Boxoffice Pro - September 2019

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The Official Magazine of the National Association of Theatre Owners

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BRIE LARSON STARS IN

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AT THE MOVIES

HOW THE NEXT REVOLUTION

IN DIGITAL TICKETING IS

CHANGING THE CINEMA

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HEARING

THE PICTURE

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TECHNOLOGY IS MAKING

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MICHIGAN’S ANNUAL EVENT

THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THEATRE OWNERS


DANIEL LORIA

JULIEN MARCEL

>> You may have

noticed we have made

some significant

changes to Boxoffice

as we head into next

year’s centennial anniversary.

The merger

with Film Journal

International was the

first step in ensuring

a dynamic new vision

for the magazine;

joining forces with the

industry’s other leading

monthly publication

has allowed us to create

a reference publication

for the exhibition industry. We followed that

with a return to the roots of our brand identity by

bringing back our classic Boxoffice logo, which

originally graced our covers in the 1930s. Our logo

made its debut alongside a complete redesign of

the magazine, launched in March of this year. On

the digital end, we launched a newly redesigned

website in time for CinemaCon. The new site features

an innovative way to interact with box office

figures through data visualizations designed by our

I.T. team at Boxoffice parent company, Webedia

Movies Pro.

As exhibition circuits upgrade their own cinemas,

we’ve made it a priority to do the same for

our legacy brand. For that reason, our most recent

change can be found on the cover of this edition of

the magazine, a return to the Boxoffice Pro we

adopted earlier this decade. As our own company

evolves and expands in the coming years, we found

it important to emphasize the B2B nature of the

publication with a holistic cross-platform brand

identity that brings together our print, digital,

and social media presence under a single entity. As

the Boxoffice brand grows, it’s important for us to

reestablish this publication’s unalloyed dedication

to expressing the interests of the exhibition community.

We believe this Pro branding will help the

industry better associate this publication with our

in-depth business reporting, up-to-the-minute box

office reports, and increasingly popular box office

forecasting and analysis.

We look forward to continuing our commitment

of promoting the theatrical experience

through Boxoffice Pro. As always, thank you

once again for your support of our publication.

Julien Marcel

Chief Executive Officer

The Boxoffice Company

julien@boxoffice.com

2 SEPTEMBER 2019


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2019 VOL. 155 NO. 9

HELLO 2

TRADE TALK 6

Top Women in Global Exhibition 62

EXECUTIVE SUITE 18

GOVERNMENT RELATIONS 22

CHARITY SPOTLIGHT 24

INDIE FOCUS 26

DIGITAL TICKETING 32

GENEVA CONVENTION 2019

MIDWEST HALL OF FAME

Dennis Voy, Rebecca Pattermann, Mike Wozny 38

LARRY D. HANSON AWARD

Gina DiSanto 40

JENNIFER

DOUGLASS

AMC THEATRES

CYNTHIA

PIERCE

AMC THEATRES

KIM

LUECK

MARCUS THEATRES

VENDOR OF THE YEAR

RCM Media 44

TECHNOLOGY

HEARING THE PICTURE

How audio description creates a real movie experience

for the blind and visually impaired 46

INTERNATIONAL CINEMA TECHNOLOGY

ASSOCIATION CONVENTION RECAP

TECHNOLOGY CONCLAVE

Streaming platforms' impact is a hot topic

at ICTA business convention 50

ANN

STADLER

MARCUS THEATRES

DEBBIE STANFORD-

KRISTIANSEN

NOVO CINEMAS

JACKIE

BRENNEMAN

NATO

TEDDY AWARD FOR

MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR

Christie Digital Systems 54

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF

CONCESSIONAIRES

CONCESSIONS SOLUTIONS

Three innovative products from

the 2019 Concession & Hospitality Expo 56

SEATING 58

ESTHER

BARUH

KATHY

CONROY

MAR ILYN

IACOVISSI

SOCIAL MEDIA 95

NATO

NATO

THE BOXOFFICE COMPANY

EVENT CINEMA CALENDAR 98

ON SCREEN 100

BOOKING GUIDE 107

MARKETPLACE 112

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.

HOLLYWOOD IN THE GREAT WHITE NORTH

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ALEJANDRO LANDES BRINGS HIS

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EDITED BY LAURA SILVER

BOXOFFICE MEDIA

CEO

Julien Marcel

SVP CONTENT STRATEGY

Daniel Loria

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Kenneth James Bacon

CINÉPOLIS ACQUIRES

TEXAS’S MOVIEHOUSE &

EATERY DINE-IN THEATERS

>> Mexico-based theater chain Cinépolis

is acquiring Moviehouse & Eatery, a

dine-in cinema circuit in Texas with five

locations and one under construction.

Cinépolis currently operates 5,941

screens at 738 cinemas in 17 countries,

welcoming over 338 million patrons

annually. Once the transaction is

completed, Cinépolis will operate 258

screens at 26 locations in seven states in

the United States.

Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, chief executive

officer of Cinépolis, said, “We are

fully committed to bringing our global

expertise to the U.S. market. This is a

strategic transaction that will help us to

expand and strengthen our best-in-class

luxury offer in this market and around

the world.”

Moviehouse & Eatery co-founders

Leslie Sloan and Rodney Speaks,

originally real estate developers before

venturing into the dine-in theater business,

intend to continue working with

Cinépolis to develop new theater sites in

the United States.

Since the opening of its first theater

in 2012, Moviehouse & Eatery has

grown to five theaters and 47 screens

in the Austin and Dallas metropolitan

areas. The circuit’s sixth theater is under

construction in the Woodlands suburb

of Houston and is expected to open in

November 2019.

Cinépolis USA has no immediate plans

to make any operational or guest-facing

changes to the Moviehouse & Eatery

brand. Moviehouse & Eatery will continue

to operate independently until further

notice and retain all existing employees,

programs, and scheduled events.

NCM NAMES BOARD CHAIR

THOMAS F. LESINSKI AS

NEW CEO

>> The board of directors of National

CineMedia Inc., the managing member

and owner of 48.6 percent of National

CineMedia LLC, , has appointed Thomas

F. Lesinski (above) to the role of chief

executive officer. He will continue to

serve on the NCM Board in his role as

the chief executive officer.

An accomplished executive with a

career bridging the entertainment, digital

media, sales, marketing, and advertising

industries, Lesinski had served as

chairman of the board of NCM Inc. since

2018, after being appointed as independent

director of NCM Inc. in 2014.

Since 2015, he had also served as CEO of

Sonar Entertainment, a TV production

company, after serving as a Sonar board

director since 2013.

Lesinski’s 25-year Hollywood career

also includes prior leadership roles as

CEO and founder of Energi Entertainment,

president of digital content and

distribution with Legendary Entertainment,

president of Paramount Pictures

Digital Entertainment, and president

of Worldwide Home Entertainment for

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Andrew Sunshine

BOXOFFICE ® MAGAZINE

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6 SEPTEMBER 2019


TRADE TALK

ELIZABETH FRANK

Paramount, and both executive vice president

and general manager of home entertainment and

executive vice president, worldwide marketing and

development, at Warner Bros. He began his career

in advertising at BBDO, Foote, Cone & Belding,

and Clairol Inc.

SHOWEAST TO

HONOR AMC’S

ELIZABETH FRANK

>> Elizabeth Frank,

executive vice president,

worldwide programming,

and chief content officer

for AMC Theatres, will

receive the first annual

ShowEast Empowerment

Award presented by The

Coca-Cola Company.

Frank will be honored on

Wednesday, October 16,

as part of the ShowEast

Breakfast Program in

conjunction with a panel

featuring women in cinema

at the Fontainebleau

Miami Beach.

“At Coca-Cola, we

seek to empower women

both in the workplace and throughout the world.

We are honored to present Elizabeth Frank with

the inaugural ShowEast Women’s Empowerment

Award presented by Coca-Cola. Elizabeth Frank

is a visionary leader who has decades of experience

creating and executing successful growth

strategies across industries and organizations.

Her track record of delivering results is a testament

to the value, leadership, and expertise she

contributes to the cinema industry and beyond,”

said Krista Schulte, senior vice president, strategic

partnership marketing.

Frank leads teams based in Kansas City, Los

Angeles, and London, with operational responsibility

for sourcing and scheduling movies for AMC’s

11,000-plus screens across the United States,

Europe, and the Middle East, as well as promoting,

pricing, and selling 375 million movie tickets

annually. Her teams have developed sophisticated

data analytics and digital promotions capabilities

to activate moviegoer behavior and enhance operational

agility and productivity.

REGAL LAUNCHES ‘UNLIMITED’

SUBSCRIPTION PLAN

>> Another major U.S. exhibitor has entered the

subscription race. Regal, the country’s second-largest

movie theater chain, is the latest to launch

its own in-house subscription program with the

release of its Unlimited offering.

Despite sharing the same name as its European

corporate parent’s Cineworld Unlimited subscription

scheme, Regal’s solution has been specifically

modified for the U.S. market. The plan is available

in three tiers: Unlimited, priced at $18/month and

available at 200 locations; Unlimited Plus at $21/

month and available at 400 locations; and Unlimited

All Access at $23.50/month, which unlocks

over 550 locations nationwide.

Consumers looking to access a location not

included in their plan will be charged a surcharge

between $1.50 and $3 on top of their monthly fee,

with additional surcharges applying to premium

auditoriums like RPX (Regal’s private-label PLF),

Imax, 4DX immersive seating, and ScreenX panoramic

screens. There is no cap on the number of

standard-format movies consumers can attend each

month, nor blackout dates for new releases. A 10

percent discount on all concessions and non-alcoholic

beverages is included in the plan.

Analysts had been expecting Regal’s entry into

subscription since Cineworld announced plans to

acquire the company in late 2017.

AMC STUBS A-LIST CROSSES

900,000 MEMBERS

>> AMC Stubs A-List, the moviegoing subscription

program, has crossed another milestone and

stands at more than 900,000 members.

Said Adam Aron, CEO and president of AMC

Theatres, “The AMC Stubs A-List program’s

continued positive momentum makes it far and

away the most popular movie theater subscription

program in the world. Its success is a testament to

its guest-friendly features and the significant value

it offers for moviegoers. It also reflects the powerful

draw that moviegoing has in the United States.

With more than 900,000 members, we are highly

gratified that our A-List efforts have been so well

received by our guests.”

HARKINS THEATRES ANNOUNCES NEW

HEADQUARTERS AND RETAIL CAMPUS

>> Arizona’s Harkins Theatres has announced that

8 SEPTEMBER 2019


construction is under way on its brand-new $32

million campus in Scottsdale, Arizona. The 13-acre

development will be divided between the company’s

new corporate headquarters and mixed-use

space. At 65,000 square feet, the new headquarters

will nearly triple the size of the company’s current

23,000-square-foot office, also on McDonald

Drive in Scottsdale. The new mixed-use center,

named McDonald Village, will offer 52,000 square

feet of commercial space and is expected to include

a health club, coffee shop, and other shopping

amenities to be enjoyed by Harkins employees,

neighboring businesses, and the community.

Harkins’s new campus will feature sleek, modern

design with a focus on indoor-outdoor space

and natural light. In an homage to Harkins history,

design elements such as the iconic mushroom

structures reclaimed from the original Harkins

Camelview 5 will be a prominent entry feature for

the new headquarters.

“It’s hard to imagine that our headquarters used

to fit inside my garage,” said Dan Harkins, owner

and executive chairman of Harkins Theatres.

“Thanks to our loyal moviegoers, we have been

fortunate to have experienced great

success and growth over the years. We

are absolutely thrilled to announce our

new campus and to continue to bring

the Ultimate Moviegoing experience to

our community.”

Harkins anticipates opening its new

headquarters in the summer of 2020.

SHOWEAST TO HONOR

WARNER BROS.’ SCOTT

FORMAN

>> Scott Forman, executive VP and

general sales manager for domestic

theatrical distribution at Warner Bros.,

will receive ShowEast’s Salah M. Hassanein

Humanitarian Award during the

show’s Final Night Awards Ceremony on October

17 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.

Forman’s career in domestic theatrical distribution

started at Columbia Pictures in 1980

while he was still in high school. After graduating

from UCLA in 1985, he continued working

(continued on page 12)

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9


TRADE TALK

MICHAEL ROSENBERG

at Columbia for seven years, then left for MGM/

UA. In 1989, he joined Warner Bros., beginning

what has turned into a 30-year career at the

studio. He was promoted to his current position

in March 2017.

Forman’s lifelong philanthropic passion began

the first time he walked into a Variety Boys and

Girls Club when he was nine years old. He remains

a key driver for the club, in addition to serving on

the board of directors of Variety Tent 25 and the

Will Rogers Motion Pictures Pioneers Foundation.

In 2007, he created Jr. Variety, the first teen-based

industry charity of its kind with his son, Jeremy.

In nine years, Jr. Variety has raised over $625,000

while teaching teenagers the importance of philanthropy

and the basics of fundraising and volunteerism.

He also helped mastermind the charity

auctions at ShoWest and ShowEast.

Forman has received the President’s Lifetime

Achievement Award from Barack Obama, the

Time Warner Andrew Heiskell Community Service

Award, and the Ben Marcus Humanitarian Award.

PROMOTION IN MOTION TO

RECEIVE SHOWEAST LEGACY

AWARD

>> Promotion in Motion will receive

the first annual ShowEast Legacy Award

presented by NAC during ShowEast’s Final

Night Awards Ceremony on October

17 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.

The award will be accepted by Michael

Rosenberg, president and CEO.

“I cannot think of a more worthy

organization than Promotion in Motion

to receive the inaugural ShowEast Legacy

Award, or a more worthy individual than Michael

Rosenberg. Promotion in Motion’s dedication to

the concessions class of trade is on display everyday

with their policy to not sell their theater box

product to retail, and Michael’s dedication to many

charitable institutions highlights the company’s

dedication to those both inside and outside of

the confectionary realm,” stated Adam Gottlieb,

president of NAC.

Rosenberg comes from a multigenerational

family of bakers, candy and food makers, and importers.

His grandparents, parents, and numerous

members on both sides of the family emigrated to

the U.S. in the 1930s and established candy and

food operations in America.

The Promotion in Motion Companies Inc.

continues to expand and diversify domestically and

worldwide and is one of the 10 largest confectionery

and snack food producers in North America,

and one of the 100 largest in the world.

MALCO TO BRING IMAX TO

MADISON, MISS.

>> Memphis-based Malco Theatres, a 104-yearold

family-owned exhibition company, recently

announced that guests visiting the Grandview

Cinema in Madison, Mississippi, can soon enjoy

the world’s most immersive cinematic experience

when the Imax theater opens in time for the

release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on December

20, 2019. The Imax theater, the first and

only one in the state of Mississippi, will be custom

designed for use in the existing multiplex theater

and will be part of the first phase of upgrades to

the Madison location.

“We looked at all of our options regarding a

large-format solution and came to the conclusion

that no one has a better combination of quality,

full-immersion cinema, and brand awareness than

Imax. We are excited to add the Imax Experience

to the region and hope it will be enjoyed for many

years to come,” said David Tashie, Malco president

and COO.

Additional phase 1 renovation plans consist of

upgrading the concessions area to the Malco Cinema

Grill with expanded food and drink options

and installation of space for private events, with

areas dedicated to emerging technologies, such as

virtual reality. The phase 2 upgrade will include a

full renovation to luxury reserved recliner seats.

CINEMARK TO OPEN CUT! DINE-IN

THEATER IN CYPRESS, TEXAS

>> Cinemark Holdings Inc. has announced plans

to build a CUT! by Cinemark, a state-of-the-art

dine-in theater, in Cypress, Texas. Construction

is scheduled to begin in November with plans to

open in July 2020 as a development of Washington

Prime Group.

“We are eager to introduce our CUT! by

Cinemark concept to the Cypress community and

greater Houston area,” said Mark Zoradi, Cinemark

CEO. “Whether seeing the latest blockbuster

with the family or having dinner and drinks with

friends, guests will enjoy this unique and fresh

dine-in entertainment experience.”

12 SEPTEMBER 2019


TRADE TALK

CUT! by Cinemark offers guests made-to-order

menu items and specialty cocktails to enjoy in any

of the auditoriums, as well as in the dining and

lounge areas. Moviegoers can have entrees, beverages,

and traditional snacks delivered discreetly to

their seats with the push of a button. The restaurant

and lounge are welcoming environments designed

to offer guests fun, casual, and social spaces.

SMG ANNOUNCES LA

FLAGSHIP THEATER

>> Brian Schultz, founder & CEO of Studio Movie

Grill (SMG), has announced plans to open a flagship

theater in Glendale, California, during the fourth

quarter of 2019. The in-theater dining chain will

now serve seven communities across California,

including Monrovia, Simi Valley, Downey, Redlands,

Rocklin, and Bakersfield. SMG Sunset Walk,

the brand’s third location in Florida, opened earlier

this year in Kissimmee/Orlando and, previously

announced SMG Prosperity Market, the brand’s

second in Charlotte, North Carolina, will also open

its doors in Q4. The addition of these locations adds

over 50 new screens to the existing 333 screens SMG

currently operates in 10 states nationwide. Taking

over the former MGM 5-Star Cinema location

earlier this year, SMG is in the process of redesigning

the entire facility, which will result in 10 screens and

offer 780 luxury recliners in the heart of Glendale

and the Downtown Arts & Entertainment District.

But SMG is not only constructing new locations;

it is actively preserving old movie houses as it

acquires new movie spaces, including three Krikorian

theaters in SoCal that opened as full-concept

SMG locations earlier this year in Redlands, Mon-

(continued on page 16)

B&B EXPANDS FLEET OF SCREENX

AUDITORIUMS

>> B&B Theatres and South Korea’s CJ 4DPLEX have expanded

their partnership by agreeing to install five additional

ScreenX panoramic screens across the exhibitor’s circuit.

With this deal, B&B Theatres will now count on a total of

seven ScreenX systems throughout its chain of theaters.

The companies began working together in 2018 when

B&B announced it would install the largest ScreenX

system in the world at its flagship Liberty, Missouri, location.

Standing at over four stories tall and stretching to

seven stories wide, the screen proved successful enough to

warrant an additional ScreenX system, scheduled to open

in September 2019.

“The partnership with CJ 4DPLEX introduced the

largest ScreenX in the world with outstanding performance

numbers and audience feedback,” said Bob Bagby, president

of B&B Theatres, in a statement. “We look forward to

continuing this partnership with CJ 4DPLEX in bringing

more ScreenX auditoriums across the States and creating

more premium in-theater experiences for B&B audiences in

the future.”

NOVO LAUNCHES

KIDZ CONCEPT

>> Auditoriums specifically

designed for young

families continue gaining

traction at cinemas around

the world. Novo Cinemas,

one of the largest exhibition

circuits in the Middle

East, is the latest chain to

adopt the concept with

its new Novo Kidz auditorium in its Dubai Festival City

location. The kid-friendly screening room features chairs

with plush “Friendly Monster” seats, adjustable light and

sound levels, and sweet concessions options for children.

The family-friendly experience can be further expanded by

renting out an event space that specifically caters to kids’

birthday parties.

“We’re delighted to be bringing such a unique and special

concept to our youngest Novo audience,” said Novo

CEO Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen. “We wanted to go

the extra mile and create something completely different

whilst focusing on ensuring a truly emotional connection

for our younger moviegoers with the introduction of these

fun friendly monster characters who also have their own

names. We feel there has been a gap in the market, and

Novo brings the innovation and fun to fill it.”

Novo Cinemas currently operates 158 screens in the

Middle East. The circuit expects to finish 2019 with a

total of over 220 screens in the region.

14 SEPTEMBER 2019


SV SUPERIOR VALUE

SELECTING IRWIN SEATING REPRESENTS SUPERIOR VALUE


TRADE TALK

rovia, and Downey. These theaters were successfully

converted with the goal of retaining the integrity

of the old theaters. Thoughtful redesign focused on

elevated touchpoints in the auditoriums, including

luxury recliners and improved sight lines alongside

the modern conveniences of a full-service restaurant

and inviting bar/lounge for gathering before

and after the movie.

STAR CINEMA GRILL ADDS SONY 4K

LASER TO TEXAS LOCATIONS

>> Star Cinema Grill, a Houston based dine-intheater

concept, will implement Sony’s 4K laser

digital cinema projection technology. Star Cinema

Grill’s new Richmond/Katy, Texas, location outfitted

11 auditoriums with Sony’s 4K laser projectors,

while the Spring, Texas, location will feature Sony’s

4K laser projectors in all 12 auditoriums.

In total, Star Cinema Grill’s implementation of

Sony 4K laser includes 82 projectors across nine

locations, with several of the installations featuring

the SRX-R815DS (double stack) projectors.

“Star Cinema Grill has a longstanding relationship

with Sony’s cinema technology,” said Jason

Ostrow, vice president, development, Star Cinema

Grill. “After installing Sony’s latest 4K laser projectors,

we noticed a marked difference in the picture

quality, brightness, and contrast, which helped

keep our guests immersed in the moviegoing

experience and routinely returning to our theaters.

Coupled with the reliability we’ve come to expect

from Sony, we’re confident that top-notch technology

that enhances an audience’s visual experience is

the perfect complement to our renowned dine-in

experience, luxury facilities, and the latest blockbuster

titles.”

In Memoriam

Fox Theatres Founder Richard A. Fox Dies at Age 90

>> Richard A. Fox, founder of

Reading, Pennsylvania–based Fox

Theatres and onetime president of

the National Association of Theatre

Owners, passed away on July 24 at

the age of 90.

Fox launched Fox Theatres

in 1957 with the opening of the

Sinking Spring Drive-In, billed as

“the world’s largest Cinemascope

screen.” Over the next 33 years

he grew the regional circuit to 25

locations with over 100 screens

and more than 1,000 employees.

At its peak, Fox Theatres was one

of the largest independently owned

movie theater companies in the

United States. Fox brought modern

movie theaters to suburban

markets throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland,

and Florida.

Fox was elected president of the National Association

of Theatre Owners in 1984 and tackled issues ranging

from contentious trade practices to competition from

new technologies. He was the last

volunteer president of NATO.

Born in Buffalo, New York, Fox

attended the University of Buffalo

and served in the U.S. Army as a

staff sergeant. He was a former

board member of the Jewish Federation

of Reading, B’nai B’rith, Variety

Club, and the Will Rogers Motion

Picture Pioneers Foundation.

A resident of Boca Raton,

Florida, Fox is survived by his wife

of 32 years, Marcia Spokane Fox,

son Donald Fox, daughter Sheryl

Fox Myerson, son Herrick “Rick”

Fox, sister Lee Redstone, and his

former wife, Helen Fox. He is also

survived by seven grandchildren,

three stepchildren, and seven

step-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son

Howard in 1978.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the

Howard Fox Memorial Law Scholarship Fund at the Berks

County Community Foundation, bccf.org.

16 SEPTEMBER 2019


EXECUTIVE SUITE

BY JOHN FITHIAN, NATO PRESIDENT & CEO

IT’S TIME FOR THEATER

OWNERS TO REASSERT

LEADERSHIP ON CINEMA

TECHNOLOGY

>> Twenty years ago or so, four different segments of the movie

industry began discussing a possible transition in cinema technology.

Motion picture exhibitors, distributors, technology companies,

and creatives all had substantial but different interests in the likely

benefits and challenges of the potential migration from celluloid film

projection to digital cinema. For exhibitors, digital cinema offered

the potential of consistent image quality and greater programming

flexibility—but the higher costs and shorter technology life cycles left

most cinema executives unwilling to invest in the new technologies.

JOHN FITHIAN

For distributors, the driving force was large potential

cost savings. The production and shipping

of celluloid film prints cost hundreds of millions

of dollars a year in the domestic market alone. Digital-cinema

distribution would cost a small fraction

of that. For technology companies, the benefits

were obvious—sales of new equipment to every

cinema operator in the world. And for creatives,

the view was mixed. Some industry leaders like

George Lucas and James Cameron said that digital

cinema would enable more creative tools and a

better patron experience, while others such as

Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan remained

committed to the qualities of film.

The advocates of digital cinema (most distributors,

many technology companies, and some

important creatives) pushed exhibitors aggressively

to make the move to digital. George Lucas’s

production partner Rick McCallum famously

encouraged Star Wars fans to contact NATO and

demand digital cinema—resulting in a crash of our

early email servers. A senior Sony executive with

authority over global theatrical distribution stated

publicly that theater owners would make the transition

to digital cinema and that distributors would

never help pay for that transition.

NATO and our leading members pushed back

hard. The benefits of digital cinema did not justify

the costs if exhibitors were to absorb those costs.

We demanded two things—that distributors defray

equipment costs, and that specified open standards

be adopted to promote interoperability and compatibility

and thus reduce costs through competition.

NATO recruited exhibition leaders from five

different continents to sign a statement regarding

these demands.

After many different and often heated conversations

among the four industry segments, a

generally accepted plan evolved. First, distributors

agreed to defray the costs of digital cinema

equipment through the advent of virtual print fees

(VPFs). With some variations among several different

“integrators,” the VPF models essentially called

for the distributors to pay for the majority of the

equipment costs to effectuate the transition, until

either those costs were fully recouped, or until a

maximum term of years had passed.

Second, given their (somewhat reluctant)

willingness to cover most of the costs of the

transition, the distributors also began to exert

control over the design and function of digital

cinema equipment for use in cinemas. The major

Hollywood studios formed Digital Cinema Initiatives

(DCI) to design equipment specifications in

two areas—security and quality. (Originally DCI

members hoped that DCI would also establish

the VPF models, but that initiative migrated to

competitive third-parties instead.)

The DCI specification process was detailed and

lengthy. Though the studios took some input from

exhibitors, equipment companies, and creatives,

the final product offered requirements on behalf

of the studios only. The proposition was simple

and absolute—if exhibitors wanted digital movie

content and VPFs, they had to install and maintain

DCI-compliant systems. Or stated differently, the

studios insisted on setting the standards for the

digital cinema equipment they would essentially

fund. (To be sure, the DCI specifications have

provided helpful guidance to studios, technology

companies, and exhibitors alike. But those specs

have always been of the studios.)

Many of the DCI technical specifications were

then modified and adopted by the Society of Motion

Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE)—

the industry’s main open technology standardization

body. SMPTE has been, and continues to be,

the primary standards body for cinema technology.

Every segment of the industry had input within

SMPTE. NATO and exhibitors have long sup-

18 SEPTEMBER 2019


ported SMPTE, as have distributors, technology

companies, cinematographers, and other creatives.

From the adoption of the original “DCI spec”

to the present, DCI has continued to publish

updates. Many of these updates have constituted

relatively small changes, or “errata.” But some

proposals from DCI have significant impact on the

cinema industry.

For example, DCI recently published two draft

papers related to high dynamic range and LED

screens (also known as “direct view” screens). These

define a new standard that exceeds the technical

capability of all current displays and auditoriums.

The two draft papers were developed with

almost no input from NATO or our members, yet

they purported to create technical specifications for

equipment of exceedingly high cost and questionable

added value to the quality of the cinema

experience. After NATO raised significant concerns

about this one-sided technical standardization process,

DCI finally invited NATO and the member

leaders of our NATO Technology Committee to

join them at a meeting.

This meeting that occurred on February 28,

2019, was the first meeting between DCI and

exhibitors in over 12 years. The gesture on behalf

of the studios was appreciated, but the overall

process remained fundamentally flawed. Essentially,

some executives at the major studios (now

down to five companies because of consolidation)

continue to believe that they have the right and

the obligation to set technical standards for the

equipment installed in cinemas worldwide. Yet

these same studios reject outright any suggestion

of a second VPF program to subsidize the next

potential generation of equipment that might

meet the stringent demands of the DCI requirements

going forward.

To be sure, the DCI specifications have always

included two elements—security and quality. The

studios have the right to protect the intellectual

property of their movies. If they want to continue

to design technical specifications to prevent movie

theft (piracy), they have the right to do so. In other

words, if DCI should continue to exist and publish

specifications on security, that might be appropriate.

But what no longer makes any sense at all

would be for DCI to continue to promulgate

specifications on the quality of the experience for

movie patrons in our member cinemas. Again simply

put, if the studios want to control the quality

aspects of the image and sound offered to patrons

in cinemas, they should pay for the equipment.

And if “VPF 2.0” isn’t to the liking of the studios,

then they should stop trying to establish unilateral

standards for cinema equipment. The original VPF

models are coming to an end—either through

recoupment or the expiration of a term of years. If

cinema operators have to pay for the digital cinema

business model going forward, cinema operators

will decide what equipment they will buy, or not.

If new technologies can enhance the experience

sufficiently to increase ticket sales or justify higher

prices, or both, exhibitors will consider those technologies.

If not, they won’t.

NATO will pursue a different path from DCI.

We have begun to establish our own testing process

for the future of digital cinema images. We want

to better understand questions like high dynamic

range and brightness. NATO members don’t want

to be forced to invest in technology that cannot

produce a return in increased admissions or higher

ticket prices or both. Or stated a different way,

theater operators will not abide by a system in

which movie studios set technical standards for

equipment that theater owners must finance.

NATO will invite all segments of the industry

to have input at the appropriate time. Distributors,

creatives, and technology companies will all be

heard. And if the process suggests that any new

technology standards should be considered, we

will refer those recommendations to SMPTE—the

industry’s open standards body.

20 SEPTEMBER 2019


GOVERNMENT RELATIONS

BY ESTHER BARUH, DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS, NATO

WASHINGTON DISPATCH:

ASCAP AND BMI CONSENT

DECREES REVIEW

>> For most in our nation’s capital, the summer months are sleepy:

Members of Congress are back in their districts, Senators are in their

home states, and locals look to escape D.C.’s notorious heat and humidity.

But for the team at NATO, this summer has been a whirlwind

of activity on one of our industry’s biggest policy priorities: Protecting

the movie theater music licensing exemption.

ESTHER BARUH

Now, the DOJ is again reviewing the ASCAP

and BMI consent decrees in the context of a larger

effort to terminate or modify legacy consent

decrees, or consent decrees that do not have an

expiration date. (Exhibitors will recall that last

summer, the DOJ opened up review of the Paramount

consent decrees. The DOJ received over

75 public comments on that review; as of this

writing, the DOJ has not taken any public action

to terminate or modify the Paramount consent

decrees.) Potential termination or modification of

the consent decrees would reverberate throughout

the entire music licensing industry, from songwriters

to music publishers to licensees, including

movie theaters.

Entities looking to play music in public

spaces—including restaurants, bars, grocery

stores—must obtain licenses from the performing

rights organizations (PROs) that control the

rights of public performance. Movie theaters also

obtain these licenses for music they play in their

common areas such as lobbies, bars, and restaurants.

These so-called blanket licenses allow the

licensee to play music from the PROs’ repertory.

The PROs in turn distribute royalties to their registered

songwriters; royalties are calculated using a

complicated formula that takes into account how

frequently their music is played.

ASCAP and BMI are the premier performing

rights organizations in the United States. Collectively,

they license the public performance rights

for hundreds of thousands of songs. (There are

two other performing rights organizations in the

United States—the Society of European Stage

Authors and Composers, or SESAC, and Global

Music Rights, or GMR—but their music catalogs

are much smaller than those of ASCAP and BMI,

and they are not subject to any consent decrees.)

ASCAP and BMI are governed by two historic

consent decrees that were born from antitrust

litigation brought against ASCAP and BMI by

the United States government decades ago. These

consent decrees require ASCAP and BMI to abide

by several requirements, including providing

the rights to public performance for their music

repertoires on a nonexclusive basis; discrimination

in licensing fees; and limiting licenses to a term of

five years, among others.

Most importantly for exhibitors, the ASCAP

consent decree bars ASCAP from charging movie

theaters for the public performance of music in

movies. In other words, movie theaters in the

United States are not responsible for paying fees

to ASCAP for the public performance of music

synchronized with movies. This exemption has

become the industry norm across the various

performing rights organizations and with the

songwriters and their publishers.

The movie theater licensing exemption places

the negotiating responsibility for music in movies

where it belongs: with the party selecting songs

for films. This is a common-sense, procompetitive,

and efficient process that works best for

songwriters, exhibitors, and audiences, and this

licensing process ensures that the rights holders

are able to negotiate directly for the true value of

their music, rather than being subject only to an

opaque royalty process.

Should the consent decrees be terminated,

or modified to remove the movie theater ex-

22 SEPTEMBER 2019


emption, the PROs would use their monopoly

power to again demand public performance fees

from movie theaters. Movie theaters would be

compelled to take out blanket licenses from the

PROs, because theaters would have no way to

anticipate what music from which repertory will

be used in films they exhibit. There would be

no rate courts to prevent those fees from being

exorbitant, and yet exhibitors would likely

still be paying high film rental to distributors.

This change could impact consumers as well, as

increased fees levied by the PROs could have an

impact on downstream pricing.

NATO identified the DOJ’s review as a key

priority (see John Fithian, Jackie Brenneman, and

Esther Baruh’s article in the May 2019 issue of

Boxoffice Pro) and has undertaken a number of

steps to emphasize the importance of this issue to

lawmakers and regulators. NATO filed extensive

comments with the DOJ, worked with exhibitors

so that our members could file individual comments,

and has met and will continue to meet

with members of the House and Senate Judiciary

Committees to articulate our position on the

DOJ review.

The public comment period on the consent

decrees closed in mid-August. In addition to

comments submitted by NATO and exhibitors,

the DOJ received scores of comments from many

other stakeholders, including performing rights

organizations, businesses that license music to

play in their public spaces, think tanks, digital

music streaming companies, and even a select

handful of elected officials. The DOJ must now

sift through the many comments received before

deciding to ask the court to terminate or modify

the decrees. The DOJ may also elect to take no

action on the decrees, as the department did in its

2014 review.

There are no guaranteed outcomes in government

relations work. Depending on the result

of the DOJ’s review, exhibitors could face many

years of litigation or complicated legislative

battles. But one thing is for certain: NATO will

always fight hard and long for a positive result

for exhibitors.

SEPTEMBER 2019

23


CHARITY SPOTLIGHT

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

NAC KINDNESS INITIATIVE PROVIDES 500

BACKPACKS FOR CHICAGO STUDENTS

>> The National Association of Concessionaires (NAC) provided

space on the trade show floor of the NAC Concession and

Hospitality Expo, held at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium

Park Hotel, for their annual Kindness Initiative. On July 30–August

2, Expo delegates and exhibitors took time out of their busy

schedules to put together 500 backpacks for in-need children in

Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

NAC partnered with the Children First Fund to help raise

more than $15,000 for supplies and support, which was provided

by generous donations from NAC member companies,

individuals, and participating sponsors. NAC was founded in

Chicago in 1944 and is headquartered in the city, making the

choice to benefit CPS—and during the 75th anniversary of the

trade association—a natural one.

“Thank you to the NAC and all of its members for your

hard work and dedication on the Kindness Initiative. Equity is

the North Star for everything we do at CPS. We strive for every

student to have access to the best education, opportunities, and

resources,” said Mica Matsoff, director of external partnership,

Children First Fund. “Unfortunately, not every student has

access to the same materials outside of school. NAC’s donation

provided school supplies for hundreds of students who need

them the most, ensuring that each of them is confident and

excited heading into the new school year.”

The NAC Kindness Initiative was first introduced in 2018 by

the NAC Outreach Committee at the NAC Expo in New Orleans

and is slated to become an annual part of the event. In a joint

statement, committee co-chairs Theresa Boysen, ACS, of Kernel

Season’s and Shelly Olesen, ACS, of C. Cretors and Company said:

“Being a member of NAC is about the support that you give and

receive not only within the concessions industry but the outreach

we can provide in a community. In an effort to pay it forward,

NAC’s Outreach Committee was thrilled to work alongside CPS

with the Back Pack Kindness Initiative. Let’s help give our Chicago

students a great start to a new school year and future!”

>> Spider-Man Stars Create Smiles On June 25, Spider-Man:

Far From Home stars Zendaya and Jacob Batalon joined

the Lollipop Theater Network in a surprise visit to the children

of MSK Kids at New York City’s Memorial Sloan Kettering. Answering

questions about the film, taking photos and selfies, and

signing mini movie poster keepsakes, the stars left the patients,

siblings, and parents in a web of smiles!

>> On June 2 in Westwood, California, six-year-old Pedro

was treated to the premiere screening of The Secret Life of Pets 2.

Pedro—given the superhero name “Golden Fly” at Lollipop’s annual

Superhero Walk—got to meet cast members Patton Oswalt,

Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish (pictured), and Eric Stonestreet. All

of them made their way to Pedro’s special place on the red carpet

asking for “Golden Fly.”

24 SEPTEMBER 2019


UPCOMING EVENTS

>> Variety kid Matt, from Variety of the

Delaware Valley, had a blast throwing out

the first pitch at the Phillies vs. White Sox

game on August 4!

>> Variety Detroit was one of the

four beneficiaries of the 16th Annual

Paul W. Smith Classic, held on August

5, 2019, at the Detroit Golf Club. More

than 260 golfers enjoyed the historic

course. The event netted more $430,000

to support more than 55,000 children in

southeastern Michigan. Paul W. Smith is

pictured in blue; along with him are (L to

R) Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Allison

(Smith’s sister), Kim Smith (Variety

Detroit board member and Paul’s wife),

and Sophie (Smith’s daughter).

VARIETY THE CHILDREN’S

CHARITY OF ST. LOUIS

Variety Theatre Presents

Disney’s Mary Poppins

October 18–27 / St. Louis, MO

Variety Theatre’s 2019 production,

Disney’s Mary Poppins, will bring

this timeless story of magic and

wonder to life like never before.

Prepare to be inspired by the

show’s talented children’s ensemble,

comprising kids and teens of

all abilities, as well as a professional

cast and live orchestra. Dazzling

sets, colorful costumes, memorable

songs, and a classic story will

combine to fill Touhill Performing

Arts Center’s stage—and your

heart—with joy.

For tickets and show times,

visit bit.ly/2PdGT8F.

>> Hy-Vee Springfield and Variety

Illinois teamed up for the Petals

for Pedals promotion, teaching

bicycle safety to children, passing

out helmets, and gifting Audrey

with a brand-new bike! Pictured

with Audrey are the Hy-Vee

Springfield store director (left) and

Variety Illinois executive director

Angelique Barthel.

>> American Family Insurance and the

Green Bay Packers teamed up to create

DreamDrive at Green Bay, Wisconsin’s

Lambeau Field. DreamDrive supports a

long-standing tradition dating back to the

Vince Lombardi era, where Packers players

ride young fan’s bikes between Lambeau

Field and the practice field. This year, American

Family Insurance partnered with Variety

of Wisconsin to bring five-year-old Jemma Blechacz to DreamDrive. Jemma was born

with spina bifida and is unable to ride a traditional bike. Her parents reached out to

Variety for help, and with support from American Family Insurance, Jemma received an

adaptive bike just for her. During the 2019 DreamDrive, she rode her new bike proudly

next to Packer player Mason Crosby.

LOLLIPOP THEATER NETWORK

Superheroes of the Beach Volleyball

Tournament

Saturday, October 12

Santa Monica, CA

Join the Lollipop Theater Network

as a sponsor, player, or spectator!

On Saturday,

October 12,

from 8 a.m. to 5

p.m., at Ocean

Park Beach in

Santa Monica,

both competitive

and just-for-fun players will

compete to become the ultimate

Superheroes of the Beach! Anyone

can join! Players are encouraged to

dress as their favorite superheroes as

they play on the heavily trafficked

beaches of Ocean Park, all to benefit

the Lollipop Theater Network!

For more information and tickets,

visit bit.ly/2ZkrJlT.

SEPTEMBER 2019

25


INDIE FOCUS

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

BLONDE BOMBSHELL

Local artist Mariann

Mawcinitt with Michael

Falter

CITY LIGHTS CINEMAS

FLORENCE, OR

CONTRIBUTOR: MICHAEL FALTER, OWNER

HISTORY

My wife, Susan Tive, and myself have been

involved in independent cinemas since 2002, when

I took on the management, operations, and programming

for Pickford Film Center in Bellingham,

Washington, where Susan subsequently became the

development director during a long but successful

capital campaign. During those years Susan and I

were initial founders of Art House Convergence,

an annual gathering for indie theaters, and Susan

moved on to Salt Lake Film Society and became

their director of philanthropy.

When we came across an empty and closedfor-business

four-plex while on a winter vacation

on the Oregon Coast, we looked at each other and

said, “Could we make this work?” The previous

operators had closed down two years prior, unable

to make the transition to digital projection. We

had been pied pipers for other grassroots theaters

opening in the Northwest and felt like we should

put our own money on the table and set up shop.

We opened our doors in August 2014 after a

whirlwind two months of rehabbing the theater. I

joked that my memoir of that time would be “De-

26 SEPTEMBER 2019


The Post preview screening with Pentagon Papers authors and Dr. Mel Gurtov

SCREENS

City Lights Cinemas features four screens, all named after the original

United Artists. The largest screen is the Chaplin with 148 seats

(and a stage—we had to remove the front two rows to make that

happen). The Pickford auditorium is an homage to the nonprofit theater

in Bellingham that I helped establish and continue to program

for—Pickford Film Center—which has 135 seats. The Griffith has 115

seats, and The Fairbanks has 93 seats.

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Incredibles 2

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A Star Is Born

ferred Maintenance.” We replaced all the existing

35-millimeter and old sound equipment with new

Barco digital systems, installed new screens, new

masking, and many upgrades. Since Florence is a

tourist destination, by the time we had signed on

the dotted line to lease the space, we were unable

to find any lodging during the makeover—so I

pitched a tent in the lobby and became very familiar

with the janitor’s closet!

As for the management team—we’re it! We

continue to work for nonprofit cinemas, but we’ve

managed to find a fantastic team for City Lights.

We have four screens, run four show times a day

from noon to nine, and have three staff members

who have been with us for five years. The community

loves Mister Ooh-la-la (yes, that’s his real

name), Alex Grady, and Art Donnelly. We pay

them a competitive wage for the region and try to

keep the job fun and flexible.

MEMBERSHIP

We have had many years of experience in the

nonprofit world, and when we evaluated the

makeup of Florence (population: 8,947) we knew

we needed buy-in from the year-round community

if we were to make it through the winter

months. In addition to being a retirement town,

Florence thrives during the tourist season—we’re

known as the gateway to the dunes, and recreation

is a big deal here. To that end, we call City Lights

a “hybrid” theater, which others have done before

us but we believe is right for a small town. We

try to engage with every demographic—we’ll play

commercial and art house with plenty of performing

arts for good measure. The biggest measure of

28 SEPTEMBER 2019


our support is our annual membership program.

Patrons receive discounts on admission, $2 off

any size popcorn, discounts on performing arts,

and free admission and food to our anniversary

celebration. Over 10 percent of the population

participates in our program, which is hugely important

for us to maintain the business during the

slower months.

AUDIENCE

We are a community-based cinema through and

through. We serve a diverse population in terms of

what our audience likes. We consider ourselves to

be a sort of melting pot and safe space for people

to come together who might not otherwise have

much in common. Because we live in a small town,

it is important that we provide a wide range of options

from event cinema programming to the latest

Disney blockbuster and everything in between.

Our belief in the power of film to bring people

together both physically in one place and emotionally

through the experience of communal film

viewing has made a measurable difference in our

community. We are reminded on a daily basis how

important cinema is to our patrons and possibly to

the health and well-being of our society as a whole.

FOOD & BEVERAGE

Serving beer and wine was a priority for us—we

feel it is imperative to eliminate as many barriers

for people to have a good time at the movies as

possible. Within three months of opening, we had

our license and began with bottles and craft cans

with primarily Oregon product. Oregon is a mecca

for hard cider, and possible because I am gluten-free

myself and beer is difficult to find in that

category, we have at least 10 different cider options

at any given time. For beer we have many local options

as well, including Ninkasi and Kiwanda, our

flagship representatives at City Lights, and many

others. After two years of watching some wine

profits go down the drain when we had to pour

out unsold half bottles, we moved to install taps

and we’ve never looked back. With no spoilage, we

now serve wine, beer, cider, and kombucha on tap.

We also feature locally made “hand-pies,” also

known as empanadas, with a variety of fillings—including

bison! These are popular items to go with

a glass of wine or beer. We also partnered with a

food cart that parks outside the theater. The only

food we allow in the theater is anything purchased

from the food cart.

KID STUFF

Michael Falter with Boys

and Girls Club kids

SEPTEMBER 2019

29


INDIE FOCUS

BRING YOUR I.D.

Oregon microbrews are

featured at City Lights

along with wines from

outside the region.

We shun additives to our popcorn other than

using coconut oil, but we feature real butter and a

“flavor station” with the usual suspects, like yeast

and parmesan cheese, to Slap Your Mama Hot

Sauce (very popular). We don’t charge extra for the

toppings, and large popcorns have free refills, which

helps make concessions affordable for families.

PROGRAMMING

In addition to the Painter Series and the NT

Live productions, we offer opera and ballet and an

abundance of specialty programs—from concert

films recorded in H.D. to weekend screenings of

under-the-radar documentaries. We’ll also feature

traveling filmmakers who might have a tour that

connects us to theaters in Portland or Salem or

Eugene. Recently we had fantastic turnouts for

films like Phoenix, Oregon and The Bikes of Wrath,

both featuring appearances from the director. Patrons

are astonished that we offer such events that

might be found in Portland in such a small town

(8,000). With four screens, we always try to have

at least one screen playing art house fare, whether

documentary or narrative, and such programs are a

major incentive for patrons to become members.

We stay flexible enough to feature “legacy

screenings,” since our town has a long memory.

We’ll celebrate the career of a star or an important

figure who has recently passed. When Toni Morrison

recently passed, we were able to add weekend

screenings of Magnolia’s recent documentary Toni

Morrison: The Pieces I Am to a grateful book-loving

audience.

Each year for our anniversary we’ll screen a

classic film free for our members—for our fifth Anniversary

in 2019 we showed Some Like It Hot with

close to 300 in attendance, all with free popcorn

and a complimentary glass of wine or beer. It’s our

favorite day of the year!

GRASSROOTS MARKETING

We often work with Siuslaw News, a thriving

local newspaper, to offer the community free

screenings on important topics—like recycling or

alternative energy, with such films as The Revenge

of the Electric Car with the local utility company

on-site offering test drives of Tesla and Leaf autos.

We frequently offer our space to nonprofits without

rental fees—with four screens, we generally have

enough flexibility to help make other organizations

have an evening to remember, and for us such events

can help introduce our space to potential theatergo-

30 SEPTEMBER 2019


ers. This kind of support for the community comes

back to us—by year three we were voted “Business

of the Year” by the chamber of commerce.

CINEMA ADVERTISING

Spotlight Cinema Networks has always been

supportive of independent cinemas, both nonprofit

and for-profit, and we know Ronnie Ycong and the

team from our time with Art House Convergence.

We loved their aesthetic and we were excited to

partner with them for City Lights. Customers always

enjoy the content—often they see promotions

for cable or streaming content that they wouldn’t

otherwise be aware of (and we don’t worry about

promoting at-home viewing options)—and they

will mention that they are going to “check out that

series”! We love working with them.

PRETTY PICTURES

The City Lights Living

Room with photos by

fashion and celebrity

photographer Milton H.

Greene

SEPTEMBER 2019

31


DIGITAL TICKETING

BY DANIEL LORIA AND REBECCA PAHLE

THE FUTURE OF

THE DIGITAL BOX

OFFICE

HOW THE EVOLUTION OF E-COMMERCE IS

IMPACTING THE MOVIE THEATER BUSINESS

>> There was a time, not that long ago, when audiences flocked to

newspapers to plan their nights out at the movies. They’d scan pages

of ads, squint through an index-sized listing of locations, and settle

on the ideal show time. You could always call the theater itself or dial

the magic numbers that led to that warm, welcoming voice exclaiming,

“Hello, and welcome to Moviefone!” but for decades newspapers

were the go-to source for movie listings and show times. The internet

changed all that, ushering in a new era in which exhibitors could

directly interact with their patrons.

The early days of e-commerce at the movies

were defined by the emergence of two third-party

ticketing websites, MovieTickets.com and

Fandango. They offered the industry a simple and

convenient solution: aggregated show times and

ticket purchasing for partner theaters. These digital

players pioneered cinema e-commerce in the

United States, virtually unrivaled as most exhibitors

saw little need to develop their own in-house

ticketing solutions.

“E-commerce was still in its infancy in 2000,

even as we approached the peak of the dot-com

bubble,” explains Dave Stonehill, who has had a

front-row seat to the development. Stonehill is

one of the founders of CinemaSource, a pioneer

in cinema show time collection that eventually

formed the basis of what is known today known as

The Boxoffice Company (formerly Webedia Movies

Pro), the corporate parent of Boxoffice Pro.

“Theater chains back then, even the largest ones,

didn’t have the knowledge or the resources to

THE BOXOFFICE COMPANY

Show time discovery on Google can

now lead to ticket purchases through

referral ticketing deep links.

32 SEPTEMBER 2019


DIGITAL TICKETING

build an online shopping experience for

their customers. They felt they needed

to turn to third parties to provide that

service; that’s how services like Cinema-

Source, Fandango, and MovieTickets.

com came to flourish and play a critical

role in the industry.”

The second digital revolution at the

box office occurred when the internet

expanded beyond the desktop computer

and made its way to the smartphone.

Mobile apps created a digital shopping

mall on-the-go, where consumers could

conduct transactions 24 hours a day,

seven days a week. Third-party ticketing

evolved accordingly, and MovieTickets

.com and Fandango ramped up focus

on their respective digital apps. New

players, like Atom Tickets, emerged

from a startup culture that understood

e-commerce primarily through mobile

platforms. Exhibitors began paying

closer attention, too. The quality of major-circuit

websites began improving—

some even featured native ticketing

engines where they could sell their own

tickets. The mobile app opened the door

to a range of other innovations, such as

loyalty programs and, later on, subscription

services.

We are now entering the third stage of this

digital revolution. The future of digital ticketing,

much like that of e-commerce, will make it easier

for consumers to find show times and buy their

tickets through a number of digital platforms,

none of them necessarily exclusive to the cinema

sector. The entry of digital publishers into the

cinema e-commerce ecosystem signals this shift,

as tech titans like Amazon, Facebook, and Google

have begun to dip their toes into the business with

unique offerings.

“When we look at the amount of web traffic

Google generates in show time discovery today, it

makes sense for exhibitors to be able to bring that

traffic back to their website,” says The Boxoffice

Company president Stan Ruszkowski, referring

to the rising prominence of ticketing deep links

in show time searches through Google’s OneBox,

a display box the search engine uses to compile

associated search results for local businesses. When

a consumer clicks on a show time, the Google

FANDANGO

Fandango has been a

leader in paperless ticket

technology.

OneBox displays results with different

e-commerce destinations at which to

buy their ticket—through a third-party

ticketing destination or a participating

exhibitor’s website.

According to Marine Suttle, SVP–

chief product officer of The Boxoffice

Company, Google is currently the third

most common source of show time

information for moviegoers—behind

exhibitor websites and Fandango. “Over

21 percent of customers find their show

times on the Google OneBox; it’s a big

driver of online ticket sales,” she says.

“Customers who click on show times

on Google have a conversion rate on

exhibitor websites of about 20 percent,

probably about four to five times the

overall website average.”

Today’s exhibitors have a range of

digital-ticketing options to choose

from, in many cases with vendors that

don’t require exclusive agreements.

Vista Group International, an influential

leader in cinema point-of-sale

technology, for example, has a handful

of subsidiary operations that tackle the

various approaches to digital ticketing in

myriad ways. A solution like MX Tickets,

a segment of Vista’s movieXchange business, is

dedicated to streamlining the integration between

exhibitors and third-party ticketers. Vista Cinema,

the company’s foundation product, handles box

office and ticket concession sales for exhibitor

clients and uses its proprietary framework to allow

chains to sell paperless digital tickets.

Studios get involved in the ticketing process

through collaboration with Vista Group International’s

Powster. Acquired by Vista in 2016, the

platform provides bespoke advertising solutions—

including apps and websites—to clients, among

them studios looking to drive ticket sales through

a movie’s official website. “The studios are the ones

doing the lion’s share of advertising to get moviegoers

to see the film in the first place,” explains

Vista vice president of product Mark Pattie.

“Traditional advertising is difficult to measure,

but when digital advertising is linked to digital

ticketing, studios can get a much more measurable

ROI. That is going to increase their confidence

to invest more in digital marketing and ticketing

34 SEPTEMBER 2019


campaigns, especially the ones that work.”

Vista has even begun using social media

engagement to drive ticket sales through B2C

websites like Flicks and new digital initiatives

like Stardust and Trailered, which aim to leverage

movie fan interactions for digital ticket purchases.

It’s a similar strategy to the one Fandango has

perfected over this decade, evolving beyond being

known as just a ticketing platform. In the last five

years alone, Fandango has invested in acquiring

movie-review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, social

media movie hub Flixster, and YouTube trailer

channel MovieClips to establish a firm B2C presence

among moviegoers.

“We super-serve more than 60 million moviegoers

per month with the world’s leading online

and mobile movie discovery and ticketing tools,”

says Fandango chief commercial officer Kevin Shepela.

“Fandango was founded by exhibitors, and

to this day our core business is connecting fans

to movies on the big screen, with quick and easy

access to show times and tickets for more than

45,000 screens worldwide, the most comprehensive

digital-ticketing network on the globe.”

Further acquisitions have expanded Fandango’s

presence to Latin America (through its acquisition

of CinePapaya in 2016) and even given it a home

entertainment dimension with its own streaming

channel, FandangoNOW. Its most significant acquisition

came in 2017, when the company bought

its long-time rival, MovieTickets.com, which it

still operates as a standalone brand. Since consolidating

the two legacy ticketing channels under

its corporate umbrella, Fandango has been heavily

involved in innovating digital-ticketing solutions—

working directly with leading publishers like

Apple, Facebook, Instagram, Google, Amazon, and

Snapchat—to deliver new ticketing experiences.

While some new ticketing experiences from

recent years have taken off (like paperless tickets

and Google referral ticketing) others, such as

voice-activated purchases through virtual assistants

like Amazon’s Alexa, have been slower to gain

traction. Despite revolutionizing e-commerce (and

sending traditional retail into a tailspin), Amazon

has been a quiet background player thus far in

their digital-ticketing efforts. The company has

made a series of notable investments to become

entrenched in the entertainment industry, counting

on a movie studio, streaming platform, and

popular websites like IMDb and Boxoffice Mojo

frequented by movie fans. [Editor’s note: the name

Boxoffice,” apparently, was already taken]. It is

therefore ideally positioned to sell movie tickets

on its own—it already sells virtually everything

else. The company’s prior activity in digital ticketing

has always been through collaboration with a

third-party vendor; time will tell how much longer

that will be the case.

Another tech giant, however, has been taking

more tangible steps in establishing its own

ticketing presence online. While exhibitors have

harnessed the power of location-specific Facebook

pages for more than a decade, the company

itself only recently began ramping up new show

time discovery and ticketing features on select

official movie pages. Moviegoers can now find

screenings at nearby theaters by clicking on the

“Get Show Times” button on select movie pages.

Clicking on a show time at a participating theater

refers the user to an exhibitor’s ticketing portal

or their third-party partner, akin to the Google

OneBox experience. Facebook began running an

under-the-radar promotion that waives online

service fees for ticket purchases made through its

portal, in collaboration with AMC, Atom Tickets,

and Fandango. As of August, Facebook has begun

integrating show times and premiere reminders

to the digital ads bought by studios—further

simplifying the movie-discovery-to-ticket-purchase

process. These initiatives are unique in that they

are social native ticketing solutions, pioneering

efforts in gauging how social networks can impact

the digital box office.

That social media–driven approach was the

catalyst behind Atom Tickets, founded in 2012,

which promotes moviegoing as a social experience.

The mobile app, according to co-founder and

chairman Matthew Bakal, offers tickets from over

60 exhibitors, placing “90 percent of moviegoers

… within five miles of an Atom-supported theater.”

In recent months, Atom has added Cinemark

theaters to its platforms, while parting ways

with founding partner Regal.

Moviegoers can use the Atom app to invite

friends and family to the movies. As Bakal told

Boxoffice Pro in 2018, “From an exhibitor point

of view, that takes a pragmatic dimension: can

we get one extra visit a year? That could happen

because you want to see the movie, or you might

want to go because your sister is going. Either of

those reasons will have you show up to the movie.

SEPTEMBER 2019

35


DIGITAL TICKETING

That’s why our social feature has really

resonated.” The company plans to expand

this functionality moving forward

and is currently “exploring ways via

our app experience to make planning a

night out with friends easier than ever.

As such, we’re looking to expand our

planning and invite features in addition

to creating better seat-map functionality

to find alternative show times if one

is already full.”

Kim Lueck, CIO at Marcus Theatres,

says that group sales will become

ever more important to the digital-ticketing

landscape. She muses on a potential

scenario: “Say we’re all girlfriends,

and we go to a movie every Wednesday

night. But not everybody comes [every

week.]” Tickets, she proposes, could be

“purchased almost like a hotel block. I

want to group these five seats together,

and then we’ll all prepopulate based on

who’s coming and release the rest. …

The younger people coming up, they

do things as a group. It’s very social. So

we’re going to have to accommodate

that, too.”

“I think [digital ticketing] is going

to be on your car before you know it,” as

well, notes Lueck—something that Atom

already has in the works via an announced partnership

with Honda to introduce an Atom app to

its “Dream Drive” dashboard, shown in prototype

form at CES 2019. “Additionally,” Bakal notes,

“we bring promotional partners to the table (such

as T-Mobile, Amazon and Chase Pay) to drive new

guests to our exhibitor partners.”

This year Atom also “launched the ability to

scan a movie ticket with a QR code on an Apple

Watch” as well as making it possible to order a

ticket (including selecting a reserved seat) through

Atom on Amazon’s Alexa. Moving forward, Atom

has “announced that we’re working with Amazon

Alexa on their new and more intuitive ‘conversation’

voice technology.”

Voice ordering and group sales are two factors

that Influx Worldwide CEO Harish Anand

Thilakan says will play a major role in the future

of digital ticketing. “Group bookings where each

guest pays for their own tickets and food and

beverage is a feature users seem to rate highly,”

ATOM TICKETS

Reserved seating has

emerged as a popular

feature stemming from

the innovations brought by

digital ticketing.

says Thilakan. “No one wants to finish

a movie night, asking the other for $10

that’s owed to them, but, collectively,

the person who’s planned the movie

night has fronted close to $60 to $100!

Our product Movie Parties (releasing

on major exhibitor apps shortly) has

this covered.”

Thilakan also recommends that digital-ticketing

providers integrate features

not widely on offer in North America,

like zone pricing—whereby the best

seats in the auditorium cost more—and

partnerships with outside companies

on ticketing deals. “Asian exhibitors

have done a stellar job of being able to

partner with banks to be able to give

their premium customers privileged

deals,” he explains. “It doesn’t have to

be a Tuesday or Monday—these deals

are usually available all week and only

capped by usage. More importantly,

the deals are available not just at the

box office but across digital platforms

as well. Influx was also instrumental

in enabling an integration between

VOX Cinemas and Du telecom in the

Middle East, whereby pay-as-you-go

users of Du got a free ticket for every

ticket purchased on Tuesdays in Dubai.

Du Tuesdays has now been running successfully

for nearly five years.

“I believe that by investing in redemption

partnerships, exhibitors would be able to leverage

the massive loyalty bases built by other large consumer-facing

brands. I don’t see why an American

Airlines AAdvantage member cannot burn his or

her accrued air miles for movie tickets.”

Increased adoption of loyalty programs by

exhibitors large and small has even revolutionized

email marketing. Exhibitors can now send their

best customers targeted newsletters promoting

upcoming titles and deals at the concession stand.

Whereas this process used to be a time-intensive

task, often requiring operators to extract CSV

files from their point-of-sale and online ticketing

systems, new software as a service (SaaS) solutions

can seamlessly automate that process. Products like

Movio’s Dynamic Content tool and The Boxoffice

Company’s Boost CRM allow exhibitors to personalize

content in email marketing campaigns.

36 SEPTEMBER 2019


“SaaS solutions like Boost CRM let exhibitors

customize email newsletters and marketing

campaigns within a minute,” says Thomas

Jullienne, SVP of global products at The Boxoffice

Company. “It democratizes the sort of marketing

solutions that were once only available to major

circuits. Today even a single-screen cinema can use

audience-targeting tools that seemed out of reach

only a couple of years ago.”

As the “Internet of things” allows moviegoers

to purchase tickets on more and more devices—

phones, tablets, virtual assistants, smart watches,

even cars—convenience of payment will become

more and more crucial. It may sound like a small

inconvenience, but the act of digging out a credit

card and manually inputting the information on

a checkout page is being phased out from the

e-commerce experience. “Saved payment methods

(like Amazon Wallet) will definitely boom in the

next few years,” says Thilakan.

That boom is already coming; Atom, for one,

lets users pay through Chase Pay, Google Pay, or

PayPal before sending tickets to their Apple and

Android digital wallets. Cinemark has Chase Pay

integration through its website. Fandango offers

payment via Apple Pay, MasterPass, PayPal, and

the PayPal-owned Venmo, a payment platform

that allows the splitting of payments.

All roads seem to lead to a future where the

consumer will be able to buy a movie ticket anywhere,

at any time. Specialized digital-ticketing

channels—like those from the vendors mentioned

above—will likely continue to play a role

in this future regardless of whether a purchase

occurs on one of their branded platforms. As the

e-commerce evolution continues to revolutionize

consumer habits, the increased number of avenues

in digital ticketing signals a strong vitality

to the movie theater industry. Every month,

barriers to movie and show time discovery are

disappearing, while the digital-ticketing experience

becomes increasingly seamless for consumers.

As the end of the second decade of the

e-commerce era comes to an end, it’s becoming

perfectly clear that the evolution of the digital

box office is just beginning.

SEPTEMBER 2019

37


GENEVA CONVENTION 2019

North Central

NATO

DENNIS

VOY

OWNER OF THE VOY 3

THEATRE AND SIX

DRIVE-IN THEATERS IN

MAQUOKETA, IOWA

NATO of

Wisconsin & Upper Michigan

REBECCA

PATTERMANN

CINEMAS OF WHITEWATER

NATO of

Illinois

MIKE

WOZNY

INDUSTRY VETERAN

38 SEPTEMBER 2019


GENEVA CONVENTION 2019

BY DANIEL LORIA

LARRY D. HANSON AWARD

GINA DISANTO

>> Like many other second-generation exhibitors, Gina DiSanto never

thought she would follow in her father’s footsteps. After graduating

from Bloomsburg University, she spent eight years in sales for Burroughs/Unisys

before being drawn back to the family business in 1993.

By 2007, she was named CEO of her family’s circuit, growing to the size

of 79 screens at nine locations in Pennsylvania. Despite selling the circuit

in 2012, DiSanto is still an active member of the industry. She served

as eight-year term on the NATO executive board, is a founding director

and executive board member of the Independent Cinema Alliance (ICA),

and served on the board of the National Association of Concessionaires

(NAC) from 2002 to 2019. In 2006, DiSanto was honored by the NAC with

the Bert Nathan Memorial Award for outstanding service in the concessions

industry. She currently acts as the president of NATO of Pennsylvania.

Boxoffice Pro spoke with the exhibition veteran ahead of her

latest honor at the 2019 Geneva Convention.

GINA DISANTO

How did you first enter the exhibition industry?

I grew up in the family business. My father bought a theater in 1955, a few

years before I was born. We had a single screen and two drive-ins. That’s what I

did through my teenage years, through college. After graduating, I told my father

I would never work for him again—but this business gets in your blood. We had a

supply business where we supplied movie theaters in five states on the East Coast

and the Pennsylvania area, and I joined the sales team.

I was a single mom with two little babies, and I came back to work part-time.

My dad said, “Fine, but you can’t sell to any of our movie theaters here because

that’s what we do. If you want to come back and work for me, you can carve out

your own supply chain.” That’s how I ended up selling to Hershey Park and other

venues around us.

Eventually I realized I really wanted to work with movie theaters. I’d already

done ushering, along with every other job, so I came in as a part-time manager. We

only had nine screens at that point: the little twins and single screens throughout

central Pennsylvania.

What were some of the first projects you tackled when you came back to

exhibition?

We didn’t have a website, we didn’t have an employee handbook. We didn’t have

a lot of things that, having worked in the corporate world, I knew were important.

I introduced selling bottled water at our circuit; we didn’t even sell concession combos

at the time, so that’s what I dove into because I had come from selling concession

supplies to all these arenas and stadiums. As we were growing the business, in

2007, I was appointed CEO of the company. At that point we had probably around

40 SEPTEMBER 2019


GENEVA CONVENTION 2019

50 screens; we ended up with 79 screens, which we

sold in 2012. I facilitated the sale of the company

in 2012 to Digiplex who sold to Carmike, who

then sold to AMC.

What were those years, at the head of a

79-screen circuit, like?

I grew with the business, and we hired great

people, too. We were big on training and had great

managers. I was project manager on two of the

new builds and renovations that we did. It’s invigorating;

there’s nothing like watching the public

come to a theater and see them being entertained

by something we provided for them. We used to

do “Free Kiddy” matinees and would see grandparents

bringing their grandchildren to a movie

for the first time. We were in smaller communities;

all our theaters were in towns with populations of

25,000 or less—and the people were so appreciative

of these initiatives.

Our theaters were only in Pennsylvania, and we

would go out and visit our theaters every weekend.

Every theater we had was within a two-hour drive.

Whenever anyone had an issue that needed to be

addressed, we would go out and address it directly.

Those years were in the middle of the transition

to digital cinema. What were some of the

other transformational changes you tackled

during your time at the circuit?

Websites and email were big difference makers.

Today it’s hard to imagine this business back in the

’90s, when many theaters didn’t have their own websites.

Everything was newspaper-driven; the decision

to drop some of our theaters out of newspapers

was a major decision. We had to think about the

communities we were in and how vital the newspaper

was to that community. We left some ads, but

exhibitor websites were a major change. We traveled

through a little time warp during that period.

You joined Bruce Taffet at Taffet & Associates

in 2012. Could you tell us more about that stage

of your career?

Bruce and I are partners in business and life

partners. I joined Taffet & Associates after selling

the circuit. He had a seven-plex theater in Philadelphia,

and he was in the middle of construction

for a location in Frackville, Pennsylvania. I helped

him with operations and the build at the Frackville

location, which had a full bar and a luxury-seating

and PLF auditorium.

The bar was completed in 2013, and it was a

whole new thing to learn about operating a theater

with a liquor license. We were one of the first theaters

to sell liquor in Pennsylvania, and we got some

pushback from the community. They were worried

that somebody would be feeding a 16-year-old beer

or something. To resolve the issue, we labeled the

two auditoriums with alcohol service as VIP auditoriums,

which is what the township designated us to

do if we wanted to serve liquor.

How did that VIP designation for auditoriums

with alcohol service affect the business?

We began to upcharge for the VIP auditorium

and some of our employees said, “Gee, you

shouldn’t pay an upcharge because it’s 21 and

older; they’d spend more money at the bar if we

did that.” We surveyed our customers and found

most of them liked the select auditoriums. “We

don’t even drink,” they’d say. “We just like being in

an auditorium that we don’t have the teenagers at

the Friday night movie.”

After all these ventures, you’re still a theater

owner. What are some of your current projects?

I’m still in exhibition! When we sold our circuit,

we knew we wanted to keep our one drive-in,

and I still oversee its operations today. Bruce and I

do consulting in the industry on building and operations.

We just helped on a location in Panama

that opened this year; I believe it has the sixth-largest

Imax in the world. We consulted on the build

of that theater, which was interesting and exciting.

Being so involved in the industry’s trade associations,

what are the issues facing the industry

that you consider most critical?

Windows, streaming, and the availability of

movies stand out as major concerns. On the other

hand, I see an opportunity in how movie theaters

are adapting to today’s audiences. Making going to

the movies an event that people are excited to go to

a theater for. We’re doing that with upscale concessions,

alcohol service, and recliner seating. I think

we have challenges ahead, but we’ve been through

challenges before with TV and other home entertainment

options. We just have to be creative and

continue entertaining the public so they want to

come back to our theaters. In this industry, we are

all showmen at heart.

42 SEPTEMBER 2019


GENEVA CONVENTION 2019

BY DANIEL LORIA

VENDOR OF THE YEAR

RCM MEDIA

LEADING THE PACK

RCM Media co-founder

and CEO Jim McGinness

>> Although the concept of concessions

merchandising dates back to the early

days of exhibition, the concept’s biggest

evolution in the modern era came with the

introduction of movie graphic collectibles.

Seemingly overnight, collectible cups and

popcorn tubs started making their way to

multiplexes across the nation—a trend that

Jim McGinness, co-founder and CEO of RCM

Media, attributes to the power of 1994’s

The Lion King.

“We had done campaigns around a couple of

other films before, but that’s when it really took

off,” says McGinness, whose company is being

recognized as the 2019 Vendor of the Year at this

year’s Geneva Convention.

McGinness and his partner at PMG developed

promotional merchandise when they were at

PMG. The idea was simple enough: manufacture

movie graphic collectibles for cinemas looking for

an enticing way to upsell patrons at the concession

stand. According to McGinness, the Disney connection

came through in large part from an intro-

44 SEPTEMBER 2019


duction by AMC Theatres founder Stan Durwood.

With Disney’s promotional rights settled, the pair

was confident their branded concessions materials

would be a hit with audiences.

“We were putting movie graphics on the large

collectible popcorn tubs, so everyone going to

an AMC was sizing up,” remembers McGinness.

“We started running those three or four weeks

ahead of the film’s release, so it was great exposure

and advertising for the studio. People would

take these items home with them and you’d see

families take them to the beach; it was a walking

billboard to help promote these films. It turned

into a win-win situation for everybody: the

public went home with a little piece

of Hollywood, the theaters were

increasing

their percaps

with

everyone

sizing up,

and the

studio

was getting

additional

marketing

and exposure

for their film.”

McGinness

and his business partner Mark Osborn left

PMG in 2008 to create their own company, RCM

Media. “We named it ‘Media’ because we didn’t

want to be known as just a concession supplier,”

explains Osborn.” When we first started out, we

would produce cups and popcorn tubs. Today we

build integrated in-theater marketing and media

campaigns around a concessions item.”

Those campaigns take a holistic approach across

several channels. With a kid’s combo, for example,

RCM uses a patented “Speed Pack,” which

includes a collectible cup with a figurine topper.

RCM takes this marketing technique beyond

concessions packaging with on-screen spots, digital

menu boards, lobby monitors, and point-of-sale

material. “We build a whole campaign around that

item,” says McGinness.

3-D collectible merchandise is one of the

most successful recent trends in the sector. For

RCM, which is distributing unique product for

tentpole movies like Avengers and Star Wars, it’s

THEY’RE CREEPY AND THEY’RE KOOKY

RCM Media has produced integrated

marketing campaigns for 300 films,

including this series based on UA’s The

Addams Family.

been an especially positive development. Whether

it’s a popcorn tub in the shape of a stormtrooper

helmet, or a large soda cup shaped like a lightsaber,

movie fans have reacted very positively to

this new range of products. McGinness also says

popular brands like Star Wars help drive collectible

merchandise sales. “You can sell a popcorn tub

shaped like Chewbacca’s head for more than a

regular-sized tub.”

He continues, “On some occasions, RCM

has even produced exclusive products for specific

cinema chains. You know how competitive this

industry can be. Major circuits don’t want to sell

something that their competitor has, so we’re used

to developing unique items when our clients

ask for them.”

Always

on the

pulse of

the next

big innovation,

RCM

is rolling

out what it

considers the

next frontier

of concessions

merchandising:

augmented reality (A.R.). The company has partnered

with Fuze Viewer to activate studio movie

content with their products, enabling moviegoers

to interact with their favorite characters on their

phones when scanning RCM cups and tubs.

Patrons can also experience a photo op with their

favorite live-action hero and share it on social media.

It becomes an immersive experience as soon

as the patrons walk through the door.

After completing campaigns for roughly 300

films while working with all the major studios,

McGinness says the future of the company will

be led by a stream of new ideas. “We’re still in the

concession packaging business but with a lot of

new twists. We’re not copiers, we’re innovators,”

he says. “Our total focus is on the movie theater

channel. We’re not in stadiums or anywhere else;

we’re totally focused on cinemas. 3-D promotion

products and A.R. are the next frontier, and we

will always be on the lookout for new ways to

innovate in this industry.”

HIGH-TECH POPCORN

RCM is partnering with

Fuze Viewer to deliver

A.R.-activated experiences.

POP THE TOP

RCM Media specializes

in innovating concessions

combo packs, like

this Angry Birds Movie

2 set featuring cup

toppers.

SEPTEMBER 2019

45


TECHNOLOGY

BY KEVIN LALLY

HEARING

THE PICTURE

HOW AUDIO DESCRIPTION CREATES A REAL

MOVIE EXPERIENCE FOR THE BLIND AND

VISUALLY IMPAIRED

>> More than 26 million adults in America are blind or have low

vision. But despite their inability to see the spectacular images on

today’s cinema screens, many still crave an entertaining night out at

the movies. And thanks to audio description, they can enjoy hit films

along with other moviegoers.

Audio description (A.D.) uses a prerecorded

audio track in which a narrator details what’s happening

on-screen, including actions, gestures, facial

expressions, settings, and costumes. The customer

listens on a headset to narration that augments the

dialogue, sound effects, and music that the rest of

the theater audience is hearing. As of June 2, 2018,

all first-run cinemas equipped with digital projection

equipment for at least six months are required

to make available both audio-description headsets

and closed captioning for their visually and hearing-impaired

customers, respectively.

Roy Samuelson is one of the industry’s leading

voiceover talents; he can be heard on commercials

for Quaker, State Farm, Ford, Target, and many

other brands, and on promos for the Lifetime, Discovery,

and Nickelodeon networks and Los Angeles

National Public Radio station KCRW. And for the

last five years, he’s been a top audio-description

artist, supplying the narration for such films as Get

Out, Pacific Rim: Uprising, The Hateful Eight, Fate

of the Furious, Atomic Blonde, Venom, First Man,

Baby Driver, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Glass,

Us, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the current

Hobbs & Shaw. Thanks to that work, he’s also become

an advocate for audio-description awareness.

“As I’ve connected with the community, I am

learning so much about disability and perceptions—my

own sighted bias towards people who

are blind. And that is changing the entire perception

that I have,” Samuelson reflects. “I’m not there

yet. This is such a process. I’m really appreciating

learning more about how people with blindness

live with it, and disability in general. There are a

lot of steps being taken right now across the entertainment

business, as well as in other areas. It’s

really exciting.”

Although Samuelson says that he enjoys hearing

from fans of his audio-description work, he knows

he’s done a good job if his performance stays in

the background. “The biggest focus for me is that

the spotlight is on the story. I think a successful

narrator is one where she’s able to deliver so that

the audience can be a part of the story and keep

focused and fully immersed in that story. There

are subtle ways to do that, but a lot of it obviously

has to do with the writing. And I’ve got so much

respect for the describers—that’s what they call the

writers of audio description. The narration has to

ride the emotion of the story without being overly

emoted. It’s exciting to try and find that line.”

The writers, he notes, use different programs

that tell them how much time they have in between

lines of dialogue or action sequences. Then

they have to fit their description of what’s happening

on-screen into those pauses. “I always like to

use the analogy that a picture’s worth a thousand

words. There are 24 to 30 frames a second, and

a movie lasts 90 minutes and above. So there are

thousands and thousands of images that can be

described. The describers really have to focus, like

a radio sports announcer, on what are the most

important elements that are going to push the plot

forward or that people who can’t see might miss in

the visuals.”

Samuelson says action films like Hobbs &

Shaw are among the most challenging to describe.

“Hobbs & Shaw is just back-to-back narration,

because it’s all action. The describers did an incredible

job of capturing the essence of it, because so

much is happening. Sometimes it’s just page after

page after page of nonstop action, interspersed

with punches and screeches and explosions. If

I started thinking about it, I’d just stumble and

fail. But [I get into] a zone. And this is, again, a

collaboration between the describer doing their

job so incredibly well and the director allowing me

to sense the feeling of the scene, the intensity of

the emotion, and my being able to ride all these

different cues happening seemingly simultaneously

and still [meet an exact time count].”

Margo Tone, senior manager of operations,

audio description/scripting services, at Deluxe

Media Inc., confirms how precise this descriptive

46 SEPTEMBER 2019


work is. “The writers are really the foundation—

they are the most important part of this. Because if

the writer doesn’t know how to describe in between

dialogue and capture what’s going on on-screen,

while being able to not editorialize, not be condescending

to the visually impaired, the voiceover actor

won’t know how to read it. But the voice actors

are very important, too. All the voice actors that

we use are trained, because it’s a cold read. Even

people who are experienced dubbing voiceover, we

audition them to make sure they can do this read.

A cold read is really hard, so the pool of resources

that we have are some of the best—they’ve done

a lot of the big features that we’ve worked on.

You don’t want to be too excited and confuse the

listener, but you don’t want to be so monotone that

you put people to sleep. When there’s an action

scene or something like that, we’ll tell them to do

it a little quicker, have a little bit of acceleration to

your voice and your tone. It’s definitely a fine line.”

Deluxe has roughly 15 full-time employees and

20 freelancers working in its audio-description

division, which encompasses its offices in Los

Angeles, London, and Bangalore. “And we also

have access to translators all over the world when

we get foreign-language A.D.,” Tone adds. “We’ve

done quite a bit of French-Parisian, French-Canadian,

we’ve done Spanish, German, Japanese; we’ve

even done Icelandic. We have access to really any

language that is needed.”

Since it began audio-description operations in

2011, Deluxe has transcribed over 1,600 feature

films and 700 television shows across streaming

platforms. In the past year alone, the company

transcribed over 400 feature films.

After the narrator records the audio description,

says Tone, “our editor goes in and cleans up the audio,

getting rid of mouth sounds, pops, that kind

of thing.” Deluxe’s technicians also keep a careful

watch to ensure that “what’s on-screen and what’s

being described are correct. We want to make sure

we are as accurate as possible.”

The final A.D. track, says Chris Reynolds,

senior V.P. for localization products and services, is

incorporated into auxiliary channels in the digital

cinema package that is shipped to cinemas. “Any

theater can access it,” he notes.

Tone says the studios sometimes get involved

with voice casting. “They want to hear a couple of

different narrators to see which one they like. Depending

on the genre of the film, we try to match it

with the right voice. We have a guy who has a really

great low voice, and we

give him a lot of the

action films. And then

some of our female narrators

have sweet voices,

and we’ll give them

romantic comedies or

those that are geared

toward a younger

audience. Every voice

actor brings something

a little different.”

Tone says she gets

great personal gratification

out of the work

she and her team does.

“I went to a conference

about four years

ago with the Audio

Description Project

[an initiative of the

American Council of

the Blind]. There was

a blind patron and

he was talking about

going to see Lincoln,

which we did the A.D. for. He said he went with

his wife, who is also blind. There’s a scene where

a bunch of Lincoln’s troops have been killed and

he’s on his horse. So all you hear is clip-clop,

clip-clop. And to be able to hear the description

of Lincoln’s expression and the emotion that was

behind it, he said they were overwhelmed, they

were so happy. It means so much to them. Our

goal is to give the blind patron the same experience

the sighted viewer has. That’s why we make

sure we use trained writers, because we want to

give people the best experience.”

Tone agrees with Samuelson that action films

can be especially challenging. Deluxe did the audio

description for the most recent Mad Max, with

its many long chase scenes. That meant a lot of

descriptive writing for repetitious actions. But,

says Tone, “you don’t want to repeat yourself—you

want to keep the writing vibrant and let the blind

patron get that same feeling, the same experience

that a sighted viewer is getting.” One recent and

especially demanding film had a first-person point

of view, and the A.D. writer had to relay that perspective.

“You always have to be ready to change it

up a little bit, depending on what’s going on in the

feature, while still following those tenets of what

ROY SAMUELSON

SEPTEMBER 2019

47


TECHNOLOGY

STUDIO TIME

Audio recording facility

at Deluxe

A.D. is supposed to do.”

As Tone describes it, some films are talky, and

the writer has to struggle to avoid interrupting the

dialogue. And sometimes the actors on-screen talk

over visual jokes. “So there are certain challenges,

but everyone huddles together and says, ‘Hey, look,

this is a really difficult scene. What do you think?’

And then everyone gets their two cents about what

they think is best. My writers have anywhere from

10 to 16 years’ experience. So they’ve been doing it

for a very long time.”

One cinema that has fully embraced the recent

legislation mandating audio description and closed

captioning is the Prospector Theater in Ridgefield,

Connecticut, a unique venue that seeks to create

employment opportunities for the physically challenged.

Three-quarters of its employees, known as

“prospects,” identify as disabled.

Says Ryan Wenke, director of operations,

“We’re a nonprofit and we employ people with

disabilities, so we operate as if people are going to

be using [audio-description] equipment every single

day. That’s what really sets us apart from other

theaters. If you go to other theaters in the surrounding

areas, a lot of the time their staff doesn’t

know where the equipment is or how it’s used or

it’s not charged. Here, every single time we get a

movie, we test the devices in all of our theaters

and make sure that the new movie is working. We

get customers every single day using it, and every

month we actually host a group called Guiding

Eyes for the Blind. We have the service animals

come in with their owners and they’re all watching

movies. So we’re seeing this equipment used all

the time, in real time, with those who are blind or

visually impaired.”

Wenke says that despite the recent audio-description

mandate, more needs to be done—better

education and more investment in advancing

technology—partly because it’s a smart business

move. “These are paying customers too, and why

wouldn’t you want as many people as possible

coming to your movie theater, especially when

you have streaming options like Netflix? You’re

not doing yourself any favors by not having this

equipment ready. I would love to see tech companies

especially continue to advance the technology

and not just be like, ‘OK, we made something,

we’re good.’ But get feedback and work with us,

work with other theaters.”

The Prospector supplies Braille cards with

instructions for its audio description headsets, and

48 SEPTEMBER 2019


for first-time users. “We’ll have an usher go into

the theater with them and walk them through how

to use it,” Wenke says.

Wenke has high praise for the craft that goes

into audio description. “The voice acting really

makes a big difference. It’s a different kind of

voice acting when you’re doing narrative description.

… It’s like you’re listening to a good friend

describe what’s happening and it’s perfectly timed

and not overwhelming. It’s not taking away from

the action—they’ll tell you just enough but not

too much.

“We encourage people to listen to one of these

tracks. It’s like an audiobook. In the past, we’ve

done a challenge where we blindfold other prospects

who work here and we use the headsets to

help them understand what the experience is like

for somebody who’s visually impaired or blind. A

lot of these movies have come a long way. When

I’m in the theater and I’m using the equipment or

I’m with somebody who’s using the equipment,

they’re laughing at all the same jokes that everybody’s

laughing at, they’re getting emotional with

everybody else in the theater. One time I walked

into a theater during a Guiding Eyes visit just to

make sure everything was good, and everybody was

laughing at what was happening and they all had

headsets on. So, clearly, this technology and the

narration are working.”

Wenke says the cinema “should be a medium

where everybody has a favorite movie, everybody

has a favorite actor. It should be a place

where everybody can come together, experience

something in the same way. Maybe we’re using

different technology and different means to

experience the art of the movie, but we want to

be inclusive.”

Voice artist Roy Samuelson echoes those

sentiments: “There’s another narrator who did

one of the Toy Story films, and she said the only

fan letter that she got was from a parent who had

several children, one of whom was low-vision

or blind. She wrote the narrator saying, ‘Thank

you for the work that you do. This was the first

time my family could watch a movie all together.’

And that’s what we’re doing. This is normalizing

the experience of watching movies, being able to

engage with others in watching and talking about

their favorite moments. It provides access just like

sighted people have.”

THEATER

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SEPTEMBER 2019

49


ITCA

BY DAVE PAOLINI

TECHNOLOGY CONCLAVE

STREAMING PLATFORMS’ IMPACT IS A HOT TOPIC AT ICTA BUSINESS CONVENTION

The impact of streaming platforms and services—both current and

those expected to come online this fall—on exhibitors’ bread-andbutter

movie business dominated hallway conversations and the

official program at the 2019 International Cinema Technology Association

(ICTA) Annual Business Convention, held in Toronto in July.

NEIL CAMPBELL

>> Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV

Plus, and NBC Universal’s yet-tobe-named

service will join a crowded

market that includes Netflix, Amazon

Prime, Hulu, Sling, and others,

with their effect on the traditional

“theatrical experience” unknown. But

for some ICTA attendees, cinema is

holding its own.

“Consider that 2018 was a record

year for box office takes and theater

attendance, because we had a great

slate of products and the public came

out to watch great movies, in theaters,”

said Neil Campbell, vice chair

of Canada’s Landmark Cinemas. “As

well, these were better experiences

that could be enjoyed more fully due to better

sound, more comfortable seating, associated entertainment

and other pluses, at more locations and

not just the bigger, downtown marquee houses.”

Campbell and Mark Louis, senior director of

presentation at the Alamo Drafthouse circuit,

formed a panel on “The Upside Down World of

Streaming and Theaters,” moderated by Loren

Nielsen, V.P., content relations and strategy, Xperi/

DTS Inc., who prefaced the discussion with an

overview of the streaming industry.

Xperi’s independent and aggregated research

revealed that slightly more than half of Americans

watch streaming content for two to three hours

per day, spread over an average of three devices and

three services. “And we’ve found that the number

one content category streamed is movies, followed

by episodic TV [shows], then news and then

sports,” Nielsen reported.

A wide variety of services and pricing schemes

are out there, and some of these are delivering

more movies than others, as well as episodic TV.

Original movies and documentaries, buttressed by

extensive libraries of prior content, will dominate

the fall and 2020 rollouts. Nielsen noted that,

led by Disney, the characters and story lines of

episodic TV will tie in to theatrical movie plots

and characters. So fans wanting to keep up with

the Marvel Cinematic Universe and other popular

favorites will need to watch streaming content as

well as go out to the movies.

But what about the tentative moves by some

studios to take remastered classics, such as

Disney’s Lady and the Tramp (1955), as well as

original movie content, straight to their streaming

services? Is that a challenge, Nielsen asked, to

the traditional model of the first release being a

theatrical experience?

“Sure, I would like my theaters to be the only

initial source to see a Lady and the Tramp, but that’s

not how the world works. I don’t think anyone has

a clear plan yet, because, remember, none of this

has ever happened before and we don’t know what

is coming or we hadn’t thought of, so I hope that

there will be more opportunities for us all to do

better and make more money, given there will be so

much more product,” Campbell observed.

“No one is making nothing but blockbusters, so

the more quantity, the more likely that there will be

quality there as well, delivering movies like Green

Book, which came out of nowhere to be a winner

and the best movie of the year,” Campbell added.

Technology, properly deployed to deliver the

best experience, should be an argument to the

content providers that theaters ought to continue

to have “windows of exclusivity,” which in turn

could be shared with streaming-service subscribers,

Louis opined. “We are teed up to do something

nationally with the launch of ‘Righteous

Gemstones’ on HBO in August. You will be able

to see it before anyone sees it at home, but on the

big screen, as a subscriber, with reserved seats to

see a premiere. The big benefit for the streaming

platforms is that subscribers in turn will spread

the word.

“In this way content creators and providers

should view theatrical releases as an opportunity

50 SEPTEMBER 2019


to build excitement for what they’re producing,

ensuring that all sides win.”

Campbell agreed, noting that theatrical distribution

is the engine that pulls the content-delivery

train, setting the value for all the other platforms.

“Look at Disney, where they believe in the value

of the theatrical window, and they want to ensure

that they market a movie as best as they can, to deliver

as big an audience as possible in the theaters.

Because that in turn sets the demand, excitement,

attendance, etc. for all the other markets. Ours is

still the number one vehicle to build public awareness

of their product.”

FROM MULTIPLEXES TO ENTERTAINMENT

‘DESTINATIONS’

Content may still be king, but the ICTA delegates

were reminded of the importance of diversification

as well by Ellis Jacob, president and CEO of

Cineplex, in a Q&A session with ICTA executive

director Robert Sunshine, following the streaming

panel discussion.

“We have to create destinations that our customers

want to come to. It can’t just be movies;

one has to have other entertainment available to

create a destination that people can enjoy as a onestop

location,” Jacob declared.

His own circuit is a case in point. Cineplex has

moved from being simply a film exhibitor to an

ecosystem of successful entertainment and media

companies. Its foray into digital place-based media,

supplying the digital media needs of McDonald’s

Canada, BMW, Scotiabank, Royal Bank, and others,

has resulted in having 57 percent of the mall

traffic in Canada for its digital signage business.

“That’s not reliant on our theatrical experiences;

but they are not much different than what

we deliver in our theaters, showing content and

delivering it on an ongoing basis. Cineplex has also

gone into the amusement and leisure businesses,

with the advent of the Rec Room venues. We have

exclusive rights to Topgolf Canada, with our first

location coming soon,” Jacob added.

“Cineplex is moving from being a cinema company

to an entertainment destination, where we

SEPTEMBER 2019

51


ICTA RECAP

win the entertainment time and dollars of customers,

all tied into our loyalty program, which boasts

almost 10 million members now. That’s 60 percent

of Canadian households, by the way.”

Replying to Sunshine’s question on the value

of the Global Cinema Federation, Ellis stressed

its emergence as a positive, to give the exhibition

community a united, diverse, and expansive voice.

“The reason we set up the

Cineplex

organization is really

is moving from being a cinema

to look at global

company to an entertainment destination, issues, and one

big one is that of

where we win the entertainment time

music rights. In

and dollars of customers, all tied into our the U.S. when a

loyalty program, which boasts almost movie plays, an exhibitor

doesn’t have

10 million members now. That’s 60

to pay for the music

percent of Canadian households, by

rights. In other parts

the way. – Ellis Jacob

of the world, including

Canada, exhibitors must

negotiate payments for the music

rights, which can amount to from 6 to 8 percent of

your box office take. So what the GCF is trying to

do is work with the studios to figure out a mechanism

whereby we have some kind of uniformity

across the world, to deal with

the music portfolios and get them

up front, rather than each country

having to deal with different rules

and rights.”

Ellis noted that “the minute

we put the organization

ELLIS JACOB

together two years

ago in Barcelona,

every

studio

phoned

me and

asked,

‘What are you doing, why are you coming together?’

It certainly wasn’t to gang up on the studios,

but rather to have a common voice to press a

united front on windows of exclusivity, technology,

music rights, and other common areas.”

ICTA SPREADS ITS GLOBAL WINGS

The past year has seen renewed membership

growth for the ICTA outside its core North

American members. For Marion Rosset, president

of Lyon-based ADDE SAS—a leading French

cinema manufacturer and installer—belonging to

a mutually supportive, well-versed association of

technology experts began as a family affair.

“I’m following in the footsteps of my dad, who

was involved with the French exhibition scene

and the ICTA when he was younger,” said Rosset.

“Learning different ways of doing things is best

done by exchanging information with fellow ICTA

members, which can only make my company

better and benefit our customers, and events like

the 2019 Annual Business Convention ensure that

ADDE is in the middle of it all. I was pleased to

be here with Mathieu Cazorla, operations director,

and Loys Philibert, our technology director, learning

from others and also sharing our experiences.”

Alan Roe, ICTA president, gave full credit to

Jan Runge, Thomas Rüttgers, and the other ICTA

members outside North America for promoting

membership and providing the association with a

wider context for association events, initiatives, and

knowledge exchange.

“We basically serve the exhibition and manufacturing

communities, working with like-minded

but not identical organizations such as NATO,

MPAA, SMPTE, and NAC, and through our

partnerships with major trade events, including

CinemaCon, ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

So we have a lot to offer a diverse membership,

while ensuring their participation to provide a

global perspective.”

Alongside a strong networking and social aspect

for attendees, the ICTA convention featured

tours of Deluxe Canada and Imax facilities in

the Toronto region, and an extensive update on

manufacturing and service provider offerings,

including Christie, Cielo, Cinionic, Dolby, D-Box,

EOMAC, GDC, Jaymar, LTI, Moving Image

Technologies (MiT), NEC Solutions, Omniterm,

and TouchMate.

52 SEPTEMBER 2019


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ICTA

TEDDY AWARD FOR

MANUFACTURER OF

THE YEAR

CHRISTIE

DIGITAL

SYSTEMS

ICTA members recognized

Christie as the 2019 honoree of

the Teddy Award for Manufacturer

of the Year, given

each year to the ICTA member

company that best represents

the trade organization’s high

standards of service. It is the

third time Christie has been

honored with the award, after

previously receiving it in 1998

and 2010. Boxoffice Pro spoke

with Christie’s Susie Beiersdorf

on the occasion, to find out

about the upcoming innovations

exhibitors can expect from the

global cinema technology company.

INTERVIEW WITH SUSIE BEIERSDORF,

VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES, CINEMA-

AMERICAS, CHRISTIE

What are some of the projects Christie

has planned for the coming months?

We announced a major deal with

Cineworld and Regal and are deploying

over a thousand units with them this

year. We continue our support of major

film festivals like Cannes, Toronto, and

Shanghai. We are proud of our joint

venture with Huaxia to provide projection

systems to present Gemini Man as

Ang Lee envisioned it in 4K 120fps 3-D,

in China. We continue to deploy our

leading-edge technology with our recently

introduced line of RGB pure laser cinema

projectors featuring Christie RealLaser

illumination technology. We’ve just

released a lower-cost model—the Christie

CP2309—ideal for smaller cinema

screens. We’re able to provide multiple

solutions in 2K and 4K resolutions,

anywhere from 8,000 to 50,000 lumens

in pure RGB laser.

ICTA vice president Frank Tees (far left) and ICTA president Alan Roe (far right) present

the 2018 ICTA Teddy Award for Manufacturer of the Year to Christie at the annual conference

held in Toronto, Canada, on July 24, 2019. Accepting the award is former Christie

president and CEO Jack Kline; V.P. of Christie cinema sales, America, Susie Beiersdorf;

V.P. of cinema product management, Brian Claypool; and Christie’s senior director of

business development for cinema, Patrick Artiaga.

Projection technology has evolved

significantly over the past decade.

Where do you think the industry is

headed with innovations like high

frame rate (HFR), laser projection,

panoramic screens, and direct view?

Christie led the way with the original

digital cinema deployment, and we

continue to lead the way in providing

quality and reliable technologies for

cinemas. Direct view is a potential future

cinema solution, but the technology still

has major challenges, like audio, pricing,

and weight. Christie has a solution that

could be developed for DCI playback,

and we will be ready to participate when

the industry demand is there. Right now,

however, in terms of mainstream adoption,

lasers continue to be the next big

evolution from xenon.

At Christie, we believe it’s important to

create an immersive moviegoing experience.

In the U.S., we have partnered with

CJ 4DPLEX to identify new opportunities

for the ScreenX and 4DX solutions.

At CinemaCon, Christie announced

it would play a part of a new cinema

technology alliance to support

advance-format filmmaking

with other industry leaders

like GDC and Huaxia. Ang

Lee’s on board, and he’s got

Gemini Man coming out in

October—a perfect example

of the creative potential of

this type of technology. How

important is it for Christie to

work with filmmakers at the

production level?

Christie is actively involved

with the creative community

and production companies to

provide technologies that help

bring the creative visions to

the big screen. Currently, these

include Ang Lee, Lightstorm

Entertainment, and Huaxia.

We are committed to helping

them present their projects at

the highest standard.

With our most recent product, the

Christie CP4440 and CP4450 and the

4K@120fps capability, the significant

higher brightness will enable better experiences

for HFR content. The mainstream

adoption of HFR is going to be driven

by content and the creative use of the

technology. There’s a giant toolbox out

there for filmmakers to use, and we want

to develop technologies that will allow

them to present their films to audiences

the way they want them to be seen.

Do you believe digital cinema has

reached its full potential? What is the

next frontier of digital cinema?

Film was around for over a hundred

years and was a relatively stable technology.

Digital cinema took over and is barely

20 years old now. Digital cinema allows

for countless possibilities, and I’m sure

there are creative tools and opportunities

we haven’t thought of. Technology develops

so fast and the creative community

is always willing to push the envelope.

That’s why I don’t think we’ve reached the

full potential of digital cinema. I think we

will continue to see it evolve as technology

continues to develop.

54 SEPTEMBER 2019


FOOD & BEVERAGE

CONCESSIONS SOLUTIONS

THREE INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS FROM THE NAC EXPO TRADE SHOW

CORN LOCO

POPCORN SEASONING STATIONS

www.cornloco.mx/en

>> Powdered popcorn seasonings are a popular complement for many moviegoers, a

trend Mexican company Corn Loco has expanded with its new seasoning stations. The

company introduced its partnership with Mexico’s Cinemex, rolling out co-branded

popcorn seasonings with brands like Cheetos, Ruffles, Chip’s, Tajín, Tabasco, Oreo, and

M&M’s. Whether the seasonings are sweet or savory, Corn Loco gives exhibitors the

chance to spice up their concessions stand with movie tie-in flavors like Green Marshmallow

popcorn for Universal’s The Grinch and the aptly titled spicy Hell Popcorn for

Hellboy. CornLoco is available at theme parks, stadiums, and 3,000 Cinemex screens in

Mexico. The company has begun looking to expand to the United States and Canada, so

don’t be surprised if you find a buffet line around popcorn flavors at a theater near you.

HALOVINO

REIMAGINING THE WINE GLASS AT THE CONCESSIONS STAND

www.halovino.com

>> “Wine enthusiasts dread drinking wine from a plastic cup,” says HaloVino

founder & CEO Jessica Bell. “It doesn’t feel, smell, or taste like wine—and it spills

everywhere. [Consumers] pay $10 for a $2 wine experience. Designed by Bell, a certified

sommelier, HaloVino are shatterproof, stemless wine tumblers with a patented

two-piece design that helps wine taste better by enhancing its inherent aromas. The

HaloVino tumblers are stackable, portable, and dishwasher safe—meaning moviegoers

can take them home after purchasing wine at the movies. Launched in June 2016,

HaloVino can be found at entertainment venues like stadiums, wineries, restaurants,

and festivals. HaloVino can carry 12 ounces of wine, allowing operators to upsell for

a “tall pour” of 9–10 ounces. Easy-to-read ounce lines on the product allow servers to

deliver a perfect pour to patrons.

MY WIGGY

A SMOOTH RIDE FROM THE CONCESSIONS STAND TO YOUR SEAT

www.mywiggy.com

>> Walking from the concessions stand to your seat doesn’t have to be a treacherous adventure.

My Wiggy concession trays come with an adjustable strap that give consumers

increased freedom and mobility after a trip to the snack bar; it’s no longer necessary to

balance tickets with two drinks and a bucket of popcorn. Exhibitors can customize the

trays with screen imprints of their logos on the front of the trays, delivering a uniquely

branded concessions experience.

“Obviously there are other snack trays on the market, mostly disposable” says My

Wiggy creator Debby Kase. “This multipurpose tray is made with durable dishwasher-safe

plastic so it can be used again and again.” My Wiggy is currently being targeted

to movie theaters, stadiums, concert venues, and fairs and expos.

56 SEPTEMBER 2019


With more than 39 percent

growth in 2018 and 1,696

systems installed worldwide,

according to UNIC, immersive

seating has proven to be much

more than a mere fad. But much of

the growth has been concentrated

in emerging markets where the construction

of new theaters—and the

race to differentiate through premium

enhancements—is booming.

The pace has been

somewhat slower in

Europe. Opening

its first

screen in the

Netherlands

in 2010,

D-Box was

the first

player to

enter the

European

market

and has now

expanded to

200 screens and 13

countries. Two years

later, CJ 4DPLEX opened

four 4DX theaters with Cineworld

Cinemas in Hungary, Poland, and the

Czech Republic. With more than 141 European

locations in 24 countries—which

constitute 33 percent of all 4DX auditoriums

worldwide—4DX has established

the strongest presence in the market.

Arriving later in the game, MX4D

invested in Europe for the first time in

2017 via a partnership with Cineplexx in

Croatia. More recently, local players such

as Finland’s Flexound Augmented Audio,

which uses audio vibrations to add the

sensation of touch, have also emerged

amid foreign giants.

But while the market is starting to

move faster, the old continent’s conservatism,

coupled with a slower pace of theater

construction, has presented challenges

to exhibitors and resulted in variable

growth of immersive seating in different

European markets, led by Germany, Eastern

Europe, France, and the U.K.

“Overall, the European market hasn’t

moved that quickly for 4-D,” explains

MediaMation CEO Howard Kiedaisch.

“There are a few different reasons for that.

When people are building from scratch,

they think about it, whereas when they

need to retrofit, it’s harder. If you’re

building new multiplexes and starting

from scratch, it’s very easy to contemplate,

‘OK, how do I get this with a 4-D

solution in mind and being

aggressive in expanding?’

If you’re refurbishing,

it takes a little

bit more effort

ROCKING

THE OLD

CONTINENT

Immersive Seating in

Europe Faces Unique

Challenges

By Vassiliki Malouchou

and time, and

you need to

ask if you’re

willing to

disrupt the

theater.”

Screen

count

indeed

remained

stable from the

beginning of the

decade and only grew

in the last two years, rising

by 3.7 percent to 42,000 screens

in UNIC territories in 2018. The growth

was particularly impressive in Eastern

Europe. On top of anemic construction

rates, most European

territories are characterized

by a considerable

number of small,

local, independent

exhibitors—often

seen as the

gatekeepers

of European

cinema’s cultural

diversity—who

can find it harder

to bear the financial

costs of new technologies

and refurbishments.

CJ 4DPLEX CEO JongRyul

Kim and Flexound CEO Mervi Heinaro

also point to more conservative decision-making

on the part of European

exhibitors. “For decades, cinemas have

been focusing on big-screen, augmented

sound, comfortable chairs, and F&B,

not on the moviegoing experience itself,”

says JongRyul Kim. “Bringing the innovative

and dynamic cinematic experience

to rather conservative movie theaters in

Europe was a huge challenge at first,”

Heinaro observes, “In many countries,

exhibitors are looking for new solutions.

Of course, for small exhibitors,

it’s harder to find financing. The bigger

ones might not be as fast sometimes; I

think one of the traditional European

handicaps is that we’re not extremely fast

decision-makers.”

But D-Box’s sales director Jean-

François Gagnon dismisses a view of

Europeans as conservative: “We first

launched our technology in the United

States and Canada back in 2009. Because

of that initial success, we found ourselves

installing motion seats in the Netherlands

and then Germany, Slovakia, and the

United Kingdom just one year later. We

see Europeans as early adopters because,

in our experience, both exhibitors and

moviegoers are looking for that kind of

innovative, immersive experience.”

To deal with the limitations posed by

these factors, immersive-seating companies

have devised new business models

catering to the needs of European

exhibitors, both large and

small. “We have recently

put a financing package

in place and

we’re now able to

offer a revenue

share model,”

says MediaMation’s

Kiedaisch.

“In some places

exhibitors say,

‘I want to buy it.

I don’t want you

involved in my business.

I have deep pockets.’

Other people say, ‘I want to

phase out my expenditure, I want it to

be based on the money that it makes.’ It

58 SEPTEMBER 2019


depends on the appetite,

the capability of the

exhibitor. We’re

now offering

both options,

and we’re just

starting to get

out there and

push that as an

opportunity.”

Flexound,

on the other

hand, responded

to exhibitors’ fear of

losing seating because of the

installation of recliners by offering a

different form of immersive seating that

does not necessarily require larger seats.

Flexound sells its system as a one-time

buy, but cooperates with seat manufacturers

to incorporate its technology into

the type of seats that suit the exhibitor’s

needs. Moreover, Flexound is compatible

with any content as is, without requiring

reprogramming or recoding on the part

of the exhibitor.

While overall European admissions

dipped by 3.4 percent this year, immersive-seating

companies remain optimistic

and believe the technology

can stimulate moviegoing;

they point to the

higher-than-average

occupancy rates

for their screens.

“The whole

cinema industry,

we all need to

bring the people

to the theaters,”

Heinaro says. “I

think it’s about

creating experiences

and creating something

bigger. Since synchronized

sound in the 1920s, we’ve only been

using hearing and our vision; we haven’t

been using the other senses.”

Hollywood content is driving the

market, but there is an increasingly strong

demand for programming local content

as well. For example, last year, 4DX

produced the French titles

Taxi 5 and Alad’2,

while the top-grossing

Serbian film of

2018, Juzvi Vetar

(South Wind),

was also a local

MX4D hit.

Kiedaisch

points out one

challenge in adapting

local content:

“Those situations are

a bit like the chicken and

the egg, where you

need enough screens

to have it make sense

to invest. And so

as the platform

gets better, more

people can say

I’ll make 4-D

content, but

then exhibitors

say, ‘Well, if you

make the content,

I’ll buy the screens

…’ As the platform is

growing, we’re engaging

more and more

with local exhibitors

and distributors who

want to find local

content.”

Today, Eastern

Europe—which

scored the

highest growth

in terms of admissions

and new

screens last year—

and Central Europe

are leading focuses

for immersive-seating

providers. “We’re finding

Eastern Europe to be extremely fertile,

because you have so many European and

international players who finally want

to take cinemas to the next level,” says

Kiedaisch. “One of those things is going

to be the large format, and in many

cases one of those things is going to be

the 4-D format. The amount of interest

from Eastern Europe right off CineEurope

was just extraordinary.” Through a

partnership with Cineplexx and Diesel

Kino, MX4D has focused on Austria,

Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia but is preparing

for a bigger rollout later this year.

Despite a 13.9 percent decline in

admissions in 2018, confirming alarmist

predictions of a more structural decline,

Germany concentrates key investments.

D-Box has 100 screens there alone—half

of its count in Europe. 4DX opened two

auditoriums this year, at the Cineplex

Bayreuth and Filmpalast, and

MX4D expects new openings

in Q4 of 2019.

France and the

U.K. are equally

important

markets. D-Box

is present in 11

locations in both

countries, and

MX4D anticipates

builds in Q1

and Q2 of 2020.

4DX currently operates

35 cinemas in France

(34 with Pathé, which opened

a 4DX ScreenX at the Pathé Beaugrenelle

in Paris and Pathé La Joliette in

Marseille earlier this year), as well as 22 in

the U.K. with Cineworld.

Immersive-seating players are beginning

to rush to Scandinavian countries.

Last year, D-Box invested in Norway

and is looking to expand further in

Scandinavian countries following 4DX’s

presence in Norway, Denmark, and the

Netherlands. Flexound Augmented Audio

opened its first commercial theater in its

home country in February with great support

from the local community.

One region is lagging behind: Southern

Europe. Only 4DX is present in

Spain and Portugal, while Italy, Malta,

Greece, and Cyprus—perhaps due to the

years of economic crisis plaguing the area,

which has hampered attendance, capex,

and new theater construction—have not

attracted any investments to date.

SEPTEMBER 2019

59


Hollywood in the Great White North

TILLICUM TWIN THEATRES BRINGS THE MAGIC OF THE MOVIES

TO TERRACE, BRITISH COLUMBIA

BY CHRIS EGGERTSEN

FOREVER YOUNG

Diane Robinson upholds

her father’s legacy at the

Tillicum Twin.

>> It wasn’t until the age of 94 that Bill Young

considered selling the Tillicum Twin Theatres—the

no-frills movie house in Terrace, British Columbia,

that he’d owned and run for over 50 years—and

finally taking a well-deserved rest. But the impulse

didn’t last long.

“He thought maybe he should retire,” says

Young’s daughter Diane Robinson, who now runs

the cinema. “[But after] he had a couple people

look at the theater, that was the end of that [idea].”

Indeed, Young continued running the Tillicum

Twin until his death last December at 95. In

his wake, the theater owner left behind a legacy

of altruism and community service, and in the

immediate aftermath of his passing—the result of a

fall that triggered a massive brain hemorrhage—his

family received an outpouring of support from the

citizens of Terrace and its surrounding communities,

mirroring the generosity and compassion he

had shown them for decades.

“[The response] was huge,” says Robinson.

“People that knew him were just in shock. But we

kept the theater going. Our staff all came in, [and]

they took over the place for us for a couple weeks.”

Keeping the theater going is exactly what Young

would have wanted. Throughout his life, the

community leader and business owner remained

a tireless workhorse with an entrepreneurial spirit;

in addition to the Tillicum Twin, he at various

points owned an adjacent music shop, as well as

the nearby Tillicum Drive-In, which closed down

sometime in the late 1970s. Defying small-town

stereotypes, he also kept a constant eye on the

latest advances in theater technology.

“He was very technology-driven,” says Robinson,

adding that the Tillicum, despite its rather

humble reputation, is reasonably up to date. She

continues, “Dad would weigh it out and say, ‘Look,

60 SEPTEMBER 2019


if we don’t spend [on new

technologies], we’re gonna

lose our customers. The

generations are changing.

People are changing.’ So he

never sat still.”

Business acumen aside,

Young will best be remembered

for his unflagging

contributions to Terrace

and its surrounding communities,

located about

800 miles northwest of

Vancouver and roughly 100

miles southeast of the Alaskan

border. These efforts

include everything from

support of the local food

bank, drives to solicit donations

of school supplies for

low-income children, and

even, in 1973, buying a fire

truck for the neighboring

community of Thornhill

following a devastating fire

that destroyed the Youngs’ family home.

“Our house burnt down,” remembers Robinson,

“and he went up and bought a fire truck and

came back to Terrace and put out a call. [He] and

one of his good friends called out, ‘Anybody interested

in being volunteer firemen?’ And he started

the volunteer Thornhill Fire Department.”

Located in a boxy three-story building along

the town’s main thoroughfare Lakelse Avenue,

the Tillicum Twin—built in 1954, purchased

by Young a decade later, and expanded to two

auditoriums a decade after that—isn’t much to

look at from the outside. But once they walk

through its doors, visitors are greeted by a variety

of homey personal touches and quirky knickknacks—snake-shaped

fountain-turned-communal-ashtray

here, intricately carved First Nation

totem there—that offer the kind of lived-in

quality that is sharply at odds with the antiseptic

feel of today’s corporate multiplexes. According

to Robinson, that welcoming feel extends to the

theater’s employees.

“[New customers] have a bit of a hard time not

getting the big seats, not getting that huge screen,”

says Robinson. “But by the time they leave, they

have a whole different feel. Because our customer

service is, I have to say it, top-notch. We make

everybody feel at home, and I think that’s the key.”

It doesn’t hurt that the Tillicum Twin offers

reasonable prices for the town of 18,000 (including

neighboring communities). For children, admission

is $6 for regular shows and $9 for 3-D shows,

while adult tickets go for $10 and $12.50. Additionally,

the theater offers a Young at Heart club

that lets seniors into any showing for just $6.

“Young at Heart” wasn’t just a play on the

family name but also on the very nature of Young

himself, whose boundless energy (he graduated

high school at 85, completing the education he’d

been forced to cut short as a teenager) remained

with him until the end of his life. Shortly before

his death, he even flirted with the idea of adding a

third auditorium.

“[He said] ‘What we’ll do is we’ll put those

nice fancy seats in, we’ll put that high end sound

system [in],” says Robinson. “He never stopped

moving ahead.”

That constant striving forward was perhaps key

to Young’s—not to mention the theater’s—longevity.

But it was Young’s spirit of giving back that

made the Tillicum Twin an institution.

“People recognize it as part of the community,”

says Robinson, who notes that she and her family

have no plans to sell. “They call it their theater.”

PUTTING OUT FIRES

Bill Young’s love of his

community extended

to buying a fire truck

for local volunteer fire

fighters.

SEPTEMBER 2019

61


PART 4

IN THE

SERIES

TOP WOMEN

IN GLOBAL

EXHIBITION 2019

EDITED BY REBECCA PAHLE

Earlier this year, Boxoffice Pro partnered with Celluloid Junkie to present the

fourth annual list of Top Women in Global Exhibition, published in our CinemaCon

issue. Throughout 2019, Boxoffice Pro continues to pay tribute to the

women who have an immeasurable impact on the exhibition industry with a

series of in-depth profiles. As Boxoffice Pro travels to the Geneva Convention,

we’re profiling honorees from NATO and the Midwest-based AMC and

Marcus Theatres, in addition to a pair of overseas executives.

62 SEPTEMBER 2019


AMC THEATRES

Bringing the Flavor

Jennifer Douglass

Serves Up F&B at AMC

By Rebecca Pahle

>> Jennifer Douglass admits with a

chuckle, “I did try several times to leave

the company.”

Starting in the sixth grade, Douglass

was a regular visitor at AMC’s Santee Village

8 cinema, outside San Diego, where

she estimates she saw Footloose 10 times.

“Because I practically lived there, they finally

broke down and gave me a job right

before I turned 16,” she recalls. Being

raised in a family of educators, Douglass

intended to join that field herself, and …

well, while she was doing student teaching,

she might as well stay with AMC and

do training part-time, “because that felt to

me like teaching.”

“I kept trying to quit—I actually did

teach for one year—but then I realized:

I could be a teacher for the rest of my

life, but I was loving what I was doing

at AMC!” Thirty-two years after the

manager of the Santee 8 decided to give

that Footloose kid a job, Douglass is AMC

Theatres’ senior vice president of food

and beverage.

Douglass describes herself as a “generalist”

who likes “to be exposed to different

areas of business and different parts of the

company. I loved working in the theater,

because you can work in the H.R. group,

in terms of writing schedules and doing

payroll. You could do the accounting

piece of it and pay all the bills. You could

run the food and beverage, which ironically

wasn’t my favorite thing!”

Early in her career, Douglass worked

in the West Division, headed up by Nora

Dashwood, now the COO at ArcLight

Cinemas Company. “I think having visible

examples of female leadership is very

inspiring to women who are coming up,”

Douglass reflects. “If you can see someone

you relate to who is doing a much bigger

job, it opens the possibilities that maybe

someday you can

do something like

that. [In AMC now],

having two of our

executive members be

females—Elizabeth

Frank [EVP worldwide

programming

and chief content

officer] and Carla

Chavarria [senior vice

president of human

resources and chief

human resource

officer]—is very

inspiring.”

At last year’s internal

general manager

meeting, Douglass

helped host a panel

“that was talking

about women in the

industry—how can

women get more

opportunities? It was

an optional section,

and it sold out in

like 10 minutes.

We had about 140

people, and not all of

them were women,

which was even more

inspiring to see. …

We had different folks who talked about

their paths that led them here to Kansas

City and the corporate headquarters. You

walked out of there, and it’s like you were

singing the Beyoncé song: ‘Who run the

world? Girls.’”

From the theater management side of

things, Douglass worked her way up to

operations and later oversaw the growth of

AMC’s dine-in brand, a role she held for

six years before shifting to her current position

late in 2018. “When I joined dinein

we only had eight locations. When I

left, we had 49 or so,” she says.

“I feel like I’ve gotten to have four

or five different careers. I was just lucky

enough never to have to leave AMC for

those opportunities.”

Crafting AMC’s food and beverage

JENNIFER DOUGLASS

experience—including both traditional

concessions and dine-in options—requires

experimentation, expanding the limits

of what people think of as movie theater

food while still staying within the bounds

of what is practical for the theatrical landscape.

Douglass refers to this as “empathetic

food.”

“There are a lot of things people bring

to us, and it’s like, well, that sounds like

a great idea. It’s a great product. But take

it into a darkened auditorium and then

show us how that works,” she says. “Every

now and again our enthusiasm gets the

better part of us and we maybe put something

out [that isn’t a good fit]. And guests

are very clear about what does not work.

Those things have to be retooled or come

off the menu. We try to be disciplined

SEPTEMBER 2019

63


TOP WOMEN IN GLOBAL EXHIBITION 2019

in that approach. It has to be empathetic and has to be inspired.

We’re always looking to surprise and delight.”

Douglass cites as one of AMC’s dine-in successes the Royal

Burger, which mixes up the traditional bacon cheeseburger

recipe by adding brie, arugula, and fig jam. “It’s delicious! Obviously,

your best seller is always going to be a bacon cheeseburger.

[But you want an option for] people who are looking for

something a little bit more adventurous in our menu, whether

it’s on the dine-in side or on the traditional side. Rather than

just basic pretzel bites, here’s a honey mustard version. Here’s a

cinnamon sugar version.”

“I think I have the best job in the company,” Douglass says—

and that’s not just because of the opportunities for taste testing.

(“I have a terrible sweet tooth, so I love all the different candies

that we offer. I’m particularly fond of the sour ones.”) AMC’s

food and beverage division “has so many different aspects and so

many different places where you can play and innovate. I started

when I was 16, and the biggest innovation was Icees. That was a

big deal back in the day!”

Now, not only has AMC added a wide array of different

menu options (including some gluten-free products, opening the

menu up to those with varying dietary needs, which Douglass is

particularly proud of), but they also have digital technology that

enables them to get food and drinks to the customer quicker and

more efficiently.

As an example, Douglass cites mobile concessions ordering,

which AMC introduced in select markets early this year.

So far, “there’s been a very positive response from our theater

teams and also from guests,” Douglass says. “I was out visiting

theaters the night Avengers: Endgame opened. I happened to be

in Jacksonville. [I was] looking at the number of mobile orders

that poured in. It’s great to see that, especially for a high-capacity

movie. It was exciting to see how guests were responding to

that technology. Guests were like, ‘This is the best thing ever.’ I

can’t disagree!”

As for the future of mobile ordering, Douglass notes that

“we’re doing it in a phased rollout fashion. We want to make sure

that we’re optimizing it and getting the best, most frictionless

experience for the guest.”

Thirty-plus years after Douglass first joined the AMC ranks,

the spot where she learned to love movies is now home to a

grocery store. But it lives on in some small way in one of the

conference rooms at AMC’s corporate headquarters. “When we

moved into this particular conference office in Kansas City, we

were naming the different conference rooms after movie theaters.

I lobbied very hard, and I’m pleased to tell you that 100 feet from

my office door, there’s a nice conference room called the Santee

Village 8. I’m very nostalgic for my little theater.” The theater may

be gone, but AMC is going strong, with Douglass an integral part

of operations. “My motto has always been, ‘When it stops being

fun, I’ll do something else.’” The fun’s still rolling.

“Keep It You”

Cynthia Pierce Brings Sight and

Sound to AMC

By Rebecca Pahle

CYNTHIA PIERCE

>> Going to the movies “was always a special occasion” for Cynthia

Pierce. Between her and her siblings, “there were five of us,

so we didn’t go very often. When we did go, it was always a big

deal.” An early experience had the potential to put her off the art

of film forever: At the drive-in to see a double bill with her family,

she watched The Jungle Book and was supposed to be sleeping

during the second film, “a PG-rated John Wayne movie. I don’t

remember what movie it was, but I do remember that in the movie

a gentleman died sitting up in a rocking chair. For some reason,

that gave me nightmares forever!”

Far from being scarred for life, Pierce embraced the movies—and

decades later, as AMC’s senior vice president of

facilities/sight and sound, she helps make them look and sound

the best they can.

Pierce joined AMC in 1981, working her way through college

as a relief manager, roving from theater to theater to fill in for

managers on vacation. She got an accounting degree, but “it turns

out that accounting wasn’t very fun,” she recalls. “I was in the

field as a general manager and came to [AMC’s corporate office

in] Kansas City in 2006 as a training director. I spent some time

in H.R. and then moved over to V.P. of operations.” After four

years in that position, Pierce moved to her current role—which,

wide-ranging as it is, pulls upon the extensive knowledge she

attained in her decades with the company up to that point.

There’s no quick sound bite explanation for what a “senior vice

president of facilities/sight and sound” does. Both sides of her job

have a “service component: supporting the day-to-day needs of

64 SEPTEMBER 2019


TOP WOMEN IN GLOBAL EXHIBITION 2019

the field.” On the facilities side, that might mean

overseeing the resolution of practical issues, like

“‘my roof’s leaking, my parking lot has holes’—the

sorts of things where a general manager wouldn’t

have the knowledge or the expertise to even know

where to start.”

Pierce and her team are also responsible for

the installation of new technology—whether it’s

a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine or a new Dolby

Cinema—and fielding tech support issues. “The

deployment side [of my job is that] the sight and

sound team is deploying Dolby, they’re deploying

Imax and AMC’s in-house premium large-format

brand, Prime. We’re always looking for new technology

to improve the sight and sound experience.

It’s a rather large team, but they’ve got a lot to do.”

Pierce points out that the chain has “the biggest

Imax footprint” in addition to “the biggest Dolby

Cinema footprint—[that’s] a little bit newer to the

table, but we still have more Dolby [Cinema] than

anyone else.”

AMC’s size and industry standing, Pierce says,

gives the sight and sound team leeway to test

products before deciding what to invest in, allowing

AMC to balance risk and innovation. “The manufacturers

look to us to test their equipment. So

we’re able to get in on the ground floor. We’ve been

very fortunate in that they look to us to provide

feedback on their new technology. To the degree

that, as an exhibitor, we can say, ‘This is good, but’

or, ‘We’re not sure we want to pursue this kind of

technology,’ I like to think that we’ve been able to

influence where [manufacturers] landed to some degree.

They’re clearly also going to other exhibitors.

But I think we have a reputation for a willingness to

test and do R&D on emerging technologies.”

Among that emerging tech, Pierce cites laser

projection as something of particular interest to

AMC. “Changing the light source from xenon to

laser is a big thing right now. You have some companies

favoring one technology over another. Some

are trying them all. And we’re trying to figure out

what’s the mix of technology that’s going to serve

AMC for the future. It’s probably not a one-sizefits-all

solution,” she says. “Our existing [digital]

fleet is 10 to 13 years old, and they’re basically computers.

So we’re trying to figure out, how do you

maintain the computer? And then as you’re moving

toward other technology, what’s the right choice?

And we’re just really scratching the surface on that.”

In introducing that tech, Pierce—who was a

general manger for a long time herself—makes

sure to maintain lines of communication between

the corporate office and those with boots-on-theground

experience at the AMC theaters. “We are

always checking back with the field to say, ‘Here’s

what we’re thinking. How does this affect life for

you? How do you think it will impact your guests?’

We’re constantly touching back with them, and

even including G.M.s along the way, [asking them]

‘What do you think? How do you think this is

going to play out?’ We might think one approach

is the best approach, but then after running it by

the G.M.s and having conversations with them, we

might change that a little bit. They help prevent us

from making mistakes, because we think we know,

and they often know better.”

As someone who’s moved up the ranks at AMC

herself, Pierce has noted a substantial improvement

in regard to gender equality. This she attributes to

“intentionality” in the recruitment process. “The

presence on the executive team today versus where

it was 10 years ago, and then more broadly in the

field, as well, [has gotten more noticeable]. I’ve seen

all those things evolve over a long career. I think

we’ve done a good job at making that our priority.”

It’s key when making hiring decisions, Pierce argues,

to ask oneself, “‘Am I hiring someone just like

me, or am I looking at a broader pool and trying to

be intentional about the choices that we make?’ The

facilities/sight and sound team, when I came in four

and half years ago, had a high percentage of males

with technical background and expertise. And we

tried to be more intentional, and guess what? There

are females out there with the same expertise. They

just needed to get in. I think we’ve done a nice job.

One of the things that I’m proud of on my team is

that we’ve been able to change the gender makeup a

little bit in a way that I think is meaningful.”

Once they get through the door, Pierce’s advice

to women in the exhibition industry is to find their

own management style. “I think that women need

to be comfortable managing people and situations

in a way that’s comfortable to them. I’m not a big

fan of ‘Act like a man, because that’s how you’ll

make it in business.’ I think women bring something

different to the table, and we shouldn’t be

embarrassed or apologetic about that. I don’t have

to act like a man who I work for, or a man who I

work with, in order to make it. Just be confident

in what you’re bringing to the table. As trite as it

sounds, keep it you.”

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TOP WOMEN IN GLOBAL EXHIBITION 2019

MARCUS THEATRES

Information

Overload

Kim Lueck Keeps

Marcus in the 21st

Century

By Rebecca Pahle

>> Anyone who works in the exhibition

industry will tell you: Customer experience

has never been more important

than it is right now. The film is still the

thing, but amenities are of increasing

importance to the discerning modern

moviegoer. And there’s one thing that all

those amenities, whether a customized

marketing email or a cocktail menu, rely

on in some way: technology.

“How do you make that experience

better?” ponders Kim Lueck, chief information

officer for The Marcus Corporation

and vice president of technology for

Marcus Theatres. “Marketing is trying

to do things, and they need technology.

And then the film or operational teams

are trying to do something different with

alternative content so they need I.T. …

[When you try] to make yourself stand

out or be a little bit different, it takes

something cooler on the app, or a neat kiosk

when you walk in, or a very different,

easy way to order your food anywhere.”

Even customer service is affected, as

increasing automation gives employees

room to look up from their point-of-sale

screens and have more personal interactions

with their customers. “You’ve got

to make sure you still have great customer

service, because you’re losing some

of those interactions,” Lueck cautions.

“That’s one thing we have to watch out for

as an industry as we move more and more

to online ticketing.”

A long-time employee of The Marcus

Corporation’s theater division, Lueck has

personal insight into the ways in which

the theater experience has advanced over

KIM LUECK

the years. Lueck joined Marcus Theatres

in 1997, coming off a five-year stint

working in publishing. (She’s been a fan

of movies for much longer—she recalls

going to a screening of The Wizard of Oz

with her little sister, after which some of

the actors who played the Munchkins put

in an appearance. “I remember my sister

and I getting autographs of the Munchkins.

Seeing this very old movie in an old

movie theater, and then the Munchkins

were there! My sister and I still talk about

it once in a while.”)

“I’ve come up through the theater

ranks and bounced around, even to our

hotels a bit,” Lueck says. “Manager, director,

vice president, CIO.” In the run-up

to the new century—remember the Y2K

craze?—Lueck and others “were brought

on to help implement the ‘big data’ warehouse

back then as well as get ready for

the year 2000.”

It was an exciting time to work in the

industry, Lueck recalls. “The industry

didn’t change a lot for a long time. …

When I came in, basically we had just

kicked off changing all our point-ofsale

systems in all our theaters. We were

starting to collect information. It was the

time where we went from old-fashioned

ticketing systems to a computerized ticketing

system. It was a great time to come

onboard, because I got to help roll it out

and understand why we were changing.

Yet I still knew what the old technology

was that was heading out the door.”

As Lueck moved up through the

ranks—learning from all three generations

of the Marcus family, Ben, Steve,

and Greg, along the way—the business

of catering to customers kicked into

high gear. Before, “you came to a movie,

you saw the movie, and you left,” Lueck

recalls. “Maybe you had popcorn.” By

contrast, “Right when I came in, it’s like

it turned on. We went to stadium seating.

Then we went to cup holders. Then we

went to DreamLoungers. Then we went to

lounges. It was interesting how stagnant

it had stayed, up until about 20 years ago.

Right after the year 2000, I felt like it was

the best place to be, because our industry

started to evolve and started to really focus

on the guests, not just the content on the

screen.”

That change is still ongoing. Twenty-two

years ago, Marcus was “implementing

phone systems” that people could

use to get show times, freeing them from

musty newspaper listings. Now, there are

apps and kiosks, and cell phones, oh my!

“We have wireless handhelds for in-seat

dining. It’s amazing the amount of tickets

purchased before they even get near the

theater.” Mobile food ordering, too, is

in the works at Marcus: “On the day of

your movie, [the app] will pop up and say,

‘Tonight’s your movie. Do you know what

you want to eat?’ And you can order it

and it’ll be delivered to your seat.”

With these perks (and others—like $5

Movie Tuesdays and the Magical Movie

Rewards loyalty program)—Marcus is

able to compete with a growing number

of chains offering luxury amenities.

With all that competition, though, what

surprised—and pleased—Lueck when

she first entered the exhibition business is

“how everybody knows each other. I work

with many major circuits on technology

advancements and I have friends at all dif-

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TOP WOMEN IN GLOBAL EXHIBITION 2019

ferent theater circuits, competitive or not.

Normally that’s not how it works!”

That spirit of camaraderie, Lueck

notes, extends to the increasing enthusiasm

of the exhibition market to offer opportunities

to the women of her industry.

“At CinemaCon and other trade shows

I’ve gone to, [more companies now] highlight

the women they have in [executive]

roles, where before it might’ve been the

same old vice president of operations

talking. Now they’re saying, ‘Well, wait,

let’s have this lead female get up in front

of us and speak.’ And the more people see

that, I think that’ll give them the confidence

to say, ‘I can get to other levels.’ We

have to give these women—and anybody,

not just women—opportunities. They

may not have the perfect degree, but maybe

we give them that opportunity to come

in and bring new ideas. Because they’ll

have a different perspective. And our

audiences are so diverse. We should have

a very diverse leadership team, because

those are all the people we’re serving. That

mix of ideas is what will make you better.”

Diverse Dealings

Marcus’s Ann Stadler

Uses Marketing to

Reach New Audiences

By Rebecca Pahle

>> The desires of moviegoers are not

static. Advancements in technology boost

people’s expectations for video and sound

quality. A menu that you introduced five

years ago might not (bad pun incoming)

cut the mustard today. And, with all the

diversity that exists in the United States,

it would be foolish to assume that every

moviegoer wants to see the same thing. As

Marcus Theatres’ vice president of marketing

and chief marketing officer, Ann

Stadler is on the front lines of finding out

what moviegoers want and determining

how to best deliver it to them.

Marcus’s CMO since 2014, Stadler

previously worked with advertising firms

ANN STADLER

and the nonprofit organization United

Way, where as vice president of marketing

and communication she was instrumental

in building partnerships and introducing

the Live United branding. When she got

to the movie business, things were …

different. “We don’t control the products

that we’re playing for these guests. The

way this industry works, we may [only

know a few days in advance] that we

actually have the product in a certain

market,” she explains. “Every day, I have

product that I need to sell in order to keep

a business thriving. How do I make sure

that I’m reaching the right people with

that information, and we’re playing it in

all the right places?”

To match the movie to the moviegoer,

information is key. Marcus’s Magical

Movie Rewards loyalty program, Stadler

notes, is essential for that purpose, giving

the chain insight into what Marcus customers

want to see and allowing Marcus

to communicate about what’s available.

Beyond that, “from a leadership standpoint,

when I’m being my best is when

I’m listening,” Stadler says. “Whether

that’s listening to my associates and what

they are hearing directly in the field or

listening to customers, reading surveys, or

looking at NPS [net promoter score] comments.

Or just being in a theater: ‘Help

me understand why you chose that movie,

or why you chose that theater? Why are

you loyal to us?’”

Stadler’s openness to learning about

Marcus’s customer base facilitates Marcus’s

goal—echoed by chairman, president, and

CEO Rolando Rodriguez in his work with

NATO to increase diversity and inclusion

in the exhibition industry—of screening

movies that cater to a diverse group of

moviegoers. “That’s one of the things we’re

looking at: How do we make sure that we

create a culture and an environment that

supports diversity? [How do we make]

sure to attract audiences from different

backgrounds, whether it be ethnic or

economic? We want to invite them to the

theaters and play products and produce

events that make sense. [We want them]

to see that we are an active part of the

community who embraces everyone.”

In 2017, Marcus Theaters helped create

and launch the CineLatino Milwaukee

Film Festival, which “brought in close

to 6,000 people” in its first year, Stadler

recalls. “Part of the reason [we did that]

was because the studios didn’t necessarily

perceive that we had enough Hispanics [in

that market for the] grosses to be in alignment

with some of the other states and

communities.” The success of the festival

caused people to “sit up and take notice

and realize that there are opportunities in

a lot of communities. We just have to be

able to have those partnerships in place

and promote them.”

In addition to the CineLatino festival,

Marcus screens Bollywood films—working

with local influencers and specialized

publications to help get the word out to

the community—and recently worked

with the “mommy blogger” crowd for

a screening where people could vote on

which of four retro titles they wanted

to see. “We had 80 people sign up to

come to this evening, not because of the

movie—because voting wasn’t over—but

because of that group and knowing that it

was going to be a fun event.”

With 90 theaters in 17 states, for a

screen count just over 1,000, Marcus

70 SEPTEMBER 2019


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hooray.

Congratulations to

Cynthia Pierce & Jennifer Douglas

2019 WOMEN IN GLOBAL EXHIBITION

© 2019 The Coca-Cola Company.


TOP WOMEN IN GLOBAL EXHIBITION 2019

doesn’t have the numbers of the “big

guys” in the exhibition industry, Stadler

acknowledges. But what they do have

is “the flexibility to be able to do some

unique things within our community.

We get out there and we do grassroots

efforts. We help to build relationships

with people. We’re at events where key

audiences will be, whether it be promoting

summer films or promoting very

specific, niche things.”

Stadler’s belief in the importance of

connecting with people extends outside

her purview as Marcus Theatres’ CMO.

She belongs to TEMPO Milwaukee, an

executive leadership group for women in

the Milwaukee area. “It’s so important

that we help each other find a voice and

to support each other and to take time

to celebrate successes as we all move forward.”

She also serves on NATO’s Diversity

and Inclusion Committee; as part of

that group’s scholarship review committee,

the group offers financial assistance

to employees of NATO member theaters

so they can attend NATO’s Annual Fall

Membership Meeting. The committee

aims to increase diversity within NATO,

giving professionals from underrepresented

groups an opportunity to participate

in key discussions that affect the exhibition

industry.

Marcus has been a part of the industry

for a long time—85 years, in fact, as of

2020. During last year’s holiday season,

Stadler recalls, they launched a campaign

that invited people to celebrate the

chain’s legacy by sharing their “favorite

Marcus moviegoing memory. Some were

just straight moviegoing, and some were

specific to the circuit. But we had an

overwhelming response. … That was a

campaign that was fun, because it really

helps you get an understanding of your

audience from a different perspective. You

hear from your guests and what they’re

passionate about. Many people shared a

memory about either their first movie or

taking their child to see their first movie.

There were a lot of good, passionate,

wonderful memories associated with that.”

NOVO CINEMAS

New in Novo

Debbie Stanford-

Kristiansen Brings

Luxury to Gulf Region

Theatres

By Rebecca Pahle

>> Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen is

“someone who very much likes to be

challenged.” Born and raised in Brighton,

England, where she’d make weekly trips to

a theater “just across from the seafront,”

Stanford-Kristiansen has been the CEO of

Novo Cinemas, which operates cinemas

throughout Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and

the United Arab Emirates, since 2013.

Initially an executive in the world

of events and business tourism, Stanford-Kristiansen

received a job offer in

2004 that brought her to Bahrain to help

establish that country’s Exhibition and

Convention Authority. That phase of her

professional life lasted almost nine years,

during which time she was promoted to

CEO of the Exhibition and Convention

Center. “Then I got offered an opportunity

to move to Dubai [and work in]

entertainment,” she recalls. “I thought

about the synergy of what I had done

in the past [and] where I could take the

company in the future, by looking at

cinema with very different eyes [since I

didn’t] come from the industry. … It was

a big challenge to swap industries after

such a long time. I said to myself, ‘This

is a super opportunity. If I don’t do it,

I’ll regret it. I’ve got nothing to lose and

everything to gain.’”

Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen took the

job and got to work. “It was apparent

to me that we needed to look at doing a

complete rebrand, which is exactly what I

did,” she says. Since its founding in 2010,

the chain had been known as Grand

Cinemas; Stanford-Kristiansen admits

that, while “there was a lot of history and

a super legacy there, times had changed.

The audience had changed. There were

different demographics living and working

in the UAE. So we did a six-month

project where we set about doing a complete

rebrand of the organization, creating

a new structure and different roles” that

would allow the new Novo to expand

into different facets of the exhibition

market, such as hosting corporate events,

which Novo has been “very successful” at.

The rebrand was followed by a spate

of renovations and expansions. “When I

joined, we had one Imax theater. Every

other screen was a standard screen,”

Stanford-Kristiansen recalls. Now, Novo

boasts seven Imax screens, making them

“the largest Imax partner in the region.”

In early 2019, Novo cut the ribbon on

Dubai’s largest Imax screen with laser,

located at the chain’s new flagship location

at the IMG Worlds of Adventure,

the world’s largest indoor theme park. In

April of this year, Novo Cinemas opened

a new cinema at Oman’s Mall of Muscat,

bringing the chain’s total screen count to

178 across 17 locations. By 2020, that

number will grow to 201 screens in 20 locations,

with “further expansion” planned

across the Gulf region.

Under Stanford-Kristiansen, Novo

packed in the premium amenities,

introducing Dolby Atmos, MX4D

motion seating, and Novo Kidz screens,

with seats and design catered to younger

audiences, to select locations. With their

“seven-star VIP” service in place at 21

theaters, Novo gives moviegoers access

to leather recliner seats and a “butler” to

deliver food and beverages. Three of those

theaters, Stanford-Kristiansen says, even

have dedicated valet parking, so you can

“literally go from your car to your movie

seat in three minutes.” Novo also offers its

Novo Majlis, an “ultra-exclusive experience”

where moviegoers have access to a

“dedicated entrance and a personal butler

offering a four-course meal from a menu

that features classic dishes from both the

East and the West.”

“We really, really worked hard,” says

Stanford-Kristiansen. “We did a complete

72 SEPTEMBER 2019


and utter evaluation of the business as

it was in 2013 [and decided] where we

wanted to take the brand in the future.”

But that future didn’t—and couldn’t—

just involve luxury amenities, as important

as they are to Novo’s overall experience.

The Gulf region presents unique challenges—though

Stanford-Kristiansen prefers to

label them as “opportunities.” The United

Arab Emirates, for example, where Novo

has 10 theaters, is home to inhabitants of

“around 220 different nationalities.” Catering

to the needs of this varied population

means screening the hits from Hollywood

and Bollywood, of course. There’s also

South Indian cinema, which represents

“a very big market” for Novo. “We have

Tagalog movies. We have Arabic movies—

Arabic from Egypt [and] Arabic from the

Emirates and Bahrain. In terms of expat

market, we show French movies. We’ve

shown German movies. Russian movies.

We’ve even shown Korean and Chinese

movies. We always try to appeal to the audience

that we have, [and] we work really

hard at understanding who our audience is

at each and every location.”

This analysis led Novo to expand into

event cinema, starting with a live stream

of the 2015 boxing match between Floyd

Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. The

time difference between Dubai and Las

Vegas meant Novo moviegoers would

have to head to one of six participating

cinemas at five o’clock in the morning …

which they did. Eight thousand of them.

“There were so many different nationalities

that wanted to see that match,”

says Stanford-Kristiansen. “It gave us the

appetite to expand further and look at

other opportunities.” Football (soccer,

for the Americans) has grown into a big

draw, with Novo screening World Cup

match-ups in addition to La Liga, UEFA

European Championship, and Essay Cup

games. Three Novo locations screened

this year’s ICC Cricket World Cup, the

result of “a very, very big Asian customer

base here who are very passionate about

cricket.” In addition to sporting events,

Novo screens ballet and opera and “works

very closely with

schools and colleges;

we regularly have

groups of school

children coming in

to see educational

movies”—nature

documentaries, for

example—thanks to

the chain’s partnership

with Imax.

“The market

differs from country

to country, especially

in the Middle East,”

Stanford-Kristiansen

explains. “It’s never

one size fits all. …

It’s about constantly

doing studies, doing online research,

and testing things for the customer.

Doing pilot testing in different locations,

whether on F&B offerings or experiential

offerings or the way that we market to

the audience. We really try to understand

who they are.” Who they are changes,

Stanford-Kristiansen readily admits:

“We have a much younger, tech-savvy

audience now, so we need to make sure

that we always understand the right ways

to engage with them, whether that’s on

Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube,

or whatever it is.”

Novo is currently in the midst of that

research phase for Saudi Arabia; in 2018,

Stanford-Kristiansen announced that the

chain was “in discussions” about moving

into the newly opened market. “Right

now, we are still studying the market,”

she says. “We haven’t made firm commitments

on locations. … I think it’s an

exciting time. We’re observing, we’re taking

notes, we are doing our own market

research to study a number of options.”

Stanford-Kristiansen’s role in the evolution

and expansion of cinemagoing in

the Gulf region made her a prime candidate

for inclusion on Boxoffice Pro and

Celluloid Junkie’s 2019 list of the Top

Women in Global Exhibition. Fitting,

too, is Stanford-Kristiansen’s belief in the

DEBBIE STANFORD-KRISTIANSEN

importance of mentorship, with an end

goal of creating increased gender diversity.

“Obviously, this is a very male-dominated

industry. I certainly felt it when I

moved across into entertainment, coming

from tourism, which is very heavily

female-dominated. … I believe that you

need to have a balance of both male and

female within any organization in order

to get the best out of the company and to

bring better opportunities.”

The support Stanford-Kristiansen

received when she moved to the Middle

East (“Probably more than I ever had

back in Europe!”) increased her determination

to pay it forward. At this year’s

CineEurope, she was announced as one

of the eight mentors participating in

UNIC’s Women’s Cinema Leadership

Programme, designed to provide one-onone

support and advice to up-and-coming

women in the exhibition business.

“That’s something I’m really, really proud

to be part of,” she notes. “The more

women support other women, the more

we’ll start to see women grow within

the industry, move up the career ladder,

get better opportunities for growth. …

There are so many amazing young women

coming into this industry. I think we have

an obligation to help support them and to

help them to grow.”

SEPTEMBER 2019

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TOP WOMEN IN GLOBAL EXHIBITION 2019

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF

THEATRE OWNERS

Doing Their Part

NATO Trio Encourages

Industry Diversity

By Rebecca Pahle

>> The role of NATO, as any Boxoffice Pro reader

knows, is wide-ranging. The trade group represents

the interests of a diverse range of theaters

across the United States and beyond.

It’s an “inviting and passionate industry,”

says NATO’s general counsel and director

of industry relations Jackie Brenneman—

if one that, like many other industries,

is largely male-dominated. “There is no

doubt,” Brenneman expands, “that unconscious

bias and ingrained sexism impact

women in this and nearly every other business.”

But NATO is making an effort to combat

that, putting in the work to make the world of

film more inclusive and diverse. It’s Brenneman, Esther

Baruh, and Kathy Conroy’s daily work in support

of a thriving, successful industry open to all

that earned them a spot on Boxoffice Pro

and Celluloid Junkie’s 2019 list of the Top

Women in Global Exhibition.

Baruh, NATO’s director of government

relations, is also the staff lead on NATO’s

Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which

has three goals: “increasing diversity and

inclusion with the association’s volunteers,

committees, and leadership; providing our

members with the tools to increase diversity and

inclusion within their companies; and increasing the

variety of movies exhibited in theaters so that all stories

are told and represented on the big screen.” For an

industry that’s been male-dominated for so long,

achieving these goals takes effort and mindfulness,

which luckily Baruh, Brenneman, and

Conroy have in abundance.

The committee “has undertaken several

initiatives in support” of its diversity and

inclusion goals, notes Conroy, NATO’s vice

president and COO. Among those initiatives

are “holding rounds of meetings with

industry stakeholders to discuss exhibition’s

role in increasing diversity and representation

in film content; offering scholarships to currently

JACKIE BRENNEMAN

ESTHER BARUH

KATHY CONROY

underrepresented groups to participate in NATO’s annual governance

meeting [in September] in Los Angeles; and developing

educational materials to assist NATO members in expanding

diverse and inclusive hiring.”

As NATO’s general counsel and director of industry relations,

Brenneman describes her job—or one of them, in addition to

working with theaters to combat movie piracy, answering questions

regarding movie ratings, and generally serving as a liaison

between the exhibition and studio sides of the movie industry—as

the Diversity and Inclusion Committee’s third prong:

increasing “diversity of product.”

Along with her colleague Erin Von Hoetzendorff,

Brenneman formed the Green

Light Committee, made up of “a group of

members who are in a position to make

booking decisions.” The committee reaches

out to various corners of the distribution

industry, spreading the word that

“variety matters to exhibition. We are not

only looking to do business in tentpoles.

We love tentpoles. They’re very important.

But our members need variety. There

are a lot of small towns that need faith-based titles

but aren’t getting them, for example. Not to mention

the importance of diversity to serve local communities.

America has a very diverse population,

and people want all kinds of different things.

Our movie theaters [are a very important

part of that], especially if they want to

stay relevant.

“We’ve met with the DGA. We’ve met

with Time’s Up. We’ve met with NALIP

[the National Association of Latino Independent

Producers]. We’ve met with [civil

rights advocacy group] Color of Change.

It was really interesting, because I think a lot

of groups don’t realize how the business model

of exhibition works. They don’t realize the robust data

that some of our members have started gathering

now, with their loyalty and subscription programs.

Exhibitors are working really hard to

understand their audience more and more.

And that information can help justify a

theatrical release of titles that maybe are

not leaning towards theatrical release at

the moment.”

Though Brenneman admits that a lot of

money is being spent on securing films for

“alternative pipelines”—which Brenneman

views as a temporary part of the “bulking up of

these services”—she emphasizes that the so-called

74 SEPTEMBER 2019


division between theatrical

and streaming is overblown.

“Data shows that people

who stream the most also go

to the movies most,” offering

an alternative viewpoint to

the idea that the increase of

streaming spells doom for

exhibitors. For example, “We

think that part of the success

of all the documentaries last

year”—five documentaries

crossed the $10 million mark

domestically—“was because people

saw great documentaries on Netflix,

and so then they wanted to see other

great ones in the theaters.”

As the North American theatrical industry’s premier trade and

advocacy organization, NATO also has the power to open up various

events and committees to a wider spectrum of participants—a

responsibility that Baruh, Brenneman, and Conroy take seriously.

“I’ve helped form two committees recently, and I reached out

to some of our members and said, ‘I’m looking to fill a slot in this

group. I would love for you to recommend someone, and I would

I was always a frequent moviegoer. I would go

to any movie. I went every week, and I would go

see anything because it was an excuse for me to have

Cherry Coke and a sour strawberry belt. I just liked

being in a movie theater. Though I will say that the

most defining movie experience of my life was when

Titanic came out. I was a freshman in high school,

and I saw that movie six times in theaters until

my mom prevented me from watching it

anymore. —Jackie Brenneman

love for you to be mindful of us

trying to expand our diversity.

So just think about people

who haven’t historically

participated in NATO committees

who you think are

really smart and would be

a good fit.’ And it’s making

CEOs identify other people

as good volunteers. And we’re

gaining more, new, interesting

volunteers. So it’s a win-win for

all of us.”

“There is still progress to be

made,” adds Baruh, “but I have noticed and

rejoiced that there are more female executives featured

as speakers at industry events. It is heartening to see that trend.” As

the industry moves toward gender parity, Baruh cautions women

that “there will be many meetings in which you may be the only

women, or one of the only women. But don’t be afraid to speak

up, share ideas, and be confident in what you have to offer.”

Though Baruh, Brenneman, and Conroy have all come to love

the exhibition industry, none of them originally started in that

space. Before joining NATO, Conroy worked in marketing and

SEPTEMBER 2019

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TOP WOMEN IN GLOBAL EXHIBITION 2019

communications at the Color Marketing Group, the Employers

Council of Flexible Compensation,

and the National Wooden

Pallet and Container

Association, among others.

Baruh “worked in foreign

policy for several years

before I joined NATO.

I wanted to stay in D.C.

and pivot to private sector

government relations. I saw

that NATO had an opening

and jumped at it. Of course,

when I told people that I was

shifting from foreign policy

to NATO, they were initially a

bit confused!” And Brenneman

worked in law before leaving to

—Esther Baruh

join NATO and be a part of “an

industry I cared more about.” Once

joining NATO, in a non-legal capacity,

she “did some initial legal work

… [that] allowed me to think about our industry at a higher, more

strategic level pretty early on, which I enjoyed. It helped me get to

know the industry better, because I was certainly an outsider. But

now, of course, I’m general counsel of NATO and the Global

Cinema Federation. So I didn’t really

quit law very effectively!”

In reading trade publications,

Brenneman explains,

she often sees a “bleak

picture” of exhibition as

an industry that’s “fighting

for this old business model.

I don’t see that at all. I do

see that exhibitors have

something to offer. There

are so few places for people

to go and be with other people.

I think that there should

be enthusiasm for this. I go to

the movies all the time, frequently

at pretty full houses, and people are always

really enjoying themselves. It’s such a positive experience.

I see a lot of really exciting potential partnerships that haven’t even

been explored yet.”

II remember very distinctly crying in the

theater during The Lion King when Mufasa died. I was

heartbroken. I also laugh when I think about the time my

mother took my sister and me to see Matilda at the local

movie theater. As a treat, she bought us an enormous

bag of M&M’s to share. Sadly we pretty much abandoned

the bag after the scene when Bruce Bogtrotter eats

an entire chocolate cake, because we completely

lost our appetites. (We regained them later and

eventually finished off the bag.)

THE BOXOFFICE

COMPANY

Vive Le France

Marilyn Iacovissi

Excels at The

Boxoffice Company

by Ayşegül Algan

>> While studying law in France,

Marilyn Iacovissi spent four years at CGR

Cinémas, now the country’s second largest

circuit, where she was introduced to the

world of exhibition. Writes Iacovissi: “I

always loved cinemas, but there I discovered

a new environment that I did not

expect as a viewer.” From France, Iacovissi

moved to London, where she became the

manager of one of Odeon Cinemas’ flagship

locations—“Even the Queen herself

visits for charity screenings!” After moving

back to France, Iacovissi joined the Côté

Ciné Group, where she managed exhibitor

relations. Côté Ciné Group was later

purchased by Webedia Movies Pro (now

The Boxoffice Company), where Iacovissi

now serves as operations and commercial

director for the French division.

What’s your proudest achievement

from your time so far at The

Boxoffice Company?

What makes me proud is when my

teams thrive and when my coworkers

feel good in their work. I am very

attached to the idea of supporting them

when they face challenges, so I give a lot

of importance to communication and

training. It’s satisfying when I see them

following my advice successfully. I am

very lucky to have a very professional

and invested team; we do beautiful

things every day. The responsibilities

that were conferred to me by Côté

Ciné Group’s president Patrick Farcy,

as well as the international adventure

undertaken by the side of Julien Marcel

with The Boxoffice Company, are also

among the successes I’m most proud of.

The challenge is not easy. I still have a

lot to learn. The adventure continues!

What are the key accomplishments

you would still like to achieve at The

Boxoffice Company?

Supporting all types of exhibitors

in their day-to-day [business] is in The

Boxoffice Company’s DNA. Since a few

years ago, we’re facing a big challenge

because of digitalization. We can’t leave

anyone behind on this journey. The train

is rolling, and we need to accompany the

smaller and medium-sized theaters in

these changes. The vast majority of these

theaters don’t have a marketing team.

We are their daily advisers.

I would also like to develop charity

actions in France. It’s something that’s

already in place in the United Kingdom.

Our American colleagues at The

Boxoffice Company are also far ahead on

the matter.

As your company has taken on an

international dimension, how do you

ensure that corporate culture stays

positive and welcoming?

We have put into place numerous

76 SEPTEMBER 2019


communication channels and moments

of exchange between our teams with

internal newsletters, team-building sessions,

a yearly general meeting, seminars.

… The possibility to work in different

offices (in France as well as abroad) and

teleworking are also assets that enhance

and consolidate The Boxoffice Company’s

corporate culture.

How would you evaluate the progress

women have made in the exhibition

business in France over the past

few years?

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing

more and more women taking hold of

positions with more responsibilities in

the industry. I’m thinking in particular

about Cathy Coppey from the Ociné

group or Marie-Christine Desandre [of

Loft Cinémas]. However, there are still

a lot of battles to be fought to defend

women’s rights, most importantly in

terms of equal pay and against reflexes

MARILYN IACOVISSI

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SEPTEMBER 2019

77


TOP WOMEN IN GLOBAL EXHIBITION 2019

that are deeply rooted in our collective

unconscious (of women included),

like believing that entrepreneurship is

essentially a man’s affair. The proof is

that when I started working in the field,

women were still at the register (and

wearing skirts!) and men were at the

concession stand. Today, the positions

are more balanced and the possibilities

of advancement in the company are

more rapid for women. And even if we

have long proved that we are capable of

reconciling our personal and professional

lives, this requires even more work

and a mental burden that’s heavier for

women; for the same position, a woman

is continuously tested and always needs

to show that she’s on top of things.

What advice would you give to

women just entering the movie

exhibition business?

I would tell them that there is a legitimate

spot for them in this industry and

that their responsibilities are compatible

with their personal aspirations, including

their familial ones. You need to hang

on and believe. Women have the same

capacities as men to succeed. Wage differences

can be justified, but we need to

differentiate between disparities linked

to one’s experience and those that come

from discrimination against women. The

fact of the matter is that we need to stop

enduring it.

What’s the most important lesson

you’ve learned during your time in

this industry?

That we always need to adapt and to

be available for our clients. At The Boxoffice

Company, customer service and

innovation are our priorities. If you have

good products but no one answers your

clients, it’s not gonna work.

Tell us about your mentors in

this business.

I always loved working with people

at all levels. I have to admit that there is

not a single woman amongst my mentors,

proof

that positions

with

responsibilities

are still

mostly

male. But

I immensely

appreciate

working

with women,

be it from

my team or

exhibitors. In

France, there

are a lot of women

exhibitors who

are real businesswomen,

which is very rewarding.

Patrice Martin, who was my director

at CGR Cinemas (he’s now a programmer

of CGR group), allowed me

to go beyond exhibition and work in

distribution, which I didn’t know at all

back then. Christopher Hilton, general

manager at Odeon Leicester Square,

introduced me to the management (the

British way) of a cinema, teams, and the

retail business. Patrick Farcy, of course,

with whom I share the love of exhibition,

offered me a real vision of the

industry; his knowledge of the market is

just incredible. I don’t know anyone who

knows as much as him. Lastly, our own

CEO at The Boxoffice Company, Julien

Marcel, is a brilliant spirit who guides

us internationally [and has] a striking

ability to analyze the market. He inspires

us daily.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing more and

more women taking hold of positions with more

responsibilities in the industry. I’m thinking in particular

about Cathy Coppey from the Ociné group or Marie-

Christine Desandre [of Loft Cinémas]. However, there

are still a lot of battles to be fought to defend women’s

rights, most importantly in terms of equal pay and

against reflexes that are deeply rooted in our

collective unconscious (of women included), like

Describe your ideal moviegoing

experience.

A good comedy with Ben & Jerry’s

Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream! For

some time now moviegoing has been a

family affair. As a very cinephile family,

we never miss the opportunity to make

our children discover classics like Who

Framed Roger Rabbit or [the comedies

believing that entrepreneurship is essentially

a man’s affair. —Marilyn Iacovissi

of] Buster Keaton. But the ultimate

pleasure is to discover a new theater!

Can you describe a formative

moviegoing experience from your

childhood?

I have very strong memories from my

“educational cinema” outings in elementary

school, where my classmates and I

discovered one film every Wednesday

in the city’s cinema (which doesn’t exist

anymore). Another formative memory:

the release of Terminator 2, which

everyone was waiting for but that was

forbidden to children under 12 … and

that I still managed to see!

What is the biggest challenge facing

exhibition in 2019?

To always give people a reason to

get out of their house and come to the

theater. To do this, we need to adapt to

new technologies, to digitalization, to

data, to online alternatives. … When I

see that some theaters are still reluctant

to offer online sales, that’s where our

expertise and our advice come into play.

We also need to preserve the culture

of moviegoing for younger audiences,

which can be done through education at

a very young age. It’s an essential task for

the future of our industry.

78 SEPTEMBER 2019


Royal Occasion

SHALL WE DANCE?

Michelle Dockery stars

as Lady Mary Talbot

and Matthew Goode as

Henry Talbot.

MICHAEL ENGLER ORCHESTRATES THE BIG-SCREEN RETURN OF DOWNTON ABBEY

BY KEVIN LALLY

It’s rare for a television series to transfer to the big screen

with its original cast and creative team aboard, but

“Downton Abbey” is an exceptional phenomenon. Spanning

the years 1912 to 1926, the British saga of the patrician

Crawley family and their retinue of devoted servants has

earned three Golden Globes and 15 Emmy Awards and has

found an avid fan base in more than 200 countries.

Now, less than four years after the series finale, the

denizens of Downton are ready for their multiplex close-up.

Series creator Julian Fellowes (who wrote all 52 episodes of

the TV show) has devised a momentous occasion for the

Crawleys and their household staff: a visit from the king and

queen of England. Nearly the entire cast is back, including

Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery,

Penelope Wilton, Laura Carmichael, Matthew Goode, Jim

Carter, Phyllis Logan, and the incomparably wry Maggie

Smith as the Dowager Countess. And directing the feature is

a relative latecomer to the series, American Michael Engler,

a veteran of such series as “30 Rock,” “Sex in the City,” and

“Six Feet Under,” who helmed four episodes including the

finale. We spoke to Engler by phone about Downton Abbey’s

September 20 return via Focus Features.

How do you turn a long-running TV series into an event for

the big screen?

Very carefully. One, I think you have to acknowledge what

it is that people always loved about it. And make sure that you

deliver that, which is a great, broad canvas of characters, upstairs

and downstairs, young and old, that people love and recognize.

And all of those people have to be accounted for in an individual

way, as well as having a story that in some way engages the

whole group. The tricky thing about that, I think, is that normally

on the series every week you can adjust who’s in the foreground

and who’s in the background and whose story is heating

up and whose is at a simmer on the back burner. And the overall

effect is one of a big world and a lot of different people you

care about. And just like with your own family and friends,

sometimes you see more or less of certain people, or maybe they

become more important at certain times in your life or in their

lives. I think what was important for Julian and what he did

so well in the screenplay—brilliantly, actually—was to create a

story that is one complete arc, beginning, middle and end, that

encompasses the whole world of Downton and yet allows each

of the people that we love and that we missed from the series to

have their own little story line, their own separate one where we

80 SEPTEMBER 2019


understand something about where they

are in their lives.

So that’s one thing, shifting the time

and storytelling narrative frame so that it

feels satisfying in a two-hour format. And

then the other thing is to make it feel like

more of a cinematic experience. ‘Downton’

even on television always felt pretty

cinematic—that was an adjective that was

often applied to it. But we wanted to make

sure that if we were going to put it on the

big screen and ask people to come out for

it and pay their money to see it in the cinema,

we gave them something of a scale and

beauty and technical complexity that we

couldn’t have given them in the TV series.

And I think we’ve done that well.

And to do that, Julian hit on this idea of

the royal visit, obviously.

It’s always been important for everybody

to work together to keep Downton

alive and running and thriving, as

individuals and collectively. The idea that

the King and Queen are coming somehow

raises the stakes even more for everybody.

The servants have to go beyond where

they’ve ever gone, the family themselves,

on every level they have to do what they’ve

always done and what we’ve always come

to love about that world, and they have to

do it better than ever.

You came into the series fairly late in

the run. How did you, especially as an

American, get hired?

Well, I got hired because I had met

[producer] Liz Trubridge through a friend.

We were just talking about television, and

I was huge fan of the show and she had

seen some of my work. I think it was really

just the way we spoke about it, that she

felt I could potentially bring something

to it that, as an outsider, might give a new

perspective or bring some fresh blood

into it. That I might help the actors and

department heads and creative people also

look at it differently and maybe ask some

different questions. Being such a big fan

and never really thinking I would be able

to [work on the show], the strange thing

was I never felt more at home than I did

when I went there. Just the work ethic,

the discussions, the way we spoke about

the English class system and labor and

personal issues. It is so universal, this story

of what it means to be part of something

larger than yourself.

I’m always amazed to hear how big the

show is in places like Asia. It really is

universal.

Right. I think they appreciate it too

because there’s so much in their history, in

their culture that has to do with the idea

that wherever you fit, even in a very hierarchical

system, there is always the possibility

of honor, of behaving and performing

honorably, of going above and beyond

your personal position in the system. And

that character somehow transcends all

of those things. And I think that is very

much the Asian social hierarchical ethos

as well.

I guess the most important person

you had to hit it off with was Julian

Fellowes. Can you talk about your

relationship with him?

Well, first of all, Julian is almost encyclopedic

in his knowledge of this particular

world, and actually of lots of things. I

think one of the reasons we get along so

well is that he is in some ways more like a

playwright than a traditional screenwriter.

I think the essence of what makes his writing

so brilliant is not just visual storytelling

but the character writing, the relationships,

AT THE HELM

Director Michael Engler

on the set of Downton

Abbey

the subtext, the fine-tuning of voices and

how they work together to create a kind

of bigger, almost orchestral mix of voices.

And that’s really what I’m interested

in—storytelling through character and

through psychology and intellect of people

and how they express their needs together,

whoever they are.

What’s also great about him is he’s very

practical. He’ll write something and then

if we say, oh, here’s an interesting production

opportunity or beautiful location—

or the opposite, this is going to be very

tricky to work—he can find other ways to

adapt it. I think we both share a sense of

priorities about what’s important in the

storytelling. So that even though he wants

it to be lush and beautiful and visual, as

do I, he also understands that that stuff

can take over and that if [the story] isn’t

there, it doesn’t matter how lovely the

characters are; it can get boring. He’s

thoughtful and practical and he has a very

strong voice and point of view, but he also

has a very subtle ability to shift things,

to take advantage of opportunities or to

avoid difficult production problems.

You have an amazing list of TV credits,

including one of my all-time favorite

shows, “My So-Called Life.” But this is

only your second feature. Are there

appreciable differences between TV

work and working on features?

I wouldn’t say there are. It’s less and

less as time has moved forward, given all

SEPTEMBER 2019

81


AT YOUR SERVICE

Jim Carter stars as Mr.

Carson in Downton

Abbey.

the different formats, HBO and Netflix and what

everybody’s doing, I think audiences are much more

sophisticated and are looking for more sophisticated,

cinematic storytelling. So whatever format you’re

working in, it’s a sophisticated filmmaking world

right now where everybody’s looking to do things

in the most interesting ways possible. With this film

there was just more money and more time, which

allowed us the ability to do more complicated things

on a bigger canvas, so that you can leave things in

shots that you might have to edit more to get inside

the psychology of people if you imagine people

watching it on a smaller screen. But the funny thing

is, even that I think is changing, because so many

people in their living rooms have bigger screens and

they’re as close to it as they would be relative to the

size of a larger screen in a theater. So I think even a

lot of those differences are falling away. Mostly it has

to do with the timing, the format, the fact that people

are gonna settle in and take time and you’ve got

the time to grab them. It doesn’t have to be ‘Get ’em

now or they’re going to turn to something else’ that

you have in television. It allows you to be a little bit

more leisurely in some ways, but also more generous

with time and being able to tell the story in ways

that aren’t as quick to reveal themselves.

Even though the mediums are kind of merging,

I assume you still want as many people as

possible to see this film on a big screen.

Oh yeah, absolutely. I feel very happy, I feel like

it is worthy of it. There’s a certain fan base that I

think will go anywhere to see Downton Abbey and

would be happy to pay the money, but we wanted

them to feel that they were getting something that

they couldn’t get at home, that they couldn’t get

from the series, that we were able to do things that

we couldn’t do during the series. That it would feel

like a different kind of experience in the storytelling,

but also in the visual scale of it, the sound, the

music—every aspect of it has been scaled up to suit

the story, but also to fill the cinematic experience.

I want to ask you about two actors in particular.

Is it intimidating to work with Maggie Smith?

Yes. It’s intimidating and it’s exhilarating working

with Maggie. It’s only intimidating because

there is nobody more prepared and more curious

82 SEPTEMBER 2019


and insightful and thoughtful and demanding—

not demanding in a rude or unpleasant way, but

just somebody who knows what the responsibility

is of the actor and the script and the director.

We get along great, and I love Maggie and have a

fantastic time working with her, but she keeps you

on your toes, the way the best ones do. She isn’t

sitting and having her time wasted, and I don’t

blame her. Nor should it be. But she’s intimidating

because no matter how prepared I am, and I consider

myself fairly prepared when I get on the set, it

never fails to surprise me that she’ll come up with

a question or a series of thoughts about something

that I hadn’t considered. And so I find you have to

work fast, think fast. She’s also one of the smartest,

funniest, wittiest people around and somebody

who loves being part of a company, an acting

company. The thing you always worry about when

you’re doing those big scenes, the pageantry or a

large dinner table scene where for huge chunks of

the day, unless the shot is about a particular actor,

everybody else becomes almost like extras. What I

was amazed by was that Maggie would love sitting

there all day even if it wasn’t about her, because she

loves talking to other actors. I would be working

on a close-up of somebody, down at the other end

of the table, and I’d say ‘Cut’ and she would say,

‘Oh, wasn’t he marvelous?’ That is so fascinating

that she really took it in. She is excited and interested

in being part of the process with other actors

to stimulate her as well, both the young and the

most experienced ones.

New to the cast is Imelda Staunton, as a cousin

of the Dowager Countess’s late husband. I didn’t

realize that she is married to Jim Carter [who

plays reserved butler Mr. Carson]. So it was

almost like a homecoming to bring her into the

movie, yes?

It was. I think she was surprised. We’ve all gotten

used to the structure of how Downton works.

Most of the time you’re either working with the upstairs

cast or the downstairs cast, the servants or the

members of the family. And so the crossover is rare.

It’s rare, and it’s usually with people like Carson

or Mrs. Hughes or the footman, Thomas. In the

dining room, for instance, most of the dialogue, all

of the action is centered on the people at the table,

the family and their guests. People like Jim and

Kevin Doyle and Michael Fox and Rob James-Collier

are essentially extras—they’re in the background

moving plates and pouring wine and every now and

then they share a look.

So it was sort of funny

that whenever Jim and

Imelda were in a scene

together, it was usually

Jim standing in the

back quietly or giving

a nod of the head or

saying, ‘Yes, milady.’ It

was a funny thing for

the two of them to be

on set and realize that

even being in the same

film, even being in the

same scene a number

of times, they would

have no interaction

at all. Essentially she

would barely be aware

of his character. I think

they enjoyed in a funny

way the subtext of that,

given that they’ve been

married over 30 years.

Can you give us an

update on “The Gilded

Age” [an upcoming

Engler-Fellowes TV series for HBO]?

I don’t want to talk about it too much. We are

just in the early prep phase. We’ve been scouting

locations in New York—we’re going to be

shooting parts of it all over New York and also in

Newport. We’re just beginning to cast it. It begins

in New York in 1882, and it’s about the introduction

of a whole new world of money, especially

in America, and what that does to the shifts of

power and the social structure and how that sets

the stage for everything that’s to come in America.

It’s similar to what we’re dealing with today,

the super-rich, the top 0.1 percent, and then

everybody else. We start shooting it in the spring,

and we’ll be finishing it at the end of next year to

air in early 2021.

I hope the Downton movie is a big success

for you.

Thank you very much. I hope you enjoy it. I feel

like we’ve delivered what everybody was hoping for,

and then enough surprises and new things to make

it fun and to make it feel like it was worth doing for

more than nostalgic reasons.

LORDS & LADIES

Laura Carmichael stars

as Lady Hexham, Maggie

Smith as The Dowager

Countess of Grantham,

Hugh Bonneville as Lord

Grantham, Allen Leech

as Tom Branson and

Elizabeth McGovern

as Lady Grantham in

Downton Abbey.

SEPTEMBER 2019

83


You’ll Float 2

PENNYWISE RETURNS FOR MORE KILLER

CLOWN CARNAGE IN IT CHAPTER 2

BY REBECCA PAHLE

CLOWNING AROUND

Try not to look too long

at this picture of Bill

Skarsgård as Pennywise,

or he might jump off the

page and eat your face.

>> Two years ago, It floated into theaters on a

river of red balloons and money. With its $700.3

million worldwide gross, the film would become

the highest-grossing horror movie and fourth

highest-grossing R-rated movie to date, earning

director Andy Muschietti a secured spot at the

helm of its sequel. Getting moviegoers primed

and prepped for horror movie season, It Chapter

2 (in theaters in North America now) raises

the stakes for the now-adult Losers Club as they

return to their hometown of Derry, Maine, to

(hopefully) take out Pennywise the evil, kid-eating

clown for good.

Pennywise, as those who saw the first film

will remember—unless they’ve blocked out the

nightmare fuel—is a shape-shifter who taunts the

members of the Losers Club by embodying their

inner fears and deep-seated traumas. It uses the

medium of horror to paint an affecting portrait of

the highs (friendship, first love) and lows (guilt,

abuse, grief … killer murder clown) of childhood,

giving the movie depth far beyond its scares.

The same is true of It Chapter 2, in which the

reunion of the Losers Club—most of whom have

lost all memory of each other and Pennywise,

a particular quirk of the supernaturally tainted

Derry—brings to the fore the ways in which the

traumas of youth manifest into adulthood.

“The core of this story is very much about

feelings,” Muschietti explains. “There’s not a single

plot in the movie that doesn’t deal with drama or

romance or some kind of deep feeling.” Getting

down to the core of each character required

sloughing off a bit from King’s book—notably,

84 SEPTEMBER 2019


a plotline where the

wife of Losers Club

leader Bill Denbrough

(played in his adult

incarnation by James

McAvoy) and Beverly

Marsh’s (Jessica

Chastain) abusive

husband follow their

spouses to Derry.

“There are tangents

and repetitions” in

King’s book, Muschietti

explains.

“The book is a great

experience, but in a

movie, you can’t afford

repetition.” After establishing

that Bill has

married a woman who

reminds him of Beverly,

his first love, and

that Beverly herself is

locked in a pattern of

loving men who abuse

her (first her father,

then her husband),

“you don’t really need

[Bill’s wife or Beverly’s

husband]. With Bill,

I really wanted to

focus on the trauma

of guilt,” stemming

from his inability to

save his little brother Georgie. “I think you have

to pick your battles. You only have certain scenes

[with which to] explore and express the arc of the

characters, and you want to be concise and not

diffuse those arcs.”

Winnowing down the story to its essentials is

something Muschietti learned from the first It.

There, as if being hunted by a killer clown isn’t

bad enough, the Losers Club is also tormented by

local bully Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton)

and his cronies. Test audiences “barely connected

with the Henry Bowers subplot,” Muschietti recalls.

“In my first version of It, we explored Henry

Bowers much more. We saw Henry at his house,

dealing with his own misery, with his own abuse,

his own trauma of being abused by his dad. We

see him lash out [because of that]. We screened

that, but people really wanted to cut to the chase.

That’s one of the symptoms of a movie where

there are a lot of secondary characters. I knew that

if we had that problem with Henry Bowers in It,

we would probably have that problem with Tom

[Beverly’s husband] and Audra [Bill’s wife] coming

back to Derry. In the book, they’re exciting. But

reading a book, it’s different. Watching a movie

stimulates a different part of the brain. The audience

doesn’t want to waste time with characters

who are accessories.”

Keeping the story

moving “forward

faster” was key for

It Chapter 2, which

in its final cut creeps

toward three hours.

“My first cut was four

hours, but that was

fresh from production,”

Muschietti

says. “I knew from

the beginning that

a four-hour movie

wasn’t feasible,

not only for studio

requirements, but you don’t want an audience sitting

there for four hours. I know from experience

that the faster the pace this movie has, the better.”

Even with its run time just shy of the behemoth

that was Avengers: Endgame, It Chapter 2

does march along quite swiftly, in part due to the

cutting back and forth between scenes with the

younger Losers Club and their adult counterparts.

Filming the former group required digital de-aging

to make the child actors look the same as they

did two years ago. This was particularly important,

Muschietti notes, because the flashback scenes

in It Chapter 2 are interspersed with scenes from

the first It; having actors look noticeably older

between one scene and the next would “throw

people out of the movie.”

Muschietti personally oversaw every part of the

de-aging process. “The first version of the aging

was good in a technical sense, but the proportions

weren’t quite right. I knew where the nose was two

years ago. I knew where the eyes were compared

to the mouth. I was a bit of a ballbreaker in that

sense!” The VFX team “was able to do a great

job”—and a particularly big one (or small one?)

in the case of Richie Tozier, played by “Stranger

Things”’ Finn Wolfhard, who hit a growth spurt

between filming It and Chapter 2. “Finn is a giant

In my first version of It, we explored

Henry Bowers much more. We saw

Henry at his house, dealing with his

own misery, with his own abuse, his

own trauma of being abused by his

dad. We see him lash out [because of

that]. We screened that, but people

really wanted to cut to the chase.

SEPTEMBER 2019

85


THE KING OF THE LOT

Andy Muschietti (center,

with headphones) directs

a bunch o’ Losers.

now! He’s very, very tall. …. [The VFX team]

managed to squeeze him into the kid he was two

years ago.”

The success of It gave Muschietti a bigger

budget this time around—some of which went to

beefing up the cast’s A-list contingent. In addition

to McAvoy and Chastain, It Chapter 2 boasts

Bill Hader (“Barry”), who turns in the best film

performance of his career to date. TV-wise, it’s

tough to top HBO’s “Barry,” which Muschietti is

a fan of: “Oh, ‘Barry’ is amazing. The thing about

‘Barry’ is that [Hader] doesn’t even play funny! He

plays straight. Everything that happens around

him is so ridiculous. That tells you that he has a

great mind. He’s not just a comedian. He’s a great

storyteller.” It Chapter 2 gives Hader, playing the

loudmouthed class-clown-grown-up Richie, the

chance to show off his dramatic chops as well as

his comedic genius. “His character in the movie

goes through a lot,” Muschietti notes cryptically.

“It was great. I knew Bill could do it. He fucking

nailed it. I’m so happy I cast him.”

Drama and romance—the latter between

Beverly and Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan), who’s been

nursing unrequited love since his Derry days—are

essential components of It Chapter 2 … but this

is a horror movie, after all, and it does have to be

scary. To that end, Muschietti was determined that

Pennywise not be the exact same killer clown he

was in the first film. Here, still expertly played by

Bill Skarsgård, Pennywise is smarter, with a villain

M.O. that’s tilted just a smidge away from murdering

people and toward psychologically torturing

them. (Before murdering them, of course.)

“Pennywise is still nice when he wants,” Muschietti

explains. “Everyone knows that something

wrong is going to happen, just like in the first

movie. What we did is raise his ability to manipulate.”

This reaches its peak in a particularly

harrowing scene between Pennywise and a young

girl—meant as a mirror for the Georgie storm

drain scene in It. “The kid that he’s talking to

is smarter than Georgie. But Pennywise breaks

her. It’s a horrible moment in the movie. We’ve

brought a Pennywise that is smarter and poses a

bigger threat this time.”

86 SEPTEMBER 2019


A Very Animated

Family Reunion

CONRAD VERNON AND GREG TIERNAN

BRING THE ADDAMS FAMILY

BACK TO ITS ROOTS

BY JESSE RIFKIN

Dum dum dum dum … snap snap. The iconic theme music from

ABC’s 1960s horror-comedy television show “The Addams Family”

has become a timeless and much-loved earworm, reprised in the

many Addams Family films, sequels, and specials—even the hit Broadway

musical. Inspired by the 1930s Charles Addams cartoons, the show

followed a family of mysterious and often morbid characters whose

names became part of the cultural lexicon. Paramount’s

1991 live-action adaptation helped keep the franchise

in the public imagination, becoming the seventh-highest

grossing film of that year.

The family is coming back to cinemas,

this time in animated form, through

United Artists’ The Addams Family, in

theaters October 11. The stellar voice

cast includes high-profile names

like Charlize Theron, Oscar

Isaac, Nick Kroll, and

Allison Janney.

Co-directors

Conrad Vernon

(Shrek 2, Monsters vs.

Aliens, Madagascar 3:

Europe’s Most Wanted)

and Greg Tiernan (Sausage

Party) spoke to Boxoffice

Pro about making the Addamses

an immigrant family, flipping Thing, the

disembodied hand, from righty to lefty,

and directing a family-friendly film after

their previous co-directorial effort was rated a

hard R.

Was it an extreme jolt going from Sausage Party to The Addams

Family?

Conrad Vernon: Well, we’d done [family-friendly] things before Sausage

Party. Craig did a preschool TV show [“Thomas & Friends”] while I’d worked

for DreamWorks for 20 years. But MGM did love that movie! They were

sausage admirers.

Greg Tiernan: But there are a few jokes for the adults in this one. The

Addamses, going back to the original cartoons in The New Yorker, it’s all

DOUBLE DIPPING Pugsley Addams is voiced by Finn Wolfhard, who’s on the other side of supernatural terror in It: Chapter 2, also featured in this issue

adult-based

material. Nick

Kroll, playing Uncle

Fester, just came up with

all sorts of stuff that wasn’t

in the script. When Wednesday

at the breakfast table says, “Uncle Fester can

go wherever he wants,” he came up with, “No, I

can’t go into a school.” But we had to take that one

out! There’s another line of Nick’s that we had to

take out where he said, “We should jump out of

those bushes and expose ourselves … emotionally.”

Those jokes were maybe just a smidge over the line

of family-friendly.

88 SEPTEMBER 2019


Vernon: We had Gomez and Morticia in the

back seat of a car, speaking lovingly to each other

in French. They slowly sank down in the back seat

together, like they were going to make out. We

played that for a test audience, and there was a 6-

or 7-year-old kid who shot his hand up afterward

and said, “When Gomez and Morticia were in the

back seat, that was very, very inappropriate!” We

took it out because this 7-year-old told us to.

What was the most challenging aspect of

making this film?

Vernon: Walking this tightrope between

making a movie that audiences who grew up

loving The Addams Family would feel represented

them properly, and bringing in a new generation

of children who maybe don’t know The Addams

Family—making sure they’re entertained as well.

We had to walk this fine line between fans and a

brand-new audience.

Tiernan: Many times we’d come up with a gag

or a piece of dialogue and we’d say, “Oh, that’s perfect

for Morticia.” But then we’d have to remind

ourselves that there’s a lot of the younger audience

who have no idea who Morticia is or her history.

Not over-explaining the Addamses, but also not

ambushing the audience with “Just pick it up as

you go along.”

TILL DEATH DO US PART

Morticia (Charlize Theron)

and Gomez (Oscar

Isaac) Addams have

bona fide couple goals.

SEPTEMBER 2019

89


TICKLING THE IVORIES

The Addams Family’s

Lurch and Thing

make beautiful music

together.

So did you include any Easter eggs that refer to

the original material?

Vernon: There’s a ton of them in there. We had

a large book that had all the old New Yorker cartoons

in it. We went through it, and not only did

we find a bunch of lines we liked in there, but we

also took a lot of Charles Addams’s old character

designs and turned them into extended family

members. There’s also a character that’s an Easter

egg; he appears four or five times, but you have

to look for him. He’s right out of the old Charles

Addams cartoons, because he used to hide this one

character in the background of his cartoons. See

if you can spot him! We also did some fun things

with Snoop Dogg, who voices Cousin Itt. You can

watch the movie two or three times and get something

different out of it each time.

How much did you try to emulate the ’30s

cartoons versus the ’60s television show

versus the two ’90s movies versus doing

your own thing?

Tiernan: Very much. We went back to the well

of Charles Addams. One of the other challenges we

had was, especially for such an iconic family: How

to present something different and put our own

stamp on it. Both Conrad and I grew up watching

the TV show and also the movies. Personally, I

loved them. Those actors really brought something

to those characters that went above and beyond,

so we had to try and do the same thing. But we

needed a firm foundation to be able to do that. We

really went back to the Charles Addams originals

for the character designs. We had a fantastic

character designer, Craig Kellman, who’s worked

with Conrad for many years and worked with us

on Sausage Party. Between him and our producer

Alex Schwartz, we really did our best to take what

Charles Addams had given the world and use that

as our foundation to build on.

How did you go about putting your own stamp

on it?

Vernon: We tried to do something with the

story that had not been done with any of the other

iterations. [The villain is the new character Margaux

Needler, a reality TV host.] We also have a

scene at the beginning of the movie with Morticia

and Gomez before they’ve had children, before

they meet Lurch, before they find their house. It’s

the origin of who they are, before they actually

turn into the Addams Family that we know. Plus,

we’ve turned them into an immigrant family. We

thought the idea of an immigrant family migrating

to this country was particularly poignant. We

weren’t making any sort of political statement,

although now it is a topic on people’s minds. It was

a story about this family that people could relate

to, and we could say something important.

Tiernan: When Craig [Kellman] was design-

90 SEPTEMBER 2019


ing Thing [a disembodied forearm who’d always

previously been right-handed], you’d think a hand

is a hand is a hand. But Craig’s design was a left

hand, probably because he’s left-handed! Thing was

never a disembodied hand in the original Charles

Addams cartoons; that was made for the TV show.

Once we realized that, we figured we’re not breaking

any of Charles Addams’s designs.

How do the two of you co-direct?

Tiernan: It’s completely joint. It was the exact

same thing on Sausage Party. Conrad and I met

way back in the early ’90s on Cool World [a 1992

live-action/animated crossover in the style of Who

Framed Roger Rabbit and Space Jam].

We weren’t directing that; I was

animating and Conrad was

doing effects. On Sausage

Party and, it’s a little

bit twee to say, but

we sort of think

with one mind

when we’re working.

I’m proud

to say that we

never had a cross

word between us.

If Conrad feels a

bit more strongly

on a story point or

a design issue than I

do, I step back. And he

does exactly the same for

me. We never make decisions

without one another. I don’t know

how it works, but it does.

What’s an example of a time when the two of

you resolved a disagreement?

Vernon: Just this morning! Yesterday I went

to the D.I. [digital intermediate] house, where

we look at the final shots, to make sure that the

color and everything is correct. There was a point

near the end of the movie where the camera was

shaking, but when I was watching, the camera was

shaking so much that I couldn’t focus on anything.

So I texted Greg this morning and said we’re going

to have to bring that camera shake down by at least

50 percent. And he said, “Oh, OK.” We hadn’t had

any camera shakes at first, so I put some in, but

then it was too much. That’s a perfect example of

how we work together.

The Addams Family theme song is classic. How

did you incorporate that?

Tiernan: That theme has been so iconic for so

many years that it would have been a travesty to

leave it out. We have an absolutely amazing score

for the movie, by Mychael and Jeff Danna. They

incorporated the theme into the score in several

places. I won’t tell you exactly where, because some

of them are Easter eggs.

Is this the type of movie to be enjoyed on the

big screen at a cinema?

Vernon: The design and work that our production

team put into the detail and the background,

this is like no other film that’s

out there right now. Every single

detail, down to end tables

and lamps, have been

designed by our production

team and just

beautifully rendered

on the screen. I

don’t usually go

to 3-D movies,

but the 3-D shots

on this movie in

particular really

do make you feel

like you’re in the

house with them.

Look at the backgrounds,

the carpet, the

drapery, the old television

sets from the 1950s, all the

weird little toys that we designed and

scattered throughout the house. Wednesday

has an electric chair in her bedroom. Pugsley

has a stretching rack for a bed. You’re not going

to catch all that if you were watching it on your

phone. There’s an immensity and a cinematic

quality we tried to instill.

Tiernan: I’ve always believed that theatergoing

is an event, from the golden age of cinema right

up to today. Whether you go in there as a first date

or because your favorite star’s new movie is out.

There’s nothing wrong with sitting down in your

own living room and streaming or watching whatever.

But to actually go out to a movie, especially if

you’re there with friends or family members, that

turns it into something a little bit more special. By

all means, watch it over and over again at home!

But watch it on the big screen first.

EAT UP Cookies by Grandma (Bette Midler) are cooked with love—and probably bugs or maybe poison—in The Addams Family.

AT THE

MOVIES

What is your all-time

favorite moviegoing

memory or

experience?

Tiernan: It’s got

absolutely nothing to

do with animation, but

seeing Grease in 1978.

I was just blown away

because I’m a huge

1950s fan, the music

and culture. I saw that

movie probably five or

six times in one week,

when it first came out in

the U.K. Not the world’s

greatest movie, by a long

shot! But it’s the one I

remember the most.

Vernon: When my

parents took me to see

Young Frankenstein, I

was very young. I had

no idea what the ending

meant, when she starts

singing “Sweet Mystery

of Life.” I just knew that

the audience roared.

I looked around at

everybody just laughing

their asses off and

thought, “I want to make

people do that.” That’s

kind of what inspired me

to go into filmmaking. In

fact, we were using some

of that soundtrack—

the violin that Cloris

Leachman is playing—as

placeholder music

during early animation of

The Addams Family.

SEPTEMBER 2019

91


Teenage Warfare

ALEJANDRO LANDES BRINGS HIS

UNIQUE VISION TO MONOS

BY CHRIS EGGERTSEN

Alejandro Landes hasn’t directed a movie since

2011’s Porfirio—though you’d be forgiven

for not knowing he’d directed at all. While it

received some acclaim following a screening at that

year’s Cannes Film Festival, Porfirio—a matter-offact

drama that blurred the lines between narrative

and documentary filmmaking—received extremely

limited distribution in the U.S. But Landes’s profile

is about to get a major boost with his haunting new

film, Monos, which won the World Cinema Dramatic

Special Jury Award at this year’s Sundance and is

getting a North American release courtesy of Neon

on September 13.

Set on a remote mountaintop somewhere in Latin

America (and filmed in Landes’s native Colombia),

Monos centers on a group of teenage soldiers fighting

in an unnamed conflict who have been tasked

with guarding an American POW known as Doctora

(Julianne Nicholson) and tending to Shakira, a dairy

cow they’ve received from a local farmer. Though they

quickly fall in line each time a diminutive drill sergeant

known as The Messenger (real-life ex-Colombian guerrilla

Wilson Salazar) arrives to instruct them in a series

of physically rigorous training exercises, their default

setting is debauchery—drinking, drugs, casual sex,

and reckless semiautomatic gunplay.

Suffice it to say, the rebellious adolescents—bearing

such unusual names as Rambo, Boom Boom,

Lady, and Smurf—ultimately descend to even greater

depths, leaving their desperate captive to plot her

escape once the ragtag group decamps for the neighboring

jungle.

Monos is by far the broadest canvas Landes—who

also directed the little-seen 2007 documentary Cocalero—has

enjoyed to date, and he makes the most of it

with the aid of Jasper Wolf’s evocative cinematography

and Mica Levi’s disquieting, unconventional score. In

advance of the film’s release, Boxoffice Pro spoke

with the director about his rigorous casting process,

how he pulled off one particularly dangerous stunt

late in the movie, what Monos says about Colombia’s

protracted civil war, and why he took so long to make

another film.

You last movie, Porfirio, came out in 2011, so

about eight years have passed since then. How

much of that time was spent actually trying to

get Monos made?

Monos was hard to get made and to get financed,

and coming from Latin America, to be

able to aspire to have that kind of epic feel, it took

a bit. But actually I was on an architecture project.

I love architecture, and so I ended up designing

a house, and that’s also what took me away from

cinema. I didn’t think it was gonna be so long, I

thought it was just gonna [be] designing something

in maybe a couple of years, and in the end I

ended up designing and building the thing. And

it won a big architecture prize, and it ate up four

years of my life. So that’s why there was kind of a

big gap between the two.

It was obviously worth the wait—you won an

award at Sundance for this. What was that like?

I arrived at [Sundance] without anything other

than a sales agent, so it was very exciting that Neon

picked it up. Immediately after the screening, a

bidding situation started. And ever since then, it’s

been making its way around the world and finding

its audience. And that’s just very exciting.

92 SEPTEMBER 2019


Most of the young actors are unknown, with

the exception of Moises Arias. What was the

casting process like for this?

It was kind of an unorthodox casting process.

We looked for faces throughout Colombia while

I was scouting locations. We had casting directors

going to schools, going to acting workshops.

I mean we really cast a very wide net. In the

end, we had 800 kids and then chose about 25

for this mountaintop workshop. In the morning

we would do like acting improv exercises, in

the afternoon military and physical drills. And

by being there and learning about them, I was

able to see that mini-society interact almost like

in a schoolyard. By watching those dynamics I

was able to choose the eight that would [be in

the film]. Because the idea wasn’t just how they

each played their role individually, but how they

worked as an ensemble.

Near the end of the film some of the

characters are sort of navigating these really

dangerous-looking river rapids. I’m curious

how you pulled that off—did you use stunt

people for that scene?

No, no stunt people. We had Colombia’s

national kayak team; they do tours down that river

so they knew those rapids particularly well. And

so they had all the gear and all the know-how, and

we had some special buoyancy equipment that you

don’t see. We had some good digital-effects people

and a safety team and a good camera setup, and

particularly a very good telephoto lens.

I read that Wilson Salazar who plays The

Messenger was an ex-guerrilla?

Yes.

How did you find him?

[In Colombia] the government has these

reinsertion programs where former guerrilla or

paramilitary fighters have laid down their arms to

come back to civil society. I went to go visit one

of these, and there was this guy there, Wilson,

who was taking care of horses on this sort of farm

theme park place [Panaca in Quimbaya, Colombia]

that let some of these guys come and work

there. And he was very compelling. Initially, I

hired him as my consultant to help train the kids

physically. To make them move like fighters, like

warriors. And then he was so good that in the

end I was like, ‘No, you need to be in front of the

DOWN THE RAPIDS

Moises Arias as Bigfoot

SEPTEMBER 2019

93


THE PRISONER

Doctora Sara Watson

(Julianne Nicholson) in

Monos

camera.’ And he was very special. You juxtapose

his physicality with his authority and he creates

this kind of mythical character.

One of the most striking things in the film is

Julianne Nicholson’s performance. There’s a lot

of time that she has to spend alone on screen,

and she has these moments of dancing wildly in

her cell or silently screaming into a mirror.

Thank you for mentioning that dancing moment.

I love that moment, and I have to say you’re

the first journalist who [asked about it].

Were those moments improvisational or were

they scripted?

There were moments like that in the script,

of course. But once we were shooting that, with

the camera in such a confined space, in this real

kind of cell-like situation, then we tried to just

improv with Julianne, work on it together, speak

to her, keep the camera rolling, try to bring her to

different states. With Julianne, sometimes I would

ask her to sit in that cell, which she hated, and just

draw on the walls. So all the drawings you see on

the walls are actually by Julianne.

One other element of the film that I really

loved was the score by Mica Levi. How did you

come to work with her?

Mica saw an unfinished cut of the film, and she

really connected with [it]. There are some sounds

that are very elemental, like just blowing into a

bottle, like the wind or the stream. And then you

have sounds that are completely digital. Those

synthetic sounds that are born out of a synthesizer.

So the juxtaposition between those elemental

sounds and something that could be coming out

of a Berlin nightclub, it goes with the feel of the

film in general. And then also the characters, there

were so many of them that we worked with Mica

to make sure that the characters had musical notes.

So for example, The Messenger, when he appears

on-screen there’s always a very shrill whistle. That

whistle kinda gives you that emotional cue of authority,

of a force kind of lording over our protagonists,

our heroes.

At the end of the film, Rambo is in a helicopter

and she essentially breaks the fourth wall and

is pleading with us in a way. It reminded me

of the final shot of The 400 Blows. Why did you

decide to end it that way?

I think [Monos] has a very good question at the

end. And it asks the question, and you hear it, with

the soldiers speaking in the helicopter, which is

‘What do we do? Where do we go from here?’ And

I think that’s a big question for us as a species—it’s

just a conflicted time—but particularly also for

Colombia. That’s a very important question for a

civil war that’s gone on for 60 years.

94 SEPTEMBER 2019


SOCIAL MEDIA

BY ALEX EDGHILL

WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

SHORTER MARKETING CAMPAIGNS ARE SEEING HEALTHY RESULTS

In recent years, studios have often chosen to condense their marketing

campaigns into smaller windows. The prevailing thought has been that millennials

especially have shorter attention spans, and with such a crowded

theatrical marketplace, it is better to have a shorter and more concentrated

marketing effort to raise and maintain awareness. This is especially true

for sequels, which already have both a built-in audience and huge brand

and character awareness

>> The previous school of thought

was that large tentpole releases should

have a one- to two-year campaign, with

awareness rising and falling dramatically

through sporadic release of information.

Let’s take a look at some major releases

over the last five years and their promotional

efforts on social media to see how

the landscape has changed to better meet

the needs of audiences.

We analyzed the top five domestic box

office performers since 2015 and how

far from opening their first trailer was

released. 2017 had the highest average, at

246 days before release of the first trailer,

while 2018 was the lowest, at 193 days.

This year is not far off that mark, with

195 so far. This lines up with conventional

wisdom about shortening of the

marketing windows—the fact that over

the last few years the average for that

first trailer premiere has dropped by two

months is a huge change.

In the past, there would

often be three or four

trailers for major releases,

including international

trailers, teaser trailers, and

other clips and featurettes.

With shorter windows,

this has slashed the

numbers of trailers

on average; a

maximum of

two or three

trailers

is now

customary. This undoubtedly saves money

and allows extra capital to be spent on

other channels.

In addition, studios are using social

media to communicate and interact

with fans more than in the past. This has

helped to maintain interest in between

trailers and news alerts and has become a

key strategy for many releases. Facebook

and Twitter have been used extensively

for the last 10 years by studios, but

mainly as informational tools to share

trailers, casting information, and set pictures.

But this has shifted in recent years

and many (but not all) have increased

their posting frequency and types of

posts to offer more for their fans. This is

especially true for larger franchises such

as Avengers and Star Wars, which are head

and shoulders above most other campaigns

in terms of their engagement with

fans. Certain trailblazers such

as Deadpool have popped

up with massive

presence online and

surprising box

office revenue,

which has

forced all distributors

to rethink

their efforts.

Another

factor that

has been

important

in recent

years

is the rise of Instagram among younger

audiences as a vital promotional and engagement

tool. Within the last two years,

Instagram official pages have become

essential for all films, and most major

releases now have distinctly different campaigns

for each of the three major services

rather than cut-and-paste marketing.

An interesting case study is that of

Avengers, which created its Instagram

profile on November 28, 2017. Since that

time, there have been 350 posts—but in

the last five months alone, more than 180

posts have appeared. It’s no coincidence

that Avengers: Endgame had the shortest

marketing window of any film in the top

five over the last two years, just under five

months. Star Wars, James Bond and Detective

Pikachu also had huge pushes on

Instagram, which led to their consistently

being among the most talked-about films

on the service, even so far from their

release dates—good examples of smart

campaigns in this current climate.

The total number of films released

each year has continued to increase

annually, with 2018 the first year ever to

tally over 850 films. Add to that increased

competition the changing demographics

of moviegoers, the waning importance

and reach of TV ads, and the rise of

different mediums of advertising consumption,

and you have a vastly different

landscape today than even five years ago.

Studios are forced to alter the tried and

tested methods of promoting their films

to accommodate these changes. The proof

is always in the results, and it’s notoriously

difficult to gauge the impact of these

changing methods. But the fact that 2018

was the highest-grossing year on record,

yet its biggest films had the shortest marketing

windows of the last five years, is a

strong sign that what studios are doing is

spot-on for today’s audiences.

SEPTEMBER 2019

95


TIMECODE

BY KENNETH JAMES BACON

“SOMETIMES YOU

JUST HAVE TO GIVE

THESE THINGS A

WHACK”

NAZIS, JUNKETS, AND A ONE-

HOUR PHONE CALL WITH THE

BIGGEST STAR IN THE WORLD

PART 9 OF OUR 12-PART DEEP DIVE

INTO THE BOXOFFICE ARCHIVES

HE’LL SEE YOU IN YOUR DREAMS

Robert Englund, Freddy Krueger

[Intro to Kris Turnquist’s April 1989 profile] The grey door

of the limousine swings open, propelled by a hand from

inside the car. “C’mon in,” says the voice of the man behind

the most terrifying creature currently stalking the screen.

But the hand that courteously opens the door is not the

razor-tipped extremity that fatally stabs the heroine of A

Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. And the voice is

not the obscene cackle that taunts young victims with their

innermost fears.

Instead, Robert Englund, the veteran actor who has played

the maniacal Freddy Krueger in all three of the Nightmare

on Elm Street movies, is the soul of cordiality. Dashing from

one interview to another, he takes the time to stop at a Los

Angeles street-corner and pick up a reporter whose car has

conked out en route to a scheduled meeting with the star.

“Doughnut? Coffee?” he politely offers.

>> One of the perks of working for a movie magazine is the occasional

shoulder rubbing with all manner of celebrity. Most of the crew here at

Boxoffice has visited film sets—even I, who have no business visiting a film

set. Our editors speak to filmmakers all the time. Yet prior to going monthly

in September 1980, Boxoffice (now Pro) rarely interviewed the artists

who made the films through which exhibitors made their monthly nut. Even

so, my favorite interaction between filmmaker and Boxoffice Pro editor

occurred in early 1939.

German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl chose perhaps the worst possible time

to travel to New York, then to Hollywood, to drum up distribution interest

in her 226-minute documentary about the Berlin Olympics, Olympia. It’s

a masterpiece, if you ignore all the Nazi bits. Upon arriving in New York,

she was stunned and surprised that she wasn’t welcomed by the filmmaking

community—or anybody at all—with accolades and awards. A quick trip to

Hollywood (where she claimed Walt Disney invited her to tour the studio—he

denied it) was not what she expected, and she left almost as soon as she arrived.

Returning to New York and after boarding the liner Hansa for home, she entertained

a few reporters, including Boxoffice’s Dave Golding (who described

her as “the not unattractive women who is reputed to be Adolph Hitler’s ‘girl

friend’”). As she signed photographs of herself, she said she resented her treatment

by the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League. She claimed that she was told that

if anyone talked to her, they would lose their job.

“Only the bad things you write,” she said. “Why don’t you write about the

good things?” Golding replied, “What do you expect me to write?” Boom.

Mic drop.

As Boxoffice morphed into a more showbizzy monthly, studios, filmmakers,

and artists became more available as they jockeyed for covers and coverage.

Our first cover story interview was with Jeannot Szwarc, director of the Christopher

Reeve vehicle Somewhere in Time, in the September 1980 issue (which

featured as its inside cover ad, the Marilyn Chambers XXX film Insatiable—

more about that another time). Through the years we have conducted exclusive

interviews with Arnold Schwarzenegger for Commando (associate editor Alan

Karp begins his November 1985 piece: “My only worry about interviewing

Arnold Schwarzenegger was the handshake. Would the Austrian Oak try to

impress your humble correspondent with the power of his grip?”), Tom Hanks,

who described his favorite snacks in the May 1995 issue (“The only real factor

[when deciding on a movie theater], the element which can truly alter your

perspective on your moviegoing experience, making it a positive one or a

negative one, is this question, this factor alone: do they have Red Vines or do

they have Twizzlers?”), and James Cameron in the March, 2014 edition (on his

documentary Deepsea Challenge, “If you have a social cause, you have to understand

people aren’t going to think about that as entertainment. That’s going to

be self-limiting because most people, when they go to the movies, just want to

have a good time.”)

Oh, and the title of this piece? When associate editor Kris Turnquist was

interviewing Oscar-winning visual effects icon Richard Edlund (Star Wars,

Ghostbusters) and the cassette recorder jammed, tech nerd Edlund gave it a

look, rapped it sharply on the table and said, “Sometimes you just have to give

these things a whack.”

96 SEPTEMBER 2019


JUST A BIT OUTSIDE

David S. Ward, writer/director of Major League

THE BIGGEST STAR IN THE WORLD CALLS BOXOFFICE

TOM CRUISE, THE LAST SAMURAI

by Christine James, Managing Editor, Boxoffice

[Opening excerpt from November 2013] “This is Tom Cruise,” says the iconically familiar

but cellphone-compromised voice on the line. This information is met with silence. “Hello?”

He queries to determine the continued presence of the call’s recipient.

“I’m writing down the message,” a Boxoffice editor explains of the pause, omitting a

spectrum of reactions such as thrill and incredulity that have also contributed to the delay

in response.

Cruise laughs and makes small talk: “What’s this 626 area code?” (Pasadena, California)

before relaying that he’ll try to reach this interviewer (who had not been aware of the

possibility of this unscheduled call) the next day.

This subsequently arranged appointment, which is a window of three hours, is preceded

by more than half a dozen situation-apprising calls from no less than three of Cruise’s

representatives, all of who try to narrow down the exact time the call will take place, in

one of Hollywood’s most shocking displays of consideration. Rehearsals and production

confabs keep running over, and by the evening his handlers say that we’ll have to try again

the next day and that “Tom apologizes profusely.” Yeah, right—Tom Cruise apologizes profusely.

But when Mr. Cruise (“Call me Tom”) is once again on the other end of the receiver

(another round of extended meetings and status-report calls later), what does he do but

apologize profusely? “I’m sure you have better things to do with your time,” he suggests

generously. Than wait around for Tom Cruise to call? If you say so. This reporter did have

a Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star review to write up and satirical fake news stories on the

Onion to catch up on …

[Note: I have listened to a recording of this interview; it is, indeed an hour]

[Excerpts from April 1989] “I think that the real problem

with most sports movies in the past is that they weren’t

very realistic. They weren’t shot well, and they were

made by people who didn’t know sports very well,” Ward

observes, sitting in a trendy Los Angeles cafe as he takes

a break from looping sessions on Major League. “And the

actors in those films were not good athletes—I’m sorry,

but Gary Cooper [in Pride of the Yankees] did not swing a

bat like Lou Gehrig. Moviegoers are fairly sophisticated,

and they have seen enough sports on television to know

what a good athlete looks like. [Sports movies] just never

had that ring of authenticity before.

“Being an Indians fan is a pretty frustrating devotion, because

since 1954 they have never won a pennant,* and

in the past 28 years they haven’t even finished within ten

games of first place,” Ward notes with a bemused smile.

“So it’s safe to say that they are the most futile team in

baseball over the past three decades. No other team can

match the sheer abundance of losses that the Indians

have piled up, but they’ve always maintained a spot in

my heart.

“It was very important to me to cast actors who were

good baseball players. If you can’t play baseball at all,

it’s not something that you can fake,” Ward says. “So

when I was casting, I’d take them outside and play

catch with them to see if they could throw and catch

the ball properly.

“Actors will not necessarily tell you the truth,” Ward

was shocked to discover. “I had guys coming in who

told me that they had played minor league or AAA ball,

and I’d take them outside and they couldn’t throw the

ball 35 feet.”

*The Indians have been to the World Series three times since this interview, but

have yet to win.

SEPTEMBER 2019

97


EVENT CINEMA CALENDAR

CINELIFE

ENTERTAINMENT

cinelifeentertainment.com

310-309-5774

IRIS: A SPACE OPERA BY JUSTICE

Tues. 9/10

Music

HALLOWEEN (1978)

Fri. 9/27-Thurs. 10/31

Classics

SNOOPY, COME HOME

Sun. 9/29, Thurs. 10/3, Sat. 10/5

Kids & Family

A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN

Tues. 11/5-Mon. 11/11

Theater

GAUGUIN FROM THE NATIONAL

GALLERY, LONDON

Tues. 1/21-Mon. 1/27 (U.S.

release)

Art

CINEMA LIVE

www.cinemalive.com

PLÁCIDO DOMINGO:

50TH ANNIVERSARY

GALA EVENING

Tues. 10/1

Opera

THE ROYAL EDINBURGH

MILITARY TATTOO 2019

Sun. 10/6 (Canada Only)

Music

BILLY CONNOLLY:

THE SEX LIFE OF BANDAGES

Thurs. 10/10

Comedy

NORTHERN BALLET: DRACULA LIVE

Thurs. 10/31

Ballet

FATHOM EVENTS

fathomevents.com

855-473-4612

MARGARET ATWOOD: LIVE IN

CINEMAS

Tues., 9/10

Live Event

YOU ARE HERE

Weds. 9/11

Documentary

BLINK OF AN EYE

Thurs. 9/12

Sports

EL NORTE 35TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 9/15

Classics

STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE

40TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 9/15, Weds. 9/18

Classics

THE GAME CHANGERS

Mon. 9/16

Documentary

BILLY CONNOLLY: THE SEX LIFE OF BANDAGES

ROB ZOMBIE’S 3 FROM HELL

Mon. 9/16, Tues. 9/17, & Weds. 9/18

Premiere

PROMARE

Tues. 9/17 (dub), Thurs. 9/19 (sub)

Anime

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

THE SHAWSHANK

REDEMPTION 25TH

ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 9/22, Tues. 9/24,

Weds. 9/25

Classics

FRIENDS 25TH:

THE ONE WITH THE

ANNIVERSARY

Mon. 9/23, Sat. 9/28,

Weds. 10/2

Television

STUDIO GHIBLI FEST

2019: THE SECRET WORLD OF

ARRIETTY

Sun. 9/29 (dub), Mon. 9/30 (sub)

Anime

ELVIS UNLEASHED

Mon. 10/7, Thurs. 10/10

Music

THE MET: LIVE IN HD: TURANDOT

Sat. 10/12 (live), Weds. 10/16 (encore)

Opera

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

ALIEN 40TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 10/13, Tues. 10/15, Weds. 10/16

Classics

JAY & SILENT BOB REBOOT

Tues. 10/15, Thurs. 10/17

Premieres

THE MET: LIVE IN HD: MANON

Sat. 10/26 (live), Weds. 10/30 (encore)

Opera

BOLSHOI BALLET: RAYMONDA

Sun. 10/27

Ballet

STUDIO GHIBLI FEST 2019: SPIRITED

AWAY

Sun. 10/27 (dub), Mon. 10/28 (sub), Weds.

10/30 (dub)

Anime

THE MET: LIVE IN HD: MADAMA

BUTTERFLY

Sat. 11/9 (live), Weds. 11/13 (encore), Sat.

11/16 (encore)

Opera

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: THE

GODFATHER PART II

Sun. 11/10, Tues. 11/12, Weds. 11/13

Classics

BOLSHOI BALLET: LE CORSAIRE

Sun. 11/17

Ballet

STUDIO GHIBLI FEST 2019: PRINCESS

MONONOKE

Sun. 11/17 (dub), Mon. 11/18 (sub), Weds.

11/20 (dub)

Anime

THE MET: LIVE IN HD: AKHNATEN

Sat. 11/23 (live), Weds. 12/4 (encore)

Opera

THE MET: LIVE IN HD: THE MAGIC

FLUTE HOLIDAY ENCORE

12/7/2019 only

Opera

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: WHEN

HARRY MET SALLY

Sun. 12/1, Tues. 12/3

Classics

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: MEET ME

IN ST. LOUIS

Sun. 12/8, Weds. 12/11

Classics

BOLSHOI BALLET: THE NUTCRACKER

Sun. 12/15

Ballet

STUDIO GHIBLI FEST 2019: THE TALE

OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA

Mon. 12/16 (dub), Weds. 12/18 (sub)

Anime

THE MET: LIVE IN HD: WOZZECK

Sat. 1/11 (live), Weds. 1/15 (encore)

Opera

THE MET: LIVE IN HD: THE

GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS

Sat. 2/1 (live), Weds. 2/5 (encore), Sat. 2/8

(encore)

Opera

THE MET: LIVE IN HD: AGRIPPINA

Sat. 2/29 (live), Weds. 3/4 (encore)

Opera

98 SEPTEMBER 2019


THE MET: LIVE IN HD:

DER FLIEGENDE

HOLLÄNDER

Sat. 3/14 (live), Weds.

3/18 (encore)

Opera

THE MET:

LIVE IN HD: TOSCA

Sat. 4/11 (live), Weds.

4/15 (encore), Sat. 4/18

(encore)

Opera

THE MET: LIVE IN HD:

MARIA STUARDA

Sat. 5/9 (live), Weds. 5/13 (encore)

Opera

MORE2SCREEN

www.more2screen.com

WISE CHILDREN

Thurs. 10/31

Theater

GAUGUIN FROM THE NATIONAL

GALLERY, LONDON

Tues. 10/15 (U.K./Ireland), Fri. 11/1 (Int’l)

Art

42ND STREET – THE MUSICAL

Sun. 11/10, Tues. 11/12 (U.K./Europe)

Musical

BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER LIVE

NEW YEAR’S EVE CONCERT

Tues. 12/31 (U.K./Republic of Ireland)

Music

KINKY BOOTS – THE MUSICAL

Tues. 2/4, Sun 4/9 (except North America)

Musical

JONAS KAUFMANN MY VIENNA

Tues., 2/11

Opera

BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER LIVE

SEASON FINALE CONCERT

Fri. 6/12 (U.K./Republic of Ireland)

Music

MYCINEMA

www.mycinema.live

RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES

Sun. 9/20

Premiere

COMING UP FOR AIR

Sun. 9/20

Premiere

THE FARE (DREAD CENTRAL)

Sun. 10/4

Horror

GAUGUIN FROM THE NATIONAL GALLERY, LONDON

CANDY CORN

(DREAD CENTRAL)

Sun. 10/11

Horror

LA OTRA PARTE

Sun. 10/11

Premiere

ARTIK (DREAD

CENTRAL)

Sun. 10/18

Horror

HOAX (DREAD CENTRAL)

Sun. 10/25

Horror

AMITYVILLE: A NEW GENERATION

Weds. 10/28

Horror

AMITYVILLE: IT’S ABOUT TIME

Thurs. 10/29

Horror

AMITYVILLE: THE EVIL ESCAPES

Fri. 10/30

Horror

MURDEROUS TRANCE

Fri. 11/1

Premiere

HARPOON

Fri. 11/1

Premiere

APOCALYPSE NOW: FINAL CUT,

VETERAN’S DAY

RE-RELEASE

Weds. 11/11

Classics

MAN’S BEST FRIEND, VETERAN’S DAY

Weds. 11/11

Premiere

LE CIRQUE ALIS

Tues.11/24

Arts

ROYAL OPERA

HOUSE

roh.org.uk/cinemas

cinema@roh.org.uk

DON GIOVANNI

Tues. 10/8

Opera

DON PASQUALE

Thurs. 10/24

Opera

CONCERTO/ENIGMA

VARIATIONS/RAYMONDA ACT III

Tues. 11/5

Ballet

COPPÉLIA

Tues. 12/10

Ballet

THE NUTCRACKER

Tues. 12/17

Ballet

THE SLEEPING BEAUTY

Thurs. 1/16

Ballet

LA BOHÈME

Weds. 1/29

Opera

NEW MARSTON / NEW SCARLETT

Tues. 2/25

Ballet

FIDELIO

Tues/ 3/17

Opera

SWAN LAKE

Weds. 4/1

Ballet

CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA / PAGLIACCI

Tues. 4/21

Opera

THE DANTE PROJECT

Thurs. 5/28

Ballet

ELEKTRA

Thurs. 6/18

Opera

MURDEROUS TRANCE

TRAFALGAR RELEASING

trafalgar-releasing.com

ROGER WATERS US + THEM

Fri. 10/2

Music

METALLICA AND SAN FRANCISCO

SYMPHONY: S&M²

Fri. 10/9

Music

BRANAGH THEATRE

LIVE: THE WINTER’S

TALE

Weds. 12/4

Theater

SEPTEMBER 2019

99


ON SCREEN BY KEVIN LALLY

WIDE RELEASES

ABOMINABLE

SEPT. 27 / UNIVERSAL

In the year’s second animated feature centered on a Yeti (the first was

Missing Link), a Shanghai teenager discovers one of the fabled creatures

on the roof of her apartment building and makes it her mission

to help reunite him with his family on Mount Everest. But a wealthy

hunter is on their trail. Jill Culton and Todd Wilderman directed.

VOICE CAST CHLOE BENNET, ALBERT TSAI, EDDIE IZZARD, SARAH

PAULSON, TENZING NORGAY TRAINOR, MICHELLE WONG RATING PG

RUNNING TIME 92 MIN.

JUDY

SEPT. 27 / ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS & LD

ENTERTAINMENT

Renée Zellweger (below) transforms into Judy Garland, as the legendary

performer embarks on a five-week engagement in London in

1968, one year before her death from an accidental overdose. Finn

Wittrock plays Mickey Deans, her soon-to-be fifth husband, in this

musical biopic from director Rupert Goold (True Story).

CAST RENÉE ZELLWEGER, FINN WITTROCK, RUFUS SEWELL, JESSIE

BUCKLEY, MICHAEL GAMBON, BELLA RAMSEY RATING PG-13 RUNNING

TIME 119 MIN.

RENÉE ZELLWEGER AS JUDY GARLAND IN JUDY

100 SEPTEMBER 2019


JOAQUIN PHOENIX IN JOKER

JOKER

OCT. 4 / WARNER BROS.

Director Todd Phillips (The Hangover) and co-writer Scott Silver

(8 Mile) delve into the origin story of one of the comic world’s

most iconic villains, already brought to memorable life by Jack

Nicholson and Heath Ledger. In this gritty version set in the

early 1980s, Joaquin Phoenix is Arthur Fleck, an outcast who

takes revenge on the society that has tossed him aside.

CAST JOAQUIN PHOENIX, ROBERT DE NIRO, ZAZIE BEETZ, FRANCES

CONROY, BILL CAMP, BRETT CULLEN, DOUGLAS HODGE, MARC

MARON, BRIAN TYREE HENRY, GLENN FLESHLER RATING R

RUNNING TIME 122 MIN.

THE CURRENT WAR

OCT. 4 LTD., OCT. 11 WIDE / 101 STUDIOS

Once a Weinstein Company release and finally arriving in theaters

after two years, this drama chronicles the intense competition

between two pioneering inventors: Thomas Edison and

George Westinghouse (assisted by the young Nikola Tesla). Both

seek to bring electricity to America, but Edison champions DC

technology while Westinghouse believes in the AC current. Cue

the song “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

directed.

CAST BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH, MICHAEL SHANNON, NICHOLAS

HOULT, TOM HOLLAND, KATHERINE WATERSTON, TUPPENCE

MIDDLETON, MATTHEW MACFADYEN RATING PG-13 RUNNING

TIME 107 MIN.

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH

AS THOMAS EDISON IN

THE CURRENT WAR

SEPTEMBER 2019

101


ON SCREEN

GEMINI MAN

OCT. 11 / PARAMOUNT

Director Ang Lee continues to explore

cutting-edge visual-effects technology with

this thriller about a suddenly unemployed

government assassin who is stalked by his

much younger clone. Will Smith plays both

roles, in one case de-aged to look like he

did in his Independence Day/Men in Black

prime. Select engagements will be in highframe-rate

3-D.

CAST WILL SMITH, MARY ELIZABETH

WINSTEAD, CLIVE OWEN, BENEDICT WONG,

DOUGLAS HODGE, LINDA EMOND RATING

PG-13 RUNNING TIME TBA

DIRECTOR ANG LEE WITH STAR WILL SMITH

THE ADDAMS FAMILY

OCT. 11 / UNITED ARTISTS

RELEASING

Charles Addams’s delightfully macabre

brood, stars of New Yorker cartoons, a

’60s TV series, and two ’90s hit films,

make their animated feature debut,

with a voice cast headed by Oscar Isaac

and Charlize Theron. Conrad Vernon

and Greg Tiernan, whose last collaboration

was Sausage Party, directed the

ghoulish antics.

VOICE CAST OSCAR ISAAC, CHARLIZE

THERON, CHLOË GRACE MORETZ,

ALLISON JANNEY, BETTE MIDLER, NICK

KROLL, FINN WOLFHARD, CATHERINE

O’HARA, MARTIN SHORT RATING PG

RUNNING TIME TBA

102 SEPTEMBER 2019


ON SCREEN

MICHELLE PFEIFFER AND ANGELINA JOLIE

MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL

OCT. 18 / DISNEY

One of the great villains in the Disney canon was at the

center of a hit 2014 showcase for Angelina Jolie. This

sequel further explores the relationship between the formidable

fairy Maleficent and the princess she cursed (aka

Sleeping Beauty). Joachim Rønning directed.

CAST ANGELINA JOLIE, ELLE FANNING, MICHELLE PFEIFFER,

ED SKREIN, CHIWETEL EJIOFOR, SAM RILEY, HARRIS

DICKINSON, IMELDA STAUNTON, JUNO TEMPLE, LESLEY

MANVILLE RATING TBA RUNNING TIME TBA

EMMA STONE, WOODY HARRELSON, JESSE EISENBERG, AND ABIGAIL BRESLIN

ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP

OCT. 18 / SONY-COLUMBIA

In this sequel to the 2009 horror comedy Zombieland,

makeshift family members Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita,

and Little Rock take to the road and encounter other

survivors of the zombie apocalypse. Ruben Fleischer

returns to direct.

CAST WOODY HARRELSON, JESSE EISENBERG, EMMA

STONE, ABIGAIL BRESLIN, ZOEY DEUTCH, ROSARIO

DAWSON, BILL MURRAY, LUKE WILSON, THOMAS

MIDDLEDITCH, DAN AYKROYD RATING TBA RUNNING

TIME TBA

104 SEPTEMBER 2019


ANTHROPOCENE:

THE HUMAN EPOCH

SEPT. 25 / KINO LORBER

The title is a proposed scientific term

for our current geological era, in which

human activity has become the dominant

influence on the climate and environment.

Filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal,

Nicholas de Pencier, and Edward Burtynsky

traveled to 20 countries on six

continents to document humans’ impact

on the planet. Alicia Vikander narrates.

RATING NOT RATED RUNNING TIME

87 MIN.

FIRST LOVE

SEPT. 27 / WELL GO USA ENTER-

TAINMENT

Prolific Japanese cult director Takeshi

Miike (Audition, Ichi the Killer) returns

with this boisterous tale taking place

during one night in Tokyo, as a boxer and

a call girl fall in love and get enmeshed in

a drug-smuggling caper.

LIMITED RELEASES

CAST MASATAKA KUBOTA, SHÔTA

SOMETANI, NAO OHMORI RATING TBA

RUNNING TIME 108 MIN.

LOW TIDE

OCT. 4 / A24

It’s summertime on the New Jersey shore,

where three teenage boys scrounge extra

cash by breaking into vacation homes

and stealing valuables. But trouble lies

ahead when one of them discovers a bag

of gold coins. Kevin McMullin wrote and

directed this indie thriller.

CAST KEEAN JOHNSON, JAEDEN MARTELL,

ALEX NEUSTAEDTER, DANIEL ZOLGHADRI,

KRISTINE FROSETH, SHEA WHIGHAM RAT-

ING R RUNNING TIME 86 MIN.

LUCY IN THE SKY

OCT. 4 / FOX SEARCHLIGHT

Debuting just two weeks after Brad Pitt’s

outer space adventure Ad Astra, Lucy in the

Sky stars Natalie Portman as an astronaut

whose perspective changes dramatically

following a life-altering experience. Noah

Hawley, the creative force behind FX’s

“Fargo” and “Legion” series, directed.

CAST NATALIE PORTMAN, JON HAMM, ZA-

ZIE BEETZ, DAN STEVENS, ELLEN BURSTYN,

PEARL AMANDA DICKSON, TIG NOTARO

RATING R RUNNING TIME TBa

PAIN AND GLORY

OCT. 4 / SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

Antonio Banderas won the Best Actor

prize at Cannes playing Salvador Mallo,

an aging, celebrated film director plagued

by physical ailments and a creative block.

Pedro Almodóvar’s drama interweaves

Mallo’s childhood memories with the

present, as he reunites with two important

men from his past.

CAST ANTONIO BANDERAS, ASIER ETXE-

ANDIA, LEONARDO SBARAGLIA, PENÉLOPE

CRUZ, NORA NAVAS, JULIETA SERRANO,

CÉSAR VICENTE, ASIER FLORES, CECILIA

ROTH RATING R RUNNING TIME

113 MIN.

SEPTEMBER 2019

105


ON SCREEN

JEXI

OCT. 11 / CBS FILMS & LIONSGATE

This comedy from the Hangover team

of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore imagines

what might happen if the A.I. assistant

on your phone got carried away with

making your life better. It all began with

HAL 9000 ...

CAST ADAM DEVINE, ROSE BYRNE, ALEXAN-

DRA SHIPP, WANDA SYKES, MICHAEL PEÑA,

RON FUNCHES, CHARLYNE YI, JUSTIN HART-

LEY RATING TBA RUNNING TIME TBA

PARASITE

OCT. 11 / NEON

Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2019

Cannes Film Festival, the latest wild ride

from Korea’s Bong Joon-Ho (Okja, Snowpiercer)

follows a family of impoverished

grifters who insinuate themselves into the

lives and home of a wealthy businessman

and his wife. But there are surprises in

store they never expected.

CAST SONG KANG-HO, CHOI WOO-SHIK,

LEE SUN-KYUN, PARK SO-DAM, CHO YEO-

JEONG, LEE JUNG-EUN, CHANG HYAE-JIN

RATING TBA RUNNING TIME 132 MIN.

MISTER AMERICA

OCT. 11 / MAGNOLIA

Comedian Tim Heidecker (“Tim and

Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”) plays

himself in this loopy satire of local politics.

After beating a murder rap for selling

faulty e-cigarettes at an EDM festival,

Heidecker decides to run against the San

Bernardino district attorney—and manages

to alienate his would-be constituents.

Eric Notarnicola directed.

CAST TIM HEIDECKER, GREGG TURKING-

TON, TERRI PARKS RATING R RUNNING

TIME TBA

SERENDIPITY

OCT. 18 / COHEN MEDIA GROUP

French artist Prune Nourry’s documentary

follows her own odyssey as she

turns her breast cancer diagnosis into

a personal project that reflects on her

treatment and the changes happening to

her body.

FEATURING PRUNE NOURRY RATING TBA

RUNNING TIME 74 MIN.

JOJO RABBIT

OCT. 18 / FOX SEARCHLIGHT

During World War II, a lonely German

boy discovers that his single mother is

hiding a Jewish girl in the attic. And

so he turns for advice to his imaginary

friend—Adolf Hitler. Director Taika

Waititi brought us the equally quirky

What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the

Wilderpeople, and Thor: Ragnarok—and

plays the comical Führer.

CAST ROMAN GRIFFIN DAVIS, SCARLETT

JOHANSSON, THOMASIN MCKENZIE, TAIKA

WAITITI, SAM ROCKWELL RATING PG-13

RUNNING TIME 108 MIN.

106 SEPTEMBER 2019


BOOKING GUIDE

A24

646-568-6015

THE DEATH OF DICK LONG

Fri, 9/27/19 LTD

C Michael Abbott Jr.,

Virginia Newcomb

D Daniel Scheinert

R · Com/SF

LOW TIDE

Fri, 10/4/19 LTD

C Keean Johnson,

Alex Neustaedter

D Kevin McMullin

NR · Dra

THE LIGHTHOUSE

Fri, 10/18/19 LTD

C Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson

D Robert Eggers

NR · Dra/Thr

THE KILL TEAM

Fri, 10/25/19 LTD

C Nat Wolff, Alexander Skarsgård

D Dan Krauss

R · Act/Dra/Thr

WAVES

Fri, 11/1/19 LTD

C Sterling K Brown,

Kelvin Harrison Jr,

D Trey Edward Shults

NR · Dra

IN FABRIC

Fri, 12/6/19 LTD

C Marianne Jean-Baptiste,

Gwendoline Christie

D Peter Strickland

R · Com/Hor

UNCUT GEMS

Fri, 12/13/19 LTD

C Adam Sandler, LaKeith Stanfield

D Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie

NR · Com

ABRAMORAMA

914-741-1818

K-12

Thur, 9/5/19 LTD

C Maggie Budzyna, Kendy Cruz

D Melanie Martinez

NR · Thr

CRACKED UP

Thur, 9/13/19 LTD

C Darrell Hammond

D Michelle Esrick

NR

AMAZON STUDIOS

310-573-0652

brian.flanagan@amazonstudios.com

HONEY BOY

Fri, 11/8/19 LTD

C Shia LaBeouf, Noah Jupe

D Alma Har’el

R · Dra · Dolby Vis/Atmos

THE REPORT

Fri, 11/15/19 LTD

C Adam Driver, Annette Bening

D Scott Z. Burns

R · Thr

THE AERONAUTS

Fri, 12/6/19 LTD

C Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones

D Tom Harper

R · Act/Adv

DISNEY

818-560-1000

Ask for Distribution

MALEFICENT:

MISTRESS OF EVIL

Fri, 10/18/19 WIDE

C Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning

D Joachim Rønning

NR · Fan · IMAX/Dolby Vis/Atmos

FROZEN 2

Wed, 11/22/19 WIDE

C Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell

D Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck

NR · Ani

3D/ Dolby Vis/Atmos

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 Vis/Atmos

ONWARD

Fri, 3/6/20 WIDE

C Chris Pratt, Tom Holland

D Dan Scanlon

NR · Ani · 3D

MULAN

Fri, 3/27/20 WIDE

C Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen

D Niki Caro

NR · Fan/Act/Adv · 3D/IMAX

BLACK WIDOW

Fri, 5/1/20 WIDE

NR · 3D

ARTEMIS FOWL

Fri, 5/29/20 WIDE

C Ferdia Shaw, Josh Gad

D Kenneth Branagh

NR · Fan · 3D

SOUL

Fri, 6/19/20 WIDE

D Pete Docter

NR · Ani · 3D

JUNGLE CRUISE

Fri, 7/24/20 WIDE

C Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt

D Jaume Collet-Serra

NR · Act/Adv

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

Fri, 8/14/20 WIDE

NR

ENTERTAINMENT

STUDIOS MOTION

PICTURES

310-277-3500

Ask for Distribution

THE WEDDING YEAR

Fri, 9/20/19 WIDE

C Sarah Hyland,

Tyler James Williams

D Robert Luketic

R · Rom/Com

ARCTIC DOGS

Fri, 11/8/19 WIDE

C Jeremy Renner, James Franco

D Aaron Woodley

PG · Ani

ALL RISE

Fri, 11/15/19 WIDE

C Jennifer Hudson,

Kelvin Harrison Jr.

D Anthony Mandler

R · Dra

FOCUS FEATURES

424-214-636

DOWNTON ABBEY

Fri, 9/20/19 WIDE

C Hugh Bonneville,

Laura Carmichael

D Michael Engler

PG · Dra · Dolby Vis/Atmos

HARRIET

Fri, 11/1/19 WIDE

C Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr.

D Kasi Lemmons

NR · Dra/Bio/His

FOX

310-369-1000

212-556-2400

AD ASTRA

Fri, 9/20/19 WIDE

C Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones

D James Gray

PG-13 · SF/Thr

IMAX/Dolby Atmos

FORD v. FERRARI

Fri, 11/15/19 WIDE

C Matt Damon, Christian Bale

D James Mangold

NR · Dra · IMAX

SPIES IN DISGUISE

Wed, 12/25/19 WIDE

C Will Smith, Tom Holland

D Nick Bruno, Troy Quane

NR · Ani

UNDERWATER

Fri, 1/10/20 WIDE

C Kristen Stewart, T.J. Miller

D William Eubank

NR · Act

THE KING’S MAN

Fri, 2/14/20 WIDE

C Ralph Fiennes,

Gemma Arterton

D Matthew Vaughn

NR · Act/Adv

CALL OF THE WILD

Fri, 2/21/20 WIDE

NR · Dra

THE NEW MUTANTS

Fri, 4/3/20 WIDE

C Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams

D Josh Boone

NR · Act/Hor/SF

Dolby Vis/Atmos

THE WOMAN IN

THE WINDOW

Fri, 5/15/20 WIDE

C Amy Adams, Gary Oldman

D Joe Wright

NR · Cri/Dra/Mys

FREE GUY

Fri, 7/3/20 WIDE

C Ryan Reynolds

D Shawn Levy

NR · Com/Act

SEPTEMBER 2019

107


BOOKING GUIDE

FOX SEARCHLIGHT

212-556-2400

LUCY IN THE SKY

Fri, 10/4/19 WIDE

C Natalie Portman, Jon Hamm

D Noah Hawley

R · SF

JOJO RABBIT

Fri, 10/18/19 WIDE

C Roman Griffin Davis,

Thomasin McKenzie

D Taika Waititi

NR · Com

A HIDDEN LIFE

Fri, 12/13/19 WIDE

C August Diehl, Valerie Pachner

D Terrence Malick

PG-13 · Dra/War

GREENWICH

ENTERTAINMENT

LINDA RONSTADT:

THE SOUND OF MY VOICE

Fri, 9/6/19 LTD

C Linda Ronstadt

D Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman

PG-13 · Doc

GUNPOWDER & SKY

kg@gunpowdersky.com

VILLAINS

Fri, 9/20/19 LTD

C Bill Skarsgård, Maika Monroe

D Dan Berk, Robert Olsen

R · Thr/Com

IFC FILMS

bookings@ifcfilms.com

DEPRAVED

Fri, 9/13/19 LTD

C David Call, Joshua Leonard

D Larry Fessenden

NR · Hor

THE SOUND OF SILENCE

Fri, 9/13/19 LTD

C Peter Sarsgaard, Rashida Jones

D Michael Tyburski

NR · Dra

LORO

Fri, 9/20/19 LTD

C Toni Servillo, Elena Sofia Ricci

D Paolo Sorrentino

NR · Dra/Bio

THE DAY SHALL COME

Fri, 9/27/19 LTD

C Marchánt Davis, Anna Kendrick

D Chris Morris

NR · Com

GREENER GRASS

Fri, 10/18/19 LTD

C Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe

D Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe

NR · Com

KINO LORBER

CHAINED FOR LIFE

Wed, 9/11/19 LTD

C Jess Weixler, Adam Pearson

D Aaron Schimberg

NR · Com

ANTHROPOCENE:

THE HUMAN EPOCH

Wed, 9/25/19 LTD

C Alicia Vikander

D Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de

Pencier, Edward Burtynsky

NR · Doc

LIONSGATE

310-309-8400

RAMBO: LAST BLOOD

Fri, 9/20/19 WIDE

C Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega

D Adrian Grunberg

R · Act

JEXI

Fri, 10/11/19 WIDE

C Adam DeVine, Rose Byrne

D Jon Lucas, Scott Moore

NR · Com

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

BOMBSHELL

Fri, 12/20/19 WIDE

C Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie

D Jay Roach

NR · Dra/Bio

RUN

Fri, 1/24/20 WIDE

C Sarah Paulson, Kiera Allen

D Aneesh Chaganty

NR · Sus

LAS PILDORAS DE MI NOVIO

Fri, 2/21/20 WIDE

C Jaime Camil, Sandra Echeverría

D Diego Kaplan

NR · Com

I STILL BELIEVE

Fri, 3/20/20 WIDE

C K.J. Apa, Gary Sinise

D Jon Erwin, Andrew Erwin

NR · Dra

UNTITLED JANELLE MONÁE

FILM

Fri, 4/24/20 WIDE

C Janelle Monáe

D Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz

NR

UNTITLED SAW FILM

Fri, 5/15/20 WIDE

C Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson

D Darren Lynn Bousman

NR · Hor

BARB AND STAR GO TO

VISTA DEL MAR

Fri, 7/31/20 WIDE

C Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo

D Josh Greenbaum

NR · Com

MAGNOLIA PICTURES

212-379-9704

Neal Block

nblock@magpictures.com

MISTER AMERICA

Fri, 10/11/19 LTD.

C Tim Heidecker,

Gregg Turkington

D Eric Notarnicola

R · Com

CUNNINGHAM 3D

Fri, 10/11/19 LTD.

D Alla Kovgan

NR · Doc

MYCINEMA

480-430-7017

ZEROVILLE

Fri, 9/20/19 LTD.

C James Franco, Megan Fox

D James Franco

NR · Com/Dra

COMING UP FOR AIR

Fri, 9/20/19 LTD.

C Deborah Staples, Chase Yi

D Robert Cicchini

NR · Dra/Fam

RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES

Fri, 9/20/19 LTD.

C Brian O’Halloran,

Brian Anthony Wilson

D David Vincent Bobb

NR · Dra

AMITYVILLE:

A NEW GENERATION

Fri, 10/28/19 LTD.

C Ross Partridge, Julia Nickson

D John Murlowski

R · Hor

AMITYVILLE:

IT’S ABOUT TIME

Fri, 10/28/19 LTD.

C Stephen Macht,

Shawn Weatherly

D Tony Randel

R · Hor

AMITYVILLE:

THE EVIL ESCAPES

Fri, 10/28/19 LTD.

C Patty Duke, Jane Wyatt

D Sandor Stern

NR · Hor

NEON

hal@neonrated.com

MONOS

Fri, 9/13/19 LTD.

C Julianne Nicholson, Moisés Arias

D Alejandro Landes

R · Thr/Dra

PARASITE

Fri, 10/11/19 LTD.

C Song Kang-ho, Chang Hyae-jin

D Bong Joon Ho

NR · Com/Dra/Thr

THE LODGE

Fri, 11/15/19 LTD.

C Riley Keough, Richard Armitage

D Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz

NR · Hor

PORTRAIT OF A LADY

ON FIRE

Fri, 12/6/19 LTD.

C Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel

D Céline Sciamma

NR · Dra/Rom

CLEMENCY

Fri, 12/27/19 LTD.

C Alfre Woodard, Aldis Hodge

D Chinoye Chukwu

NR · Dra

108 SEPTEMBER 2019


1091

Richard Matson

323-540-5476

rmatson@theorchard.com

SISTER AIMEE

Fri, 9/27/19 LTD.

C Anna Margaret

Hollyman, Michael Mosley

D Samantha Buck,

Marie Schlingmann

NR · Dra

MIDNIGHT FAMILY

Fri, 11/15/19 LTD.

D Luke Lorentzen

NR · Doc

OSCILLOSCOPE

LABORATORIES

212-219-4029

MS. PURPLE

Fri, 9/6/19 LTD

C Tiffany Chu, Teddy Lee

D Justin Chon

NR · Dra

MIDNIGHT TRAVELER

Fri, 9/18/19 LTD

D Hassan Fazili

NR · Doc

PARAMOUNT

323-956-5000

GEMINI MAN

Fri, 10/11/19 WIDE

C Will Smith,

Mary Elizabeth Winstead

D Ang Lee

PG-13 · Act/Thr

IMAX/Dolby Vis/Atmos

TERMINATOR: DARK FATE

Fri, 11/1/19 WIDE

C Arnold Schwarzenegger,

Linda Hamilton

D Tim Miller

NR · Act/SF

Dolby Vis/Atmos · IMAX

PLAYING WITH FIRE

Fri, 11/8/19 WIDE

C John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key

D Andy Fickman

NR · Com

LIKE A BOSS

Fri, 1/10/20 WIDE

C Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne

D Miguel Arteta

NR · Com

THE RHYTHM SECTION

Fri, 1/31/20 WIDE

C Blake Lively

D Reed Morano

NR · Thr

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

Fri, 2/14/20 WIDE

C Ben Schwartz, Jim Carrey

D Jeff Fowler

NR · Ani/Adv/Com

MONSTER PROBLEMS

Fri, 3/6/20 WIDE

NR · Adv

A QUIET PLACE PART II

Fri, 3/20/20 WIDE

NR · Hor/Thr

THE LOVEBIRDS

Fri, 4/3/20 WIDE

NR · Rom/Com

THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE

Fri, 5/22/20 WIDE

NR · Ani

TOP GUN: MAVERICK

Fri, 6/26/20 WIDE

C Tom Cruise, Miles Teller

D Joseph Kosinski

NR · Act/Adv

RUMBLE

Fri, 7/31/20 WIDE

NR · Ani

INFINITE

Fri, 8/7/20 WIDE

NR · SF

SPELL

Fri, 8/28/20 WIDE

NR · Hor/Thr

ROADSIDE

ATTRACTIONS

323-882-8490

JUDY

Fri, 9/27/19 WIDE

C Renee Zellweger

D Rupert Goold

PG-13 · Bio · Dolby Atmos

THE LAST FULL MEASURE

Fri, 10/25/19 WIDE

Dolby Stereo

SAMUEL GOLDWYN

FILMS

SUPER SIZE ME 2:

HOLY CHICKEN!

Fri, 9/13/19 WIDE

D Morgan Spurlock

NR · Doc

PARADISE HILLS

Fri, 11/1/19 LTD

C Emma Roberts,

Danielle Macdonald

D Alice Waddington

NR · Dan/SF/Thr

SONY

212-833-8500

ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP

Fri, 10/18/19 WIDE

C Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson

D Ruben Fleischer

NR · Act/Hor/Com

Dolby Vis/Atmos

BLACK AND BLUE

Fri, 10/25/19 WIDE

C Naomie Harris, Tyrese Gibson

D Deon Taylor

NR · Act/Cri

CHARLIE’S ANGELS

Fri, 11/15/19 WIDE

C Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott

D Elizabeth Banks

NR · Act/Com

Dolby Vis/Atmos

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN

THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Fri, 11/22/19 WIDE

C Tom Hanks

D Marielle Heller

NR · Dra

JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL

Fri, 12/13/19 WIDE

C Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black

D Jake Kasdan

NR · Com/Act/Adv

IMAX/Dolby Vis/Atmos

LITTLE WOMEN

Fri, 12/25/19 WIDE

C Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson

D Greta Gerwig

PG · 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

BLUMHOUSE FANTASY

ISLAND HORROR

Fri, 2/14/20 WIDE

D Jeff Wadlow

NR · Hor

BLOODSHOT

Fri, 2/21/20 WIDE

NR · Act · Dolby Atmos

UNTITLED SPA ANIMATED

FRANCHISE

Fri, 4/3/20 WIDE

NR · Ani

FATHERHOOD

Fri, 4/3/20 WIDE

C Kevin Hart, Melody Hurd

D Pail Weitz

NR · Dra

UNTITLED AFFIRM FILMS

COACH PROJECT

Fri, 4/10/20 WIDE

NR

GREYHOUND

Fri, 5/8/20 WIDE

C Tom Hanks

D Aaron Schneider

NR · Dra/War

GHOSTBUSTERS 2020

Fri, 7/10/20 WIDE

C Paul Rudd

NR · Hor/Com/SF

UNTITLED SONY ANIMATION

FILM

Fri, 7/24/20 WIDE

NR · Ani

SONY/MARVEL MORBIUS

Fri, 7/31/20 WIDE

NR · Act/Thr/SF

ESCAPE ROOM 2

Fri, 8/14/20 WIDE

NR · Hor/Thr

SEPTEMBER 2019

109


BOOKING GUIDE

CATS

Fri, 12/20/19 WIDE

C James Corden, Judi Dench

D Tom Hooper

NR · Mus

1917

Fri, 12/25/19 WIDE

C George McKay,

Dean-Charles Chapman

D Sam Mendes

NR · Dra/War

UNIVERSAL

CATS

DEC. 20, 2019

TAYLOR SWIFT

UNTITLED BLUMHOUSE

PRODUCTIONS

Fri, 1/3/20 WIDE

NR · Hor

SONY PICTURES

CLASSICS

Tom Prassis

212-833-4981

WHERE’S MY ROY COHN?

Fri, 9/20/19 LTD

D Matt Tyrnauer

NR · Doc

PAIN AND GLORY

Fri, 10/4/19 LTD

C Antonio Banderas,

Penélope Cruz

D Pedro Almodóvar

R · Dra

FRANKIE

Fri, 10/25/19 LTD

C Marisa Tomei, Brendan Gleeson

D Ira Sachs

NR · Dra

STX ENTERTAINMENT

310-742-2300

HUSTLERS

Fri, 9/13/19 WIDE

C Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez

D Lorene Scafaria

R · Dra

THE COUNTDOWN

Fri, 10/25/19 WIDE

C Elizabeth Lail, Anne Winters

D Justin Dec

NR · Hor

21 BRIDGES

Fri, 11/22/19 WIDE

C Chadwick Boseman

D Brian Kirk

NR · Cri/Thr/Act

PLAYMOBILE: THE MOVIE

Fri, 12/6/19 WIDE

C Daniel Radcliffe, Jim Gaffigan

D Lino DiSalvo

NR · Ani

BRAHMS: THE BOY II

Fri, 12/6/19 WIDE

C Katie Holmes

NR · Hor/Thr

MY SPY

Fri, 1/10/19 WIDE

C Dave Bautista, Kristen Schaal

D Peter Segal

PG-13 · Com

THE GENTLEMEN

Fri, 1/24/19 WIDE

NR

UNCORK’D

ENTERTAINMENT

SEEDS

Fri, 9/24/19 LTD

C Trevor Long, Andrea Chen

D Owen Long

NR · Hor

UNITED ARTISTS

RELEASING

310-724-5678

Ask for Distribution

THE ADDAMS FAMILY

Fri, 10/11/19 WIDE

C Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron

D Conrad Vernon

PG · Ani · Dolby Vis/Atmos

BAD TRIP

Fri, 10/25/19 WIDE

C Eric André, Lil Rel Howery

D Kitao Sakurai

NR · Com

NO TIME TO DIE

Fri, 4/8/20 WIDE

C Daniel Craig, Rami Malek

D Cary Joji Fukunaga

NR · Act/Thr

LEGALLY BLONDE 3

Fri, 5/8/20 WIDE

C Reese Witherspoon

NR · Com

BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC

Fri, 8/21/20 WIDE

C Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter

D Dean Parisot

NR · Com/Adv

UNIVERSAL

818-777-1000

ABOMINABLE

Fri, 9/27/19 WIDE

C Chloe Bennet

D Jill Culton

NR · Ani · 3D/Dolby Atmos

LAST CHRISTMAS

Fri, 11/8/19 WIDE

C Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding

D Paul Feig

PG-13 · Rom/Com

QUEEN & SLIM

Fri, 11/27/19 WIDE

C Daniel Kaluuya,

Jodie Turner-Smith

D Melina Matsoukas

NR · Dra/Rom

BLACK CHRISTMAS

Fri, 12/13/19 WIDE

C Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon

D Sophia Takal

NR · Hor

THE VOYAGE OF DOCTOR

DOLITTLE

Fri, 1/17/20 WIDE

C Robert Downey Jr.,

Ralph Fiennes

D Stephen Gaghan

NR · Com

Dolby Vis/Atmos

THE TURNING

Fri, 1/24/20 WIDE

C Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard

D Floria Sigismondi

PG-13 · Thr

THE PHOTOGRAPH

Fri, 2/14/20 WIDE

C Issa Rae, Lakeith Stanfield

D Stella Meghie

NR · Rom

THE INVISIBLE MAN

Fri, 2/28/20 WIDE

C Elisabeth Moss, Storm Reid

D Leigh Whannell

NR · Hor

TROLLS WORLD TOUR

Fri, 4/17/20 WIDE

C Anna Kendrick

Justin Timberlake

D Walt Dohrn

NR · Ani

FAST & FURIOUS 9

Fri, 5/22/20 WIDE

C Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron

D Justin Lin

NR · Act/Adv

CANDYMAN

Fri, 6/12/20 WIDE

D Nia DaCosta

NR · Hor

110 SEPTEMBER 2019


UNTITLED JUDD APATOW/

PETE DAVIDSON COMEDY

Fri, 6/19/20 WIDE

D Judd Apatow

NR · Com

MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU

Fri, 7/3/20 WIDE

NR · Ani

UNTITLED NEXT PURGE

CHAPTER

Fri, 7/10/20 WIDE

NR · Hor

WARNER BROS.

818-977-1850

IT CHAPTER TWO

Fri, 9/6/19 WIDE

C James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain

D Andy Muschietti

R · Hor · IMAX/Dolby Vis/Atmos

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, Robert De Niro

D Todd Phillips

R · Act · IMAX/Dolby Vis/Atmos

MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN

Fri, 11/1/19 WIDE

C Edward Norton, Bruce Willis

D Edward Norton

R · Dra

DOCTOR SLEEP

Fri, 11/8/19 WIDE

C Ewan McGregor,

Rebecca Ferguson

D Mike Flanagan

R · Hor

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, 12/25/19 LTD

C Brie Larson, Michael B. Jordan

D Destin Daniel Cretton

PG-13 · Dra

BIRDS OF PREY

Fri, 2/7/20 WIDE

C Margot Robbie,

Mary Elizabeth Winstead

D Cathy Yan

NR · Act/Adv

THE WAY BACK

Fri, 3/6/20 WIDE

NR

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

WONDER WOMAN 1984

Fri, 6/5/20 WIDE

C Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig

D Patty Jenkins

NR · Act/Adv/Fan

IMAX/3D

IN THE HEIGHTS

Fri, 6/26/20 WIDE

NR · Mus/Rom/Dra

TENET

Fri, 7/17/20 WIDE

Christopher Nolan

NR

CONJURING 3

Fri, 9/11/20 WIDE

NR · Hor

WELL GO USA

ENTERTAINMENT

FREAKS

Fri, 9/13/19 LTD

C Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern

D Zach Lipovsky, Adam B. Stein

R · SF/Thr

FIRST LOVE

Fri, 9/27/19 LTD

C Masataka Kubota, Nao Omori

D Takashi Miike

NR · Act/Dra/Cri

OUR SPONSORS

Barco / Cinionic 3

Before the Movie

COVER FLAP, Back Cover A

The Boxoffice Company 10–11, 43, 79

Bright Star Systems 39

Cardinal Sound 112

The Coca-Cola Company 71

C. Cretors and Company 77

Dolphin Seating 87

Encore Performance Seating

Back Cover B

Enpar 106

FilmExpo 55

Geneva Convention 41

Gold Medal Products 23

HA Los Mares 53

Harkness Screens 9

Irwin Seating 15

LightSpeedDepth Q 112

Marcus Theatres 67

MOC Insurance 5

National CineMedia 33

Omniterm 51

Paradigm Design 49

Proctor Companies 17

Promotion in Motion 19

QSC 1

Ready Theatre Systems 17

Retriever Software 75

Screenvision Media

69, Inside front cover

Sensible Cinema 112

Sonic Equipment 13

Spotlight Cinema Networks 27

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 103

Stadium Savers 37

Talisman Mills 21

Telescopic Seating Systems

Inside front cover

Ushio 7

Variety of Wisconsin 57

VIP Cinema Seating 65

SEPTEMBER 2019

111


MARKETPLACE

Passive Polarization

for 3D Digital Cinema

Fast, Bright, Reliable...

Quality you can Trust.

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locations worldwide.

Patented in the US, EU, CAN & CHINA

HELP WANTED

SENIOR LEVEL CHANNEL ACCOUNT MAN-

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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

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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.com or

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.

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.

www.depthq3d.com

CLASSIC GEM FOR SALE. Tiny, hand-made

storefront arts cinema, 99 seats, in historic

seaside community north of Boston. Ongoing

37 years. Profitable. Remarkable community

support. Original owners getting old. Contact

portmovies@aol.com

BE READY FOR YOUR NEXT DRIVE-IN OR

OPEN AIR CINEMA EVENT! Used inflatable

screens from 5m (16ft) to 27m (88ft) width for

sale. Contact Mr. Alexander Thye, info@moviescreens-technologies.com.

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.

112 SEPTEMBER 2019


CLASSIC AD FROM FEBRUARY 12, 1955

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