a comfy reclining seat while<br />

munching away on an array of yummy snacks and<br />

beverages? Rieder discloses that, generally speaking,<br />

action and adventure movies play well throughout<br />

the region, but particularly in China and Southeast<br />

Asia. Animation is well liked in all territories, but<br />

only selectively so in India and Korea. And audiences<br />

in Japan, Korea and Hong Kong appear to have a<br />

rather soft spot, as emotional, female-driven films<br />

dominate at the box office there. On the other<br />

hand, sci-fi titles have traditionally had a harder time<br />

to reach Asian audiences. “But [even in this genre]<br />

we’ve seen improvement in the last few years thanks<br />

in part to the integration of sci-fi themes in Marvel<br />

films and the Transformers series, not to mention<br />

Oscar-caliber films such as Gravity and Interstellar,”<br />

Rieder points out, quickly slipping in that “Fox has a<br />

sci-fi film directed by James Gray and starring Brad<br />

Pitt next year, called Ad Astra.”<br />

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Hollywood Struggles<br />

However, Rieder also concedes that there are<br />

some territories where Hollywood fare has always<br />

been a bit on the backburner in terms of boxoffice<br />

receipts because of their own proliferating<br />

domestic film industries. “For example, in India<br />

we struggle due to the huge volume of locally produced<br />

content, both in Hindi and other languages,<br />

although the situation has improved dramatically in<br />

the last few years.” Additionally, Japan can be a difficult<br />

turf for Hollywood films as well, as the country<br />

likewise shells out a tremendous number of<br />

local movies each year. “Japan released almost 600<br />

domestic titles in 2017 alone, and these local offerings<br />

clearly over-index outside Japan’s key cities.”<br />

Facets of Demographics<br />

Regarding audience demographics, there too seem<br />

to be rather clear distinctions between territories,<br />

which Rieder attributes to the prevailing cultural<br />

heritage. “Female viewers are [box-office] drivers<br />

in Japan and Korea while males over-index in China<br />

and in South and Southeast Asian territories.” Yet he<br />

adds that he’s also seeing many territories moving<br />

towards a more evened-out male-to-female audience<br />

ratio, a development he primarily attributes to gradual<br />

changes in social norms as well as the way movies are<br />

watched. For instance, India has embarked on a strong<br />

drive to upgrade and expand its multiplex landscape.<br />

Meanwhile, Pakistan is striving to bring women and<br />

families back to the cinema. There also are territories<br />

that are rolling out more sophisticated marketing,<br />

with, as Rieder remarks, “multiple campaigns designed<br />

to appeal to distinct target groups.”<br />

An Award Well Deserved<br />

Contemplating the sheer amount of<br />

responsibilities heaped on Kurt Rieder and the<br />

multitude of challenges he’s facing, it appears that<br />

he has bitten off quite a mouthful by accepting the<br />

appointment from Fox. It keeps him extremely<br />

busy—but gladly so and with unbridled passion.<br />

For his astounding career over the course of<br />

more than a quarter century he will this year be<br />

recognized through the prestigious CinemaCon<br />

Passepartout Award. “It’s a great honor and a nice<br />

way to recognize international executives who<br />

have played multiple roles throughout the world,”<br />

he modestly deflects from his own outstanding<br />

achievements. Almost like an Asian. <br />

Change continued from page 154<br />

High Dynamic Range as a branded concept in<br />

cinemas is progressing, with Dolby Cinema and<br />

the more recent option of EclairColor also gaining<br />

traction, the latter especially in Europe (mainly<br />

Germany and France). Dolby Cinema was installed<br />

in 133 cinemas as of the beginning of <strong>2018</strong>, with<br />

over 350 now signed up, many in the USA and<br />

China. As for EclairColor, a newer market entrant<br />

for HDR, the number of screens now exceeds 100<br />

in Europe and the USA, with 50+ movies mixed in<br />

the format during 2017.<br />

A new technology also entered<br />

the market during 2017: LED,<br />

which is the only genuine disruptor<br />

for the business in that it could remove<br />

‘projection<br />

’<br />

from the auditorium.<br />

A new technology also entered the market during<br />

2017: LED, which is the only genuine disruptor<br />

for the business in that it could remove projection<br />

from the auditorium. Samsung’s Cinema LED screen<br />

is now established in five sites worldwide, with the<br />

prospect of a further U.S. site soon to open.<br />

The proliferation of technology has now<br />

had its first major casualty in Escape, and this<br />

will probably not be the last to falter. The<br />

pace of innovation is gaining speed and this has<br />

introduced a level of complexity into distribution<br />

and exhibition. In consequence, there is an<br />

industry debate going on as to the need for<br />

further innovation, while we probably haven’t yet<br />

got the maximum out of the DCI 1.0 equipment.<br />

The cinema industry is used to standards and<br />

feels comfortable having a brake on unfettered<br />

innovation, but at the same time is fighting a<br />

battle to regain its position as the highest-quality<br />

space for film-watching now that streaming<br />

services and TVs in general can offer 4K UHD as<br />

standard watching content. Watch this space.<br />

David Hancock is Research Director, <strong>Film</strong> and<br />

Cinema, at IHS Markit and the President of European<br />

Digital Cinema Forum (EDCF). David will discuss the<br />

global trends of technology and consolidation during<br />

CinemaCon’s international seminars, Monday morning,<br />

April 23. <br />

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Caribbean<br />

Strong<br />

Robert Carrady Brings His Cinemas Back from a Historic Hurricane Season<br />

by Kevin Lally<br />

Robert Carrady<br />

‘<br />

There is a strong<br />

local film industry<br />

in the Dominican<br />

Republic, and 20%<br />

to 25% of our annual<br />

box office is driven<br />

by local Dominican<br />

films there.<br />

And Dominican films<br />

cross over well<br />

to Puerto Rico.<br />

Recently we had<br />

a Dominican film<br />

that we were involved<br />

in on the production<br />

side that actually<br />

did very well<br />

’<br />

in New York.<br />

CinemaCon will honor Caribbean<br />

Cinemas president<br />

Robert Carrady with its <strong>2018</strong><br />

“Career Achievement in Exhibition<br />

Award,” and though it’s a career<br />