Boxoffice Pro - January 2020

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The Official Publication of the National Association of Theatre Owners

$6.95 / JANUARY 2020

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

IN JUST MERCY

THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THEATRE OWNERS

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IN MEMORIAM

KENNETH JAMES BACON

Creative Director, BOXOFFICE PRO, 2008–2019

Kenneth James Bacon, the creative director of

BOXOFFICE PRO, passed away unexpectedly after

a brief illness on December 20, 2019.

His passing came as a tremendous shock to all of us

here at BOXOFFICE PRO. Ken had served as creative

director of this publication since 2008, but that title

doesn’t reflect the full role he played at the magazine.

That BOXOFFICE PRO is still in publication owes

a great deal to Ken Bacon, who, early in his tenure,

shepherded the magazine through some of its leanest

years. Ken was the soul of this publication throughout

the 2010s, responsible for the design and look of the

magazine you are reading today.

Throughout the years of our work together, Ken

would occasionally mention his intention of—and

excitement about—staying through the publication’s

centennial anniversary in 2020. He said he wouldn’t

consider retiring before having a chance to design the

first issue of our second hundred years.

Ken’s passing occurred on the very day we were

scheduled to send this issue, precisely the first of

our centennial year, to the printer. It would have been

the first and only deadline Ken ever missed at

BOXOFFICE PRO, but our entire staff was

committed to preventing that from happening.

Without access to his files, we went through great effort during a tight time frame to recover his unfinished designs for this issue.

You might therefore find some rough edges in the following pages—even an odd typo or two—as we worked to finish the issue

using Ken’s designs, over the holidays, to ensure a minimal delay in delivery.

We felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility to complete this issue the way Ken had intended, honoring his desire to have a

direct hand in the centennial. We were committed to not only release a January issue, but Ken’s January issue—his final one for

the magazine.

Ken had a tradition after sending each issue to the printer. He would include all of us in an email that would contain just a single

sentence. Having successfully published this issue using his final designs, it feels like the perfect way to sign off in his memory:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis has left the building.”

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Delivering

innovative

insurance products

for the cinema

exhibition industry

You are holding in your hands a milestone issue of BOX-OFFICE PRO.

January 2020 marks the beginning of the 100th year of this publication—

100 years dedicated exclusively to being an advocate for the theatrical

exhibition industry.

It’s a role we have taken seriously since the very beginning, as illustrated by our

year-long Century in Exhibition series, kicked off in this issue with a look back at

the 1920s. It was a time of emerging technology, investments in amenities and

new construction in order to keep up with the desires of moviegoers, and concerns

about consolidation. The specifics may be a century old, but in terms of the

general issues that BOXOFFICE PRO has always helped its readers navigate … the

more things change, the more they stay the same.

INSURANCE COVERAGE

C O M P A N I E S

P R I C E

Throughout the remainder of our Century in Exhibition series, BOXOFFICE PRO

will recount the history of our industry as reported between our covers, providing

insight into our legacy. Elsewhere in our pages, we continue to keep an eye on the

future. This month introduces an exciting new partnership with our friends at

Before the Movie and Fuze, integrating augmented reality into our On Screen

section in a way that showcases both our print and digital platforms. Other new

technology highlighted in our pages includes premium large-format offering ICE

(Immersive Cinema Experience), which had its U.S. debut in December. And in our

cinema technology preview, great companies that bring innovations to your

screens show off their latest creations. The modern, green theater gets its day in

an examination of sustainability trends in the exhibition industry.

On the film side, this month we focus on the sorts of non-franchise, original-I.P.

releases the theatrical industry needs now more than ever, fitting, given our

presence at this year’s Art House Convergence, represented by interviews—

with managing director Alison Kozberg and Stephanie Silverman, executive

director of Founders Award–winner Belcourt Theater—and a history of AHC’s

partnership with the Spotlight Cinema Networks. In addition to interviews

with the directors of 1917, Just Mercy, Weathering with You, and And Then

We Danced, Kevin Lally pens a 25th-anniversary tribute to Fox Searchlight

and Daniel Loria profiles Neon. As we head into century number two, we

embrace the future while keeping true to our roots. That is the DNA of

BOXOFFICE PRO.

Julien Marcel

Chief Executive Officer

The Boxoffice Company

julien@boxoffice.com

INSURANCE SERVICES

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EDITED BY LAURA SILVER

BOXOFFICE MEDIA

CEO

Julien Marcel

SVP CONTENT STRATEGY

Daniel Loria

PARAMOUNT NAMES ARONSON

PRES. OF DOMESTIC THEATRICAL

DISTRIBUTION

>> Veteran distribution executive Chris

Aronson will be joining Paramount

Pictures as its new president of domestic

theatrical distribution.

Aronson will oversee all aspects of

domestic theatrical distribution in this

role, including theatrical sales, in-theater

marketing, operations, and overall

distribution strategy. He will report to

Marc Weinstock, president of worldwide

marketing and distribution,

and Mary

Daily, co-president

of worldwide marketing

and distribution.

Aronson

was set to begin his

tenure at Paramount

in early December.

Kyle Davies, who

has headed Paramount’s

domestic

distribution division

since 2016, will be

exiting his role.

Prior to joining

Paramount, Aronson

served as president,

domestic distribution,

for 20th

Century Fox, overseeing

all domestic

theatrical distribution

and sales for

the United States

and Canada. Before

his time at Fox,

Aronson was executive

vice president

and general sales

manager for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distribution

Company, and prior to that he

served as senior vice president for Rentrak

Corporation and started their theatrical

division, which provides comprehensive

box office data collection, analysis, and

reporting for the film industry.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FILES

MOTION TO TERMINATE PARA-

MOUNT CONSENT DECREES

>> The Antitrust Division of the

U.S. Department of Justice recently

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Kenneth James Bacon

VP ADVERTISING

Susan Uhrlass

SENIOR ADVISOR

Andrew Sunshine

BOXOFFICE ® PRO

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Daniel Loria

EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Kevin Lally

MANAGING EDITOR

Laura Silver

ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Rebecca Pahle

CONTRIBUTORS

John Fithian

Vassiliki Malouchou

Rob Rinderman

Shawn Robbins

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT

Ally Bacon

BOXOFFICEPRO.COM

CHIEF ANALYST

Shawn Robbins

ANALYSTS

Alex Edghill

Chris Eggertsen

Jesse Rifkin

DATABASE MANAGEMENT

Diogo Busato

ADVERTISING

VP, ADVERTISING

Susan Uhrlass

63 Copps Hill Road

Ridgefield, CT USA 06877

susan@boxoffice.com

310-876-9090

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Boxoffice

P.O. Box 215

Congers, NY 10920

boxoffice@cambeywest.com

833-435-8093 (Toll-Free)

845-450-5212 (Local)

CORPORATE

Box Office Media LLC

63 Copps Hill Road

Ridgefield, CT USA 06877

corporate@boxoffice.com

BOXOFFICE ® (ISSN 0006-8527), Volume 155, Number 12, December

2019. BOXOFFICE ® is published monthly by Box Office

Media LLC, 63 Copps Hill Road, Ridgefield, CT USA 06877, USA.

corporate@boxoffice.com. www.boxofficepro.com. Basic annual

subscription rate is $75.00. Periodicals postage paid at

Beverly Hills, CA, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMAS-

TER: Send all UAA to CFS. NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACIL-

ITIES: send address corrections to Boxoffice, P.O. Box 215,

Congers, NY 10920. © Copyright 2019. Box Office Media LLC.

All rights reserved. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Boxoffice, P.O. Box 215,

Congers, NY 10920 / boxoffice@cambeywest.com. 833-435-

8093 (Toll-Free) 845-450-5212 (Local). Boxoffice ® is a registered

trademark of Box Office Media LLC.

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SONIC

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TRADE TALK

4DX AND SCREENX UNVEIL

NEW LOGO

>> CJ 4DPLEX unveiled brandnew

logos for 4DX and its sister

brand, ScreenX, as part of a new

branding campaign.

4DX’s new branding aims to position

the brand as an exciting cinematic

experience for customers for the next

10 years. CJ 4DPLEX hopes the new

branding will establish 4DX and

ScreenX as musts for global movie fans.

The new 4DX and ScreenX

logos were designed by Interbrand.

The objective for the new design is

to revitalize the overall aesthetic,

improving logo visibility and ensuring consistency between

brands (4DX, ScreenX). Minor modifications to the original

logo design are consistent for 4DX, ScreenX and 4DX with

ScreenX (the auditorium that combines 4DX and ScreenX),

which has newly changed its name to 4DX Screen. 4DX

Screen is currently operating in 22 auditoriums worldwide.

JongRyul Kim, CEO of CJ 4DPLEX, said, “Thanks to

strong support and love from all global fans, 4DX is dramatically

continuing to increase in popularity, breaking its

record of box office and the number of audiences. The

accu-mulated number of global 4DX audiences has already

passed 110 million audiences. We are happy to introduce

our new brand logo and will keep providing more exciting

cinematic experiences for consumers globally.”

announced that it has officially filed a

motion to terminate the Paramount consent

decrees. Filed in 1938 to prevent

seven major studios from exerting undue

control over the exhibition industry, the

series of consent decrees—known collectively

as the “Paramount Decrees”—were

officially brought into law in the late

1940s. Key issues were block booking,

circuit dealing, resale price maintenance,

and overboard clearances.

Said Assistant Attorney General

Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s

Antitrust Division in a statement:

“The Paramount decrees long ago ended

the horizontal conspiracy among movie

companies in the 1930s and ’40s and undid

the effects of that conspiracy on the

marketplace. The division has concluded

that these decrees have served their purpose,

and their continued existence may

actually harm American consumers by

standing in the way of innovative business

models for the exhibition of America’s

great creative films.”

CINERGY’S AMARILLO

LOCATION NAMED BEST FAMILY

ENTERTAINMENT CENTER

>> Cinergy Entertainment Group’s

Amarillo, Texas, location was named the

top family entertainment center in the

world at the annual IAAPA (International

Association of Amusement Parks and

Attractions) convention.

IAAPA represents over 5,300 amusement-industry

members in more than

100 countries. To rank as the association’s

top family entertainment center, IAAPA

requires an extensive application process

that includes a mystery shopper visit and

review by a panel of judges. More than

120 judges participated in choosing this

year’s award. IAAPA has given out this

award for over six years to one domestic

and one international entertainment center.

This year, the categories were merged

to create a global award.

“It took an amazing effort from the

entire Amarillo team and their passion

for guest service to earn this prestigious

recognition,” said Darek Heath, COO

of Cinergy Entertainment. “We must

also recognize all of Cinergy for helping

develop the reputation of greatness.”

Based in Dallas, Texas, Cinergy operates

five cinema entertainment centers,

featuring 51 screens and 50 lanes of bowling,

in Texas and Oklahoma.

CINEWORLD, REALD

ANNOUNCE MULTIYEAR 3-D

PARTNERSHIP

>> Cineworld and RealD have announced

a continuation of their partnership

on RealD 3-D equipment and 3-D

glasses in the U.K. The renewal was signed

as part of a wider deal to include Regal in

the U.S.

Renana Teperberg, chief commercial

officer, said, “Cineworld is proud to continue

our relationship with RealD to offer

industry-leading 3-D at our locations.

It has always been our goal to create the

best 3-D experience for our consumers.

Movies such as Star Wars: The Rise of

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ICTA


TRADE TALK

LES MISÉRABLES: THE STAGED CONCERT

SETS RECORDS

>> The Event Cinema Association (ECA) has announced record-breaking

news for event cinema in the U.K. and Ireland

as results come in for Universal’s live stream of Les Misérables:

The Staged Concert.

Coinciding with the

musical’s 35th anniversary

in London’s West End,

Cameron Mackintosh

produced a sold-out staged

concert version at the

Gielgud Theatre, featuring

an all-star cast headed by

Michael Ball, Alfie Boe,

Carrie Hope Fletcher, and

Matt Lucas.

On December 2, cinema

audiences experienced a

live broadcast of the musical for a one-night-only engagement

that broke box office records and sold out in cinemas across

the country.

Over 600 cinema sites streamed the live show, with presales

for the event selling out screens within days of going on

sale. The live-stream event took in £2,281,150 for the onenight-only

event, making it the highest-grossing one-night

live-event performance of all time.

Universal’s previous event cinema engagements in the

market include Billy Elliot

the Musical Live and Miss

Saigon: 25th Anniversary,

which respectively brought

in over £2 million at U.K.

and Ireland box offices.

Of the show’s success,

Vue Entertainment’s group

event cinema manager,

Johnny Carr, said, “We are

delighted to have welcomed

so many guests to

experience Les Misérables:

The Staged Concert. Our

screenings enabled a much wider audience to experience this

special concert through the power of the big screen and provided

an unforgettable night out.” Vue is the U.K.’s leading

exhibitor for event cinema content, according to the ECA.

Skywalker, Wonder Woman 1984, and

Jumanji: The Next Level or family entertainment

like Mulan, Spies in Disguise, or

Trolls World Tour are made to be seen in

3-D. We believe in the future of the 3-D

market, and the long-term partnership

with RealD reflects that.”

John Trafford-Owen, managing

director of RealD Europe, said, “RealD

is delighted to continue our partnership

with such a progressive company as Cineworld.

Together we will strive to continually

develop technology and screen the

latest and greatest movies to consumers

in the way they were meant to be seen: in

spectacular, bright, and crisp RealD 3-D.”

GOOGLE ASSISTANT’S

DUPLEX OFFERS CINEMA

TICKETING FEATURE

>> Google is expanding the same technology

that facilitates restaurant reservations

on its platform to help boost digital

ticket sales at over 70 movie theaters.

Android phone users are now able to

use Google Assistant to find a showtime

and buy tickets online through Google Assistant’s

Duplex feature, an innovation first

announced at this year’s Google I/O event.

After finding the right showtime, users

can select a “Buy Tickets” option that leads

them to an array of ticketing services, including

Fandango, Atom Tickets, and participating

exhibitor websites. Checkout is

completed on a separate page where Google

Assistant guides users through payment

options. Integration with Google Chrome

allows for a more expedited checkout experience,

saving users the hassle of filling out

payment fields by inserting saved payment

information from the browser.

The feature is now live in the United

States through circuits like AMC Theatres

and MJR Digital Cinemas, and in the

U.K. through Odeon, an AMC subsidiary.

Boxoffice Pro corporate parent The

Boxoffice Company collaborated with

Google to optimize the Duplex feature

with four of its exhibitor clients earlier this

year. According to Marine Suttle, chief

product officer of The Boxoffice Company,

the feature produced increased conversion

rates of 20 to 25 percent compared to

Google’s regular One Box over a six-month

period. Duplex is now live for all of The

Boxoffice Company’s exhibitor clients.

CINEPLEX REVEALS PLANS FOR

JUNXION CONCEPT

>> Cineplex announced plans for

Junxion, a concept that is a movie theater,

dining destination, and entertainment

complex all in one. Junxion will be a

complete night out for guests of all ages,

Cineplex says.

Junxion’s cinemas will offer a range

of moviegoing experiences, including

UltraAVX and recliners where guests can

have food and drinks delivered to their

seats. The complex will feature an open

lobby for events and performances, a stage

for live music, space for outdoor screenings,

and an amusement games and attractions

area, which will include interactive

experiences like virtual reality from VRstu-

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dios. Junxion’s food hall will offer dining experiences including an

indoor food truck and a bar featuring wine and craft beer.

Junxion guests will have their pick of programming and

events, including live music, trivia nights, game nights, outdoor

screenings of movies, and live TV events. Plus, Scene members

will earn points with every Junxion visit, which they can redeem

for food, game credits, or a trip to the movies.

The first location will be at Erin Mills Town Centre in Mississauga,

Ontario, as part of the center’s ongoing redevelopment.

The 45,000-square-foot complex is targeted to open in late 2020.

Cineplex plans to open similar entertainment destination

locations across Canada in the coming years, both retrofits of its

existing theater network as well as new locations, including at

Kildonan Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

NAC APPOINTS NOVAK, HUBBARD TO BOARD

>> The National Association of Concessionaires (NAC) has announced

two appointments to fill a recent vacancy on the board

of directors. NAC president Adam Gottlieb, ACS, has appointed

Rob Novak (above, left), vice president of concessions with Marcus

Theatres Corporation, to fill a two-year term on the board

of directors. Novak also currently serves as co-chair of the NAC

Charity Golf Outing, which benefits Variety – the Children’s

Charity, the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation,

and The Variety Boys and Girls Club of Los Angeles.

In a related move, Gottlieb named Martin Hubbard; CCM,

chief operating officer of Platinum Cinemas, as regional vice president

Upper Midwest region (Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota,

South Dakota). The post was previously held by Novak.

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EXECUTIVE SUITE

BY JOHN FITHIAN, PRESIDENT & CEO, NATO, AND

JACKIE BRENNEMAN, GENERAL COUNSEL & DIRECTOR OF INDUSTRY RELATIONS, NATO

ACROSS THE WORLD IN 14 DAYS

NATO VISITS KEY EXHIBITION PLAYERS IN CHINA AND KOREA

NATO’s John Fithian

and Jackie Brenneman

recently met with leading

players in China’s

and Korea’s exhibition

industries. From left:

local consultant Jin Nan;

Jackie Brenneman; John

Fithian; Frank, Ruoqing

Fu and Zhou BaoLin of

the China Film Co.; and

Shuping Li and Demond

Bian of Huaxia Film Co.

>> Moviegoing is largely the same across the world: People of all ages come to a theater to watch a

story in a dark room with friends and strangers. With popcorn and soda, of course. In most territories

audiences are even watching the same titles, as global blockbusters continue to dominate much

of the industry. In fact, audiences in very diverse territories are increasingly attending the same

chain of theater as brands like AMC, Cinemark, Cineworld and Cinépolis, Lotte, and CJ CGV have expanded

their reach to multiple continents. As exhibitors cross into new territories, they have realized

that as much as each territory has a distinct identity, many of the issues facing exhibitors are universal,

though with some local nuance.

This trend toward globalization in the industry

led NATO to join forces with UNIC and 11 of

the biggest global exhibitors to form the Global

Cinema Federation, a volunteer federation serving

the common goals of cinema operators across the

globe. The GCF advocates on issues of shared concern

and also provides critical educational support

by gathering information from around the world

that exhibitors can use to support their own decision

making. For example, movie theft certainly

harms the industry consistently on a global scale.

Yet the laws and strategies to combat piracy are

wildly divergent from locale to locale. As exhibition

enters emerging territories, the laws addressing

movie theft are often nascent or nonexistent, with

regulators and stakeholders trying to invent a strategy

from scratch. With the GCF, exhibitors around

the world can now share their success stories and

work together to help exhibitors lobby their local

bodies for effective and enforceable legislation.

Currently, for example, the GCF is working on

a white paper that exhibitors in Peru can use to

help pass effective anticamcord legislation in the

country. Further, the paper will help exhibitors to

implement practices that will help their staff better

spot piracy in action, along with ways to ensure

local law enforcement responds to calls to cinemas.

In this way, exhibitors in one territory can benefit

from the experiences of exhibitors around the

world in a significant and tangible way.

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Key to the growth of this federation

is membership with the large Asian exhibitors,

including companies operating in

China and Korea. In December, NATO’s

CEO John Fithian and general counsel

Jackie Brenneman went to Asia to meet

with leading players in the industry to

learn about what matters most to them

and to see if a global federation could

play a role in their ongoing success. The

following is a summary of these meetings

and the most important lessons learned.

FIRST STOP: CHINA

On December 3–5, John and Jackie,

along with our local consultant, Nan Jin

(formerly of both Wanda and Fox), met

with two of the biggest exhibitors in China,

as well as two other key players who operate

in both the exhibition and distribution

space. We also had the pleasure of seeing

a technology demonstration and touring

several cinemas. Meetings included:

China Film Company

• Frank, Ruoqing Fu, CEO, China Film

Company

• Shuping Li, CTO, Huaxia Film

• Zhou BaoLin, Deputy General

Manager, China Film Company

• Demond Bian, Assistant President,

Huaxia Film Distribution; General

Manager, Huaxia Film Beijing Co.;

Director of Nationwide Alliance of Art

House Cinemas

Wanda Cinemas

• John Zeng, President ,Wanda Film Group

Dadi Cinema Group

• Heran Xu, CEO, Dadi Media Group

& Dadi Cinema Group

• Feng Shang, CEO, Dadi Media Group

Shanghai Film Co.

• Eileen Chen, General Manager

• Yin Junming, Assistant to General

Manager

• Yifan Hua, Investor Relations

China is a global powerhouse with

nearly 70,000 screens—and growing.

China’s box office is second only to the

United States and boasts admissions of 1.6

billion so far in China this year. However,

although China has had a film industry

for over a century, this explosive growth in

exhibition has all happened in this century,

with the number of movie theaters now at

more than 20 times the number in 2007.

It is clear that this rapidly expanding territory

has the whole world watching.

The Chinese film system operates

very differently from North America

or most other territories. In China,

the government controls much of the

industry, giving state-owned players like

China Film Co. and Shanghai Film Co.

significant power. For example, China

Film Co. is currently the only authorized

distributor of imported foreign titles,

including those from the United States.

The company also owns both cinemas

and “cinema lines”—affiliated cinemas

that receive content from the line.

This type of relationship is common

in China, with each of the companies

visited controlling both an exhibition

circuit and a larger cinema line. Wanda,

for example, has a cinema line of 608

cinemas and an exhibition circuit of 570

cinemas. Dadi has 1,070 affiliates in its

line and 496 in its circuit. Companies

running a cinema line get a 7 percent

share of the box office for their affiliated

cinemas. When that is added to the

approximately 50 percent share that

exhibitors take of box office, this creates

a combined total of 57 percent share of

the box office for theaters that are owned

outright by the company.

China is also facing dual pressures: It

seeks to expand the influence of its cinema

industry while trying to compete for moviegoers

who are increasingly signing on to

new streaming platforms to seek low-cost

alternatives to the previously dominant

movie theater. These dual themes factored

into our discussions on several issues, the

highlights of which are below.

Theatrical Release Windows

In China, the theatrical window rarely

exceeds one month, with many titles

moving to the home after only one to two

weeks. This is in part because of contractual

requirements that allow a movie to

move to streaming once it goes below a

certain box office threshold. What this

means is that there is no “dark period”

where a movie is unavailable at either

the cinema or home. Of course what this

also means is that many moviegoers do

not feel a sense of urgency to watch a

movie in the cinemas, since they know it

will be in the home shortly. In part, this

was explained as being part of a culture

of instant gratification. However, this is

also in part a reflection of the product

supply to theaters being dominated by

big blockbusters that demand immediate

viewing for cultural relevancy of the viewer

without a balance of smaller titles that

may have different growth strategies.

Indeed, China does not benefit from

any sort of platform release strategy,

which exhibitors hoping to diversify

product supply understand as a meaningful

option. Not only would this help to

allow smaller movies to have a meaningful

theatrical release, but it would also

help shape the cultural understanding of

what it means to go to a movie.

Each of the exhibitors was very

interested in the concept of a longer

window and was particularly eager for

any research that could show an increased

value in such a window.

Technology

With limited imports allowed and

release schedules tightly controlled, exhibitors

are not able to compete through

differentiated programming and instead

look to technology to differentiate the

theatrical experience. In fact, because

widespread moviegoing is such a recent

phenomenon in China, many of the

exhibitors believe that technology is the

key differentiating factor in the theatrical

experience, rather than the shared

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EXECUTIVE SUITE

experience. This is a territory where many

citizens over the age of 30 do not have

any memories of watching a movie in a

nondigital movie theater as a child. All

their experiences are of splashy modern

titles in digital auditoriums,

thus shaping the understanding

of what is

at the core of the

experience.

Indeed, in

both our tours

of the cinemas

and the

demonstration

of the Huaxai-backed

Cinity

technology (incorporating

Christie

projectors and RealD

screens), splashy technology

was clearly on display,

with many exhibitors offering multiple

premium formats in their cinemas.

China also did not experience the VPF

model, and so exhibitors have always

self-financed the purchases of their digital

technology (and for most this is the only

type of projector technology they have

ever purchased). They were therefore

keenly interested in hearing about NA-

TO’s new Digital Cinema Picture Levels

project (DCPL), which seeks to measure

performance in a real-world theatrical

environment to better understand what

truly matters from a consumer value

standpoint, rather than the more futuristic/aspirational

goals being contemplated

by DCI. The possibility of great technology

at a more affordable price was of

strong interest to each of these exhibitors.

Operations/Other Innovations

As growth slows, exhibitors are now

looking for other innovative ways to

drive attendance and revenue at their

theaters. Wanda, for example has put a

strong focus on its “Member +” loyalty

strategy, which has attracted more than

100 million members so far. Others, like

Shanghai Film Co., are keen to innovate

in theater design to draw guests back to

the lobbies, rather than out a separate

entrance as dictated by many of the

malls that exhibitors occupy. Shanghai

Film showed us a showcase theater that

includes a number of novel

designs intended to

create the illusion of

a separate space

distinct from the

mall, including

physical signage,

incorporation

of an outside

food brand,

and a lobby

seating area that

encourages coffee/

snack consumption

and post-movie discussions.

We also saw an

innovative conversion of a projector

booth into VIP seating rooms for

a new Onyx (LED screen) facility. These

exhibitors are looking to learn from other

global exhibitors about how to use data

and design to offer a special experience to

their guests and were keen to collaborate

with NATO and the GCF to learn more.

In three very dense days of discussions

and demonstrations, we created and

strengthened our relationships with influential

players in the Chinese exhibition,

distribution, and technology sector and

saw a strong interest in NATO and GCF

participation.

ON TO SEOUL

REPUBLIC OF KOREA

On December 10–12, John met individually

with the three biggest exhibitors

based in Seoul and toured each of their

flagship cinemas. Meetings included:

CJ CGV

• Choi Byung Hwan, CEO, CJ CGV

• Kim, JongRul, CEO, 4DX and

ScreenX

• Bret Kim, Head of Global Business

Division, CJ CGV

Lotte

• Hee Sung Oh, COO, Lotte Cultureworks

• Justin Choi, General Manager, Global

Contents, Lotte Entertainment

Megabox

• Hyun Soo Kim, Managing Director

• Youlgu Lee, Projection Team Leader

• SeoJin Lee, Visual Design & Brand

Team

The two leading Korean cinema companies

(CJ CGV and Lotte) constitute

a small part of very large corporate conglomerates

that operate many different

businesses, from shopping malls to food

service to pharmaceuticals. CJ CGV and

Lotte also both operate internationally.

CJ CGV operates in Indonesia, Myanmar

(Burma), Korea, China, Vietnam, Turkey,

and the U.S. Lotte operates in Korea,

Vietnam, China, and Indonesia. Megabox,

the third-largest exhibitor in Korea,

only operates in its home territory.

There is no trade association for Korean

exhibitors for two reasons. First, the

three companies each describe themselves

as aggressively competitive with the others.

They take great pride in their operations

and, indeed, each of their flagship

cinemas are something to behold. Taking

in between 3 and 4 million visitors a

year at each of those individual sites,

the massive cinema complexes include

PLFs, luxury auditoriums, art screens,

V.R. experience rooms, social “hang

out” spaces, regular concessions counters

selling flavored popcorn and soda as

well as fried squid, beer service, and also

high-end food and beverage lounges in

separate VIP sections. The average Korean

goes to the movies more than four times a

year, and many residents of Seoul visit the

flagship sites at all hours of all days.

The Korean exhibitors have also been

reluctant to form a trade association out

of concern for strenuous antitrust law enforcement

from an aggressive government

that is pushed by active nongovernmental

organizations (NGOs). The exhibitors

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were recently sued by the government

for asserted price-fixing, for example.

Nonetheless, all three companies see the

value of collaboration with their fellow

exhibitors from around the world, and

now all three will support the work of the

Global Cinema Federation (GCF).

During the meetings we discussed

several key challenges confronting

exhibitors in Korea and the work of both

NATO and the GCF on those various

issues. Here are some quick highlights of

those discussions.

Antitrust Laws and Screen Quotas

Under Korean law, a specified number

of days each year (currently 72) must

be dedicated to Korean movies in each

auditorium. Given the strength of Korean

movie production, that law poses no real

burden on exhibitors in most auditoriums.

Korean movies currently produce

slightly more than 50 percent of the ticket

sales in Korea. However, in a limited

number of auditoriums with specialty

high-end technologies (e.g., Imax, Dolby,

HDR, LED), the national movie-screen

quota can be a small burden if local producers

don’t produce enough content in

those special formats.

A much more threatening proposal has

recently been made in the Korean legislature

and to the Korean antitrust authorities.

Activists at an NGO complained that

certain Hollywood blockbusters occupy too

high a concentration of screens at release.

The NGO claimed, for example, that

Disney’s Frozen 2 “monopolized” 70 to 80

percent of the screens, and that such concentration

violates antitrust laws. Proposals

have now been made to limit the concentration

of any particular movie to no more

than 50 percent of available screens.

The Korean exhibitors oppose this

proposal and seek the support of NATO

and the GCF. We will collect data and

arguments from other parts of the world

to share with our colleagues in Korea.

Theatrical Release Windows

In Korea the period between theatrical

and home release is shorter than in the

rest of the world. It is generally accepted

that a minimum exclusive window of

two weeks exists on smaller movies, while

longer windows exist for major titles,

averaging around six weeks. Nonetheless,

Korean exhibitors still maintain that

exclusive windows are important for their

business. They also note that the first

home window is for higher-priced video

on demand, and not for relatively free

streaming subscription services.

One exhibitor is currently experimenting

with a few movies that have a

very short or no window to subscription

streaming services and believes that the

data demonstrate that such a window

policy damages the potential for theatrical

ticket sales on the movies.

The GCF and NATO collect a

substantial amount of data on theatrical

windows, and all the Korean exhibitors

appreciated the opportunity to gain access

to that data.

Cinema Technology

Like their Chinese counterparts,

Korean exhibitors

seek the best

cinema experiences

for their guests,

and cinema

technologies are

certainly a large

part of that.

Digital projection,

including

a large number

of laser-illuminated

units, operate at high

performance. Exhibitors

also employ high-end technologies

in their large-format and luxury screens,

including stacked projectors in some cases.

One exhibitor is currently experimenting

with three LED screens at different

locations in the country. And premium

sound systems, including immersive

audio, also play a big role in Korea.

Nonetheless, like cinema operators

everywhere, Korean exhibitors seek

technological solutions that offer a great

experience at an affordable cost so that the

business model will work. Indeed, with the

end of virtual print fees, Korean exhibitors

are keenly aware of the cost burden involved

with replacement and enhancement

technologies. Leaders at each of the three

companies were very interested to learn

about NATO’s DCPL intiative.

Music Rights Licensing

Several of the Korean exhibition

executives had read about music rights

licensing issues in materials from both

the GCF and NATO, and they expressed

interest in the multicountry study being

conducted by the GCF.

Korean movie producers specifically

pay for the performance rights for the

music they include in their movies, according

to the Korean exhibition leaders.

Given that tradition, Korean exhibitors

have not customarily been asked to pay

for music performance rights, unlike

exhibitors in most other countries around

the world. Recently, however, a

local music rights collecting

society in Korea has

begun to demand

royalty payments

from exhibitors

for the music

in Hollywood

movies, beginning

with the

Korean release of

Bohemian Rhapsody.

The Korean

exhibitors will oppose

these efforts and argue

that movie producers should

pay for performance rights, not

exhibitors.

The discussions included other issues,

such as access for patrons with disabilities,

diversity of movie supply and

cross-generational attendance, theatrical

subscription services, and more. But, alas,

this column is already too long.

In the end, the time spent both in

China and in Korea was well worth it!

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CHARITY SPOTLIGHT

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

MARCUS THEATRES’ FROZEN II

HOLLYWOOD MOVIE NIGHT RAISES

MONEY FOR CHILDREN’S WISCONSIN

>> Marcus Theatres’ Hollywood Movie Night was spearheaded

in November 2016 by Marcus Theatres chairman,

president, and CEO Rolando Rodriguez and has since

grown into an annual fundraiser that has raised more than

$477,000 for Children’s Wisconsin.

Held on November 20, this year’s event brought together

more than 500 business leaders, community influencers,

and friends at the Marcus Majestic Cinema of Brookfield

for delicious food and beverages, networking, and the

premiere of the highly anticipated Frozen II. Thanks to

the support of generous sponsors, including Pepsi, Gehl

Foods, Screenvision Media, and Royal Corporation, ticket

sales and a silent auction raised more than $115,000 for

Children’s Wisconsin.

The Majestic was transformed into a winter wonderland,

featuring beautiful displays, movie-themed cocktails,

and decadent food. Children especially enjoyed a glam

station featuring hair and makeup styling, a prize wheel, a

Frozen Fun Zone, and getting pictures with Elsa and Anna.

Children’s Wisconsin patients and families were also in

attendance for a special evening out. Marcus Theatres looks

forward to continuing its positive momentum and making

an even greater impact in the lives of children and families

in 2020.

STUDIO MOVIE GRILL AND KTTV PARTNER

WITH TOYS FOR TOTS TO SHARE THE MAGIC

OF GIVING FOR THE HOLIDAYS

>> The 2019 holiday season saw Studio Movie Grill embark

on its first official partnership with KTTV Fox 11 News in Los

Angeles and Toys for Tots to collect toys for less fortunate children.

Throughout much of the month of December, SMG guests

and KTTV Fox 11 News viewers were invited to drop off new,

unwrapped toys to any of the six participating SMG locations in

Southern California and receive one free, adult admission ticket

in exchange. All toys collected were donated to the Marine Toys

for Tots Foundation and distributed by Christmas to the disadvantaged

children of local communities.

“In keeping with our mission to open hearts and minds one

story at a time, the SMG team is truly delighted to close out

our 2019 outreach with such an incredible and positive event

in partnership with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. With

the support of our generous guests, Studio Movie Grill hopes

to make a significant impact this holiday season and help bring

some much-needed joy and happiness to children across Southern

California,” said Brian Schultz, founder and CEO, Studio

Movie Grill. “This is just one example of how our team is constantly

working to reach out and serve our local communities.”

“We are very pleased to welcome Studio Movie Grill and

KTTV Fox News as our regional partners of the 2019 Marine

Toys for Tots Campaign,” said Staff Sergeant Joshua Patterson,

coordinator of the Pico Rivera Marine Toys for Tots Campaign.

“With their generous support, we will be able to fulfill the

Christmas holiday dreams of so many of the less fortunate children

in Southern California who otherwise might be forgotten.”

STUDIO MOVIE GRILL KICKS OFF SPECIAL

NEEDS SCREENING PROGRAM WITH FROZEN II

>> November 30 saw Studio Movie Grill kick off its legacy

Special Needs Screening Program, in participation with the

Special Needs Network, at its Glendale, California, location with

a screening of Frozen II.

SMG’s Special Needs Screenings are designed for families raising

children with special needs. These film showings are played

with the lights up and the volume lowered, and children are free

to move around, talk, and even dance in the aisles during the

movie. The sensory-friendly screenings are free for children with

special needs and their siblings, while adult tickets are offered at

the before-noon price.

To celebrate the launch of these community screenings,

Variety the Children’s Charity of Southern California donated six

adaptive bikes to local families in need.

“Our Special Needs Screenings allow families raising children

with special needs to enjoy a stress-free, fun family outing at

a reduced cost,” said Brian Schultz, SMG founder and CEO.

14 JANUARY 2020

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“SMG is proud to partner with nonprofit

organizations like Variety the Children’s

Charity and help the local Glendale

community by providing adaptive bikes

to families raising children with special

needs. Riding a bike is a rite of passage

for many kids growing up, and there is

nothing better than seeing the smile on

a child’s face who thought they would

never be able to ride a bike on their own.”

SHOWCASE CINEMAS AND

THE LIFE IS GOOD KIDS

FOUNDATION PARTNER TO

HELP KIDS IN NEED

>> Showcase Cinemas, through its

Showcase for Good program, partnered

with the Life is Good Kids Foundation

this holiday season to help children overcome

early childhood trauma. The foundation’s

signature Playmaker Program

provides teachers, nurses, social workers,

and other childcare professionals with the

training, support, and coaching they need

to build healing, life-changing relationships

with the children in their care.

One dollar from every Life is Good

popcorn tub sold at all Showcase,

Showcase Cinema de Lux, and Multiplex

Cinemas locations was donated to the

Life is Good Kids Foundation. Additionally,

customers who purchased

a ticket to any movie via

ShowcaseCinemas.com

before the end of the year

had the opportunity to

round up their purchases to

the nearest dollar to benefit

the foundation.

“Showcase Cinemas is

proud to partner with the

Life is Good Kids Foundation

to make a difference in the lives

of children in our local communities. We

are also excited that, through the variety

of giving options we’ve created, our customers

will have an active role in supporting

this important organization. We look

forward to continuing our partnership

with Life is Good,” said Rebecca Stein,

vice president of studio relations and U.S.

marketing for Showcase Cinemas.

Guests at Showcase SuperLux,

Showcase’s luxury cinema in Chestnut

Hill, Massachusetts, also had the opportunity

to support the Life is Good Kids

Foundation by purchasing special menu

items. Starting the Tuesday after

Thanksgiving, aka “Giving

Tuesday,” one dollar from

every glass of 90+ Cellars’

limited-edition Life is Good

wines, Unplug Pinot Noir

and Today is the Day Chardonnay,

was donated to the

foundation. Additionally, one

dollar from every Eastern Standard

Provisions topknot pretzel,

a recent addition to the Super-

Lux menu, benefited the organization for

a limited time.

“At the Life is Good Kids Foundation,

we recognize that life is not always easy

for lots of children, so our mission is to

help them see the good in themselves, the

good in others, and the good in the world

around them. We believe that this capacity

for optimism enables children to see the

JANUARY 2020

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CHARITY SPOTLIGHT

opportunities amidst the obstacles and

remain resilient in times of darkness and

adversity. We are grateful that, through the

generosity of Showcase Cinemas and its

customers, we will be able to continue our

work to help children heal from the devastating

impact of early childhood trauma,”

said Steve Gross, chief playmaker at the

Life is Good Kids Foundation.

>> The Lollipop Theater Network’s first

annual Superheroes of the Beach Volleyball

Tournament, held in Santa Monica,

California, on November 9, was a great

success. One hundred players, dressed as

their favorite superheroes, competed for

the title of King and Queen of the Beach.

Two of Lollipop’s own superheroes, Golden

Fly (Pedro) and Remix (Christopher),

joined in the fun. Remix was treated to a

ride in a special wheelchair, allowing him

his first-ever access to the beach.

>> The Will Rogers Motion Picture

Pioneers Foundation’s Pioneers Assistance

Fund provides financial assistance and

supportive counseling for film industry

veterans nationwide in exhibition,

distribution, and trade services who are

experiencing hardship due to illness,

accident, or underemployment. The PAF

staff of skilled workers is knowledgeable

about agencies and services nationwide

and is available to provide information,

regardless of eligibility. Fifteen hundred

hours are spent annually by social workers

assisting clients with advocacy, counseling/

supportive services, budgeting, and home

visits/doctor’s appointments; $800,000

is spent every year in services provided to

film industry members.

>> Variety offers its thanks to David Nelson

Jewelers in Joliet, Illinois, for donating

a pair of half-carat diamond earrings

and hosting a Holiday Mix & Mingle

on Small Business Saturday for Variety

– the Children’s Charity of Illinois. The

event raised more than $1,000 for local

children with disabilities.

> Variety – the Children’s Charity of the

Desert held its 22nd annual Bike

Presentation on Sunday, December 8, at

Palm Springs Motors. Four hundred bikes

for underprivileged children were presented

at Palm Springs Motors in partnership

with Marker Broadcasting and KPLM,

The Big 106 FM.

> To celebrate the November 22 opening

of the Sony Pictures film A Beautiful

Day in the Neighborhood, Studio Movie

Grill launched the “Nominate your

Neighbor” outreach campaign. In keeping

with the sentiment of the movie—that

it only takes one person to inspire a world

of kindness—SMG encouraged people to

nominate a neighborhood hero who has

made their community a beau-tiful place

to live. The winner received a$250 SMG

gift card, as well as a $1,000 donation to a

charity of their choice.

> For every 1,000 points guests earn

through Studio Movie Grill’s SMG Access

rewards program, SMG donates a movie

and a meal to a nonprofit through its

Movies + Meals program. On November

11, thanks to the reward points earned by

members of SMG Access and with participation

from Lionsgate, SMG donated

four Movies + Meals screenings of Roland

Emmerich’s Midway to a total of 305

deserving community members chosen by

the Wounded Warrior Project, the

American Legion, and Veterans in Media

& Entertainment.

UPCOMING EVENT >> VARIETY – THE CHILDREN’S CHARITY OF THE DESERT

Second Annual Shottenkirk Desert Lexus Variety Golf Scramble

January 20 / Palm Desert, CA

Join Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert on the links to support children in need in the Coachella Valley. This charity

golf event will take place at the Palm Valley Country Club and will feature prizes, giveaways, awards, food, beverages, and fun.

For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2CA0TZQ.

16 JANUARY 2020

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ART HOUSE CONVERGENCE 2020

MISSION DRIVEN

INTERVIEW WITH ALISON KOZBERG, MANAGING DIRECTOR,

ART HOUSE CONVERGENCE

by Daniel Loria

>> The nation’s art houses,

specialty distributors, and

nonprofit cinemas will once

again convene in Midway,

Utah, for the latest edition

of Art House Convergence

(AHC). Boxoffice Pro spoke

with Alison Kozberg, AHC’s

managing director, to preview

this year’s conference and

discuss the most pressing

issues affecting the art house

community today.

After an eventful 2019 with

several industry-changing

headlines, how would you

describe the “State of the

Union” for the art house community

entering 2020?

I think it’s important to

differentiate “the industry,”

as it is now understood, from

the core priorities of art house

cinemas. Today “the industry”

usually describes media conglomerates,

and while the impact of these

actors is undeniable, art house cinemas

do more than react to streaming, mergers,

and franchises—we build relationships

that center cinematic art and audience

experience. On the precipice of 2020, we

have to think about these relationships

with filmgoers, distributors, funders, and

each other, and how we can collectively

nurture a love for cinema. Art houses are

spaces to gather, share, teach, and learn

and not just receptacles for industry-wide

decisions.

At the end of 2019, audiences’ desires

for original stories, visual experimentation,

and unexpected experiences are clear.

Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite is exceptional, but

ALISON KOZBERG

it is not just an exception. It is evidence

of filmgoers’ energy and curiosity, of their

desire for creative and genuinely surprising

cinema. There is also ample evidence

of love for the theatrical experience, of

a collective desire to watch films on big

screens even if they are available on small

ones (I’m looking at you, The Irishman),

and a passion for 35 and 70 millimeter.

Looking ahead, it’s clear that art

houses need to continue to pursue

collaboration and to think seriously

and consistently about the experiences

people have in their theaters. In 2020

we know that excellent programming,

impeccable projection, and a willingness

to hear our audiences, combined with an

openness to innovation and

a commitment to presenting

challenging fare unavailable

in commercial theaters, will

continue to make art houses

essential to the cinematic

landscape of the future.

As you prepare the latest

edition of the 2020 annual

conference, could you

provide us with a quick preview

of this year’s sessions

and events?

I am incredibly excited

about the 2020 conference.

We are hosting over 50

sessions with a particular

emphasis on our responsibilities

as film exhibitors. Over

the course of these sessions

we will be digging into

questions that disrupt the

status quo while contributing

to a more sustainable future.

Some highlights include a

group data hack led by Sultan Sharrief

from the Quasar Lab at USC intended to

challenge entrenched algorithms for categorizing

films, a conversation about cinematic

guilty pleasures led by K.J. Relth

and Paul Malcolm from the UCLA Film

& Television Archive, and “4 Times a

Day?!,” an interrogation into whether the

adage that more screenings necessarily

generate bigger box office is true. We are

also hosting incredible keynote speakers,

including D.J. and scholar Lynée Denise,

who will be giving a performance-lecture

exploring the work of legendary art

house filmmaker Julie Dash, and film

producer Heather Rae, who will speak

about integrity in cinematic storytelling.

JANUARY 2020

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ART HOUSE CONVERGENCE 2020

There have been two big initiatives

that AHC has tackled in recent years:

Sustainability and Diversity, Equity,

and Inclusion. Could you update us on

some of your recent—and upcoming—

projects on that end?

With regard to “going green,” I think

it is an essential moment for ethically

oriented, mission-driven enterprises to

respond to our current climate emergency

by committing to making our communities

livable. Right now we are also very

concerned with changing the ecosystem of

the conference and reducing the amount

of waste it produces. I am thrilled to see

so many colleagues initiating composting

programs and offering reusable beverage

glasses. These first steps might feel small,

but they are worth celebrating.

The world is incredibly diverse, and

it is imperative that this diversity of

experiences and perspectives is present in

art house cinemas. I prefer not to use the

term “initiative” because it presumes a

leadership that is including more people

instead of acknowledging the many

participants working together to create

conditions for equity. Dozens of people

involved with the conference and Art

House Convergence are doing incredible

work to oppose racism, reshape arts institutions,

remove cultural and infrastructural

barriers to participation in filmgoing,

and challenge hierarchical presumptions

about how change occurs.

Three years ago Taylour Chang of the

Honolulu Museum of Art and Courtney

Sheehan, formerly of Northwest Film

Forum, established a working group called

Alliance for Action dedicated to equity

in the art house. It is notable that many

of this group’s activities have focused

on asking questions: How does your

theater reflect your community? What

is the history of your neighborhood?

What are its sources of pride? Who feels

welcome at your theater? In subsequent

years as Art House Convergence has had

the opportunity to host facilitators like

Tammy Johnson of Art/Work Practice

and Shontina Vernon of Visionary Justice

StoryLab, questioning the status quo and

our own biases and impulses has remained

essential. It is essential that we keep asking

questions and holding ourselves accountable

when the answers are hard to hear.

Another recent initiative I’ve found

very appealing is Art House Theater

Day. Could you tell us more about that

and describe some of the highlights of

the 2019 edition?

Art House Theater Day is an annual

celebration of the role that art house cinemas

play in their communities. Art houses

throughout North America and abroad

are invited to participate, screen special

film prereleases, and share special swag.

Any mission-driven, indie theater can sign

up through our website. In 2019 the Art

House Theater Day lineup, programmed

by Rocío Mesa of LA OLA and Dan

Hudson of the Grand Illusion Cinema,

included Putney Swope and Peter Strickland’s

In Fabric, wonderfully weird films

that are genuinely surprising. Over 100

theaters participated, and people around

the country attended the celebration.

Do you have any concerns regarding

the Department of Justice’s recent

decision to repeal the Paramount

decrees? How do you think this could

affect the arthouse community in

the U.S.?

I strongly disagree with the Justice

Department’s assertions that the decrees’

“existence may actually harm American

consumers by standing in the way of

innovative business models.” In fact,

practices like block booking and circuit

dealing hamper innovation by preventing

theaters from entering into relationships

with small distributors, developing eclectic

screening series, and initiating programs

in service of their local economies.

The film industry has changed since

the 1930s. Instead of major motion

picture studios, a small group of conglomerates

now hold a tremendous amount of

control over media industries. We have

already been feeling the consequences

of the erosion of the enforcement of the

decrees. During the 1980s, studios made

forays into the exhibition business, and

over the course of the last decade there

have been multiple lawsuits about licensing

and clearances. This isn’t evidence that

antimonopolistic regulation is outdated,

it’s evidence that it needs to be updated,

because we need it now more than ever.

We’ve heard a lot of complaints from

exhibitors concerning Disney’s decision

to make legacy Fox titles unavailable

for repertory runs. How big of an

impact has this had on the art house

community?

Art houses are going to curate

amazing repertory programs, but restricted

access to the Fox catalogue hurts

audiences by obstructing access to an

important part of our cultural heritage.

The catalogue includes hundreds of titles

from the silent period to the present

(including gems from the golden age of

Technicolor) that were intended to be

theatrically exhibited. Pulling them from

circulation diminishes their place in the

public consciousness. Some theaters are

still able to screen Fox repertory titles,

and our position is that access should

be protected and expanded. It is clear

that making films theatrically available

enhances the public’s excitement for a

film library to the benefit of audiences,

exhibitors, and rights holders.

What are the biggest challenges and

opportunities for the art house community

in the coming decade?

It is clear that just screening media

isn’t enough. People can watch media

on a variety of surfaces and screens. Art

houses have to be places where people

want to gather. They are organizations

that take film presentation seriously,

cultivate trust by screening films they

are passionate about, and work for and

with people. We can’t try to replicate the

model of large chains; instead we have to

find our own way by centering innovation

and audience.

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FOUNDERS’ DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD

STEPHANIE SILVERMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE BELCOURT THEATRE

by Daniel Loria

>> Finding a live-music

venue wasn’t going to be

too difficult for Stephanie

Silverman, especially not

after moving to a city like

Nashville. “My husband is

a musician,” says the art

house executive. “Nashville

is a natural meeting

point for his profession.”

After establishing her career

at arts nonprofits—

building audiences and

driving attendance at live

performances like modern

dance—Silverman

spent more time in her

new surroundings looking

at positions that would

fit with her professional

background. That’s when, in 2007,

she found an opening at the storied

Belcourt Theatre, originally opened

in 1925 and undergoing a transition

as a community-driven nonprofit art

house since 1999. Since joining the

Belcourt, Silverman and her team

have helped grow the Belcourt into

one of the country’s most dynamic

and iconic art house cinemas. Boxoffice

Pro spoke with Silverman ahead

of Art House Convergence, where the

Belcourt’s executive director is set to

receive this year’s Founders’ Distinguished

Service Award.

How did you find yourself working in

exhibition in general, and at the Belcourt

specifically?

I moved here with my husband, a

musician, after having worked in a lot of

different arts organizations, mostly in the

contemporary performance realm. This

job came up at the Belcourt, a nonprofit

doing contemporary programming along

with repertory—the sort of programming

STEPHANIE SILVERMAN

that needs audience-building around it.

That can be a little more challenging than

promoting standard fare, and although it

isn’t modern dance, it still fit my skill set.

I was used to trying to build an audience

around somewhat more challenging content

that needed deeper community engagement.

It seemed like a good fit when

the job came open, even if I did not know

much about exhibition. It was that sort

of nonprofit performing arts background

that led me to think it would be a good

fit. The board agreed; they hired me and

it turned out that the timing was perfect.

That kind of sensibility—a community

engagement mentality—aligned with

what my colleagues were doing nationally

at other organizations.

The Belcourt has had a storied history.

What was the theater like when you

first joined?

I feel like I came in at a really lucky

point for the institution. The Belcourt

has been around serving this community

since 1925. It was a movie house at the

outset, designed with a stage

and the flexibility to do

performances—the vaudeville

model. It was a real

neighborhood theater. It was

not a downtown house, not

a glamorous theater; it was

really built to be a workhorse.

It had been through

many iterations, including

a long stint as part of the

Carmike circuit. But by the

time the ’90s came around,

it had fallen into a period of

real peril.

In the mid- to late ’90s, a

community group gathered

to save the theater. When

the group was doing its

work of saving the building,

it formalized the Belcourt as a nonprofit.

I came in about five to six years after it

had become a nonprofit. And those first

years as a nonprofit are brutally difficult

for any arts organization, especially for a

theater that hasn’t found traction. It had

been here forever, but it was struggling

for a reason. We were very lucky to have

a very supportive and really active board,

along with donors who saw us through

some bumpy financial times. And of

course, a great staff who had come on

to do all kinds of different jobs in those

early years, turning into really talented

operators of a theater. Toby Leonard,

number one among them, who was

becoming a really good film programmer.

I got to come in as things were sort of settling

down, when we were beginning to

make some money at the box office. We

were doing a good number of concerts

during that year, we still had a theater

company in residence, and it was in its

early days of a multi-arts kind of venue.

We would program great films, music,

and theater. And although we were doing

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all those things, it was

also proving to be not all

that sustainable.

How were you able

to turn that around?

It’s not easy to stand

out as an entertainment

venue in a market

like Nashville.

The one thing that

was really getting traction

was the films; we

were doing something

no one else in town was

doing. There’s not a

shortage of music venues in a town like

Nashville. We were a unique kind of venue,

but there were other places where you

can sell a ticket to see a concert. There

were things that we didn’t even know at

that point that were just coming online

that, had we decided to become a music

venue, would have been real competitors

for us. But the films—we were really the

only people doing this kind of programming

in our area, both for the first-run

new releases and our repertory slate.

When I came in, we were in the middle

of a really successful run of Pan’s Labyrinth

and this great repertory series of the

Janus films.

It was really emblematic of what was

special about the Belcourt, what we could

be to the city, and what the city was responding

to. Nashville is a town of artists,

transplants, filled with university educators.

It’s a place where people move to

and may want to look for something like

the Belcourt when they get here. And we

were kind of doing it, but it was mixed in

with a lot of other stuff. The thing that I

brought to the table when I came in was

the ability to hone the mission down a

little more specifically: Let’s do what we’re

doing best and what we’re serving our

community with most meaningfully. That

was the film program.

How has that influenced your programming

strategy?

We program from the film first. That

is why it’s important for us to be able to

fundraise; not every film necessarily performs

in the sort of traditional box office

sense, where each film pays for itself. Every

film we bring is one that we felt was

important to screen in our community

and that we stand behind. Everything we

do is oriented around that. We start with

the movie first and then we find how to

make the operation successful, regardless

of its box office return.

The Belcourt has also evolved as more

than just a movie theater, incorporating

an educational program and embracing

community initiatives. Your audience

building doesn’t stop at the box office.

It’s really important to be in conversation

with your community. We are a

from-the-ground-up organization, so it’s

important for us to build an education

component. Everything that happens in

the theater—following or before a film—

is connected to our own programming.

We also have an education program

that is out in the community. We have

something called the Mobile Movie

Theater, where we take film out into all

kinds of different settings: from schools

to community centers and places where

homeless adults gather. We have a pretty

broad impact using film in those settings

to be an instigator or educational tool for

all kinds of different conversations.

It’s not only about the movie; it’s

the movie plus the experience, plus the

conversation, plus the connection to the

community. In a city

full of venues, particularly

music venues, you

know automatically

that you will have a

different venue for jazz, a

symphony orchestra, and

an arena concert. You

never question having

those different kinds of

venues that approach

the work differently. I

think that was the thing

we had to understand

about ourselves: As a

nonprofit film exhibitor,

we approach our work a little differently.

The love of film throughout the exhibition

business is fundamental, but it makes

sense that there would be different approaches

to the way we show those movies

and the way we build those audiences.

Was there a turning point during your

tenure when you realized that the

Belcourt had made it through its most

difficult period?

Honestly, it has been a slow and

steady build. We saw, year over year for

many years, about a 12 percent increase

of people buying tickets. We dipped our

toe in the water around 2010 with an

early campaign to raise money just for

new seats and new carpets. That helped

us realize people were willing to support

us with capital work, and maybe we

could raise much more money for a larger

capital campaign. The real turning point

was saying, “We are a film house. That is

what we are.”

The movies are what we curate, what

we’re talking to this community about;

that is what we are authentically bringing

to Nashville. Everything else, you can

rent the theater ... what we’re programming,

what we’re curating—it’s all about

the film. We live in a city that is exploding

population-wise, a lot of people are

moving here all the time, and while there

are benefits and challenges to that when

you live here ... it’s been nothing but

beneficial for the Belcourt.

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The people who are moving here are

looking for a place like our theater to be

their home away from home. They certainly

look for it in terms of the kind of

cultural mapping they do when they look

at new cities: Do we have a great museum?

Do we have a good ballet company?

Do we have a great film center? We’ve

really benefited from that boom. I think

it’s been a big part of our ability to grow.

While you had ample experience at

arts nonprofits, you mentioned you

were new to exhibition when you first

started at the Belcourt. Did you have

any mentors as you began to tackle

some of the operational challenges

that presented themselves?

My executive director colleagues

from the earliest days of the Art House

Convergence have been incredible

sounding boards. There is this feeling of

family that exists within our little slice

of the exhibition world. The Michigan

Theater in Ann Arbor, the Coolidge

Corner in Boston, the Jacob Burns Film

Center in Pleasantville (NY)—all these

theaters have been our siblings as we run

our programs and do things in our own

unique way. Programs like our education

work, we looked at the Jacob Burns

Center and learned deeply from their

model, taking what they’ve done and

applying it independently in our own

community. When we were thinking

about a capital campaign, we went to

Russ Collins at the Michigan Theater

and asked him how he tackled it. Those

relationships have been a cornerstone of

my ability to do my job here.

What does it take for an art house to

thrive in today’s media and entertainment

environment?

I am frequently frustrated by the

constant narrative that somehow the

exhibition world is just going to go

away. In light of a lot of really important

conversations that are happening now—

from the Paramount consent decrees

to consolidation in our industry to the

emergence of streaming services—there

are a lot of changes in our environment.

There always have been, and there always

will be. But art houses, and it’s especially

my feeling for the Belcourt, I think we’re

actually positioned to be really effective

at responding to those changes in the

environment. We’ve worked really hard to

build our audience. We’ve done it from

the ground up. We know how to do it; it

really is a person-to-person business. We

are able to talk to our audiences directly;

we know who they are and say hello

by name when they come through our

doors. We’ve built the marketing prowess

and have the recognition from our

community about who we are. We have

not only been successful in this period

of great change in the last decade, but

we have thrived. I think the Belcourt,

and the art house community in general,

is poised to be deeply responsive and

effective through these continued changes

affecting our industry.

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JANUARY 2020

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INDIE FOCUS

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

SPOTLIGHT ON ART HOUSE

CONVERGENCE

THE ART HOUSE COMMUNITY GATHERS IN MIDWAY, UTAH

by Rebecca Pahle

>> “There’s a certain kind of passion that exists in

art houses that draws people to them,” says Russ

Collins, executive director of Ann Arbor’s Michigan

Theater and founding director of Art House Convergence.

Taking place January 19–23 in Midway, Utah,

the annual conference gives art house professionals

across North America the forum to discuss the

challenges—and the rewards—of running art house

theaters (as well as film festivals, museums, film

societies, cultural centers, and the like). This year—

as in every year since 2010, the first year Art House

Convergence accepted sponsors—the show is

being sponsored by its main benefactor, Spotlight

Cinema Networks.

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Ad.indd 2

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INDIE FOCUS

In that first year, Spotlight Cinema

Networks was months away from

becoming Spotlight Cinema Networks; it

was later in 2010 that the then-named

Arthouse Marketing Group would join

forces with Landmark Theatres to form

Spotlight. Its mission, providing in-theater

advertising to independent and art

house cinemas, made a partnership with

Art House Convergence a natural fit.

“My relationship with AHC started in

2010, before Spotlight Cinema Networks

was founded,” recalls Jerry Rakfeldt, CEO

of Spotlight and the owner of Arthouse

Marketing Group at that time. “My exhibitor

partner, Kathy Staab from the Jane

Pickens Theater, mentioned she was going

to attend the AHC and encouraged me to

go. After learning more, I contacted Russ

Collins, introduced myself, and asked how

I might be able to contribute to AHC’s

mission. With AMG being a steadfast supporter

of art houses, it was a natural course

of action for AMG to become an inaugural

sponsor, thus beginning our longtime

partnership with AHC.”

Over the past several decades, various

industry professionals have tried unsuccessfully

“to launch a professional society

for American art house cinemas,” recalls

Collins. One of those professionals was

Collins himself; his International Society

of Specialty Film Exhibitors and Distributors

(ISSFED), created in the ’90s, was

short lived. In 2006, the Sundance Film

Festival was host to the first Art House

Project, attended by representatives from

12 theaters, among them Collins’s Michigan

Theater. The attendees “so enjoyed

meeting and sharing our tales of woe and

success that we vowed to stay in touch

to continue to share.” That ongoing

communication resulted in a second Art

House Project at the 2007 edition of

Sundance, “where our camaraderie and

enthusiasm for continuing contact and

professional support grew.”

The next year, Art House Convergence

was born when the Art House Project

split off from Sundance—though not too

far, as the conference still takes place right

before the festival. “The AHC conference

grew from 27 delegates in 2008 to 75

delegates in 2009. In 2010, we moved to

the Homestead Resort in Midway, Utah,

and 125 delegates attended—all theater

operators,” says Collins.

Rakfeldt first

attended in 2010. He

recalls being “pretty

much unprepared for

what was to follow. It

was a very comfortable

and communal

environment. There

were only 125 people,

so it was easy to meet

everyone. I also had a

number of my current

exhibitor partners

there, which helped

me get acclimated.

As an ad guy at an art

house conference, I was

a little apprehensive

about my presence, but

everyone treated me

warmly. But most of

all, it was an amazing

learning experience. To listen to and take

in the challenges and successes of each

exhibitor was instrumental in helping

me to better understand my business

partners and what I needed to do to

support their efforts.”

By 2013, there were 350 attendees;

last year, there were more than 700.

Collins attributes part of the explosive

growth of Art House Convergence to

timing. The early years of the conference

coincided with the transition to digital

projection. “There was a lot of anxiety

about the digital transition, and there was

a lot of information that needed to be

communicated about how you deal with

that. Speaking art house to art house, you

felt more comfortable getting that information

through Art House Convergence

than you might have in other ways.”

The digital transition is behind us,

but challenges still exist. For any business—even

nonprofits, which Collins

estimates make up around 80 percent

of AHC’s participating theaters—one of

those challenges is financial. “A nonprofit

has to make money and look at its

revenue streams in very creative ways.”

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Alternative sources of money include paid

membership programs, donations, and

“a sponsorship dynamic, where you go to

your local business and say, ‘You know,

we’re doing this special series for Christmas.

Would you like to be a sponsor for

it?’” Though Spotlight works for nonprofit

and for-profit businesses alike, Collins

clarifies, it meshes well with nonprofits

that rely on these sponsorships. “That’s

part of the really nice thing about Spotlight:

They’re flexible. If you go out and

sell an ad to the restaurant next door, you

can run your recognition of that restaurant

and run the Spotlight ads, and there’s

no conflict between them.”

The flexibility that Spotlight offers—

the ability to customize in-theater advertisements

to each theater’s individual

community—is particularly important,

given AHC’s philosophy. “We think of

our theaters as community art spaces

focused on cinema,” Collins explains.

“We must be successful businesses, too,

but we are mission-driven community

enterprises rather than a profit-driven

industry. This is a concept which the

commercial movie world and entertainment

journalists have a difficult time

understanding. The movie business in

the USA is so deeply rooted as an

entertainment commodity, that thinking

about cinema as an art form to be

cherished, appreciated, and celebrated

by community-based organizations is

not easily understood by ‘Hollywood’

industry wonks or the mainstream media.”

From the art houses to the massive

chains, the exhibition industry is in

a time of flux. (Which is not, Collins

notes, anything new: “Change is the only

constant.”) The Paramount decrees and

theatrical exclusivity windows are likely

to be topics of conversation among

attendees at this year’s conference. But,

Collins argues, “You can only focus on

what you can control. As much as I’d like

to, I can’t control what Disney or the

federal government or other corporate

and government entities are going to do.

The National Association of Theatre

SPOTLIGHT CINEMA

NETWORKS PARTNER

THEATERS SHARE THEIR

THOUGHTS ON ART HOUSE

CONVERGENCE

“[My favorite Art House Convergence

memory consists of] two things: Annually,

it is the Spotlight Cinema Party and

the Ice Castle! That night is spectacular.

So much fun, partying and bonding with

friends. Secondly, getting to hear Robert

Redford address our group as the keynote

speaker. What an inspiration!” —Patrick

Schweiss, Manager and President, Mary

D. Fisher Theatre

“My favorite memory [of attending Art

House Convergence] has to be from the

first time I attended in 2015, when I discovered

a network of passionate people who

believed in the power of film to transform

our lives and who faced similar issues to

the ones I was facing. For the first time I

felt like I wasn’t alone, that I was part of a

bigger community. And it was so wonderful

to know that some of my biggest pain

points weren’t unique to me, that it wasn’t

just a personal failure but that it was part

of a systemic issue everyone is trying to

resolve. The obverse of that was fantastic,

too: knowing that we were succeeding just

like everyone else. Sometimes it’s difficult

to know if what you’re doing is really

working, in spite of what you see in front of

you.” —Javier Chavez, Associate Director,

Coral Gables Art Cinema

“The number one benefit of going

to Art House Convergence is all of the

colleagues you get to meet in person,

both new acquaintances and old friends.

Although we all communicate electronically,

there’s no substitute for the in-depth,

face-to-face conversations you can have

at AHC.” —Dylan Skolnick, Co-Director,

Cinema Arts Centre

“The best parts of attending Art House Convergence

are the networking and the affirmation

that I’m not alone in my passion!

It’s the friendships and support that keep

me coming back year after year.” —Loretta

Miles, Owner, Salem Cinema

Owners does a really thoughtful and

good job of lobbying and advocating on

behalf of movie theaters.” Independent

theaters, he cautions, “should always pay

attention” to larger issues—“But if you

worry about things that you can’t control,

and you don’t worry about things that

you can control, then you’re going to get

into trouble. You can control how your

message is spread in the community. You

can control how you treat your customers.

You can control the creativity that

you use in your programming. And that,

for an independent theater, can overcome

some of the larger industry machinations

that happen.”

Rakfeldt, for one, is inspired by the

sense of community on display every year

at AHC. “Being around so many people

who are passionate about film and the

importance of their organization within

their local community really helps remind

me that the revenue stream we provide is

important and has purpose. I leave each

year more dedicated than when I came,

and that helps me grow Spotlight.” Spotlight’s

contribution to AHC has grown,

too. The company started out with a

breakfast sponsorship and has grown

to be the AHC Leadership Sponsor.

Spotlight holds a seat on the board of

AHC and presents the Annual Spotlight

Lifetime Achievement Award, which “recognizes

an individual whose commitment

to the theatrical experience and successful

track record has made a major contribution

to the history of art house.”

In addition, “based on feedback from

the AHC participants, we have created

other programs that focus on benefiting

this group,” says Rakfeldt; among those are

the CineLife app and the Spotlight Support

Program with the Film Festival Alliance.

In its ninth year, the partnership between

Spotlight and Art House Convergence

is still going strong. The two groups

“to a pretty significant degree grew up

together,” says Collins. “We minister to

specialty cinemas, and Spotlight focuses

on specialty cinemas. So, it’s kind of a

marriage made in heaven.”

JANUARY 2020

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HOW MOVIE

THEATERS ARE

CUTTING DOWN

ON WASTE

by Rebecca Pahle and

Vassiliki Malouchou

>> Small theaters and large, dine-in theaters or traditional

concessions—movie theaters generate a ton of waste.

We’re talking popcorn buckets, soda cups, plastic straws,

and candy boxes —front-of-house items, or those used by

consumers—but also back-of-house detritus, like cardboard

boxes and shipping material. The waste adds up. Shrinking

the mountain of trash generated by the exhibition industry

is a two-pronged affair: using recyclable products, and then

getting people to actually recycle them.

It’s a simple-sounding process that can actually be quite

complicated—and requires the collaboration of exhibitors,

vendors, and customers themselves.

CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION

“Some of the things that customers use

are not currently recyclable, because they

may have a plastic film on them,” explains

Art Justice, director of utilities

and energy management at

Cinemark. Popcorn bags and

soda cups typically (but not

always—more on that later)

fall under this category, while

“aluminum cans, plastic bottles,

candy boxes, hot dog boxes,

kids meal boxes—all of those

are recyclable.” Recyclable, but not always

recycled—as anyone who’s walked past

a trash bin filled with an indiscriminate

mixture of post-screening waste can attest.

In part, this is an issue of customer

awareness: people just not knowing what

they can recycle and what they can’t. It’s

an issue that Cinemark has attempted to

combat with color-coded recycling containers,

decorated with large, easy-to-understand

graphics depicting what goes

where. “We’ve tried to make it as intuitive

as possible by using not just words, but

pictures,” says Justice.

Even that isn’t enough to combat

the dreaded bottleneck. “It’s the biggest

challenge we have,” says Justice. “You have

200, 300, maybe 400 people coming out

[of an auditorium] at once.” Graphics

on recycling containers don’t cut it—if

customers don’t already know where

they should put something, it’s probably

going in the trash. To that end,

Cinemark is planning to roll

out a pre-show video that talks

about the chain’s sustainability

efforts—including an explanation

of the containers, so that by

the time the lights come up and

customers gather their leftover

popcorn bags and nacho trays,

they already know where to put them. “I

kind of relate it to being at home,” says

Justice. “When I first started recycling,

I had to think about what I was doing.

But over time, you just become

accustomed to it.”

“It’s absolutely true that

consumers are often confused

or unaware of how to recycle

correctly,” agrees Coca-Cola’s

global vice president, strategic

partnership marketing, Krista

Schulte. “Add that onto the fact

that there are differing rules for

what local recycling centers accept from

municipality to municipality,” and the

issue becomes even more complicated. At

some Cinemark locations, Justice notes,

“recycling just isn’t available” due to location

regulations. At others, only cardboard

can be recycled. On the other end of the

spectrum, “in California there’s now an

ordinance that requires composting.” All

told, the chain has 185 locations where

they recycle both front- and back-ofhouse

materials.

Though these regional legislative

differences can cut down on an exhibitor’s

options for recycling, it can also create

infrastructure that makes it easier. “It’s

hard to find a compost service provider in

some markets where the city government

is not addressing waste concerns,” explains

Karrie League, co-founder and head of the

sustainability task force at Alamo Drafthouse.

Over the course of one

year, in Austin alone, they “have

composted more than 600 tons

of waste that would previously

have gone into a landfill. This

doesn’t include the amount of

landfill trash that was saved

through eliminating disposables

or by our more rigorous

recycling efforts,” including the

creation of a sustainability task force designed

to increase sustainability at all levels

of the chain. “Our initiatives are currently

being implemented in half the cities we are

26 JANUARY 2020


in. Over the next several years we hope to

include all Alamo cinemas in the effort.”

BEHIND THE SCENES

For movie theaters, recycling isn’t

only—or even necessarily mostly—a

matter of customers putting their water

bottles in the right bin as they leave the

theater. Justice estimates that, in

terms of weight, 65 percent of

Cinemark’s waste comes from

back-of-house operations. For

Alamo Drafthouse, says League,

most waste also comes from

behind the scenes: “We have

changed our front-of-house

service ware so that almost

everything is either washable or

compostable. Back-of-house we have deliveries

that come in all imaginable types

of packaging.”

Many back-of-house items can be

recycled—from the high-volume, like bins

full of cardboard, to things like batteries

and Sharpies, which local retailers often

have recycling programs set up for. The

problem, explains League, is “compliance.

We have to get absolutely everybody

educated and onboard. … We need for

everyone to participate to make sure that

all waste ends up in the right place. And

that is very hard to achieve.”

It starts at the top. League cites the case

of Alamo’s events department, which is

“responsible for putting on movie parties

and special events.” The props given to

guests for use at special screenings were

being thrown away: “Plastic toys, inflatables,

ribbons, hats, etc. Not to mention

all the individual wrapping these came in.

Now the head of the events department is

selecting props more carefully so that they

can be collected, sanitized, and reused.”

Individual theater managers, too, have

a role in cutting down their locations’

waste footprint. “It’s pretty encouraging,

because we’ve had some managers say,

‘Hey, I need another recycle container.

I’m filling this one up two or three times a

week. I need new pickups, or I need a new

container.’ We view that as a good thing,”

says Justice.

VENDORS DO THEIR PART

For theaters who want to go even

greener, there are vendors ready to go with

them on that journey. “There have always

been sustainable options,” notes Beau Bartoni,

vice president of sales and marketing

at Packaging Concepts Inc. even if “maybe

they’re not always specifically marketed

that way.” Since 2008, PCI has

been making a recyclable popcorn

bag. At CinemaCon, they

introduced a paper drinking

straw “develop[ed] specifically

for cinemas”—meaning it will

“perform well for an extended

period of time,” says PCI’s vice

president, technical director

Adam Irace, not just the “10 to

15 minutes” required if you’re drinking a

soda at a fast food restaurant.

Another player in the eco-friendly

landscape is Royal Corporation, which has

“been actively engaged with developing

green sustainable programs for just around

20 years,” says president George Abiaad.

The company’s range of eco-friendly

products includes “basic sanitary paper, an

extensive variety of cleaning and sanitizing

chemicals, food packaging and equipment,

and many more”; he touts extensive

use by national and regional circuits

(including Cinemark) of their Revolution

trash bag, which contains “over 90 percent

EPA postconsumer waste content.”

A company as big as Coca-Cola,

Schulte explains, is doing its part to

make the theater industry more environmentally

friendly. “We’re

reimagining all of our packaging

to make it better for

our planet and our business.

Coca-Cola Freestyle machines

now utilize SmartPAK cartridges,

which have a smaller carbon

footprint than traditional syrup

packaging and contain 15–30

percent recycled content. The plastic

packaging we use today is far lighter than

glass, which makes it easier and less energy-intensive

to ship. But we are looking

to bring that weight down even further,

because every gram of plastic saved

means less energy expended across our

supply chain.” Cinema customers were

also invited to their 2019 Sustainability

Summit, giving them the opportunity “to

learn about the latest sustainability practices

across various industries. Each day,

we continue to walk with them as we

learn and grow in our efforts to decrease

waste and increase sustainability.”

In addition, though Coca-Cola itself

“does not produce cups and straws,

we believe that every cup that carries a

Coca-Cola beverage should have value

in the circular economy, and we support

our customers with cup recommendations

and in-outlet recycling best practices,”

says Schulte. In 2018 the company

become a “consortium partner” in the

Next Generation Cup Challenge, which

has as its aim identifying and encouraging

more eco-friendly alternatives to the

traditional single-use cup. “The diverse

solutions include cutting-edge plantbased

materials, new innovative liners

for cups, and reusable cup systems that

redesign the fiber to-go cup so that it is

more widely recoverable or remains in

circulation for multiple uses. These cups

exist in market, and over time we hope

the cost will improve and use of these

cups will be widely accepted.”

THE COST CONUNDRUM

Cost can be a sticking point when

it comes to purchasing any product,

especially eco-friendly ones, which have a

reputation for being more expensive than

their nonrecyclable counterparts.

Sometimes that’s true.

PCI’s environmentally friendly

popcorn bags “are usually less

expensive than the regular

bags,” explains Bartoni. If they

were to make environmentally

friendly popcorn tubs, however,

the cost of the raw materials

required would drive up cost to the consumer

by “10, 20, to 30 percent,” explains

Irace. “That hasn’t been something that

people have been requesting, so we don’t

cater to that.”

Sometimes eco-friendly products

JANUARY 2020

27


that cost more in the short term are

designed to generate long-term savings.

This is true of HaloVino, a plastic wine

glass that is reusable, dishwasher-safe,

stackable, and stemless. “It’s expensive to

have a wine glass” instead of a standard

plastic cup, founder Jessica Bell admits.

“But we tend to look at price increase

relative to increased revenue and cost

control. One ounce of over pour can

lead to a dollar to two dollars in loss

of revenue. We have ounce lines on

our cup,” making over pour

easily preventable. Further,

Bell argues, HaloVino’s unique

design—engineered to aerate

wine for a better drinking

experience—ultimately drives

sales. She says that a 5 percent

increase in cost has led in some

cases to an increase in wine

sales by 20 or even 40 percent.

At Alamo, League admits, “compostable

straws cost more.” But staff

members now ask guests if they want a

straw instead of giving them one outright,

leading to an overall decrease of the

number of straws being used. Generally

speaking, “by switching to washable/reusable

products, there is a higher up-front

cost, but we lose the ongoing cost of disposables.

Compostable products are more

expensive, but it drives us to find other

solutions where we drastically cut down

on the amount of those products that we

use. All efforts to save water and energy

end up in cost savings.”

A 3-D CASE STUDY

“It does sound simple to say, ‘Hey, we

decided we’re going to recycle!’ But as

you introduce all these other elements,

it becomes a challenge for sure,” says

Cinemark’s Justice. If the challenge seems

too insurmountable, it’s about time we

turned to a case study that shows how

theaters, customers, and vendors can

work together to pull this whole thing

off: 3-D glasses.

If it seems like customers automatically

toss everything in the trash, regardless

of whether it’s recyclable, it seems equally

true that they’ve gotten pretty good at

tossing their 3-D glasses in the appropriate

receptacle so that they can be sent

off, cleaned, and reused. According to

RealD’s Mike Irvin, vice president, corporate

initiatives, RealD has a “collection

rate” on their glasses of 60 percent, up

from 50 percent two years ago and three

times larger than the approximately 20

percent collection rate they had in 2009,

around the time Avatar was bringing

scores of customers to a 3-D movie for

the first time.

The process of increasing

that collection rate so dramatically,

says RealD operations

manager Brian Somers, has

been one of “trial and error.”

Initially, the collection boxes

were smaller, darker, and

lower to the ground than they

currently are. People would frequently

not see them. When they did see them,

sometimes they would confuse them

with trash cans. “What that was telling

us was that the bins themselves were not

labeled correctly, that we were not being

direct enough in letting people know

that this bin has a specific use, and that’s

recycling,” says Irvin. The bins were

given a pyramid-shaped top, so people

couldn’t rest trash on them. They were

given clearer labels. The newest generation

of RealD’s recycling bins, currently

in development, will be about six feet tall

and a brighter, more easily visible shade

than their current dark blue. The 40

percent of RealD glasses that don’t end

up in the collection bins, as well as the

plastic poly bags they come in, are made

of recyclable plastic themselves, so they

can be recycled locally.

According to Irvin, “Sustainability was

always a core value for” founder Michael

Lewis. “From the very beginning, we’ve

tried to have our 3-D technology reflect

our commitment to sustainability.” At

the same time, “This program would not

work if we didn’t have the support of the

exhibitors.” That communication between

RealD and its exhibitor partners provided

a solution to the dreaded bottleneck problem:

putting one recycling bin outside the

auditorium and another in the lobby or

elsewhere in the theater, with placement

customized to the “pattern of flow” of

each individual location.

In order for RealD to reach the 60

percent collection rate they currently

enjoy—and the higher collection rate they

hope to reach in the future—they needed

not just customers but also theater staff

to know exactly what to do at all points

during the process. “From the operation

side, it’s literally a click of a button,” says

director of global operations Robert Swan.

When a theater orders eyewear, they can

also order the collection boxes, called

RSCs. “When that RSC is delivered to the

theater, it’s already prelabeled. So as soon

as that box is full of recycled eyewear, the

theater just has to close it and put it out

for next-day pickup. We have multiple

pickups scheduled throughout the week,

if not daily. Everything’s at no cost to the

theaters. We’re supplying the RSCs, and

we’re handling the shipping costs to return

the eyewear.”

Looking toward the future, RealD has

had conversations with exhibitors about

getting messaging about recycling on the

theaters’ apps. “How do you get customers

to read messaging and get into the habit

of recycling? The more points that they

can see, the better,” says Somers. “That’s

another thing that we have explored and

continue to explore: the technology front

and how that’s changing.”

MAKING IT HAPPEN

A 2018 Nielsen study showed that 73

percent of consumers would change their

consumption habits if doing so had a

positive impact on the environment. “Everybody

wants to recycle,” argues RealD’s

Irvin. “They want to do the right thing.”

That’s certainly the case for younger generations,

who, argues Cinemark’s Justice,

have grown up with recycling. “For them,

it’s what they do. It’s not ‘Am I going to

this?’ It’s ‘I am going to do this.’” When it

comes to movie theaters, it takes determination

and communication to turn that

willingness into a reality.

28 JANUARY 2020


Ad.indd 2

8/29/19 12:00 PM


Y E A R S

STEVE GILULA

LOOKS BACK ON

FOX SEARCHLIGHT’S

LEGACY AS IT ENTERS

A NEW ERA

by Kevin Lally

OSCARS

STEVE GILULA

NANCY UTLEY

>> Few specialty distributors approach

the record of accomplishment

of Fox Searchlight Pictures, currently

celebrating its 25th anniversary (and

recently rebranded as Searchlight

Pictures). Formed in 1994 by Tom

Rothman and making its debut in

theaters in August 1995 with Edward

Burns’s The Brothers McMullen, this

cutting-edge studio boasts the rare

distinction of releasing four Oscar

Best Picture winners in the last 12

years: Slumdog Millionaire, 12 Years a

Slave, Birdman, and The Shape of Water.

Its first international smash was

cheeky Best Picture nominee The Full

Monty in 1997, and its many Oscar

competitors over the years include

a multitude of Best Picture nominees

(Sideways, Little Miss Sunshine,

Juno, Black Swan, The Tree of Life, The

Descendants, 127 Hours, Beasts of the

Southern Wild, The Grand Budapest Hotel,

Brooklyn, The Favourite, and Three

Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

and winning lead actors Hilary Swank

(Boys Don’t Cry), Forest Whitaker (The

Last King of Scotland), Jeff Bridges

(Crazy Heart), Natalie Portman (Black

Swan), Frances McDormand (Three

Billboards), and Olivia Colman (The

Favourite). Fox Searchlight also found

popular success with Bend It Like

Beckham (introducing an ingenue

named Keira Knightley), the eccentric

cult comedy Napoleon Dynamite, and

romantic comedy Garden State, and

saw two of its sleeper hits, Once and

Waitress, become long-running Broadway

musicals. Currently the company

has awards-season contenders with

Taika Waititi’s daring World War II satire

Jojo Rabbit and the latest spiritual

drama from leading director Terrence

Malick, A Hidden Life.

Much of the credit for Fox Searchlight’s

remarkable performance must

go to Steve Gilula and Nancy Utley,

co-chairmen of the studio since July

2018. Twenty-year veterans of the

company, they were named presidents

in 2009, succeeding Peter

Rice, who took the helm in 2000.

Now they’ve entered a new era with

Disney’s acquisition of Fox this past

March. Gilula, a former exhibitor who

co-founded Landmark Theatres, recently

took time out of his busy schedule

to talk about Searchlight’s latest

chapter and its highly successful run.

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WRITER-DIRECTOR TAIKA WAITITI AS AN IMAGINARY HITLER IN JOJO RABBIT

Here we are, nine months into the

merger with Disney. Can you give me a

status report on how things are going

and what has changed?

Well, the status report is all signs are

really positive. It’s been really quite good.

At a top-line level, as far as the kinds

of movies we’re making and acquiring

and how we’re releasing them, there’s a

hundred percent unequivocal support.

What was represented to us in the yearplus

before the deal closed has all come

true—everything that Disney indicated

that they liked about Searchlight they

want us to continue. On the practical

side, the logistical and organizational side,

as with any merger we’re working through

all the bureaucratic and administrative

things in terms of policies that we operate

under. But the core business of the kinds

of movies we make, how we release them,

and what our campaigns are, we have

full support and we continue to have the

same independence that we had under

Fox. So that’s been fantastic.

And you really threw a wild card at

them with Jojo Rabbit.

Yes, we did. But as I’ve explained in

other contexts, Disney, even though they

have this incredibly strong brand, owned

Miramax for 10 or 15 years. And Miramax

had a lot of titles that were pretty

edgy and different. So they understand

different content and are familiar with

that. They knew exactly what they were

getting into, because from the time they

announced this deal with Fox, we had

Three Billboards, we had The Shape of

Water, we had The Favourite, we had

some very high-profile but audacious or

challenging movies in terms of content.

Jojo is not dissimilar in its originality

and its risk-taking. They understood that

pretty explicitly.

It’s a great compliment to you and

Nancy that filmmakers keep coming

back to you.

We have had several films from

Alexander Payne, Sideways and The

Descendants, and from Darren Aronofsky,

The Wrestler and Black Swan. We’re small

enough to be able to be very attentive to

each individual film. And that includes

engagement and involvement with

Nancy and me from inception all the way

through the release, and we even have input

into some of the home entertainment

aftermarket. It’s unusual, I believe, for a

small company like this to be able to have

such engagement but at such a global

level. That’s the other thing—we distribute

these films worldwide and strategize

them worldwide. And Nancy and I have

been here for 20 years. So of the 25 years,

she and I have personally been involved

in over 150 of the movies we’ve released.

That continuity provides credibility. It’s

not like we meet a filmmaker with our

heads of creative and then they go off

and we see them at the premiere—we’re

engaged all the way through the process.

What are your hopes for the positive

impact of the Disney acquisition?

I think that over time our ability to

maximize the exposure of the films with

Hulu and other elements of streaming is

going to be a real plus for us. We’ve been

very fortunate—we’ve never been constrained

by resources in terms of the ability

to make a movie or market it properly.

That will continue. And it’s not just the

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Disney company—don’t forget that they

have the ABC network and they [now]

have all the television divisions from FX,

which does some pretty adventuresome

stuff. And obviously Marvel and Lucasfilm.

There’s such an incredible reservoir

of talent and ability there. There’s a lot we

can learn from and support

we can get. So that’s

all been incredibly encouraging.

The sheer volume

and breadth and depth of

talent in the marketing,

distribution, and creative

areas is quite exciting.

And I think over 30 of the films have

gotten various Academy Award nominations.

So it’s a relatively high batting

average. That track record is appealing

to a lot of filmmakers. We don’t make

movies strictly for awards, because that’s

a shortsighted fool’s errand, but when we

But we’re just being more careful now

in terms of whether or not we think we

can connect with an audience. Some of

the independent filmmakers are making

very interesting films, but they may not

meet our criteria for what we need to be

successful theatrically. … Being an indie

film is not necessarily

a sales point anymore.

There are so many of

them. So there has to be

some level of distinction.

Working from the

ground up originating

films, do you feel that

Has winning four Best

Picture Oscars had an

impact on your clout as

a company?

Yes, that combined

with the knowledge that

this is an organization

that’s been here for 25

years, and Nancy and I

have been here for 20 of

those with a continuity of

management. Those successes

help our credibility

and enhance the odds of

OLIVIA COLMAN WON AN OSCAR FOR HER ROLE AS QUEEN ANNE IN THE FAVOURITE

films of quality getting

recognition. That being

you have more of a handle

on what might work

in the marketplace?

Yes, because we do a

tremendous amount of

development. We have a

full team of development

and creative executives

producing movies, whether

it’s The Eyes of Tammy

Faye or Next Goal Wins

shooting right now. And

we have international

partners on films like The

Favourite and the new

Guillermo del Toro film.

said, we’ve had intense competition

over the 20 years. First it was Miramax,

and then there was Paramount Vantage,

and then The Weinstein Company, and

now we’ve got the streamers, which are

changing the economics. So we’ve never

had any extended period when there

wasn’t significant competitive pressure.

Our track record helps a little bit, and

the fact that we are still committed to

doing theatrical distribution worldwide.

So filmmakers look at successes like The

Shape of Water or Black Swan, which was

nominated for Best Picture and was also

a huge financial and critical success. And

the talent has back ends that are actually

quite lucrative. We’ve done a little over

180 movies since Searchlight’s inception.

Seventeen of those have gotten Best

Picture nominations and four have won.

have great ideas that are executed at the

highest level, they do get recognition.

So many companies have gotten

burned with high-priced acquisitions

at festivals. Talk a little bit about the

change in your strategy toward more

in-house productions.

We have shifted more to in-house

productions. Probably we’ve shifted from

a 50-50 to 75-25 ratio. The acquisitions

market is very volatile, probably because

of the new money that came in, whether

it was Netflix for a few years, then

Amazon last year. But also, indie film is

having a harder time thriving theatrically.

We’ve had great theatrical acquisitions,

whether it was Little Miss Sunshine, the

original Super Troopers, or Beasts of the

Southern Wild and recently Brooklyn.

Those filmmakers have a highly developed

eye. That doesn’t mean we won’t

be at Sundance in full force looking and

being open to acquiring films that we

feel we can be successful with. But we’ve

seen, even with films we didn’t acquire,

that the number that are successful theatrically

at a level we would be seeking are

just fewer year by year. Buying an indie

film that’s going to do a million or $2

million, we just can’t justify that for our

infrastructure. It doesn’t mean the films

aren’t worthy; it’s just at a scale where

we’re not able to operate successfully.

Tell me about your upcoming slate and

some of the films you’re especially

excited about.

We’re excited about all of them in

different ways. Some have a greater

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potential than others, but I’m not going

to handicap them. A Hidden Life is

a smaller film, but it’s arguably Terry

Malick’s most significant film since The

Tree of Life. And then we have Wendy and

Downhill both premiering at Sundance.

Wendy is Benh Zeitlin’s first film since

Beasts of the Southern

Wild. He’s a unique

storyteller, and this one

certainly follows in that

tradition. Downhill is

very exciting because it

unites Julia Louis-Dreyfus

and Will Ferrell in

a film that’s inspired

by Force Majeure. It’s

somewhat different, but

the basic setup is similar.

The directors won the

Academy Award jointly

with Alexander Payne for

writing The Descendants,

and it has that blend of

drama and comedy. Then

we have Antlers, Scott

Cooper’s horror film produced

by Guillermo del

Toro, in the spring. We

have the North American

rights to The Personal History

of David Copperfield

from Armando Iannucci, which is getting

a really good response. And we have The

French Dispatch, the next Wes Anderson

film. He’s doing something very different

from what he’s done before, very

adventurous, with a different kind of

story structure. He went from The Grand

Budapest Hotel, which was a big surprise,

to Isle of Dogs, and he’s done another

one. He continues to grow and evolve as

a storyteller, and it’s kind of astonishing.

We also have a film that’s been slow

in post-production because Chloé Zhao

is doing the Marvel film [Eternals]:

Nomadland, starring Frances McDormand,

which is going to be a very, very

interesting film. We’re currently shooting

The Eyes of Tammy Faye, with Michael

Showalter directing Jessica Chastain and

Andrew Garfield. That’s a very exciting

project. And Taika Waititi is shooting

his new film, Next Goal Wins, in Hawaii.

He’s just a prodigious talent.

I can’t pick favorites—it’s like asking

a parent which is the favorite child.

It’s very hard to make that pick. The

gratifying thing is we’re able to find these

Does the consumer get

that message? Do you

think they still have a

belief in the theatrical

experience?

I think that they do.

I think what happens is

they are more selective,

clearly when you have

franchise movies and not

just the Disney movies.

The Disney machine is

awesome and incredible,

but look at The Joker

too. Warner’s has done a

really good job. Those are

[preexisting properties],

but there are still original

movies. What Knives

Out is doing is fantastic.

What Tarantino did with

Once Upon a Time in

DEV PATEL STARS IN THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD

Hollywood is fantastic.

Ford v Ferrari is fantastic.

original projects that justify theatrical Downton Abbey making $98 million was

releases, and Disney is supporting that. fantastic. So I do believe that there is

That was another element of gossip: Was absolutely an eager, avid audience. The

Searchlight going to be relegated to doing

streaming? And that was never, ever dilemma is that the historic structure,

cinema experience is alive and well. The

a discussion. That was just gossip and the studio release slate, has to evolve to

speculation generated by the press and be more in sync with what public taste is

the industry because of the merger. But expecting and demanding—to spend the

the kinds of films I’ve been talking about money and the time to go to theaters.

are the kinds of films that Disney doesn’t But the fact that things like Knives

make and that deserve the big screen. I’ve Out and Ford v Ferrari [are doing well]

spent over 40 years in the industry, and means it’s not that people aren’t willing

I believe in the culture of cinema—storytelling

on a big screen with a crowd of that the bar has been raised, and clearly

to go to the theaters. The challenge is

people, often strangers, sharing in the experience.

I still see it over and over—Jojo are kind of extraordinary—even Joker

for event movies, these Disney records

was fantastic in the theater. Going from doing $1 billion is phenomenal. I don’t

the laughter to the tears and the surprises think it’s an unwillingness to go out to

is just different than sitting in someone’s the theaters. It’s the sheer volume of

living room. It’s a whole different expe-

competition.

rience. And it’s true for all these films.

... I do not believe watching movies on a

television or a cell phone or a laptop or

a tablet is the same experience. Whether

TV movies or streaming movies, we’ve

always had other kinds of movies, but

cinema is different.

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SCAN PAGE WITH THE FUZE VIEWER

DEAN-CHARLES CHAPMAN AS LANCE CORPORAL BLAKE AND GEORGE MACKAY AS LANCE CORPORAL SCHOFIELD IN 1917

Race Against Time

SAM MENDES MASTERMINDS A TECHNICAL TOUR

DE FORCE WITH WORLD WAR I THRILLER 1917

by Kevin Lally

>> On November 23, awards season was jolted by the first public screenings of

a late entry in the race: director Sam Mendes’s World War I drama 1917. Following

two young British soldiers who must cross enemy lines to warn a battalion

of their fellow soldiers about an impending ambush, the film is a breathtaking

technical tour de force, told in real time and seemingly in one continuous take.

(Mendes calls esteemed D.P. Roger Deakins’s work “one of the most remarkable

pieces of cinematography—just the sheer level of skill is astonishing.”)

The script, which Mendes co-wrote with Krysty Wilson-Cairns, was inspired

by stories told by his grandfather, Alfred H. Mendes, a lance corporal in the First

World War who, because of his short stature, would be assigned to run messages

through the five-and-a-half-foot mist shrouding the No Man’s Land between

Allied and enemy trenches. The film is a physically and emotionally demanding

showcase for its two young stars, George MacKay (Captain Fantastic) and Dean-

Charles Chapman (Tommen Baratheon on “Game of Thrones”), supported by a

formidable cast of veterans including Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrew

Scott, Mark Strong, and Richard Madden.

Just one hour after that triumphant debut screening at the Directors Guild of

America New York Theater, we spoke with Mendes, Oscar winner for American

Beauty, Tony winner for Broadway’s The Ferryman, and director of the last two

James Bond movies, Skyfall and Spectre.

34

JANUARY 2020


DIRECTOR SAM MENDES [CENTER] ON THE SET OF 1917 WITH DEAN-CHARLES CHAPMAN AND GEORGE MACKAY

I want to ask about your emotions as

you embark on a project like this. Do you

have a lot of apprehension, or is there

great joy in doing it?

Oh, I feel immense joy in doing it. I

feel very privileged and, particularly with

this one, I’d never had the experience of

sitting in a room writing a script before,

and then only months later turning up

to set and there are hundreds of people

there to help you fulfill the vision that you

put on the page. There are upsides and

downsides of having written it oneself.

The downside is you feel very vulnerable,

much more vulnerable than I normally

feel about my own directorial work.

The upside is a different level of

emotional connection to the material.

The highs are higher and the lows are

a bit lower. And that’s what I found on

this. But I was never apprehensive. I was

excited. I knew there would be bad days,

which there were when you’re dealing in

extremes of location and weird weather

and impossibly complex, technical,

ambitious, high bars that you create for

yourself. I mean, there were days when I

thought, why have I done this to myself?

This is a sort of mental torture, because

in a normal movie, if you do a six-minute

or seven-minute take, you never expect

to get it entirely perfect. You use bits of

it—you have the close-ups, and then you

might have a master shot and you might

have an over-the-shoulder shot and then

you put ’em all together. On the bad days

I thought, why have I put myself in a

situation where there’s no way out? But

when you get it, the level of exhilaration

is so extreme that you want more. It’s like

catching the big wave. You fear it, but

when you’re on it, it’s amazing. And then

you want to do it again.

I read that you were hoping for some

happy accidents while filming. Can you

point to a few happy accidents?

Oh, in every take there are moments

when one of the actors does something

unexpected or the light does something.

My favorite, I suppose, is the last shot of

the movie. I wanted the sun to come out,

and it did during the shot. Roger said,

look, I can do lots of things, but I can’t

organize for the sun to come out. But it

came out. I felt like someone was looking

down on us.

I loved making a movie almost entirely

outside—you’re more at one with the

physical reality of being in that war. I

mean, what we did was a drop in the

fucking ocean compared to what the men

of the First World War did. But just to

state the obvious, when you get on that

mud, you can’t stand up; you keep falling

over. And it doesn’t matter how many

things you put on your feet, mountaineering

equipment, this, that, and the other,

you can’t keep your balance. And these

men lived in it for years; they lived in it

for fucking years, the filth. Every night

getting in the shower, washing the mud

off, [I] thought, how lucky am I to get a

warm shower? That stuff is sobering, and

it brings home the reality of it. And I can

honestly say no one ever complained on

this movie, because how can you complain

when the real people went through

it for years, and we’re just doing it for a

couple of weeks, you know?

How does your background in theater

help you with a project like this?

It helped me a lot. It helped me a lot

in staging, in trying to judge rhythm

without editing, and the arc of the whole

story, knowing that it was going to be

one piece, and I had to establish that

while we were shooting it rather than in

the cutting room. For me, the best point

of a play is when you get it to the stage

where you look at your cast and say, it’s

yours now, you learned how to fly, now

you have to take off, and then you let

them do it. And that happened again

and again on this movie. I had to let the

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BEHIND THE SCENES

actors do it seven, eight, nine, 10 minutes at a time.

And trusting them, giving them the ammunition

and the knowledge they needed to just take wing.

I never doubted that they could do it, because I’d

rehearsed them properly and we’d planned it properly

and they understood what was needed from

them in every scene. And that’s all theater. Judging

the shape of the story without recourse to editing,

these are things that I do as a matter of course as

a theater director. I sit there and watch two and a

half hours of story pass by and I never say cut. So

for me, a nine-minute take is nothing compared to

a two-and-a-half-hour play. I remember [people]

saying about Anne Hathaway in Les Miz: She did it

in one take! As far as I’m aware, they do the whole

of Les Miz every night in one take. You just have to

go down the road and you can buy a ticket. It’s not

that amazing.

How exciting is it for you to give

these two young actors an opportunity like this?

It’s exciting, but I’m grateful to them, because

they walked in and they managed to embody the

two characters that Krysty and I had imagined,

but then they added something else. When you’re

rehearsing and writing and making adjustments

in rehearsals, you start tailoring the role towards

the actor. And George brought this quiet dignity,

this restraint, this great old-fashioned heroism, a

kind of upright Englishness, which is of another

era, almost. And I thought that was perfect for this

sort of grammar school–educated, slightly more

middle-class Schofield. And then Dean’s cheeky

chappy: chirpy, slightly vulnerable, very young, a

bit puppy fat–ish—and thin-skinned, emotionally

very available, and slightly lower-class than Scofield.

And the two of them are thrown together, two

people who would never meet in life, never even

share a drink down at the pub because they’re from

different upbringings, and they suddenly find that

they get on, that they amuse each other, that they

like each other and learn from each other in ways

that even they don’t fully understand. And I think

that came in part from the script and in part from

the two of them. It’s thrilling to watch what’s happening

to them now. It gave me a huge lump in my

throat, watching them walk onstage just now and

seeing the audience carry on applauding, because

they’re great. I don’t think they’ve had that in their

lives before.

One thing I found remarkable was the function

of the extras in this film. I can’t think of a recent

film where the extras are as important to

its success.

Well, thank you for saying that. My first A.D.,

Michael Lerman, is a bit of a genius, and he set the

background [extras]. I was very particular. I audi-

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tioned every single one of them. I watched every

audition and 1,600 auditions is a lot, but it was

worth it. Then we put them through boot camp,

and even where they prepared, where they got their

clothes on, were tents full of period photographs,

playing period music just to get them into that

mental space. There were documentaries running

on the screens in the corner of the hair and makeup

trailers. It was a way of hopefully letting the war

sort of seep in through their pores, so that they felt

it—the way people moved, the level of exhaustion

that they were all experiencing, the pressure and

the different responses to adrenaline, some breaking

down, others finding unexpected reserves of

heroism. [We were] trying to get that combination

with some very, very young background actors. I

felt very moved having imagined that big end run

that [MacKay’s Corporal Schofield] makes along

the final trench—very early in the process I had

this image in my head, and then to see them do it

and commit themselves to it. There’s no one in the

background who’s digital—that is a fully human

force running across those fields, and it hopefully

brings home the scale of it.

We’re well into the streaming era. How

concerning is it that some people are going to see

this ilm on their home TVs?

Every filmmaker wants their movies to be seen

on a big screen. More than any movie I’ve made,

I feel that way. Along with the Bond movies, I

want them to be experienced in a big, dark room

with a lot of strangers going on the ride together.

But you also accept the reality. I told off my son

the other day for watching a Woody Allen movie

on his phone, He’s watching Manhattan, and

I’m, “You can’t watch Manhattan on your fucking

phone!” And he said, “Why, Dad? It looks great.”

If you’re surrounded by teenagers, you watch

things on tiny devices. You can’t be that surprised

when people watch it on their televisions. I’ve

made big movies, small movies, and I run the

company Neal Street that makes a lot of television—we

make “Call the Midwife” and “Penny

Dreadful” and “Britannia” and various other

shows. So you have to be a realist as well. But

what I’ve always wanted for this film more than

anything is for it to be seen on a big screen. And

I made it for the largest possible audience. It’s not

an esoteric film, it’s not an eat-your-peas film,

it’s not a history lesson. You need to understand

nothing before you go in. We just give the date,

and then you can literally follow it from beginning

to end without knowing anything about the

political or historic situation. And that I’m really

pleased with. I hope that it plays to a very, very

broad audience, and that starting this late in the

year doesn’t hamper it in any way.

COLIN FIRTH

JANUARY 2020

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MICHAEL B. JORDAN AS ATTORNEY BRYAN STEVENSON WITH CLIENT WALTER MCMILLIAN, PLAYED BY JAMIE FOXX

SCAN PAGE WITH THE FUZE VIEWER

And Justice for All

A REAL-LIFE CIVIL RIGHTS DRAMA UNFOLDS IN JUST MERCY

by Rebecca Pahle

>> Out in limited release on Christmas Day before nationwide

expansion on January 10, Warner Bros.’ Just Mercy tells the

timely tale of criminal justice gone awry. Specifically, the film

follows civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson—who

wrote the memoir on which Just Mercy is based—as he travels

from Harvard to the Deep South to defend the wrongfully

imprisoned. There he meets Walter McMillian, on death

row for years following a conviction for murdering a young

woman. McMillian has an airtight alibi, and the prosecutor’s

main witness isn’t exactly trustworthy. But McMillian is black,

the murdered girl was white, and the cops just wanted to put

someone behind bars. This is, after all, Alabama—the very

county in Alabama where Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is

set. How’s that for irony?

Bringing this true-life tale to the screen with sensitivity and

power is Destin Daniel Cretton, reuniting with his Short Term 12

co-star Brie Larson, playing Stevenson’s colleague at the

nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative. Delivering powerhouse performances

are Michael B. Jordan (who also produced) as Stevenson

and Jamie Foxx as McMillian, the latter burning up the

screen in every scene he’s in. In advance of the film’s limited

release, Cretton took the time to speak about his latest project.

38 JANUARY 2020


How did you come to be involved in

this project?

[Just Mercy] was a book that was handed

to me by our producer, Gil Netter, to

see if it was something that I might be

interested in. By the time I finished reading

the last page, I was so deeply, deeply

moved by not only the subject matter,

but by the beautiful, multidimensional

characters. It was something that I knew I

had to be a part of.

When you were doing that initial read,

were you already thinking of it in terms

of a movie?

You know you’re reading a really good

piece of writing when you disappear into

it, and your brain turns off and you’re

transported to another place. And that’s

how I felt reading Just Mercy. I wasn’t

analyzing it to see if it was a great movie

or not, because it moved me so much.

Was there one aspect of the book that

really hooked you?

Bryan talks, particularly toward the

end of the book, about hope. He says

that hopelessness is the enemy of justice.

Without hope, we are not able to attempt

to do the things that seem impossible.

That was something that really spoke to

me [when it came to] taking on a project

like this. It’s what I hope some people

take from watching this movie. Even

though we are living in a time right now

when problems seem so big and impossible

to fix, I think Bryan Stevenson’s

life and work show us that the simple

decision of seeing a problem and deciding

to do something about it can have results.

I appreciate that the film is hopeful

without being overly melodramatic,

which is a trap that legal dramas can

sometimes fall into.

We were definitely trying to walk the

tightrope of representing Bryan’s story

in a truthful way without the filmmaking

pushing too hard. The true story is

mapped out like it is in the movie. Everything

that happened, happened. The

emotions are extremely high and extremely

low. The moment that Walter McMillian

was released, the way it’s described

in the book, it’s an extremely emotional

moment. It was definitely a challenge to

find [a tone] that doesn’t shy away from

the high emotions that Bryan and these

people went through, but also doesn’t feel

manipulative to an audience so they can

actually participate in those emotions in a

more real way.

Just Mercy takes place in Monroe

County, Alabama, which is where To Kill

a Mockingbird is set. If Just Mercy were

a novel, I would almost think that’s too

on the nose. But Walter McMillian’s trial

really did happen there.

I think it would be a disservice to

the movie not to mention it. But yeah,

anytime we delved too much into the To

Kill a Mockingbird comparison, it definitely

started to feel a bit too much. But

we hoped a little sprinkling of it lets

people understand the irony that

Bryan Stevenson was feeling

throughout the entire process.

You were born in Hawaii and

moved to California. Just Mercy

is set, not just in the

South, but in the

Deep South—

which is a very

distinct place

culturally and

certainly has

a very specific

history when

it comes to

institutional

racism. How

did you get

into that

Southern

mindset?

It’s no secret

that I stepped

into this project

as an outsider. But reading

Bryan’s book, it became

very clear that this story

wasn’t only about what’s

going on in Alabama. This story felt

extremely connected to me.

Bryan starts Just Mercy by saying that

you can’t fully understand the problem

unless you allow yourself to get really

close to it. My personal journey on this

project was, honestly, starting from a

place of fear and inadequacy. “Who am

I to tell this story?” But I had Bryan

Stevenson by my side, with my co-writer,

Andrew Lanham. We were very close with

Bryan throughout the entire writing process.

There was no way I would tell this

story if that wasn’t the case. Being able

to go and visit the places that he talks

about in the book and meet people like

Anthony Ray Hinton [played by O’Shea

Jackson Jr.], who was on death row and

in Holman Prison at the same time as

Walter McMillian. Being able to, step by

step, get closer and closer to this subject

was one of the most impactful, eye-opening

experiences of my life.

It rang true that the characters who

were touting their town’s To Kill a

Mockingbird connection were the

ones not interested in helping Bryan

Stevenson. You see a lot of overt

racism in the film, but

there’s also stuff that

bubbles under the

surface.

One thing that

is very true when

you speak to Bryan

Stevenson or talk to

anyone who’s doing

the type of work

he’s doing is that

the racism is extremely

real. And

honestly, we could

have pushed those

characters into

extremes far beyond

what we do

in the movie,

and it would

still be real.

The flip side

is that there

JANUARY 2020

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JUST MERCY DIRECTOR DESTIN DANIEL CRETTON WITH MICHAEL B. JORDAN AND JAMIE FOXX

are also many Southerners like Eva Ansley

[played by Brie Larson], who are fighting

for those who are the most vulnerable,

whether they are black or white. There

are extremely loving, kind, open-minded

people all throughout the South. That’s

the thing that really gives me hope.

There are a lot of movies about racism

in the South in which people are doing

overtly racist things, like waving around

Confederate flags. And that’s accurate.

People still do that. But you run the risk of

people seeing those movies and thinking,

“Well, I’d never do something like that.

So I’m not the problem.” And then they

don’t have go through the uncomfortable

process of examining their biases.

I think one of the scary realizations

about watching a movie like this is the

moment when you think, “Oh, if I saw

that mug shot of Walter McMillian and

the news broadcast that they finally

caught the killer of this young, white girl,

I probably would not have thought twice

about it at that time.” I hope this movie

and movies like this make all of us think

twice. Every time we see a mug shot and a

little blurb, “They caught the guy!” I hope

we don’t go immediately to the sense of

relief. And we start to question it.

There’s a horrible narrative whenever

there’s an instance of police brutality,

and people start to examine the victim’s

character. Walter McMillian wasn’t a

perfect person, but he doesn’t need to

be faultless and saintly for his story to

be seen as a miscarriage of justice.

Yeah, 100 percent. Bryan Stevenson

says there are no rich people on death row.

He says that our system treats you better

if you are rich and guilty than if you are

poor and innocent. And you definitely

see that play out in this movie. You see

how the poor and vulnerable are taken

advantage of by a system that can easily

sweep them under the rug or put them on

death row because it benefits them. And

it’s also interesting to see the way that Tim

Blake Nelson’s character, Ralph Myers,

gets wrapped up in it and is used as a tool

by the people in power to get what they

want. [Myers, a career criminal from an

impoverished background, was pressured

by law enforcement officers to offer a false

testimony against McMillian.]

How did Michael B. Jordan come to be

involved in the film?

Michael B. was the first person who

came on. He was the first person we attached,

even before we started writing the

script. We sent the book to him, and he

was passionate about the project from the

start. So he came on both as an actor and

as a producer very early in the project.

He’s perfect for the role.

Bryan Stevenson is one of the most

compassionate, empathetic people I’ve

ever met. And he’s also one of the smartest

and most strategic people I’ve ever

met. I do think that Michael B. Jordan

shares a lot of those same qualities. In

order to do the types of performances

that Michael B. does, it’s all about his

ability to empathize with the characters

he’s playing. He is able to connect with

Bryan Stevenson on so many levels. It was

exciting to watch him do that.

40 JANUARY 2020

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Ad.indd 2

7/26/19 9:12 AM


Here Comes the Sun

ANIMATION MASTER MAKOTO SHINKAI FACES THE CLIMATE CRISIS IN

WEATHERING WITH YOU

by Kevin Lally

>> Makoto Shinkai has been making

animated features since 2004, but his career

skyrocketed to new heights with his

2016 release, Your Name. That gorgeously

rendered tale of a teenage boy and girl

who inexplicably keep switching bodies

was a worldwide smash, earning a global

total of $357.9 million.

Shinkai’s latest, equally fantastical and

equally beautiful new film, Weathering

with You, is also an international hit,

having earned $175 million outside the

United States by the end of November.

Japan’s submission for the renamed Oscar

category Best International Film (a rare

honor for an animated feature), the

movie opens in the U.S. on January 17

via GKids.

Weathering with You takes place in a

Tokyo of the not-too-distant future, in

which climate change has brought unending

rain—that is, except for the brief

periods when a magical young girl named

Hina is able to coax out the sun. Hina

strikes up a friendship with Hodaka, a

teenage runaway who finds a job as a

writer for an occult magazine. Together

they start a business temporarily clearing

up the weather for people’s special occasions.

But Hina’s use of her otherworldly

powers comes with a price.

The film is remarkable for its copiously

detailed depictions of modern-day Tokyo,

often seen in fleeting shots that make you

wish you could pause the frame. Shinkai

credits his “many wonderful background

artists” for the dazzling settings. But,

“as with all animation, it all starts with

storyboarding, and all the storyboarding

I do myself—the angles and all the shots”

(1,706 shots in total, he says).

Shinkai admits that the movie’s scenes

of constant rain were “a lot of work.

When it rains in anime, there’s just so

much information, not just visually, but

also in the sounds, too. And because

the ground gets wet, there’s going to be

reflections of people, so you have to draw

twice as much. Even on the windows,

there’s a lot of water dropping, and you

have to draw all of that. It’s just more

work. But then I feel like because it was a

lot of work, it’s more satisfying to the audience—the

audience knows how much

work must have gone into it. It’s really

satisfying to them, and the more work we

put in, the more they appreciate it.”

Weathering with You is clearly inspired

by the dire crisis the world faces. “I

do have this bitter feeling as an adult,”

Shinkai says. “When we were kids, we

were told that climate change is happening,

and it’s going to get worse unless we

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do something. It was such a global issue,

but then nothing happened. Some countries

just opted out of the policies [of

change], and now we’re being affected.

We can visibly see what climate change

has done to our world, and now we’re

going to give this world to our children,

to the next generation. It’s become a

crazy world that we’re [passing down].

It’s not a problem that we can fix in a few

years—it’s probably gonna get worse. As

adults, we have to think of solutions and

we have to worry. But to the children,

this crazy, crazy world is normal, because

that’s what they were born with. As

much as adults need to worry about climate

change, I also want kids to be able

to enjoy the world that they were given.

I want them to laugh, I want them to

play. And I think these kinds of feelings

are reflected in Hodaka and Hina as the

main characters.”

Hina is referred to in the film as a

“sunshine girl,” a concept with cultural

connotations unfamiliar to Westerners.

“Actually in Japan, ‘sunshine girl’ or

‘rainy girl’ or ‘rainy boy’ or ‘sunshine boy’

is actually fairly common, very similar

to how Japanese people would say, oh,

what’s your blood type? Each blood

type has a different personality,” Shinkai

explains. “Of course, we know that these

are made up. It’s not like all Cancers are

a certain way, all blood types are a certain

way. We don’t really believe in it, but we

just have a feeling like, oh yeah, every

time I go outside or every time I have a

sports day, it seems to rain. It’s really just

a thought that we have. But in Japan we

do have a lot of these good-luck-charmtype

things, little talismans. When we

pass by a torii [shrine] gate, we just naturally

put our hands together—we just

grew up like that.”

Asked about the inspirations for his

two main characters, Shinkai says, “The

boy ran away from his island to come to

Tokyo. I personally didn’t run away from

home, but I always admired Tokyo. After

I graduated from high school, I went to

Tokyo and studied. So I feel like that guy

has some parts of me inside of him. Hina

is completely far away from me. She’s

very anime-ish and basically like a shrine

maiden with these special powers. A typical

character from a story is how I first

[conceived] her, but once the actor Nana

Mori came in and recorded Hina’s voice, I

felt like her personality was built.”

For Shinkai, the vocal performances

are a welcome unknown as a film takes

shape. “In my animation films, everything

is hand drawn. The animators and

I control every aspect of the film except

for the music and the voices—those are

unpredictable. Those are the only things

that come from outside of the production

teams. When people have a dialogue, we

don’t understand each other 100 percent

completely. I might say something, and

you won’t fully comprehend what I’m

saying, or you might take it a different

way. So we’re bringing in strangers to this

film who might not 100 percent understand

it. But that voice brings a different

aspect to the film and makes it better.

That’s what I look for in a voice.”

Shinkai is part of an esteemed Japanese

animation tradition, and a key influence

is the internationally revered master Hayao

Miyazaki. “I used to sketch and copy

Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the

Wind when I was in sixth grade,” Shinkai

recalls. “And Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky

when I was around 13. I first started

doing animation as moving pictures in

high school. I had an 8-bit computer and

it was only a few cuts, something simple

like a door opening or a wheel turning,

and then I put the sound in.”

Another role model is Christopher

Nolan. “The Dark Knight was very shocking

when it first came out, and the use

of sound was very different. I’ve watched

that and Interstellar many, many times.

And I’m in awe each time I watch a Pixar

or Disney movie, because they always

have something new to bring to the table.

I feel bad that we’re put in the same animated

feature category. This summer in

Japan, for the young people it was, what

do we watch—Toy Story 4 or Weathering

with You? To be put in the same option

is an honor, and I’m proud of what we

did. Actually, the same number of people

went to watch Weathering with You as Toy

Story 4.”

Shinkai uses a surprising term when

asked how the huge success of Your

Name changed his life. “In one word,

it got stuffy. I feel like I’m always being

watched. There was an article in a newspaper

written about me—not about my

work, but about who I’m dating, gossip,

like your tabloids. I was really surprised

that I was a target of gossip. But then I

also realized, oh, I guess that’s how much

animation is now getting known in Japan.

But it’s still stuffy and exhausting …

but I enjoy it, too.”

Despite the meticulous detail he puts

into every frame of his films, Shinkai isn’t

upset when people watch them on their

small screens. “Actually, watching on any

device makes me happy—I also watch

other people’s movies on my mobile

devices. Think about how we used to

listen to music when we were younger,

on a radio with no surround sound.

Favorite songs are favorite songs—we

still remember them. … Just like with

music on the radio, what you like, you

like. Even if they watch on a small device

and they don’t see all of the little details,

they will get the core of the movie. People

who don’t like my movie, even if they

watch it in a theater they might not like

it anyway.”

Still, Shinkai does appreciate the

singularity of the theatrical experience.

“Watching [a film] in a theater is

something special, because in Japan you

have to buy the tickets ahead of time.

You usually have to get in a car or on

a train to get to the theater. You’re not

technically restricted, but you are sitting

in the theater for two hours. And so it is a

special experience that they put their time

and money into. If you want audiences to

communicate with the film, the theater is

the best place to do it. So I do want the

power to make movies that people want

to come watch in the theater.”

Thanks to Satsuki Yamashita for her skillful

translation during this interview.

JANUARY 2020

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LEVAN GELBAKHIANI AS MERAB IN AND THEN WE DANCED.

Leap of Faith

PHOTO BY ANKA GUJABIDZE, COURTESY OF MUSIC BOX FILMS.

LEVAN AKIN’S AND THEN WE DANCED EXPLORES HIDDEN DESIRE

WITHIN A GEORGIAN FOLK TROUPE

by Kevin Lally

> Sweden’s selection for the Oscars’ newly renamed “Best International Film”

category is not set in Stockholm or Gothenburg but the nation of Georgia, in the

former Soviet republic. And Then We Danced, opening on February 7 from Music

Box Films, finds Swedish-born director Levan Akin returning to his roots as the

son of Georgian parents who emigrated from Turkey. His poignant drama

centers on Merab (Levan Gelbakhiani), a folk dancer hoping to join the National

Georgian Ensemble, whose world is shaken by the arrival of a new, charismatic,

irreverent male dancer, Irakli (Bachi Valishvili). By mid-film, they are no longer

able to resist their mutual attraction—a risky gambit in a culture that scorns

homosexuality.

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Akin says that when he embarked on

the project, “I didn’t know what it was

going to become. The genesis of the idea

came from a pride parade in Tbilisi that

was attacked by a mob. That prompted

me to go to Georgia—I wanted to check

the situation out and see how it could be

as bad as it is. It actually surprised me and

also deeply offended me as a Georgian

that this could happen. I interviewed a lot

of young Georgians, both LGBTQ and

also anybody who would basically talk to

me about life in Georgia, and they would

add me on Instagram and we would

become friends. And then the algorithm

suggested Levan Gelbakhiani, like, ‘You

might know this person’—it’s one good

thing that came from social media. And

I looked at him and I saw that he was a

dancer, and by then I’d already thought

that dance would be a nice way to showcase

the traditions of Georgia.”

Akin set up a meeting and found

Gelbakhiani “very magnetic, but he was

also very shut off—he’s quite shy.” The

director filmed a teaser with the novice

actor to attract financing, “and it turned

out pretty OK. But a lot of the comments

were that he was guarding himself.

I decided that I wanted to go with him

anyway, because I really liked him.” As

Akin continued to research the film, “we

got to know each other very closely, and

by the time we started filming, there was

really no filter between us—it was almost

like the camera wasn’t there. But he’s not

a professional actor, he’s a dancer. So I

had to work with him in different ways

to get the performance—a lot of the

emotions that you see on-screen are really

in the moment. One of the challenges

for me was that if he did a good take of

something, I could never get that again.

It was always different.” In November,

this first-time actor was nominated for a

European Film Award.

Akin’s other lead, Valishvili, had some

theater experience but had never made a

film before. “He’s like an old Hollywood

star, like Errol Flynn or something,” Akin

says. “I hope that he will get some offers,

because his English is flawless. He taught

DIRECTOR LEVAN AKIN

himself by watching YouTube. So sweet.”

Akin recalls that Valishvili was the

third actor to test opposite Gelbakhiani,

“and I saw that Levan sort of blushed

when they met. When I saw the blush,

I was like, OK, this is good chemistry; I

found the other guy.”

Did his actors have any reservations

about taking on these groundbreaking

roles? “Not Bachi—he told me later that

he thought about it and asked his friends,

but Levan had more reservations. The

first time my casting agent called him, he

didn’t even want to take the meeting—he

was like, no, I’m not interested. And then

after we met, he was intrigued. Then he

was really engaged in the process as soon

as he said yes. He talked to his parents

and to his friends, and they were like,

if you want to do it, we support you.

So there are people in Georgia who are

open-minded and understand that it’s just

a film.”

But there remain many close-minded

people in that country. “It was a very

challenging shoot because we filmed

secretly—we didn’t tell people what we

were doing. We had an alternate story.

We would say that we were making a

movie about a French tourist who comes

to Georgia and falls in love with the

culture. And inevitably some people

found out what we were doing, and we

had to have security guards on set and we

got death threats. It was really intense—

we would lose locations just the night

before, and I would have to rethink. So

this script never really had a beginning,

a middle, and an end—I just threw

everything else away because I had to be

so flexible. Everything in the film is based

on the interviews I did with people. All

of the stories are true. A lot of the people

in the film are real people that I met in

my research. So it’s almost like a hybrid

film—even though it has this linear or

classical story, it’s very organic the way

the film grew.”

Ironically, Akin notes, “Georgia is one

of the most progressive countries in the

region when it comes to LGBTQ issues

because there are laws protecting them,

but they’re not implemented. It’s more

like a cosmetic thing—it feels like they

have them in place because they should

have them and they want to come closer

to the West and the E.U., and they get

E.U. funding and stuff. But when it

actually comes down to it, it’s one of the

most homophobic countries in the world.

However, there is a parallel world with

a gay subculture. The people in Georgia

are so divided: You have the young

generation who grew up on the internet

and who have different news sources and

other references, and then you have their

parents’ generation, who are more like the

Soviet mentality, and then the Church is

very strong.

“This film has hit like a bomb there.

When we premiered in Cannes, nobody

knew about the movie, and then the

trailer released and so many people are

supporting it. Media has been super-supportive

of the movie in Georgia. I get so

many messages from kids, not just from

Georgia but from Poland and Uzbekistan,

kids who watched the trailer. After our

screening in Zurich, a girl came up to us

shaking—she’d flown all the way from

Russia to see the film. So it’s really making

a difference, which is so surreal to me.”

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PHOTO BY LISABI FRIDELL, COURTESY OF MUSIC BOX FILMS.

We met with Akin in New York just

after the film’s screening at the annual

gay film festival and 10 days before its

premiere in Tbilisi, where hundreds of

protesters tried to block the entrance

to the cinema, and smoke bombs and

firecrackers were thrown.

Akin has received a markedly different

response to the film in other parts of

the world. “Both in Sweden and when

we showed the film in Mill Valley [in

California], older women have come up

to me and told me, ‘You know, those

[sex] scenes were really erotic to me. I’ve

seen many gay scenes, but I’ve never felt

that they were so erotic and real.’ Another

woman in Sweden told me that she’d

never seen a scene with same sex, and it

wasn’t until after that she was like, ‘Oh

yeah, they were the same sex. It felt so

natural.’ I don’t know what it is about

them that makes people feel that way—

maybe they’re very organic somehow.”

Reflecting on his heritage, Akin says, “I

always had a rose-tinted view of Georgia

growing up, because of my parents. You

can feel in the film that I love the culture

and the music and the dance and everything,

but there are also a lot of problems

there. Working there as much as I did, I

could see Georgia in a different way. I also

sort of lived through the main character,

ANA MAKHARADZE AND ANA JAVAKISHVILI

experiencing first love again through him.

I’m 40 now, so it brought up a lot of

emotions. One of the themes is how youth

is lost on the young and how quickly it

can change. One day you’re happy dancing

to Abba on a balcony, and you don’t know

what you’re saying goodbye to because it

happens so fast.”

Akin sees And Then We Danced as a

major turning point in his career. “Back

in Sweden, before I made this film, I

had done a lot of TV series and I did

two movies, but none have been as

personal. This was like a rejuvenation of

my filmmaking. I worked from a place

only of curiosity and I didn’t decide a

lot of things. It was a different process

from how you usually make films, where

everything is about planning. And since

I couldn’t plan, which in the beginning

freaked me out, I had to let go of all my

control issues and just go with the flow

and see what I was served and use that

and be creative with it. But that was actually

a really fun way to work. It gave me

energy, because from one day to the next

I didn’t know what I was going to get.”

Asked about his experience as a Georgian

working in the Swedish film industry,

Akin responds, “For all intents and

purposes, I am Swedish, because I was

born and raised in Sweden. So it’s really

not something I think about. But I’m also

Georgian, and I have that temperament.

I’m a little different from your regular

Swede. It’s a good question.”

Still, he concedes, “Early on when I

was applying to film schools, I never got

into the main film school in Sweden. I

applied two times, and I felt like they

wanted to pigeonhole me—they wanted

me to be this foreign kid from the hood

or something. And when I didn’t match

their mold, they didn’t know what to do

with me. … I’ve felt that many times in

my life. Unfortunately, Sweden is becoming

in many ways more and more racist.

One of our biggest parties is former

Nazis—I mean, they still are probably

Nazis, but now they pretend they’re not.

It’s insane. In the latest polling, they were

like the second biggest party in Sweden.

It’s so scary. I’m very sad.”

He continues, “Sweden has changed

in the last 10 years, and that’s something

that was really on my mind when I was

making this film. I wanted to make a film

about tradition and culture in a hopeful

way, a nonaggressive way. Just tell people

that nobody can decide for you what

your tradition or your culture should be.

That’s not up to these right-wing people:

Oh, if you’re a Georgian dancer, if you’re

a Georgian, you need to tick these boxes.

It’s the same in Sweden: Oh, you need to

own a cat and love cinnamon buns and

you need to celebrate Christmas, otherwise

you’re not Swedish and you don’t love our

culture. And I want to say, I can be Swedish

in any way I want, as I can be Georgian

in any way I want. There are Georgians

telling me that I’m not a real Georgian

too, and that’s not up to anybody else to

decide. I feel like a lot of us have left that

conversation to the crazy bigots and let

them hijack that. And I want to be like,

no, I’m taking it back. I am proud to be

Swedish, I’m going to hang the Swedish

flag, and I’m gonna talk about what it

really means to be Swedish. Because what

it really means to be Swedish is to be open

and curious. And I think that conversation

can probably be had here in America too,

from what I understand.”

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Ad.indd 2

10/29/19 11:07 AM


TECHNOLOGY

2020 CINEMA TECH PREVIEW

A SURVEY OF THE YEAR’S COMING INNOVATIONS

by Rob Rinderman

>> Taking a closer look at what’s new and notable in cinema technology, Boxoffice

Pro checked in with some of the global industry leaders to discover the

latest enhancements moviegoers will be encountering and enjoying at their local

theaters in 2020 and beyond.

ANG LEE (seated, right)

CHRISTIE

Christie has been a fixture in the cinema business for more than 60 years,

including its introduction of the first digital projection technology to theaters.

Fast forwarding to 2020, the organization is continuing to look to the future

with laser projection that offers lower cost, higher brightness, and higher ROI

for exhibitors.

Launching this year is the new Christie CP4450-RGB for PLF (premium

large format). It is the first cinema projector to play back 4K content at a high

frame rate of 120fps (frames per second). Put two units side by side, like the

Cinity (also see below) built for Huaxia Film Distribution in partnership with

GDC Technologies and RealD, and you have the world’s first dual-RGB laser

projection system to display a new advanced cinema format meeting the aforementioned

state-of-the-art standards in 3-D, with over 82,000 lumens at an

unprecedented 6000:1 contrast.

The system was installed in the U.S. for the debut of Paramount Pictures’

and director Ang Lee’s release of Gemini Man at the TCL Chinese Theatre in

Los Angeles. The CP4450-RGB, which previewed at CineEurope, also features

high-speed CineLife+ electronics and RealLaser illumination and includes

modern inputs such as 12G-SDI and HDMI 2.0.

CINIONIC

Cinionic continues its mission to

move the cinema industry forward and

help drive the equipment renewal wave

currently happening worldwide. Solutions

such as its Barco Series 4 laser projectors,

which debuted during Cinema-

Con 2019, are helping exhibitors further

enhance the entertainment experience

for the benefit of global cinemagoers,

while simultaneously providing advanced

service solutions for the theater-owner

community.

In late November, on the heels of a

series of announced collaborations with

Muvi, Cineplexx, Cineworld, Miraj, and

National Amusements, the company announced

a new strategic relationship with

Les Cinémas Pathé Gaumont. According

to the agreement, Cinionic will bring

its all-laser solutions to the European

exhibitor with install plans for more than

200 Barco Series 4 laser projectors at new

builds located in France and Africa.

According to Serge Plasch, Cinionic’s

chief commercial officer, “Our strategic

relationships with key exhibitors such as

Les Cinémas Pathé Gaumont allow us

to continue raising the bar for audiences

around the world, so anyone, anywhere

can have the best moviegoing experience.”

DOLBY

Dolby continues to reach global audiences

with its cinema products and Dolby

Cinema premium offerings, currently up

to nearly 240 locations. The first cinemas

in the U.K., Japan, Germany, and Kuwait

opened in the last year, and a recent new

partnership with Kino OKKO brings

Dolby Cinema to Russia, giving it a

presence in seven of the top 10 global box

office markets.

Dolby also has had several products

and updated features roll out over the

recent 12-month period. Its cinema processor

CP950 is designed with more of

the capabilities that streamline exhibitor

partners’ operations. The processor is

flexible, modular, and provides a cost-ef-

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ficient solution for installing Dolby 5.1

and Dolby 7.1 surround.

The integrated media server IMS3000

provides movie theater partners with

a robust feature set, flexible storage

options, and an exclusive scalable design,

integrating with Dolby 5.1, 7.1, or Dolby

Atmos via license. Now offered with

audio processing disabled, the IMS3000

can also be paired with any external

processor such as the Dolby CP950,

Dolby CP850, or activate the internal

audio processor. Additionally, a specific

IMS3000 model is now being offered for

cinema LED wall applications.

GDC

The Cinity System integrates

GDC’s SR-6400C (its

sixth-generation digital cinema

media server). It was designed

with goals of near-zero maintenance

and a minimal TCO

(total cost of ownership), two

appealing characteristics for movie

theater owners and operators worldwide.

It is capable of playing content up to

4K@120fps and for the first time ever,

4K@240fps in 3-D mode.

First introduced at CinemaCon

2018, GoGoCinema powered by GDC

Technology has successfully launched in

Singapore and Shanghai, with filmgoers

purchasing thousands of tickets to date

in both markets. It represents the first

on-demand platform in the cinema industry

to bring audience, exhibitors, and

content distributors together.

For the audience, this innovative

platform provides convenience and

choice of what to watch, when to watch,

and where to watch (but big screen,

of course, as the filmmaker intended).

Moviegoers can easily organize private

and crowdsourced screenings from a

large variety of new and library titles. For

exhibitors and distributors, GoGoCinema

is designed to facilitate increased

occupancy and integrate seamlessly with

existing cinema systems, requiring minimal

operational intervention.

QSC

For more than half a century, QSC

has specialized in designing, engineering,

and manufacturing high-performance

loudspeakers, digital mixers, power amplifiers,

audio processors, digital cinema

solutions, and the Q-SYS software-based

audio, video, and control platform.

The organization offers reliable,

scalable and flexible solutions. As cinemas

have gravitated from single screens to

multiplexes, exhibitors have sought ways

to consolidate operations and

deploy fewer resources to manage

more screens and larger footprints.

Q-SYS offers a complete,

software-driven technology open

ecosystem that is scalable and

flexible for audio, video, and

control of peripheral components,

including QSC products, as well

as many devices and systems beyond the

QSC product catalogue. For cinema, it

primarily provides control and monitoring

of many audio, video, and peripheral

devices, especially the core processor.

SONY

Sony’s biggest cinema initiative

right now is its launch and ongoing

expansion of Sony Digital Cinema, the

company’s experiential PLF auditorium

offering, comprising Sony’s immersive,

dual-laser projection system, complemented

by powerful sound and luxury

reclining seats.

“We turned to Sony, a company

known for quality and excellence, to

create a first-of-its-kind Sony Digital

Cinema auditorium that is sure to make

our Boulevard Mall (Las Vegas) location

a destination for those seeking the best

cinematic experience on every level,” said

Rafe Cohen, president of Galaxy Theatres.

This venue served as a proof-of-concept

for Sony, and they are in discussions

for additional locations with both Galaxy

and other exhibitors.

Sony’s PLF effort, highlighted by its

high-brightness projectors, complements

the rest of its business as it continues

to sell the SRX lineup of 4K

laser projectors to Alamo

Drafthouse and Star Cinema

Grill, among others. Sony is

immersed in many facets of

the entertainment business

and is well suited to touch

every aspect of the capture to

display chain, providing a total end-toend

solution.

XPERI

Nasdaq-listed Xperi Corporation is

parent company to a wide array of technology-focused

brands including DTS:X,

which serves the international cinema

market. Principally in the U.S., China,

and Europe, its focus is on delivering immersive

sound solutions. Counted among

its many worldwide exhibitor partners are

AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas, Schulman

Theatres, and Cinépolis.

Noteworthy recent theatrical releases

featuring DTS:X include a couple

earmarked especially for the local

Chinese market: Disney’s Frozen II and

Asian crime thriller Bloody Daisy.

Ford v Ferrari from 20th Century

Fox and Lionsgate’s Midway, which is

based on actual events that occurred

during WWII in the Pacific Theater,

also benefited from the DTS:X brand of

cutting-edge, in-theater sound systems

that make the action on the big screen

more realistic for appreciative auditorium

audiences.

JANUARY 2020

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TECHNOLOGY

ICE ICE

BABY

ICE THEATERS DEBUTS

IN HOLLYWOOD

by Vassiliki Malouchou

> A snowstorm took Los Angelenos by

surprise the first week of December.

Down at the Regal L.A. Live a different

kind of ice was taking over. With ice

sculptures, an ice bar, and Vanilla Ice

playing, the tone was surely set. ICE

(Immersive Cinema Experience) Theaters,

a new PLF offering developed by

French circuit CGR Cinémas, debuted its

international expansion with the inauguration

of its first auditorium at the Regal

L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles on

December 3 in partnership with AEG,

the sports and entertainment company

behind L.A Live.

“It’s the beginning of a very beautiful

story,” said Jocelyn Bouyssy, managing

director of CGR Cinémas, at the launch

event. “It’s an honor for us to be here in

Hollywood, and it’s a childhood dream

come true for me. Our international

expansion begins tomorrow with this

historic step for ICE.”

Speaking to Boxoffice Pro, David

Scantamburlo, marketing director

at CGR, explained, “The story of ICE

Theaters began with the idea of offering

the audience a more exciting experience,

the ultimate sensorial experience. CGR

always wanted to be a step further. It all

began in France, and now we’re in the

United States. There were a lot of hurdles,

but to be able to export our technology

here is a dream come true. It’s a French

success story.”

Executives from all the major Hollywood

studios were in attendance at

the launch event. The guests watched a

presentation by Bouyssy and Shelby Russel,

SVP L.A. Live marketing and L.A.

Live cinemas at AEG, as well as multiple

David Baudry, director of programming at CGR Cinemas; Franck Gastambide, actor-director; Mark Viane, president,

international theatrical distribution at Paramount; and Helen Moss, SVP international distribution at Paramount

trailers and movie clips developed in the

ICE format.

The French actor-director Franck

Gastambide was on hand at the launch.

Gastambide, who collaborated

with ICE Theaters for

his action-comedy

Taxi 5, described

his interest in

the format:

“If I’m here

today, it is

truly because

I believe that

making the

movie theater

more attractive

is a mutual task

for exhibitors and

creators. Filmmakers,

be it directors or writers,

need to work with exhibitors

who are also looking for more innovative

technologies. Knowing that my movie

could be projected in such an auditorium

allows me to be more ambitious in my

future projects.”

Created in 2017, the ICE technology

offers a unique panoramic experience

thanks to non-reflecting LED panels on

each side of the auditorium that target

the moviegoer’s peripheral vision. This

ambient content is created at CGR’s

headquarters in the coastal French city

of La Rochelle by an in-house post-production

team. To provide a premium

experience, the auditorium also features

recliners, a Dolby Atmos studio configuration,

and RGB laser projection.

The concept has had success

in its home country.

With 35 locations in

France, ICE leads

the country’s PLF

market both

in admissions

and number

of theaters.

According to

CGR, in 2019

ICE auditoriums

had double

the occupancy

rate of similar

standard auditoriums

and double the box office

revenues compared to the national

CGR average. Twenty-nine feature

films were released in the format in 2019,

up from just 18 in 2018. Jumanji: The

Next Level was the first film to be shown

at the Regal L.A. Live.

The Regal at L.A. Live is just the first

step in the international adventures of

ICE Theaters. After Hollywood, the next

destination for the French group will

be Saudi Arabia and the United Arab

Emirates through a partnership with Vox

Cinemas to bring ICE to the Middle East

and North Africa.

50 JANUARY 2020

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DISTRIBUTOR PROFILE

NEON

SHINES

NEON’S 2019 SLATE

PROVED THE ART HOUSE

IS STILL A VIABLE FORCE

AT THE CINEMA

by Daniel Loria

>> Since its launch in 2017, Neon has

emerged as one of the most important

and eclectic theatrical distributors in

the country. After a particularly strong

2019 that saw the release of Bong Joon

Ho’s Parasite expand and reach over $20

million domestically, Neon became a

symbol of how the specialty market can

thrive at movie theaters—even in a time

of big studio tentpoles and competition

from streaming services. Boxoffice Pro

spoke with Neon’s head of distribution,

Elissa Federoff, ahead of Art House Convergence

to get a recap of the company’s

impressive 2019 in cinemas.

There have been a lot of questions

about the role of theatrical for

independent and specialty titles,

especially in this streaming era. Your

releases in 2019 have managed to

stay—and expand—in theaters through

successful runs. What importance does

theatrical hold for Neon? Can these

types of films continue to thrive in

cinemas in the coming years?

A movie theater is the best place for

cinema. It’s all-encompassing and communal,

and there aren’t many other places

where that kind of experience exists. We

have no distractions from the outside

world; it’s just us and the movie. It’s

singular and special and not something we

take for granted. Films like Parasite and

Portrait of a Lady on Fire are spectacular

feats of filmmaking. Director Bong’s Parasite

unfolds in the most exciting ways, and

to hear the thrill of the audience while

watching together is part of that magic.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a timeless and

singularly provocative love story. Writer/

director Céline Sciamma has created

something elegant and profound, boundless

in both its setting and its appeal across

broad audiences. Winning Best Screenplay

at Cannes and with a 98 percent

Rotten Tomatoes score, Portrait has played

in theaters across the country to standing

ovations and multiple jury awards. That

can’t be duplicated in our living rooms.

On a similar note, Neon has had

great success with documentaries in

theaters—not a particularly easy task.

Do you believe today’s audiences are

more open to watching documentaries

SO-DAM PARK & CHOI WOO-SHIK STAR IN PARASITE

in cinemas?

In the past several years some of the

best and most successful specialty releases

have been nonfiction, and I know it’s

because those films have been exceptional.

Audiences want to see unique

and cinematic stories told in fresh and

exciting ways. For example, Todd Miller’s

Apollo 11, a story we all know, but the

never-before-seen footage and the exhilarating

score make it like we’re watching

the launch for the very first time. We

premiered it out of Sundance and went

nationally on Imax screens before playing

for the next several months in multiplexes

and art theaters around the country. It’s

now at $16 million worldwide, and not

only is it an extraordinary piece of nonfiction

filmmaking, it’s a great movie, period.

Walk us through some of your 2019

slate—what was it about those

films that originally caught your

attention, and can you share with us

your approach to their release and

marketing?

Each film on our 2019 slate was

handpicked by our team. We love all the

films for different reasons, but together

they create a body of work for Neon that

makes total sense. Each film at Neon gets

a tailor-made, bespoke campaign that best

suits it. For example, Honeyland opened

on two screens in July and held steady for

months in a few highly curated theaters as

a way to maximize the discovery aspect of

the film. Monos is phenomenal and made

by an exciting new voice in filmmaking,

Alejandro Landes. He did Q&As in cities

across the country, because after people

fell in love with watching his film in the

theater, they all had a great thirst for the

details of his process. We finished the year

with Clemency, which won the Grand

Jury Prize for Dramatic Filmmaking

at Sundance. It combines a career-best

performance by Alfre Woodard with an

eloquent, new voice in film, Chinonye

Chukwu. The subject matter is important

and will strike much-needed conversation,

but the beauty of Chukwu’s filmmaking

is what we continually see reviewers and

audiences responding to.

JANUARY 2020

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BOXOFFICE PRO: A CENTURY IN EXHIBITION

INTRODUCING

A CENTURY IN EXHIBITION

> 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of

Boxoffice Pro. Though the publication you hold in your

hands has had different owners, headquarters, and even

names—it was founded in Kansas City by 18-year-old Ben

Shlyen as The Reel Journal, then called Boxoffice in 1933

and, more recently, Boxoffice Pro—it has always remained

committed to theatrical exhibition.

From the 1920s to the 2020s, Boxoffice Pro has always

had one goal: to provide knowledge and insight to those

who bring movies to the public. Radio, TV, home video, and

streaming have all been perceived as threats to the theatrical

exhibition industry over the years, but movie theaters

are still here—and so are we.

We at Boxoffice Pro are devotees of the exhibition

industry, so we couldn’t resist the excuse of a centennial to

explore our archives. What we found was not just the story

of a magazine, but the story of an industry—the debates,

the innovations, the concerns, and above all the beloved

movies. We’ll share our findings in our year-long series, “A

Century in Exhibition.”

We start the series with the 1920s, specifically 1925,

which is when reporting on this newfangled thing called

“synchronized sound” began to appear. Also affecting the

industry in the roaring ’20s—and written about extensively

in the pages of The Reel Journal and its companion regional

publications—were a construction boom and consolidation.

All three of these things—consolidation, adoption

of new-fangled amenities, and the development of new

technology—reverberate through the years and continue to

affect our industry to this day. –Rebecca Pahle

52

JANUARY 2020


TALKING PICTURES ARE HERE TO STAY

No technological innovation has shaken the

industry like the introduction of sound. When

Western Electric and Warner Bros. developed the

Vitaphone, the first successful sound-on-disc technology,

in 1926, it forever changed the way movies

are made.

The first-ever mention of sound in the pages of

Boxoffice Pro, then called e Reel Journal, was

in August 1926 with the world premiere of John

Barrymore’s Don Juan. The Warner Bros. drama

became the first publicly shown “talkie,” with

prerecorded sound effects replacing the live music

(orchestra or organ) that had accompanied most

major releases up to that point. Nearly half the

premiere was devoted to explaining the intricacies

of the Vitaphone to the fascinated, if somewhat

skeptical, audience.

As similar technologies for synchronizing sound

and image, like Fox’s Movietone, stormed the market,

there was a “talkie frenzy” that led to

skyrocket-ing film production and attendance.

The Boxoffice Pro archives provide an interesting

glimpse into how the transition to sound was

viewed as it was happening. We see the optimism

and enthusiasm of the early days as well as the

uncertainty. Are talkies here to stay or just a phase?

Will the production requirements of sound degrade

the quality of films? How will censorship adapt to

an increase in dialogue?

But no other debate captivated exhibitors

more than the one discussed in owner/editor

Ben Shlyen’s article on November 10, 1928.

How will smaller exhibitors who can’t afford to

install sound equipment be impacted? Shlyen understood

that, in time, as costs decreased, smaller

exhibitors would also reap the benefits of sound.

Until then, he believed that their success depended

on quality silent features and above all on the

“right kind of showmanship.”

As one of our writers observed, “The motion

picture was reborn again in 1928. The infant

industry learned to talk.” With an announcement

in November by the Electrical Research Laboratories

and Western Electric allowing producers to

choose different companies to record and project

sound, the popularity of talkies exploded further.

Paramount became the first studio to drop the

production of silent films entirely, followed by Fox

in March 1929. Talkies were here to stay.

Amid the talkie boom, Joseph Schenck, president

of United Artists, warned against a blind

belief that talkies would obliterate silent pictures.

“It is important to remember that the picture is

still the foundation of screen entertainment and

sound only an accessory,” he proclaimed. He was

also afraid that dialogue would ruin the international

appeal of American pictures. History would

prove him wrong twice. But Schenck was not the

only one to raise questions about the durability

of talkies. Sam Sax, president of Gotham Productions,

wrote that “the picture made the motion

picture theater popular,” while sound was transitory

and an accessory at best. In March 1929, a

questionnaire asked exhibitors if silent films were

still considered a good bet at the box office. The

results were an overwhelming yes.

The sheer cost of installing sound equipment

and buying prints of talkies left most small

exhibitors outside the initial wave of sound hype.

SEPTEMBER 26, 1925

JANUARY 2020

53


OCTOBER 16, 1926

More and more articles, especially after 1929,

denounced how the move to sound disproportionately

benefited either movie palaces or theaters that

were producer-owned or located in major markets.

Sometimes producers offered two versions of

their films, one with sound and one without, but

exhibitors often complained about the bad quality

of the latter and preferred to only buy original

silent features. By August 1929, a Boxoffice Pro

survey showed that 25 percent of all theaters were

wired for sound and that those theaters captured 75

percent of all revenue. An estimated $1 million was

invested in equipping theaters with sound by the

end of the decade.

THE THEATER CONSTRUCTION BOOM

After World War I, feature films consolidated

their position as the most popular form of mass

entertainment, eclipsing vaudeville houses and

nickelodeons. With this came an explosion in movie

theater construction. In 1925 alone, according to

our archives, some 15,000 theaters were built, more

than in any other year up to that point.

This was a period of business innovation. Powerful

regional chains such as Loew’s (later Loews),

which started in New York City as a vaudeville

company; the Pennsylvania-based Stanley Company

of America; and, biggest of all, Chicago’s Balaban

& Katz used innovations from the retail world,

copying the likes of Kroger and A&P to create a

“scientific form of management,” enabling them to

capture vast swaths of regional markets.

Throughout the 1920s, Associated Publications,

the corporate entity formed by Shlyen in

1925 to group The Reel Journal with other regional

publications that he had acquired, chronicled that

boom. Multiple issues of the various Associated

Publications magazines featured detailed profiles on

the construction of new movie houses and movie

palaces. A dedicated section, Kino Equipment, provided

exhibitors with tips on all things equipment.

Meanwhile, ads presented exhibitors with their

choice of lighting fixtures, chairs, marquees and, of

course, projectors.

This decade was one of profound architectural

changes. It saw the birth of what would subsequently

be regarded as a moviegoing necessity: the

air-conditioned theater. The first of these was built

in 1922. Countless ads promoting the best A.C.

system followed.

The late ’20s also saw a peak in the construction

of movie palaces, hundreds of which opened their

doors during this time. Meant to attract the upper

class, which scorned regular theaters in favor of

luxurious vaudeville houses and traditional stage

theaters, movie palaces were designed to make

their audiences feel like royalty. Mostly built in city

centers, these “de luxe” theaters boasted extravagant

architecture, stage shows, and orchestras in addition

to first-run films.

Shlyen, while not against improvements in a

general sense, opposed this “theater orgy.” He saw

this construction boom as vanity that did not serve

a practical purpose. “One is attempting to outdo

the other, not by clear reasoning, not by practical

purpose, but by seeing how much more money he

can spend than the other,” he proclaimed. Once

again, Shlyen had the fate of the small exhibitor in

mind. How could independent exhibitors remain

in business when newer, bigger, and better movie

houses took over their towns?

Regional chains grew throughout the first half

of the decade, after which studios began to engage

in more monopolistic behavior. In 1925, the largest

54 JANUARY 2020


theater chain, Balaban & Katz, was acquired by

Hollywood’s largest studio, Famous Players-Lasky.

In April of that same year, Carl Laemmle’s Universal

Pictures announced its acquisition of the Hostettler

Circuit, an important Kansas City player. And so

the race to acquire movie theaters began.

Even in 1925, Associated Publications foresaw

the risks this posed for the industry. In an article

on that May’s Motion Picture Theatres of America

convention, Shlyen proclaimed, “If this industry is

to grow and prosper, a safety valve must be maintained.

The co-operation pledged by the exhibitors

and the independents for one another can keep

down the monopoly.”

Things didn’t happen quite that smoothly. The

“majors” kept buying theaters, unabated. In 1928,

Warner Bros. purchased the Skouras Bros. operation—which

dominated the Kansas area with

four first-run Koplar theaters, the First National

franchise, the local Educational Branch, and the St.

Louis Film Exchange—and theaters owned by the

Stanley Company in Pennsylvania. In 1929, Fox’s

acquisitions essentially eliminated independents

in the greater New York area. The same year, RKO

formed an alliance with Famous Players Canadian

while seeking to expand its theater ownership by

acquiring 14 Pantages houses.

Now small theaters weren’t just suffering from

the high cost of the transition to sound and the

pressure to keep up with regional chains through

pricey architectural innovations; they also had to

face the prospect of being acquired or put out of

business because of the monopolistic behavior of

the film studios.

Another threat to exhibitors was the practice of

block booking, under which studios would force

theaters, especially independents, to buy their

films in “blocks”; if they wanted that weekend’s big

earner, they would have to take several other, less

desirable, films as well.

The twin issues of consolidation and block

booking caught the attention of the U.S. Department

of Justice. The first antitrust investigation was

launched as far back as 1921, when Famous Players-Lasky

was charged by the Federal Trade Commission

for block booking. In April 1928, the Department

of Justice filed two antitrust cases against

10 studios—Paramount, Famous Players-Lasky,

First National, MGM, Universal Film Exchange,

Fox Film, Pathé Exchange, FBO, Vitagraph, and

Educational Film Exchanges—for monopolizing

more than 95 percent of domestic distribution. A

year later, nine of those studios were also indicted

for violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Legal

battles went on for more than two decades before

studios were ordered to divest their theaters.

Needless to say, the issues of block booking and

consolidation were discussed in practically every

issue of the magazine, continuing to make headlines

well into the 1940s. Shlyen initially expressed

confidence that independent exhibitors were going

to be just fine. He believed that studios would not

acquire small, independent theaters outside major

markets. His position soon changed, and after 1926

he began denouncing the behavior of the studios.

At the same time, he believed that exhibitors could

stave off obsolescence through innovation. In December

1926, Shlyen wrote, “This so-called menace

may prove a boon to many exhibitors who have

failed to heed duty by neglecting to build up their

business, improve their service, and otherwise cater

to public demands. But the awakening is here. The

future of the independent exhibitor’s future lies in

his own hands.” –Vassiliki Malouchou

SEPTEMBER 4, 1926

JANUARY 2020

55


EVENT CINEMA

BERNADETTE MCCABE

RIGOLETTO ON THE

LAKE

Giuseppe Verdi’s

masterpiece performed

on the magnificent

Bregenz Lake stage

LIVING THE

CINELIFE

BERNADETTE MCCABE

SPEARHEADS CINELIFE

ENTERTAINMENT AS IT

ENTERS ITS THIRD YEAR

>> Bernadette McCabe, an industry veteran,

began 2019 considering the next challenge she

wanted to take on. Her career in exhibitor relations

had produced a strong network of contacts and

deep industry ties across circuits and independent

theaters, so McCabe set her sights on event cinema

as an ideal opportunity to be part of the industry’s

next big trend.

“I felt there were a lot of opportunities to bring

new ideas and concepts to event cinema and the

art house environment,” McCabe tells Boxoffice

Pro. That is particularly true in the North American

market, where the number of event cinema

distributors and screenings has grown considerably

in recent years. Spotlight Cinema Networks, which

specializes in cinema advertising for a national

network of art house and luxury cinemas, launched

its own event cinema division, CineLife Entertainment,

in December 2017 to serve as an additional

method of support to the theaters within their

network and beyond.

Already familiar with the company and its

leadership, McCabe decided to join the team in

May 2019 as executive vice president of CineLife

Entertainment. In that role, McCabe is leading the

strategy and development for CineLife Entertainment

and its accompanying digital assets. “This is a

great opportunity to be back with people I respect

and have known for years, at a point when audience

demands are increasing for the type of quality

of content we specialize in.”

That content has proved to be especially

valuable as tentpole culture has taken over

Hollywood. With major franchises claiming a

large share of show times at cinemas across the

country, exhibitors have expressed growing concerns

about content availability and diversity in

programming. Event cinema is a sector uniquely

positioned to help address this need. While U.S.

box office data isn’t currently available, the Event

Cinema Association reports that 2019 became

the sector’s highest-grossing year in the U.K. and

Ireland. That foreign market provides a blueprint

for event cinema’s potential in the U.S., going

from £32.8 million in 2016 to over £42 million

by October of 2019.

Spotlight’s initial approach to event programming

could be best described as “flexible,” gauging

viewer demand according to specific markets and

demographics. Everything from anime to musical

theater, classic films, and unique film events has

appeared on its screens.

In 2019, CineLife Entertainment focused on

advancing its presence in the marketplace and developing

long-term partnerships with key content

providers worldwide. “Our exhibitor partners are

our most valued partners,” says Michael Sakin,

president of CineLife Entertainment. “We ventured

into event cinema to keep them gainful with

additional revenue streams, especially art houses.”

CineLife Entertainment enters 2020 with plans

to release at least a dozen titles already booked

for the year, in key categories including the arts,

music, and documentaries. McCabe will also

launch some new series in early 2020, with the

expectation that these series can build audiences

year upon year. “We found there was a void in

providing quality content, from all over the globe,

to these venues,” says Sakin. “CineLife Entertainment

is committed to filling this void and delivering

high-quality cinema content and events to

these audiences. Indie film distributors are always

looking for companies to work with that will nurture

this type of quality content and bring it to the

audiences it will resonate with the most.”

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PART 8

IN THE

SERIES

TOP WOMEN

IN GLOBAL

EXHIBITION

EDITED BY REBECCA PAHLE

In 2019, Boxoffice Pro partnered with Celluloid Junkie to present the fourthannual

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

issue. Throughout 2019 and early 2020, Boxoffice Pro continues to honor the

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

series of in-depth profiles.

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KARO

OLGA ZINYAKOVA

PRESIDENT

>> Since its founding in 1997, Russian cinema

chain Karo has been a standard-bearer in the

industry. With Olga Zinyakova at its head, the

chain has become one of the most high-tech in

Russia. Zinyakova headed up Karo’s marketing

and advertising efforts before being promoted to

president in 2017. The chain currently boasts 250

screens at 30 locations in eight Russian cities.

The last few years have seen steady growth

in the Russian box office. How has 2019 been

shaping up?

It’s true that the Russian film market has been

growing for the last several years and, in 2017,

was the leader among all European countries in

terms of cinema attendance. 2018 was tough for

the Russian industry due to the World Cup disrupting

summer box office. But as for Karo, [we]

have shown sustainable growth in attendance

over the last three years, and in 2019 we are set

to break our box office and admission records.

Comparing 2019 to 2017, we’ll see a 14 percent

growth in box office and an 18 percent growth in

attendance, driven by our business strategy of focusing

on innovations and consumer experience.

As far as premium amenities are concerned,

in some markets the focus is on finding an

affordable and accessible price point for the

largest number of people. In some other

markets—I’m thinking of the Middle East—the

trend is to make it as exclusive and VIP as

possible. Where does Russia fall on this spectrum?

The Russian film industry is quite young, and

it’s still in search of its own path. We at Karo are

determined to concentrate on consumer preferences

and are trying to reach different audiences

while staying focused on the quality of service and

technological innovations for every patron.

We have a lot of specially developed offers, like

discounted pricing for students and pensioners and

a separate program for families, which is available

with animated films and family movies. We also

have a discount for movies that have been in cinemas

for two weeks or more. Recently we launched

a loyalty program that is specially designed in

accordance with our patrons’ preferences and gives

a lot of discounts and bonuses.

At the same time, most of our theaters are

equipped with VIP halls called Karo Black. They

have luxurious seats, individual design, and

at-your-seat dining service. All this gives a real firstclass

experience for the most sophisticated guests.

We are trying to combine different offers for

various audiences in one venue. We have seen that

very large multiplexes are what modern consumers

want. These provide consumers with choice. It is

not unusual for a family to come to a 17-screen

cinema, and each family member goes to see a

different movie. We know from our research that

people in Russia come to the cinema to see a new

movie in an environment that cannot be replicated

in the home. This means that a successful modern

cinema should be a large multiplex with big

sound systems and comfortable seating that caters

to a multitude of consumer movie tastes with a

big-screen experience. Otherwise, the cinemas will

always compete against in-home entertainment,

where large-screen, high-definition TVs are becoming

more and more the norm all over the world.

OLGA ZINYAKOVA

JANUARY 2020

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TOP WOMEN IN GLOBAL EXHIBITION

ГРОМКАЯ СВЯЗb

Loudspeaker Mode is

a remake of the 2016

Italian film Perfect

Strangers (2016)

What is it that initially made you want to join the

film exhibition industry in 2013?

The opportunity to work with people. I had

quite a lot of experience in film promotion as well

as event organization. But I hadn’t seen the result of

what I was doing. Cinema is a great industry. It is

entertainment and retail at the same time. So you

should be business-oriented and consumer-oriented

at the same time. This is what I was always about

as a marketing person. I was also super lucky to

become a part of Paul Heth’s team. They believed in

me, and I had a promotion in a few years.

Do you have a favorite among Karo’s theaters?

I think that our best cinemas are the cinemas for

the new generation, which established a new standard

for the film exhibition industry. But our team

is doing absolutely fantastic things and bring great

results even in small locations, which is much harder

to do. Theater directors are the number one people

in our company.

What have been the highest-grossing local films

for you so far in 2019? [Note: This interview was

conducted in late October.]

This year, the box office leaders in Russia are

across different genres: the patriotic war movie

T-34; the comedy Громкая связь (Loudspeaker

Mode); a local remake of Italian hit Perfetti sconosciuti;

the comedy Бабушка легкого поведения.

Престарелые мстители (Grandma of Easy Virtue.

Old Avengers); an action comedy Миллиард (Billion);

and the drama Текст (Text), a screen adaptation

of a Russian best seller that showed surprising

box office results for such a complex social drama.

Who have some of your mentors been in

this business?

Paul Heth, who developed an exhibition

business in Russia and brought high standards to

our country. He has a great energy and great ideas,

which we make a reality in the Russian market.

What’s your proudest achievement from your

time so far at Karo?

Over the last few years we significantly changed

our repertoire and consumer approach. We also

implemented new technologies, focusing on innovation.

That includes our market-leading “u-choose”

bars, offering self-service snacks, healthy food,

and a kids’ menu—all in all, up to 300 items. The

introduction of these new format cinema bars was

followed by a period of serious business growth,

setting us apart from the stagnation experienced by

our competitors.

Then, we engaged in overall digitization of the

60 JANUARY 2020

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ticketing experience via in-theater ticketing kiosks.

This also optimized our staffing and online F&B

sales. We are especially proud of our alternative

content program, Karo.Art. Since its launch in

2016, the project’s box office and attendance have

gotten four and a half times bigger. Today, smart,

intellectual movies—as well as movies screened

in their original language and TV premieres, such

as “Game of Thrones”—are associated with Karo.

Together with Karo.Art partners, we set a trend that

has led to growing popularity of alternative cinema

content, which is a great step in the development of

the entire film industry in Russia.

Also, in the beginning of 2019, Karo finished

the renovation of Russia’s premier cinema venue,

the Oktyabr cinema. Today it is the venue where all

significant cinema industry events are held. Oktyabr

hosts the biggest “u-choose” bar in Russia, plus several

restaurant concepts, a museum, a music studio,

a comic book store, and coffee bars.

How would you evaluate the progress women

have made in the exhibition business in Russia in

recent years?

When I joined the exhibition business, I was one

of three women in top-level management in Europe.

When we met at a UNIC conference, there were

just a few of us. Today, we see that almost 50 percent

of company leaders are women. In Karo, currently,

we have the same situation. But I have never divided

people on a gender basis or even thought about it.

For example H.R., which is thought of as being a

woman’s job, is managed by a young man. And he

does his job fantastically. He is developing high-tech

instruments to work with a quite young personnel.

At the same time, one of our best technical people

in cinema mechanics is a woman. There are no more

traditional “women’s” or “men’s” jobs. What is good

is a balance. Diversity of experiences always helps

businesses be flexible and work fast.

What was the most important lesson you learned

when you joined the film exhibition industry?

1. Do what you believe in and keep on pushing

until you get what you need. Persistence and

patience are important.

2. Work only with true partners, those you can

go through good and bad times with. One bad rent

deal can seriously hurt your business.

3. People are very smart. So don’t lie to your

team, partners, or guests.

CINEPAX

MARIAM EL BACHA

CEO

>> Mariam El Bacha’s career may have started in her

native Argentina, where she opened multiplexes for

Village Cines, but her story since has been a globetrotting

journey. The executive’s career has taken her to

multiple international markets, including the United

Kingdom (Vue Cinemas), Australia (Village Cinemas),

Vietnam (MegaStar Cineplexes, later acquired by CJ

CGV), and Malaysia (MBO Cinemas). Since 2018,

she’s served as the CEO of Cinepax, the largest theater

chain in Pakistan. Boxoffice Pro profiled El Bacha in

our February 2019 issue; you can read more about her

journey at http://bit.ly/2sPeB9G.

HELIOS

KATARZYNA BORKOWSKA

COO

>> From just one cinema to a chain of 47 multiplexes

in 40 cities—Katarzyna Borkowska has seen it all, as

she has been part of Helios’s steady growth for over 20

years. The last decade has seen her serve as the chain’s

COO and vice president of the management board.

Borkowska ensures smooth operation of all multiplexes

and plays a vital role in cinema management. She is also

responsible for personnel, employment structure, and

staff training. She runs Helios’s gastronomy division

and investments and administration departments.

Her domain is day-to-day operations, and fast decision-making

is her strongest suit.

CINEMA CITI

LUBOV LISOVSKAYA

CEO

>> Lubov Lisovskaya is the president of the

Ukrainian Exhibition Association and the CEO of

Cinema Citi, one of the most popular cinema chains

in Ukraine. Lubov’s role was crucial in uniting key

players in the country under one roof and establishing

the association in 2016, which accounts at the moment

for half of the cinema market share in Ukraine.

Her passion for the big screen is reflected in her

commitment to protecting the rights and interests of

exhibitors in Ukraine as well as in her urge to reform

the Ukrainian cinema business.

JANUARY 2020

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LONG-RANGE FORECAST BY SHAWN ROBBINS

COMING ATTRACTIONS

UPCOMING RELEASES WITH BREAKOUT POTENTIAL

ONWARD Tom Holland and Chris Pratt voice the Lightfoot brothers, two elves on a quest to discover if there is still magic in the world.

BIRDS OF PREY

Feb. 7 | Warner Bros.

Margot Robbie’s return as Harley Quinn is highly anticipat-ed

by fans, and as the first comic book tentpole of 2020, it could

perform very well. Time will tell whether the film rides the

coattails of D.C.’s successes or continues the trend of its spotty

recent history.

THE PHOTOGRAPH

Feb. 14 | Universal

Although not much information is available yet, producer Will

Packer has a solid track record at the box office that makes us

fairly confident this could go on to generate healthy returns

over Valentine’s weekend.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

Feb. 14 | Paramount

The studio’s response to criticism of the character’s appearance,

as well as the quality of the latest trailer, has boosted confidence

that the movie could play well among fans of the franchise and

today’s younger audiences.

THE INVISIBLE MAN

Feb. 28 | Universal

Starring Elisabeth Moss, and coming from Blumhouse and

director Leigh Whannell, The Invisible Man offers plenty of optimism.

The first trailer’s high production value indicates what

could be a solid horror genre hit for early in the year.

ONWARD

Mar. 6 | Disney / Pixar

Pixar’s next original film will be its first to open outside the

summer and holiday seasons. The first trailer has raised our

expectations significantly, especially given the lack of direct

competition next spring.

THE WAY BACK

Mar. 6 | Warner Bros.

This inspirational sports-drama starring Ben Affleck as a

basketball coach on the road to addiction recovery could be

one to watch.

CALL OF THE WILD

Feb. 21 | Disney / Fox

This live-action revamp of the classic novel could be a modest

success for Harrison Ford, with an encouraging trailer thus far.

62 JANUARY 2020

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WIDE RELEASES

THE RHYTHM SECTION

JAN. 31 / PARAMOUNT

Blake Lively stars as Stephanie Patrick, an ordinary

woman on a path of self-destruction after

her family is tragically killed in a plane crash.

When Stephanie discovers that the crash was not

an accident, she enters a dark, complex world to

seek revenge on those responsible and find her

own redemption.

CAST BLAKE LIVELY, JUDE LAW, STERLING K.

BROWN, DANIEL MAYS, MAX CASELLA DIR REED

MORANO RATING TBA RUNNING TIME TBA

SCAN PAGE WITH THE FUZE VIEWER

MARGOT ROBBIE

BIRDS OF PREY (AND

THE FANTABULOUS

EMANCIPATION OF ONE

HARLEY QUINN)

FEB. 7 / WARNER BROS.

After splitting with the Joker, Harley

Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary

and Huntress, to save a young girl from

an evil crime lord.

CAST MARGOT ROBBIE, MARY

ELIZABETH WINSTEAD, EWAN

MCGREGOR, JURNEE SMOLLETT-BELL,

ROSIE PÉREZ, CHRIS MESSINA, ALI WONG

DIR CATHY YAN RATING R

RUNNING TIME TBA

64 JANUARY 2020


SCAN PAGE WITH THE FUZE VIEWER

JIM CARREY

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

FEB. 14 / PARAMOUNT

This live-action adventure-comedy based on the global blockbuster

video game franchise from Sega centers on the infamously

brash, bright blue hedgehog. The film follows the (mis)

adventures of Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) as he navigates

the complexities of life on Earth with his newfound human

best friend, Tom Wachowski (James Marsden). Sonic and Tom

join forces to try to stop the villainous Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey)

from capturing Sonic and using his immense powers for

world domination.

CAST JAMES MARSDEN, JIM CARREY, BEN SCHWARTZ, TIKA

SUMPTER, NEAL MCDONOUGH, ADAM PALLY DIR JEFF FOWLER

RATING TBA RUNNING TIME 100 MIN.

FANTASY ISLAND

FEB. 14 / SONY-COLUMBIA

In Blumhouse’s new spin on the TV

series “Fantasy Island,” the enigmatic

Mr. Roarke makes the secret dreams of

his lucky guests come true at a luxurious

but remote tropical resort. But when the

fantasies turn into nightmares, the guests

have to solve the island’s mystery in order

to escape with their lives.

CAST MICHAEL PEÑA, LUCY HALE, MAGGIE

Q, PORTIA DOUBLEDAY, MICHAEL ROOKER,

AUSTIN STOWELL, JIMMY O. YANG, RYAN

HANSEN DIR JEFF WADLOW RATING TBA

RUNNING TIME TBA

THE PHOTOGRAPH

FEB. 14 / UNIVERSAL

When famed photographer Christina

Eames unexpectedly dies, she leaves her

estranged daughter Mae Morton (Issa

Rae) hurt, angry, and full of questions.

When a photograph tucked away in a

safe-deposit box is found, Mae finds

herself on a journey delving into her

mother’s early life and ignites a powerful,

unexpected romance with a rising-star

journalist (LaKeith Stanfield).

CAST ISSA RAE, LAKEITH STANFIELD,

CHANTÉ ADAMS, ROB MORGAN, JASMINE

CEPHAS JONES, COURTNEY B. VANCE,

CHELSEA PERETTI, KELVIN HARRISON JR.,

LIL REL HOWERY DIR STELLA MEGHIE

RATING PG-13 RUNNING TIME TBA

LAS PILDORAS DE MI

NOVIO (MY BOYFRIEND’S

MEDS)

FEB. 21 / LIONSGATE-PANTELION

A woman’s island getaway with her

boyfriend is thrown for a loop when he

forgets to take his prescription medications

along.

CAST SANDRA ECHEVERRÍA, JAIME CAMIL,

BROOKE SHIELDS, JASON ALEXANDER, LUIS

ARRIETA DIR DIEGO KAPLAN RATING TBA

RUNNING TIME TBA

BLOODSHOT

FEB. 21 / SONY-COLUMBIA

In this take on the best-selling comic

book, Vin Diesel stars as Ray Garrison,

a soldier recently killed in action and

brought back to life as the superhero

Bloodshot by the RST corporation. With

an army of nanotechnology in his veins,

he’s an unstoppable force—stronger than

ever and able to heal instantly. But in controlling

his body, the company has sway

over his mind and memories, too. Now,

Ray doesn’t know what’s real and what’s

not—but he’s on a mission to find out.

CAST VIN DIESEL, EIZA GONZÁLEZ, GUY

PEARCE, SAM HEUGHAN, TOBY KEBBELL

DIR DAVE WILSON RATING TBA RUNNING

TIME TBA

JANUARY 2020

65


ON SCREEN > MAJOR RELEASES

BRAHMS: THE BOY II

FEB. 21 / STX FILMS

Unaware of the terrifying history of

Heelshire Mansion, a young family moves

into a guest house on the estate where their

young son soon makes an unsettling new

friend, an eerily lifelike doll he calls Brahms.

Sequel to the 2016 horror hit The Boy.

CAST KATIE HOLMES, OWAIN YEOMAN,

RALPH INESON, CHRISTOPHER CONVERY,

OLIVER RICE DIR WILLIAM BRENT BELL

RATING PG-13 RUNNING TIME TBA

MIA GOTH AND ANYA TAYLOR-JOY

EMMA

FEB. 21 / FOCUS

Jane Austen’s beloved comedy about finding your equal

and earning your happy ending is reimagined in this

new film adaptation. Handsome, clever, and rich, Emma

Woodhouse is a restless queen bee without rivals in her

sleepy little town. In this satire of social class and the pain

of growing up, Emma must venture through misguided

matches and romantic missteps to find the love that has

been there all along.

CAST ANYA TAYLOR-JOY, JOHNNY FLYNN, BILL NIGHY, MIA

GOTH, MIRANDA HART, JOSH O’CONNOR, CALLUM TURNER,

RUPERT GRAVES, GEMMA WHELAN, AMBER ANDERSON DIR

AUTUMN DE WILDE RATING TBA RUNNING TIME TBA

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HARRISON FORD

THE CALL OF THE WILD

FEB. 21 / DISNEY-FOX

Adapted from the beloved literary classic, this film brings to

the screen the story of Buck, a big-hearted dog whose blissful

domestic life is turned upside down when he is suddenly

uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the

exotic wilds of the Alaskan Yukon during the Gold Rush of

the 1890s. As the newest rookie on a mail-delivery dog sled

team—and later its leader—Buck experiences the adventure

of a lifetime, ultimately finding his true place in the world

and becoming his own master.

CAST HARRISON FORD, DAN STEVENS, KAREN GILLAN, BRADLEY

WHITFORD, OMAR SY, JEAN LOUISA KELLY DIR CHRIS SANDERS

RATING TBA RUNNING TIME TBA

JANUARY 2020

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ON SCREEN > LIMITED RELEASES

SCAN PAGE WITH THE FUZE VIEWER

VASILISA PERELYGINA STARS IN BEANPOLE

BEANPOLE

JAN. 29 / KINO LORBER

In post-WWII Leningrad, two women,

Iya and Masha, intensely bonded after

fighting side by side as anti-aircraft

gunners, attempt to readjust to a haunted

world. Iya, long and slender and towering

over everyone—hence the film’s title—

works as a nurse in a damaged hospital,

presiding over traumatized soldiers. A

shocking accident brings the women

closer and also seals their fates. Russian

director Kantemir Balagov won Un Certain

Regard’s Best Director prize at the

2019 Cannes Film Festival.

CAST VIKTORIA MIROSHNICHENKO, VAS-

ILISA PERELYGINA, ANDREY BYKOV, IGOR

SHIROKOV, OLGA DRAGUNOVA, KONSTAN-

TIN BALAKIREV, KSENIA KUTEPOVA DIR

KANTEMIR BALAGOV RATING NOT RATED

RUNNING TIME 139 MIN.

THE ASSISTANT

JAN. 31 / BLEECKER STREET

The Assistant follows one day in the life

of Jane (Julia Garner), a recent college

graduate and aspiring film producer,

who has recently landed her dream job

as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment

mogul. As Jane follows her

daily routine, she, and we, grow increasingly

aware of the abuse that insidiously

colors every aspect of her work day, an

accumulation of degradations against

which she decides to take a stand, only

to discover the true depth of the system

into which she has entered.

CAST JULIA GARNER, MATTHEW

MACFADYEN, MAKENZIE LEIGH, KRISTINE

FROSETH DIR KITTY GREEN RATING TBA

RUNNING TIME 87 MIN.

GRETEL & HANSEL

JAN. 31 / UNITED ARTISTS

RELEASING

A long time ago in a distant fairytale

countryside, a young girl leads her little

brother into a dark wood in desperate

search of food and work, only to stumble

upon a nexus of terrifying evil.

CAST SOPHIA LILLIS,

SAMMY LEAKEY,

ALICE KRIGE, JESSICA

DE GOUW, CHARLES

BABALOLA, IAN

KENNY DIR OSGOOD

PERKINS RATING

PG-13 RUNNING

TIME TBA

THE TRAITOR

JAN. 31 / SONY

PICTURES

CLASSICS

Veteran director

Marco Bellocchio’s

film tells the true

story of Tommaso

Buscetta, the man

who brought down

the Cosa Nostra.

In the early 1980s,

an all-out war rages

between Sicilian

Mafia bosses over

the heroin trade.

Buscetta flees to Brazil. Back home,

scores are being settled and Buscetta

watches from afar as his sons and brother

are killed in Palermo, knowing he

may be next. Arrested and extradited to

Italy by the Brazilian police, he makes a

decision that will change everything for

the Mafia.

CAST PIERFRANCESCO FAVINO, MARIA

FERNANDA CANDIDO, FABRIZIO

FERRACANE, LUIGI LO CASCIO, FAUSTO

RUSSO ALESI, NICOLA CALÌ, GIOVANNI

CALCAGNO, BRUNO CARIELLO DIR MARCO

BELLOCCHIO RATING R RUNNING TIME

145 MIN.

AND THEN WE DANCED

FEB. 7 / MUSIC BOX FILMS

And Then We Danced follows Merab, a

devoted dancer who has been training for

years with his partner, Mary, for a spot in

the National Georgian Ensemble. The arrival

of another male dancer, Irakli—gifted

with perfect form and equipped with

a rebellious streak—throws Merab off

68 JANUARY 2020


alance, sparking both an intense rivalry

and romantic desire that may cause him

to risk his future in dance as well as his

relationships with Mary and his family.

CAST LEVAN GELBAKHIANI, BACHI VALISH-

VILI, ANA JAVAKISHVILI, GIORGI TSERETELI,

KAKHA GOGIDZE DIR LEVAN AKIN RATING

TBA RUNNING TIME 113 MIN.

CANE RIVER

FEB. 7 / OSCILLOSCOPE

This drama about an African American

college football star who returns to his

hometown in Louisiana and falls in

love with a local tour guide was filmed

in 1982 and is just now receiving its

theatrical debut after being presumed lost

for many years. It’s the only feature by

Horace B. Jenkins, who died soon after

filming was completed.

CAST RICHARD ROMAIN, TÔMMYE

MEYRICK, CAROL SUTTON, BARBARA

TASKER DIR HORACE B. JENKINS RATING

TBA RUNNING TIME 90 MIN.

THE LODGE

FEB. 7 / NEON

From the directors of Goodnight Mommy,

this chiller follows a family who

retreat to their remote winter cabin over

the holidays. When the father is forced

to abruptly depart for work, he leaves his

children in the care of his new girlfriend,

Grace. Isolated and alone, a blizzard

traps them inside the lodge as terrifying

events summon specters from Grace’s

dark past.

CAST RILEY KEOUGH, RICHARD ARMITAGE,

ALICIA SILVERSTONE, JAEDEN LIEBERHER,

LIA MCHUGH DIR SEVERIN FIALA,

VERONIKA FRANZ RATING R RUNNING

TIME 100 MIN.

ORDINARY LOVE

FEB. 14 / BLEECKER STREET

Joan and Tom have been married for

many years. They are an everyday couple

with a remarkable love, and there is an

ease to their relationship which only

comes from spending a lifetime together.

When Joan is diagnosed with breast cancer,

the course of her treatment shines a

light on their enduring devotion, as they

must find the humor and grace to survive

a year of adversity.

CAST LIAM NEESON, LESLEY MANVILLE,

AMIT SHAH, DAVID WILMOT DIR LISA

BARROS D’SA, GLENN LEYBURN RATING R

RUNNING TIME 92 MIN.

GREED

FEB. 21 / SONY PICTURES

CLASSICS

Veteran British filmmaker Michael

Winterbottom wrote and directed

this satire of the excesses of the

fashion industry, starring his frequent

collaborator, Steve Coogan.

CAST STEVE COOGAN, ISLA FISHER, ASA

BUTTERFIELD, SHIRLEY HENDERSON,

SOPHIE COOKSON DIR MICHAEL

WINTERBOTTOM RATING TBA RUNNING

TIME 104 MIN.

JANUARY 2020

69

0120_OnScreen.indd 69

12/18/19 12:07 PM


EVENT CINEMA CALENDAR

CINELIFE

ENTERTAINMENT

cinelifeentertainment.com

310-309-5774

GAUGUIN FROM THE NATIONAL

GALLERY, LONDON

Tues. 1/21-Mon. 1/27 (U.S. release)

Art

RIGOLETTO ON THE LAKE

Mon. 2/10-Sun. 2/16

Opera

COMÉDIE-FRANÇAISE: ELECTRA/

ORESTES

Weds. 3/4, Sun. 3/8

Theater

ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET -

AKRAM KHAN’S GISELLE

Fri. 3/6-Fri. 3/13 (U.S. release)

Ballet

CELEBRATING THE SOPRANOS

Tues. 4/14-Mon. 4/27

Documentary

COMÉDIE-FRANÇAISE: A FLEA IN

HER EAR

Weds. 4/22, Sun. 4/26

Theater

COMÉDIE-FRANÇAISE: SCAPIN THE

SCHEMER

Weds. 5/27, Sun. 5/31

Theater

DRACULA

Thurs. 10/1-Sat. 10/31

Ballet

FATHOM EVENTS

fathomevents.com

855-473-4612

MYSTIFY: MICHAEL HUTCHENCE

Tues. 1/7

Documentaries

THE MET: LIVE IN HD: WOZZECK

Sat. 1/11 (live), Weds. 1/15 (encore)

Opera

WEATHERING WITH YOU

Weds. 1/15, Thurs. 1/16

Anime

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS

Sun. 1/19, Weds. 1/22

Classics

BLIND EYES OPENED

Thurs. 1/23

Inspirational

BOLSHOI BALLET: GISELLE

Sun. 1/26

Ballet

THE MET: LIVE IN HD: THE

GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS

Sat. 2/1 (live), Weds. 2/5 (encore), Sat.

2/8 (encore)

Opera

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: LOVE

STORY 50TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 2/9, Weds. 2/12

Classics

BOLSHOI BALLET: SWAN LAKE

Sun. 2/23

Ballet

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: THE

COLOR PURPLE 35TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 2/23

Classics

FREE BURMA RANGERS

Mon. 2/24, Tues. 2/25

Inspirational

THE MET: LIVE IN HD: AGRIPPINA

Sat. 2/29 (live), Weds. 3/4 (encore)

Opera

THE MET: LIVE IN HD: DER

FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER

Sat. 3/14 (live), Weds. 3/18 (encore)

Opera

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: KING

KONG (1933)

Sun. 3/15

Classics

CBN: I AM PATRICK

Tues. 3/17, Weds. 3/18

Inspirational

BOLSHOI BALLET: ROMEO AND

JULIET

Sun. 3/29

Ballet

SIGHT AND SOUND PRESENTS JESUS

Tues. 4/7, Thurs. 4/9, Sat. 4/11

Inspirational

70 JANUARY 2020

0120_EventCalendar.indd 70

12/19/19 11:07 AM


THE MET: LIVE IN HD: TOSCA

Sat. 4/11 (live), Weds. 4/15 (encore),

Sat. 4/18 (encore)

Opera

BOLSHOI BALLET: JEWELS

Sun. 4/19

Ballet

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: A

LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

Sun. 4/26, Weds. 4/29

Classics

THE MET: LIVE IN HD: MARIA

STUARDA

Sat. 5/9 (live), Weds. 5/13 (encore)

Opera

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

AIRPLANE! 40TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 5/17, Weds. 5/20

Classics

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: ANNIE

Sun. 6/14, Weds. 6/17

Classics

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

THE BLUES BROTHERS 40TH

ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 6/28, Weds. 7/1

Classics

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: GHOST

30TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 7/19, Weds. 7/22

Classics

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: BABE

25TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 8/9, Weds. 8/12

Classics

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: CLOSE

ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND

Sun. 9/13, Mon. 9/14, Thurs. 9/17

Classics

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

PSYCHO 60TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 10/11, Mon. 10/12

Classics

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: ONE

FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST

45TH ANNIVERSARY

Sun. 11/8, Mon. 11/9

Classics

TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS:

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

Sun. 12/13, Mon. 12/14

Classics

MORE2SCREEN

www.more2screen.com

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

THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD

Weds. 1/15

Horror

LA OTRA PARTE

Mon. 1/20

Documentary

LEGEND OF THE DEMON CAT

January

International

RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES

Mon. 3/23

Inspirational

COWBOY AND INDIANA

Mon. 3/30

Inspirational

APOCALYPSE NOW FINAL CUT

March

Classics

ROYAL OPERA HOUSE

roh.org.uk/cinemas

cinema@roh.org.uk

THE SLEEPING BEAUTY

Thurs. 1/16

Ballet

LA BOHÈME

Weds. 1/29

Opera

THE CELLIST / DANCES AT A

GATHERING

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

JANUARY 2020

71

0120_EventCalendar.indd 71

12/19/19 11:07 AM


BOOKING GUIDE

BLUE FOX ENTERTAINMENT

FEEDBACK

JAN. 17, 2020

A24

646-568-6015

FIRST COW

Fri, 3/6/20 LTD

C John Magaro, Orion Lee

D Kelly Reichardt

NR · Dra/Wes

SAINT MAUD

Fri, 3/27/20 LTD

C Jennifer Ehle

D Rose Glass

NR · Dra

ABRAMORAMA

914-741-1818

AFTERWARD

Fri, 1/10/20 WIDE

D Ofra Bloch

NR · Doc

AMAZON STUDIOS

310-573-0652

brian.flanagan@amazonstudios.com

LES MISÉRABLES

Fri, 1/10/20 LTD

C Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti

D Ladj Ly

R · Dra

BLUE FOX ENTERTAINMENT

William Gruenberg

william@bluefoxentertainment.com

FEEDBACK

Fri, 1/17/20 LTD

C Eddie Marsan, Paul Anderson

D Pedro C. Alonso

NR · Thr/Hor

SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER

Fri, 3/6/20 LTD

C Bill Nighy, Sam Riley

D Carl Hunter

NR · Com/Dra

BLEECKER STREET

THE ASSISTANT

Fri, 1/31/20 LTD

C Julia Garner

D Kitty Green

NR · Dra

ORDINARY LOVE

Fri, 2/14/20 LTD

C Liam Neeson, Lesley Manville

D Lisa Barros D’Sa, Glenn Leyburn

R · Dra/Rom

UNTITLED SALLY POTTER FILM

Fri, 3/13/20 LTD

C Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning

D Sally Potter

NR · Dra

MILITARY WIVES

Fri, 3/27/20 LTD

C Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan

D Peter Cattaneo

NR · Dra

DREAM HORSE

Fri, 5/1/20 LTD

C Toni Collette

D Jan Vokes

NR · Dra

DISNEY

818-560-1000 / Ask for Distribution

ONWARD

Fri, 3/6/20 WIDE

C Chris Pratt, Tom Holland

D Dan Scanlon

NR · Ani · 3D/Dolby Vis/Atmos

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

C Scarlett Johansson, David Harbour

D Cate Shortland

NR · Act/Adv · 3D

ARTEMIS FOWL

Fri, 5/29/20 WIDE

C Ferdia Shaw, Josh Gad

D Kenneth Branagh

NR · Fan · 3D

72 JANUARY 2020

0120_BookingGuide.indd 72

12/19/19 10:37 AM


SOUL

Fri, 6/19/20 WIDE

C Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey

D Pete Docter

NR · Ani · 3D/Dolby Vis/Atmos

JUNGLE CRUISE

Fri, 7/24/20 WIDE

C Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt

D Jaume Collet-Serra

NR · Act/Adv · Dolby Vis/Atmos

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

Fri, 8/14/20 WIDE

NR · Ani

THE ETERNALS

Fri, 11/6/20 WIDE

C Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie

D Chloé Zhao

NR · Act/Adv/SF ·

RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON

Fri, 11/25/20 WIDE

C Awkwa ina, Cassie Steele

D Paul Briggs, Dean Wellins

NR · Ani · 3D

FOCUS FEATURES

424-214-636

EMMA

Fri, 2/21/20 WIDE

C Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn

D Autumn de Wilde

NR · Dra/Com

NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS

Fri, 3/13/20 LTD

C Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder

D Eliza Hittman

NR · Dra

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Fri, 4/17/20 LTD

C Carey Mulligan, Laverne Cox

D Emerald Fennell

NR · Cri/Thr

COVERS

Fri, 5/8/20 LTD

C Dakota Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross

D Nisha Ganatra

NR · Com · Dolby Vis/Atmos

LET HIM GO

Fri, 8/21/20 LTD

C Kevin Costner, Diane Lane

D Thomas Bezucha

NR · Thr

FOX

THE NEW MUTANTS

APR. 3, 2020

LAST NIGHT IN SOHO

Fri, 9/25/20 WIDE

C Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin Harcourt

McKenzie

D Edgar Wright

NR · Hor/Thr · Dolby Vis/Atmos

UNTITLED TOM McCARTHY PROJECT

Fri, 11/6/20 LTD

C Matt Damon, Abigail Breslin

D Tom McCarthy

NR · Thr

FOX

310-369-1000 / 212-556-2400

UNDERWATER

Fri, 1/10/20 WIDE

C Kristen Stewart, T.J. Miller

D William Eubank

NR · Act · Dolby Atmos

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

BOB’S BURGERS

Fri, 7/17/20 WIDE

C H. Jon Benjamin, Kristen Schaal

NR · Ani

EMPTY MAN

Fri, 8/7/20 WIDE

NR · Cri/Dra/Hor

THE KING’S MAN

Fri, 9/18/20 WIDE

C Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton

D Matthew Vaughn

NR · Act/Adv · IMAX

DEATH ON THE NILE

Fri, 10/9/20 WIDE

C Tom Bateman, Annette Bening

D Kenneth Branagh

NR · Cri/Dra/Mys

EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE

Fri, 10/23/20 WIDE

NR · Dra/Mus

DEEP WATER

Fri, 11/13/20 WIDE

C Ana de Armas, Ben Affleck

D Adrian Lyne

NR · Thr

JANUARY 2020

73

0120_BookingGuide.indd 73

12/19/19 10:37 AM


BOOKING GUIDE

FOX SEARCHLIGHT

ANTLERS

APR. 17, 2020

WEST SIDE STORY

Fri, 12/18/20 WIDE

C Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler

D Steven Spielberg

NR · Mus

THE LAST DUEL

Fri, 12/25/20 LTD

C Matt Damon, Ben Affleck

D Ridley Scott

NR · Dra

RON’S GONE WRONG

Fri, 2/26/20 LTD

NR · Ani

FOX SEARCHLIGHT

212-556-2400

DOWNHILL

Fri, 2/14/20 LTD

C Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Will Ferrell

D Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

R · Dra

WENDY

Fri, 2/28/20 LTD

D Benh Zeitlin

PG-13 · Dra/Fan

ANTLERS

Fri, 4/17/20 LTD

C Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons

D Scott Cooper

NR · Hor

THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF

DAVID COPPERFIELD

Fri, 5/8/20 LTD

NR

GREENWICH ENTERTAINMENT

INCITEMENT

Fri, 1/31/20 LTD

C Yehuda Nahari Halevi

D Yaron Zilberman

NR · Thr/Dra

IFC FILMS

bookings@ifcfilms.com

THREE CHRISTS

Fri, 1/3/20 LTD

C Richard Gere, Peter Dinklage

D Jon Avnet

R · Com

OLYMPIC DREAMS Fri,

2/14/20 LTD

C Alexi Pappas, Nick Kroll

D Jeremy Teicher

PG-13 · Com/Rom

PREMATURE

Fri, 2/21/20 LTD

C Zora Howard, Joshua Boone

D Rashaad Ernesto Green

NR · Dra

SWALLOW

Fri, 3/13/20 LTD

C Haley Bennett, Austin Stowell

D Carlo Mirabella-Davis

NR · Thr

THE TRUTH

Fri, 3/20/20 LTD

C Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche

D Hirokazu Kore-eda

PG-13 · Dra

KINO LORBER

BEANPOLE

Fri, 1/29/20 LTD

C Viktoria Miroshnichenko, Vasilisa Perelygina

D Kantemir Balagov

NR · Dra

LIONSGATE

310-309-8400

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, 3/13/20 WIDE

C K.J. Apa, Gary Sinise

D Jon Erwin, Andrew Erwin

NR · Dra

Y CÓMO ES ÉL?

Fri, 4/17/20 MOD

C Mauricio Ochmann, Omar Chaparro

D Ariel Winograd

NR · Com

ANTEBELLUM

Fri, 4/24/20 WIDE

C Janelle Monáe

D Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz

NR · Thr

74 JANUARY 2020

0120_BookingGuide.indd 74

12/19/19 10:38 AM


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

FATALE

Fri, 10/9/20 WIDE

C Hilary Swank, Michael Ealy

D Deon Taylor

NR · Sus

JESUS REVOLUTION Fri,

3/26/21 WIDE

C Jon Gunn

D Jon Erwin, Andrew Erwin

NR

MAGNOLIA PICTURES

212-379-9704 / Neal Block

nblock@magpictures.com

BUFFALOED

Fri, 2/14/20 LTD.

C Zoey Deutch, Judy Greer

D Tanya Wexler

NR · Com/Dra

ONCE WERE BROTHERS:

ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND

Fri, 2/21/20 LTD.

D Daniel Roher

R · Doc

THE WHISTLERS

Fri, 2/28/20 LTD.

C Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Marlon

D Corneliu Porumboiu

NR · Com

SLAY THE DRAGON

Fri, 3/13/20 LTD.

D Barak Goodman, Chris Durrance

NR · Doc

MYCINEMA

480-430-7017

ACQUITTED BY FAITH

Fri, 2/24/20 LTD.

C Casper Van Dien, Catherine

Oxenberg D Daniel Lusko

NR · Thr

PARAMOUNT

A QUIET PLACE PART II

MAR. 20, 2020

NEON

hal@neonrated.com

THE LODGE

Fri, 2/7/20 LTD.

C Riley Keough, Richard Armitage

D Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz R ·

Hor

OSCILLOSCOPE LABORATORIES

212-219-4029

VHYES

Sun, 1/12/20 LTD D

Jack Henry Robbins

CANE RIVER

Fri, 2/7/20 LTD

C Tommye Myrick, Richard Romain

D Horace B. Jenkins

NR · Dra

SAINT FRANCES

Fri, 2/28/20 LTD

C Kelly O’Sullivan, Ramona Edith Williams

D Alex Thompson

NR · Com/Dra

PARAMOUNT

323-956-5000

LIKE A BOSS

Fri, 1/10/20 WIDE

C Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne

D Miguel Arteta

R · 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

A QUIET PLACE PART II Fri,

3/20/20 WIDE

C Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy D

John Krasinski

NR · Hor/Thr · Dolby Vis/Atmos

THE LOVEBIRDS

Fri, 4/3/20 WIDE

C Anna Camp, Kumail Nanjiani

D Michael Showalter

NR · Rom/Com

MONSTER PROBLEMS

Fri, 4/17/20 WIDE

C Dylan O’Brien

D Michael Matthews NR ·

Adv

THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE:

SPONGE ON THE RUN Fri,

5/22/20 WIDE

C Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke

D Tim Hill

NR · Ani

JANUARY 2020

75

0120_BookingGuide.indd 75

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BOOKING GUIDE

PARAMOUNT

TOP GUN: MAVERICK

JUNE 26, 2020

TOP GUN: MAVERICK

Fri, 6/26/20 WIDE

C Tom Cruise, Miles Teller

D Joseph Kosinski

NR · Act/Adv · Dolby Vis/Atmos

INFINITE

Fri, 8/7/20 WIDE

NR · SF

SPELL

Fri, 8/28/20 WIDE

NR · Hor/Thr

TOM CLANCY’S WITHOUT REMORSE

Fri, 9/18/20 WIDE

NR · Thr

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Fri, 9/25/20 LTD

D Aaron Sorkin

NR · Dra

GI JOE

Fri, 10/16/20 WIDE

NR · Act/Adv

UNTITLED FAMILY EVENT MOVIE

Fri, 11/13/20 WIDE

NR · Fam

UNTITLED COMING TO

AMERICA SEQUEL

Fri, 12/18/20 WIDE

NR · Com

THE TOMORROW WAR

Fri, 12/25/20 WIDE

C Yvonne Strahovski, Chris Pratt

D Chris McKay

NR · Act/SF

RUMBLE

Fri, 1/29/20 WIDE

NR · Ani

ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS

323-882-8490

THE LAST FULL MEASURE

Fri, 1/24/20 WIDE

C Samuel L. Jackson, Bradley Whitford

D Todd Robinson

R · Dra/War · Dolby Stereo

HOPE GAP

Fri, 3/6/20 WIDE

C Annette Bening, Bill Nighy

D William Nicholson

PG-13 · Dra

THE SECRET: DARE TO DREAM

Fri, 4/17/20 LTD

C Katie Holmes, Josh Lucas

D Andy Tennant

PG · Dra

SAMUEL GOLDWYN FILMS

EXTRACURRICULAR

Fri, 1/17/20 LTD

C Keenan Tracey, Brittany Raymond

D Ray Xue

NR · Hor

COME AS YOU ARE

Fri, 2/14/20 LTD

C Grant Rosenmeyer, Hayden Szeto

D Richard Wong

NR · Com/Dra

SONY

212-833-8500

THE GRUDGE

Fri, 1/3/20 WIDE

C Andrea Riseborough, Demián Bichir

D Nicolas Pesce

R · Hor

BAD BOYS FOR LIFE

Fri, 1/17/20 WIDE

C Will Smith, Martin Lawrence

D Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah

NR · Act/Com · Dolby Vis/Atmos

FANTASY ISLAND

Fri, 2/14/20 WIDE

C Michael Peña, Maggie Q

D Jeff Wadlow

NR · Hor

BLOODSHOT

Fri, 2/21/20 WIDE

C Vin Diesel, Eiza González

D David S. F. Wilson

NR · Act · Dolby Atmos

PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY

Fri, 4/3/20 WIDE

C James Corden, Rose Byrne

D Will Gluck

NR · Ani

FATHERHOOD

Fri, 4/3/20 WIDE

C Kevin Hart, Melody Hurd

D Pail Weitz

NR · Dra

76 JANUARY 2020

0120_BookingGuide.indd 76

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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: AFTERLIFE

Fri, 7/10/20 WIDE

C Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard

D Jason Reitman

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

C Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis

D Clea DuVall

NR · Hor/Thr

MONSTER HUNTER

Fri, 9/4/20 WIDE

C Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa

D Paul W.S. Anderson

NR · Act/Fan

THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES

Fri, 9/18/20 WIDE

D Mike Rianda

NR · Ani

UNTITLED SONY/MARVEL

Fri, 10/2/20 WIDE

NR · Act/SF

HAPPIEST SEASON

Fri, 11/20/20 WIDE

NR · Rom/Com/Hol

UNTITLED SPA ANIMATED ORIGINAL

Fri, 12/11/20 WIDE

NR · Ani

UNCHARTED

Fri, 12/18/20 WIDE

C Tom Holland

D Travis Knight

NR · Act/Adv

CINDERELLA

Fri, 2/5/21 WIDE

NR · Fan

SONY

GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE

JULY 10, 2020

SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

Tom Prassis / 212-833-4981

THE TRAITOR

Fri, 1/31/20 LTD

C Pierfrancesco Favino, Maria Fernanda

Candido

D Marco Bellocchio

NR · Dra/Cri

GREED

Fri, 2/21/20 LTD

C Asa Butterfield, Isla Fisher

D Michael Winterbottom

NR · Com/Dra

BURNT ORANGE HERESY

Fri, 3/6/20 LTD

C Elizabeth Debicki, Donald Sutherland

D Giuseppe Capotondi

NR · Act/Thr

THE CLIMB

Fri, 3/20/20 LTD

C Kyle Marvin, Michael Angelo Covino

D Michael Angelo Covino

R · Com/Dra

CHARM CITY KINGS

Fri, 4/10/20 LTD

C Teyonah Parris, Jahi Di’Allo Winston

D Angel Manuel Soto

R · Dra

STX ENTERTAINMENT

310-742-2300

THE GENTLEMEN

Fri, 1/24/20 WIDE

C Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam

D Guy Ritchie

R · Act/Com

BRAHMS: THE BOY II

Fri, 2/21/20 WIDE

C Katie Holmes

D William Brent Bell

PG-13 · Hor/Thr

MY SPY

Fri, 3/13/20 WIDE

C Dave Bautista, Kristen Schaal

D Peter Segal

PG-13 · Com

UNITED ARTISTS RELEASING

310-724-5678 / Ask for Distribution

GRETEL & HANSEL

Fri, 1/31/20 WIDE

C Sophia Lillis, Sammy Leakey

D Osgood Perkins

NR · Hor

NO TIME TO DIE

Fri, 4/10/20 WIDE

C Daniel Craig, Rami Malek

D Cary Joji Fukunaga

NR · Act/Thr · IMAX

JANUARY 2020

77

0120_BookingGuide.indd 77

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BOOKING GUIDE

UNIVERSAL

THE INVISIBLE MAN

FEB. 28, 2020

BAD TRIP

Fri, 4/24/20 WIDE

C Eric André, Lil Rel Howery

D Kitao Sakurai

NR · Com

VALLEY GIRL

Fri, 5/8/20 WIDE

NR · Com

RESPECT

Fri, 8/14/20 WIDE

C Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker

D Liesl Tommy

NR · Dra/Mus

BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC

Fri, 8/21/20 WIDE

C Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter

D Dean Parisot

NR · Com/Adv

SAMARITAN

Fri, 11/20/20 WIDE

C Sylvester Stalone

D Julius Avery

NR · Act/Thr

UNITED UAR FAMILY FILM

Fri, 1/15/21 WIDE

NR · Fam

UNIVERSAL

818-777-1000

DOLITTLE

Fri, 1/17/20 WIDE

C Robert Downey Jr., Ralph Fiennes

D Stephen Gaghan

PG · 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

PG-13 · Rom

THE INVISIBLE MAN

Fri, 2/28/20 WIDE

C Elisabeth Moss, Storm Reid

D Leigh Whannell

NR · Hor

UNTITLED BLUMHOUSE PRODUCTIONS

Fri, 3/13/20 WIDE

NR · Hor

TROLLS WORLD TOUR

Fri, 4/17/20 WIDE

C Anna Kendrick , Justin Timberlake

D Walt Dohrn

PG · 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

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

C Steve Carell

D Kyle Balda

NR · Ani

UNTITLED NEXT PURGE CHAPTER

Fri, 7/10/20 WIDE

NR · Hor

NOBODY

Fri, 8/14/20 WIDE

C Bob Odenkirk

D Ilya Naishuller

NR · Act/Thr

PRAISE THIS

Fri, 9/25/20 WIDE

NR · Com

BIOS

Fri, 10/2/20 WIDE

C Tom Hanks

D Miguel Sapochnik

NR · SF

HALLOWEEN KILLS

Fri, 10/16/20 WIDE

D David Gordon Green

NR · Hor

UNTITLED UNIVERSAL EVENT COMEDY

Fri, 10/23/20 WIDE

NR · Com

78 JANUARY 2020

0120_BookingGuide.indd 78

12/19/19 10:39 AM


UNTITLED UNIVERSAL EVENT FILM 2020

Fri, 11/13/20 WIDE

NR

UNTITLED AMBLIN PROJECT

Fri, 11/20/20 WIDE

D Joel Crawford

NR

THE CROODS 2

Fri, 12/23/20 WIDE

NR · Ani

NEWS OF THE WORLD

Fri, 12/25/20 WIDE

C Tom Hanks

D Paul Greengrass

NR · Dra

UNTITLED BLUMHOUSE PRODUCTIONS

Fri, 1/8/21 WIDE

NR

355

Fri, 1/15/21 WIDE

C Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o

D Simon Kinberg

NR · Thr

VERTICAL ENTERTAINMENT

THE HOST

Fri, 1/17/20 LTD

C Maryam Hassouni, Mike Beckingham

D Andy Newbery

NR · Hor

WARNER BROS.

818-977-1850

BIRDS OF PREY

Fri, 2/7/20 WIDE

C Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

D Cathy Yan

R · Act/Adv · IMAX/Dolby Vis/Atmos

THE WAY BACK

Fri, 3/6/20 WIDE

C Ben Affleck

D Gavin O’Connor

NR · Dra

SCOOB!

Fri, 5/15/20 WIDE

C Kiersey Clemons, Zac Efron

D Tony Cervone

NR · Ani

WONDER WOMAN 1984

Fri, 6/5/20 WIDE

C Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig

D Patty Jenkins

NR · Act/Adv/Fan · IMAX/3D/Dolby Vis/Atmos

IN THE HEIGHTS

Fri, 6/26/20 WIDE

D Jon M. Chu

NR · Mus/Rom/Dra

TENET

Fri, 7/17/20 WIDE

C John David Washington, Robert Pattinson

D Christopher Nolan

NR · Act/Thr

MALIGNANT

Fri, 8/14/20 WIDE

D James Wan

NR · Hor

THE UNTITLED FRED

HAMPTON PROJECT

Fri, 8/21/20 WIDE

NR

THE CONJURING:

THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT

Fri, 9/11/20 WIDE

NR · Hor

THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK

Fri, 9/25/20 WIDE

NR · Dra/Cri

THE WITCHES

Fri, 10/09/20 WIDE

C Anne Hathaway

D Robert Zemeckis

NR · Adv/Com

UNTITLED WB EVENT FILM

Fri, 10/16/20 WIDE

NR

GODZILLA VS KONG

Fri, 11/20/20 WIDE

C Millie Bobby Brown, Eiza González

D Adam Wingard

NR · SF/Act · IMAX/3D/Dolby Vis/Atmos

KING RICHARD

Fri, 11/25/20 WIDE

NR · Dra/Bio

DUNE

Fri, 12/18/20 WIDE

NR · SF

UNTITLED TOM & JERRY FILM

Fri, 12/23/20 WIDE

NR · Ani

JANUARY 2020

79

0120_BookingGuide.indd 79

12/19/19 10:39 AM


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USED DIGITAL PROJECTORS AND SOUND

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USED DIGITAL PROJECTORS, Five complete

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TWO BRAND NEW 3000 watts Christie Xenon

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18 SETS OF USED 35MM AUTOMATED PRO-

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6 PLEX EQUIPMENT PACKAGE. Six complete

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or call 801-548-0108 or

fax 801-281-0482.

CLASSIC GEM FOR SALE. Tiny, hand-made

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37 years. Profitable. Remarkable community

support. Original owners getting old. Contact

portmovies@aol.com

www.depthq3d.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 AVAIL-

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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 arthouse,

independent, documentary, and classic

cinema. The full job description and application

instructions are found at mdfilmfest.com/

about-the-festival/jobs.php.

ADVERTISE IN FEBRUARY’S ISSUE OF

RESERVE BY

JANUARY 14, 2020

MATERIALS BY

JANUARY 17, 2020

CALL

OR EMAIL

TO BOOK

SPACE TODAY!

SUSAN UHRLASS

SUSAN@BOXOFFICE.COM

310-876-9090

80 JANUARY 2020

0120_Marketplace.indd 80

12/19/19 12:46 PM


CLASSIC AD

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CLASSIC COVER

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IFC FILMS

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