Boxoffice - May 2019

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The Official Magazine of the National Association of Theatre Owners

$6.95 / MAY / MAY 2019

MAY MOVIE

MAYHEM

ROCKETMAN, LATE NIGHT,

BOOKSMART, JOHN WICK:

CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM

30 YEARS IN

DISTRIBUTION

TARON EGERTON STARS AS

ELTON JOHN IN DEXTER FLETCHER’S

ROCKETMAN

CELEBRATING SONY’S

ADRIAN SMITH

CINEMACON

2019

THE FUTURE OF THE

MOVIEGOING EXPERIENCE

GLOBAL

OUTLOOK

INTERVIEW WITH CHARLES

RIVKIN & HIGHLIGHTS

FROM THE MPAA’S 2018

THEME REPORT

BRIE LARSON STARS IN

DISNEY’S CAPTAIN MARVEL

THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THEATRE OWNERS


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It’s been a busy month, to say the least. There wasn’t much

time to rest as the industry returned from another eventful

CinemaCon and prepared for the launch of Avengers: Endgame.

It’s always nice to see moviegoers excited for a major tentpole—

and the box office numbers that go along with it aren’t bad to

look at either. It reminds me of the communal effort required

to ensure the success of this industry: from distribution to intheater

marketing to, most importantly, providing a top-class

experience from opening weekend on. A wonderful time at the

movies is the best way to remind audiences who don’t come

often what they’re missing.

In this issue, you’ll find a detailed recap of CinemaCon 2019: a collection

of features that includes the latest business and technology trends and an

analysis of the studio slate that awaits us. I don’t believe you’ll find a more

comprehensive—or dare I say better—review of the event anywhere else.

You’ll also find an exclusive interview with MPAA head Charles Rivkin that

accompanies highlights of the 2018 THEME report on moviegoing statistics.

Coming off a record year at the domestic and global box office, we’re expecting

to hit similar heights in 2019 with an exciting summer slate. Our regular Ask

the Audience column, compiled in collaboration with NCM, offers insights

into some of the titles audiences are most looking forward to.

Speaking of movies, we have four feature interviews in this issue. In our

cover story, Kevin Lally talks to Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher about the

making of the rock-biopic based on Elton John’s career. Not everyone can have

similar decade-spanning success, but if there’s an equivalent in the distribution

business, Adrian Smith is on that shortlist. This issue of Boxoffice includes

a special section congratulating Sony’s president of domestic distribution

for his 30th anniversary at the studio. Having been a part of Sony during

several transformative periods, Smith looks back on his career in a revealing

conversation that highlights his favorite moments and memories.

As always, feel free to get in touch with me or my colleagues with your thoughts

on this issue—and anything you’d like to see us cover in the future. In the

meantime, thank you once again for your ongoing support of our publication.

Daniel Loria

SVP Content Strategy & Editorial Director

Boxoffice

daniel@boxoffice.com

2 MAY 2019


2019 VOL. 155 NO. 5

ROCKETMAN

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3—PARABELLUM

FEATURES

SUMMER NIGHTS 36

Boxoffice gathered insights from NCM’s nationwide

Ask the Audience panel to predict the

hottest titles throughout the coming months

DATA DOWN UNDER 116

The Vista Group’s 9th Customer Conference

showcases a range of new products

EVENT CINEMA AWARD 118

Record-breaking They Shall Not Grow Old earns

CinemaCon’s Excellence in Event Cinema Award

for Warner Bros.

BIG DATA 120

A record year: Highlights from the 2018 MPAA

THEME Report

MPAA UPDATE 124

81

Our Q&A with Charles Rivkin, chairman & CEO,

Motion Picture Association of America

CinemaCon Recap

His Song

DEXTER FLETCHER’S ROCKETMAN

IS AN ELTON JOHN

MUSICAL FANTASIA

88

THE HUNCHBACK

OF NOTRE DAME

Hard Boiled

DIRECTOR CHAD STAHELSKI DOESN’T

PULL ANY PUNCHES IN JOHN WICK:

CHAPTER 3—PARABELLUM

94

THE BOXOFFICE

BAROMETER

112

The New

Normal

DISTRIBUTION AND

EXHIBITION ADJUST

TO A SHIFTING

LANDSCAPE IN THE

WAKE OF INDUSTRY

CONSOLIDATION

Filmmakers’

Roundtable

FIVE DIRECTORS

SHARE THEIR MOVIE

MEMORIES AND

THE IMPOTANCE

OF THE CINEMA

EXPERIENCE

Tast y

Treats

HEALTH-

CONSCIOUS

CONCESSIONS

OFFERINGS TAKE

A BITE OUT OF

CINEMACON

Rock ’n’

Roll

A STROLL THROUGH

THE TRADE SHOW

FLOOR REVEALS

THE LATEST

IMMERSIVE

SEATING

Coming

Attractions

STUDIOS BRING

THE RAZZLE DAZZLE

WITH SNEAK

PEEKS AT THEIR

UPCOMING

SLATES

52 60 62 64 67

Boxoffice has served as the official publication of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) since 2007. As part of this partnership, Boxoffice is proud to feature exclusive columns

from NATO while retaining full editorial freedom throughout its pages. As such, the views expressed in Boxoffice, except for columns signed by NATO executives, reflect neither a stance nor an

endorsement from the National Association of Theatre Owners.

4 MAY 2019


LATE NIGHT

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DECONSTRUCTS THE CLASSIC

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DEPARTMENTS

HELLO 2

INSURANCE COVERAGE

C O M P A N I E S

P R I C E

TECH TALK 6

TRADE TALK 16

EXECUTIVE SUITE 24

GOVERNMENT RELATIONS 27

43

CELEBRATING

ADRIAN SMITH

The Executive Looks Back on

Three Decades at Sony Pictures

Entertainment

CHARITY SPOTLIGHT 28

INDIE FOCUS 32

BIG DATA 36

INVESTOR RELATIONS 126

SOCIAL MEDIA 128

EVENT CINEMA CALENDAR 132

ON SCREEN 134

BOOKING GUIDE 152

MARKETPLACE 160

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MAY 2019

5


EDITED BY LAURA SILVER

IMMERSIVE SEATING

D-BOX TO ENTER INDIAN AND

AUSTRALIAN MARKETS FOR THE

FIRST TIME, EXPAND REACH IN

U.S. AND CANADA

>> As immersive seating provider D-Box

approaches its 10th anniversary, the Montreal-based

company has announced a

quartet of deals that will expand its global

reach in several key markets.

The first of those deals is with leading

Indian exhibition chain PVR Cinemas,

which partners with D-Box to install more

than 400 motion seats in four locations

across Mumbai and Delhi. This represents

D-Box’s first foray into India, prompting

D-Box president and CEO Claude

McMaster to remark: “We are always

thrilled to introduce our celebrated motion

technology to new audiences, but this is

especially exciting because of the country’s

infatuation with the moviegoing experience

and renowned admiration for great stories.”

Ajay Bijli, chairman and managing

director, PVR Ltd., says: “Innovation

rests at the core of our business, and we

are happy to launch India’s first D-Box–

enabled motion seats. Our success lies in

the trust of our patrons and partners, and

we are certain this new technology will

ensure an exciting experience.”

Installation is expected to begin in the

fall. Per McMaster, D-Box also plans to

“[develop] relationships with Bollywood

studios to incorporate D-Box Motion

Code into their movies.”

D-Box will also move into Australia

for the first time as the result of a new

deal with Hoyts, one of Australia’s leading

entertainment companies and its largest

single-brand movie distributor. The agreement

will see four full auditoriums in Sydney

and Melbourne outfitted with more

CLAUDE MC MASTER, PRESIDENT & CEO OF D-BOX (L), AND GAUTAM DUTTA, PRESIDENT & CEO OF PVR CINEMAS,

AT A SIGNING CEREMONY DURING CINEMACON

than 200 D-Box motion recliner seats.

D-Box also expands its footprint in

the U.S. and Canadian markets, where it

already has a presence. That first expansion

comes courtesy of a deal with Galaxy

Theaters to install recliner motion seats in

its new theater in the Boulevard Mall in

Las Vegas, bringing the total number of

Galaxy screens using D-Box seats to seven.

Moving north, D-Box announced

the addition of D-Box motion seats to

10 Cineplex auditoriums across Canada.

These locations bring the total number of

auditoriums at Cineplex theaters to 100,

a new milestone for D-Box.

“We are always happy to partner with

Cineplex, because it means we can bring

the D-Box experience to more Canadians.

Reaching 100 auditoriums in the Cineplex

circuit is an extra special milestone

for us,” said McMaster. “Furthermore,

to have our motion technology featured

in auditoriums with UltraAVX screens

creates an exciting new entertainment

experience that transcends the ordinary

by completely immersing moviegoers in

the story.”

Rollout of Cineplex’s new D-Box locations

is expected to begin this summer,

for expected completion in 2020.

6 MAY 2019


MEDIAMATION EXPANDS ON

FIVE CONTINENTS IN 2019

>> Torrance, California–based Media-

Mation Inc., makers of the immersive

motion EFX experience MX4D, will

be expanding its presence with over 50

new global installations in Asia, Europe,

North America, South America, and

Africa beginning in mid-2019. The new

installations bring MX4D’s total facilities

count from 346 to over 400, a 15

percent increase.

“MX4D’s unique systems enhance

children’s films, action-adventure,

horror and comedy, where the communal

MX4D viewing experience provides

outstanding features that include

unique auditorium effects: fog, strobe,

snow, rain, and bubbles,” said CEO

Howard Kiedaisch. “A full pneumatic

(quiet, safe, low-maintenance, non-electric)

range of motion seats each are

also part of the experience and include,

through a patented process, neck and

leg ticklers, wind, scent, water, rumblers,

and pokers.”

MediaMation’s new multitheater

deal with FilmHouse will move MX4D

facilities into Nigeria. Said Kene Okwuosa,

CEO of FilmHouse, “We are very

proud to be partnering with MediaMation

to bring MX4D to our theaters in

Nigeria. Cinema is growing fast in West

Africa, and we are delighted to be at the

forefront of the industry, with the latest

in immersive-viewing technology. The

future is very exciting.”

In South America, MX4D Motion

EFX Auditoriums are now under construction

with Muvix Cinemas of Chile.

These MX4D-branded auditoriums join

an already large motion EFX footprint in

Colombia through an ongoing relationship

with Cine Colombia.

Other international installations set

for this year include Inox Theatres’ first

location at the Inorbit Mall, Malad West,

Mumbai. This initial foray into India

joins an already existing Asian presence

for MX4D, with nearly 250 installs in

greater China, a large EFX theater footprint

in Japan, and locations across the

Middle East, Thailand, the Philippines,

and Malaysia.

New installations will be announced

shortly in Europe, joining new facilities

with Cineplexx in Austria, Serbia, and

Croatia. MX4D theaters currently operate

in France.

MX4D will be expanding stateside as

well. Set to open in early April is B&B’s

sixth U.S. location in Overland Park,

Kansas. Also forthcoming is an MX4D

auditorium in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp

District. Other existing EFX theater

locations are spread across the United

States, Mexico, and soon Canada.

As exhibitors diversify their theater

content, MX4D also offers a proprietary

esports arena conversion system. This

enables auditoriums to go from 4-D

film presentations to interactive gaming

centers, with sponsorship zones, live

transmission of contests, pop-up gaming

consoles, and an effects jockey station.

PREMIUM LARGE

FORMAT

CJ 4DPLEX’S 4DX AND SCREENX

GLOBAL FOOTPRINTS GROW

>> Seoul-based CJ 4DPlex continues to

ink deals that expand its 4DX immersive

seating and ScreenX panoramic screen

technologies around the globe.

All told, CinemaCon saw the company

announce nine international deals,

detailed below:

• Bright Minds/Empire Cinemas to open

10 new 4DX theaters in Saudi Arabia

by 2023

• Cineplanet to open three ScreenX theaters

in Peru and Chile by 2019

• Cineplex to open 20 additional

ScreenX theaters in Canada, with the

first 12 screens by 2020

• Cineplex GmbH & Co. KG to open

Germany’s first 4DX screen in 2019

• Inox to bring the first ScreenX theaters

to India

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MAY 2019

7


TECH TALK

• Kinepolis to open six ScreenX theaters

• PVR to open 10 ScreenX theaters in

India by 2021

• Silver Screens to open six 4DX and

ScreenX theaters

• Cinépolis to open three ScreenX and

four 4DX screens

In addition, CJ 4DPlex’s deal with

Cinépolis will see the Americas’ very first

“4DX with ScreenX” location open in

Cinépolis’s Acoxpa cinema in Mexico

City this summer.

Cinépolis is already one of the world’s

largest providers of 4DX auditoriums,

with 59 locations in 10 countries. Its

new deal with CJ 4DPlex brings the

chain’s first ScreenX location to America,

as well as the first-ever ScreenX location

to Mexico.

“We’re proud to build on our

long-standing successful relationship with

Cinépolis as we expand the footprint of

4DX, ScreenX, and 4DX with ScreenX

across the U.S and Latin America” said

JongRyul Kim, CEO of CJ 4DPlex. “It

is an incredible moment to be breaking

ground in bringing the first-ever ScreenX

to Mexico, in addition to installing the

very first 4DX with ScreenX theater in

[the] Americas.”

CINEMANEXT EQUIPS PARIS

CINEMA WITH SPHERA CONCEPT

>> CinemaNext has launched its Sphera

premium cinema concept at the new Les

7 Batignolles cinema complex located in

the 17th arrondissement in Paris. This is

the second Sphera auditorium in Europe

after Village Cinemas in The Mall Athens

in Greece.

“We chose this concept developed by

CinemaNext because we considered it to

be the most advanced premium concept,

combining the latest existing technologies—much

more enveloping Dolby

Atmos surround sound, a brighter, more

intense picture in HDR or EclairColor

HDR, comfortable reclining leather seats,

and dynamic lighting on the side walls

that interacts with the images projected

on the screen,” said Dorothy Malherbe,

manager of the 7 Batignolles cinema.

“The wow factor of the Sphera auditorium

means we can offer our audiences

a moment of escapism and immersion.

One in five moviegoers currently chooses

Sphera, making it the most popular auditorium

at our cinema.”

The Sphera auditorium at Les 7

Batignolles features 352 seats and a

15-meter-wide wall-to-wall screen. It is

HDR and EclairColor HDR-compatible

thanks to the latest generation 4K

3-D projectors in the booth. The Dolby

Atmos sound system is reinforced by a

powerful subwoofer using advanced energy

transducer technology. Acoustic walls

equipped with dynamic ambient lighting

and an entrance hall concept specific to

Sphera complete the design.

SAMSUNG CONTINUES

EXPANSION OF ONYX LED

SCREEN

>> At CinemaCon 2019, Samsung Electronics

announced upcoming installations

of its branded Samsung Onyx Cinema

LED display, the world’s first DCI-compliant

LED theater display, including two

in the U.S. and one in Israel.

The U.S. installations are at the

Star Cinema Grill in Texas and at

Warehouse Cinema by HighRoc

Group in Maryland.

“Since our unveiling for the U.S.

market at CinemaCon last year, Samsung

Onyx has revolutionized the cinema

experience globally,” said Nick Conti,

senior business development manager for

cinema, Samsung Electronics America.

“[These latest] announcements in the U.S.

8 MAY 2019


showcase the praise and significant interest

we have received from the industry since

last year’s unveiling, and we are very excited

to work with these visionary exhibitors

on successful installations this year.”

According to Samsung, Star Cinema

Grill in Richmond, Texas, will be the

company’s most advanced and luxurious

theater to date and will serve as the model

concept going forward. The installation

is slated to finish in June of this year

and will be the first Samsung Onyx p3.3

Cinema LED in the Western hemisphere

and only the second in the world.

In September, Warehouse Cinemas,

a venture from HighRock Group, will

introduce Samsung Onyx p2.5 Cinema

LED at its flagship location in Frederick,

Maryland. Samsung Onyx is a

key technology in Warehouse Cinema’s

patent-pending tilt technology, SkyVUE,

which relies on angles and perspective for

optimal movie viewing. The design uses

elevated, tilted screens to create comfortable,

ergonomic positioning for both

sloped and flat floors.

“Simply put, Onyx empowered us to

bring SkyVUE LED to the masses and

there’s no better partner to make our

vision a reality,” said Rich Daughtridge,

president and CEO at Warehouse Cinemas.

“We are looking forward to partnering

with Samsung on this innovation that

will change how customers experience

theater-going in the future.”

In other Samsung news, the company

has maintained its position as

the number-one worldwide leader in

digital signage as measured by unit sales

for the 10th consecutive year. Recently

released data from IHS Markit identified

Samsung as the top-selling brand in the

industry since 2009. According to the

IHS Technology report “Public Displays

Market Tracker,” Samsung accounted for

25.8 percent of the global market share

for digital signage unit sales in 2018.

THX TO PARTNER WITH

CINIONIC

>> THX Ltd. announced that the

world’s first THX Ultimate Cinema, at

Regency Westwood Village Theatre in

Los Angeles, will launch in spring/summer

2019.

The company is working closely with

industry leader Cinionic, the Barco,

CGS, and ALPD cinema joint venture,

to bring the THX Ultimate Cinema

experience to consumers. This premium

large-format (PLF) cinema offering meets

all THX Certified Cinema standards.

THX Ultimate Cinema at Regency

Westwood builds upon Cinionic’s premium

offering, integrating its dual-Barco laser

system, which delivers a 4K resolution

image for premium large-format screens

with CGS remastered content exclusively

shown at this location. The Regency

Westwood Village Theatre, which boasts

nearly 1,400 seats and is home to some of

Hollywood’s biggest red-carpet premieres,

has also undergone numerous upgrades

to the sound system and acoustics. These

include an increase in low-frequency

power to yield a decrease in distortion

and an increase in sound power, as well

as the addition of curtains to improve

the clarity and accuracy of the immersive

multidimensional sound system.

“The new projection system featured

in the THX Ultimate Cinema offering

delivers a fantastic image on screen,” said

Lyndon Golin, CEO, Regency Theaters.

“We are very excited to be able to provide

an enhanced cinematic experience to our

studio partners for premieres and moviegoers

alike.”

THX and Cinionic are working with

additional exhibitors around the world

to bring the THX Ultimate Cinema

experience to market and will announce

new partners as installation plans are

completed.

CINEMARK EXTENDS

AGREEMENT WITH IMAX

>> Imax Corporation and Cinemark

Holdings Inc. have announced an expansion

of the companies’ partnership with

the renewal of all Cinemark’s existing

Imax locations and the installation of

two Imax with Laser systems. Cinemark

will add Imax’s new laser experience and

12-channel immersive sound system

to a new Imax theater to be located at

the Cinemark complex in Daly City,

California, as well as upgrade the existing

Imax theater at the Cinemark complex in

Milford, Connecticut.

With this announcement, nearly all of

Cinemark’s Imax theaters are now under

agreement through 2026. In addition, in

specified circumstances Cinemark shall

refresh some of its existing Imax theaters

with redesigned entryways and enhanced

in-theater branding. Cinemark opened

its first Imax theater in 1999 and, with

today’s agreement, now has a total of 14

Imax theaters that are currently open

and one expected to open in the fourth

quarter of 2019.

MAY 2019

9


TECH TALK

“Throughout our 20-year partnership,

Cinemark and Imax have shared some of

the world’s biggest movies and created a

platform for the best technical and visual

advancements in the industry,” said

Mark Zoradi, CEO, Cinemark. “With

the reaffirmation of our commitment

with Imax, we will continue to provide

audiences with the most impactful moviegoing

experience.”

“Today’s agreement is a testament to

the robust performance of Cinemark’s

Imax locations and reaffirms its

commitment to giving audiences the

best in immersive cinemagoing through

The Imax Experience,” said Imax CEO

Richard L. Gelfond.

The new system will also feature Imax’s

12-channel sound technology that incorporates

new side and overheard channels.

To date, the company has signed

agreements for more than 200 of its new

Imax with Laser systems worldwide.

HUAXIA TO SPEED

DEVELOPMENT OF ADVANCED-

FORMAT MOVIES

>> Chinese film distributor Huaxia

Film Distribution Co. Ltd. will develop,

leverage, and promote premium-format

movies driven by new, advanced configurations,

specifically the Cinity Cinema

System. Cinity will seamlessly combine

related processes and technologies, (e.g.,

filming, post-production, distribution,

and projection) that are representative of

advanced-format movies, to build a complete

industry ecosystem for them.

To accomplish this, Huaxia Film has

entered into strategic partnership agreements

with Christie Digital Systems Inc.

and Hong Kong-based GDC Technology

Limited to co-develop a projection

system for advanced-format movies.

This Cinity Cinema System is unique

in being designed to project 120 FPS

high-frame-rate movies. It will also encompass

current and emerging advanced

cinema technologies, including 4K, 3-D,

high dynamic range, wide color gamut

(WCG), and immersive sound.

To facilitate the adoption of the

Cinity Cinema System, Huaxia Film

will create a Cinity Film Lab to combine

SONY DIGITAL CINEMA

ENTERS THE PLF MARKET

The proliferation of premium

large-format (PLF) auditoriums

continues as Sony Digital Cinema

becomes the latest cinema

technology company to enter the

space.

Sony unveiled its first PLF

auditorium at the Galaxy Theatres

Las Vegas Boulevard Mall location

during CinemaCon 2019. The

company also offered demos of its

SRX-R815P laser projection solution

at Caesars Palace’s Pompeian

Ballroom II.

“CinemaCon is a celebration

of every facet of the movie industry,”

said Theresa Alesso, president,

Sony Electronics’ professional

division, in a press release.

“We’re looking forward to showcasing

the latest Sony technology

for theater owners and celebrating

in our own right as we launch our

new Sony Digital Cinema PLF

experience in the heart of Las

Vegas, a city known for providing

unparalleled entertainment.”

10 MAY 2019


filming, post-production, and distribution.

The company will invite organizations

and filmmakers from around the

world to participate in the construction

of the lab and in filmmaking. At CinemaCon,

it invited some internationally

renowned film directors to serve as consultants

for the lab and to help Huaxia

to conduct various tests and research

projects. In addition, the company is

planning to invest in the production of

advanced-format movies and support

related organizations and teams in delivering

superior advanced-format movies

that exemplify exquisite art and sophisticated

technologies, thus attracting more

people to cinemas.

The Cinity Cinema System will be

launched in August 2019, with the

first 100 dual-projection systems to be

installed in cinemas across mainland

China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan,

with additional systems to be installed

worldwide later on.

IMMERSIVE SEATING

CINÉPOLIS SELECTS VOLFONI AS

ITS 3-D PROVIDER

>> Cinépolis, the largest cinema exhibitor

in Latin America and fourth-largest

cinema exhibitor in the world, has selected

Volfoni as its 3-D provider for its new

cinema complexes in Bahrain, Oman,

and Argentina.

All of Cinépolis’s new cinema complexes

use a combination of SmartCrystal

NEO and the award-winning SmartCrystal

Diamond to provide light efficiency

and image sharpness for all 3-D solutions.

“We are very honored to have been

selected by a cinema chain that prizes

what is best in technology and demands a

great and immersive experience for all of

its patrons. Our products deliver such an

experience, and we are thrilled to collaborate

on such great projects,” said Paula

Silveira, VP of business development,

Volfoni Americas.

Cinépolis arrives in the Gulf Cooperation

Council region with a 30-screen

theater complex in the Atrium Mall in

Sar, Bahrain, that will raise and set the

standard for high-end luxury theaters by

using the latest technology and amenities,

including Macro XE, 4D Emotion, 3-D

technologies, and kid-friendly Cinépolis

Junior auditoriums. The same standard

will be used in Oman’s Avenues Mall and

other future multiplexes in the region.

In Argentina, with the alliance with

Village Cines, Cinépolis’s growth plans

continue. “Volfoni’s business model and

continuous focus on high-quality and

easy-to-operate systems were key in the

decision to use their technology,” said

Gabriel Morales, Cinépolis’s global technology

director.

REALD & HUAXIA ANNOUNCE

CINITY PARTNERSHIP

>> Huaxia will install 100 RealD 3D

systems and 100 RealD Ultimate Screens

MAY 2019

11


TECH TALK

in the company’s newly developed Cinity

Cinema System. The official launch is

targeted for August 2019.

Cinity Cinema System delivers a full

range of high-frame-rate and high-resolution

cinema projection technologies,

including dual projection that supports

4K, high frame rate with 120 frames per

second, high dynamic range, wide color

gamut, high-quality 3-D projection, and

immersive sound.

“RealD is proud that our 3-D system

and RealD Ultimate Screens will be

installed into Cinity Cinema System

and become one of its important

technical elements. We admire Huaxia’s

bold pursuit in providing the ultimate

movie-viewing experience, and as a

global frontier to build the first 120

FPS-supporting movie theaters,” said

Edman Chen, vice president and general

manager, Asia Pacific for RealD.

The first high-frame-rate 3-D film to

be screened at Cinity will be Ang Lee’s

sci-fi thriller Gemini Man, starring Will

Smith, which is set to be released worldwide

in October by Paramount Pictures

and Skydance Media.

In addition to the 4K, 120 FPS,

high-frame-rate, 3-D capability, Cinity’s

visual quality features include a higher

3-D brightness level at 14FL, high stereo

contrast to eliminate ghosting, wide halfgain

viewing angle, and speckle reduction

in laser projection. These image-quality

features will be achieved with the 3-D+

screen package provided by RealD.

SOFTWARE

CINEWORLD EXTENDS AAM

SOFTWARE TO REGAL

>> Arts Alliance Media (AAM) is extending

its technological partnership with

the Cineworld Group PLC (CW).

AAM currently supplies its theater

management system (TMS), Screenwriter,

and third-line technical support to

Cineworld’s estate in Europe and Israel,

and provides Cineworld’s head office with

control over the 900 screens in its U.K.

circuit with the Producer circuit management

system (CMS).

Following CW’s recent acquisition

of Regal Cinemas in the U.S., it will

automate its scheduling and content

management using Screenwriter in Regal

Cinemas’s 7,361 screens, and expand the

Producer’s coverage across CW’s entire

portfolio, which includes Picturehouse,

Cinema City, Cineworld, and Regal Cinemas.

AAM will also provide third-line

technical support to the new sites.

“With a circuit that now spans over

9,500 screens in 10 countries across two

continents, we have a huge amount of

operational data available to us,” said

Renana Teperberg, CCO at CW. “AAM

have proven they can turn that data into

business opportunities with their CMS

solution. Producer presents us with the

centralized visibility, tools, and controls

we need to bring consistency to our

customer experience and efficiency to our

entire circuit, all from head office.”

CW plans to roll out Producer at

a swift pace, thanks to AAM’s newly

redesigned CMS, which does not require

a VPN or anything further to install.

CW will be the first exhibitor to benefit

from this CMS offering, which has been

designed with input from cinemas around

the world.

“Cineworld have a long history of

embracing innovation, including as one

of the earliest adopters of our circuit

management technology.” said Patrick Foley,

CEO of Arts Alliance Media. “We’re

thrilled to partner with them once again

on their latest groundbreaking endeavor,

using a combination of advanced software

and enhanced processes to bring efficiency

and consistency to over 9,500 screens

around the world.”

SCREENVISION SIGNS WITH

CIELO

>> Cielo and Screenvision Media have

announced the signing of a licensing

agreement to implement Cielo Ad

Reporting within Screenvision Media’s

network. This system uses cloud-based

technology to broaden and deepen delivery

reporting to the cinema advertising

industry.

Cielo’s Ad Reporting product will encompass

the company’s real-time analytics

and reporting features with Screenvision

Media’s industry expertise.

“Screenvision Media continues its innovative

leadership with the introduction

of Cielo within their advertising cinema

network, providing a cost-effective and

accurate way of validating the playback of

advertisements in real time,” said Guillermo

Younger, CEO of Cielo.

“Cielo Ad Reporting is a sophisticated

and innovative solution, in line

with Screenvision Media’s mission to

offer technology-forward solutions,” said

John Marmo, Screenvision Media’s VP

digital training and compliance, exhibitor

relations. “The adoption of the Cielo

Ad Reporting system complements our

approach to technological advancement.

Combined with our recent implementation

of our broadband internet distribution

system, this will grant full visibility

to advertising data in real time for

compliance reporting and campaign-performance

analytics. This is a powerful

combination that will revolutionize the

cinema advertising industry.”

Cielo Ad Reporting will be deployed

at 6,000 movie theater screens within the

Screenvision Media network. The cloudbased

reporting will augment the existing

Screenvision Media reporting system and

further support the already robust reporting

across its entire network.

MARQUEE CINEMAS SELECTS

OMNITERM AS POS PROVIDER

>> Omniterm, a point-of-sale solutions

company dedicated to the cinema industry

for over 40 years, was selected by Marquee

Cinema as its theater management

software (TMS) provider.

Marquee’s goal is to offer quality

family entertainment, in state-of-the-art

facilities exceeding the expectation of

each guest on every visit by featuring

12 MAY 2019


TECH TALK

industry-leading amenities.

“Our software and hardware offerings

continually evolve to meet the needs of

our North American and international

clients,” says Mike Richards, director of

IT and project management at Omniterm.

“We believe it’s important to

invest in technology to help theaters keep

pace with the changing environment.”

“The Omniterm Integra TMS solution

will provide us with the features, reliability,

and functionality that are needed

to help improve the efficiencies at the

theater and head office levels,” said James

Cox, COO of Marquee Cinemas.

Marquee will upgrade its 17 theaters

to Omniterm’s Integra software platform

before the end of Q3, 2019. According to

James Cox, “Marquee Cinemas is looking

forward to integrating many new features

of the Omniterm TMS solution.”

PROJECTION

CHRISTIE EXPANDS REALLASER IN MEXICO,

INDONESIA, U.S.

>> Cinema 21, the largest movie theater chain in Indonesia,

expands its fleet of RGB pure laser cinema projectors by

acquiring a further 100 units of Christie’s next-generation

cinema projectors featuring Christie RealLaser illumination.

Cinema 21 was one of the first cinema chains in Asia to

invest in Christie RealLaser shortly after its launch almost a

year ago. With this latest acquisition, Cinema 21 will possess

Asia’s largest fleet of Christie cinema projectors equipped with

RealLaser illumination technology.

“Having put the Christie CP4325-RGB cinema projector

through its paces and being very impressed with its

performance, we are convinced that Christie’s RGB pure

laser projector is the future of cinema projection,” said Suryo

Suherman, executive chairman, Cinema 21. “This second

investment also underscores our confidence in the Christie

RealLaser family of cinema projectors, enabling us to stay at

the forefront of technology as we continue with our quest to

expand our footprint across the country.”

Also on board with Christie’s RealLaser technology is

Cinemex, which has opened a 23-screen multiplex equipped

with Christie’s CP2315-RGB andCP2320-RGB 2K-resolution

offerings. In addition, all auditoriums are equipped with

Christie Vive Audio cinema sound systems.

Said Rolando Maggi, operations manager at Cinemex,

“The opening of the Cinemex Market Artz Pedregal complex

introduces the Cinemex Market experience, where our guests

can relax before or after the movie. And once they enter the auditoriums,

the state-of-the-art technology from Christie RGB

laser projection and Christie Vive Audio in all auditoriums will

enhance their motion picture experience with every movie.”

Christie’s third RealLaser installation puts it in Cinemaworld’s

West Melbourne, Florida, location. Christie has

delivered, and Bright Star Systems has installed, 14 Christie

CP2315-RGB 2K pure laser projectors to the cinema.

Currently, a renovation is under way that will see the

reconfiguration of two remaining theaters into a single premium

large-format (PLF) showcase with projection powered by

Christie’s 4K resolution CP4325-RGB projector.

Explained Jim Deal, senior vice president, operations,

at Cinemaworld, in addition to its image quality, “we also

wanted the efficiencies and savings offered by Christie’s RGB

pure laser projectors’ compact and cost-effective design. The

result is that we are now powering all 14 laser projectors for

the same amount of power we used for just three of the old

xenon lamp projectors.

“The area around West Melbourne is one of the lightning

capitals of the world. We are constantly subjected to

momentary power outages caused by lightning. We looked

for any options that would allow us to put the entire system

on a battery backup UPS, so that when we get those short,

one-second outages, the show goes on without interruption.

In fact, 95 percent of the power outages are for a mere second

or two at a time. With our Christie RGB laser projectors,

we’ve now eliminated this potential sore point for our guests,

who no longer have to put up with interruptions they used to

endure while we reset the projection systems. Now the show

will go on. It’s not glitzy and glamorous, but it’s a real benefit

to not lose power.”

14 MAY 2019


EDITED BY LAURA SILVER

the category “New Build Cinema of the

Year” for its CineStar 4DX Mall of Split,

the biggest cinema site in Croatia’s coastal

region of Dalmatia.

CINEEUROPE TO HONOR BLITZ-

CINESTAR

>> Blitz-CineStar has been named the

2019 recipient of the International Exhibitor

of the Year Award at CineEurope.

The award will be presented to Hrvoje

Krstulovic, co-founder and member of

the board, as part of the CineEurope

awards ceremony hosted by The Coca-Cola

Company on Thursday, June 20,

at the Centre Convencions Internacional

Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain.

Each year at CineEurope, the award

is given to a cinema exhibitor whose

accomplishments, new developments,

growth, and market leadership make it

a standard-bearer for the industry. “It

gives us great pleasure to present the

International Exhibitor of the Year award

to the Blitz-CineStar cinema chain,” said

Andrew Sunshine, president of the Film

Expo Group, which manages CineEurope.

“Blitz-CineStar has built a culture

of innovation for cinema, changing the

moviegoing experience in the Balkan

region. It has proven to be a pioneer in

the industry, and we congratulate all on

this well-deserved honor.”

Blitz-CineStar opened its first multiplex,

CineStar Zagreb, in 2003, which

remains the largest multiplex in the

former Yugoslavia with 13 screens and

2,940 seats. The CineStar chain currently

has 23 multiplexes throughout the former

Yugoslavia (including forthcoming sites

in Banja Luka and Belgrade), with a total

of 145 screens and nearly 23,000 seats.

Blitz-CineStar is considered an innovator

in the local exhibition market and

one of the region’s most recognizable

brands. The CineStar brand has received

seven Superbrands awards in Croatia, including

a Superbrands Exclusive award,

and several consumer awards including

winning three Best Buy Awards, notably

the Best Buy Award Millennials 2018.

Last year, Blitz-CineStar’s 15th anniversary

was marked by an ICTA award in

MALCO PROMOTES DAVID

TASHIE

>> Memphis-based Malco Theatres has

promoted David Tashie to president and

chief operating officer.

Tashie, son of co-chairman Jimmy

Tashie and great-grandson of founder

M.A. Lightman Sr., began his career with

Malco in 1998 and worked his way up

through the 102-year-old family business.

“We are very excited about the energy

and enthusiasm David brings every day

and his commitment to the future,” said

Bobby Levy, co-chairman. “It is time to

hand off more responsibility to the next

generation and ensure the continuity of

senior management.”

Tashie will continue overseeing the dayto-day

operations of the theater chain and

bowling/family-entertainment centers.

Memphis, Tennesse–based Malco

Theatres is a fourth-generation family-owned-and-operated

business that

reached its 100th anniversary in 2015.

Malco Theatres operates over 350

screens at 34 locations across the mid-

South, as well as bowling and family-entertainment

centers in Louisiana

and Mississippi.

SMG ANNOUNCES STRATEGIC

INVESTMENT FROM

TOWERBROOK

>> Studio Movie Grill (SMG) has

received a strategic growth investment of

$100 million from TowerBrook Capital

Partners L.P., an international investment

management firm. The partnership will

16 MAY 2019


TRADE TALK

help drive SMG’s next stage of growth, as

the company continues to open in-theater

dining locations across the United States.

“TowerBrook is an ideal partner for

SMG not only because of its deep operational

capabilities and strong network, but

its established commitment to sustainable

and socially responsible business practices

as a Certified B Corporation,” said SMG

founder and CEO Brian Schultz.

SMG created its in-theater dining

niche by combining an immersive theater

experience, scratch food and craft

cocktails, and a culture of hospitality,

with a commitment to support and fund

expansive community-outreach programs

nationwide. The concept was established

in 1993.

“We are thrilled to partner with Brian

Schultz and SMG’s management team

as the company enters its next phase of

growth,” said Jonathan Bilzin, managing

director of TowerBrook. “Consumers are

increasingly looking for high-quality experiences,

and SMG has been at the forefront

of innovation in this evolving industry.”

The investment was made through the

TowerBrook Structured Opportunities

Fund, which was established in 2015 to

pursue not-for-control opportunities,

backing management teams and businesses

at the inflection point of growth

and change. TowerBrook has connections

within the cinema and entertainment

spaces through previous investments.

This investment follows a number of

recent similar non-control partnership

transactions that TowerBrook has

pursued with founder-led businesses,

including GBA Group, JJA, OVH, La

Maison Bleue, and Gravity.

KINEPOLIS ACQUIRES SPANISH

CIRCUIT EL PUNT

>> Following approval by the Spanish

competition authority, Kinepolis Group

completed the acquisition of the Full

cinema complex in Barcelona and El Punt

Ribera in Valencia in February. Both cinemas

are part of the El Punt cinema group,

which is owned by the Sallent family.

The Full megaplex has 28 screens

with a total of 2,687 seats and welcomes

more than 1.3 million cinemagoers every

year. The complex is rented and situated

in the commercial center Splau in Cornellá

de Llobregat, close to the airport

and 14 kilometers south of Barcelona.

The Full cinema complex is the flagship

of the El Punt group; all screens boast

4K projectors, and 19 screens have Dolby

Atmos sound.

El Punt Ribera is located in a commercial

district in Alzira, 44 kilometers

south of Valencia. The complex, which

El Punt owns, has 10 screens—each

featuring Dolby 7.1 sound—and 2,528

seats, and attracts more than 300,000

visitors annually.

Kinepolis already had six cinemas in

Spain, totaling 99 screens and more than

28,000 seats. The circuit now operates

the three biggest cinema complexes in

Spain: Kinepolis Ciudad de la Imagen in

Madrid, Full in Barcelona, and Kinepolis

Valencia.

MAJOR EXPANSION AT FOX

BERKSHIRE

>> Wyomissing, Pennsylvania–based Fox

Theatres announced that Fox Berkshire,

the eight-screen movie theater located on

Berkshire Boulevard in Wyomissing, is

finalizing plans for a 10,000-square-foot

expansion, highlighted by the addition of

four auditoriums and 400 more heated

recliners. Construction is scheduled to

begin June 2019.

Since reacquiring the theater five years

ago, ticket sales have more than tripled in

response to the continuous upgrades, according

to Donald Fox, president of Fox

Theatres. “Fox Berkshire is the premier

movie theater in the Reading market,”

said Fox, “with sold-out shows most

weekends. We have added luxury heated

recliners, a premium large-format FTX

screen (a giant wall-to-wall and floor-toceiling

curved screen), Fox Kitchen &

Bar, and the Fox Patio. Our next phase

of growth is to expand from eight to 12

luxury auditoriums to better meet demand.

We are in the process of obtaining

approvals and expect to be open by late

spring 2020.”

“There is nothing like the shared

experience of watching a movie on a big

screen in a darkened theater” said Fox.

“The expansion of Fox Berkshire, with

12 luxury recliner auditoriums, will offer

area moviegoers a complete and unrivaled

entertainment experience.”

AMC INTRODUCES MOBILE

CONCESSIONS ORDERING

>> AMC has announced the launch

of mobile concessions ordering at all

theaters in three of its markets: Boston,

Denver, and Houston. AMC’s mobile

app allows moviegoers to order food

and beverage and set a time for pickup.

The purchase can then be retrieved at

a special Express Pick-Up kiosk or, at

some locations, will be delivered to the

moviegoer’s seat.

“We are routinely seeing some 45

percent of all AMC ticket purchases processed

online, and the mobile-order option

is another way we’re making a trip to

the movies more convenient for guests,”

said Tonya Mangels, vice president, product

marketing, AMC. “Now guests who

are already breezing past the box office

with their mobile ticket purchase can go

straight to the express pickup kiosk to

grab their mobile-ordered food or have it

delivered to their reserved seat, depending

on the location.”

AMC currently offers mobile concessions

ordering at a handful of locations.

Atom Tickets, meanwhile, offers mobile

concessions ordering through its app at

select Regal Cinemas, Landmark Cinemas,

Emagine Entertainment, Southern

Theatres, and Megaplex Theatres

locations. AMC’s new, more aggressive

approach to mobile concessions will see

guests at approximately 150 locations

able to buy their concessions via app by

the end of this summer.

18 MAY 2019


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TRADE TALK

MARCUS INTRODUCES MOVIE

TAVERN TO WISCONSIN

>> Marcus Theatres will bring Movie

Tavern by Marcus to Brookfield Square

in Brookfield, Wisconsin. The concept

would replace the previously announced

Brookfield BistroPlex and is anticipated

to open in October 2019.

“Movie Tavern by Marcus is an extension

of the Marcus Theatres brand with

its own personality and some unique

attributes,” said Rolando Rodriguez,

chairman, president, and CEO of

Marcus Theatres. “It is the right time

and place to introduce our new theater

to our hometown, ultimately giving the

community three choices of Marcus

Theatres brands.”

The new Movie Tavern by Marcus at

Brookfield Square will have eight auditoriums.

The theater will feature amenities

from Marcus Theatres including

DreamLounger recliners throughout, one

SuperScreen DLX auditorium with an

oversized screen, immersive Dolby Atmos

sound, and optional heated recliner seating.

Although Movie Tavern by Marcus

will feature Zaffiro’s pizza on its menu,

the food and beverage offerings overall

will be different from other Marcus Theatres

locations.

The bar, called The Tavern, will be different

as well. It will feature an open-concept

design complete with lounge and

traditional bar seating. Here, guests will

be able to order food and beverages that

can be enjoyed in the bar/lounge or

delivered to their auditorium by food

runners. Orders also can be placed at the

concession stand and will be delivered to

guests’ seats.

“The Brookfield area continues to

grow, including the planned addition

of the Brookfield Conference Center in

2020, several hotels, new restaurants, and

numerous residential developments,” said

Rodriguez. “Movie Tavern by Marcus at

Brookfield Square will complement this

growth, offering entertainment and dining

for the entire community to enjoy.”

FLIX BREWHOUSE CELEBRATES

ANNIVERSARIES, PLANS

EXPANSION

>> Flix Brewhouse is gearing up for a big

spring and summer. The movie theater

that houses a fully operational brewery

and brew master will observe anniversaries

at the Round Rock and Little Elm

locations, both in Texas, and the Carmel

location in Indiana. As the year unfolds,

Flix Brewhouse will also expand into new

territory across the nation, adding several

new locations in 2019.

“We are very excited to be celebrating

anniversaries at three of our locations

this year,” said Greg Johnson, Flix

Brewhouse’s director of marketing. The

original Round Rock location will mark

its eighth anniversary on June 29, 2019.

Leading up to that milestone, the Little

Elm location celebrated one year in

business on April 27. Three days later, the

Carmel location is planning to commemorate

its fourth anniversary.

To date, the circuit has 10 theaters in

different states. “We don’t like getting

stuck in a rut and we know our customers

don’t either. They can get the same old

thing anywhere,” explained Johnson. “So,

we continually innovate our menu with

seasonal crafts on our beer list and special

recipes on our food menu.”

BOW TIE TO RENOVATE IN

STAMFORD

>> Bow Tie Cinemas has announced that

it will renovate the Majestic 6 and Landmark

9, both in Stamford, Connecticut.

The upgrades follow recent major renovations

made to the company’s locations

in Norwalk and Trumbull, Connecticut,

bringing the Ultimate experience to the

Royale, Regent, and the Marquis theaters.

“We are proud to be the first movie

theater company to bring luxury recliner

seating and in-seat full bar and restaurant

service to movie theaters in Fairfield

County with our Bow Tie Cinemas

Ultimate concept,” said Ben Moss, owner

of Bow Tie Cinemas. “Overwhelmingly

positive customer response to our

Ultimate offering in Norwalk has led us

to the decision to further expand Bow Tie

Cinemas Ultimate to our two Stamford

locations, so that we may continue to

offer the best moviegoing experience and

value to our loyal guests.”

Each theater will be renovated with

electric recliner seating, as well as full bar

and food offerings, which can be enjoyed

at one’s seat. The renovations will also

include new restrooms and lobby decor.

Bow Tie Cinemas has operated both

theaters since November 2006.

“Both theaters will stay open during

the phased renovations. We anticipate

having the Majestic fully renovated by

summer, and we will start the Landmark

renovations in a few months as well,” said

Joe Masher, chief operating officer.

With new reserved seating, guests

will be able to select their seats while

purchasing tickets at the box office, at an

in-theater kiosk, online at bowtiecinemas.

com, or via the Bow Tie Cinemas app.

Food and beverage orders can be carried

in from the concession stand or delivered

to your seat prior to the start of the

featured film.

CINEMARK BRINGS NEW

DINING CONCEPT TO TEXAS

>> Cinemark Holdings Inc. has announced

that Cut! by Cinemark in Frisco,

Texas, is officially open. The 10-screen

theater offers freshly prepared menu items

and hand-crafted cocktails.

“The space we have created with Cut!

by Cinemark allows everyone to have an

exceptional time, whether they are savoring

our unique, freshly prepared food and

drink, catching a movie, or both,” said

Mark Zoradi, Cinemark’s CEO. “This is

just another example of how Cinemark

is innovating the moviegoing experience

and offering guests an all-encompassing

entertainment destination.”

Cut! by Cinemark offers guests madeto-order

menu items and cocktails to

enjoy in each of the 10 auditoriums, as

20 MAY 2019


TRADE TALK

well as in the dining and lounge areas.

Moviegoers will have their entrees, beverages,

and traditional snacks delivered

discreetly to their seats with just the push

of a button.

The new theater includes th

following offerings:

• Ten auditoriums with wall-to-wall

screens and enhanced sound systems

• Cinemark Luxury Loungers

• A Cinemark XD auditorium with

premium large format screens

• 4K digital projection powered by

Barco projectors; RealD 3D capability

in several auditoriums

• A unique and freshly prepared menu

• A full-service bar offering beer,

wine, four specialty martinis and

signature cocktails

• An outdoor patio with a fireplace and

interactive social games

• A banquet space that accommodates

up to 50 guests, available by reservation

year-round

• A game room offering an assortment

of popular games complete with a

prize hub

• Walk-up, easy-to-use ticket kiosks with

a welcoming guest services area

• Reserved seating with online and app

ticketing capabilities

Cut! by Cinemark is the company’s

22nd theater in the Dallas–Fort Worth area.

CINÉPOLIS FORUM

SHANTINIKETAN OPENS IN

BENGALURU, INDIA

>> Cinépolis has opened a 10-screen

megaplex in Forum Shantiniketan,

Bengaluru, India. The new theater includes

the first Cinépolis Junior in India,

offering kids their own space to enjoy

the magic of movies. It offers fun seating

options with a designated play area that

allows them to enjoy 15 minutes of playtime

before every show.

Javier Sotomayor, managing

director, Cinépolis Asia, said, “Opening

a megaplex in a prime location

in Bengaluru is a vital step in our

expansion strategy and reaffirms our

commitment towards building our

India growth story. This launch further

strengthens our foothold in Karnataka,

which is spread across the state with six

existing cinemas in key locations.”

Devang Sampat, director of strategic

initiatives at Cinépolis India, said, “We

are excited to launch Cinépolis Forum

Shantiniketan, as it brings the ultimate

cinema viewing experience to Bengaluru.

Right from the unique concept

of Cinépolis Junior for a fun family

experience with kids to technology

innovations like IMAX and 4DX for

the tech enthusiasts, the multiplex offers

something for everyone. Our in-house

café, Coffee Tree, has a range of gourmet

food offerings that will delight the

foodies. Our customers can also sign up

for our unique membership program,

Club Cinépolis, to avail exclusive offers,

meet and greet with movie stars, and

other benefits. Cinépolis Shantiniketan

is a true flagship property for us and we

envisage an average of 20,000 patrons to

visit the cinema weekly.”

With the opening of Cinépolis Forum

Shantiniketan, the brand’s total screen

count now stands at 374 screens with 93

cinemas across India.

FREIDBERG REJOINS CHRISTIE

AS VP

>> Christie has announced that Scott

Freidberg has returned to the organization

to advocate for Christie’s cinema

solutions. As vice president, global

business development, cinema division,

for Christie, Freidberg will be based in

Cypress, California, and report to Dale

Miller, executive vice president, cinema

division of Christie.

Freidberg’s return to Christie to

focus on building and strengthening

relationships with key accounts is effective

immediately.

“For more than 20 years, Scott has

been directly involved in the development

and rollout of digital cinema

solutions within the cinema projection

industry, including a successful decade

previously at Christie—and, as a result,

he brings a wealth of exhibitor relationships

and industry-wide respect to

Christie,” said Miller.

“Specifically, while with Christie from

1997 to 2006, he directed and helped expand

penetration of Christie technology

in the U.S. and Japan as director of sales

for these two key markets.”

“Having the opportunity to come

back to the great team at Christie, where

the very beginnings of digital cinema

were incubated, is a great honor,” said

Freidberg. “I look forward to expanding

the reach of Christie technologies and

solutions globally and exploring new

ways for exhibitors to create value for

and connect with their audiences for

decades to come, with Christie technology

and services.”

AMC STUBS CROSSES 19

MILLION MEMBER HOUSEHOLDS

>> AMC Stubs, the loyalty program of

AMC Theatres, now totals more than

19 million member households in the

United States. At the U.S. average of 2.6

people per household, that means nearly

50 million Americans have a relationship

with AMC via AMC Stubs.

There are three tiers of AMC Stubs:

AMC Stubs A-List, AMC Stubs Premiere,

and AMC Stubs Insider. A-List and

Premiere members earn points equivalent

to a 10 percent discount at the box office

and concession stand, free size upgrades

on popcorn and soda, priority lines, and

no online ticketing fees.

Insider, AMC Stubs’ free tier, joins

Premiere and A-List by offering Discount

Tuesday savings, free refills on large popcorns,

and a birthday gift for members.

Insider members also earn a $5 reward,

good at the concession stand for their

purchases at the box office and on food

and drinks.

22 MAY 2019


EXECUTIVE SUITE

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO REVIEW

MUSIC LICENSING RULES:

COULD COST U.S. EXHIBITORS

$250M ANNUALLY

BY

JOHN FITHIAN

NATO President & CEO

JACKIE BRENNEMAN

NATO General Counsel

and Director of

Industry Relations

ESTHER BARUH

NATO Director of

Government Relations

Current activities at the United States Department

of Justice could cost the domestic exhibition

industry $250 million per year or more.

Did that get the attention of NATO members

reading this column? If so, please read on!

What Is the Justice Department Trying to Do?

Led by Assistant Attorney General Makan

Delrahim, the current Antitrust Division of the

U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) believes that

legacy consent decrees constitute an inappropriate

antitrust enforcement tool. Simply put, AAG

Delrahim does not want the government involved

in long-term oversight of any particular industry

based on consent decree provisions that may be

decades old. Instead, he believes that legislation and

case-specific litigation should establish the appropriate

parameters of competition. Given that philosophy,

the Division has filed dozens of motions in

courts around the country to terminate many such

consent decrees.

Now the Division stands ready to challenge two

decrees with specific impact on motion picture

exhibitors. First, in August of 2018, the Division

published its intention to examine the Paramount

Consent Decrees, which establish detailed rules of

the road in the motion picture distribution and

exhibition industries. The Division conducted a

public comment period, and NATO submitted

comments. The Division will soon go to court with

its thoughts.

Though the Paramount decrees are well known

to many in the industry, and though this magazine

has covered that issue previously (see the October

2018 issue), there is now a second decree under

potential scrutiny that is less known in our industry,

but which could have a substantial financial impact

on every theater operator in the country. Specifically,

the Division is evaluating whether to seek termination

of the consent decree governing the American

Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers

(ASCAP). That consent decree establishes a broad

framework for how music is licensed for performance

in the U.S., including the music included in

movies exhibited by cinema owners. Specifically, the

consent decree provides that movie theater owners

do not have to pay fees for the music in movies.

What Is a Public Performance Right and Who

is ASCAP?

Under U.S. copyright law, one of the exclusive

rights of a copyright owner is the right of public

performance. Movie theaters publicly perform

the copyrighted movies and trailers they exhibit,

including the music in the movie’s soundtrack.

Theaters may also publicly perform music in their

lobbies, concession areas, in-complex restaurants

and bars, and restrooms.

Businesses seeking to play background music

or even live music (such as the music played in a

movie theater’s lobby) require flexibility to play a

wide variety of music and to make spontaneous

programming decisions. Given the volume of

musical artists and businesses that perform their

work, and the speed of decision making, it would

be highly impractical for individual businesses to

negotiate the performance of individual songs or for

artists to realistically enforce their rights. Performing

Rights Organizations (or PROs) were formed

to collectively license many copyrighted works on

a blanket basis in order to provide the flexibility

business owners required while compensating

the artists. Under a blanket license, a licensee can

publicly perform any of the musical compositions

in the PRO’s repertory for a single fee, with the fees

being divided among the artists within a particular

PRO’s catalog.

ASCAP was the first, and remains one of the

largest, PROs in the United States. Other PROs

now include BMI, SESAC, and GMR. (Any

NATO member exhibitor who has received any

communication from one of these organizations

should contact NATO.) By controlling monopolies

in must-have blanket licenses for copyrights,

the PROs amassed substantial market power,

which in turn led to antitrust claims. Those

claims culminated in consent decrees between the

DOJ and individual PROs.

24 MAY 2019


How Does an Antitrust Consent Decree Protect Theater

Owners from Paying for Performance Rights?

In the first half of the 20th century, movie theaters took PRO licenses

just like bars and nightclubs. These licenses covered performances

by pianists in the silent-film era, when each musician chose

music independently to perform alongside the feature. Once

talkies were introduced, the PROs attempted to continue

the blanket licensing to apply to music incorporated

into the movies themselves despite the fact that

the primary rationale for the blanket licenses

(flexibility and enforcement) no longer applied.

Unlike the live accompaniment, movie theater

operators have no choice or ability to

negotiate the music contained in the movies

they exhibit—only movie producers

have that ability. Further, movie theater

owners have no ability to simply avoid

playing music altogether as the music

is integrated into the movie. ASCAP

took advantage of this imbalance and

assessed higher and higher fees on

exhibitors while prohibiting their

artists from individually negotiating

with film producers on potentially

lucrative performance rights. This

practice differed significantly from

the manner in which every other

creative right in a film was licensed.

Hundreds of theater operators then

brought antitrust suits against ASCAP,

claiming that the PRO should allow

their artists to negotiate performance

rights with movie producers instead of

theaters, and that theaters had no real ability

to negotiate for the music already included

in the movies they exhibited. Theaters won

this litigation in two cases called Alden-Rochelle

and Witmark, and then the key principles of those

decisions were incorporated into a revised consent

decree with ASCAP in 1951.

These decisions and the specific provision on movie

theaters in the ASCAP consent decree led to an industry-wide

practice of licensing public performance rights for music in movies

“at the source,” as was the practice for all other performing rights

including writing, acting, and directing. In other words, movie producers

in the U.S. pay both for the right to include the music in the movie they

produce, and for the right to “perform,” or exhibit, the movie. As a result, theater

owners in the U.S. have not been required to pay for public performance licenses for music

in movies for decades.

(continued on page 26)

MAY 2019

25


EXECUTIVE SUITE

How Are Public Performance Rights

Handled Internationally?

Theater owners operating in other territories

around the world do not benefit from the ASCAP

consent decree or American antitrust laws. With no

such protections, international exhibitors are subjected

to monopolistic demands from local PROs with

unfair market leverage. These local PROs are directly

affiliated with American PROs and send funds back

to their American partners for covered artists. The

American PROs in turn share the proceeds with their

artists and the content publishers, which in the case

of films are often the studios themselves. In some

countries the PROs are regulated somewhat effectively

by national governments, while no such effective

limits exist in other territories. Many international

exhibitors pay music licensing fees equivalent to 2

percent of total box office receipts or more.

Many long-serving industry experts believe that

this disparity in performance-rights responsibility

between exhibitors and producers in the U.S. compared

with international territories is reflected in

film-hire terms. Specifically, exhibitors in the U.S.

pay higher film terms than their counterparts in

Europe in part because domestic exhibitors do not

pay for music performance rights whereas European

theater operators do.

But if the Justice Department succeeds in

repealing the consent decrees, U.S. exhibitors might

be required to begin to pay performance fees, and

yet their film terms would likely not be reduced

to compensate for those new costs. Consider the

possible financial impact of that scenario. In 2018

domestic box office came to $11.9 billion. Two

percent of that total would be $238 million.

What Does Congress Think?

The ASCAP consent decree, along with a subsequent

decree covering BMI, govern an extremely

broad range of music-licensing actions in the U.S.,

involving many industries bigger than exhibition.

A set of principles and regulatory oversight have

developed under the decrees. Immediate repeal of

the decrees could create chaos.

Given that reality, many industries have raised

their concerns with Congress. In response, Congress

included a provision in last year’s Music

Modernization Act intended to slow down any

DOJ effort to repeal the music decrees and give

Congress an opportunity to weigh in on the issues.

But that provision requires only that the DOJ give

Congress a reasonable notification period before

seeking court action to repeal the decrees, and that

the DOJ provide Congress with information about

the potential impact of repeal.

What Are the Next Steps?

The DOJ has several options. First (and least

likely), it could do nothing. Second, the DOJ could

seek to modify the consent decrees but not repeal

them entirely. Finally, the DOJ could seek to repeal

the decrees, likely with a term of years for implementation

of that repeal. (The term of years would

give Congress the ability to legislate.)

• The DOJ likely will soon publish a notice seeking

comments on the possible modification or repeal

of the decrees, and will likely offer 30 days for

those comments to be received. Obviously,

NATO will submit comments.

• The DOJ will also give Congress the necessary

notice required by the Music Modernization Act,

and will also have to file a report with Congress on

the potential impact of repeal, taking the public

comments into account. NATO will meet with

relevant congressional leaders to share our concerns.

• Assuming that the DOJ chooses to move forward

with modification or termination of the consent decree,

they will have to file a motion with the Southern

District of New York that holds jurisdiction over

the decrees. If the DOJ takes this step, NATO will

likely seek to intervene to oppose that action.

• Finally, if it becomes likely that the DOJ will

succeed in repealing the decrees, NATO will work

with Congress to establish a regulatory framework

legislatively, and massive grassroots contacts from

NATO members may be necessary.

This process will likely take years. Many

different industries could be involved in discussions

with the DOJ and Congress, and as parties

in court. Given the potential financial impact of

adverse decisions, the music-licensing discussions

could become the biggest legislative and legal battle

NATO has undertaken in years. NATO will be

actively involved at every step, and so will NATO

members.

26 MAY 2019


GOVERNMENT RELATIONS

BY ALEX RICH, MANAGER OF STATE GOVERNMENT RELATIONS, NATO

A GREAT WELCOME TO

THE MOVIE INDUSTRY

AT CINEMACON

ALEX RICH

As the National Association of Theatre Owners’ new manager of state government relations,

I will be charged with monitoring legislation at the state and local level that will affect our

membership in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. That’s a lot of bills and regulations,

and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t intimidated by the laundry list of items that will need my

attention. I thought to myself, “How can one person possibly do this job? I’d need an army to

keep up!” But then I went to CinemaCon.

>> When I joined NATO at the end of March,

there was one word on everyone’s mind: Cinema-

Con. The event had loomed large throughout the

interview process and my initial onboarding, so I

was a little nervous when I found myself at Caesars

Palace frantically searching for my next meeting

room or rushing past dinging slot machines on my

way to a studio presentation.

After five days of sit-downs, panel discussions,

celebrity sightings, and business-card collecting,

I boarded my flight back to Washington, D.C.,

exhausted and ready for a long weekend without a

single breakfast meeting. CinemaCon was hectic,

jam-packed, and a little daunting, but I can’t

think of a better way to kick off my career in the

film industry.

In meeting after meeting I was struck by the

passion that NATO members have for the movie

industry, whether exhibitors from the biggest

of the big chains or owners of small-town single-screen

operations. NATO’s engaged and

energetic membership will provide me with the

knowledge base and people on the ground to

effectively advocate for our members and ensure

this industry will continue to be the best source of

entertainment there is.

Theaters are vital to our hometowns, from large

chains to art houses. They are gathering places that

not only entertain moviegoers but also provide an

important economic engine for their communities.

NATO will continue to work in partnership with

local and state governments to provide quality, safe

entertainment and employment across the country,

but will also fight against bad legislation when it

pops up. I also look forward to visiting NATO

members across the country over the next year,

from Washington, D.C., to Washington State.

While the movie industry is new to me, a love

for movies and the theater-going experience are

not. I was an active and energetic kid, but when

my parents took me to the movies, I was captivated

enough by the screen to be quiet and sit still for

90 minutes. The 1990s to early 2000s was a great

time to grow up as a movie nerd: from the jungles

of Jurassic Park to the decks of the Titanic, from

entering The Matrix to battling orcs in The Lord of

the Rings trilogy, I was bitten by the blockbuster

bug young and continue to love seeing my films on

the big screen.

I come to NATO with experience in nonprofits,

government, and campaigns, but I am very excited

to merge my two passions—movies and politics—

into a job like this. I’d like to thank the theater

owners and NATO members I met during my time

at CinemaCon and my first few weeks in this role,

and I look forward to meeting many more in the

years ahead.

MAY 2019

27


CHARITY SPOTLIGHT

TO ADD EVENTS IN AN UPCOMING ISSUE, PLEASE SEND ANNOUNCEMENTS TO INFO@BOXOFFICE.COM

LOLLIPOP THEATER NETWORK SHAZAM! SCREENING

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3 / NEW YORK CITY

>> Zachary Levi (above) surprised guests at the Lollipop Theater

Network’s special advance screening of Warner Bros.’ Shazam! at

The Landmark at 57 West in Manhattan. The audience members

were all outpatients and family members from several New York

City hospitals who were excited to meet Zachary and escape into

the magic of the movies.

WILL ROGERS ANNOUNCES

PROGRAM TO MENTOR

EMERGING LEADERS

>> The Will Rogers Motion Picture

Pioneers Foundation has announced the

launch of Film Row, an organization

designed to foster emerging leaders of the

entertainment industry through educational

programs, networking events, and

philanthropic endeavors that benefit the

entertainment industry and beyond.

“Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers

Foundation is delighted to support Film

Row as it engages the next generation of

industry leaders and brings together our

entire motion picture community,” said

Todd Vradenburg, executive director,

WRMPPF. “Our industry is full of terrific

people willing to help one another, and

now more than ever we look to foster the

next generation as they transition into

leadership roles and ultimately become

the future of our industry.”

Said Melanie Valera, president of Film

Row, “Our partnership with Will Rogers

Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation is an

opportunity for Film Row to give back to

the motion picture industry and provide

our members with the tools and knowledge

needed to prepare them to take the

next step in their careers, all while championing

philanthropic endeavors.”

A Film Row launch party took place

on March 21 at Los Angeles’ Ricardo

Montalbán Theatre. Upcoming events

include the Film Row Golf Classic, taking

place on May 15 and 16 in Los Angeles.

28 MAY 2019


VARIETY – THE CHILDREN’S

CHARITY

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3

LAS VEGAS

>> Variety – the Children’s Charity

was honored to work with Sinemia and

SubGen to host CinemaCon’s Wednesday

night dinner gala at Omnia, with support

from Cinemark and RealD. Variety

presented an adaptive bicycle to 17-yearold

Mackenzie, who lives with cerebral

palsy and addressed the crowd using her

communication device. Her mother, Joell,

thanked all the supporters who helped

make it possible for Mackenzie to finally

ride bikes with her two little sisters, Eribella

and Emberlynn.

RUNWAY LIGHTS FASHION

SHOW

SATURDAY, APRIL 6

ST. LOUIS

>> The Runway Lights Fashion Show

kicked off Variety St. Louis’s Variety Week

in style. This year’s event, which took

place at St. Louis Union Station, featured

clothing from Lafayette 148 New York,

with Variety’s Ameren Power Kids taking

the runway alongside professional models

to showcase their power wheelchairs.

The event raised funds for Variety St.

Louis’s TherHappy Kids program, which

provides necessary therapy services to

children and teens with special needs.

DINNER WITH THE STARS

SATURDAY, APRIL 13

ST. LOUIS

>> Dinner with the Stars has been Variety

St. Louis’s premier black-tie gala for

more than 50 years. Raising funds to support

Variety St. Louis’s Durable Medical

Equipment program, this event features a

notable headliner and the inclusive Variety

Children’s Chorus every year. It also honors

two philanthropic citizens as Man and

Woman of the Year. This year’s glamorous

event, held at the Stifel Theatre, brought

17-time Grammy Award winner Sting to

the stage during a program hosted by comedian

Joe Torry and Variety Teens Brian,

Rachel, and Kaci.

MAY 2019

29


CHARITY SPOTLIGHT

UPCOMING EVENTS

VARIETY OF EASTERN TENNESSEE ANNUAL

GOLF TOURNAMENT

MONDAY, MAY 20 / KNOXVILLE

>> On May 20, Variety of Eastern Tennessee will host its ninth annual golf

tournament (2018 event shown above), raising funds for special needs children

in east Tennessee. Golfers will be treated to a round of golf at one of Knoxville’s

finest courses, the Willow Creek Golf Club. They will be provided breakfast

and a goody bag before finishing up with an awards ceremony and lunch. Each

group of four will have the opportunity to take a photo with special guest

Jeremy Pruitt, the University of Tennessee’s head football coach. Several

special needs children who have recently been provided a trike by Variety will

get the chance to show off their new wheels as they lead the golfers onto the

course. For sponsorship inquiries, please contact carol.fusco@varietytn.org.

VARIETY OF EASTERN TENNESSEE ANNUAL ZOO DAY

FRIDAY, JUNE 21 / KNOXVILLE

>> On June 21, Variety will host 250–300 children from the Emerald Youth

Foundation’s JustLead program to a fun-filled day at Zoo Knoxville (2018

event shown at left). The children will be treated to a custom T-shirt commemorating

the day, a wonderful lunch, carousel rides, and a gift card to buy

a souvenir in the gift shop. Variety of Eastern Tennessee has been hosting the

children of EYF since 2005.

30 MAY 2019


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INDIE FOCUS

b r o u g h t t o y o u b y

SCREENS

Martha’s Vineyard Film Center

operates three single-screen

cinemas, all within a 10-mile

radius: Martha’s Vineyard Film

Center (capacity: 176), the

Capawock Theatre (capacity: 196),

and the Strand Theatre (capacity:

232).

TOP TITLES (2018)

DOCUMENTARIES:

RBG

Three Identical Strangers

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Free Solo

Itzhak

ART HOUSE:

MET Opera Live

Manhattan Shorts

STUDIO TITLES:

The Favourite

BlacKkKlansman

Green Book

Bohemian Rhapsody

Crazy Rich Asians

Black Panther

SPIKE LEE

TOP TITLES (HISTORICAL)

The Big Sick

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Inside Out

La La Land

Spotlight

Manchester by the Sea

Martha’s Vineyard Film Society

VINEYARD HAVEN, MASSACHUSETTS

BY RICHARD PARADISE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

– CONTINUED ON PAGE 34 –

32 MAY 2019


INDIE FOCUS

SHARON STONE

MARTHA’S VINEYARD INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL TEAM

HISTORY

I founded the Martha’s Vineyard Film

Society (MVFS) 20 years ago and for the

first 12 to 13 years ran it as an all-volunteer

organization. The Martha’s Vineyard

Film Society began as many nonprofits

do: as a dream of a dedicated group of

volunteers to share their passion with

their community. Our dream was to bring

enriching, culturally significant films to

Martha’s Vineyard year round.

We started with a nomadic existence.

Back in 1999, the programming of the

Martha’s Vineyard Film Society consisted

of a weekly summer’s-night screening of a

classic film, using 16-millimeter projectors

at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury. By

2002, our programming had grown to

weekly programs at the historic Katharine

Cornell Theatre, built in the 1800s, with

supplemental screenings at venues across

the island.

Twenty years later, the Film Society has

grown from the dream of a handful of

volunteers to a vibrant, year-round cultural

organization with over 2,000 members.

After turning down the lights for the first

film in 1999, we have shown over 900 feature-length

and short films that otherwise

would not have been shown and enjoyed

on the island. In these so-called nomadic

years, the Film Society built an enthusiastic

audience yet lacked an essential asset

for the success it eventually achieved. We

consistently struggled with technical and

artistic limitations because of the lack of a

dedicated space. It was difficult to project

the highest-quality image, deliver stereo

sound, and use DCI equipment that would

allow us to bring to the island the latest

art house films that open in limited release

in major cities. To grow, the Film Society

needed to find itself a permanent home.

In 2012 we were able to establish

just that, a permanent home for the

MVFS. Our new home, the Martha’s

Vineyard Film Center, enabled us to purchase

not only a permanent DCI projector

to install within the Marilyn Meyerhoff

Theatre, but also to install surround

sound in a comfortable climate-controlled

environment with stadium seating. Most

importantly, perhaps, we’ve been able to

show several different movies each week,

with multiple screenings of the most popular

movies. We have also expanded our

current outreach efforts with other island

nonprofit agencies, as well as schools and

local filmmakers, by programming specialty

films and events for them.

Our vision was to establish the Film

Center to screen “first-run” independent

films, documentaries, and foreign-language

films, all while reinstating our

retrospective classic film night (just like

the one we ran at the Grange Hall in

West Tisbury back in 1999), sometimes

followed by Q&As and panels after the

screenings. We also have a comfortable

lobby area with concessions for pre-show

and post-show relaxation and discussion.

Truly, then, the Film Society has

found a place more than worthy to house

island audiences and further fulfill the

organization’s mission.

COMMUNITY

We have a very dedicated audience that

shares our passion for thought-provoking,

diverse films and a sense of community.

Our audience at the arthouse MVFC is

older, averaging 65 years, and 46.2 percent

of our patrons are retired.

Our patrons choose our center for its

eclectic programming, which they qualify

as “interesting, thought-provoking, and

fun.” According to a survey we conducted

in the fall of 2017, they believe they seek

out movies that are different from the

mainstream (56.2% of respondents), also

adding that they seek out movies that just

tell a good story (63% of respondents).

A large majority of respondents are not

interested in movies that push the limits

of the cinema art form or that have a lot

of action and visual effects. Lastly, 53 percent

of respondents said that they looked

for films that teach them about other

communities and perspectives.

34 MAY 2019


The community is indeed at the center

of our mission, and our audience recognizes

and supports that. In the same survey,

an overwhelming majority indicated that

they are a member of the Film Society to

provide support to the Film Society, and

to feel part of a community. Eighty-two

percent of respondents indicated that the

Martha’s Vineyard Film Society enhances

the cultural life of the community.

FOOD & BEVERAGE

Concessions are primarily a convenience

for our customers, not a large

contributor to our revenue base. Sales

are about half the national average, since

most of our attendees are older and not

looking to buy much candy. We primarily

focus on high-end chocolates, fresh-baked

cookies, and small bags of popcorn, nuts,

and other healthy choices. We do not

sell alcoholic beverages, and when I’ve

surveyed our members, about 75 percent

have no desire for us to do so.

PROGRAMMING

We have a very eclectic year-round

film and event program. Like many art

house theaters, we show mostly American

independent, world cinema, and documentaries.

We also program older classic

titles and series of films like our Film Noir

with Pinot Noir. This reflects the tastes of

our audience. Their most enjoyed genres

are drama, independent, comedy, and

social/cultural documentaries, with foreign,

romance, and film classics also rating

high. Our patrons are equally interested

in screenings of films by locals or on local

topics and settings, and in screenings of

restored or remastered classics.

Our programming also offers a robust

captured-live performance program of

Met Opera, Bolshoi Ballet, National Theatre

Live, Science on Screen, and Great

Art on Screen.

The Film Society operates two older

commercial cinemas, the Capawock and

the Strand Theatres, which are mostly

programmed with bigger Hollywood-driven

content. By adding these two theaters

MARTHA’S VINEYARD INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ATTENDEES

to the Film Society’s network, we are

now more capable than ever to offer

an enriched film program to the island

community.

Unlike most art house cinemas, we

produce six annual film festivals with

diverse genre topics. Our SPECTRUM

Film Festival (April 25–28, 2019) focuses

on LGBTQ-issues films, including both

narratives and documentaries. In May,

we celebrate environmental films—this

year our focus is on ocean- and water-related

issues—with the Nature as Inspiration

Environmental Film Festival (May

23–26, 2019). The summer is dedicated

to documentaries with the music-documentary

FILMUSIC Festival (June

20–23, 2019), and our MV Doc Week

(August 5–9, 2019). A favorite genre of

our audience, foreign-language films,

gets its own International Film Festival

(September 3–8, 2019), now entering

its 14th year. Finally, the new Women in

Film (October 23–26, 2019) seeks to encourage,

and raise awareness of, women

filmmakers and storytellers.

MVFS also plans to launch a new a

refugee/immigration film event in August

2019. In collaboration with Exodus Foundation,

the event will include several days

of screenings and discussions about the

current plight of refugees and immigration

policies in America.

GRASSROOTS MARKETING

In the last seven years since opening

the MVFC, and then adding the two

commercial theaters, we’ve grown our

membership base from 400 to more than

2,500. We use all forms of advertising

(print, radio, in-house slides, and social

media) to promote our films and events.

Our best-performing form of communication

is the weekly email we send out

and the trailers we play in the theaters

prior to the screening. Each film we play

or event we produce is marketed to the

fullest, using strategies unique to that

film’s potential audience.

CINEMA ADVERTISING

On-screen advertising from Spotlight

Cinema Networks has added to our

bottom line as a revenue source.

Almost from the beginning, we saw

the advantages of being able to choose

whether to play a specific ad. I must

say that Spotlight advertisers are some

of the best-conceived ads on TV and

usually provide entertainment value

when screened before a movie at the

Film Center. These ads have also

inspired some local businesses to create

their own advertising spots to run in

our theaters. I would without hesitation

recommend to other art houses a

collaboration with Spotlight.

MAY 2019

35


BIG DATA

COURTESY OF NATIONAL CINEMEDIA

SUMMER

NIGHTS

Winter may be the “most wonderful time of the year,” but summer

is the most important, at least for movie theaters. Though

the industry is moving more toward a 52-week schedule, with

arguably the biggest “summer” movie—Avengers: Endgame—released

in April, exhibitors and distributors alike still rely on the

summer box office to keep them above water. Boxoffice gathered

insights from NCM’s nationwide Ask the Audience panel to

predict the hottest titles throughout the coming months.

The median number of films

respondents planned to see this

summer is 10. On average, men plan

to watch three more films

than women.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL FOR 2019 SUMMER

FILMS How excited are you for each of these

summer movies?

EXCITEMENT LEVEL

0 1 2 3 4

FILM

NEVER HEARD

OF IT

NOT EXCITED

AT ALL

A LITTLE

EXCITED

PRETTY

EXCITED

SUPER

PUMPED!

EXCITEMENT

LEVEL

1 Spider-Man: Far from Home 4% 15% 18% 24% 38% 2.77

2 Toy Story 4 2% 21% 27% 25% 26% 2.52

3 The Lion King 1% 26% 27% 19% 26% 2.44

4 John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum 8% 26% 19% 21% 27% 2.32

5 Men in Black: International 2% 24% 36% 22% 16% 2.25

6 Aladdin 1% 36% 32% 19% 13% 2.08

7 Rocketman 12% 21% 32% 19% 15% 2.03

8 Godzilla: King of the Monsters 7% 36% 24% 16% 17% 2.01

9 Dark Phoenix 18% 19% 25% 23% 16% 1.99

10 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 34% 15% 19% 15% 17% 1.66

11 Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw 28% 27% 17% 16% 13% 1.58

12 The New Mutants 32% 22% 25% 15% 6% 1.41

13 Child's Play 26% 48% 16% 7% 4% 1.15

14 Yesterday 59% 11% 15% 9% 5% 0.90

15 Good Boys 77% 8% 9% 4% 2% 0.46

16 Midsommar 78% 9% 8% 2% 2% 0.42

DO YOU WATCH MORE

FILMS IN THE SUMMER

THAN YOU DO COMPARED

TO OTHER PARTS OF

THE YEAR?

DEMOGRAPHICS >>>> 18-34 35-54 55+ Male Female

Yes, I watch more

films in the summer 37 % 25 % 16 % 27 % 24 %

It’s about the same 60 % 70 % 78 % 69 % 71 %

No, I watch fewer

films in the summer 2 % 5 % 7 % 4 % 5 %

36 MAY 2019


WHAT IS THE BEST SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER OF ALL TIME?

STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE

MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS

JURASSIC PARK

JAWS

THE DARK KNIGHT

25 % 12 % 9 % 9 % 7 %

It is a pretty solid slate

compared to last year. Godzilla: King of the Monsters

and John Wick 3 are my most anticipated action films.

Spider-Man: Far from Home and Men in Black: International

are my runners-up. Good Boys may be this year’s comedy

hit, but other independent fare like Late Night and

Booksmart may stand out. I am hopeful that Midsommar,

Brightburn, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark will be

great horror additions. But, like comedy, horror can be

a mixed bag. The Lion King will, of course, make the

biggest box office impact. But I suspect Once Upon

a Time in Hollywood and Rocketman will

be the surprise hits this

summer.

“I’m always excited about summer movies.

It seems like the season starts

earlier every year.”

“It’s freaking

AWESOME!!!!!”

WHAT DO

YOU THINK

OF THIS

SUMMER’S

SLATE OF

FILMS?

“Looking forward to original

fare like Midsommar. Quentin

Tarantino usually has something

to offer. I’ll definitely be seeing Once

Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

ARE YOU SUPER PUMPED?

YOU BET! NOT SO MUCH

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL ALADDIN

CHILD’S PLAY

MAY 2019

37


BIG DATA

THE BEST SUMMER MOVIE QUOTES OF ALL TIME

FORREST GUMP

“Life is 1like a box of

chocolates. You never

know what you’re

gonna get.”

TOY STORY

7

“To infinity

and beyond!”

FIELD OF DREAMS

2

“If you build it,

they will come.”

SPIDER-MAN

“With great 8power comes

great responsibility.’

This is my gift, my curse.

Who am I?

I’m Spider-Man.”

THE SANDLOT

FINDING NEMO

3

“You’re killing me,

Smalls.”

9

“Fish are friends,

not food.”

THE DARK KNIGHT

4

“Why so serious?”

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

10

“Get busy living or

get busy dying.”

TOP GUN

GREASE

5

“I feel the need …

the need for speed!”

11

“You’re cruisin’ for

a bruisin’.”

DIRTY DANCING

6

“Nobody puts Baby

in the corner.”

THE TRUMAN SHOW

“In case

12

I don’t see ya,

good afternoon,

good evening,

and good night!”

38 MAY 2019


WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLASSIC SUMMER-THEMED MOVIE?

INDEPENDENCE DAY

JAWS

DIRTY DANCING

THE GOONIES

25 % 16 % 14 % 13 %

25 %

of respondents said they watch more

films during the summer compared to

other seasons, including 37%

of millennials

80 %

of panelists have seen

a movie while on vacation

18-34

age group was almost twice

as likely as the 55+ age group to be

“super pumped” for Spider-Man: Far

from Home

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE REASONS FOR GOING TO THE MOVIES DURING THE SUMMER SEASON?

72 % 42 % 33 % 26 % 20 % 9 %

To enjoy the slate

of summer movies/

blockbusters

To sit in the cool,

air-conditioned

theater

To get out of the

weather (sun,

humidity, rain, etc.)

To get together

with friends/family

during time off

together

To spend my time

off/vacation

To enjoy a giant,

ice-cold drink like a

Coke

Spider-Man: Far from Home

is the summer movie that audiences

are most looking forward to, with

80% of respondents expressing

some level of excitement for the film

MAY 2019

39


BIG DATA

18 %

SPIDER-MAN:

FAR FROM HOME

ONCE UPON A TIME

IN HOLLYWOOD

9 % 4 %

7 %

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3—

PARABELLUM

ROCKETMAN

16 %

7 %

IF YOU COULD ONLY SEE

TOY STORY 4 ONE MOVIE THIS SUMMER, DARK PHOENIX

WHICH WOULD IT BE?

9 %

6 %

GODZILLA:

KING OF THE MONSTERS

FAST & FURIOUS

PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW

9 %

5 %

THE LION KING

ALADDIN

I WOULD IF

I KNEW OF ANY YES

IN MY AREA

OUTDOOR MOVIES

Will you watch any movies

outdoors this summer?

(eg. Movies in the Park,

Drive-in Movies, Outdoor

Film Festivals)

38 %

NO

14 %

14 % VACATION :(

23 %

YES

MAYBE

34 %

NO

TAKING A

16 % I’M NOT

MOVIES ON

VACATION

Will you watch

any movies while

you’re on vacation in

the summer?

MAYBE

31 %

31 %

40 MAY 2019


WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GENRE OF MOVIE TO WATCH IN THE SUMMER?

ACTION/ADVENTURE 53%

SCI-FI/FANTASY 14%

COMEDY 14%

THRILLER/SUSPENSE 5%

FAMILY/ANIMATION 4%

DRAMA 3%

HORROR 3%

ROMANTIC COMEDY 3%

MUSICALS/DANCE 1%

ROMANCE 1%

MAY 2019

41


THE EXECUTIVE LOOKS BACK

ON THREE DECADES AT SONY

PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT

BY DANIEL LORIA

>> Adrian Smith began his career in the entertainment

industry over 40 years ago, following in the footsteps of

his father in the exhibition business. Chalk it up to teenage

rebellion, but Smith always had his eye on joining

the distribution side of the business. “Since I can recall,

I always wanted to work at a studio,” he tells Boxoffice.

“Not only at a studio, but specifically in distribution.”

As time would tell, distribution was not a fleeting fancy

for Smith. The executive has had a distinguished career

in that side of the business since joining the sales

department of United Artists in 1979. This year, Smith is

celebrating his 40th anniversary in distribution and 30th

at his current company, Sony Pictures Entertainment,

which he originally joined back in 1989 under TriStar.

In 2000, Smith was named senior vice president and

western division manager for Sony Pictures Releasing.

By 2011, he was appointed executive vice president and

general sales manager, overseeing domestic sales for

the studio. Smith was promoted to president of domestic

distribution in 2013. Adrian Smith is also a member

of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

To mark these milestones, Boxoffice asked Smith to tell

us about his 30 years at Sony—and his more than four

decades in entertainment.

– continued on page 44 –

PHOTO: DAN STEINBERG

MAY 2019

43


CELEBRATING ADRIAN SMITH

How did your early experience in exhibition influence your

career in distribution?

I always look back on that time as such a great learning

experience. In particular, it’s important for those in distribution

to have an understanding of the exhibition community and what

it’s like to work in a theater. An understanding of what it’s like

for exhibitors running their own business, what they’re dealing

with on a daily basis on the front lines. I have a great deal of respect

for exhibitors and people who work in theaters. They have

great impact on creating customers for the future and creating a

positive experience for all of our films.

My time in exhibition taught me firsthand about dealing

with the public: the good and bad of it. I worked for a couple

of gentlemen who had a great work ethic, and I learned a lot

from them about being prepared. I remember one manager, Bob

Shapiro—this was before cell phones—he used to walk around

with index cards in his pockets and would write down the day’s

pertinent information: what we grossed that day, the attendance,

etc. Whenever the home office or studios called, he had all the

information in front of him. He was always prepared.

RED CARPET IN STYLE

Adrian Smith with wife, Linda, and daughter, January

I was lucky that I was working at Westwood; everyone that

came into the theater worked at a studio. It gave me

the opportunity to network with them.

Finally, after a couple of years, I

got my shot.

“IF YOU COME BACK IN

HERE, I AM GONNA HIT

YOU WITH SO MANY

RIGHTS YOU ARE GOING

TO BEG FOR A LEFT.”

Adrian Smith began working

at Cannon Releasing

in 1985, the same year the

company released the first

of its many Chuck Norris

vehicles, Invasion, U.S.A.

That would be your first

studio job, at United

Artists in 1979.

I started at United Artists

distribution in Los Angeles

as a booker. It was a great

learning experience for me

to get an understanding of

how distribution worked. It

was a launching pad for me to

grow. In that particular time

there were more branches; my

area was the Los Angeles branch.

The industry had not consolidated

as much as it has today; at UA I

went on to become a sales manager and

from there I got my first branch and moved to

Detroit for a year. I came back to L.A. a year later to work

at 20th Century Fox. In 1985 I made another move, this time to

Cannon Releasing.

Cannon in 1985—that must’ve been “interesting,” to say

the least …

[Laughing] Oh, it was interesting, all right. What I will say

44 MAY 2019


We join in honoring our

colleague and friend

Adrian Smith

for his outstanding career

and endless support

of the theatre industry.

from your friends at


CELEBRATING ADRIAN SMITH

Kind. Smart. Determined.

Hardworking. That’s how I’d

describe Adrian Smith. Over

the last 30 years, Adrian has

been a prominent and key

player here at Sony Pictures.

His vast knowledge of the

ever-changing film industry

has been instrumental in our

IN THE JUNGLE YOU MUST WAIT … UNTIL THE DICE READ FIVE OR EIGHT

Robin Williams starred with Bonnie Hunt, Bradley Pierce, and Kirsten Dunst in 1995’s Jumanji

PHOTO: ©1995 TRISTAR PICTURES, INC. / ALL RIGHTS RESERVED / COURTESY OF TRISTAR PICTURES

overall marketing campaign

efforts for the Motion Picture

Group, and we’re extremely

lucky to have him on our

team. I want to congratulate

Adrian on this extraordinary

milestone and thank him for

all the energy and dedication

he has put into his work over

the years. Here’s to another

30 years!

JOSH GREENSTEIN

Sony Pictures Worldwide

Marketing & Distribution,

Motion Picture Group

about those times is that working for an

independent like Cannon—you get to be

involved in so many different aspects of

our business. It was a great place to learn

different facets of the industry before

going to work for TriStar in 1989.

During another transformative time

at the studio, Sony acquired Columbia

and TriStar in 1989. What was that

transition like?

Before Sony’s acquisition, Columbia

and TriStar had mirror operations for

Distribution—each label had three-person

offices in Los Angeles, New York, Dallas,

the Midwest, and Canada, supported by

Triumph. When Sony purchased both,

they merged under Sony Pictures.

I feel very fortunate to have worked

over the years with some of the most

talented people our industry has to offer,

like Jeff Blake, Rory Bruer, and now Josh

Greenstein, who has had a big impact on

my career. Not only has Josh taught me a

great deal about our business, he has shown

me what it means to be an inclusive leader.

It’s a pleasure to work for Josh every day.

After three decades at Sony, are there

any films or campaigns that stand out

in your mind? Any rollouts that you

really cherish?

I was looking back and realized I’ve

been involved in releasing something like

761 films, which kind of blew me away

when I saw the number. It’s kind of staggering.

I have to say that I enjoyed seeing

our beloved Jumanji from 1995 inspire

the success that inspired Jumanji: Welcome

to the Jungle two decades later. I also

think back on being involved in the very

first Spider-Man with Tobey Maguire and

how that inspired Spider-Man: Homecoming

in 2017 and Spider-Man: Into the

Spider-Verse last year.

To be honest, I’m excited about what

we have coming up: films from some of

our treasured IPs like Men in Black: International,

Spider-Man: Far from Home,

Zombieland 2: Double Tap, Bad Boys for

Life, and Charlie’s Angels that we’re bringing

back to the big screen. It’s films like

that, that I find really interesting.

You’re also coming off the highestearning

film in Sony’s history, Jumanji:

Welcome to the Jungle.

It’s something that we’re very proud of

at Sony Pictures: Jumanji: Welcome to the

Jungle and how long we were able to keep

46 MAY 2019


CELEBRATING ADRIAN SMITH

Boy, it’s been great teaming

up with Adrian all of these

years. What he brings to

the company is textbook

leadership. He has passion for

the job, integrity, character,

and a tireless, dedicated work

ethic. Adrian has tremendous

respect for his colleagues and

employees, creates dynamic

strategies, and has a can-do

attitude for every challenge

put on his plate. On top

of it all, he is successful

at everything that he does

without ever losing his sense

of humor. Not only is he

great at his job, he makes

all of our jobs easier in the

process. And, he might be the

nicest, most genuine guy you

will ever meet in your life.

I’m very proud to be able to

count him as a close friend.

STEVEN O’DELL

President, Sony Pictures Releasing

International, Motion Picture Group

TRUST EACH OTHER, AND NEVER BLINK … THE MISSING PIECE IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK

Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black will suit up again for the next Jumanji adventure this year.

it in theaters. We had a lot of help from

the exhibition community; they definitely

rallied behind the film and helped

us keep it in theaters and relevant to the

moviegoing public.

From your perspective, how has the

business changed the most over the

past three decades?

The thing that most comes to mind

is that the marketplace has become

more competitive. The number of films

released, finding a release date—it’s a

real challenge. Production and marketing

costs have increased, and I guess it’s

fair to say that there are so many quality

forms of entertainment available for

consumers that never existed years ago.

It’s made competing for entertainment

dollars more challenging.

On the bright side, I truly believe

that the one thing that has been

constant—and will continue to matter—

is that audiences have a desire for that

shared communal experience of a movie

theater. They love going to the movies

with 500 of their closest friends they’ve

never met before.

Exhibitors have done a great job,

especially in the last couple of years, by

enhancing the moviegoing experience

and creating an environment attractive

for people to leave their homes. To their

credit, they’ve invested a substantial

amount of capital on premium sound

or projection, on reclining seats

and food services to improve the

moviegoing experience.

What are some of the challenges

and opportunities facing theatrical

exhibition in the coming years?

The challenge is competing for

the entertainment dollars with all the

different platforms and opportunities

consumers have to be entertained. As an

industry we have to continue creating

content that will get consumers off their

couches and into movie theaters. Exhibitors

have to do their part, as they have

been and will continue to do, in creating

environments that people really want to

watch a movie in. An environment that

has more to offer than what they could

get at home.

You’ve been very involved in industry

charities, including stints on the

boards of Variety – the Children’s

Charity and the Will Rogers Motion

PHOTO: ©2017 COLUMBIA PICTURES INDUSTRIES, INC. / ALL RIGHTS RESERVED / COURTESY OF COLUMBIA PICTURES

48 MAY 2019


ELLIS, MICHAEL

AND CINEPLEX

CONGRATULATE

CONGRATULATE

ADRIAN SMITH

President of Domestic Distribution

and his exceptional career at

Sony Pictures.

/ ® Cineplex Entertainment LP or used under license.


CELEBRATING ADRIAN SMITH

Adrian is a true gentleman

who cares deeply about the

movies that Sony releases

and the filmmaking talent

behind those films. For

example, on many an early

Sunday morning, Adrian

is always one of the first to

check in and see how the

weekend is stacking up with

an unbridled enthusiasm that

proves that he is not only one

of the best executives in the

business, but also a movie fan

at heart (and an early riser)

who makes every Sunday

morning an adventure that

is not just about dollars and

cents, but about the heart

and soul of the cinematic

experience. A rare and

enviable trait indeed! All the

best, Adrian!

PAUL DERGARABEDIAN

Sr. Media Analyst,

Comscore

DOES WHATEVER A SPIDER CAN

Tom Holland (seen here in Spider-Man: Homecoming) returns this summer in Sony’s Spider-Man: Far from Home.

Picture Pioneers Foundation. In 2017,

you were honored at ShowEast with

the Salah M. Hassanein Humanitarian

Award. What have these charity

efforts meant to you, personally?

I feel very fortunate as an individual

to work in this business and receive the

opportunities I’ve had. I truly believe that

I have an obligation to give back and try

to help others who are struggling or are

maybe less fortunate. I think the Children’s

Variety and Will Rogers are really

great organizations that have a really

sound plan to try to do that.

Looking back, who have been some of

the biggest supporters in your career?

I feel very fortunate to have been a

part of the industry for over 40 years and

to have the support of so many individuals.

Without a doubt, my constant

supporter and counsel is my wife, Linda.

She points me in the right direction

every day.

What does the future hold for you and

for Sony Pictures Entertainment?

It’s a really exciting time to be at

Sony. Since 2017 we’ve been fortunate

to have a great deal of success with films

like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,

Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby Driver,

The Emoji Movie, Peter Rabbit, Hotel

Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, The

Equalizer 2, and Spider-Man: Into the

Spider-Verse.

I’ve enjoyed having a front row seat as

Tom Rothman has helped move the studio

forward in creating a diverse slate rich

in content and valuable IPs that speak to

and are reflective of the world we live in.

Films that aren’t only diverse in subject

matter, but also in terms of talent and

filmmakers. Forty percent of our films

within the next 18 months are directed

by women or people of color.

We have a lot of films that I’m really

excited about: Men in Black: International,

Spider-Man: Far from Home, Quentin

Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,

and Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day

in the Neighborhood.

What’s your biggest takeaway

from being in this business for over

40 years?

It’s an exciting business to be a part

of and to be prepared for the unexpected

at any moment. Most importantly, at its

core, it’s still a relationship business.

PHOTO: © 2017 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. and LSC Film Corporation / All Rights Reserved

MARVEL and all related character names: © & 2019 MARVEL.

50 MAY 2019


CinemaCon Recap

A NEW NORMAL

DISTRIBUTION AND EXHIBITION ADJUST TO

A SHIFTING LANDSCAPE IN THE WAKE OF

INDUSTRY CONSOLIDATION

BY DANIEL LORIA

PHOTO: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

PARAMOUNT’S JIM GIANOPULOS

>> A video skit opened Paramount’s presentation

at CinemaCon 2019 wherein studio chief

Jim Gianopulos gets shepherded around different

locations by a confused limo driver as he tries to

arrive on time for his studio’s showcase. First up is

CinemaKahn, a fan-fueled Star Trek convention,

followed by CinemaDons, a Godfather-like conference

for gangsters, and, finally, the appropriately

named SinemaCon—where anything goes. The

skit prompted scattered chuckles from the crowd

at the Caesars Palace Colosseum, but it hinted at a

larger truth that permeated the week-long event.

Gianopulos can be forgiven for having a hard

time finding his bearings; in many ways, this year’s

CinemaCon felt slightly different from previous

editions. And how couldn’t it? As the dust settles

behind a wave of consolidation, the future of

the cinema business seems as promising—and

fraught—as ever before.

That isn’t to imply the industry is undergoing a

period of instability. Four consecutive years above

$40 billion at the worldwide box office and coming

off a record-setting $11.9 billion year in North

America—there is ample proof in last year’s numbers

that the business rests on a solid foundation.

The landscape, however, has been transformed

by major M&A deals in both distribution and

exhibition. Disney’s own CinemaCon presentation

couldn’t have emphasized the audience’s disorientation

more clearly; it not only touted its own

slate—it also plugged titles from its acquisition of

20th Century Fox. Consolidation made its mark

among mid-majors too, as CinemaCon formally

introduced the exhibition community to the latest

iteration of United Artists: a result of the merger

between Annapurna and the recently revamped

52 MAY 2019


PHOTO: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

MGM. Other specialty players—Broad Green,

Open Road, and The Weinstein Company—are no

longer with us.

Exhibition has seen its own share of changes.

Cineworld entered the North American market

with its acquisition of Regal; Kinepolis did the

same in acquiring Landmark Cinemas of Canada.

Cinemex became one of the top exhibitors in the

United States within a year of entering the market

through the acquisition of Cobb Theatres under

its CMX brand. Earlier this year, Marcus Theatres

crossed the thousand-screen benchmark with its

purchase of Movie Tavern.

The familiar players are all there, there are just

fewer of them. At first glance, it seems the state

of affairs under this “new normal” could lead to a

decrease in content aimed at cinemas from studios.

Fewer studios, after all, could theoretically mean

fewer movies on the big screen—a worry amplified

by the surge in original productions destined for

streaming services.

NATO president and CEO John Fithian is

confident that isn’t the case. At a press briefing following

his State of the Industry remarks, the executive

shared his belief that more platforms will help

audiences get exposed to more content—creating

ancillary programming opportunities for cinemas.

Fithian cited the renaissance of documentaries at

the box office as an example of this bump in public

awareness. “The exhibition of documentaries

slowed down to the point of dying in theaters,” he

explained. “Netflix gave documentary filmmakers a

platform to start making documentaries again and

getting them seen … and people started coming

back to documentaries in theaters.”

Case in point: Fourteen documentaries theatrically

released in 2018 grossed over $1 million

each. Among those, five earned over $12 million

at the box office. The trend has kept up in the

early months of 2019 with Neon’s Apollo 11

already reporting over $8 million in ticket sales. It

isn’t a coincidence then that CinemaCon dedicated

a panel session to the theatrical promotion of

documentaries, with representatives from Alamo

Drafthouse, AMC Theatres, Focus Features, and

Neon all voicing their support for more titles to

make their way to theaters. “As a specialty distributor,

you have to have a slate that is diverse,” said

Lisa Bunnell, president of distribution at Focus

Features. “Documentaries are a part of that …

just as important as any other films on your slate

and deserving the same amount of respect, time,

and effort.”

Bunnell’s call for a diverse slate is echoed

throughout the industry, just as the virtual print

fee (VPF) model, which has restricted programming

at cinemas, is coming to an end. With 97

percent of the world’s 190,000 screens already

NATO PRESIDENT & CEO

JOHN FITHIAN

MAY 2019

53


CINEMACON RECAP

FATHOM EVENTS CEO

RAY NUTT

PHOTO: DANIEL LORIA

converted to digital projection, exhibitors are finding

more opportunities to schedule a wider range

of titles.

Event cinema is one of the main benefactors

of this development. The sector is coming

off a fantastic 2018. New players like CineLife

Entertainment (the alternative-content division

of Spotlight Cinema Networks) entered the space

with 15 titles in its first year alone. The most

established player in the market, Fathom Events,

celebrated a record year with 23 titles that grossed

over $1 million—including the highest-grossing

event cinema title of all time in the United States,

They Shall Not Grow Old.

Alternative forms of distribution have also

begun to take hold. Last year’s headlines on the

topic centered on the launch of Nagra Kudelski’s

myCinema and GDC’s GoGoCinema, innovations

that allow cinemas to directly book and exhibit

content with greater flexibility. GDC’s GoGoCinema

was originally announced as a cinema-on-demand

service at last year’s CinemaCon, a solution

that would allow moviegoers to drive demand for

a specific title to their local movie theater. The

service, which has not yet announced any titles or

licensing partners, is scheduled to launch in China,

Malaysia, and Singapore later this year.

Content will be key to the concept’s success.

MyCinema’s strategy has revolved around providing

a diverse slate of films with targeted marketing

campaigns to engage different ethnic groups. The

company has thus far found success with Hispanic

moviegoers, who, according to the MPAA,

are overrepresented in the population of frequent

moviegoers (24%) relative to their proportion of

the overall U.S. population (18%).

Despite this statistic, exhibitors like Moctesuma

Esparza, CEO of Maya Cinemas, a circuit

dedicated to building cinemas in underserved

Hispanic neighborhoods, have struggled to find

content representative of those audiences. “There

are very few cinemas in Latino communities in

the United States as compared to the 1930s, ’40s,

and ’50s. When I was growing up, I could walk

to the cinema and see movies from Hollywood or

Mexico,” Esparza explained at a CinemaCon panel

session on diversity. “It is a reflection of how our

industry has changed … but it is beginning to turn

around, and we’re getting more cinemas in these

underserved areas. Now there have to be distributors

willing to take on these movies and theaters

willing to play them. It takes the entire cycle, and I

am hopeful that it’s beginning to happen again.”

Tech solutions are slowly sprouting up to help

address the issue. Just as Dolby and QSC currently

offer accessibility products such as descriptive

audio and captioning for patrons with disabilities,

others have begun using similar steps to provide

foreign-language tracks in their theaters. Mobile

app TheaterEars allows moviegoers to access a

Spanish-language soundtrack directly from their

phones—at no cost to them or the theater. The

app uses a phone’s microphone to first identify and

sync a film with its official Spanish audio track,

then allows viewers to listen with a pair of headphones.

First Class Seating showcased a curious

innovation at the CinemaCon 2019 trade show

that would allow viewers to access a foreign-language

track through a headphone jack built into

the chair itself.

Diverse content from a more inclusive gamut

of filmmakers is also emerging on streaming

platforms, something NATO’s John Fithian says is

an asset to cinemas. “Even though I represent the

movie theater industry, it’s great that people like to

watch movies and television shows on Netflix because

people who love content love it everywhere,”

he said at a press conference. His comments correlate

with an EY study commissioned by NATO

that shows that frequent moviegoers also tend to

54 MAY 2019


stream movies at home more often.

Whatever tension exists among cinemas with

streaming services is less directed at any particular

company than at their policy regarding theatrical

exclusivity. While the rollout of Roma left a lot to

be desired, it did signal at least a willingness from

Netflix (or at least by director Alfonso Cuarón)

to adopt a period of theatrical exclusivity. Some

industry insiders remain confident the company

will eventually adopt longer windows for theatrical

releases. “I don’t look at Netflix as an enemy at all;

our hope is to bring them in the tent,” said Tim

Richards, CEO of Vue Cinemas, an outspoken

critic of the limited theatrical rollout of Roma in

the U.K.

Most importantly, Netflix is no longer the only

major streamer around. More competition in the

home entertainment market implies that future

content is unlikely to be concentrated on a single

platform. “They’re not the only game in town

when it comes to streaming. There are going to

be a lot of them,” Fithian said, citing new services

from companies like Apple and Disney. “We’re

looking at six major players—at least in North

America, and with more coming around the

world—that are going to give a home to content

creators that can also help us in theaters.”

Distribution, exhibition, and home entertainment

have all been impacted by this realignment

in the entertainment industry. Vox Cinemas CEO

Cameron Mitchell views the shift as beneficial to

the industry as a whole. “If you go back two or

three years, I was concerned about the industry

because we had one really strong global exhibitor,

multiple studios, and one really strong streaming

platform,” he said in a panel session. “Jumping

ahead to today, we have five or six massive international

exhibitors, studio consolidation, and several

influential streaming platforms. It feels like the

equilibrium has been restored to a certain extent.”

This new balance of power is also driving a

wave of innovation and investment from mid-tier

companies looking to compete against the latest

crop of larger multinational players. That is the

case with Studio Movie Grill (SMG), which

announced a $100 million investment from

TowerBrook Capital Partners during CinemaCon.

The funding is intended to help expand the dinein

chain across the United States and overseas.

The Texas-based circuit currently operates 333

screens in the United States; it ranked 13th in

PHOTO: DANIEL LORIA

Boxoffice’s latest Giants of Exhibition list of the

biggest circuits in North America.

SMG founder and CEO Brian Schultz admitted

in an interview with Boxoffice that the

company looked at all its options before deciding

to pursue a major expansion. “We went out and

got funding because if we were going to continue

growing, we had to do it right now when we’re in

this intermediate space,” said the executive. “We’re

too big to be considered a small independent, but

we’re too small to be a major. So we made the

decision to go big.”

Expansion isn’t the only avenue for growth in

today’s exhibition business. Circuits of all sizes

have dedicated significant sums in capex to update

their circuits with premium amenities—including

luxury seating, expanded concessions, and premium

large format (PLF) auditoriums. While amenities

like immersive seating often come with a price

bump for the consumer, others like laser projection

and immersive audio are often installed to raise the

standard of the moviegoing experience.

A stroll through the CinemaCon trade show

hinted at an overwhelming odyssey for exhibitors

looking to upgrade their sites. And while the allure

of an increased concessions per cap might drive

some theater owners to invest in new equipment,

a study by the University of Memphis, commissioned

by the National Association of Concession-

VUE CEO TIM RICHARDS

(CENTER)

MAY 2019

55


CINEMACON RECAP

TRADE SHOW

FLOOR

aires (NAC), revealed that the immediate benefits

of expanded F&B offerings are somewhat limited.

“We realized people aren’t coming to the movies

more because we offer extended or full menus,”

said Larry Etter, an SVP at Malco Theatres and

director of education at NAC, when presenting

the study’s results. “Sure, it’s a nice amenity—but

for me, it was one of those ‘Duh!’ moments: Why

do people go to the movies? They come for the

product on your screens. They’re coming to see

movies.” Rather than viewing expanded concessions

as an evolution of the moviegoing experience,

Etter regards the trend as an example of exhibition

raising the standard of its offering to consumers.

“As operators and exhibitors, once we get them in

the building we need to ask ourselves: How do we

keep them entertained and make that entire package

better than it’s been for the last 10 years?”

Raising that standard is integral for Vue CEO

Tim Richards, who mentioned the decline of

U.K. cinema admissions in the postwar period as

a result of a lack of investment. Vowing to avoid

the same mistakes, Richards has prioritized maintaining

an up-to-date circuit in several key areas.

“For us at Vue, we took things to a back-to-basics

mode: looking at seats, sight, and sound,” said

Richards in a panel discussion. “Our investment

has been focused on trying to enhance that experience

for customers.”

PHOTO: DANIEL LORIA

Other premium amenities, like PLF and

immersive seating, are designed to drive higher

ticket prices. The proliferation of these formats in

the last half-decade has to be considered alongside

the decline of 3-D box office revenue in recent

years. Global box office for 3-D titles has declined

by 20 percent since 2015. On the other hand, IHS

reports the number of PLF auditoriums worldwide

has more than doubled in the last three years.

Simply stating that 3-D’s box office impact is in

decline is only half the story. The rise of PLF and

immersive seating shows that premium pricing at

cinemas isn’t being eradicated—it’s diversifying.

Jed Harmsen, senior director of worldwide cinema

and content solutions at Dolby, has seen that

shift firsthand over the last half-decade. “Five years

ago, [Dolby Cinema] was a technology demonstration

to show people what we were working on,”

said the executive of the launch of Dolby’s branded

PLF solution featuring its Dolby Vision image and

Dolby Atmos audio technology. “Now here we are,

five years later, with 200 locations installed across

11 countries—and we have another 200 that have

already been committed.”

Other tech companies have stepped up to

deliver their own branded PLF solutions to rival

Imax and Dolby Cinema. On the eve of Cinema-

Con 2019, THX announced the opening of its first

branded PLF auditorium, THX Ultimate Cinema,

at Regency’s historic Westwood Village Theatre

in Los Angeles—an iconic movie house originally

opened in 1930 as the Fox Theater. The company

partnered with Cinionic to give its PLF solution

dual-laser projection and immersive audio that

meets THX certification standards.

Sony leveraged its CinemaCon presence to inaugurate

the first Sony Digital Cinema PLF auditorium

at Galaxy Theatres’ new Las Vegas location.

Equipped with Dolby Atmos sound and Sony 4K

laser projection, it offers a glimpse into a new competitive

landscape for branded PLF solutions as it

joins competitors like Imax, Dolby, RealD, and

THX for a share of the premium-theater market.

Rather than opting to self-brand an entire PLF

solution, Samsung is allowing exhibitor clients to

choose how to promote their Onyx LED cinema

screen in their theaters. The company claims to

have 34 LED screens already installed around the

world, with five additional committed in 2019.

Two of those commitments are in the United

States: a 46-foot-wide screen at an upcoming loca-

56 MAY 2019


tion of Star Cinema Grill, a Houston-based dine-in

circuit, and a 34-foot-wide version for an innovative

premium auditorium in Baltimore’s Warehouse

Cinemas. That PLF concept will be known

as “SkyVUE” and will take full advantage of the

Onyx’s LED technology. Since Samsung’s screen

doesn’t require a projection booth, moviegoers will

enter a flat auditorium (goodbye, stadium seating)

with an elevated screen that’s tilted forward to give

viewers a uniquely ergonomic viewing experience.

While some industry analysts question

whether this saturation of PLF solutions could

have an adverse effect on cinemas and vendors

alike, Dolby’s Harmsen sees the competition as a

positive development. “As an industry, we need

to continue investing in differentiated cinematic

presentations to continue to drive viewership

growth,” said the Dolby executive. “Many millennials,

Gen Z—however you want to bracket

younger audiences—still desire that communal

cinema experience; it’s hard to replicate. But they

want to make sure that they’re getting something

out of it. So, when I see a lot of people getting

into the PLF space, to me it’s a validation that the

industry is choosing to invest in improving and

differentiating the moviegoing experience.”

CJ 4DPLEX is one of the leading innovators

in providing audiences those unique experiences.

The company’s immersive seating technology,

4DX, and panoramic screen, ScreenX, were the

biggest story of last year’s CinemaCon when they

announced a major deal with Cineworld that

would significantly expand its footprint in the

United States at Regal locations nationwide. This

year, the company followed up that traction with

business deals that will expand the 4DX footprint

in new markets like Saudi Arabia and establish

an increased presence for ScreenX in markets like

Canada, with Cineplex, and India, with INOX

and PVR. The company’s fully immersive solution,

ScreenX with 4DX, which combines the panoramic

screen with immersive seats, will be making

its way to Latin America at Cinépolis locations

beginning later this year.

French circuit CGR has begun licensing its

own immersive screen solution, ICE Light Vibes,

to other cinemas after a successful run in its home

country, where it has already reported higher

grosses than Imax screens nationwide. That expansion

ramps up later this year, when ICE begins to

make its way to Vox locations in the Middle East.

PHOTO: DANIEL LORIA

On the immersive seating side, Canada’s D-Box

celebrated its 10th anniversary providing immersive

seating to cinemas this year by announcing

a slew of high-profile deals with major players

at CinemaCon. Its partnership with compatriot

circuit Cineplex will be extended with the addition

of 10 new auditoriums in Canada, and the

company will be opening its first four auditoriums

for Hoyts in select locations in Australia. D-Box

announced its biggest deal of the week in a special

signing ceremony at CinemaCon, where CEO

Claude McMaster joined PVR president and CEO

Gautam Dutta to reveal plans that will add over

400 D-Box seats and recliners to PVR locations in

Delhi and Mumbai.

For its own part, MediaMation’s MX4D technology

found similar success at this year’s event by

announcing new deals that expand its footprint

across five continents through partners that include

the likes of B&B Theatres, Cine Colombia, and

Nigeria’s Film House Cinemas. The MX4D booth

at CinemaCon featured an exclusive demo of

Sony’s Haptics Technology—an immersive cinema

prototype consisting of a vest that moviegoers wear

over their clothes once inside the auditorium. The

MX4D’s seat effects are complemented by a coded

vibration system on the vest synced to the film.

The technology has only had a limited week-long

trial run in Japan, and the technology is expected

THE WORLD’S FIRST

SONY DIGITAL CINEMA

PLF AUDITORIUM WAS

UNVEILED AT GALAXY

THEATRES’ NEW LAS

VEGAS LOCATION.

MAY 2019

57


CINEMACON RECAP

LES CINÉMAS PATHÉ

GAUMONT CEO JÉRÔME

SEYDOUX

to further develop before going to market. It’s admittedly

more of a curiosity than a product at this

stage—but it wasn’t that long ago when moving

chairs with air and water effects were regarded the

same way. Today, immersive seating has received

the backing of nearly every major exhibitor around

the world.

All this technology means little if there’s no

content to exploit it. Warner Bros. announced

at CinemaCon that it would be providing titles

especially coded for enhanced-seating cinemas

through 2019. At a small Las Vegas reception that

same week, leading Chinese distributor Huaxia

announced it would be entering into an alliance

with cinema tech providers Christie and GDC to

promote the production of advance-format films

that can help push adoption of high frame rate

(HFR) and high dynamic range (HDR) titles.

Addressing that reception was filmmaker Ang

Lee, who called his experience making Life of Pi

in cutting-edge 3-D technology “the beginning of

something completely new in cinema.” Paramount

will be releasing Lee’s Gemini Man later this year, a

3-D title shot at 120 frames per second. Lee joins

the alliance as its first mentor filmmaker in a program

dedicated to making these technologies more

available to the next generation of directors.

These premium formats are intended to

complement cinemas’ existing investment in 3-D

PHOTO: RYAN MILLER / CAPTURE IMAGING FOR CINEMACON

technology and provide moviegoers additional

options to customize their moviegoing experience.

Exhibitors’ ultimate hope is that these innovations

can help drive both attendance and frequency; a 5

percent bump in domestic admissions suggests the

strategy might be working.

Premium amenities aren’t the only innovation

behind last year’s admissions growth. The rapid

rise—and subsequent fall—of MoviePass in 2018

helped clarify two important things for the exhibition

community: 1) Consumers are interested

in cinema subscription services, and 2) cinema

subscriptions are only as good as their business

model. A new crop of companies emerged in the

wake of MoviePass and Sinemia to offer their

own third-party and white-label subscription

solutions, most notably digital ticketing start-up

Atom Tickets and ticketing solutions provider

Influx Worldwide.

Jérôme Seydoux, chairman and CEO of Les

Cinémas Pathé Gaumont, admitted in a roundtable

discussion that his circuit has benefited strongly

from its own subscription scheme. According to

the executive, subscriptions account for approximately

25 percent of Pathé’s admissions in the

Netherlands and 20 percent in France. The allure

of subscription isn’t limited to achieving a higher

frequency of visits from patrons, but of collecting—and

controlling—the consumer data that

comes along with those increased visits. While

majors like AMC and Cinemark have already

launched their own in-house services in the United

States, many other circuits are taking a wait-andsee

attitude as to which, if any, solution to adopt.

Will Palmer, CEO of cinema analytics firm

Movio, has evangelized the importance of data collection

for years and says he believes the industry

is headed in the right direction. “There’s been a

massive movement towards data collection,” Palmer

told Boxoffice. “There aren’t many significant

cinema chains today that are not actively collecting

data through a loyalty program, online ticket sales

or some other medium.”

What cinemas do with that data, however, can

make all the difference in the world. Implementing

a strategy to best utilize consumer data is quickly

becoming a challenge for exhibitors. Pathé’s Seydoux

highlighted the issue in his panel, “We know

a lot about our customers; what we have to learn

next is how to use all the data we have.”

Exhibitors aren’t the only industry players

58 MAY 2019


concerned with what the future of data collection

holds. Cinema advertising leader NCM recently

ramped up its own efforts in data collection by

making its pre-show more engaging for viewers

through their mobile phones. The hope is that by

gamifying the pre-show through its Noovie Arcade

app, NCM will be able to better identify and reach

their moviegoers. “Data is driving more decisions

in the movie industry than ever before,” NCM

president Cliff Marks told Boxoffice. “The challenge

is that everybody has their own data; there’s

no universal platform.”

As the industry gets better at learning more

about their customers, Marks is concerned about

what he calls “data silos,” with every individual

company harboring data for exclusive use. “I don’t

know how to get past these silos of data,” he said.

“Every company sees that as one of their most precious

assets. But at the end of the day, we would all

win by sharing our data and using it to draw more

people to the movies.”

The next step in cinema’s data revolution will

be using consumer behavior to help draw in new

audiences. “We’re very good at targeting customers

that are coming. We’re not very good at targeting

customers that aren’t coming,” admitted Vox CEO

Cameron Mitchell in his panel discussion. Doing

so is going to require comprehensive effort—fusing

together a pipeline of diverse content while

leveraging investments in sight, sound, and seating

technology—all at the right price. Marine Suttle,

SVP and chief product officer at Webedia Movies

Pro, summed it up during an AI panel at Cinema-

Con. “The next step is finding the right method of

targeting non-moviegoers with the right offer—expanded

concessions, variable pricing, and so on—

to get back into theaters,” she said.

The technological innovations heralded at this

year’s CinemaCon are not futuristic pipe dreams.

They are being implemented today. On the final

day of the conference, a 20-minute drive from

Caesars Palace and the lights of the Las Vegas

strip, Galaxy Theatres celebrated the opening of

its newest location. Situated in a suburban shopping

plaza mostly frequented by local families,

Galaxy’s Boulevard Mall location isn’t a glimpse

into the future of cinema, but at its present. In

the lobby, a bar area welcomes patrons with alcohol

service and an expanded concessions menu

with combo deals promoted on dynamic digital

signage. Every auditorium of the nine-screen

PHOTO: DANIEL LORIA

complex is outfitted with Sony 4K laser projection

and luxury Encore recliners by Palliser. Three

of the auditoriums have a premium attached: one

with several rows of D-Box immersive recliners,

an exhibitor-branded PLF auditorium, and the

third plays host to the world’s first Sony-branded

PLF—each with Dolby Atmos sound. There isn’t

a bad seat in the house; every front row in the

theater has a fully reclined loveseat.

New builds like Galaxy’s—along with the PLF

concepts from Baltimore’s Warehouse Cinemas or

Houston’s Star Cinema Grill described earlier—

aren’t anchoring sprawling multiplexes in major

cities. Increasingly, these are theaters targeting

average moviegoers in suburban areas. It brings to

mind the tagline that serves as the mission statement

of family-owned B&B Theatres (currently

the eighth largest in North America): “Bringing

Hollywood to your hometown.” Like the chains

mentioned above, B&B has invested considerably

in state-of-the-art locations—featuring premiums

like ScreenX and MX4D—in new builds in towns

such as Liberty, Missouri, and Ankeny, Iowa.

For those of us attending the grand opening

of Galaxy’s new Las Vegas location, it summed up

what many were already feeling back at Caesars

Palace but found hard to articulate. The industry

isn’t on the verge of another major transformation;

it’s in the midst of one.

WEBEDIA MOVIES PRO

SVP MARINE SUTTLE

(CENTER)

MAY 2019

59


CINEMACON RECAP

Filmmakers’ Roundtable & Luncheon

At CinemaCon’s Filmmkers’ Roundtable and Luncheon, directors Elizabeth Banks (Charlie’s Angels)

Dexter Fletcher (Rocketman), Olivia Wilde (Booksmart), and Anthony and Joe Russo (Avengers: Endgame)

spoke about some of their formative theatrical experiences—both as movie lovers and moviemakers.

ALL PHOTOS: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

ELIZABETH BANKS

ON HER FIRST MOVIE

We went to the drive-in a lot as kids, which

we loved. We got to go in our pajamas and

sleep on the roof of the car and all that. But

the thing that made the biggest impression

on me, probably, was the first R-rated movie

that I got to see in a theater, which was

Flashdance. What a feeling! Because my mom

convinced herself that it was just about a ballerina

with dreams, and that it would be OK

to bring her 10- and 9-year-old daughters

to see. And we went to the Capitol Theater

in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, which is a mill

town, and we watched a steelworker become

a ballerina.

ON THE CINEMA EXPERIENCE

When I took Pitch Perfect 2 to my first

screening, it was like it was a rock concert.

It was gangbusters. So fun. I was throwing

up in the back, but the audience loved it. So

that was good. You always test it. You show

it to people. You make sure you’re not insane

before you put it into a theater. You make sure

that other people get it and understand what

you’re going for. So I knew the movie worked,

but I didn’t know it would be as exciting and

well-received as it was when it premiered.

60 MAY 2019


OLIVIA WILDE

ON HER FIRST MOVIE

I think the first [movie I saw] might have been Fievel Goes West. I grew up in Washington,

D.C., and for some reason they did their premiere at the Kennedy Center. And

somehow I got to go, and it was the most exciting moment of my life. A really formative

experience for me was my first date movie, which was White Men Can’t Jump. I

remember sitting in that theater and being like, “Yes, this is living. I want to do this a

lot.” Not date. That, too. But mostly go see movies. It was real independence. As a kid,

going to the movies is the ultimate experience. It is autonomy and fun at its best. It’s like

your first expression of your social identity.

ON THE CINEMA EXPERIENCE

It was crazy. There were 1,100 people in the Paramount Theatre [for the premiere of

Booksmart at SXSW], and it was the most terrifying experience of my life. And also

the best. We had shown it to small groups of people, but you never know. It could

have gone either way. I loved it so much, and that’s all I knew. But hearing the audience

react was just amazing. I’ll never forget that feeling. That was great.

JOE RUSSO

ON HIS FIRST MOVIE

Maybe it was Star Wars. We had an uncle who is an avid movie fanatic, and he would

take us to the theater. He loved genre, so everything [we saw growing up] was genre:

Star Wars, Flash Gordon, Krull—that old classic. I once watched Krull three times

back-to-back in a theater.

ON THE CINEMA EXPERIENCE

Throughout all of our work, from our early festival work, where you get strong

audience reaction, through our television work, where you’re sort of visiting people in

their homes every week, to our Marvel work, we’ve always been fed and fired by the

audience reaction. You don’t really know what you’ve created until you feel that. That’s

really the heart of the experience for us.

DEXTER FLETCHER

ON HIS FIRST MOVIE

I think I saw That’s Entertainment with my family, which was the old

MGM mashup. … There was a double bill that I went to see, that I

couldn’t get in because I wasn’t old enough. It was a double bill of The Jerk

and Animal House.

ON THE CINEMA EXPERIENCE

My first film was a film called Wild Bill, which was a father-and-son story.

Very simple. We took it to a film festival in Bilbao, and they showed it to

a whole bunch of 16-year-old kids. Those young Spanish kids just lit up

and applauded at the end. You make something that you love and you

believe in. But then to catch that response from them, it’s indescribable.

MAY 2019

61


Health-conscious

concessions offerings

take a bite out of

CinemaCon

Popcorn and soda have yet to forfeit their

title as cinema’s supreme concessions

offerings—but on the trade show floor at

CinemaCon 2019, health-conscious offerings

were on hand to provide an alternative to the

old favorites.

BY REBECCA PAHLE

SWEETS

With brands including

Nerds and SweeTARTS,

the Ferrara Candy

Company has long been

capable of giving moviegoers

a sugar rush. By

contrast, their Black Forest

Organic Gummy Bears are

made with organic tapioca

syrup and cane sugar, fruit

juice, and natural colors

and flavors. As a bonus,

they’re gluten-free. The organic

gummies were a new

product presented by Ferrara

at this year’s show, but an

old favorite—Butterfinger

Bites—got a bit of a healthy

boost courtesy of a new

recipe that ditches artificial

preservatives. (Don’t worry,

they still taste good.)

New to the movie

theater space are

Happy Snacks

animal crackers,

a product of the

Market Square

Food Company.

Previously to

be found mostly

in retail spaces,

the snack offers a

healthier alternative

to kid-friendly candy.

The cookies are nut-free and come in

regular and chocolate varieties.

DRINKS

Nothing pairs with summer like a smoothie.

Bar Fresh offers both single-serve packs, ready to

be popped into a blender with some water and

served to a sweaty customer, and a bulk mix fit for

frozen-beverage dispensers. Whichever you get,

many flavors have only the sugar that comes naturally

in the fruit. Flavors include strawberry-banana

and mango-pineapple. Non-dairy options are

also available.

New on the CinemaCon trade floor were

good2grow’s PODZ, a character topper paired

with the company’s flavored Fortified Water.

Characters on the toppers include Batman,

Superman, and characters from the Trolls and

Despicable Me franchises. Each 10-ounce bottle of

good2grow’s fortified water contains 20 calories,

three grams of sugar, and no artificial flavors,

colors, or preservatives.

62 MAY 2019


SNACKS

ConAgra’s list of brands is vast, but there were

two represented on the CinemaCon trade show

floor that do particularly well by health-conscious

moviegoers. The first is Duke’s, which makes

Brisket Sticks and a Smoked Shorty Sausage.

Both come in a variety of flavors, and the Shorty

+ Cheese is keto-friendly. Also on offer from

ConAgra is Angie’s Boomchickapop popcorn.

They have sweet and salty varieties, and their

“classic”—Sea Salt Popcorn—comes in at only 35

calories a cup.

PACKAGING & PREP

Food itself is only one part of the concessions

industry. On the packaging side of things, Smart

Planet Technologies replaces traditional plastic

coating with its own EarthCoating, which uses

51 percent less plastic. The result is a product that

can be easily recycled using conventional recycling

equipment. Through Pureco Products, paper products

with EarthCoating are available to cinemas in

a variety of styles, shapes, and sizes, fit for hot or

cold food.

You’re used to eating popcorn at the movies.

But have you thought about … pickles? That’s

the question posed by GLK Foods, which showcased

its Oh Snap! line of pickled veggies at the

convention. Crisp—but not so loud that you can

hear them over the movie, don’t worry—and

wholesome, these snacks come packaged

with no added brine, making them a clean

and convenient concessions choice.

Options include cucumbers, carrots,

green beans, snap peas, and

jalapeños, all non-GMO.

A childhood staple gets a

movie-friendly update with Mott’s

Unsweetened Applesauce, a new

product presented at CinemaCon

by Keurig Dr. Pepper. Containing

no added sugar and made with

100 percent real fruit, the snack is

packaged so it’s easy for kids to eat

in the dark mess-free.

Founded in 1921, mini-burger

purveyor White Castle has been

working with cinema groups since

2007. The fact that they’re almost at the century

mark doesn’t mean they’re not adding new,

trend-conscious flavors, like Veggie and Black

Bean Sliders. Rolling out to theaters this year, the

burgers are vegetarian and vegan, respectively.

New in 2019 from Packaging Concepts Inc. are

paper drinking straws. Available in a variety of sizes

and designs (including custom-printed options),

the straws are made in the USA from natural materials,

wrapped or unwrapped depending on

the cinema’s preference. Paper straws have

seen a rise in popularity as more cities and

businesses have moved toward banning

their plastic counterparts.

The Quik n’ Crispy Greaseless

Fryer provides a healthier alternative

to the deep-fat fryer, cooking

up food of your choice using hot

air, heat, and an elevated, perforated

cooking basket. According to

the company, the new GF5 model

cooks 20 to 40 percent faster than

convection ovens and results in food

that has 20 to 40 percent less fat

than if it had been deep fried.

BAR FRESH SMOOTHIES

MAY 2019

63


Immersive

seating shakes

up CinemaCon

If you took a stroll through CinemaCon’s trade

show floor, you probably noticed a fair amount

of immersive seating. Who were the providers

showing off their immersive-seating wares at

CinemaCon, and how do they differ? Read on to

find out.

BY REBECCA PAHLE

FLEXOUND AUGMENTED AUDIO

4DX

4DX

CJ 4DPlex showcased a

variety of immersive-seating

technology at CinemaCon,

including 4DX recliners,

virtual reality lobby entertainment

utilizing 4DX

seats, and 4DX immersive

seating paired with ScreenX

panoramic screens. The

Seoul-based company adds another product to its

immersive seating lineup with the forthcoming

“4DX Flying Cinema.” Here, seats will be suspended

from a multilevel floor, enabling a wider array

of swivel and twisting motion. 4DX opened its

600th global location in December 2018.

D-BOX

Based in Montreal, D-Box (soon celebrating

its 10th anniversary) can be found in over 700

screens in 40 countries. For each movie screened

in D-Box, motion designers encode a custom

motion track, resulting in an immersive experience

that is tailored to each individual film. Upcoming

films to be released in the format include Pokémon

Detective Pikachu, Aladdin, and John Wick: Chapter

3 – Parabellum.

BKCS ACTIVE SEATING

BKCS Active Seating—aka the “ButtKicker”—

can be found in 200 screens in 11 countries. The

system pairs seat vibrations to a movie’s existing

soundtrack. No encoding is required, meaning the

64 MAY 2019


system can be used with

any movie. BKCS can

be added to existing

seats during the newbuild

process or retrofits

and renovations, often

without the need to

close screening rooms.

FLEXOUND

AUGMENTED AUDIO

Flexound’s augmented

audio technology

pairs vibration with

binaural speakers installed

in seat headrests,

providing audiences

with an immersive aural

and physical experience. The speakers, in addition

to adding an immersive element to the movie’s

soundtrack, make dialogue clearer and ease the

need for high sound volume. The first commercial

movie theater equipped with Flexound opened in

Mäntyharju, Finland, in February of this year.

MX4D

It was a big CinemaCon for MediaMation’s

MX4D immersive seating, which announced

during the convention that it would add over 50

new installations over five continents beginning

in the middle of this year. Together with Hollywood

Esports, MediaMation brought an MX4Dequipped

screen to the TCL Chinese Theatre in

Hollywood; it can be converted from “Cinema

Mode” to “Esports Mode” in under an hour, giving

both movie and esports audiences the ability to

take advantage of MX4D’s immersive seating. The

MX4D Pod allows theaters to screen movie and

game trailers, as well as VR content.

4D E-MOTION

Designed by Buenos Aires, Argentina–based

LUMMA, the 4D E-Motion theater system

pairs seating movement with atmospheric effects

like water, smell, and wind. The company’s 4D

Sync Department works with studios to create a

custom movement track for each movie screened

using the technology. 4D E-Motion is compatible

with most projection systems and can currently

be found in cinemas in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay,

and Brazil.

4DM

China-based Guangzhou Shuqee Digital Tech.

TCo. Ltd. has gotten into the immersive-seating

game with 4DM, which pairs movement and

environmental effects. 4DM seats are compatible

with all major servers and various operating platforms

and are sold in units of three, four, or five

seats per platform.

4D E-MOTION

MX4D POD

TREMOR FX

Tremor FX seats augment a movie’s audio track

with dynamic vibrations piped through actuators

placed in three areas of the chair: upper back,

lower back, and bottom. The location and intensity

of the vibrations depend on the frequency of the

signal sent through the film’s soundtrack, though

the moviegoer is able to adjust the intensity of the

experience via armrest controls. No specialized

audio track is required, increasing the amount of

content—movies, concerts, e-gaming, and more—

with which Tremor FX is compatible.

MAY 2019

65


Coming

Attractions

CINEMACON OFFERS A SNEAK PEEK

AT STUDIO PRODUCT SLATES

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT

BY KEVIN LALLY

>> CinemaCon 2019 in Las Vegas was faced with a

major programming challenge this year: those great

showmen (and women) at 20th Century Fox were

absent now that Disney has absorbed the historic

studio, and Sony decided to pass on the annual NATO

event altogether. Organizers filled that gap gracefully

by scheduling more feature screenings, four in total,

all crowd-pleasing movies with buzz from influential

festivals earlier this year. Warner Bros. screened its

Sundance hit Blinded by the Light, Amazon Studios

showed its $13 million Sundance acquisition Late

Night, Lionsgate unveiled its South by Southwest hit

Long Shot, and NEON screened and hosted a party

for its country-music-themed Toronto and SXSW

tale Wild Rose. But there were still robust product

presentations from four majors and two mini-majors.

WILD ROSE

LONG SHOT

The following pages present a recap of the footage

screened and what some of the stars and executives

had to say.

LATE NIGHT

MAY 2019

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CINEMACON STUDIO PRESENTATIONS

PHOTO: ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ/GETTY IMAGES

THE KITCHEN STARS TIFFANY HADDISH AND MELISSA MCCARTHY

HELEN MIRREN

Warner Bros.

staged its annual

“Big Picture”

preview presentation

on Tuesday,

April 2, and

the studio had

reason to crow:

$5.6 billion

worldwide box

office (a record) in 2018, its 18th consecutive

year passing $1 billion domestically, and

eight number-one films in 2018. Warner

Bros. film chairman Toby Emmerich attributed

that success partly to the diversity

of the studio’s slate, and saluted the

role of former Warner Bros. Entertainment

CEO Kevin Tsujihara, who

left the company amid accusations

PHOTO: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

of sexual impropriety.

The session’s other headline was generated by

Dame Helen Mirren, who promoted her twisty

thriller The Good Liar and declared, “I love Netflix,

but fuck Netflix. There is nothing like sitting

in the cinema.”

There was much buzz about the glimpse of director

Todd Phillips’s Joker, his origin story for the iconic

Batman villain, here played by Joaquin Phoenix.

The footage resembled a dark, moody, idiosyncratic

Martin Scorsese film much more than a superhero

tale, and Phillips said that when pressed by the studio

to define its genre, he responded, “It’s a tragedy.”

Warner Bros.’ revitalized DC Comics lineup

also includes the comical Shazam!; Birds of Prey

(And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley

Quinn), featuring the Suicide Squad badass and

some equally tough female cohorts; Wonder Woman

1984; and The Batman.

68 MAY 2019


A “hologram” of Pokémon character

Detective Pikachu, voiced by the irreverent

Ryan Reynolds, appeared onstage to promote

the film of the same name. Reynolds got a

laugh when he referred to his native Canada as

“America’s hat.”

Almost topping her bunny-strewn cape

from the Oscars, Melissa McCarthy appeared

onstage in an elaborate “Game of Thrones”–

inspired costume (complete with a huge

dragon on her back) to promote her comedy

Superintelligence; the bit had her confusing

CinemaCon with Comic-Con. She returned

later more sensibly dressed, along with costar

Tiffany Haddish and director Andrea

Berloff, to talk up The Kitchen, a gritty 1970s

tale of New York gangsters’ wives who take

over their husbands’ operations. As seen in

the footage, comic dynamos McCarthy and

Haddish both play it straight here, quite

convincingly. Haddish had the audience in

stitches when she declared, “I’m from South

Central Los Angeles and I grew up around

a lot of gangster types, and I always tried to

join a gang but they wouldn’t let me because

they said I was too goofy. … I’m a gangster

chick in my soul, but I’m a clown on the

outside, but inside I’m plotting. That’s what

I love about this movie—there are so many

layers to women.”

Other highlights from Warner Bros.’ “Big

Picture” included the rampaging creatures from

the May 31 release Godzilla: King of the Monsters;

a bedroom scene from Annabelle Comes

Home that had the Caesars Palace audience

cringing out loud; a fun, elaborate production

number staged by the Warner animation department

promoting Tom and Jerry, Scooby, DC

Pets, and Space Jam; Ansel Elgort and his young

cast mates talking up the adaptation of Pulitzer

Prize winner The Goldfinch; director Gurinder

Chadha and her cast promoting her Sundance

hit Blinded by the Light (screening later that

night); and director Andy Muschietti and the

cast of young and older counterparts (including

Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and Bill

Hader) from It: Chapter Two, accompanied

by a genuinely disturbing scene involving

Chastain and a seemingly sweet old woman. As

always, Warner’s “Big Picture” is a big highlight

at CinemaCon.

IT: CHAPTER TWO STARS JESSICA CHASTAIN AND SOPHIA LILLIS

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT’S VIVEIK KALRA, NELL WILLIAMS, DIRECTOR GURINDER CHADHA,

CO-WRITER SARFRAZ MANZOOR, AND AARON PHAGURA

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MAY 2019

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CINEMACON STUDIO PRESENTATIONS

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LAST CHRISTMAS DIRECTOR PAUL FEIG WITH STARS EMMA THOMPSON AND HENRY GOLDING

JENNIFER HUDSON SINGS “MEMORY” FROM THE UPCOMING CATS

>> Universal

Pictures was

out to prove

its blockbuster

bona fides with

an opening movie

montage titled

“The Universal

Hero” during

its product

presentation at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

In a not-so-subtle dig at Disney’s Marvel

and Warner Bros.’ DC Comics, the clip

reel showed various Universal box office

successes, accompanied by the line “The Universal

hero may not have superpowers, but they sometimes

fly.”

PHOTO: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

Flying and plummeting vehicles of all kinds

appear in the studio’s massively successful Fast and

Furious franchise, and Universal displayed its muscle

with an appearance by the stars of its first Fast

and Furious spinoff, Dwayne Johnson and Jason

Statham. The outgoing Johnson and the taciturn

Statham make an oddly complementary pair as

titular daredevils Hobbs & Shaw. Director David

Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) promised that

the duo “bring it like you’ve never seen it,” while

Johnson pledged another level of fun from this

new franchise chapter. He also seemed genuinely

moved that the movie honors his Samoan heritage

and the battle rituals of the Samoan people. In a

series known for its outrageous stunts, the sight of

our heroes dragging a transport helicopter to an

awful fate drew cheers from the Las Vegas crowd.

An unscripted highlight of the Universal

preview was Kevin Hart grappling with a nervous

70 MAY 2019


abbit in his arms (representing his character Snowball) while

promoting Illumination Entertainment’s The Secret Life of Pets 2;

his co-star Tiffany Haddish fared much better with her designated

pet, a cute shih tzu.

Universal has several comedies on its slate. Producer Will Packer

touted his new body-switching comedy Little and made sure the

audience knew he had delivered for them before with Girls Trip.

The idea for Little, by the way, originated with its 14-year-old costar,

“Black-ish” actress Marsai Martin, whom Packer said is now

the youngest executive producer in movie history. “Don’t act all

brand new with me” when she has future projects to cast, co-star

Issa Rae warned her.

The irresistible Emma Thompson was effortlessly droll describing

the genesis of Last Christmas, the romantic comedy she wrote

based on the classic George Michael Christmas song. Director Paul

Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy) and co-star Henry Golding (Crazy Rich

Asians) joined her onstage; the other lead, Emilia Clarke, they said,

was off on “Game of Thrones” promotional duties. From the evidence

of the trailer, the film could become a Christmas perennial.

While Last Christmas taps into the George Michael catalog, director

Danny Boyle and writer Richard Curtis’s Yesterday imagines

a seismic event that erases everyone’s memory of The Beatles—

except for one man, a struggling musician who cashes in on his

ability to deliver hit after hit. Star Himesh Patel entertained the

audience with a lovely version of the title song.

CinemaCon always reveals potential hits that weren’t on anyone’s

radar, and that is the case with Good Boys, the latest irreverent

comedy written and produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.

R-rated sixth graders (kind of a younger version of the duo in

Superbad) is a high concept that was just waiting to be plucked,

and the trailer was filled with outrageous laughs. Onstage, the

movie’s three young stars, Jacob Tremblay (Room), Keith Williams,

and Brady Noon, played along with the notion that they’re not old

enough to watch their own movie.

Other talent in Vegas included Octavia Spencer, director Tate

Taylor, and producer Jason Blum promoting Spencer’s changeof-pace

horror film Ma, with Spencer promising “disturbing and

freaky” acts much worse than her pie vengeance in The Help. And

writer Lena Waithe, director Melina Matsoukas, and stars Daniel

Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith unveiled a provocative trailer

from their lovers-on-the-run thriller Queen+Slim.

The Universal session ended with a behind-the-scenes look at

the making of the motion-capture adaptation of Andrew Lloyd

Webber’s long-running musical Cats, whose star roster includes

Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Rebel

Wilson, and James Corden. Last year, Universal thrilled the

Colosseum audience with a performance of ABBA’s “Fernando”

by Cher; in that showman-like tradition, this year’s presentation

ended with Jennifer Hudson giving a powerful rendition of Cats’

most celebrated ballad, “Memory.” What will Universal do to top

that next year?

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2’S TIFFANY HADDISH

HOBBS & SHAW’S DIRECTOR DAVID LEITCH AND STAR DWAYNE JOHNSON

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MAY 2019

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CINEMACON STUDIO PRESENTATIONS

PHOTO: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

CHAIRMAN OF THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS ALAN HORN

>> Walt Disney Studios

chairman Alan Horn set

the tone for his Wednesday

afternoon product presentation

when he confessed, “I’m

still getting my mind around

all this.” “All this,” of course,

is Disney’s historic acquisition

of 20th Century Fox and its

promise and repercussions.

The opening sizzle reel made a point of including images from

Fox triumphs like Alien, Avatar, Die Hard, X-Men, and The Shape

of Water alongside the usual Disney-Marvel-Pixar-Lucasfilm hits.

And Horn saluted Fox Searchlight on its 25th anniversary with

a montage of their huge accomplishments, including four Oscar

Best Picture winners. Horn promised that the new Disney-Fox

alliance would be “more than the sum of its parts.” He also

reiterated that theaters are “the cornerstone of the moviegoing

experience, period.”

Together, the two studios accounted for five of the top 10 international

movies last year, and six of the top 10 domestic titles.

Cathleen Taff, executive VP of theatrical distribution, presented

the first exclusive clip, a scene from the hugely anticipated

Avengers: Endgame, in which new Avenger and billion-dollar

woman Captain Marvel announces that she’s going to kill the

evil Thanos. The newbie is met with skepticism and a little hostility

from the surviving Avengers, but Thor (Chris Hemsworth)

declares, “I like this one.”

Next up was Fox Film vice chairman Emma Watts, who

wondered if it was “some form of Disney hazing that I’m following

Avengers.” But she emphasized the upside of the consolidation:

“While we may be living through a lot of change, the

good news is the formula for good movies and the studio role

hasn’t changed, and that is a single dedication to filmmakers.

… Though much has been written about the Fox legacy in past

tense, legacies are made every day. With the vast resources of the

Walt Disney Studio behind us, we are ready to write our next

great chapter.”

Watts then presented footage from three upcoming Fox features:

the latest X-Men chapter, Dark Phoenix; the raucous Dave

Bautista–Kumail Nanjiani action comedy Stuber; and James

Mangold’s Ford v. Ferrari, starring Matt Damon and Christian

72 MAY 2019


PHOTO: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

20TH CENTURY FOX’S EMMA WATTS

PIXAR PRODUCER JONAS RIVERA

PHOTO: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

Bale, which recounts Henry Ford’s effort to build a

new car to compete in Le Mans. All got a rousing

reception, and Watts called Ford v. Ferrari “a

triumph” and, tellingly, the kind of prestige

film that’s “on the endangered species list.”

Walt Disney Motion Picture Group

president Sean Bailey doubled down

against the initial queasy internet reaction

to Will Smith in “blueface” as the Genie in

Aladdin, showing his entire “Friend Like

Me” production number. It’s as wild and

elaborate as anything in the recent Disney

live-action/mo-cap canon.

Especially impressive was the sequence

from the new motion-capture The Lion King,

with photorealistic (but talking) lion Mufasa

teaching his young son, Simba, about the

circle of life. The reaction from the Vegas

crowd was ecstatic. It looks like this remake,

directed by The Jungle Book’s Jon Favreau, is

in very good hands.

DISNEY’S CATHLEEN TAFF

Bailey observed, “We are never simply retelling.

We ask ourselves how do we take these

timeless stories and expand and update them

to make them relevant for the times.”

Finally, producer Jonas Rivera presented

the first 17 minutes of Toy Story 4.

Acknowledging that many people felt the

Oscar-winning Toy Story 3 was the perfect

conclusion to the series, he quoted veteran

Pixar director Andrew Stanton: “It’s

not the ending.” “Woody is the protagonist,”

Rivera noted. “What if we put him

in a new situation where he is questioning his

own purpose?” Judging from those endearing

opening scenes, I’m back on board the Toy

Story train.

Unlike other studio presentations that

invariably run overtime, the Disney session

ended 40 minutes earlier than billed.

Perhaps another sign that the new Disney is

very much a work in progress.

PHOTO: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

MAY 2019

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CINEMACON STUDIO PRESENTATIONS

PHOTO: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER TALKS TERMINATOR: DARK FATE

>> With one

less major studio

generating

feature projects

for theaters, the

need is stronger

than ever for the

remaining majors

to pick up

the slack. After

a rocky couple of years, Paramount Pictures under

its new chairman, Jim Gianopulos (a longtime Fox

veteran), made something of a comeback last year

with Mission: Impossible—Fallout, John Krasinski’s

gripping horror film A Quiet Place, and the Transformers

spinoff Bumblebee.

Gianopulos’s savvy seems to have righted the

ship, based on the surprisingly strong product

preview the studio brought to CinemaCon.

The session opened with a genuinely fun filmed

opening in which a wacky driver keeps bringing

Gianopulos to the wrong convention (SinemaCon,

anyone?), followed by a troupe of ’70s-garbed

dancers performing to Elton John’s “I’m Still

Standing.” The studio then presented an extended

look at its John biopic, Rocketman, which got a

rousing reception. Director Dexter Fletcher, full of

praise for his young star Taron Egerton (who does

all his own singing), declared, “We wanted it to be

an honest and truthful portrayal of this great man.

It’s extremely important to him and to us.” John’s

husband, David Furnish, is one of the producers.

Next up was a glimpse of Crawl, the new horror

film from Alexandre Aja (High Tension, the 2006

The Hills Have Eyes). Starring Kaya Scodelario and

Barry Pepper, the film has a terrifying high concept

that is actually kind of credible in this time of severe

climate change: alligators on the loose during

a Category 5 hurricane. Let’s see if it capitalizes on

the current horror wave.

Combining the mandate for diversity with

a very recognizable TV property, Dora and the

Lost City of Gold brings the popular Nickelodeon

educational cartoon character to the live-action

big screen. Cast members Isabela Moner, Eva

Longoria, Michael Peña, and Eugenio Derbez were

on hand to introduce the trailer. Peña expressed

particular pride in the film’s Latin American cast

and focus—and even though the movie was shot in

Australia, “we made it a Latin neighborhood.”

Like Dora, another pop-culture icon is making

74 MAY 2019


its big-screen debut: Sonic the Hedgehog, the ultra-fast Sega

video game character, here voiced by Ben Schwartz of “Parks

and Recreation.” Schwartz was joined onstage by co-stars

James Marsden and Tika Sumpter. The trailer gave a very

brief glimpse of Jim Carrey as the unhinged villain Dr. Robotnik,

so Carrey immediately emerged with a giant bucket

of popcorn (much of which landed in the laps of the front

row spectators), did his zany Jim Carrey thing, and introduced

a second trailer highlighting the bad doctor.

Also showing promise for Paramount are the comedy

Limited Partners, with the dynamic comic trio of Rose Byrne,

Tiffany Haddish and Salma Hayek, and the still-shooting

Playing with Fire, about a crew of tough firefighters

saddled with three mischievous lost children. Star John Cena

commandeered the latter presentation.

The award for most entertaining presenter of CinemaCon

2019 goes to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who’s back

(as promised) in the “direct sequel” to 1991’s Terminator:

Judgment Day, Terminator: Dark Fate. Original co-star

Linda Hamilton and original director James Cameron (as

producer) also return for the first time since Judgment Day.

Deadpool helmer Tim Miller takes over the directing reins.

Schwarzenegger was downright hilarious talking about

his history with the franchise, and all those handy catch

phrases he claimed came in handy during his political

career: “Terminate climate change!” “Hasta la vista,

gerrymandering!”

Hamilton earned cheers from the audience, and

Schwarzenegger praised her physical commitment to the

new sequel: “All these years later, she’s doing the push-ups

and chin-ups again.”

New to the series are Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes,

and Gabriel Luna, who all appeared onstage with director

Miller and the two veterans.

The final film showcased was Ang Lee’s Gemini Man,

which again finds the Oscar-winning director breaking

technological ground with a present-day Will Smith hunted

by a younger version of himself. The footage was screened in

3-D, and the high-depth visuals certified this as one of the

rare 2019 films that needs to be seen in that format.

“If you’re a director and you get to work with Will Smith,

you should consider yourself lucky,” Lee said, “and thanks to

new technology, I get two.” But one almost got the impression

the director is tired of looking at Smith’s face. “There is

so much Will Smith in this movie,” he jokingly lamented.

Among the other Paramount titles quickly listed at the

end of the session: a new SpongeBob movie, another G.I.

Joe adventure; Lovebirds, starring Issa Rae and Kumail

Nanjiani; the return of Clifford the Big Red Dog; Top Gun:

Maverick; and the return of Eddie Murphy’s African prince

three decades later in Coming 2 America.

DOMESTIC DISTRIBUTION’S KYLE DAVIES WITH PLAYING WITH FIRE STAR JOHN CENA

KINGSMAN VET TARON EGERTON STARS AS ELTON JOHN IN ROCKETMAN

PHOTO: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

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MAY 2019

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CINEMACON STUDIO PRESENTATIONS

PHOTO: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

DIANE KEATON STARS IN STX CHEERLEADER COMEDY POMS

>> As the movie industry

laments the historic demise of

a major studio—20th Century

Fox, swallowed by

Disney—smaller players

are eager to step

up and attempt

to fill the void.

One of them

is STXfilms,

which again claimed the very prominent

Tuesday morning slot at CinemaCon 2019,

following the annual state-of-the-industry

addresses from NATO president and CEO

John Fithian and MPAA chairman and

CEO Charles Rivkin.

STX may not be top of mind when

discussing the current movie landscape,

but its Motion Picture Group chairman

Adam Fogelson made a good case for its relevance.

He reported that 12 of the company’s

last 14 releases have been profitable, most

KELLY CLARKSON

recently the Kevin Hart–Bryan Cranston starrer The Upside,

which has earned $108 million domestically. He said he’s also

proud of the studio’s gender parity: 18 percent of its features

have been directed by women, and 64 percent have featured

female leads.

Fogelson’s style is to introduce the talent his studio

has secured and coax their insights in a friendly onstage

Q&A. And his awe of his stars seems genuine. He

gushed over the five-decade career of Diane Keaton,

who headlines their comedy POMS, about a woman

who forms a cheerleading squad at her senior-living

community. Onstage, Keaton marveled that

she’s appeared in 68 movies and explained her

prolific output: “I accepted every job.”

A coup for Fogelson was the in-person

endorsement of none other than the king

of Wakanda, Chadwick Boseman, promoting

his STX cop thriller set in New

York City, 21 Bridges. The action film was

produced by Avengers directors Joe and Anthony

Russo and co-stars Sienna Miller, If Beale Street

Could Talk’s Stephan James, Taylor Kitsch, and

PHOTO: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

76 MAY 2019


21 BRIDGES STAR CHADWICK BOSEMAN WITH STX MOTION PICTURE GROUP CHAIRMAN ADAM FOGELSON

J.K. Simmons. Asked about his breakout year, the nattily dressed Boseman admitted

he’s “pretty much living my best life.”

Following the tough-guy-and-kids formula of The Pacifier and Kindergarten Cop,

STX may have a hit with My Spy, in which Guardians of the Galaxy mammoth and

former wrestling star Dave Bautista stars as a gruff secret agent saddled with a precocious

young girl. Bautista seemed genuinely cowed by his self-assured 10-year-old

co-star Chloe Coleman, who also took the time to promote her role in season two

of HBO’s “Big Little Lies.”

Also showing potential were a stylish remake of the children’s classic The Secret

Garden, and The Gentlemen, a crime action comedy which looks like a return to

his Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch roots for Sherlock Holmes and

Aladdin director Guy Ritchie. Fogelson brought out co-stars Charlie Hunnam and

Henry Golding, part of an ensemble that includes Hugh Grant, Matthew McConaughey,

Colin Farrell, and Michelle Dockery, and shared his mock jealousy over

their matinee-idol looks.

Fogelson also ran through a long tally of upcoming STX projects, including an

untitled Kevin Hart film; Hustlers, a tale of former strip-club employees starring

Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, and music star Cardi B; Bad Moms’

Moms; an Alicia Keys dance film called Work It, and a Vin Diesel vehicle called

Muscle. The session concluded with three musical numbers from STX’s first animated

feature, Uglydolls, and a live performance from one of its voice performers,

Kelly Clarkson.

MY SPY STARS DAVE BAUTISTA AND CHLOE COLEMAN

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MAY 2019

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CINEMACON STUDIO PRESENTATIONS

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SETH ROGEN, LIONSGATE MOTION PICTURE GROUP CHAIRMAN JOE DRAKE, AND CHARLIZE THERON PRESENTED AN EXCLUSIVE SCREENING OF LONG SHOT

JAMIE LEE CURTIS

>> Lionsgate

bills itself as “a

home for artists

to thrive”—artists

in the broad

commercial

sense that includes

the likes

of irreverent

comedy auteurs

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and John Wick

action maestro Chad Stahelski.

David Spitz, president of domestic theatrical

distribution, opened the Thursday afternoon

program declaring, “Make no mistake about it,

Lionsgate is committed to the theatrical experience.

… We believe this is truly a 52-week-ayear

business.”

Joe Drake, chairman of Lionsgate’s Motion

Picture Group, observed, “While our

business is anything but dull, one thing is

PHOTO: ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ/GETTY IMAGES

for sure: The sky is not falling on Hollywood, and

the feature film business is not dead. Audiences’

appetite for content in theaters is not diminishing,

it’s actually flourishing.”

Upcoming projects Drake touted include an

untitled Jay Roach film starring Charlize Theron,

Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie, written by

The Big Short’s Charles Randolph (“Be prepared,

because it’s big and it’s gonna be loud”); Roland

Emmerich’s Midway starring Woody Harrelson,

Dennis Quaid, Nick Jonas, and Mandy Moore; a

“mystery” film with singer-actress Janelle Monáe

in her first leading role; and Rambo: Last Blood,

with Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo “going out in

a big way in something truly unexpected.” Drake

then announced a multiplatform production deal

with Point Grey Pictures, the production company

formed by Rogen, Goldberg, and their partner

James Weaver. The comic producing trio jokingly

gushed over Drake’s looks, fashion sense, manners,

and even his scent (“He smells like money rolled in

78

MAY 2019


lavender”). Point Grey’s comedy Long Shot, starring

Rogen and Charlize Theron, screened at the end of

the Lionsgate presentation.

A fight sequence from John Wick: Chapter 3—

Parabellum earned a rousing response, preceded

by director Chad Stahelski introducing an actor

new to the franchise, Halle Berry. Berry noted,

“Lionsgate is a studio that is always very close to

my heart. They did a little movie I was in called

Monster’s Ball, which changed the trajectory of my

whole life!” Berry called her physical training for

the film “the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my

entire life.” She reported that she’s now “in the best

shape of my life, but I also learned skills that I can

really use in my everyday life. I feel like if someone

attacked me on the street, God bless them. Because

I know some shit now that will fuck them up!”

Berry ended her remarks with a warm tribute

to the exhibitors in the room: “I can’t think of a

better forum to watch two hours of a filmmaker’s

vision than in a movie theater with other people

sharing an amazing experience. I pray it never, ever

goes away, because it’s magic.”

Faith-based films have become reliable performers

at the box office, and Lionsgate is embracing

that audience segment via a new deal with Kingdom

Studios, founded by Jon Erwin, Andrew Erwin,

and Kevin Downes, who thanked exhibitors

for their support of their 2018 $83 million success,

I Can Only Imagine. “We believe in creating a rush

of hope for our audience,” Jon Erwin said. “And

you can’t really create that in isolation on an iPad.

That experience can only happen in a packed-out

movie theater.” The trio’s next project is I Still

Believe, based on the life of Christian music star

Jeremy Camp, who performed the title song for

the Vegas crowd. K.J. Apa of TV’s “Riverdale” will

play Camp in the film.

Just before the main feature, a vivacious Jamie

Lee Curtis came out to introduce footage from

her Agatha Christie–style murder mystery Knives

Out, whose great ensemble cast also features

Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Toni Collette, Michael

Shannon, Lakeith Stanfield, Ana de Armas, and

Christopher Plummer. Joining Curtis onstage were

de Armas and director Rian Johnson (Star Wars:

Episode VIII—The Last Jedi), who said, “With any

of the movies I make, the end goal is always the

same: It’s to put it up in front of the most ampedup

crowd possible on the biggest, most beautiful

screen possible.”

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM’S HALLE BERRY AND DIRECTOR CHAD STAHELSKI

HELLBOY STAR DAVID HARBOUR

PHOTO: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

PHOTO: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

MAY 2019

79


CLASSIC BOXOFFICE AD

DECEMBER 16, 1939

First page of a multipage

gatefold insert. Turn page

to reveal more >>>>>>

MAY 2019

81

81


CLASSIC BOXOFFICE AD

DECEMBER 16, 1939

“There’s nothing better

than music and images

and a dark room and a

group of people all sitting

together having a shared

experience.”

TIMECODE

BY KENNETH JAMES BACON

A CLASSIC AD

THIS SPECIAL INSTALLMENT OF TIMECODE IS

DEDICATED TO OUR COWORKERS IN PARIS WHO

PRODUCE THE FRENCH EDITION OF BOXOFFICE.

PART 4 OF OUR 12-PART DEEP DIVE INTO THE

BOXOFFICE ARCHIVES

>> The average cost of a movie ticket in 1924

was 25 cents. That’s about $3.50 in today’s money.

In January, 1924, Boxoffice founder Ben Shlyen

promoted a special screening of Lon Chaney’s The

Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Liberty in Kansas

City, a cinema where he also served as promotion

manager. The cost? Ten bucks (plus a dollar tax).

You can see the full-page classic Boxoffice ad

promoting the premiere on page 84. We have no

record of that evening, but we do know the weather

that night was well below freezing. Would you have

ventured out for $150 in 2019 dollars?

82 MAY 2019


Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame

has been adapted for the screen many times, and

the best of them was the 1939 classic starring

Charles Laughton as Quasimodo. RKO pulled out

all the stops to produce and promote their blackand-white

epic. Large portions of the cathedral’s

exterior were built to scale in the San Fernando

Valle,y and several full-color gatefolds were placed

in the pages of Boxoffice. The film opened just

two weeks after Gone with the Wind yet was still a

powerful draw at the box office well into 1940 and

received two Academy Award nominations.

Disney decided to adapt the novel in 1993 as an

animated musical with Amadeus’s Tom Hulce voicing

and singing the title role. That adaptation was

featured on the January 1996 cover of Boxoffice,

which you can see on page 86. A few years later,

Walt Disney Theatrical produced a stage version of

the musical in Germany. An epic, serious-in-tone

English-language version was recently produced

and staged in Seattle. Quasimodo was played by

Joshua Castille, a deaf actor, while his songs were

sung by a fellow performer on-stage. Thankfully,

there were no singing gargoyles.

BIG MARIE

One side of the 26 x 12-inch

multipage gatefold special

insert from the December

16, 1939, issue of Boxoffice.

The teaser image can

be seen on page 81, while

the reverse side of the

gatefold may be found on

the following page.

MAY 2019

83 83


TIMECODE

"WHY WAS I NOT MADE OF STONE—LIKE THEE?"

Charles Laughton as Quasimodo in the 1939 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

"MY SILLY HEART BETRAYED ME FOR THAT I DESERVE TO DIE"

Maureen O'Hara as Esmeralda

—Classic Review—

HUNCHBACK A HOLIDAY GIFT

RKO has a holiday gift in The Hunchback of Notre

Dame for its accounts which can rely on it to be

among the top grossers of the new year. Screened

for the press Thursday night, it, unlike its predecessor, manifests

abundant sympathy for the deformed bell ringer and gives Charles

Laughton another opportunity to display fine histrionic wares. His

protege, Maureen O’Hara, a newcomer in these parts. has plenty on

the ball, ditto Edmund O’Brien, from the stage. To Cedric Hardwicke

goes a sizeable share of the honors for a masterful performance

as the bewitched chief justice. Alan Marshal and Walter

Hampden acquit themselves admirably. William Dieterle’s direction

is outstanding and the handling of the mob scenes an

achievement in itself. In brief, RKO has something

which rightfully deserves extended playing time.

Ivan Spear

Boxoffice, Dec. 16, 1939

84 MAY 2019


MAY 2019

85


CLASSIC COVER JUNE 1996

86 MAY 2019


His Song

DEXTER FLETCHER’S ROCKETMAN IS AN

ELTON JOHN MUSICAL FANTASIA

BY KEVIN LALLY

>> Dexter Fletcher made his film debut in 1976 at

age nine in Alan Parker’s ’30s gangster musical Bugsy

Malone, to this day one of the most offbeat examples

of the musical genre because of its all-child cast. Many

movie landmarks later (David Lynch’s The Elephant

Man, Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio, Guy Ritchie’s Lock,

Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), Fletcher embarked on

a directing career with the 2011 drama Wild Bill, and

scored a minor hit with the real-life saga of an improbable

Olympic ski-jumper, 2015’s Eddie the Eagle.

Now, Fletcher has come full circle from his musical apprenticeship,

becoming the go-to director for two biopics of massive pop

stars. Though he was uncredited, it’s widely known that Fletcher

came in and finished the shoot of multi-Oscar winner and $900

million global smash Bohemian Rhapsody when original director

Bryan Singer, the subject of sex-abuse accusations, was fired

over his alleged erratic behavior and absences from the set of the

Queen/Freddie Mercury biopic. Currently, Fletcher is preparing

for the May 31 release of Paramount’s Rocketman, his musical

fantasia about one of the most successful rock stars of all time,

Elton John.

Interviewed in Las Vegas at CinemaCon, the energetic, disarming

Fletcher deems this musical one-two combo “an accident.”

“It’s a curious story, isn’t it? Because I was attached to Bohemian

Rhapsody when it was at Sony back in 2016, maybe ’15. And

my vision for the film there didn’t really tally up with what they

wanted to create—I wanted to do something a bit more challenging,

so that fell apart for various different reasons. And then

I got involved in Rocketman. When Matt Vaughn, the producer,

and Paramount said to me that they wanted to create an R-rated

musical, I knew I’d found a home, because that was really what I

wanted to do with Bohemian Rhapsody. That’s what I personally

wanted to do. I felt that it could be an R-rated movie, but that

88 APRIL MAY 2019


APRIL MAY 2019

89


COVER STORY

PHOTO: GAVIN BOND/PARAMOUNT PICTURES

DEXTER FLETCHER ON THE

THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE

“There’s nothing better

than music and images

and a dark room and a

group of people all sitting

together having a shared

experience.”

was never the desire with Bohemian Rhapsody—

they were always very clear about what they wanted

in terms of the rating. So when the opportunity

came to do an R-rated musical about Elton John,

I jumped at the chance, because all of that fervor

and ambition for Bohemian Rhapsody that had not

been realized kind of found its outlet. And then,

of course, they had some issues with Bohemian

Rhapsody. I’d worked with Fox on Eddie the Eagle,

and [Eagle producer] Matt Vaughn, who works on

Kingsman with Fox, said, ‘Dexter would be good

for this because he knows the material, he knows

Queen.’ I was already in pre-production with Rocketman

... it’s just one of those extraordinary things:

Fate came together and sort of put me in the right

place at the right time.”

Unlike the more traditionally linear Bohemian

Rhapsody, Rocketman is a full-blown musical, with

fantasy sequences depicting the journey to stardom

of Northwest London native Reginald Dwight,

his adoption of his flamboyant stage persona,

his coming out, and his battles with bulimia and

cocaine addiction. “What I’ve learned about doing

biopics is that artistic license has to be involved,”

Fletcher insists. “You can’t tell a story without it.

And this created what I understood to be a really

interesting dynamic. A bit like All That Jazz—you

have someone retelling their own story and looking

back on their own life. And it allows for fantasy

that you can absolutely buy into, because our Elton

comes into rehab at the beginning and he sits

down and says, ‘I have a problem and I need to fix

it.’ And memory is a fallible thing. It’s a beautiful,

wonderful thing, because memory is a storytelling

device. When you tell what you remember of what

it was like to be a six-year-old kid growing up, it’s a

story now. That’s what’s really exciting about it for

me as a filmmaker, as a storyteller, is that we have

a character who is kind of unreliable and addled

by memories that are overlapping or tinged by

substance abuse. It’s not in the third person. It’s

not like Bohemian Rhapsody, [which] is in the third

person and we look at it from the outside. We’re

inside the story with Elton; we’re inside his recollection

of what happened. With cracks and breaks

and the way he misremembers things.”

With John as an executive producer and his

husband, David Furnish, as a producer, Fletcher

and screenwriter Lee Hall (Billy Elliot, Victoria &

Abdul) had their blessing to delve into the dark

chapters of the pop superstar’s life. “It’s not something

he’s ever really shied away from or hidden.

And I think that if we tried to tell the story and

ignore that or hide it, people would have felt like

it was a self-serving fluff piece or something. But

it’s not. Elton was like: Tell it how it was, give the

idea of what he went through. For me, the film is a

story of a survivor, someone who has his problems

and fights his way out to survive. And that’s something

that we can all relate to. That’s something we

all have to experience one way or another. That’s

what humanizes it.”

Rocketman reunites Fletcher with his Eddie the

Eagle star Taron Egerton, best known as the lead

in the Kingsman spy action comedies, who does

all his own singing in the film. “He loves playing

characters whose name begins with an E and

who wear glasses,” Fletcher jokes. “But the thing

about Taron is he’s an actor with incredible,

incredible range. There is that strange similarity,

but it’s just coincidence.

“What’s phenomenal about Taron is that he not

only has this breadth and range and this incredible

vulnerability that he seems to be able to bring to

whatever he does, but there’s a level of commitment

he brings as well, and attention to detail. If

90 MAY 2019


you look at acting as a craft, in just the two films

I’ve worked with him on, I can see him working

and developing that every day. Every day he turned

up ... of course he turned up, they sent a car for

him, but what I mean is that he brought his talent

and his integrity and his desire to be better than

the day before. In Rocketman you’ll see there’s no

two days that were the same. He’s in every scene,

and no two days were the same. There’s no two

days where we could go: Well, it’s kind of like the

other scene. There are lots of just single takes of

Taron, not just because I love him, because I do,

but because of the performance and the twists and

turns and gear changes that he makes within one

take. It’s like a theater piece, you know? I could cut

away and look at someone else, but I don’t—there’s

something so amazing going on here that he can

just take himself to all these different places. It’s

mercurial: How the fuck do you do that? I mean,

I know about acting, but I still don’t know quite

how he fits so many moments into one take. It’s

amazing. And I don’t think he knows. So I just

encourage that, turn the camera on, and then I’ll

leave the room and let him do it.”

Rocketman has found a little notoriety on

social media over rumors that the studio wants

to cut a sex scene between Egerton and Richard

Madden, who plays John’s manager and lover,

John Reid. Fletcher is happy to address the controversy.

“It’s more of a speculation than anything

else. It’s interesting to me. It’s kind of obvious

that maybe there’s someone who went: ‘Wow,

there’s bound to be contention about that.’ It was

always in the script, and Paramount green-lit an

R-rated musical and that’s what I’ve made. That’s

what we’ve made. There’s speculation about that,

but it’s my job as the director to handle it in a

responsible way. Because, you know, love scenes

at the best of times are tricky things. You’ve got

to find a beautiful way and a new way of telling

that part of the story. And sure, we have a story

that’s a love story between two men, and that’s

even more kind of thorny in its way. But I’ve no

desire and nor does the studio or the producers

or David to create something that’s just going to

be uncomfortable to watch, irrespective of what

agenda is involved. You can watch a love scene

between a man and a woman and go: Where’s

the line here? There are certain things I could just

go and find online if I want to see that. But, in

DEXTER FLETCHER ON

TARON EGERTON

“What’s phenomenal about

Taron is that he not only has

this breadth and range and

this incredible vulnerability

that he seems to be able to

bring to whatever he does,

but there’s a level of commitment

he brings as well,

and attention to detail.”

MAY 2019

91


COVER STORY

answer to your question, no, there isn’t

an issue with it. It’s down to me, it’s

my call, and the studio backs me. They

have issues about maybe some of the

language occasionally: Do I need them

to swear here? Because I give the actors

very free rein. But again, that’s all part

and parcel of creating a movie that’s

going to be a mainstream film, for all

intents and purposes. I think people are

going to be amazed. I think some people

will be shocked, and some people will

be: ‘Wow! Isn’t that wonderful? There’s

this kind of mainstream approach to

who Elton is.’ I’m very proud of the love

scene in the film. It’s very 2020, it’s very

much of a moment, and hopefully people

from every background and walk of

life will appreciate it for what it is of this

moment in this character’s journey. It’s

not gratuitous, and hopefully people can

see the beauty in it—I think it’s beautiful.

As a straight man, I watch it and go:

That looks great!”

Asked how he feels about the massive

success of Bohemian Rhapsody and his

lack of a directing credit, Fletcher responds,

“Well, I got my producer credit,

which was very nice, Rami [Malek, the

Oscar-winning star] gave me a very nice

acknowledgement at the BAFTAs as well.

I didn’t go into it for that reason. I spoke

with [Fox Film vice chair] Emma Watts

and said: You know, I don’t need a credit.

If you want me to come and be a part of

it and help you, I was proud to do that.

I’m thrilled for Rami and for Queen and

Fox and [producer] Graham King and everyone

who worked so hard on that film

to get it to where it is. You know, Graham

King had been working on that film for

six to 10 years.

“I’m immensely proud. I’ll come on

a flight to Vegas and I hear people say:

‘What did you watch on the plane?’

‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ ‘Oh yeah, I heard

you singing along.’ And that’s great,

that’s really good. And of course, I

would love that for Elton. I would love

that for Rocketman, because it’s been

mine from the outset, I’ve brought it on

its full journey. But there’s something

that happened with Bohemian, because

critically it wasn’t particularly acclaimed,

but in terms of audience reaction, it just

kind of turned it all on its head. People

love it. They went and saw it, and went

and saw it again.

“You know, it could have been marred

so easily by external issues, things that

were not really of it, things that didn’t

define what it is. It seemed for a moment

there that it could have been shadowed,

overclouded by that—and that wasn’t fair

to Rami or the Queen guys or Graham.

I’m very proud to be part of it, and I

hope that it means people will go: ‘Well, I

love Bohemian Rhapsody, I’m going to see

Elton John.’ I would love that.

“And it’s a very different experience.

Rocketman is a musical—that’s how

I approached it. I said right from the

beginning: If you were going to go and

see this onstage, everyone onstage would

sing. That’s what a musical experience is.

You go see Wicked and everyone onstage

sings. I said if we’re going to do the film

as a musical, everyone has to sing. And

Taron has a beautiful instrument; he’s

an amazing singer. Jamie Bell [who plays

John’s longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin]

said, ‘I don’t know if I can sing, but I’m

going to sing!’ And he sings ‘Goodbye

Yellow Brick Road’ and it’s brilliant. And

Richard Madden says, ‘I’ve never sung

before,’ but he sings ‘Honky Cat.’ Bryce

Dallas Howard [as John’s mother] sings ‘I

Want Love.’ Everyone has their moment

and their song and they bring their voice

to it. Hopefully, this could just transfer—

boomp—straight on the stage and you

could see it as a musical onstage.”

How important is it to Fletcher that

Rocketman be seen in theaters? “It’s everything,”

he responds. “I’m sure everybody

says that, but it is. There’s nothing better

than music and images and a dark room

and a group of people all sitting together

having a shared experience. Musicals particularly

cross all those boundaries. It’s so

of a moment, the musical, because that’s

where you go and see spectacle. That’s

There are lots of just single

takes of Taron, not just

because I love him, because

I do, but because of the

performance and the twists

and turns and gear changes

that he makes within one

take. It’s like a theater

piece, you know? I could cut

away and look at someone

else, but I don’t—there’s

something so amazing

going on here that he can

just take himself to all these

different places.

It’s mercurial …

where you go and have true escapism.

And ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ ‘Your Song,’

‘Rocket Man’—these are just great songs

and you’re all together there in that moment.

It’s as old as cinema itself: woman

on a piano, projection on a sheet, music

and images together. It’s very nice sitting

at home in your own living room, but it’s

even better getting out there and getting

in the dark room and having a shared experience.

It will always be there, because

teenagers always need somewhere to go

and cuddle. They can’t do it at home.

That’s my theory.”

Fletcher is gratified that he’s reached

92 MAY 2019


such a high point in his four-decade-plus

career. “I said to [Paramount Motion

Pictures Group president] Wyck Godfrey

in an email today that it’s felt like my

whole career has sort of led me to this

point, one way or another. That’s a good

feeling to have, because I know that

means that no matter what happens with

the film, I’m proud of it and I feel that

I’ve given my all to be here, from Bugsy

Malone at nine years old, working with

Alan Parker and watching him and being

a great fan of his and all the incredible

films that he’s made. And then working

with Derek Jarman on Caravaggio,

this great artist and auteur filmmaker,

or David Lynch, who’s this incredible

visionary. And Stephen Frears, who’s

an incredible actor’s director. And these

stops along the way—Ken Russell, Hugh

Hudson, David Puttnam, and these incredible

mavericks. John Hurt. I have to

go back and take stock of that, because

at the time I don’t think I fully appreciated

it. It’s only now in hindsight, I say:

This is part of who I am, that’s part of

my heritage. I’m very fortunate [with]

people who have been massive influences

on me and that I know that I draw on.

Bob Hoskins as well. Massive and an

incredible, incredible actor. And Alan

Rickman, a great, dear friend. These

people who gave so much to me. What

I feel I learned from these people the

most, and it’s something that you see in

Elton, is that they recognize in others

when there’s something really great.

Like Taron. Taron is an incredible talent

that you can go: How do I support

that? How do I help that person elevate

themselves to the greatest that I think

they could be? That’s one of the greatest

things you can do. And I’ve tried to

apply that to everyone who I work with

in all departments. I’m very lucky.”

MAY 2019

93


KEANU REEVES AS JONATHAN “JOHN” WICK,

FAMED EX-HIT MAN

94 MAY 2019


Hard Boiled

DIRECTOR CHAD STAHELSKI

DOESN’T PULL ANY PUNCHES IN

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM

BY DANIEL LORIA

>> Chad Stahelski had been around the industry well

before his directorial debut with 2014’s John Wick. After

spending two decades as a stunt double—taking and

doling out punches for some of Hollywood’s biggest

stars—Stahelski tried his hand at directing alongside

production partner David Leitch for the Keanu Reeves

action vehicle. The film took off, and so did Stahelski’s

career. He directed the 2017 sequel, John Wick: Chapter 2,

and will return with this year’s John Wick: Chapter 3 –

Parabellum. Boxoffice spoke with the director about

keeping his action franchise fresh, and what to expect

from the latest installment in the series.

Where does the third movie take off?

Keanu and I started talking about how we wanted to do this—

what we like and don’t like about some action movies, sequels,

and trilogies—and found that a lot of our films deal with Greek

mythology, fable telling, and the act of consequences. Karma, fate,

and all that. We always liked the idea that none of the movies

wrapped up with an overall happy ending. We were always drawn

to what happens the day after the protagonist survives the trial.

So we thought it’d be fun if we linked all three films together with

the same time line.

Obviously, the first one ends and literally the next day the

second film starts. The third starts the next day number two ends;

we find John literally seconds after we left him in John Wick 2 and

we proceed with the story that originally started in John Wick. I

wouldn’t call it episodic, but it’s definitely tied together on the

same time line.

Basically, John Wick is having a really rough week.

That’s how we like to see it. We start with one problem, and

another problem happens, and there’s a ripple effect. You do bad

MAY 2019

95


things, bad things happen to you. The second film

takes off because of the first, and the third happens

because of what he did in the first two films. He

has to deal with the consequences.

Ian McShane as Continental Hotel owner Winston

There are few films in this genre that

get to redefine how action is staged and

choreographed. I’d say your work with Keanu

Reeves in these films has achieved that status.

How did you keep things fresh with your action

choreography in John Wick 3?

If you look at choreography in general—whether

it’s dance choreography, musical choreography,

or a combination of both, action choreography—the

lowest common denominator in these

sequences is your star. In our case, that’s Keanu

Reeves. I could bring in the best stunt people, great

set pieces, I can blow up entire cities … but it still

comes down to your connection with the character

and if they’re believable to you.

In order to up the ante, it’s not about

bigger digital or CGI components; it’s

not about bigger set pieces. It’s not

about bigger guns or body counts

or anything like that, it’s about

your protagonist. It starts with the

hero. In order to do that, we need

to make Keanu Reeves better. If

you trained three hours a day, it’s

about training five. Training with

guns, knives, motorcycles, cars, horses.

We worked to make his martial arts way,

way better. As hard as we pushed in the first two

movies, we pushed him even harder for number

three. In any good action sequence, if the hero gets

better, the action gets better.

The next level of that is creativity; how do we

make this fun for the audience? If you just fight

and shoot and shoot and fight, it’s not very fun. For

this one, we put him in a range of new settings: a

library, an antiques store, on a bridge, on a motorcycle,

on a horse. We have him fight underwater,

in a glass house, in a big open foyer. We just tried

to really show the vast array that the world’s best

assassin would be great at.

HALLE BERRY AS SOFIA,

AN ASSASSIN AND FRIEND OF JOHN WICK

What you’re saying reminds me a lot of Hong

Kong action cinema. The sort of films that

Jackie Chan and Jet Li built their careers on.

It’s no great secret that both Keanu and I have

had vast experience with Asian cinema. We’re

heavily, heavily influenced by Hong Kong cine-

96 MAY 2019


ma of that era. Today, it’s Asian cinema, Chinese

cinema, wushu, Wudang, and all the great kung

fu movies. They pushed their protagonists to the

absolute extreme to not only be great, but so they’d

be believable in their performances.

Did you specifically draw from any of those

films for John Wick 3?

I’d like to think we took good notes. Jackie

Chan would have a more humorous tone to a lot

of his fight scenes. We took some cues on how

to expand set pieces by exploiting moments of

situational comedy, while being more grounded and

serious in our tone.

Muhammad Ali used to say that fights were

in the gym, not the ring. How vital is preproduction

on a film like this? Is it like the

lead-up to a boxing match where you put your

star through a 10-week training camp before

anyone shows up on set? How has

your experience as a stuntman

informed the way you approach

pre-production?

The 10-week camp, you just

described the typical medium- to

big-budget Hollywood movie.

They hire the cast, producers hire

the stunt guy, stunt guy hires the

fight team, fight team hires trainers

depending on the cast members’

availability, and they get six to 10 weeks to

train. And that’s supposed to get you the superhero

star that we’ve never seen the likes of before? That’s

why every movie looks the same. We spent a good

part of our career doing those jobs and decided it

was just a fruitless endeavor. You have to remember

that no matter who’s in the cast, they’re human.

You can’t turn an actor into a martial arts expert in

10 weeks.

A lot of these actors, they kind of fake it. They’ll

give us someone who’s never done martial arts

before, expect to make them a world-class martial

artist in 10 weeks. I’d be lucky to get you in decent

shape in six to eight weeks, let alone a world class

martial artist.

Anjelica Huston as The Director, protector of John Wick

Hey, I’m happy if I can lose 10 pounds in that span.

That’s why we look for people with exceptional

physical aptitude, already in shape, with a high-level

ability to memorize. Martial arts choreography in a

movie is a lot more like dancing than actual martial

ASIA KATE DILLON AS THE ADJUDICATOR,

A MEMBER OF THE HIGH TABLE

MAY 2019

97


arts. Can you remember the steps? Can you work

with your partners? There’s very little to do with

real, actual fighting. As soon as you can get your

head around it—that it’s not real fighting—and you

don’t train them like martial artists, you train them

like dancers, things become much easier.

This was Keanu’s third time working in this

franchise. Did you have to adjust that regimen

with a new cast member like Halle Berry?

Halle trained every day; as we were shooting,

she was training. She trained three to five days a

week for five months. That’s the level we expect

to get somebody up to par so we can shoot. We’re

not trying to use sneaky shots or fast editing; we’re

doing long takes. I’m not going to do those long

takes with Keanu Reeves and then change the style

with other cast members. The bar is already set with

Keanu. When Halle walked in, she went, “OK,

that’s what I need to get to.” And to her credit,

she didn’t miss a day and was every bit as

committed as Keanu

LANCE REDDICK AS CHARON,

THE CONCIERGE AT THE CONTINENTAL HOTEL IN NEW YORK

Jason Mantzoukas as assassin tick tock man

You tend use to use color very

strategically in these films:

very bright whites, silky blacks,

cool blues. Where did you draw

this from?

I did a great deal of tutelage

under the Wachowskis for all three

Matrix movies, Speed Racer, and Cloud

Atlas. They stressed world building. It was

like going to film school for 10 years with them.

Everything needs to be tied into a film’s world; it

doesn’t matter how small. Through them I learned

a lot about color. One of the things from the original

Matrix, for example, is that none of the clothes

are black. They are all different shades of green.

A lot of action movies at the time were very

saturated—washed out, grainy, dark—and that was

supposed to give you a mood of intensity. When I

watch those kinds of movies, I get what the directors

are going for, but it also feels like it’s pushing

me away from the screen. I never felt like I could

get out of my chair and walk into the screen. The

color should suck you into the story. We wanted to

change the way people experience our action, and

one of the best ways to do that is through color.

We wanted to draw the audience into the shot.

One of my favorite Renaissance painters is Caravaggio,

so the blacks had to pull you in like you’re

going into a tunnel. The colors should feel warm

98 MAY 2019


and embrace you. I think that keeps you a lot more

engaged in our world.

Do you think action films work better on the big

screen than they do at home?

That depends on the audience; I hope they get

enjoyment from both. On a directorial note, our

cinematographer, Dan Laustsen, and I both wanted

to make these movies for the cinema. We wanted

to make it on the big screen. A Sergio Leone film,

something like The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, it’s

less fun seeing it on a small screen. Seeing it at the

theater is amazing. That’s what we wanted, too, an

immersive cinematic experience.

Nowadays a lot of tentpole movies concentrate

more on being bigger on the screen and not as

much on composition. A lot is shoved in your

face instead of letting the frame tell you where to

look. Good composition lets your eye find what

we wanted to show you in the wide shot. That’s

why we shot this movie the way we did.

Even the fight choreography feels

different; it’s not what you’d call “action-edited.”

I want the characters

and their blocking on-screen to

capture your eye instead of doing

seven cuts to show a guy jumping

over a fence. If something’s not

there when you shoot the scene,

it’s not going to be there when you

edit it.

Laurence Fishburne as crime lord the Bowery King

Who are some of the artists that have inspired

your filmmaking?

My biggest influences are Spielberg, Kurosawa,

Sergio Leone, Tarkovsky, and Bertolucci. Their

movies predominantly use wide angles; the films

are built to be big. That’s the way I want you to

experience the films. John Wick is just a little part

of something much, much bigger. When you see

our anamorphic wide shots, or when we do a big

push in, close-ups with Keanu on a wide angle,

you should feel like there’s still a massive world

behind him.

That’s how I always felt in Sergio Leone westerns

and with Kurosawa’s characters. When you’re

watching a Bertolucci film, you always know that

the character is just another player in that world. In

John Wick we’re trying to tell a modern-day martial

arts fable; he’s just another piece of this world.

That’s what we try to show with the choice of lenses

we use.

MARK DACASCOS AS ZERO,

AN ASSASSIN WITH A VENDETTA

MAY 2019

99


Talk of the

Tow n

NISHA GANATRA AND MINDY KALING

TAKE AIM AT THE WORLD OF

LATE NIGHT TV

BY KEVIN LALLY

>> Twenty years after Chutney Popcorn, her feature directing

debut, found a warm reception on the festival

circuit, Nisha Ganatra is back in the theatrical arena

with one of the hottest titles from Sundance 2019: Late

Night, written by and starring TV auteur Mindy Kaling

(“The Mindy Project, “The Office”). Emma Thompson

(right) co-stars in this topical comedy as Katherine

Newbury, a veteran late-night talk show host who is

about to be dumped for an “edgier” comedian; Kaling

plays Molly Patel, a novice comedy writer who is hired

almost randomly to diversify Newbury’s all-white, allmale

writing staff. Late Night was acquired by Amazon

Studios for $13 million and debuts in theaters on June 7

following a well-received screening at CinemaCon.

Ganatra’s feature output may be lean, but in recent years

she’s assembled an impressive list of credits in television: first,

as a director and producer on the award-winning “Transparent,”

then on to such acclaimed series as “Better Things,” “Dear

White People,” “Shameless,” “Mr. Robot,” “Brooklyn Nine-

Nine,” and “The Last Man on Earth.”

Ganatra reflects on her career trajectory: “I had been the

belle of the festival before, but it didn’t really translate to any of

my work dreams coming true after that. I mean, it did in the

sense that I got to have a career making a living as a director,

which is the ultimate journey. But, really, I wanted to make

movies and more movies, and [Chutney Popcorn] didn’t ease the

path on the way to directing more movies … I think Chutney

100

MAY 2019


MAY 2019

101


LATE NIGHT

NISHA GANATRA (LEFT)

ON THE SET OF LATE

NIGHT

“One of the best things you

can ask for on a TV episode

is that they let you direct.

And [Kaling] really had

a respect for the craft of

directing and wasn’t trying

to backseat direct—she

just trusted that you had

a vision and that you were

going to execute it and

that it would be in line with

what she was doing in [“The

Mindy Project”].”

Popcorn was more of a critical success—it didn’t

have the big, splashy sale. This time, that big

sale number just reminds you that the business

side absolutely counts. Because of that, I think

it helped pave the way a little more for all of

us—for Mindy, for me, for Emma, for everyone.

Not that Emma needed any paving—she’s already

queen of the world.”

Born in Vancouver and raised in California,

Ganatra had directed one episode of fellow Indian

American Kaling’s TV show, “The Mindy Project”—a

gig she had to earn. “‘The Mindy Project’

[co-starred] Chris Messina, who I’d known from

his sort of dark plays in New York and Hollywood:

Any time I saw a drug addict writhing

onstage in pain, it was Chris Messina. I was

like: What’s this guy doing now? And Mindy, of

course, being one of the only other Indian Americans

in comedy, I was fascinated: Who is this

person and why don’t we know each other? We all

seem to know each other. And then little by little

it turned out we had a couple of friends in common,

and that was my first network directing job.

People still didn’t know about Amazon, it was before

‘Transparent’ came out. I remember an agent

I had at the time said, ‘Oh, that’s a web series. No

one’s going to give a shit about that.’ And I was

like: I don’t know, guys, it’s really interesting and

different. I think it’s going to be cool.

“So I got on these meetings with ‘The Mindy

Project.’ I had to go through like seven rounds

of interviews just to get this one episode. And it

turned out I had also done the minority women

fellowship program at NBC. So I think technically

I was the diversity hire on ‘The Mindy Project,’ just

like she was the diversity hire on ‘The Office.’ It

was really funny when we were talking about the

[Late Night] script and the experience. I was like:

‘Hey, this is totally my story, I’m Molly.’ And then

she was like: ‘No, I’m Molly.’ I’m like: ‘Oh, OK.

How about we’re Molly, can we just figure it out?’’

Recalling that initial working experience with

Kaling, Ganatra says, “One of the best things you

can ask for on a TV episode is that they let you

102 MAY 2019


direct. And she really had a respect for

the craft of directing and wasn’t trying

to backseat direct—she just trusted

that you had a vision and that you were

going to execute it and that it would be

in line with what she was doing in her

show. And then the fun thing that I got

to experience was all the alts that a high

comedy show like that does. On ‘Transparent,’

we would all come up with

improvs or alternative takes together,

and on ‘The Mindy Project’ you had [costar

and writer-producer] Ike Barinholtz

and [writer-producer] Dave Stassen

sitting with you just shouting out jokes

for the cast to try. At first you’re like:

Oh my God, what is going on here? It’s

bananas. And sometimes you felt

like they were just trying to crack

them up. But it was really fun

because you saw: Oh, this is

how the comedy gets better

and better and better. Just

every sort of pass and joke

and take. And everyone

kept working really hard

until it was as funny as it

could be.”

Despite her previous

collaboration with Kaling,

Ganatra took extra pains to

ready her pitch for the Late

Night assignment. “It’s a weird

thing that’s happening out here

now, that everyone makes these

presentations when they go up for a

job. But I think this one was different,

because when I read Late Night, the look

and the feel of the images just came

to me right away, probably because of

my deep personal connection to the

material. So I started what turned into

the presentation just to get the images

out of my head and put everything in

one place: This is how I see the movie

and this is what I think it should look

like and this is what I think is important

about it. And little by little it kept

growing and growing and growing.

And then I was like: Oh wow, I have a

whole PowerPoint presentation! Maybe

I should just talk Mindy and [producer]

Howard Klein through it and see if we’re

on the same page.

“Initially, I believe Paul Feig was set

to direct the movie and it was at Fox,

and then Mindy got pregnant and it

got pushed and ran into his timing of

A Simple Favor. So he had to leave the

movie. And then, I always want to be

the male Paul Feig, so I just go around

trying to figure out what he’s doing next.

I heard about it through my amazing

agent at ICM, which has really been

life-changing for me, and I went to

There’s

been a little bit of

a frustrating cycle where

every time a female-driven movie

breaks box office records, it’s seen as

an anomaly and not as a thing we can

count on. But I really feel like this year

something changed, because I’m getting

more scripts that have female leads

and nobody’s talking to me about

matching them with a big

male name.

meet them. The minute I read it, I just

knew: This is the story. If I’m not going

to write my own movie, then this is the

story I’d like to tell.”

Late Night mines much of its comedy

from the contrast between Kaling’s

Molly—naive, earnest, idealistic—and

Thompson’s Katherine—aloof, self-absorbed,

inflexible, and hilariously acerbic.

The stinging irony of her character is

that she’s a female television pioneer

who hasn’t done a thing to help the next

generation of women (not that her stable

of male writers whose names she can’t be

bothered to learn are treated much better).

Kaling wrote the part specifically for

Thompson, and it’s a delicious showcase

for this Oscar winner’s comic talents.

Says Ganatra, “Emma is just somebody

I want to be when I grow up. I

think there’s no person like her in the

universe. She’s not only a brilliant, brilliant

artist, she is one of the best human

beings I’ve ever met. And she can give

you the best advice on any topic, everything

from: Should I wear this to what

books should I read? She just knows

everything and she has a grace and a

willingness to laugh—and she’s so damn

smart. It’s such a pleasure to be around

her, and she does it all without

intimidating the hell out of you

… She really raises everybody

up to her level when you’re in

her presence … There were

so many beautiful moments

through the whole shooting

process where we just

laughed from beginning

to end. She’s such a great

partner and collaborator.”

Despite this big-screen

opportunity, Ganatra

notes that “there were fewer

resources making Late Night

than in the TV work. I remember

when I first came to L.A. with

my indie film background, everyone

would say: ‘Don’t tell them how little you

did it for, because then they won’t give

you a bigger budget.’ And now it’s sort

of like: Tell them how little you can do it

for, like a badge of pride that, hey, I can

do so much with so little. I think before

that wasn’t valued and now it’s seen as a

superpower, which is really awesome.”

Ganatra says that the perceptions of

who can drive a commercial film are

changing. “It’s that thing where they

always tell you: Oh, African American

actors don’t drive international. Then

Black Panther comes along and blows

that away. Or, can we open a movie with

all Asian people? And Crazy Rich Asians

comes along and blows all that away.

MAY 2019

103


LATE NIGHT

There’s been a little bit of a frustrating

cycle where every time a female-driven

movie breaks box office records, it’s seen

as an anomaly and not as a thing we can

count on. But I really feel like this year

something changed, because I’m getting

more scripts that have female leads and

nobody’s talking to me about matching

them with a big male name. I think Netflix

and Amazon and streaming helped

blow apart that oppressive assumption

that only a certain number of people can

open movies, you know?

“Obviously I’m happy about the

representation and the diversity in

storytelling, but I would think everybody

would be happy, because who

doesn’t want to see more rich

stories and different stories?

You don’t want to see the

same thing over and over

with the same 10 men. I

think it just enriches all of

our artistic experience of

going to the theater, and

I am someone who still

believes that movies don’t

just entertain but have the

power to tell us how things

can be and could be. I’m

not gonna say that because

we had movies where there was

a black president that we had a

black president, but maybe—it definitely

shaped culture. I think definitely

you can see the parallels between ‘Will

& Grace’ and people’s acceptance of

gay marriage. So now that we know we

influence culture, there’s that great responsibility

of making sure we represent

culture first and foremost accurately.”

Ganatra is a graduate of the New

York University film program, where

her classmates included Debra Granik

(Winter’s Bone) and Joshua Marston

(Maria Full of Grace). “I always take it

back to my professors at NYU and the

mandate of the school, which was: Don’t

add to the shit that’s already out there.

Make something new and interesting, or

do something else with your life. Tell a

story that hasn’t been told.”

But staying true to that mandate can

be a struggle. “Years ago, indie film went

through a rough period where people

weren’t financing much of it and it

seemed like everybody moved into TV,

that television and the new streaming

services were the new indie film. Shari

Frilot at Sundance said to me: ‘Nisha,

TV has been riding on the backs of

independent filmmakers for a while

now. That’s what made HBO great.’ And

Obviously

I’m happy about the

representation and the

diversity in storytelling, but

I would think everybody would

be happy, because who doesn’t

want to see more rich stories and

different stories? You don’t want

to see the same thing over

and over with the same

10 men.

I was like: Wow. I looked at that, and

there’s the same sort of aesthetic and

dedication to a vision by the writer-director.

HBO did really set the tone and

the bar, I think. I was trying for a long

time to break into TV, but I was in that

Catch-22 where people wouldn’t let a

person who hadn’t directed TV direct

TV. And it wasn’t until I met [‘Transparent’

creator] Jill Soloway, who it turned

out was looking for an independent

filmmaker to help her with her new

series, not somebody with a bunch of

TV credits. So my failure actually helped

me in the end.”

Ganatra is currently in pre-production

on “a comedy with heart” called

Covers, for Working Title and Focus

Features. “It’s a dream come true. I’m

going to the Universal lot and they

actually open the gate for me when I

drive up, and I drive past the Universal

Studios tram tour. I remember being on

those trams and just looking and looking

and trying to gather: ‘What are those

people doing? What’s this industry?

What’s going on?’ Just trying so hard to

see what this magical world was. So it’s

so beautiful for me to drive onto this

lot, watch this tram go by, and go

to work thinking: I’m one of the

people I would’ve been trying to

figure out! I did it! It’s like a

beautiful circle.”

Of everyone in the comedy

world, Ganatra says

her biggest role model is

the late Mike Nichols. “He

always had that way of saying

something important

without hitting you over

the head. Making you laugh

and also just leaving the theater

feeling good and inspired,

not dark and stormy. That was

the goal with Late Night too.

Working Girl was a big influence; so

were Broadcast News and Tootsie. I was

watching all of those films about making

it in New York. Covers is similar: It’s

about a young girl with big dreams to

make it in the music industry.”

Ganatra also cites the “poetic and

beautiful” films of Ang Lee as particularly

inspirational, along with the work of

Pedro Almodóvar. “Then there is just an

incredible group of female directors that

I admire so much, everyone from Nora

Ephron to Jane Campion to Allison Anders

and Nancy Savoca, Barbara Kopple

and Lynne Ramsay, Chantal Akerman,

Agnès Varda, of course. When you see

a woman’s name in the ‘directed by’

credit, it just unlocks something in your

104 MAY 2019


MINDY KALING

brain where you can start thinking about

yourself doing that. I think I didn’t even

realize it until it started happening: Oh,

I can do it, because these women did

it before me. And then I saw Gurinder

Chadha’s Bhaji on the Beach in a theater,

and I remember being like: Oh my

God, somebody’s telling a story with

Indian people and they’re not in India

and they’re being really funny. Who is

this person and what is she doing? And

that sort of led me to Mira Nair, and

then backwards through the Satyajit

Ray movies and discovering the really

rich cinematic history of India, because

I grew up watching Bollywood movies

and didn’t know about all the art films

from the same history. That was a really

beautiful discovery, to find that in my

own culture.”

Speaking of Chadha, the director of

Bend It Like Beckham also reemerged at

Sundance 2019 with a hit, the Bruce

Springsteen-inspired Blinded by the

Light, another movie screened at CinemaCon.

“That was surreal. One of my

favorite things about this industry is that

you can grow up watching and admiring

somebody for so long and then suddenly

find yourself at a festival with them or as

colleagues or somebody who might be

directing or collaborating. It just is such

a magical industry that way.”

Amazon will be releasing Late Night

wide, and Ganatra is urging people to

catch it in a theater. “You make your

movie and you want as many people as

possible to see it. It’s important in that

sense. But I always tell my family and

friends it’s like voting—that if you don’t

go see this movie in the theater, then

you’re kind of giving the message back

to the people who are putting movies

in theaters that you don’t want to see

movies like this in theaters, that you

want to see other things. I liken it to:

Buy a ticket, vote for the movie. It’ll

help other filmmakers who are trying to

make things with two female leads or

a story line that is actually historically

proven to make money. It will help them

break through and see that, actually, we

can have diversity of storytelling. They

will make money, because it is a business

after all. I always say, I know you want

to see that big Marvel movie, but it’s

going to be there next weekend. But if

you don’t see Late Night, it might not be

there next weekend. That’s what’s really

important.”

MAY 2019

105


Party Hard

BOOKSMART DECONSTRUCTS THE

CLASSIC TEEN COMEDY

BY REBECCA PAHLE

>> Best friends Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie

Feldstein) have spent the last four years spurning parties

in favor of studying. The purpose of avoiding all

the raunchy fun of high school was to get into top-tier

colleges—which looks kind of silly in retrospect, once

they find out that all the people they’ve been judging

as slackers have gotten into excellent colleges too. Cue

a mad game of catch-up, as Amy and Molly try to fit

four years of typical high school rule breaking into one

last night.

The feature directorial debut of actress Olivia Wilde, Booksmart

was co-produced by Jessica Elbaum, who in 2014 founded the

production company Gloria Sanchez Productions. Sister company

to Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions,

Gloria Sanchez has as its goal the elevation of female voices in

comedy. In addition to Wilde, Gloria has given the mic to Leslye

Headland (Sleeping with Other People), Atsuko Hirayanagi (Oh

Lucy!), Lorene Scafaria (the upcoming Hustlers), and Booksmart

scribe and producer Katie Silberman. Having previously written

rom-coms Set It Up and Isn’t It Romantic, Silberman thought it was

about time to take her genre-skewering eye to the world of high

school comedies. The result is a sharp, funny, and ebullient film

from United Artists and Annapurna Pictures that hits theaters on

May 24. She and Elbaum talked to Boxoffice about Booksmart.

How did you both come to be involved with this project?

Jessica Elbaum: The script has been around for a very long

time. I got called by Annapurna probably three-ish years ago. At

the time it was a very different project. Susanna Fogel was attached

as a writer and director, and at that point it was just Kaitlyn. Beanie

was not a part of it. We were putting it together and then, as

these things do, it fell apart. We needed a new director. I had been

friends with Olivia Wilde. She and I were developing a

(continued on page 108)

106 MAY 2019


ACTOR BEANIE FELDSTEIN

WITH DIRECTOR OLIVIA WILDE

MAY 2019

107


OLIVIA WILDE ON SET WITH

ACTOR KAITLYN DEVER

KATIE SILBERMAN

Comedy Central show together. And

one day I just had this brainstorm come

to me: “She should read Booksmart!”

And that was it. She read it, she

loved it. And I said, “I really want

to pitch you to Annapurna to direct

this. And she nails her pitch, and they

hired her. It was one of those beautiful

things, like—“Oh. This is why I started

this company. To give people like Olivia

an opportunity.” I just knew she had

it in her to direct an incredible movie,

and she obviously did. It’s the most

competent, impressive directorial debut

I’ve ever witnessed. I was blown away.

Katie Silberman: I first heard about

the project in the fall of 2017 from Jessica Elbaum,

who I’d been a huge fan of for so long. I had just

met her and was really excited to be in her orbit

in any way. When it came to me, the email said it

was going to be a project of Annapurna and Gloria

Sanchez, which was already so exciting. And that

Kaitlyn Dever was attached to play Amy, which

made it even more exciting. And that Olivia Wilde

was going to direct it. So at that point I nearly

chucked my laptop out the window. That’s a fever

dream! That’s the dream team!

I’m a big fan of Susanna [Fogel]’s. I love The Spy

Who Dumped Me. I love Life Partners. When I spoke

to Olivia and Jess and

Annapurna, they said

that they were excited

to take the script

in a new direction

with Olivia attached,

because she had such a

clear vision of the kind

of movie she was going

to make. Listening to

her talk about it and

looking at the images

she had pulled and the

things she was excited

about, I wanted to

watch that movie. I

was really thrilled to

potentially get to be a

part of it.

I also had been

hoping to write a high

school movie myself.

They’re the movies that

made me want to make movies: Clueless and Mean

Girls and Dazed and Confused. I felt so lucky coming

off Set It Up. I had wanted to make a romantic

comedy, and I got to do it with such extraordinary

people. Next on my list of what I wanted to do was

a classic high school movie.

I was able to pitch to Olivia and to the studio the

version that I would want to tell, which is examining

what it’s like for young, smart women right now.

In this generation, they’re for all intents and purposes

allowed to be smart. It’s not something they have

to fight against anymore. But what does that mean?

And when you focus so hard on being book smart,

what are you missing by not getting real-world

experience? That was a very personal story for me. I

was a total Molly. So focused on school. I was such

a little type-A nerd from birth, basically. When I

got to college and later moved to New York, that’s

when I learned the most. I had so little experience in

high school, because I was so focused on books. In a

lot of ways, writing Booksmart was wish fulfillment;

it’s what I had hoped had happened to me before I

went off to college.

What impressed me about Wilde as a firsttime

director is that so many experienced

comedy directors don’t really have a visual

style. So many modern comedies just look meh.

Booksmart has such a distinct, almost dreamy

108 MAY 2019


visual aesthetic.

JE: What Booksmart

reaffirmed for me is,

oh right, comedies can

also look good! They

can be funny, but they

can also have style.

They don’t have to be

bright and glossy, and

the camera doesn’t

have to not move. She,

honestly, I think, has

reinvented comedy.

Katie—you’re

someone who’s

written romantic

comedies before, and

though Booksmart

doesn’t fall exactly

into that genre, it

still has romantic

elements. Is there a

difference in how you approach writing romcoms

with adult characters versus teenagers?

KS: I would say the difference is how self-aware

people are. A lot of what I love about rom-coms is

people meeting someone who forces them to be the

best version of themselves. Those are my favorite

kinds of rom-com couples, whether it’s Tom Hanks

and Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail or Katharine

Hepburn and Cary Grant in The Philadelphia Story.

With young people, they’re not as hardened as to

who they think they are. When you’re meeting

in your 30s or 40s, or even your 20s, you have a

sense of who you are, and meeting the person who

forces you to be the best version is a harder journey.

Younger people are more open to the world, and

so it’s much easier for them to fall in love. That’s

exciting to write, because … it’s so much more open

and new and fresh.

When I came on, one thing I pitched to Olivia

was: “This is a relationship story. This is a romance.

This movie should be structured like a rom-com for

Molly and Amy, because they are the love story.”

There are other love stories, but they’re the love

story. Once we zeroed in on that and were able to

write it as a love story, it cracked open a lot about

the movie.

Over the last few years, we’ve gotten some

really good coming-of-age movies about

teenage girls—Booksmart, Edge of

Seventeen, Lady Bird—that were

directed by women. How important

do you think having a female

director is in telling these stories?

JE: I think very. It’s always going to

feel more real and authentic when you’re

telling a story about a woman and it’s

in a woman’s hands. That’s not to say

that men can’t make great movies about

women. But I do think that there’s

something a little more organic and

authentic when a woman is directing

a woman. Especially when it’s a high

school story, this angsty period of time

that all of us go through. Olivia and Katie,

all of us really, pulled from our own experiences.

That was super helpful in making it feel real.

With Gloria Sanchez, do you actively push for

projects to have female directors?

JE: I always try and hire women, because I enjoy

working with them and I want to create opportunities.

That having been said, I’m in New York right

now making a movie that’s written and directed by a

woman, Lorene Scafaria, this movie called Hustlers.

The movie I’m going to make after that is written by

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumulo, and they’re going

to star in it, but a man’s directing it. He was the

BOOKSMART STARS KAITLYN DEVER

AND BEANIE FELDSTEIN

JESSICA ELBAUM

MAY 2019

109


ight person for that job. There are going

to be times when I hire men. When I can,

I always hire women. But yes, the goal of

my company is to always have a strong

female presence on all projects.

It’s all about opportunities. As long

as you’re in a situation where women

have opportunity, hiring men doesn’t

have to be a problem.

JE: I genuinely enjoy working with

men, too. And I think that they bring

something great to the table as well. For

me, it’s who’s the right person for the job?

My gut was that [Olivia Wilde] was, and

that’s what I went with.

Where did that

come from? What

was it about her

that convinced you

she could do it?

JE: She is the most

impressive, competent,

confident person

I have ever met.

She’s also got a vast

knowledge of film. I

just knew. I knew that

she would be a great leader, too. And that’s

half the battle with directing. To be a really

great leader and to create a really good environment

for your actors, for your crew,

for everybody. Spending time with her and

watching her interact with people. What I

was able to do with Booksmart and Olivia

is literally why I started Gloria Sanchez.

What was different about earlier

versions of the script?

JE: The big thing that Katie brought

to it was the bit about all of them going

to good schools. That’s the DNA of this

movie: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

That was one of the biggest changes that

she made. And updating the voices and

really writing for Beanie and Kaitlyn and

the cast. She made it so the words seem

like they were coming out of these girls’

mouths. She spent time with them and

really wrote for them. But that don’t judge

a book by its cover, we’re all going to great

schools—[the line] “I’m incredible at hand

jobs, but I also got a 1560 on the SATs.”

That’s Katie Silberman.

KS: So much of this movie was about

these two main characters realizing they

had put people in boxes, just as they had

assumed people had put them in boxes.

Everyone’s a little scared, and it’s easy

to think you understand who everyone

is. Part of the fun of making this movie

was that both Molly and Amy have these

archetypes and these stereotypes of who

everyone else is. But so do the moviegoers—from

having watched all these high

school movies. Being able to peel back the

layers for the characters and the viewer at

the same time was a really fun challenge.

So much of this movie was about these two

main characters realizing they had put people in

boxes, just as they had assumed people

had put them in boxes. Everyone’s a little

scared, and it’s easy to think you understand

who everyone is. – Katie Silberman

We’ve definitely been taught from

teen comedies that there’s the jock,

there’s the rich bitch, there’s the nerd.

Booksmart started with that and then

deconstructed it.

KS: Yeah, that’s exactly what we did.

Once you’re out of that petri dish of high

school, it’s fun to speak to people and hear

who [other] people thought they were in

high school versus who they thought they

were in high school. We rarely get to see

the multidimensionality of that. There are

people who everyone thinks are cool or

wild and are actually [also] really smart. Or

there are people who are really smart and

[turn out to be] just as wild and fun and

cool as anyone else. Your best friends are

really the only people who see all of your

dimensions. [Booksmart is a] story with a

best friendship like that at its core; it not

only fleshes out the multidimensionality

of these bright young women but then

sends them on a journey to realize they

should give everyone else that benefit of

the doubt.

Nobody’s a terrible person in this

movie, which is unusual compared to a

lot of teen comedies.

KS: There’s no bad guy. In high school,

and in life, it’s so easy to put people in

boxes. But it was a really clear objective

for us that there would be no assholes, no

bad guys, no secret, bad things happening.

Everyone’s just doing their best.

Jessica, it’s been five years now since

you launched Gloria Sanchez. What

have those five years been like for you?

JK: The coolest

part about it is that

we did it before

#MeToo and Time’s

Up and before the

conversation was

really active. That’s

what I’m the most

proud of, that it

wasn’t in reaction to

this movement. It

was genuinely born

out of our belief and our passion that

there needed to be a place that existed

to create opportunities for women in

front of and behind the camera. To see

how much people love it and have really

embraced it is the greatest.

I always roll my eyes a bit when anybody

says it’s a “golden age” for a particular

genre. With female-directed comedies,

it’s not like Amy Heckerling and

Penelope Spheeris never made movies.

But it does feel like there’s something

in the air right now, with more women

getting the chance to break in.

JE: I could not be happier with where

I am and what I’m doing. It feels good,

and people are embracing it and want it.

It’s the most exciting time to be doing

what I do. It’s also great because there’s so

much talent out there. To be one of the

premier places that women want to be

makes me so grateful.

110 MAY 2019


TIMECODE

BY KENNETH JAMES BACON

BOXOFFICE BAROMETER

BEFORE EXHIBITORS SWEATED THROUGH OPENING WEEKENDS AND

ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORES, BOXOFFICE MEASURED A DIFFERENT KIND OF PRESSURE

PART 5 OF OUR 12-PART DEEP DIVE INTO THE BOXOFFICE ARCHIVES

Above: the well-worn cover of a wartime edition of Barometer.

Below: a full-page ad from 1942 reminding exhibitors that Selznick

pictures made them a lot of money. Gone with the Wind holds the

record for the highest Barometer score: 486%.

>> If you log on to Boxoffice’s new and improved website—just launched!—

you’ll see a table of daily film grosses. The industry has been focused and fixated

on these numbers ever since Spielberg unspooled Jaws in a billion theaters in

the summer of 1975. OK, so it was about 400, but that was an unusually high

number of screens in 1975. The Godfather opened in just five theaters in 1972.

Film grosses weren’t widely reported in the media in the early years of this

magazine. Since films were rolled out more slowly, national numbers were not

a meaningful measure of a film’s quality or financial success. Just as Tip O’Neill

once said, “all politics is local,” so too was exhibition: operators didn’t care how

a film did in New York, they cared about how a film performed in the tiny

town next to their tiny town. To that end, Boxoffice founder Ben Shlyen and

his team measured film performance not by dollars, but by average performance.

Operators reported receipts as a percentage of their average daily take.

If a film grossed at least 120 percent more than a theater’s average haul, it was

deemed a hit. This measurement was dubbed the Boxoffice Barometer, and it

was these percentages that were posted in the magazine each week. Every year

from 1935 through 1976, Boxoffice published a special annual edition that

summarized these results for the entire exhibition season.

During the 1962–63 season, for example, 403 films were released into the

market. Of those, the Barometer designated 144 as hits, that is, they each

earned at least 120 percent of a theater’s average take. The top film that season

at 385 percent? Cleopatra. After the Taylor-Burton epic followed Son of Flubber

(286%), Promises! Promises! (274%), Lawrence of Arabia (261%), and Gypsy

(257%). Films that dipped below the 100 percent threshold included Seven

Seas to Calais, Nine Hours to Rama, Five Miles to Midnight, and Stagecoach to

Dancer’s Rock. Even The Three Stooges in Orbit did better than 100%—it was

likely my 50 cents when I saw it at age 10 that put it over the top.

In addition to Barometer scores for all 403 pictures, the magazine also

included previews of the coming season, a feature on each of the 12 monthly

Blue Ribbon Award winners, an in-depth analysis of the exhibition industry,

and the results of an annual poll designating the top stars of the day. Bette

Davis thanked this magazine for being voted the number one female star in a

full-page ad you can see on page 98.

The annual Barometer publication, typically 160 pages and occasionally hard

bound, also was an opportunity for stars, directors, and producers to thank exhibitors

with full-page ads of varying degrees of self-aggrandizement. You can see a

sampling of these on the facing page. The Hitchcock ad on the lower right—and

that‘s the complete ad—ran unchanged for more than a decade. Just his selfpenned

caricature. An ad from 1943 is just a blank page with one word, set small,

in the center: “Bing.” Stars of lesser celebrity bought—or their agents bought—

fractional ads in the back of the book. Remember George Tobias? He played

Abner Kravitz on “Bewitched” for seven seasons. He bought a small thank-you ad

in the November 1943 issue of Barometer. I know it’s a little late, but on behalf of

Boxoffice and the exhibition industry, “You’re welcome, George.”

112 MAY 2019


SEPTEMBER 1938

FEBRUARY 1943

NOVEMBER 1943

NOVEMBER 1948 FEBRUARY 1957

FEBRUARY 1960

APRIL 1964

APRIL 1969

SEPTEMBER 1976

APRIL MAY 2019

113


TIMECODE

“With sincere gratitude to all the people

who have again made it possible for me

to be the winner of this Poll.”

—full-page thank-you ad from

Bette Davis in the February 1942

edition of Boxoffice Barometer

The All-American Favorites of 1941 as voted on by exhibitors, press, and public film groups. 1 Clark Gable 2 Spencer

Tracy 3 Gary Cooper 4 Bob Hope 5 Abbott & Costello 6 Mickey Rooney 7 Cary Grant 8 Errol Flynn 9 Charles Boyer 10

Bing Crosby n 1 Bette Davis 2 Myrna Loy 3 Ginger Rogers 4 Olivia de Havilland 5 Judy Garland 6 Rosalind Russell 7 Irene

Dunn 8 Claudette Colbert 9 Greer Garson 10 Deanna Durbin. Bette Davis topped the poll for the third consecutive year.

114 MAY 2019


CONFERENCE RECAP

BY REBECCA PAHLE

DATA DOWN UNDER

THE VISTA GROUP’S 9TH CUSTOMER CONFERENCE

SHOWCASES A RANGE OF NEW PRODUCTS

On February 18, 2019, hundreds gathered in Auckland,

New Zealand, for the ninth biennial Vista Customer

Conference. Vista Entertainment Solutions (“Vista Cinema,”

the founding company of Vista Group International) has

been providing cinema-management technology solutions to the

cinema exhibition world for over two decades. Its first conference,

according to Vista Group CEO Kimbal Riley in his opening

remarks, “was held in a small meeting room with around 15

people.” It’s fair to say that it’s grown quite a bit, from an internal

gathering to an opportunity for the Vista Group to present its

current and future products to clients hailing from 24 countries.

>> There are a lot of products. Over three days,

four simultaneous panel presentations touched

on Vista Group’s various subsidiaries, including

but not limited to Movio (moviegoer marketing

solutions), Cinema Intelligence (scheduling

and box office forecasting and analysis), Powster

(customized video content), and Veezi (management

for small cinemas). Panel topics included

dine-in, F&B seat service, digital signage, cinema

data storage, mobile sales, customized marketing

solutions, and—the subject on everyone’s lips—

subscription services.

One phrase, however, tied the conference together:

“Omnichannel strategy.” A much-dropped

buzzword in the business world, what this term

boils down to is, well … tying things together.

Put simply, omnichannel marketing in this

context means providing a seamless, consistent

user experience among all the channels a company

uses to connect with customers—websites, social

media accounts, apps, in-theater kiosks—building

a stronger relationship in the process.

In addition, by collecting the data gathered

from those various channels or devices under one

digital umbrella, explains Mark Pattie, vice president

of product management for Vista Cinema,

a company can provide each customer with a

“unified, personalized, integrated message” tailored

to his or her moviegoing history. It’s something

that’s increasingly important as ticket sales in the

U.S. transition from in-person to digital; more and

more moviegoers are opting to purchase tickets on

apps, mobile websites, or via social media platforms.

Vista Cinema’s own omnichannel strategy

involves taking the various digital platforms that

they provide to cinemas—websites, mobile apps,

kiosks, and point-of-sale systems—and making

them consistent in terms of configuration, functionality,

and experience.

On the moviegoer’s side of things, Pattie highlights

Vista’s customer experience manager—or

CXM—as “a great example of an omnichannel

approach.” Not yet launched but coming soon,

the CXM allows theaters to use the data they’ve

gathered about each individual customer (what

genres they like, what concessions they usually buy,

whether they’re loyalty members, how often they

go to premium screenings, etc.) to customize their

moviegoing experience.

Buying an electronic ticket? Why not order that

popcorn combo you always get at the same time?

New customer? Here’s an incentive to join the

loyalty program. “[Say I] always choose one type of

movie,” explains Leon Newnham, chief executive

of Vista Cinema. With CXM, a theater’s website

can “put that [genre] at the top of the film list,

so that it’s the first thing that I see. Because you

know the first thing everyone does right now when

they’re thinking of going to the movies is wonder:

‘Is there anything good on?’ And then you start

scrolling through film lists and watching trailers.”

Maybe, in the end, you don’t see anything at all.

As an omnichannel product, Pattie notes, the

CXM has value as a driver of both sales and customer

loyalty.

The value of customization was touted in the

panel “In Action: Stories from the Front Line,”

where representatives from Goodrich Quality

Theaters, VOX Cinemas, and Event Cinemas described

personalized online marketing campaigns,

as enabled by Movio. Those campaigns change

based on the needs of the customer and the chain.

116 116

MAY 2019


Event Cinema general manager, customer

experience, Alexandra Holden notes the

multiple versions of each e-blast sent by

her chain-based Event Cinema, with the

goal being to “bring the right message to

the right person at the right time.” For

both Event Cinemas and Midwest-based

Goodrich Quality Theaters, driving loyalty-card

membership is a priority.

For VOX Cinemas’ Saudi Arabia

locations, on the other hand, the focus

is more basic. With the country’s theater

ban having been lifted so recently, “occupancy

rates are amazing!” says Jocelyn

Davies, head of customer experience and

insights. “We’re not so much concerned

about driving ticket sales, but more the

educational component of the cinema

experience. We’re communicating to our

customers how the cinema works. As

crazy as that might sound to some of us,

a lot of our customers have never walked

into a cinema before, so we really try

to use the CRM [customer relationship

management] channel to educate the customers

on what cinema is: what they do

once they purchase the ticket, how they

pay for F&B, how they behave within the

cinema environment.”

Across the board, data on moviegoer

habits can be used to customize marketing

efforts, directing customers’ attention

to particular movies they’re more likely to

be interested in. But, while inestimably

valuable to cinemas, moviegoer data can

be difficult to comb through and properly

leverage. There’s a ton of it, firstly, which

means it requires a substantial amount of

digital space (not to mention money) to

store. And it takes specialized knowledge

and equipment to analyze it all and tease

out the relevant conclusions.

That problem was the starting point

for Movio 360, which Movio CEO Will

Palmer identifies as the “next chapter

in [Movio]’s evolution.” Launching

soon, Movio 360 is a data warehouse

designed for the film industry that “pulls

moviegoer data from a wide variety of

points, including campaign activity, data

enrichment, point of sale, and loyalty

[programs]. With numerous complex and

varied data points, executing a data-driven

strategy is extremely difficult and

requires expertise. Movio 360 provides

full-fidelity data by moviegoer, creating

clarity out of chaos.”

All this speaks to the increasing

importance of artificial intelligence in the

exhibition industry. With the

use of artificial intelligence,

interactions

between cinema

and customers

will become,

according to

Palmer, “far less

generic and far

more custom

and [personalized].

[They will

be] driven by the

learning that we

have from the data

that’s been cumulated.”

“Data-driven.” “Digital.”

“Artificial intelligence.” If the future

of moviegoing seems a bit impersonal,

Newnham argues that it’s the exact opposite.

“If you’re going into a retail store to

buy some clothes, the retail assistant can

influence how you feel in that moment,”

he says, by way of analogy. “‘How do I

look in this thing? How much do I trust

this person?’” As fewer and fewer moviegoers

purchase tickets in-person, Vista

is putting that intimate connection back

into the transaction: “So how do you have

somebody feel good? How do you make it

personal? How do you change the experience

from one moment to the next, based

on your interactions with them so far?”

Once that data baseline has been

established, the movie theater employee is

freed up to enable an improved interaction

with the customer. An example

of this can be seen in the case of Serve,

another new product previewed at the

Vista Customer Conference and officially

launched at CinemaCon. Vista’s response

to the explosion of dine-in concessions,

Serve is an application that allows theater

wait staff to take food and beverage orders

directly from customers at their seats. As

with other Vista products, Serve is highly

customizable, allowing servers to input

special requests and set a time for various

orders to be brought out.

Integration with the chain’s loyalty-program

data makes an additional

layer of customization possible. A server

who knows that a customer

gets a particular appetizer

every time can

suggest it from the

get-go. Prompts

and suggestions,

tailored to the

dining history

of individual

customers,

can maximize

upselling opportunities.

Just as moviegoers

differ, so too do

Vista’s customers. “Something

inherent in the way the

group operates is that no two customers

are the same,” says Riley. “There’s a lot

of core stuff that is similar, but they each

have their own particular ways of doing

things. The theatrical side of the business,

cinema exhibitors, are in varying

stages of waking up to the fact that they

are in a heavily competitive market for

people’s entertainment dollars. They need

to enhance their experience, whether it’s

through the quality of their recliners or

through the expansion of advanced food

and beverage, and/or by other means. The

experience they offer is tailored to their

customer—and that varies tremendously

across markets.”

In the end, Riley says, “our focus is on

supporting and enhancing the theatrical

experience”—in a flexible way that

responds to the evolving industry and

evolving needs of their clients. “Our customers

have input into the design of our

products; there is little point in setting

out to write a piece of software without

knowing whether what it will do is what

the customer is going to want. Our conference

is a pivotal component of making

sure we stay on track.”

VISTA CUSTOMER CONFERENCE OPENING-NIGHT CELEBRATION / FOCAL POINT PHOTOS

MAY 2019

117


EVENT CINEMA

BY REBECCA PAHLE

RECORD-BREAKING THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD EARNS CINEMACON’S

EXCELLENCE IN EVENT CINEMA AWARD FOR WARNER BROS.

>> On Tuesday, April 2, at CinemaCon,

Fathom Events’ fifth annual Excellence

in Event Cinema Award went to Warner

Bros. It’s not hard to see why. The

studio has worked with Fathom Events

on various event cinema releases since

2006 and in 2019 collaborated with the

event cinema distributor on screenings

of several classic films from its catalogue.

Still, there’s one bit of programming

that stands above the rest: The

record-breaking documentary They Shall

Not Grow Old.

Directed by Peter Jackson, the World War I documentary uses restored

footage and archival interviews to craft a personal account of the Great War.

The film had a limited release in U.K. cinemas, including a premiere at the BFI

London Film Festival, before airing on BBC Two on November 11, 2018, the

hundredth anniversary of Armistice Day.

Warner Bros.—which has a longstanding relationship with Jackson—realized

early on that the film “might have some interest in [U.S.] theaters,” recalls

Jeff Goldstein, president domestic distribution, who, along with Scott Forman,

executive vice president, general sales manager, of Warner Bros. Distribution,

accepted the award on the studio’s behalf. “What we explored was going

through Fathom [and] having them do a one-day event. If the one-day event

was really successful, we could have a follow-up with an encore. And if that’s

really successful, maybe later on we could go for a museum run.”

Released by Fathom Events on Monday, December 17, 2018, and accompanied

by a special introduction from Jackson, They Shall Not Grow Old initially

grossed $2.3 million. It was the second-highest gross of that day, behind only

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which had debuted the previous weekend.

118 MAY 2019


Multiple encores through Fathom Events followed.

“Between Fathom’s marketing and Warner Bros.’

marketing, we really leveraged the heck out of this

thing,” recalls Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt.

“Only three showings did about $8 million,”

making They Shall Not Grow Old North America’s

highest-ever earner in the event cinema space. “It

really shows you the power of the event cinema.”

And that “museum run” that Goldstein thought

they might do? It instead became a limited theatrical

run, still ongoing as CinemaCon ended. As

of press time, the film has grossed just shy of $18

million domestically.

Warner Bros. could have gone for a traditional

theatrical release from the start, Goldstein notes, but

the event cinema route “just seemed like the right

choice. We thought this would be the best way to

maximize exposure and generate interest. When you

have a one-day event, it’s appointment viewing.”

Event cinema also made sense from a marketing

standpoint. “The promotional value that you get

through Fathom is very, very significant,” Nutt

says. “We advertise all our events in the trailer

space that we have available to us and the other

promotional inventory that we have.” In marketing

its successful The Met: Live in HD series, Fathom

has more than proven its ability to bring in an older

demographic, which is exactly the group Warner

Bros. believed would be most interested in seeing

They Shall Not Grow Old.

A smart choice of release date—December 17,

with potential moviegoers out of work and school

for the Christmas holidays—succeeded in bringing

in a younger crowd, including families, in addition

to the older group Warner Bros. initially aimed for.

“For the very first [screening], we did 1,100

[screens],” recalls Goldstein. “Then we did 1,000.

Then we were up to 1,300 on our third wave. And

then we went to a regular commercial break for

about 735 theaters. It swelled past that at over 800.

We’ve taken our time over a long period of weeks.”

The fact that Warner Bros. was able to go the

traditional theatrical route for They Shall Not Grow

Old, explains Nutt, is something that studios looking

to expand their event cinema offerings should

pay attention to. “This isn’t a cannibalization play,

here. We give this nice little window to premiere

and promote the content.” The promotional value

Warner Bros. got from Fathom’s network for They

Shall Not Grow Old, he argues, contributes to the

revenue earned throughout the entire life of the

film. This also applies to event cinema screenings

of classic films, which are often tied to anniversaries

and thus home video rereleases.

This is all something that Warner Bros. was

already familiar with,

having partnered with

Fathom in 2016 for

the release of Batman:

The Killing Joke, which

earned $3.4 million

in gross theatrical

revenue. This month,

Fathom partners with

Warner Bros. and DC

to bring Batman, Batman

Returns, Batman

Forever, and Batman &

Robin to the big screen

to celebrate the caped

crusader’s 80th year of

fighting crime.

Outside the

superhero arena,

Warner Bros. regularly

partners with

Fathom for screenings

of films from their

library, including The

Wizard of Oz, Gone

with the Wind, Rebel without a Cause, The Philadelphia

Story, and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Earlier this spring, Gone with the Wind screened

as a part of the TCM Big Screen Classics series,

becoming Fathom’s highest-grossing classic film. Its

$2.23 million gross, garnered from six nationwide

screenings across three dates, breaks the record set

not two months earlier by The Wizard of Oz, which

earned over $2 million.

At Warner Bros., “We always want to bring our

movies to audiences in the best way possible. We

look at each situation uniquely on its own. We’ll

look for the right opportunity, given the right

property,” explains Goldstein. “We take risks on

how we market. We make bold choices on how we

distribute. And”—regarding their strategy for They

Shall Not Grow Old—“that’s really what this was.

Both a risk and a bold choice … We had a hunch

that this would be the right way to maximize the

movie. But it far exceeded our expectations.”

ALL QUIET ON THE

WESTERN FRONT

TOP: an original frame of

100-year-old archival WWI

film. ABOVE: The same

frame restored by Peter

Jackson’s effects team.

MAY 2019

119


BIG DATA

A RECORD YEAR

Highlights from the 2018 MPAA THEME Report

>> The movie business is ascendant.

According to the MPAA’s 2018 report

on the global movie market (THEME),

there was a 9 percent year-over-year

growth in theatrical and home entertainment

revenue worldwide. Home

entertainment revenues increased by 16

percent to $55.7 billion, while theatrical

produced a record $41.1 billion from

global admissions.

Domestic moviegoing in the U.S.

and Canada saw a 5 percent bump in

admissions in 2018, leading to an industry

record of $11.9 billion. Frequent

moviegoers, defined as those who go to

the cinema once a month or more, accounted

for nearly half (49%) of tickets

sold throughout the year. Seventy five

percent of the U.S./Canada population

(263 million people) tallied at least one

cinema visit over the year.

The cinema business continued to

expand worldwide through 2018 as well,

marked by the return of commercial cinema

screens in Saudi Arabia. The global

screen count increased by 7 percent,

finishing the year just under 190,000.

The growth was led by continued expansion

in Asia Pacific, which grew by 13

percent in 2018.

Key facts and figures from the

MPAA’s 2018 THEME report are highlighted

on these pages:

GLOBAL BOX OFFICE

Global box office revenue surpassed $40 billion for the second consecutive year. The domestic box office has grown by 15

percent over the past 5 years; worldwide box office has grown by 13 percent in the same span.

$45

GLOBAL BOX OFFICE / ALL FILMS (US$ BILLIONS)

$40

INTERNATIONAL

U.S. / CANADA

$38.4

$38.8

$40.5

$41.1

$36.4

$35

$30

$25

$20

$26.0

(72 % )

$27.3

(71 % )

$27.4

(71 % )

$29.4

(73 % )

$29.2

(71 % )

$15

$10

$5

$10.4 $11.1 $11.4 $11.4 $11.9

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

120 MAY 2019


INTERNATIONAL BOX OFFICE

Asia Pacific is the leading region outside North America (U.S. & Canada), led by a $9 billion year from China. The region claims

three of the world’s five largest overseas markets in terms of box office: China, Japan, and South Korea. Double-digit drops

in Germany and Russia contributed to a down year in EMEA, while Latin America suffered a precipitous 22 percent slide.

$18

$16

$14

EMEA ASIA PACIFIC LATIN AMERICA

$14.2

$12.4

$15.0

$15.9

$16.7

$12

$10

$10.6

$9.7

$9.7

$10.1

$9.8

$8

$6

$4

$3.0

$3.4

$2.8

$3.4

$2.7

$2

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

TOP MARKETS

Seven international markets crossed the billion-dollar mark at the box office in 2018. Notably, no markets from Latin

America crossed the threshold in 2018—contributing to the region’s 22 percent year-over-year drop

2018 TOP 20 INTERNATIONAL BOX OFFICE MARKETS / ALL FILMS (US$ BILLIONS)

1 CHINA $9.0 11 SPAIN $0.7

2 JAPAN $2.0 12 BRAZIL $0.7

3 U.K. $1.7 13 ITALY $0.7

4 SOUTH KOREA $1.6 14 NETHERLANDS $0.4

5 FRANCE $1.6 15 INDONESIA $0.4

6 INDIA $1.5 16 TAIWAN $0.3

7 GERMANY $1.0 17 POLAND $0.3

8 AUSTRALIA $0.9 18 UAE $0.3

9 MEXICO $0.9 19 MALAYSIA $0.3

10 RUSSIA $0.9 20 HONG KONG $0.3

SOURCE: IHS MARKIT, LOCAL SOURCES

MAY 2019

121


BIG DATA

CINEMA SCREENS

There are close to 190,000 cinema screens in the world, a 7 percent increase from 2017. The growth was driven by a 13

percent increase in Asia Pacific.

CINEMA SCREENS BY FORMAT AND REGION

90,000

GLOBAL

45,000

U.S.

ANALOG DIGITAL NON 3-D

ANALOG DIGITAL NON 3-D DIGITAL 3-D

80,000

40,000

DIGITAL 3-D

62,608

70,000

35,000

14,795 15,077 15,318 15,530 15,477

60,000

30,000

50,000

25,000

40,000

30,000

16,933 19,840

20,000

15,000

23,617 24,361 24,205 24,579 24,840

20,000

10,000

26,526 23,015 19,080

5,815

4,840 8,202

U.S./CANADA EMEA ASIA PACIFIC LATIN AMERICA

SOURCE: IHS MARKIT

10,000

5,000

1,545 568 651 284 258

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

SOURCE: IHS MARKIT

DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE: A RECORD YEAR

Domestic box office hit a record $11.9 billion in 2018. It was the fourth consecutive year the box office crossed the $11 billion

benchmark in the North American market (U.S. & Canada). The year’s top three films—Black Panther ($700M), Avengers:

Infinity War ($678.8M), and Incredibles 2 ($608.8M)—were all released by Disney.

U.S./CANADA BOX OFFICE (US$ BILLIONS)

$12

SOURCE: COMSCORE BOX OFFICE ESSENTIALS

$10

$8

$10.6 $10.6 $10.2 $10.8 $10.9 $10.4 $11.1 $11.4 $11.1 $11.9

$6

$4

$2

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

122 MAY 2019


DOMESTIC ADMISSIONS BUMP

Domestic admissions rose by 5 percent in 2018, even as the average ticket price rose to $9.11 thanks to the impact of

premium formats.

1.60

5.0

ADMISSIONS (BILLIONS)

ADMISSIONS (PER CAPITA)

1.40

1.20

4.0

1.00

3.0

0.80

0.60

0.40

0.20

1.42 1.34 1.28 1.36 1.34 1.27 1.32 1.32 1.24 1.30

2.0

1.0

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

ATTENDANCE TRENDS

Millennials represent the age group with the highest per capita attendance. Hispanic/Latino moviegoers occupy the highest

per capita figures among ethnic groups.

PER CAPITA BY GENDER

PER CAPITA BY AGE

5

4

3

2

1

2.9 3.0

4.9 5.1 4.7 5.1 4.4 4.3

3.6 4.3

2017 2018

3.0 3.2 2.5 2.5

3.4 3.5 3.7 4.0

2017

2018

2017

2018

5

4

3

2

2–11 12–17 18–24 25–39 40–49 50–59 60+

2017 2018

PER CAPITA BY ETHNICITY

4.5 4.7 4.3 4.5

3.2 3.3 3.4 3.7

4.2 4.0

1

FEMALE

MALE

white HISPANIC BLACK ASIAN OTHER

MAY 2019

123


MPAA UPDATE

BY DANIEL LORIA

Q&A

CHARLES RIVKIN

CHAIRMAN & CEO, MOTION PICTURE

ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

We experienced a great year at the box office, both domestically

and abroad, in 2018. What were your biggest takeaways

from last year? >> The extraordinary box office results

in 2018 are proof that in an ever-changing entertainment marketplace,

theaters remain strong and competitive. When you

think of all the new technologies and many different entertainment

choices consumers have today, it’s really a great story of

endurance and innovation. The social and sensory experience of

watching big-screen spectacles in a collective atmosphere is still

uniquely powerful. I am encouraged, not only because of our

important partnership with NATO, but because a strong theater

industry benefits the entire entertainment ecosystem. On

that foundation, we can continue to build our iconic industry.

Diversity has been a growing concern in this industry. Do

you believe we’ve been able to make some progress in the

matter? Is it within reach to have a more diverse industry—both

in terms of content and executives at leading

companies—in the coming years? >> There is a wonderful

quote from Vernā Myers, a true expert on this topic: “Diversity

is about being invited to the party. But inclusion is about

being asked to dance.”

We saw this in action at the Academy Awards. Production

designer Hannah Beachler and costume designer Ruth Carter,

nominated for their work on Black Panther, were the first African

American winners ever in their respective categories. They were

among a record-setting 15 women to win Oscars this year. And

that is before we even get to Alfonso Cuarón, Regina King, Mahershala

Ali, and Spike Lee.

MPAA member companies are working to create opportunities

for emerging talent from all communities. They have internship

programs, writing and directing initiatives for people of color,

and engagement with a wide array of multicultural film festivals.

They are looking to identify and nurture not only the next Barry

Jenkins, Constance Wu, or America Ferrera but also more writers,

camera operators, editors, and special-effects designers.

At the MPAA, we support these efforts in many ways, from

forging innovative partnerships with civil rights and advocacy

organizations to encouraging dialogue within the industry.

Are we finished yet? Not by a long shot, but we continue to

move toward a more inclusive entertainment industry. If we are

to effectively tell America’s story, then every American creator

should have opportunities to be part of telling it.

I think it’s fair to say that a couple of eyebrows were raised

in the exhibition community once it was announced that

Netflix was joining the MPAA. How did it come about? What

are your thoughts about the current tension between

streaming platforms and cinema circuits? >> The film and

television industry is constantly evolving, and so is the MPAA.

All of our members are committed to pushing the film and

television industry forward, in both how we tell stories and

how we reach audiences. To meet our mission of advancing the

business and art of storytelling, we have to be forward-looking

and proactive. Adding Netflix allows us to even more effectively

advocate for the global community of creative storytellers,

and I look forward to seeing what we can all achieve together. I

think we can see, in the record-breaking 2018 box office and the

ever-expanding array of content available across platforms, that

audiences want as many great stories as they can get.

124 MAY 2019


Can you highlight some of the MPAA’s current

projects? What are the organization’s biggest

concerns moving forward? >> Reducing online

piracy remains our constant mission. One of our

strongest efforts is the Alliance for Creativity and

Entertainment, or ACE. This coalition of 30 global

creative companies, with the support and expertise

of the MPAA content-protection team, is constantly

taking action, from our victories in the TickBox

and Dragon Box litigations to our many investigations

and collaborations with law enforcement.

As one of our country’s most successful

export industries, we are focused on opening

markets through trade agreements that protect

intellectual property, foster competition, and

lower barriers. While there are certain provisions

that are not ideal for the U.S. creative industries

in the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement

(USMCA), we support its overall agenda to

facilitate trade and commerce and grow the U.S.

film and television industry.

We are also working to build on the success of

the 2012 memorandum of understanding with

China that opened that market to U.S. films. The

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR)

and the Chinese government are diligently

negotiating, and our hope is that we continue

to achieve fairer and greater access for American

creative content.

Last but not least, we are looking forward to

reopening our beloved home and headquarters

in downtown Washington, across Lafayette Park

from the White House, after an extensive renovation.

We’ll have a brand-new facility, including an

expanded, state-of-the-art theater, where stories can

be enjoyed.

It’s an exciting time at the MPAA.

AT THE MOVIES WITH

CHARLES RIVKIN

MOVIE MEMORY

In high school in Chicago, I was a repeat visitor to midnight showings

of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was the immersive experience only

possible in a theater. That’s something I will never forget.

Do you have a go-to snack at the concession stand? >> Popcorn is

always my go-to. And I drink Diet Coke with that. And like so many great

movie quests, I am always on the lookout for a box of Jujubes. If I cannot

find those, Starburst will do.

How do you anticipate the effects of consolidation

in the industry will influence the MPAA in

the near future? >> Change is a constant, particularly

in our industry, and that is a good thing. We

have many new players in the business of content

creation and distribution, which shows that this industry

remains an attractive investment. There will

always be creative and enterprising people seeking

to grow and adapt businesses, and we have to be

prepared. At the MPAA, we see this as an opportunity.

Our role at a policy level and operationally

through our content protection efforts is more

important than ever.

MAY 2019

125


INVESTOR RELATIONS

BY ROB RINDERMAN

FINANCIAL NEWS ROUNDUP

Rob Rinderman is an avid

follower and fan of the

cinema and exhibition

businesses. He has

assisted many public and

privately held companies

with communications and

business development

consulting services for over

two decades and written

as a freelance journalist

covering these industries

since 2015.

>> THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY (DIS) unveiled

its long-awaited and highly anticipated

direct-to-consumer (D2C) domestic strategic offering,

Disney+ (#DisneyPlus), in conjunction with

the company’s Investor Day, which was held on the

grounds of the Disney Studio lot on April 11.

Disney set an official launch date of November

12 and a $6.99/month subscription rate for the

service. Disney+ will be widely available across a

range of mobile and connected TV devices.

Company chairman and chief executive officer

Robert A. Iger stated, “Disney+ marks a bold step

forward in an exciting new era for our company—

one in which consumers will have a direct connection

to the incredible array of creative content that

is The Walt Disney Company’s hallmark.

“We are confident that the combination of

our unrivaled storytelling, beloved brands, iconic

franchises, and cutting-edge technology will make

Disney+ a standout in the marketplace and deliver

significant value for consumers and shareholders

alike.”

The service is expected to debut with new originals,

library offerings—from Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilm,

Marvel Studios, and National Geographic—in

addition to popular animated series “The

Simpsons” and an array of titles from the recently

acquired 20th Century Fox library, ranging from

the classic The Sound of Music to the “Malcolm in

the Middle” TV series.

In other streaming-related cinema news, IMAX

(IMAX) announced that famed director Martin

Scorsese’s passion project The Irishman might

screen in select Imax theaters later this year if

NETFLIX (NFLX) agrees to make certain concessions

about how long it is willing to let the film

play in theaters before showing the film on its

streaming service.

Similar to many theatrical exhibitors, Imax has

previously refrained from showing Netflix films

in its theaters, with rare exceptions, due to the

streaming service’s reluctance to adhere to traditional

distribution policies and abide by common

release window exclusivity practices.

If Netflix were to formally agree to expand its

limited release windows, companies like Imax

would be more inclined to collaborate with them,

Rich Gelfond, Imax CEO, said on CNBC’s

“Squawk on the Street” program.

Back in 2016, Imax partnered with Netflix

to bring Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword

of Destiny to approximately a dozen of its theater

locations (only a fraction of the number of

screens initially planned), marking the first time

Netflix content had been shown on Imax screens.

This move angered some theater owners, many of

whom operated Imax screens, as they did not want

to release the title the same day it went live on

Netflix’s platform.

Traditionally, Hollywood studios, including

AMAZON (AMZN), have adopted 90-day theatrical

release windows, allowing a movie to run

in theaters for that time period before making it

available on video-on-demand (VOD) or on a

streaming-service site or app.

Oscar-winning Roma rolled out to a limited

number of movie theaters last November 21

and was subsequently released to Netflix streaming-service

subscribers less than a month later, on

December 14. This controversial decision ruffled

feathers at some leading theater operators, including

AMC (AMC) and REGAL (CINEWORLD), which

declined to show the title theatrically, even after it

garnered a Best Picture Academy Award nomination

in January.

CINEMARK (CNK) and Imax renewed and

extended their joint agreement through 2026.

Pursuant to the contract renewal, Cinemark agreed

to add Imax’s new laser experience and 12-channel

immersive sound system to a new Imax auditorium

located at Cinemark’s Daly City, California, complex.

Cinemark also consented to upgrade its Imax

screen at its Milford, Connecticut, theater.

Cinemark first forged an alliance with Imax two

decades ago. Today, it operates 14 Imax screens,

with a 15th slated for debut in Q4 ’19.

“Throughout our 20-year partnership, Cinemark

and Imax have shared some of the world’s

biggest movies and created a platform for the best

technical and visual advancements in the industry,”

said Mark Zoradi, Cinemark’s CEO. “With the

reaffirmation of our commitment with Imax, we

will continue to provide audiences with the most

impactful moviegoing experience.”

126 MAY 2019


READING INTERNATIONAL INC’S

(RDI) consolidated revenue for the fourth

quarter of 2018 increased 4 percent to

$75.0 million, an all-time record for any

fourth quarter in the company’s operating

history. The record-setting Q4 was primarily

driven by several factors, including

year-over-year increases in attendance,

box office, and F&B (food & beverage)

revenue in the circuit’s U.S., Australian,

and New Zealand–based cinemas.

Other positive factors cited by the

company were the opening of its new

state-of-the-art eight-screen Reading Cinema

on December 14, 2017, at Newmarket

Village (in Australia) and operational

benefits stemming from the organization’s

past investments between 2016 and 2018

in cinema upgrades.

Ellen Cotter, chair, president, and chief

executive officer, commented, “Our record

revenue and operating income in 2018

demonstrate the important progress we are

delivering on our strategic plan across our

cinema and real estate businesses. We have

solid momentum in our global cinema

segment. Our initiatives to deliver superior

guest experiences helped us outperform

the strong industry box office.

“Our audiences embraced the addition

of recliner seating and Titan screens to select

cinemas across our global circuit. Our

income was further improved by success

with our food and beverage initiatives,

innovative pricing, and digital strategies.

And we are pleased with our progress on

44 Union Square. We remain focused on

building upon our strong performance to

enhance long-term value for our stockholders,”

Cotter concluded.

Back in November 2018, Patton Vision

LLC and its consortium of investors proposed

an offer to acquire 100 percent of

the outstanding equity interests of Reading

International for cash at an aggregate price

equivalent to $595.2 million in total enterprise

value, which assumed total net debt

of $151.1 million and resulted in a total

equity value of $444.0 million.

At the time, this equity value reflected

a 20 percent premium to RDI’s aggregate

equity value, based on closing market

prices for the aggregate Class A and Class

B common stock. This offer constituted

an increase in equity value to a previous

offer from Patton Vision.

In March 2019, Patton Vision issued

a statement continuing to urge the RDI

board of directors to retain advisers

and “engage in meaningful discussions

regarding our proposed purchase offer

and to permit us to clarify any questions

or misunderstandings.”

MAY 2019

127


SOCIAL MEDIA

BY ALEX EDGHILL

128 MAY 2019


WHAT’S HOT THIS SUMMER?

THE LION KING LEADS THE PACK ON SOCIAL PLATFORMS

The summer season at the box office is upon us yet again,

and to coincide with this supercharged time at theaters

we have a brand-new set of tools and tracking features

at our fingertips here at Boxoffice. They offer a wealth of

new angles and viewpoints on the season and will be invaluable

to our arsenal as pundits and color commentators.

>> To date, 2019 has not been a massive

success for cineplexes—it is lagging more

than 15 percent behind 2018 as I write

this column. Undoubtedly, Avengers: Endgame

will offer a huge shot of adrenaline,

but if box office is to grow and surpass

last year’s record, then it needs some other

major wins besides Endgame and Star

Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which drops

at the end of the year.

As always, summer is filled with potential.

There is plenty of variety, a wide

range of films including sequels, remakes,

spin-offs, and original offerings. We have

never seen more than three films open

to above $150 million in a single year,

but there’s a very strong chance that will

happen in 2019. Which of the summer

releases are primed for huge breakouts?

Or busts? Let’s take a closer look at the

most relevant social media statistics over

the last two weeks as of this writing to

try to narrow the field and glean whatever

information we can from Facebook,

Twitter, and Instagram.

Before we delve into the numbers, it’s

important to note that when comparing

social media data across platforms, no

two services are the same, both in terms

of usage and in terms of demographic

breakdown. Instagram has more than

double the users of Twitter, while Facebook

has more than double the users of

Instagram. The 13–17 demographic has

a stronger foothold on Instagram than either

of the two, while Twitter has a much

higher percentage of its user base over 35

than either of the other two combined.

Social media monitoring is by no means

an exact science—it’s like trying to nail

a bull’s-eye with a dart from a speeding

car—but it is one of the strongest, fastest,

and most cost-effective litmus tests of

prospective moviegoers.

The Lion King was the most consistent

performer over all three social media platforms

tracked during the period in question.

With 23 million fans in total, it led

five of the six categories examined, missing

out only on Facebook Engagement

(calculated by Likes + Shares + Comments/Number

of Fans). Not only did it

lead most of the categories analyzed, it

was more than double the competition

in three of the five it led. Based on these

buzz numbers, there is little doubt that

this is the film to beat outside of Avengers:

Endgame this summer season. While the

original Lion King was a massive success,

grossing $312 million way back in

1994 and becoming the highest-grossing

animated film of all time in its initial run

(which it later raised to $423 million after

Imax and 3-D rereleases), there was some

doubt about how a fully CGI remade

adaptation would fare. But these social

media numbers have all but dispelled any

concern about its performance.

Next up is Detective Pikachu, which

KEY SUMMER FILM SOCIAL MEDIA PERFORMANCE: MAR 29–APR 14

TWITTER FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM

Title Date New Page Likes New Post Likes Power* Engagement** New Followers New Post Likes

The Lion King July 19 12,386 256,566 6.8 2.9 29,596 143,971

Detective Pikachu May 10 5,944 64,668 4.6 4.6 6,346 135,761

X-Men: Dark Phoenix June 7 2,330 63,281 6 2.4 75 2,641

Aladdin May 24 1,407 - 4.7 1.6 2,331 15,496

Godzilla: King of the Monsters May 31 842 9,820 5.7 3.4 2,229 26,740

Toy Story 4 June 21 599 - 5.4 1.4 3,196 15,942

The Secret Life of Pets 2 June 7 592 23,556 5.2 2.8 1,896 25,233

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum May 17 454 1,576 5.5 3.5 3,167 10,672

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Aug 2 159 890 4.1 4.4 2,443 6,860

Ma May 31 43 313 2.2 3.6 225 2,063

*Based on Likes + Shares + Comments / **Based on Likes + Shares + Comments/Number of Fans

MAY 2019

129


SOCIAL MEDIA

showed very strong numbers across all

our metrics; in fact, it’s the only film to

lead a category other than The Lion King,

the previously mentioned Engagement

figure. I wrote an entire column dedicated

to Detective Pikachu a few months

back, after its first trailer just about broke

social media. These numbers only further

affirm my prediction from back then

that its brand power and name recognition,

coupled with the entire marketing

machine, are going to make for a giant

opening this May.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix had a strong

showing on both Twitter and

Facebook but lagged behind many

of the other tentpoles on Instagram.

It performed the strongest

on Twitter, with the third-highest

page and post likes across all

films of interest. It saved its

best performance for the

Facebook Power metric,

which is based on the

following formula: Likes

+ Shares + Comments.

The X-Men franchise

saw a marked decline

in its last outing,

Apocalypse, versus

Days of Future Past,

and it remains to

be seen whether

Dark Phoenix

will

be able to

buck the

trend or continue the slide.

These numbers are still largely

positive, and while Dark

Phoenix does face a lot of stiff

competition, there is a very

likely chance it will at least

match Apocalypse, which is

nothing to scoff at ($65 million

opening, $155 million total).

Aladdin presents a much

more mixed bag than the preceding

three films, and with its release

just six weeks away (at press time),

this could potentially be a warning

sign. Its official Twitter page did not

make any posts in our period of interest,

which is surprising considering how

close it is to release. On Facebook, it had

a solid Power number, but its Engagement

rank was among the lowest of the

films tracked, and its Instagram numbers

were middling at best. The original

Aladdin was the second-highest-grossing

animated film of all time after its 1992

release (coming within $1 million of

becoming number one of all time at that

point) and it is one of the most beloved

titles in the Disney vault. However,

this time around it is not

performing nearly as well as its

cousin The Lion King or other

recent Disney live-action remakes

such as Beauty and the

Beast and Cinderella. Its lack

of posts across the board

at this late stage in the

game is also somewhat

perplexing.

Last up is Godzilla:

King of the Monsters,

which had a strong

showing across all

measured metrics—especially

on

Instagram, where it

had the third-highest

post likes over our

two-week window

of interest. Its

predecessor had

a mammoth $93

million opening and $200

million total, so the potential

here is huge. This film could

indeed break out this summer,

and anything close to those

aforementioned numbers

would be a welcome gift for

Warner Bros.

There are obviously

quite a few promising titles

MARGOT ROBBIE AS SHARON

TATE IN ONCE UPON A TIME IN

HOLLYWOOD

missing from this report, including

Spider-Man: Far from Home, Once

Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Men

in Black: International. The reason for

their absence? They had few to no social

media posts across our three monitored

platforms during our two-week period

of interest. All three are over two

months away as of this writing, so it’s

not an ominous sign by any means. But

it is strange that potential blockbusters

would go two full weeks without posts

on major social media platforms; perhaps

they are focusing their marketing

efforts on different channels at this time.

Another salient point is that social

media tends to underrepresent kids and

family audiences for obvious reasons (not

many toddlers on social media, yet). Also,

in general, audiences over 35 are less

active on Facebook and Instagram. The

fact that Toy Story 4 and The Secret Life of

Pets 2 are lower in the chart does not necessarily

spell trouble, but it does indicate

that they are missing the same interest

among the 18–35 bracket as, say, a Lion

King. The same goes for Hobbs & Shaw

and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum,

which target older male audiences as their

core demographic—not traditional social

media powerhouses.

The Lion King is clearly the film

to beat this summer season (next to

Endgame, of course) as of this column,

and it will be interesting to circle back

in a few months and take stock of these

predictions and how they compared to

actual results. My final takeaway from

this analysis is surprise at the general lack

of interaction with fans by studios for

their films. Having massive $200 million

blockbusters scheduled for release within

a few months and millions of fans signed

up for updates on said films, yet no posts

in a two-week period on one or all three

of the major social media platforms seems

like a missed opportunity. More is not

always better, but within such a crowded

marketplace, anything that helps you

stand out from the competition provides

a strategic advantage.

130 MAY 2019


EVENT CINEMA CALENDAR

BATMAN & ROBIN

Tues. 5/14

Classics

SAGA OF TANYA THE EVIL -

THE MOVIE

Thurs. 5/16

Anime

BATMAN 1989

Jack Nicholson stars as The Joker, with Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman

CINELIFE

ENTERTAINMENT

cinelifeentertainment.com

310-309-5774

HUNTER x HUNTER:

THE LAST MISSION

Now Available

Anime

BIG SCREEN SHORTS:

SHOWCASE 1

Now Available

Shorts

NUREYEV

Fri. 4/19-Weds. 6/19

Documentary

A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN

Sun. 8/18, Weds. 8/21, Sat. 8/24

Kids & Family

SNOOPY CAME HOME

Sun. 9/29, Thurs. 10/3, Sat/ 10/5

Kids & Family

FATHOM EVENTS

fathomevents.com

855-473-4612

42ND STREET – THE MUSICAL

Weds. 5/1

Broadway

BATMAN (1989)

30TH ANNIVERSARY

Sat. 5/4

Classics

CANELO VS. JACOBS

MIDDLEWEIGHT WORLD

CHAMPIONSHIP

Sat. 5/4

Sports

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

TRUE GRIT 50TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 5/5, Weds. 5/8

Classics

BATMAN RETURNS

Mon. 5/6

Classics

TOLKIEN: LIVE FROM THE

MONTCLAIR FILM FESTIVAL WITH

STEPHEN COLBERT

Tues. 5/7

Premieres

CHONDA PIERCE: UNASHAMED

Tues. 5/7, Thurs. 5/9

Comedy, Inspirational

THE MET: LIVE IN HD

DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES

Sat. 5/11 (live), Weds. 5/15 (encore)

Opera

BATMAN FOREVER

Sun. 5/12

Classics

WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND: LOOKING

BACK AT STAR TREK: DS9

Mon. 5/13

Documentary

BOLSHOI BALLET:

CARMEN SUITE/PETRUSHKA

Sun. 5/19

Ballet

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

STEEL MAGNOLIAS

30TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 5/19, Tues. 5/21, Weds. 5/22

Classics

STUDIO GHIBLI FEST 2019:

NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY

OF THE WIND 35TH

ANNIVERSARY

Mon. 5/20 (dub), Tues. 5/21 (sub)

Anime

THE COLD BLUE

Thurs. 5/23

Premieres

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN

Sun. 6/2, Weds. 6/5

Classics

THE AUDIENCE

NT LIVE 10TH ANNIVERSARY

Mon. 6/3

Theater

RIFFTRAX LIVE: STAR RAIDERS

Thurs. 6/6, Tues. 6/11

Comedy

HEAVY WATER

Thurs. 6/13

Documentary

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

FIELD OF DREAMS

30TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 6/16, Tues. 6/18

Classics

132 MAY 2019


EMANUEL

Mon. 6/17, Weds. 6/19

Inspirational

DCI TOUR PREMIERE

Thurs. 6/20

Sports

FORREST GUMP

25TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 6/23, Tues. 6/25

Classics

GKIDS PRESENTS

STUDIO GHIBLI FEST 2019:

WHISPER OF THE HEART

Mon. 7/1 (dub), Tues. 7/2 (sub)

Anime

HAMLET

NT LIVE 10TH ANNIVERSARY

Mon. 7/8

Theater

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

GLORY 30TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 7/21, Weds. 7/24

Classics

STUDIO GHIBLI FEST 2019:

KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE

30TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 7/28 (dub), Mon. 7/29 (sub),

Weds. 7/31 (dub)

Anime

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

HELLO DOLLY!

50TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 8/11, Weds. 8/14

Classics

RIFFTRAX LIVE:

THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION

Thurs. 8/15, Tues. 8/20

Comedy

STUDIO GHIBLI FEST 2019:

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO

Sun. 8/25 (dub), Mon. 8/26 (sub),

Weds. 8/28 (dub)

Anime

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

Peter O’Toole stars as T.E. Lawrence in the 1962 Oscar-winning epic

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

Sun. 9/1, Weds. 9/4

Classics

MARGARET ATWOOD:

LIVE IN CINEMAS

Tues. 9/10

Premieres

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

25TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 9/22, Tues. 9/24, Weds. 9/25

Classics

STUDIO GHIBLI FEST 2019:

THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY

Sun. 9/29 (dub), Mon. 9/30 (sub)

Anime

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

ALIEN 40TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 10/13, Tues. 10/15,

Weds. 10/16

Classics

STUDIO GHIBLI FEST 2019:

SPIRITED AWAY

Sun. 10/27 (dub), Mon. 10/28 (sub),

Weds. 10/30 (dub)

Anime

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

THE GODFATHER PART II

Sun. 11/10, Tues. 11/12, Weds.

11/13

Classics

STUDIO GHIBLI FEST 2019:

PRINCESS MONONOKE

Sun. 11/17 (dub), Mon. 11/18

(sub), Weds. 11/20 (dub)

Anime

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY

Sun. 12/1, Tues. 12/3

Classics

STUDIO GHIBLI FEST 2019:

THE TALE OF THE

PRINCESS KAGUYA

Mon. 12/16 (dub),

Weds. 12/18 (sub)

Anime

ROYAL OPERA HOUSE

roh.org.uk/cinemas

cinema@roh.org.uk

WITHIN THE GOLDEN HOUR /

MEDUSA / FLIGHT PATTERN

Thurs. 5/17

Ballet

ROMEO AND JULIET

Tues. 6/11

Ballet

MAY 2019

133


ON SCREEN

BY KEVIN LALLY

MAY 10 / SONY PICTURES

CLASSICS / LIMITED

>> Kenneth Branagh directs and

stars as William Shakespeare, here

seen at the twilight of his career,

returning to his neglected family in

Stratford after his famed Globe Theatre

is destroyed in a fire. Judi Dench

plays his estranged, illiterate wife,

Anne, who is far from pleased when

Shakespeare’s rumored paramour, the

Earl of Southampton (Ian McKellen,

pictured), comes calling. Ben Elton

(“Blackadder”) wrote the screenplay.

CAST KENNETH BRANAGH, JUDI

DENCH, IAN MCKELLEN, KATHRYN

WILDER, LYDIA WILSON, HADLEY

FRASER RATING PG-13 RUNNING

TIME 101 MIN.

134 MAY 2019


MAY 10 /FOX SEARCHLIGHT / LIMITED

>> Dome Karukoski’s biopic portrays the younger days of J.R.R. Tolkien,

author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, an orphan whose bond with a “fellowship”

of unconventional classmates is jeopardized by the looming First World

War. Extra points for identifying the future Frodo and Sam.

CAST NICHOLAS HOULT, LILY COLLINS, COLM MEANEY, ANTHONY BOYLE,

PATRICK GIBSON, TOM GLYNN-CARNEY, CRAIG ROBERTS, GENEVIEVE O’REILLY,

DEREK JACOBI, PAM FERRIS RATING PG-13 RUNNING TIME TBA

CAPOTE

BECOMING JANE

THE LAST STATION

A QUIET PASSION

LITERARY LIVES

>> This month brings two biopics of formidable

writers: Tolkien, starring Nicholas

Hoult as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

creator J.R.R. Tolkien, and All Is True, starring

Kenneth Branagh as the aging William

Shakespeare. But the presence of dueling

biographies should come as no surprise:

Literary profiles have long been a staple of

movies, from Hollywood’s Golden Age to the

present. Just last year saw Keira Knightley

as Colette, Elle Fanning as Mary Shelley,

Rupert Everett as Oscar Wilde in The

Happy Prince, and Ewan McGregor as

the son of Winnie the Pooh creator

A.A. Milne in Christopher Robin.

Among the most celebrated author-themed

films are three Oscar

Best Picture winners—The Life of Emile

Zola, Out of Africa (Meryl Streep as

Karen Blixen), and Shakespeare

in Love. Performers picking up a

pen or pounding a typewriter and

collecting an Oscar include Jason

Robards as Dashiell Hammett in Julia,

Daniel Day-Lewis as Christy Brown in

My Left Foot, Nicole Kidman as Virginia

Woolf in The Hours, and Philip Seymour

Hoffman as Truman Capote

in Capote. Nominees include Paul

Muni as Emile Zola, Jane Fonda as

Lillian Hellman in Julia, Jack Nicholson

as Eugene O’Neill in Reds, Geoffrey

Rush as the Marquis de Sade in Quills,

Javier Bardem as Reinaldo Arenas in

Before Night Falls, Judi Dench as Iris

Murdoch in Iris, and Christopher

Plummer as Leo Tolstoy in The Last

Station. Recent years have also

brought us Anne Hathaway as Jane

Austen in Becoming Jane, Ben Whishaw

as John Keats in Bright Star, Daniel Radcliffe

as Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings, Ralph

Fiennes as Charles Dickens in The Invisible

Woman, Dan Stevens as Dickens in The Man

Who Invented Christmas, Sam Riley as Jack

Kerouac in On the Road, Cynthia Nixon as

Emily Dickinson in A Quiet Passion, and Jason

Segel as David Foster Wallace in The End of

the Tour.

Who says writers don’t get enough respect?

MAY 2019

135


ON SCREEN

MAY 10 / NEON / LIMITED

>> This festival darling centers on John

and Molly Chester, who buy 200 acres of

depleted land in the foothills of Ventura

County, California, after they’re evicted

from their L.A. apartment. John Chester

himself directed the documentary

account of their eight-year effort to create

a diverse and thriving farm filled with

orchard trees, 200 different crops, and a

menagerie of animals.

FEATURING JOHN CHESTER, MOLLY CHES-

TER RATING PG RUNNING TIME 91 MIN.

MAY 17 / SAMUEL GOLDWYN

FILMS / LIMITED

>> In director Collin Schiffli’s drama,

an impoverished couple in Los Angeles

find themselves spiraling downward

and fleeing the police after a series

of rash decisions. A dark change of

pace for co-lead Karen Gillan, who

starred in Guardians of the Galaxy and

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

CAST KAREN GILLAN, DAVID

DASTMALCHIAN, JENNIFER MORRISON,

JOHN DOE, DAVID KOECHNER RATING

NOT RATED RUNNING TIME 91 MIN.

MAY 17 / UNIVERSAL /

WIDE

>> You may think you’ve

already seen this film, but

that was A Dog’s Way Home,

released by Sony this past

January. Now, Universal follows

2017’s A Dog’s Purpose with

this saga of a devoted canine

who finds meaning through

his interactions with a range of

human beings. All three films

are based on best sellers by

author W. Bruce Cameron. TV

director Gail Mancuso guided

this outing.

CAST JOSH GAD, DENNIS QUAID,

MARG HELGENBERGER, BETTY

GILPIN, HENRY LAU RATING TBA

RUNNING TIME TBA

136 MAY 2019


MAY 17 / LIONSGATE / WIDE

>> Keanu Reeves’s action franchise

keeps rolling, as super-assassin John

Wick tries to elude a cadre of trained

killers after he kills a member of a

vicious secret guild and a $14 million

bounty is placed on his head. Whoa!

Stunt maestro Chad Stahelski returns for

the third time to direct the mayhem.

CAST KEANU REEVES, HALLE BERRY,

ANJELICA HUSTON, LAURENCE

FISHBURNE, IAN MCSHANE, LANCE

REDDICK, JASON MANTZOUKAS, ASIA

KATE DILLON RATING TBA RUNNING

TIME TBA

MAY 2019

137


ON SCREEN

MAY 17 / WARNER BROS. / WIDE

>> In this topical teen romance from director Ry Russo-Young,

two strangers, Daniel and Rebecca, meet in New York City and

immediately fall in love. But Rebecca is Jamaican and fighting

her family’s imminent deportation from the U.S. Will their

budding romance survive? Lead actress Yara Shahidi stars on the

“Black-ish” spinoff “Grown-ish” and is known for her activism.

CAST YARA SHAHIDI, CHARLES MELTON, GBENGA AKINNAGBE, JAKE

CHOI RATING PG-13 RUNNING TIME TBA

MAY 17 / BRAINSTORM MEDIA / LIMITED

>> Two sisters and their uncle are the sole survivors of an arsenic

poisoning that killed the rest of their family. Though shunned by

the town, the women live peacefully—until the arrival of their

cousin Charles drives a wedge between them. Stacie Passon directed

this adaptation of suspense master Shirley Jackson’s 1962 novel.

FEATURING TAISSA FARMIGA, ALEXANDRA DADDARIO, SEBASTIAN

STAN, CRISPIN GLOVER, PAULA MALCOMSON RATING NOT RATED

RUNNING TIME 90 MIN.

MAY 17 / AMAZON STUDIOS / LIMITED

>> A Mumbai street photographer recruits a young woman

to pose as his fiancée when his meddling grandmother comes

to visit. Then the two find themselves bonding in unexpected

ways. Writer-director Ritesh Batra scored an art house hit in

2014 with The Lunchbox, a similarly gentle tale of

human connection.

FEATURING NAWAZUDDIN SIDDIQUI, SANYA MALHOTRA, FARRUKH

JAFFAR, AKASH SINHA RATING PG-13 RUNNING TIME 110 MIN.

138 MAY 2019


MAY 17 / ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS /

LIMITED

>> Edward Zwick (Glory, Legends of the Fall)

directed this true-life drama about a Houston

mother investigating the flaws in the defense of a

young, uneducated death-row inmate convicted of

an arson-related triple homicide.

CAST LAURA DERN, JACK O’CONNELL, EMILY MEADE,

JEFF PERRY, CHRIS COY RATING R RUNNING TIME 127

MIN.

MAY 17 / BLEECKER STREET / LIMITED

>> Multi-Emmy winners John Lithgow and Blythe Danner pair

for the first time in this tale of the relationship between a man

consumed with preparations for an imagined disaster and a woman

who’s a compulsive shopper. At least their shelter will be well

stocked. Noble Jones is the writer-director.

CAST JOHN LITHGOW, BLYTHE DANNER, KATIE ASELTON, DEREK CECIL,

SOPHIE THATCHER RATING PG-13 RUNNING TIME 94 MIN.

MAY 24 / 20TH CENTURY FOX / WIDE

>> An astronaut journeys to the far reaches of the solar system in search of his father

and the solution to a mystery that could impact the future of the planet Earth. A sci-fi

change of pace for The Lost City of Z and Two Lovers director James Gray.

CAST BRAD PITT, TOMMY LEE JONES, DONALD SUTHERLAND, RUTH NEGGA, KIMBERLY ELISE,

JAMIE KENNEDY RATING TBA RUNNING TIME TBA

MAY 2019

139


ON SCREEN

MAY 24 / UNITED ARTISTS RELEASING / WIDE

>> On the day before their high school graduation, two overachievers

suddenly realize how much fun they’ve been missing and vow to make up for

lost time. Actor Olivia Wilde’s raucous feature directing debut was a hit at

the recent South by Southwest festival.

CAST KAITLYN DEVER, BEANIE FELDSTEIN, JESSICA WILLIAMS, JASON SUDEIKIS,

LISA KUDROW, WILL FORTE, BILLIE LOURD, SKYLER GISONDO, NOAH GALVIN,

MOLLY GORDON RATING TBA RUNNING TIME 105 MIN.

HALSTON

MAY 24 / 1091 / LIMITED

>> This documentary tracks the rise and fall of pioneering fashion

designer Roy Halston Frowick, a familiar face from Studio 54’s heyday

who eventually succumbed to a $2,000-a-week cocaine addiction and

the AIDS epidemic. Director Frédéric Tcheng previously brought us

the fashion docs Dior and I and Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel.

FEATURING TAVI GEVINSON, LIZA MINNELLI, MARISA BERENSON,

JOEL SCHUMACHER, PAT CLEVELAND RATING NOT RATED RUNNING

TIME 120 MIN.

140 MAY 2019


MAY 24 / DISNEY / WIDE

>> One of Disney’s most popular animated musical classics from the ’90s gets a live-action makeover. It chronicles wily street

kid Aladdin’s encounters with the beautiful Princess Jasmine and a rambunctious genie. Will Smith takes over for the late Robin

Williams in the latter role. Guy Ritchie directed the Arabian fantasy.

CAST WILL SMITH, MENA MASSOUD, NAOMI SCOTT, MARWAN KENZARI,

BILLY MAGNUSSEN, NASIM PEDRAD, NAVID NEGAHBAN, ALAN TUDYK

RATING TBA RUNNING TIME TBA

MAY 2019

141


ON SCREEN

MAY 24 / SONY-COLUMBIA / WIDE

>> A couple secretly takes in an infant

that has crash-landed on Earth from outer

space and lives to regret it when their

adopted child begins to exercise diabolical

superpowers. Guardians of the Galaxy

director James Gunn produced this sci-fi/

horror thriller, written by his brother Brian

and his cousin Mark.

CAST ELIZABETH BANKS, DAVID DENMAN,

JACKSON A. DUNN, MATT JONES, MEREDITH

HAGNER RATING TBA RUNNING TIME TBA

142 MAY 2019


MAY 31 / SONY PICTURES

CLASSICS / LIMITED

>> Veteran Quebec filmmaker

Denys Arcand returns with

this perhaps presciently titled

comedy. A doctor of philosophy,

forced to work as a delivery man,

has the opportunity to abscond

with millions of dollars when he’s

caught in the middle of a robbery

gone fatally wrong. Arcand

earned an Oscar nomination for

his screenplay for 2003’s The Barbarian

Invasions and brought us

the acclaimed The Decline of the

American Empire in 1986.

CAST ALEXANDRE LANDRY,

MARIPIER MORIN, RÉMY GIRARD,

ANOULITH SINTHARAPHONE

RATING R RUNNING TIME 127

MIN.

MAY 2019

143


ON SCREEN

MAY 31 / UNIVERSAL / WIDE

>> The endearing Octavia Spencer goes dark in

this horror thriller about a lonely Ohio woman

who opens her home to a group of teenagers

looking for a place to hang out and indulge in

underage drinking. But there’s a price to be paid

for her curious hospitality. Director and co-writer

Tate Taylor guided Spencer to an Oscar in 2011’s

The Help.

CAST OCTAVIA SPENCER, LUKE EVANS, DIANA SILVER,

MISSI PYLE, MCKALEY MILLER, JULIETTE LEWIS

RATING R RUNNING TIME TBA

MAY 31 / WARNER BROS. / WIDE

>> Star of nearly three dozen films, the giant sea monster

that debuted memorably in 1954 is back for another round

of rampaging action, and he’s got company: the fearsome

Mothra, Rodan, and the three-headed King Ghidorah. Will

humanity survive? Director Michael Doughery (Krampus)

orchestrates the commotion.

CAST KYLE CHANDLER, VERA FARMIGA, MILLIE BOBBY BROWN,

BRADLEY WHITFORD, SALLY HAWKINS, CHARLES DANCE,

THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH, O’SHEA JACKSON JR., KEN WATANABE,

ZIYI ZHANG, ANTHONY RAMOS, DAVID STRATHAIRN RATING

PG-13 RUNNING TIME TBA

144 MAY 2019


MAY 2019

145


ON SCREEN

MAY 31 / PARAMOUNT / WIDE

>> Following the Oscar-nominated success of Bohemian Rhapsody,

another flamboyant pop music star gets his own biopic: Elton John,

born as Reginald Dwight, whose indelible canon includes more

than 50 top-40 hits and seven consecutive number-one albums.

Though John and his husband, David Furnish, are producers, the

film doesn’t shy from the superstar’s battle with cocaine addiction.

Kingsman: The Secret Service star Taron Egerton does his own singing

in this fantasy-tinged project directed by Dexter Fletcher, who

finished Bohemian Rhapsody after the departure of Bryan Singer.

CAST TARON EGERTON, JAMIE BELL, RICHARD MADDEN, BRYCE

DALLAS HOWARD, GEMMA JONES, STEPHEN GRAHAM, TATE

DONOVAN, CHARLIE ROWE RATING TBA RUNNING TIME TBA

146 MAY 2019


JUNE 7 / 20TH CENTURY FOX / WIDE

>> In the fourth prequel to the original 2000

X-Men, the action centers on the fate of Jean

Grey (Sophie Turner of “Game of Thrones”),

who acquires formidable but highly unstable

superpowers after a near-fatal accident in outer

space. Longtime writer-producer Simon Kinberg

makes his directing debut with this 12th entry in

the Marvel series that also includes Logan and the

Deadpool films.

CAST JAMES MCAVOY, MICHAEL FASSBENDER,

JENNIFER LAWRENCE, NICHOLAS HOULT, SOPHIE

TURNER, JESSICA CHASTAIN, EVAN PETERS, TYE

SHERIDAN, ALEXANDRA SHIPP, KODI SMIT-MCPHEE

RATING TBA RUNNING TIME TBA

X-CELLENT RETURNS

Now that Disney’s acquisition of

20th Century Fox has been completed,

Fox’s denizens of the

Marvel universe, the X-Men, are

free to join their Marvel-Disney

brethren in future adventures

from that blockbuster label. The

X-Men series, which includes

spin-off features starring Wolverine

and Deadpool, has been

a lucrative one for Fox, as these

domestic stats attest. The latest,

Dark Phoenix, opens on June 7.

FILM DOMESTIC WORLDWIDE

X-Men 2000 $157,299,717 $296,339,527

X2: X-Men United 2003 $214,949,694 $407,711,549

X-Men: The Last Stand 2006 $234,362,462 $459,359,555

X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2009 $179,883,157 $373,062,864

X-Men: First Class 2011 $146,408,305 $353,624,124

The Wolverine 2013 $132,556,852 $414,828,246

X-Men: Days of Future Past 2014 $233,921,534 $747,862,775

Deadpool 2016 $363,070,709 $783,112,979

X-Men: Apocalypse 2016 $155,442,489 $543,934,787

Logan 2017 $226,277,068 $619,021,436

Deadpool 2 2018 $324,591,735 $785,046,920

MAY 2019

147


ON SCREEN

JUNE 7 / UNIVERSAL / WIDE

>> Illumination Entertainment’s 2016 animated comedy earned

$368 million domestically from an irresistible concept: what our

pets get up to when we’re not around to discipline them. Tiffany

Haddish and Harrison Ford join the voice cast as dogs named

Daisy and Rooster. Illumination veteran Chris Renaud (Despicable

Me, Despicable Me 2) returns as director.

VOICE CAST KEVIN HART, JENNY SLATE, ERIC STONESTREET,

TIFFANY HADDISH, HARRISON FORD, ELLIE KEMPER, LAKE BELL,

DANA CARVEY, HANNIBAL BURESS, BOBBY MOYNIHAN, PATTON

OSWALT RATING PG RUNNING TIME TBA

JUNE 7 / AMAZON STUDIOS / LIMITED

>> Mindy Kaling (Ocean’s Eight, TV’s “The

Office” and “The Mindy Project”) made a splash

at Sundance 2019 with her first feature screenplay,

a comedy about a celebrated late-night talk show

host (Emma Thompson) who hires her first female,

non-white staff writer (Kaling) and experiences a

culture clash. Nisha Ganatra (“Transparent,” “Better

Things”) directs.

CAST MINDY KALING, EMMA THOMPSON, AMY RYAN,

MEGALYN ECHIKUNWOKE, MAX CASELLA, JOHN

LITHGOW, IKE BARINHOLTZ, HUGH DANCY, DENIS

O’HARE RATING TBA RUNNING TIME 100 MIN.

148 MAY 2019


JUNE 14 / FOCUS FEATURES / WIDE

>> Veteran indie director Jim Jarmusch (Mystery Train, Dead

Man), who brought us elegant vampires in Only Lovers Left Alive,

returns to the supernatural with this horror comedy about a zombie

invasion. Bill Murray, Adam Driver, and Tilda Swinton head what

is billed as “the greatest zombie cast ever disassembled.”

CAST BILL MURRAY, ADAM DRIVER, TILDA SWINTON, CHLOË

SEVIGNY, STEVE BUSCEMI, DANNY GLOVER, CALEB LANDRY JONES,

ROSIE PEREZ, IGGY POP, SARA DRIVER, RZA, SELENA GOMEZ, CAROL

KANE, TOM WAITS RATING R RUNNING TIME TBA

JUNE 14 / A24 / LIMITED

>> In this semiautobiographical

drama, a black man yearns to reclaim

the Victorian house built by

his grandfather in the now-gentrified

Fillmore District of San Francisco.

Director Joe Talbot’s evocative portrait

of a changing city earned praise at the

2019 Sundance Film Festival.

CAST JIMMIE FAILS, TICHINA ARNOLD,

DANNY GLOVER, MIKE EPPS, THORA

BIRCH, FINN WITROCK, ROB MORGAN

RATING R RUNNING TIME TBA

MAY 2019

149


ON SCREEN

JUNE 14 / SONY-COLUMBIA /

WIDE

>> Seven years after Men in Black

3 brought us Josh Brolin as a young

Tommy Lee Jones, the sci-fi/comedy

franchise returns with Marvel

superheroes Chris Hemsworth and

Tessa Thompson taking over the fight

against extraterrestrial aggressors. But

there’s a mole in the organization—

and in this world, it’s probably a mole

with whiskers. F. Gary Gray (The

Fate of the Furious, Straight Outtta

Compton) directs.

CAST CHRIS HEMSWORTH, TESSA

THOMPSON, LIAM NEESON, REBECCA

FERGUSON, KUMAIL NANJIANI, EMMA

THOMPSON, RAFE SPALL RATING TBA

RUNNING TIME TBA

JUNE 14 / WARNER BROS./ WIDE

>> In 2000, Samuel L. Jackson introduced

NYC detective John Shaft, nephew of

the 1970s cop immortalized by Richard

Roundtree and an Oscar-winning Isaac

Hayes theme song. Now Shaft’s son JJ, a

cyber-security expert with a degree from

MIT, recruits his streetwise dad for help in

solving his best friend’s murder. Tim Story

(Ride Along, Barbershop) directed. We hear

that cat Shaft is a bad mutha …

CAST SAMUEL L. JACKSON, JESSIE T. USHER,

REGINA HALL, ALEXANDRA SHIPP, MATT

LAURIA, CLIFF “METHOD MAN” SMITH, LUNA

LAUREN VELEZ, RICHARD ROUNDTREE

RATING R RUNNING TIME TBA

JUNE 14 / ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS &

VERTICAL ENTERTAINMENT / LIMITED

>> Sienna Miller stars as a rural Pennsylvania

woman whose life changes dramatically when her

teenage daughter goes missing and she must raise

her infant grandson. You know time is fleeting

when Sienna Miller is playing a grandmother.

Jake Scott, Ridley’s son, directed.

CAST SIENNA MILLER, CHRISTINA HENDRICKS,

AARON PAUL, WILL SASSO, AMY MADIGAN, PAT

HEALY, ALEX NEUSTAEDTER RATING R RUNNING

TIME 111 MIN.

150 MAY 2019


COMING IN THE JUNE ISSUE OF BOXOFFICE

MAY 2019

151


BOOKING GUIDE

TOY STORY 4

Fri, 6/21/19 WIDE

C Tom Hanks, Tim Allen

D Josh Cooley

G · Ani · 3D/IMAX

THE LION KING

Fri, 7/19/19 WIDE

C Donald Glover, Beyoncé

D Jon Favreau

NR · Fan

ARTEMIS FOWL

Fri, 8/9/19 WIDE

C Ferdia Shaw, Josh Gad

D Kenneth Branagh

NR · Fan · 3D

DISNEY

ARTEMIS FOWL

AUG. 9, 2019

JUDI DENCH

JUNGLE CRUISE

Fri, 10/11/19 WIDE

C Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt

D Jaume Collet-Serra

NR · Act/Adv

A24

646-568-6015

THE SOUVENIR

Fri, 5/17/19 LTD.

C Honor Swinton Byrne,

Tom Burke

D Joanna Hogg

R · Dra

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN

SAN FRANCISCO

Fri, 6/14/19 LTD.

C Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors

D Joe Talbot

R · Dra

MIDSOMMAR

Fri, 7/3/19 LTD.

C Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor

D Ari Aster

R · Hor

THE SERENGETI RULES

Fri, 5/10/19 LTD.

D Nicolas Brown

NR · Doc

AMAZON STUDIOS

310-573-0652

brian.flanagan@amazonstudios.com

PHOTOGRAPH

Fri, 5/17/19 LTD.

C Nawazuddin Siddiqui,

Sanya Malhotra

D Ritesh Batra

PG-13 · Rom/Dra

LATE NIGHT

Fri, 6/7/19 LTD.

C Emma Thompson,

Mindy Kaling

D Nisha Ganatra

R · Com

AVIRON PICTURES

THE INFORMER

Fri, 8/16/19 LTD.

C Joel Kinnaman,

Rosamund Pike

D Andrea Di Stefano

NR · Cri/Dra

BLEECKER STREET

THE TOMORROW MAN

Fri, 5/17/19 LTD.

C John Lithgow, Blythe Danner

D Noble Jones

PG-13 · Rom

THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE

Fri, 7/21/19 LTD.

C Jesse Eisenberg,

Alessandro Nivola

D Riley Stearns

NR · Com

FROZEN 2

Wed, 11/22/19 WIDE

C Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell

D Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck

NR · Ani · 3D

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF

SKYWALKER

Fri, 12/20/19 WIDE

C Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver

D J.J. Abrams

NR · Act/Adv/SF

3D/IMAX/Dolby Dig

UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE

ACTION

Fri, 2/14/20 WIDE

NR

ONWARD

Fri, 3/6/20 WIDE

C Chris Pratt, Tom Holland

D Dan Scanlon

NR · Ani · 3D

THE FAREWELL

Fri, 7/12/19 LTD.

C Awkwafina, Diana Lin

D Lulu Wang

PG · Com/Dra/Fam

ABRAMORAMA

914-741-1818

BOLDEN

Fri, 5/3/19 LTD.

C Gary Carr, Ian McShane

D Dan Pritzker

NR · Dra/Mus

ONE CHILD NATION

Fri, 8/9/19 LTD.

D Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang

NR · Doc

BRITTANY RUNS A

MARATHON

Fri, 8/23/19 LTD.

C Jillian Bell, Michaela Watkins

D Paul Downs Colaizzo

NR · Com/Dra

BRIAN BANKS

Fri, 8/9/19 LTD.

C Aldis Hodge, Greg Kinnear

D Tom Shadyac

NR · Dra

DISNEY

818-560-1000

Ask for Distribution

ALADDIN

Fri, 5/24/19 WIDE

C Will Smith, Mena Massoud

D Guy Ritchie

PG · Act/Adv/Com

MULAN

Fri, 3/27/20 WIDE

NR

Fan/Act/Adv · 3D/IMAX

UNTITLED MARVEL FILM

Fri, 5/1/20 WIDE

NR · 3D

MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF

EVIL

Fri, 5/29/20 WIDE

C Angelina Jolie

D Joachim Rønning

NR · Fan

152 MAY 2019


ENTERTAINMENT

STUDIOS MOTION

PICTURES

310-277-3500

Ask for Distribution

BETHANY HAMILTON:

UNSTOPPABLE

Fri, 6/12/19 LTD.

D Aaron Lieber

NR · Doc

47 METERS DOWN:

UNCAGED

Fri, 8/16/19 WIDE

C John Corbett, Nia Long

D Johannes Roberts

NR · Hor/Thr

ALL RISE

Fri, 9/27/19 WIDE

C Jennifer Hudson,

Kelvin Harrison Jr.

D Anthony Mandler

NR · Dra

FOX

STUBER

JULY 12, 2019

KUMAIL NANJIANI & DAVE BAUTISTA

ARCTIC DOGS

Fri, 11/1/19 WIDE

C Jeremy Renner, James Franco

D Aaron Woodley

PG · Ani

FOCUS FEATURES

424-214-636

THE DEAD DON’T DIE

Fri, 6/14/19 WIDE

C Bill Murray, Adam Driver

D Jim Jarmusch

R · Hor

DOWNTON ABBEY

Fri, 9/20/19 WIDE

C Hugh Bonneville,

Laura Carmichael

D Michael Engler

PG · Dra

FOX

310-369-1000 · 212-556-2400

AD ASTRA

Fri, 5/24/19 WIDE

C Brad Pitt

D James Gray

NR · SF/Thr

X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX

Fri, 6/7/19 WIDE

C Sophie Turner,

Jennifer Lawrence

D Simon Kinberg

NR · Act/Adv/SF

STUBER

Fri, 7/12/19 WIDE

C Dave Bautista,

Kumail Nanjiani

D Michael Dowse

NR · Act/Com

THE NEW MUTANTS

Fri, 8/2/19 WIDE

C Anya Taylor-Joy,

Maisie Williams

D Josh Boone

NR · Act/Hor/SF

SPIES IN DISGUISE

Fri, 9/13/19 WIDE

C Will Smith, Tom Holland

D Nick Bruno & Troy Quane

NR · Ani

THE ART OF RACING IN THE

RAIN

Fri, 9/27/19 WIDE

NR

THE WOMAN IN THE

WINDOW

Fri, 10/4/19 WIDE

C Amy Adams

D Joe Wright

NR · Cri/Dra/Mys

UNTITLED JAMES MANGOLD

Fri, 11/15/19 WIDE

C Matt Damon, Christian Bale

D James Mangold

NR · Dra

THE CALL OF THE WILD

Wed, 12/25/19 WIDE

NR · Dra

UNTITLED KINGSMAN

MOVIE

Fri, 2/14/20 WIDE

D Matthew Vaughn

NR · Act/Adv

NIMONA

Fri, 2/14/20 WIDE

D Patrick Osborne

NR · Ani

GAMBIT

Fri, 3/13/20 WIDE

C Channing Tatum

NR · Act/Adv/SF

UNTITLED FOX/MARVEL

FILM

Fri, 6/26/20 WIDE

FOX SEARCHLIGHT

212-556-2400

TOLKIEN

Fri, 5/10/19 LTD.

C Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins

D Dome Karukoski

PG-13 · Dra/Bio

FREESTYLE RELEASING

310-277-3500

Ask for Distribution

BARDO BLUES

Fri, 5/3/19 LTD.

C Stephen McClintic,

Brian Gross

D Marcia Kimpton

NR

GOOD DEED

ENTERTAINMENT

TELL IT TO THE BEES

Fri, 5/3/19 LTD.

NR

NIGHTMARE CINEMA

Fri, 6/21/19 LTD.

C Mickey Rourke,

Annabeth Gish

D Various

R

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING

Fri, 6/28/19 LTD.

NR

GREENWICH

ENTERTAINMENT

ECHO IN THE CANYON

Fri, 5/24/19 LTD.

C Jakob Dylan

D Andrew Slater

NR

Doc/Mus

MAY 2019

153


BOOKING GUIDE

MIDWAY

Fri, 11/8/19 WIDE

C Woody Harrelson,

Patrick Wilson

D Roland Emmerich

NR · Act/Dra/War

KNIVES OUT

Fri, 11/27/19 WIDE

C Daniel Craig, Chris Evans

D Rian Johnson

NR · Dra/Sus

UNTITLED CHARLES

RANDOLPH FILM

Fri, 12/20/19 WIDE

C Charlize Theron,

Margot Robbie

D Jay Roach

NR · Dra/Bio

LIONSGATE

RAMBO: LAST BLOOD

SEPT. 20, 2019

SYLVESTER STALLONE

RUN

Fri, 1/24/20 WIDE

C Sarah Paulson, Kiera Allen

D Aneesh Chaganty

NR · Sus

IFC FILMS

bookings@ifcfilms.com

NON-FICTION

Fri, 5/3/19 LTD.

C Juliette Binoche,

Guillaume Canet

D Olivier Assayas

NR · Dra/Com

CHARLIE SAYS

Fri, 5/10/19 LTD.

C Suki Waterhouse,

Hannah Murray

D Mary Harron

R · Dra

FRAMING JOHN DELOREAN

Fri, 6/7/19 LTD.

C Alec Baldwin,

Morena Baccarin

D Don Argott, Sheena M. Joyce

NR · Doc

HAMPSTEAD

Fri, 6/14/19 LTD.

C Diane Keaton,

Brendan Gleeson

D Joel Hopkins

NR · Dra

THE QUIET ONE

Fri, 6/21/19 LTD.

C Bill Wyman

D Oliver Murray

NR · Doc

SWORD OF TRUST

Fri, 7/12/19 LTD.

C Marc Maron, Jillian Bell

D Lynn Shelton

NR · Com

KINO LORBER

PASOLINI

Fri, 5/10/19 LTD.

C Willem Dafoe

D Abel Ferrara

NR · Dra

WALKING ON WATER

Fri, 5/17/19 LTD.

D Andrey Paounov

NR · Doc

THE MOUNTAIN

Fri, 7/26/19 LTD.

C Jeff Goldblum, Tye Sheridan

D Rick Alverson

NR · Dra

LIONSGATE

310-309-8400

LONG SHOT

Fri, 5/3/19 WIDE

C Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron

D Jonathan Levine

R · Com

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 –

PARABELLUM

Fri, 5/17/19 WIDE

C Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry

D Chad Stahelski

R · Act

ANNA

Fri, 6/21/19 LTD.

C Sasha Luss, Helen Mirren

D Luc Besson

NR · Act

SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN

THE DARK

Fri, 8/9/19 WIDE

C Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza

D André Øvredal

NR · Hor/Sus

LAS PÍLDORAS DE MI NOVIO

(MY BOYFRIEND’S MEDS)

Fri, 8/30/19 WIDE

C Jaime Camil,

Sandra Echeverría

D Diego Kaplan

NR · Com

RAMBO: LAST BLOOD

Fri, 9/20/19 WIDE

C Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega

D Adrian Grunberg

NR · Act

I STILL BELIEVE

Fri, 3/20/20 WIDE

C Jon Erwin, Andrew Erwin

NR · Dra

MAGNOLIA PICTURES

212-379-9704

Neal Block

nblock@magpictures.com

ASK DR. RUTH

Fri, 5/3/19 LTD.

D Ryan White

NR · Doc

ANIARA

Fri, 5/17/19 LTD.

C Emelie Jonsson,

Arvin Kananian

D Pella Kågerman, Hugo Lilja

NR · SF

MIKE WALLACE IS HERE

Fri, 7/26/19 LTD.

D Avi Belkin

NR · Doc

MYCINEMA

480-430-7017

LILA’S BOOK

Fri, 5/3/19 LTD.

C Leonor Gonzalez, Jorge

Herrera

D Marcela Rincón González

NR · Ani/Fam/Adv

154 MAY 2019


THE CHAPERONE

Fri, 5/9/19 LTD.

C Elizabeth McGovern,

Haley Lu Richardson

D Michael Engler

NR · Dra

LOUIS AND LUCA: THE BIG

CHEESE RACE

Fri, 5/17/19 LTD.

C Kari Ann Grønsund,

Trond Høvik

D Rasmus A. Sivertsen

NR · Ani

CHAMPS

Fri, 5/18/19 LTD.

C Raúl Adalid, Pierre Angelo

D Lourdes Deschamps

NR · Dra/Sports

NEON

hal@neonrated.com

THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM

Fri, 5/10/19 LTD.

C John Chester, Molly Chester

D John Chester

PG · Doc

THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIES

Fri, 6/6/19 LTD.

C The Nasty Boyz

D Gene Graham

NR · Doc/Mus

WILD ROSE

Fri, 6/14/19 LTD.

C Julie Walters, Jessie Buckley

D Tom Harper

NR · Dra/Com/Mus

LUCE

Fri, 8/2/19 LTD.

C Naomi Watts,

Octavia Spencer

D Julius Onah

NR · Dra/Thr

1091

Richard Matson

323-540-5476

rmatson@theorchard.com

MEETING GORBACHEV

Fri, 5/3/19 LTD.

D Werner Herzog,

Andre Singer

NR · Doc

HALSTON

Fri, 5/24/19 LTD.

D Frédéric Tcheng

NR · Doc

PARAMOUNT

DORA AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD

AUG. 2, 2019

EVA LONGORIA, ISABELA MONER & MICHAEL PEÑA

THEM THAT FOLLOW

Fri, 6/21/19 LTD.

C Olivia Colman, Kaitlyn Dever

D Britt Poulton,

Dan Madison Savage

R · Thr

OSCILLOSCOPE

LABORATORIES

212-219-4029

THE PROPOSAL

Fri, 7/24/19 LTD.

D Jill Magid

NR · Doc

JAY MYSELF

Fri, 7/31/19 LTD.

D Stephen Wilkes

NR · Doc

MIDNIGHT TRAVELER

Fri, 9/18/19 LTD.

NR · Doc

PARAMOUNT

323-956-5000

ROCKETMAN

Fri, 5/31/19 WIDE

C Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell

D Dexter Fletcher

NR · Bio/Dra

CRAWL

Fri, 7/12/19 WIDE

NR · Hor

DORA AND THE LOST CITY

OF GOLD

Fri, 8/2/19 WIDE

C Isabela Moner, Eugenio

Derbez

D James Bobin

NR · Adv

GEMINI MAN

Fri, 10/11/19 WIDE

C Will Smith,

Mary Elizabeth Winstead

D Ang Lee

NR · Act/Thr

TERMINATOR: DARK FATE

Fri, 11/1/19 WIDE

C Arnold Schwarzenegger,

Linda Hamilton

D Tim Miller

NR · Act/SF

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

Fri, 11/8/19 WIDE

C James Marsden,

Ben Schwartz

D Jeff Fowler

NR · Ani/Adv/Com

RHYTHM SECTION

Fri, 11/22/19 WIDE

C Blake Lively

D Reed Morano

NR · Thr

LIMITED PARTNERS

Fri, 1/10/20 WIDE

C Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne

NR · Com

THE LOVEBIRDS

Fri, 3/6/20 WIDE

NR · Rom/Com

PLAYING WITH FIRE

Fri, 3/20/20 WIDE

NR · Com

GI JOE

Fri, 3/27/20 WIDE

NR · Act/Adv

UNTITLED A QUIET PLACE

SEQUEL

Fri, 5/15/20 WIDE

NR

ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS

323-882-8490

TRIAL BY FIRE

Fri, 5/17/19 WIDE

C Jack O’Connell, Laura Dern

D Edward Zwick

NR · Dra

AMERICAN WOMAN

Fri, 6/14/19 WIDE

C Sienna Miller,

Christina Hendricks

D Jake Scott

NR · Dra

MAY 2019

155


BOOKING GUIDE

SONY

CHARLIE’S ANGELS

NOV. 15, 2019

NAOMI SCOTT, KRISTEN STEWART, ELLA BALINSKA

MARIANNE & LEONARD:

WORDS OF LOVE

Fri, 7/5/19 WIDE

D Nick Broomfield

NR · Doc

JUDY

Fri, 9/27/19 WIDE

C Renee Zellweger

D Rupert Goold

NR · Bio

THE LAST FULL MEASURE

Fri, 10/25/19 WIDE

SAMUEL GOLDWYN FILMS

ALL CREATURES HERE

BELOW

Fri, 5/17/19 WIDE

C Karen Gillan,

David Dastmalchian

D Collin Schiffli

NR · Dra

SONY

212-833-8500

THE INTRUDER

Fri, 5/3/19 WIDE

C Michael Ealy, Meagan Good

D Deon Taylor

PG-13 · Hor/Dra/Thr

BRIGHTBURN

Fri, 5/24/19 WIDE

C Elizabeth Banks,

David Denman

D David Yarovesky

NR · Hor

MEN IN BLACK:

INTERNATIONAL

Fri, 6/14/19 WIDE

C Chris Hemsworth,

Tessa Thompson

D F. Gary Gray

NR · SF/Act/Com

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM

HOME

Fri, 7/2/19 WIDE

C Tom Holland, Michael Keaton

D Jon Watts

NR · Act/Adv/SF/Com

ONCE UPON A TIME IN

HOLLYWOOD

Fri, 7/26/19 WIDE

C Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt

D Quentin Tarantino

NR · Dra

THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2

Fri, 8/14/19 WIDE

C Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad

D Thurop Van Orman,

John Rice

NR · Ani

OVERCOMER

Fri, 8/23/19 WIDE

C Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer

D Alex Kendrick

PG · Dra/Rel

BLACK AND BLUE

Fri, 9/20/19 WIDE

C Naomie Harris

D Deon Taylor

NR · Act

ZOMBIELAND 2: DOUBLE TAP

Fri, 10/11/19 WIDE

C Emma Stone,

Woody Harrelson

D Ruben Fleischer

NR · Act/Hor/Com

CHARLIE’S ANGELS

Fri, 11/15/19 WIDE

C Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott

D Elizabeth Banks

NR · Act/Com

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE

NEIGHBORHOOD

Fri, 11/22/19 WIDE

C Tom Hanks

D Marielle Heller

NR · Dra

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE

JUNGLE SEQUEL

Fri, 12/13/19 WIDE

C Dwayne Johnson

NR · Com/Act/Adv

LITTLE WOMEN

Fri, 12/25/19 WIDE

D Greta Gerwig

NR · Dra

GRUDGE

Fri, 1/3/20 WIDE

D Nicolas Pesce

NR · Hor

MILLER/LORD PRODUCED

SPA MOVIE

Fri, 1/10/20 WIDE

NR · Ani

BAD BOYS FOR LIFE

Fri, 1/17/20 WIDE

NR · Act

PETER RABBIT 2

Fri, 2/7/20 WIDE

NR · Ani

BLOODSHOT

Fri, 2/21/20 WIDE

NR · Act

UNTITLED SPA ANIMATED

FRANCHISE

Fri, 4/3/20 WIDE

NR · Ani

UNTITLED AFFIRM FILMS

COACH PROJECT

Fri, 4/10/20 WIDE

NR

ESCAPE ROOM 2

Fri, 4/17/20 WIDE

NR · Hor/Thr

GREYHOUND

Fri, 5/8/20 WIDE

C Tom Hanks

Aaron Schneider

NR · Dra/War

SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

Tom Prassis

212-833-4981

ALL IS TRUE

Fri, 5/10/19 LTD.

C Kenneth Branagh,

Judi Dench

D Kenneth Branagh

PG-13 · Dra

FALL OF THE AMERICAN

EMPIRE

Fri, 5/31/19 LTD.

C Alexandre Landry,

Maripier Morin

D Denys Arcand

R · Dra

156 MAY 2019


MAIDEN

Fri, 6/28/19 LTD.

D Alex Holmes

NR · Doc

DAVID CROSBY: REMEMBER

MY NAME

Fri, 7/19/19 LTD.

D A.J. Eaton

NR · Doc

AQUARELA

Fri, 8/16/19 LTD.

D Victor Kossakovsky

PG · Doc

STX ENTERTAINMENT

310-742-2300

UGLYDOLLS

Fri, 5/3/19 WIDE

C Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas

D Kelly Asbury

PG · Ani

UNIVERSAL

MA

MAY 31, 2019

MCKALEY MILLER & OCTAVIA SPENCER

POMS

Fri, 5/10/19 WIDE

C Diane Keaton, Pam Grier

D Zara Hayes

PG-13 · Com

21 BRIDGES

Fri, 7/12/19 WIDE

C Chadwick Boseman

D Brian Kirk

NR · Cri/Thr/Act

THE BOY 2

Fri, 7/26/19 WIDE

C Katie Holmes

NR · Hor/Thr

PLAYMOBIL: THE MOVIE

Fri, 8/30/19 WIDE

C Anya Taylor-Joy,

Daniel Radcliffe

D Lino DiSalvo

NR · Ani/Fam

HUSTLERS

Fri, 9/13/19 WIDE

C Constance Wu,

Jennifer Lopez

D Lorene Scafaria

NR · Dra

UNCORK’D

ENTERTAINMENT

ROOM FOR RENT

Fri, 5/3/19 LTD.

C Lin Shaye, Oliver Rayon

D Tommy Stovall

NR · Hor

UNITED ARTISTS

RELEASING

310-724-5678

Ask for Distribution

THE HUSTLE

Fri, 5/10/19 LTD.

C Anne Hathaway,

Rebel Wilson

D Chris Addison

NR · Com

BOOKSMART

Fri, 5/24/19 WIDE

C Kaitlyn Dever,

Beanie Feldstein

D Olivia Wilde

R · Com

CHILD’S PLAY

Fri, 6/7/19 WIDE

C Aubrey Plaza,

Brian Tyree Henry

D Lars Klevberg

R · Hor

WHERE’D YOU GO

BERNADETTE?

Fri, 8/9/19 WIDE

C Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup

D Richard Linklater

PG-13 · Com/Dra

THE ADDAMS FAMILY

Fri, 10/11/19 WIDE

C Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron

D Conrad Vernon

NR · Ani

BAD TRIP

Fri, 10/25/19 WIDE

C Eric Andre, Lil Rel Howery

NR · Com

UNTITLED JAMES BOND 25

Fri, 4/8/20 WIDE

C Daniel Craig

D Cary Joji Fukunaga

NR · Act/Thr

LEGALLY BLONDE 3

Fri, 5/8/20 WIDE

C Reese Witherspoon

NR · Com

UNIVERSAL

818-777-1000

A DOG’S JOURNEY

Fri, 5/17/19 WIDE

C Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid

D Gail Mancuso

PG · Fam

MA

Fri, 5/31/19 WIDE

C Octavia Spencer,

Diana Silvers

D Tate Taylor

R · Hor

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2

Fri, 6/7/19 WIDE

C Lake Bell, Hannibal Buress

D Chris Renaud

PG · Ani · 3D

YESTERDAY

Fri, 6/28/19 WIDE

C Lily James, Himesh Patel

D Danny Boyle

PG-13 · Com/Mus

FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS:

HOBBS & SHAW

Fri, 8/2/19 WIDE

C Dwayne Johnson,

Jason Statham

D David Leitch

NR · Act/Adv

GOOD BOYS

Fri, 8/16/19 WIDE

C Jacob Tremblay,

Keith L. Williams

D Gene Stupnitsky

R · Com

ABOMINABLE

Fri, 9/27/19 WIDE

C Chloe Bennet

D Jill Culton

NR · Ani

UNTITLED BLUMHOUSE

PRODUCTION

Fri, 9/27/19 WIDE

NR · Hor

THE HUNT

Fri, 10/18/19 WIDE

D Craig Zobel

NR · Act/Thr

MAY 2019

157


BOOKING GUIDE

WARNER BROS.

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS

MAY 31, 2019

LAST CHRISTMAS

Fri, 11/8/19 WIDE

C Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding

D Paul Feig

NR · Rom/Com

QUEEN & SLIM

Fri, 11/27/19 WIDE

NR · Dra/Rom

UNTITLED BLUMHOUSE

PRODUCTIONS

Fri, 12/13/19 WIDE

NR · Hor

CATS

Fri, 12/20/19 WIDE

D Tom Hooper

NR · Mus

1917

Fri, 12/25/19 WIDE

C George McKay,

Dean-Charles Chapman

D Sam Mendes

NR · Dra/War

UNTITLED BLUMHOUSE

PRODUCTIONS

Fri, 1/3/20 WIDE

NR · Hor

THE VOYAGE OF DOCTOR

DOLITTLE

Fri, 1/17/20 WIDE

C Robert Downey, Jr.,

Ralph Fiennes

D Stephen Gaghan

NR · Com

THE PHOTOGRAPH

Fri, 2/14/20 WIDE

C Issa Rae, Lakeith Stanfield

D Stella Meghie

NR · Rom

UNTITLED BLUMHOUSE

PRODUCTIONS

Fri, 3/13/20 WIDE

NR · Hor

FAST & FURIOUS 9

Fri, 5/22/20 WIDE

NR · Act/Adv

TROLLS WORLD TOUR

Fri, 4/17/20 WIDE

C Anna Kendrick,

Justin Timberlake

D Walt Dohrn

NR · Ani

PRAISE THIS

Fri, 9/25/20 WIDE

NR · Com/Mus

VERTICAL

ENTERTAINMENT

THE CONVENT

Fri, 5/3/19 LTD.

C Michael Ironside, Rosie Day

D Paul Hyett

NR · Hor

THE PROFESSOR AND THE

MADMAN

Fri, 5/10/19 LTD.

C Mel Gibson, Sean Penn

D Farhad Safinia

NR

KATIE SAYS GOODBYE

Fri, 6/7/19 LTD.

C Olivia Cooke, Mireille Enos

D Wayne Roberts

NR · Dra

WARNER BROS.

818-977-1850

POKÉMON DETECTIVE

PIKACHU

Fri, 5/10/19 WIDE

C Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith

D Rob Letterman

PG · Adv · 3D

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR

Fri, 5/17/19 WIDE

C Yara Shahidi, Charles Melton

D Ry Russo-Young

PG-13 · Dra/Rom

GODZILLA: KING OF THE

MONSTERS

Fri, 5/31/19 WIDE

C Vera Farmiga,

Millie Bobby Brown

D Michael Dougherty

PG-13 · SF/Act

SHAFT

Fri, 6/14/19 WIDE

C Samuel L. Jackson,

Jessie T. Usher

D Tim Story

R · Act

ANNABELLE COMES HOME

Fri, 7/3/19 WIDE

C McKenna Grace,

Madison Iseman

D Gary Dauberman

NR · Hor

158 MAY 2019


OUR SPONSORS

THE KITCHEN

Fri, 8/9/19 WIDE

C Melissa McCarthy,

Tiffany Haddish

D Andrea Berloff

NR · Cri/Thr

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT

Fri, 8/14/19 WIDE

NR · Bio/Com/Mus

IT: CHAPTER TWO

Fri, 9/6/19 WIDE

C James McAvoy,

Jessica Chastain

D Andy Muschietti

NR · Hor · IMAX

UNTITLED CONJURING

UNIVERSE FILM

Fri, 9/11/19 WIDE

NR · Hor

THE GOLDFINCH

Fri, 9/13/19 WIDE

C Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman

D John Crowley

R · Dra

JOKER

Fri, 10/4/19 WIDE

C Joaquin Phoenix

D Todd Phillips

NR · Act

UNTITLED BEN AFFLECK

MOVIE

Fri, 10/18/19 WIDE

NR

MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN

Fri, 11/1/19 WIDE

NR · Dra

DOCTOR SLEEP

Fri, 11/8/19 WIDE

C Ewan McGregor,

Rebecca Ferguson

D Mike Flanagan

NR · Hor

MARGIE CLAUS

Fri, 11/15/19 WIDE

NR

Com/Mus

THE GOOD LIAR

Fri, 11/15/19 WIDE

C Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren

D Bill Condon

NR · Dra

SUPERINTELLIGENCE

Fri, 12/20/19 WIDE

C Melissa McCarthy,

Bobby Cannavale

D Ben Falcone

PG · Act/Com

JUST MERCY

Fri, 1/17/20 WIDE

C Brie Larson,

Michael B. Jordan

D Destin Daniel Cretton

NR · Dra

UNTITLED BIRDS OF PREY

PROJECT

Fri, 2/7/20 WIDE

C Margot Robbie,

Mary Elizabeth Winstead

D Cathy Yan

NR ·Act/Adv

GODZILLA VS KONG

Fri, 3/13/20 WIDE

NR · SF/Act

UNTITLED DC FILM

Fri, 4/3/20 WIDE

NR · Act/Adv/SF

SCOOBY-DOO ANIMATED

FEATURE

Fri, 5/15/20 WIDE

NR · Com

WELL GO USA

ENTERTAINMENT

SAVAGE

Fri, 5/3/19 LTD.

C Chang Chen, Ni Ni

D Cui Siwei

NR · Act/Cri/Dra

SHADOW

Fri, 5/3/19 LTD.

C Deng Chao, Sun Li

D Zhang Yimou

NR · Act/Dra

Arts Alliance Media 13

Cardinal Sound 160

Christie 15

CineEurope 66

Cineplex Entertainment 49

Cinionic 1

Dolphin Seating 111

Eisenberg/Home Foods Market 31

Enpar 151

GDC Technology 3

Harkness Screens 11

Harkins Theatres 47

Irwin Seating 19

LightSpeedDepth Q 160

MOC Insurance 5

Geneva Convention 23

Omniterm 131

Encore by Palliser

back cover

Proctor Companies 41

QSC 17

Retriever Software 127

Ready Theatre Systems 131

Regal Cinemas 45

Sensible Cinema 160

Sony Pictures 42

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 115

Sonic Equipment 21

Spotlight Cinema Networks 53

Telescopic Seating Systems

inside back cover

VIP Cinema Seating

inside front cover

Webedia Movies Pro 51, 87

Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation 80

MAY 2019

159


MARKETPLACE

Passive Polarization

for 3D Digital Cinema

Fast, Bright, Reliable...

Quality you can Trust.

Over 2,500

locations worldwide.

Patented in the US, EU, CAN & CHINA

HELP WANTED

SENIOR LEVEL CHANNEL ACCOUNT

MANAGER wanted by NEC Display Solutions

for expanding Digital Cinema group.

Seeking minimum 8 years’ experience within

hi-tech, cinema or Pro A/V industry to

drive strategic growth. Field-based, travel

throughout US & Canada required. Apply:

www.necdisplay.com/careers

FOR SALE

VINTAGE TWO-SCREEN MOVIE THEATER,

484 seats with the iconic marquee characteristic

of old movie theaters with updated

digital technology, 2k and 7.1 sound system.

Excellent opportunity for exhibitors

to invest in Puerto Rico in an iconic classic

movie theater. Serious inquiries only. For a

Powerpoint presentation and equipment

list, email to cecilesola46@gmail.com or

call 787-398-0912.

HISTORIC CENTRAL ILLINOIS, 5-SCREEN

MOVIE THEATER. Many upgrades including

digital projection and new seats. Free

municipal and theater-owned parking.

Serious inquires contact Peter (217) 652-

9700.

USED DIGITAL PROJECTORS AND

SOUND EQUIPMENT. 3 Solaria One Plus

projectors with NAS and projector base. 14

JBL stage speakers, 12 JBL surround speakers.

Processors and monitors. Contact:

boothmw@chakerestheatres.com or call

Mark at (937) 323-6447.

USED DIGITAL PROJECTORS, Five complete

booths including sound equipment.

Three years old. Contact seller at moviescope1000@gmail.com.

BISTRO CHAIRS FOR SALE: (392) Red vinyl

and (328) gray vinyl seven year old Seating

Concepts Palermo style in-theatre bistro

chairs to be available in early Spring 2018.

All chairs equipped with tray tables. Some

of the seats will require covers/repairs.

Please contact mhooker@aztcorporation.

comor 972-428-2943 for more information.

TWO BRAND NEW 3000 watts Christie Xenon

lamps for 35mm projectors. Contact:

Atul Desai 949-291-5700.

PREFERRED SEATING COMPANY, your

source for new, used and refurbished

theater and stadium seating. Buying and

selling used seating is our specialty. Call

toll-free 866-922-0226 or visit our website

www.‐preferred-seating.com.

18 SETS OF USED 35MM AUTOMATED

PROJECTION SYSTEM (comes with Projector,

Console, Automation Unit and Platter)

comprising of 10 sets of Christie and 8 sets

of Strong 35mm system available on ‘as is

where is’ basis in Singapore. Contact seller

at engthye_lim@cathay.com.sg

APPROXIMATELY 2,000 SEATS FOR SALE.

MOBILIARIO high-back rockers with cup

holders. Located in Connecticut. Contact

(203)758-2148.

www.depthq3d.com

6 PLEX EQUIPMENT PACKAGE. Six complete

booths digital projectors/sound, 72

speakers, seats, screens/frames, concession

equipment, computers, led signs/marquees,

safe/misc equipment. Serious inquiries

only. For equipment list email contact@digitalequipmenttechnologies.com

or call 801-548-0108 or fax 801-281-0482.

HELP WANTED

TRI STATE THEATRE SUPPLY in Memphis,

TN has openings for experienced Digital

Cinema Techs nationwide. Please send

your resume to include qualifications, certifications

and salary requirements to fred@

tristatetheatre.com

THEATRE MANAGEMENT POSITIONS

AVAILABLE Pacific Northwest Theatre

Company. Previous management experience

required. Work weekends, evenings

and holidays. Send resume and salary history

to movietheatrejobs@gmail.com

POSITIONS AVAILABLE

The three-screen Stavros Niarchos Foundation

Parkway Film Center in Baltimore

is seeking an OPERATIONS DIRECTOR to

oversee all aspects of running the theater

and concessions. The Film Center, a partnership

among the Maryland Film Festival,

Johns Hopkins University and MICA will

open in spring of 2017 and offer a broad

range of the world’s best art-house, independent,

documentary, and classic cinema.

The full job description and application

instructions are found at mdfilmfest.com/

about-the-festival/jobs.php.

160 MAY 2019


CLASSIC AD OCTOBER 16, 1961


CLASSIC COVER AUGUST 11, 1956

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