Boxoffice Pro Q1 2021

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The Top 50 Domestic

Circuits of 2020

The Official Magazine of the National Association of Theatre Owners





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This year's Giants

of Exhibition list is

a reflection of the

resilience and

commitment to

innovation of our

entire industry.




02 Q1 2021

A difficult year for our entire industry was also one of

unprecedented innovation and creativity as movie theaters found

new ways to engage with their audiences. From mobile ordering,

to take out concessions, and even at-home viewing experiences

like private watch parties--exhibitors have been at the heart of

defining new ways to redefine the moviegoing experience. This

year's Giants of Exhibition list is a reflection of the resilience and

commitment to innovation of our entire industry. We are honored

to count many of these circuits as partners and clients of The

Boxoffice Company.

We thank you for your trust and leadership during this difficult

time. Your insights and collaborations have helped us reinvent our

focus to solutions that can help exhibitors get through the

pandemic and bounce back faster once their cinemas reopen. Our

latest projects include contactless digital ticketing and concessions;

customer awareness through SEO, emailing, and social media; and

co-watching streaming services.

We look forward to getting out of this crisis together stronger,

offering a better customer experience than ever before.

Stan Ruszkowski

President, The Boxoffice Company

Q1 2021



04 Q1 2021

Q1 2021



The 10 Most Important

Moments of 2020

Our Look Back at the Top 10 Pivotal

Moments of a Historic Year


Giants of Exhibition

This Year's Giants of Exhibition

Ranking Stands as a Testament

to the Industry's Flexibility and



New Beginnings

As Theatrical Exclusivity

Windows Shrink, Cinema

Owners Look at the Potential

Impact of Streaming on Their

Bottom Line


Going Big

What Role Will Premium Large

Format Play in Cinema’s Global



Experience over Everything

For U.K.’s We Are Parable,

Screenings Are More Than

Just Movies

Q1 2021












Farewell to 2020: A Year of Pandemic,

Pain, Patience, and Perseverance

Charity Spotlight

A Recap of Industry-Wide Charity


Giants of Exhibition

This Year's Giants of Exhibition

Ranking Stands as a Testament to the

Industry's Flexibility and Resolve

New Beginnings

As Theatrical Exclusivity Windows

Shrink, Cinema Owners Look at the

Potential Impact of Streaming on

Their Bottom Line

A Century in Exhibition

The 1990s: Globalization and


The 10 Most Important Moments

for Domestic Exhibition of 2020

Our Look Back at the Top 10 Pivotal

Moments of a Historic Year






Going Big

What Role Will Premium Large

Format Play in Cinema’s Global


Premium Seating Pros

Fred and Denise Jacobs Keep It All

in the Family at Telescopic Seating


Experience Over Everything

For U.K.’s We Are Parable, Screenings

Are More Than Just Movies

Booking Guide

“With the odds stacked

against them, exhibitors

have been strikingly resilient,

despite the mounting woes

of 2020.” p. 18

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Q1 2021




Julien Marcel

SVP Content Strategy

Daniel Loría

Creative Direction

Chris Vickers & Craig Scott

at She Was Only

EVP Chief Administrative Officer

Susan Rich

VP Advertising

Susan Uhrlass



Daniel Loría


Rebecca Pahle


Kevin Lally


Laura Silver


Shawn Robbins


Chris Eggertsen

Jesse Rifkin


Diogo Hausen


Patrick Corcoran

Larry Etter

Vassiliki Malouchou

Radesh Palakurthi, PhD, MBA


Susan Uhrlass

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Boxoffice Pro (ISSN 0006-8527), Volume 157, Number 1, First Quarter 2021. Boxoffice Pro is published

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08 Q1 2021

Executive Letter




Like the most terrifying of horror

sequels, the beginning of 2021 has

already delivered enough jump scares and

plot twists to keep us on our toes after a

harrowing 2020. A slow and disorganized

vaccine rollout has pushed the majority

of 2021’s studio slate to the second half

of the year. Even positive headlines, like

those announcing the introduction of

new vaccines, are tempered by news of

emerging Covid-19 variants that could

further prolong the global health crisis.

There is no denying that the industry

still has a grim number of months ahead

before the recovery can begin in earnest.

But we can already see the light at the end

of the tunnel. Despite a handful of notable

exceptions, the vast majority of major

studio titles have been rescheduled for the

second half of the year instead of skipping

theaters altogether for a streaming debut.

Even the most controversial actions

from distribution, Universal’s shortened

window and Warner Bros.’ day-and-date

release plans, the former a structural

change and the latter (according to the

studio) a temporary measure, have helped

bring new titles to cinemas during the

toughest months since reopening. The

vaccination drive might be progressing

slowly, but it’s moving forward—every day

there are millions more around the world

regaining the confidence to leave their

homes after an extended lockdown. In the

Asia Pacific market, where virus rates have

been significantly better controlled than

in the West, cinemas have already shown

signs of the long-awaited recovery.

The unexpected length of the

pandemic has also forced modifications

to our own publishing schedule at

Boxoffice Pro. Our print edition was

on hiatus from May through July of

last year, coinciding with nationwide

cinema closures. We returned in August

and finished 2020 with two additional

issues, in October and December, closing

the year with a total of seven issues. In

2021, our schedule will be modified with

the printing of four quarterly issues and

an additional commemorative issue in

December celebrating our centennial.

For all subscribers affected by these

changes, we will automatically extend

your subscription for the number of issues

missed. If you have specific questions

regarding how these changes in our

schedule affect your subscription, please

reach out to our circulation department at


In the meantime, please enjoy this first

issue of the year—and be sure to check our

daily updates at BoxofficePro.com, as well

as digital initiatives like our weekly show,

the Boxoffice Podcast, and our monthly

Boxoffice LIVE Sessions webinar series.

Daniel Loria

SVP Content Strategy & Editorial Director

Boxoffice Pro

There is no denying that

the industry still has a grim

number of months ahead

before the recovery can

begin in earnest.


PRO 2021



First Quarter: Giants of


February 2021

Second Quarter: CineEurope

June 2021

Third Quarter: CinemaCon

August 2021

Fourth Quarter: ShowEast

October 2021

Commemorative Centennial


December 2021

For questions regarding your

subscription, please contact


Q1 2021






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NATO 12 | Charity Spotlight 16 | Giants of Exhibition 18 | A Century in Exhibition 40


“With the odds stacked against them, exhibitors have been

strikingly resilient, despite the mounting woes of 2020.”

Giants of Exhibition, p. 18

Q1 2021


Industry NATO


TO 2020

A Year of Pandemic, Pain,

Patience, and Perseverance


The pandemic has meant

an ever-changing mixture

of crisis response, managing

expectations, and drawing

on deep wells of experience

and relationships developed

over years.

Bits of news had been trickling out

of China about a new and contagious

respiratory virus at the very end of 2019.

On January 23, 2020, China announced

it was closing all 70,000 cinema screens

as part of its efforts to control the virus.

On January 31, NATO distributed an

updated and revised “Preparing for a Flu

Pandemic,” originally prepared in 2009, as

well as its “Crisis Management Handbook.”

That same day, travel restrictions for non-

U.S. citizens from China went into effect.

Preparations for the 10th-annual

edition of CinemaCon, scheduled for

March 30–April 2, continued, with a

wary eye on worsening case numbers

of the novel coronavirus, now known

as Covid-19. On March 11, the World

Health Organization (WHO) declared the

outbreak a pandemic, and NATO canceled

CinemaCon that same day. NATO, unlike

many organizations and event planners,

had pandemic insurance, meaning that

the organization would incur no losses as

a result of canceling the show.

Within a week, movie theaters across

the country began to close, as audiences

began staying away from public places

and the industry anticipated statemandated

closures. Most observers at the

time anticipated no longer than a six-weekto

three-month-long period of closures. As

we all know now, they were wrong.

For NATO and its members, the

pandemic has meant an ever-changing

mixture of crisis response, managing

expectations, and drawing on deep wells

of experience and relationships developed

over years.

NATO’s Executive Board began

meeting weekly two days after the WHO’s

declaration and before U.S. movie theaters

began to shut down. First priorities were

to understand the extent of the crisis,

state and local mandates, and how to plan

as an industry for what was expected to

be a not-far-off reopening. The theater

industry would make it known that we

would behave as responsible citizens, that

the health and safety of our patrons and

employees were our highest concerns, and

that we would be back.

We called upon industry allies, and

they called on us. Christopher Nolan

asked what he could do. Within three days

of U.S. theaters’ closing, we helped him

place his piece, “Movie theaters are a vital

part of American social life. They will

need our help.” in The Washington Post.

NATO contributed $1 million to a seed

fund for the Will Rogers Motion Picture

Pioneers to provide assistance for movie

theater employees affected by the closure

of movie theaters due to the pandemic.

NATO lobbying was in full swing as

discussions began in Washington over a

potential aid package for businesses and

individuals affected by the pandemic. NATO

coordinated with its regional affiliates on

outreach to local health officials on how to

sensibly and safely reopen.

We began weekly State of the Industry

webinars on April 23 to keep members

informed and to learn their concerns. We

are preparing for our 35th such webinar

as this article is written. There have also

been stand-alone webinars on various

provisions of federal aid packages, as well

as operational, marketing, and other issues.

There has been constant

communication with the studios, large

and small, on the complexities and

challenges of the pandemic release

calendar. While there have been

disappointments in movies going straight

to the home, or in hybrid home and

theatrical “pandemic release windows,”

the vast majority of major titles have

chosen to delay their release in theaters,

rather than abandon it.

The first stimulus package, known as

the CARES Act, provided direct aid to

individuals and enhanced and extended

unemployment relief. The CARES Act

also provided two new loan programs:

the Paycheck Protection Program, which

granted partially forgivable loans to small

businesses, and the Main Street Lending

Program, which made loans available to

companies with up to 15,000 employees

and $5 billion in revenue. The CARES Act

also provided tax relief to businesses of

all sizes, through payroll tax deferral; the

long-sought QIP fix, which corrected an

error that extended capital improvement

expense depreciation to 39 years and

allowed businesses to amend those items

in 2018 and 2019 returns; and the net

operating loss carryback provision, which

allowed businesses and individuals to use

net operating losses against taxes incurred

up to five years before, yielding hundreds

of millions in tax refunds for exhibitors.

As the late spring and summer

stumbled forward in fits and starts of

reopenings and closures, it became clear

that individual company health and safety

protocols were not effective at convincing

12 Q1 2021

local officials to consider allowing

theaters to reopen or to lift restrictions

on capacity, nor were consumers clear on

just what movie theaters were doing to

help keep them safe. Both problems were

also making studios wary about releasing

movies with large box office potential. A

national movie theater health and safety

protocol was necessary.

NATO staff and member volunteers

worked throughout the summer with

epidemiologists and state boards of

health to develop voluntary health

and safety protocols. Unanimously

adopted by NATO’s Executive Board,

CinemaSafe was rolled out to members

and non-members alike, with a national

press conference and website and

multimillion-dollar marketing effort in

time for the release of Chris Nolan’s Tenet,

in late August. In-theater graphics and

a consumer-friendly video were made

available to the historic group of 420

companies, 3,150 locations, and more

than 33,000 screens nationwide. Health

officials in multiple countries adopted

CinemaSafe as their standard for movie

theater reopening protocols.

CinemaSafe became a useful tool

in convincing health officials across

the country of the seriousness with

which movie theater owners took their

responsibilities and formed a framework

for their reopening policies.

This was not effective in all

jurisdictions, as NATO and NATO of New

Jersey sued the state of New Jersey in U.S.

District Court to allow movie theaters to

reopen at the same time the state allowed

religious institutions and other similarly

situated businesses and institutions to

open. NATO did not prevail in that suit,

but the pressure undoubtedly prompted

New Jersey to reopen movie theaters

weeks before they had originally planned

and accelerated the opening of theaters in

adjacent New York State.

But the pandemic will have its way. A

second wave of the virus hit the U.S. in late

summer, and Europe, where the response

had been far more promising and theaters

had been allowed to open broadly, in

the fall. Throughout this time, NATO

continued to lobby on a badly stalled

second pandemic stimulus program.

As it became clear leading up to

elections in November that negotiations

on a new relief package were serious,

NATO engaged its grassroots and industry

The grants, much discussed

in yet more NATO webinars,

provide a lifeline that will

help small and midsize

theater companies make

it until vaccines are widely

available and business can

return to normal.



Feb 2020

Jan 2021


Feb 2020

Jan 2021


Feb 2020

Jan 2021







allies to lobby key administration and

congressional leaders to include movie

theaters in their plans. NATO, through

its relationship with a new association—

NIVA (National Independent Venue

Association)—lobbied for the Save Our

Stages Act. Initially intended for live music

venues, SOS had multiple Congressional

sponsors and a real path to enactment.

NIVA agreed that movie theaters should be

included, if we could convince the sponsors

to agree to add $5 billion to the initial $10

billion allocated for the provision. NATO

succeeded in this, and through intense

lobbying, including thousands of contacts

from NATO members, SOS, now known

as the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant,

passed Congress and was signed into law

by the president.

The grants, much discussed in yet

more NATO webinars, provide a lifeline

that will help small and midsize theater

companies make it until vaccines are

widely available and business can return

to normal.

Meanwhile, working off a template

developed by NATO of Wisconsin and

Upper Michigan to establish statebased

grants to movie theater operators,

multiple states have provided more money

to movie theaters across the country.

And in an extra bonus, a long-term

NATO policy goal and lobbying focus, the

maintenance of the ASCAP/BMI music

licensing consent decree, was left in place

by the outgoing head of the Department of

Justice’s Antitrust Division. The decision

means that U.S. movie theater companies

will not have to pay hundreds of millions

annually to license the music that is in

movies they play, unlike our counterparts

around the world.

In these difficult times, NATO has

also experienced something unusual for

an industry in crisis. We have grown. In

February 2020, NATO had 676 members

(590 domestic, 3 from U.S. territories,

21 from Canada, and 62 international),

comprising 66,014 screens at 7,425

locations worldwide; 34,171 screens at

3,389 locations domestic.

In January 2021, NATO membership

totaled 1,018 companies with 70,222

screens at 8,320 locations worldwide; 904

of those members were domestic, with

35,854 screens at 3,828 locations.

Through careful financial

management and the huge success of

CinemaCon over a decade, NATO had

Q1 2021


Industry NATO

accumulated a reserve fund that was

quite large for an organization of its size.

As a benefit to existing members and to

attract new members, NATO announced,

pre-pandemic, that it would suspend

dues payments for fiscal year 2020–21.

A pretty nice deal, but the deal has not

been the driver. The vast bulk of new

membership has come as a result of the

pandemic and NATO’s response to it.

And NATO’s response to the pandemic

and all its attendant issues was not

possible without that robust financial

reserve, without the active engagement

of a large, diverse, unified membership.

Theater owners’ stories, told in hundreds

of media interviews month after month,

making personal their plight and their

value to their communities, and told to

congressional staff in districts across

the country, helped make those various

relief measures a possibility. Members

embracing the CinemaSafe protocols and

members working with the NATO regional

associations got theaters reopened, lifted

onerous restrictions, and got grants to

keep going.

NATO’s response to the

pandemic and all its

attendant issues was not

possible without that robust

financial reserve, without the

active engagement of a large,

diverse, unified membership.

We’re not done. We will continue to

lobby the Small Business Administration

to make sure the Shuttered Venue

Operators Grants are administered

fairly; we will continue to lobby

states and localities to allow theaters

to reopen when it is safe to do so,

without discriminatory provisions or

unreasonable capacity caps; we will

continue to lobby the studios to provide

movie product and to return to prepandemic

windowing models when the

business returns to normal.

We will continue to do this and more

for you. But we can’t do it without you.

Patrick Corcoran is the Vice President &

Chief Communications Officer at NATO



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14 Q1 2021

Q1 2021





Variety of St. Louis

Studio Movie Grill

Variety – the Children’s Charity

Cineplex Supports Food Banks


This past holiday season, Cineplex was

proud to support Food Banks Canada.

By donating $1 from every order of food

delivery and select films on the Cineplex

Store for the entire month of December,

Cineplex helped provide over 80,000

meals to families in need. Cineplex

employees also contributed by raising over

$1,700 internally for the cause.

Studio Movie Grill Celebrates the


A little thing like a pandemic was not

stopping two Studio Movie Grill locations

from spreading Christmas cheer. Cory

Brazelton, general manager at the chain’s

Seminole, Florida, location, spearheaded

efforts to participate in the Seminole

Lake Rotary Club’s Red Sled Initiative,

filling a sled with gifts for foster children.

And while SMG’s Rocklin, California,

location didn’t have the 50,000 guests

they had in December 2019 to help their

annual toy drive along, manager Elaina

Newport and her team didn’t stop until

over 150 children had items from their

wish lists. For their toy drive, SMG’s

Rocklin location worked with Foster

Hope Sacramento and Child Advocates

of Placer County, the latter of which also

received a $1,000 donation, thanks to

Newport’s tireless efforts.

Variety – the Children’s Charity

Thank you to everyone who helped

Variety – the Children’s Charity raise

more than $21,000 during its Virtual

Walk, Run & Roll. Your donations helped

provide vital equipment, services, and

experiences to kids throughout the United

States who live with special needs or are


Variety of St. Louis

Variety of St. Louis enlisted two designers

to devise and 3-D-print a handlebar

adaptation specifically created for eightyear-old

Maeve Boatman. Maeve has

split hand and split foot syndrome, a rare

physical disability occurring in about 1 in

90,000 births that leaves her hands with

just one gripping finger that she’s able to

use to hold on to traditional handlebars.

Covid-19 made Maeve’s need for a better

bike apparent. With schools out and

16 Q1 2021





social distancing measures in place, her

family started to take longer bike rides to

get out of their home, but Maeve’s hands

would quickly cramp with the strain of

trying to grip the handlebars. The final

product looks much like an ordinary bike,

except that one of the handlebars has a

3-D-printed cylinder that Maeve can wear

like a glove and that clips in and out of

the handlebar for a more stable grip. Now

Maeve can enjoy longer rides with her

parents and five siblings, ages seven to 20.

Upcoming Events

Variety of the Desert

3rd Annual RumChata Variety Golf

Scramble Presented by Trader Joe’s

Indian Wells, Calif.

March 29

Join Variety of the Desert for a round of

golf at the Indian Wells Country Club

while supporting children across the

Coachella Valley—it’s a real hole-inone!

Variety will also make a special

presentation to honor LPGA’s and the

Desert’s own Susan Maxwell Brening,

winner of four majors. Maxwell Brening

will also be inducted into the World Golf

Hall of Fame alongside Tiger Woods

in 2022. Find more information at


Variety of Wisconsin

Spring Golf Classic

Pewaukee, Wis.

May 24

Join Variety of Wisconsin at the Western

Lakes Golf Club on Monday, May 24,

for the Spring Golf Classic. Find more

information at varietywi.org/events/.

It takes an industry. We have made that

statement numerous times since March

2020, so much so that it has become a

daily affirmation for many. The way the

movie industry is pulling together during this

unprecedented time is a vivid reminder that

for the Pioneers Assistance Fund (PAF), our role

in the industry is clear: help industry workers

make it through this challenging time.

The Pioneers Assistance Fund has been a

helping hand to industry workers dealing with

accident, illness, or injury for over 80 years.

2020 challenged us to our maximum ability,

providing financial stipends and counsel for

some 10,000 people—a 1,580 percent increase

from 2018, which had been our record year.

From April 2020 to date, we have distributed

$3.8 million, a 400 percent increase over 2018.

The overwhelming majority of financial

assistance disbursed by PAF went to ticket

takers, concession workers, projectionists,

and ushers who work, or formerly worked,

at movie theaters across the country—from

small, family-owned theaters to the major

chains. The Phase One Emergency Grant

program distributed roughly $2 million in $300

stipends to furloughed theater workers early

on in the pandemic to help with their basic

household needs until they started receiving

unemployment benefits.

The Phase Two Emergency Grant distributed

another $1 million based on need, with

grants ranging from $300 to as much as

$2,600. Ninety percent of grant recipients are

assistant managers or general managers who

have been on reduced pay (30%–50%) since

April. Many of them have remained furloughed

without pay or have been terminated.

The impact the Pioneers Assistance Fund

achieved during one of the most difficult times

in our history would not have been possible

without the support of the following donors:

• Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

• Amazon Studios

• Cinema Service Company

• Cinemark Theatres

• Deluxe Digital

• Dolby

• Google

• James and Theodore Pedas Family


• James J. Cotter Foundation

• Kernel Season's

• Lionsgate

• Malco Theatres

• Mihalich Charitable Foundation

• Motion Picture Club

• National Association of Theatre Owners

• NATO of California/Nevada

• Paramount Pictures

• Popcornopolis

• Reel Blend

• Sony Pictures

• Universal Pictures

The PAF is chaired by Chris Aronson,

Paramount Pictures, president of distribution.

“We are helping more people than we ever

thought possible, and we’re not finished yet,”

says Aronson. “The pandemic has challenged

the Pioneers Assistance Fund, but we are

committed to providing financial assistance

to our dynamic workers and their families

who have endured enormous hardship. We

are grateful for the generous contributions

and incredible support from our industry that

helped us establish the emergency funds.

Our reserves were set aside for a rainy day

and, in this unprecedented time of need, the

leadership at Will Rogers did not hesitate

to utilize the funds. While it is our hope that

the new federal relief program will address

the looming housing crisis, the Pioneers

Assistance Fund will continue to help as many

industry workers as it can to keep a roof over

their heads.”

The thank you notes from industry workers

have been overwhelming and moving. Please

take a moment to read just a few of the

examples of how the Pioneers Assistance Fund

is making a difference now more than ever.

“You have no idea what this grant has done

for me and my family. I am living on reduced

pay, and my prescriptions are so expensive.

From the bottom of my heart and from

everyone in my family, thank you so much for

the help.”

“I just wanted to say thank you very much for

your help and blessing. ... This money will help

pay my rent for a month. ... Hopefully once the

theater reopens, I will try to get a fundraiser

going to help out this wonderful organization.”

“I want to thank you so much for the

generous grant. It is buying groceries this

week. We are so fortunate to have an

organization that helps those in the movie

theater business. There are very few such

organizations out there.”

Q1 2021



18 Q1 2021



The Top 50 Domestic Circuits

of 2020

After five consecutive years of

more than $11 billion in revenue at

the domestic box office, the exhibition

market came to a violent halt in March

2020. The biggest crisis in the industry’s

history wasn’t brought about by familiar

threats like home entertainment or

piracy; instead, it was a global pandemic,

of a scale not seen in at least a century,

that plunged exhibition into the sort of

existential crisis it had managed to avoid

for generations. A promising start to

the year sputtered to an alarming $2.25

billion in ticket sales, an 80 percent

year-over-year drop.

While there remains to be a full

accounting of the long-term damage

caused by the pandemic’s economic

disruption, changes to the traditional

theatrical exclusivity model have already

been felt at circuits across the nation.

Yet despite the myriad challenges that

exhibition faced in 2020, the industry

rallied to persevere. Concession stands

opened at theaters that were otherwise

closed nationwide, pop-up drive-ins

helped keep moviegoing alive during

the summer months, and gift card drives

provided a small respite for cinemas

waiting to reopen.

The reopening effort was fractured

and presented its own challenges. After

closing in March, major markets like

New York City and Los Angeles never

came back online, while other locations

went through a series of openings and

lockdowns with little to no warning for

the business community. Those cinemas

that could open were limited by a scarcity

of new releases from major studios.

With the odds stacked against them,

exhibitors have been strikingly resilient,

despite the mounting woes of 2020. This

year’s Giants of Exhibition ranking stands

as a testament to the industry’s flexibility

and resolve.

Presented By

Q1 2021







Location: Leawood, KS

Founded: 1920

Screens: 7,800 ↘ -3%

Locations: 600 ↘ -5%

What was supposed to be a festive year

for AMC Theatres quickly devolved into

a nightmare scenario. The circuit entered

2020 ready to celebrate its centennial

anniversary but was forced to focus

its energies on making it through the

biggest economic crisis in its history.

The circuit was among the first major

circuits in the United States to cease

operations, announcing on March 16 that

it would voluntarily close all its domestic

locations for six to 12 weeks. It would

take considerably longer than expected

for AMC to get back to business, waiting

until August 20—five months after

closing its doors—to resume operations

at 100 of its 600 locations.

The closures didn’t mean AMC was

quiet during the spring and early summer.

In April, the circuit was the first to speak

out against Universal’s decision to adopt

a dramatically shortened theatrical

exclusivity window, vowing not to

book any of the studio’s titles under the

policy. By July, it reversed its stance

and welcomed back Universal titles by

agreeing to a deal that would give the

circuit a portion of the films’ digital

streaming revenues. In June, the circuit’s

decision to suggest, though not require,

the wearing of face masks for patrons

returning to their theaters helped spark

a national debate about mask-wearing

policies at businesses reopening during

the pandemic. The circuit reversed

course a week after announcing its

original policy, citing public demand, and

required face masks at all their locations

once they reopened. In both instances,

AMC effectively used its position as the

country’s and world’s leading cinema

chain to influence the reopening effort.

It was also one of the first circuits in the

nation to announce a comprehensive

series of health and safety protocols

ahead of reopening, AMC Safe & Clean,

developed in collaboration with current

and former faculty members of Harvard

University’s School of Public Health and

in partnership with The Clorox Company.

AMC weathered significant stress in

instituting policies and changes that

will reverberate throughout the industry

for years—decisions that weren’t easily

made but were necessary to ensure its

survival. The circuit enters 2021 as the

only cinema chain in North America with

over 7,000 screens.

Kevin Shepela

EVP, Chief Commercial Officer


It’s been an incredibly challenging

time for everyone involved in

theatrical moviegoing. Today, we

honor the Giants of Exhibition,

who, we know, with their leadership

and unwavering dedication to the

industry, will help us go back to

the movies bigger and better than

before. At Fandango, we remain

steadfast as your partner in helping

film fans return to your theaters at

the right time, with exuberance,

confidence, and peace of mind.

We are proud of the work we’ve

done together over the past year

to offer moviegoers new health and

safety content and product features

on Fandango, including social

distance seat maps, occupancy

guides, search filtering for reopened

theaters and access to more than

100 health and safety protocols,

provided by theaters. With

Fandango’s mobile ticketing, we’re

also able to help reduce the number

of contact points for moviegoers

and cinema employees at the box

office and throughout the theater.

When new movies, event screenings,

and showtimes are scheduled at

your theaters, we will make sure

millions of moviegoers nationwide

are the first to know, so they can

grab tickets for their favorite seats in

your auditoriums.

Our industry is resilient. There’s

nothing like the thrill of watching

a film on the big screen with an

appreciative audience in a safe

environment. We are optimistic

about the future as we work together

to ensure that the moviegoing

experience will always be the first

choice in entertainment, with fans

more excited than ever to return to

your wonderful theaters. We can’t

wait to get back to the movies!

20 Q1 2021

Q1 2021



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22 Q1 2021




Wim Buyens

Chief Executive Officer


The past year has challenged our

industry like never before, forcing us

to confront old questions at a time

when tomorrow, and even today,

can seem uncertain. But it has also

reminded us that we are strongest

when we come together, connecting

over digital platforms to share

stories, encouragement, and ideas

about what business might look like

when life returns to the new normal.

Cinionic is proud to work closely

with you, our partners in exhibition,

to shape the next generation of

moviegoing with future-ready

solutions and services. We salute

our friends across exhibition. As a

community, we are seeking new,

innovative solutions to support our

recovery while keeping the legacy

of exceptional cinema alive. It takes

giants to forge a shared path to a

brighter future



Location: Knoxville, TN

Founded: 1989

Screens: 6,989 ↘ -3%

Locations: 527 ↘ -3%

The final days of 2019 gave the exhibition

industry a sneak peek at what was

likely to be the sector’s biggest story

of 2020: the acquisition of Cineplex by

Regal’s corporate parent, Cineworld. The

resulting deal was to be the culmination

of a major international expansion by

the U.K.-based Cineworld, only two years

removed from its acquisition of Regal,

and would supplant AMC as the largest

circuit in North America and the world. By

combining Regal and Cineplex under the

same ownership, Cineworld would have

essentially created a mega-circuit in North

America, with nearly 10,000 screens. The

pandemic derailed those plans, however,

leaving Regal and Cineplex as separate

entities in this year’s ranking. The

companies are instead sorting out the

broken pieces of the failed merger in court.

Cineworld’s corporate office in the

U.K. led Regal’s strategy throughout the

economic turbulence of 2020. The circuit

was one of several to voice its concerns

regarding Universal’s unilateral decision

to dramatically shorten the theatrical

exclusivity window for its titles; unlike

its competitors, however, it has yet to

announce a subsequent deal with the

studio—reflecting its corporate parent’s

staunch positioning on windows. The

circuit has remained similarly noncommittal

in reacting to Warner Bros.’

controversial day-and-date release

strategy for 2021.

Regal suspended operations in mid-

March along with other top U.S. circuits,

reopening select locations on August 21 in

anticipation of what was expected to be a

consistent studio slate. Tenet’s performance

at the box office did little to bolster studio

confidence in the newly reopened market,

however, prompting a slew of additional

schedule changes from top distributors and

leaving exhibitors with few programming

options. The last straw for Cineworld came

in the fall with the sudden rescheduling

of the James Bond title No Time to Die,

prompting the circuit to suspend operations

in the U.K. and U.S. until further notice—or

at least until it could depend on a consistent

slate of films. The majority of Regal screens

in the United States remained closed

through the end of the year.

Once it reopens, the circuit will be

taking a case-by-case approach to which

titles—and under what terms—it programs

in the nearly 7,000 screens it operates in

North America.

Q1 2021





Stan Ruszkowski


The Boxoffice Company



Location: Plano, TX

Founded: 1984

Screens: 4.517 ↘ -2%

Locations: 331 ↘ -4%

Cinemark entered 2020 from a period

of growth, with 2019 marking its fifth

consecutive year of record revenues.

Covid-19, obviously, sent the chain in a

different direction. On March 18, Cinemark

closed all its U.S. locations in response

to the pandemic. June 19 saw the chain

embark on the first part of its phased

reopening, which began with five theaters

in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Initial plans

to have all of Cinemark’s U.S. theaters open

by July 10 were pushed back as infection

rates continued to rise and the theatrical

debut of major tentpoles continued to

be delayed. The main part of Cinemark’s

summer reopening effort took place

throughout August, leading up to the

September 3 release of Warner Bros.’ Tenet.

With 2020 offering up an extremely

limited slate of studio tentpoles, starting

in July Cinemark turned to private

cinema rentals, driving customer

awareness and interest with giveaways

tied to Halloween, Thanksgiving, and

Christmas. By December 9, more than 1.3

million moviegoers had participated in

one of Cinemark’s 100,000 Private Watch

Parties. Private cinema rentals accounted

for 17 percent of Cinemark’s Q3 2020

U.S. admissions revenues. In Cinemark’s

Q3 2020 investor call, CEO Mark Zoradi

underscored the importance of private

rentals as a way for customers who had

not been to the movies since the start of

the pandemic to experience Cinemark’s

enhanced safety and cleanliness

procedures firsthand.

November saw Cinemark join AMC in

signing its own agreement with Universal

to distribute the studio’s films under a

shortened theatrical exclusivity window.

Under Cinemark’s “Dynamic Window”

arrangement, Universal and Focus titles

will have five weekends (31 days) of

theatrical exclusivity if they open to $50M,

or three weekends (17 days) if they do not;

certain films will receive a five-weekend

window regardless.

Cinemark’s deal with Universal

extends over multiple years, echoing

Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi’s belief

that the shifting nature of theatrical

exclusivity will continue past the

cessation of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A difficult year for our entire industry

was also one of unprecedented

innovation and creativity, as

movie theaters found new ways

to engage with their audiences.

From mobile ordering to take-out

concessions, and even at-home

viewing experiences and private

watch parties—exhibitors have been

at the heart of finding new ways to

redefine the moviegoing experience.

This year’s Giants of Exhibition list

is a reflection of the resilience and

commitment to innovation of our

entire industry. We are honored

to count many of these circuits as

partners and clients of The Boxoffice


We thank you for your trust and

leadership during this difficult time.

Your insights and collaborations

have helped us reinvent our

focus on solutions that can help

exhibitors get through the pandemic

and bounce back faster once

their cinemas reopen. Our latest

projects include contactless digital

ticketing and concessions; customer

awareness through SEO, emailing,

and social media; and co-watching

streaming services.

We look forward to getting out of

this crisis together stronger, offering

a better customer experience than

ever before.

24 Q1 2021



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Q1 2021






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26 Q1 2021




Film Expo Group

On behalf of the entire Film

Expo Group family, we’d like to

congratulate this year’s Giants of

Exhibition. Like everyone else in

this industry, Film Expo Group has

weathered the challenges of the

Covid-19 pandemic by innovating

while maintaining our commitment

as champions of the moviegoing

experience. Despite not hosting

any of our traditional conventions

in person in 2020, we found it

important to keep in touch with

the exhibition and distribution

communities by launching digital

editions of CineEurope, ShowEast,

and CineAsia. Their success would

not have been possible without your

continued support.

In 2021 we are looking forward to

seeing everyone once again in

person. We hope that you will be

able to join us in Barcelona, June

21–24, for CineEurope. We will be

back stateside, October 18–21 in

Miami, for ShowEast. And last but

not least, we are excited to finish the

year in Bangkok, December 6–9, for

CineAsia. We remain confident that

together we will all be able to come

back better and stronger.



Location: Toronto, ON (Canada)

Founded: 2003

Screens: 1,657 ↘ -2%

Locations: 161 ↘ -2%

Canada’s leading exhibition circuit found

itself in the midst of several transitions

in what proved to be an eventful 2020. Its

acquisition by U.K.-based Cineworld, first

announced in December 2019, was expected

to be finalized in the second quarter of the

year. Instead, the circuit resorted to legal

action once Cineworld abandoned its plans

to acquire the chain in June.

With the matter headed to court,

Cineplex turned its focus to the reopening

effort—effectively becoming the first major

circuit in North America to reopen its doors.

Cineplex welcomed moviegoers back to

their screens in late June, followed by a

progressive nationwide reopening over

the rest of the summer. As with cinemas

elsewhere, the chain had to contend with

new rounds of localized closures amid a

surge of cases throughout the year.

Cineplex joined AMC and Cinemark

in accepting Universal’s proposal to

shorten the theatrical exclusivity window,

signing on to the agreement in late

November. The dynamic window gives the

Canadian chain at least three weekends

of exclusivity for any Universal or Focus

Features title before it becomes available

on home entertainment platforms.

Strategically, the decision could help

Cineplex further expand its own videoon-demand

channel, the Cineplex Store.

The circuit reported positive growth for

its home entertainment division in 2020,

reaching 1.8 million registered users by

the end of Q3—a 41 percent increase over

the previous year.

By not relying solely on the studio

release slate through its diversified

entertainment offerings, Cineplex stands

apart from other major North American

circuits in the recovery effort, as vaccines

begin to make their way across Canada.

More than a cinema circuit, Cineplex

has come to be known as an out-of-home

entertainment destination for Canadians,

which has helped launch Scene, one of

the most successful loyalty programs in

the country. Redemptions from its loyalty

program already include discounts on

digital rentals and concessions items, free

standard and premium-format movie

tickets, and vouchers eligible at the

circuit’s entertainment centers, the Rec

Room and Playdium.

Q1 2021






Location: Milwaukee, WI

Founded: 1935

Screens: 1,097 ↘ -1%

Locations: 89 ↘ -2%

Like many of its exhibition

colleagues in North America,

Marcus Theatres shut down

in March and embarked on a

phased reopening throughout

the summer months, in the

interim investing in drive-ins

as a way to keep the (projector)

lights on even as indoor

theaters had to remain closed.

The Marcus Corporation,

parent company of Marcus

Theatres, was affected in

unique ways by the Covid-19

pandemic compared with

other North American

exhibitors. For one thing,

The Marcus Corporation is

involved in both theaters and

hospitality, two industries

particularly hard hit by the

pandemic and its shutdowns.

On the more positive side, the

company's real estate holdings

include most of its cinema

locations, a distinct silver

lining in a year when chains

nationwide were engaged

in difficult conversations

with landlords. “We believe

this remains a significant

advantage for us relative

to our peers, as it keeps our

monthly fixed lease payments

low and provides significant

underlying credit support for

our balance sheet,” said Greg

Marcus, president and CEO of

The Marcus Corporation, in

the company's Q3 earnings call.

Though Q3 2020 attendance

was (understandably) down

considerably from the same

period in 2019, the average

concession spend per person

increased by 28 percent. In

a call with investors, CFO

Douglas Neis attributed

this growth to shortened

lines and an emphasis on

advance online and mobile

ordering. "While the first

reason will eventually go

away as attendance increases,

the second reason has the

potential to be long-lasting,

which is very encouraging.”




Location: Scottsdale, AZ

Founded: 1933

Screens: 501 ↘ -3%

Locations: 33 ↘ -3%

“There is no question that this

has been the most difficult

time in my 50-plus years in

the business,” said Harkins

Theatres owner Dan Harkins,

in a statement announcing

the circuit’s initial wave of

reopenings in August. The

Scottsdale, Arizona–based

circuit weathered a difficult

year by instituting initiatives

like gift cards, takeout

popcorn, and a strategically

priced private rental program

to mitigate the economic

downturn. Like other circuits,

it even opened its doors to

digital delivery apps like

DoorDash and GrubHub to

deliver movie theater popcorn

to audiences at home to bolster

concessions sales.

In its open theaters, the

circuit extended discounts

on select concessions and

implemented $5 admission

nights tied to classic film

series. Themed programming

strands like Tuesday Classic

Movie Night, Girlfriends Movie

Night, Hispanic Heritage

Film Fest, and October

Fright Nights helped recreate

part of the communal

moviegoing experience

throughout the year, while

still adhering to reducedcapacity

guidelines. That

targeted outreach through

programming included the

circuit’s Open Caption Films

series, a pair of evenings each

month dedicated to playing

accessible-format new releases

for hard-of-hearing audiences.

Harkins enters 2021 as one of

only five U.S. circuits with over

500 screens, a notable screen

count considering its presence

throughout four Western states

as opposed to its competitors’

national footprint.

28 Q1 2021



Location: Kansas City, MO

Founded: 1924

Screens: 429 ↗ 3%

Locations: 49 ↗ 2%

Family-owned B&B Theatres

was among the first major

circuits to close all its

locations in mid-March,

just as the full scope of the

pandemic began to come into

view. Days after announcing

the closures, film director

Christopher Nolan cited the

chain by name in a call for

support of the beleaguered

industry, published in The

Washington Post.

While the majority of their

locations remained closed

throughout the summer, B&B

was able to get back in touch

with moviegoers at their three

drive-in screens—a crucial

lifeline for the circuit during

the pandemic. While drive-in

revenue didn’t fully replace

income lost at its closed

theaters, it helped contribute

to other efforts like takeout

concessions and gift card sales

during the most difficult period

of the pandemic.

Once its theaters reopened,

B&B expanded inclusive initiatives

like its nationwide Sensory

Backpack program. The

program, developed with the

guidance of Variety – the Children’s

Charity of Kansas City,

makes backpacks containing

sensory aids like weighted lappads,

noise-cancelling headsets,

dark glasses, and fidget

cubes, available to borrow at

the box office at no cost.

Even with all the disruption

caused by the pandemic,

B&B was nevertheless able

to expand part of its circuit

in 2020. The circuit unveiled

its newest location, a totally

renovated 14-screen multiplex

in Jackson, Mississippi, in

September, just days before the

U.S. release of Tenet.



Location: Memphis, TN

Founded: 1915

Screens: 363

Locations: 35

Like other chains in North

America and overseas, Malco

Theatres responded to the

challenges of the coronavirus

pandemic—specifically a

lack of content from major

Hollywood studios—by offering

private screenings for small

groups of up to 20 people,

branded under the name Malco

Select. The circuit introduced

Malco Select in early October,

following a phased reopening

throughout the summer. Said

Malco president and COO David

Tashie at the time: “While we

have always offered packages

for mid-sized and large groups,

this new program is geared

toward guests who want to be

able to select a movie and have

their own private screening for

themselves, family, and friends.”

During the early spring

months of the pandemic,

Malco stayed connected with

its customers with trivia

nights, bulk popcorn sales,

and revamped social media

initiatives; it also welcomed

moviegoers to its Summer

Drive-In Theater starting in

mid-May. The four-screen

drive-in theater, located in

Malco’s home city of Memphis,

remained in operation

through the autumn and

winter and into early 2021.

Moving into the latter part of

2020, November saw Malco add

a video game component to its

Malco Select program, inviting

those interested in a private

auditorium rental to bring their

own console and games.

Reflecting the challenges

theaters in general have faced

throughout 2020, the final

month of the year saw Malco

close its indoor Memphisarea

theaters in accordance

with local health guidelines;

Malco locations that remain

open ended the year with

a combination of recent

releases, older classics, and

specialized programming.

Q1 2021





Location: Miami, FL

Founded: 2016

Screens: 341 ↘ -17%

Locations: 31 ↘ -23%

CMX Cinemas, the U.S. arm

of Mexico’s Cinemex, quickly

established itself as one of the

top movie theater chains in

the North American market

after opening its first location

in 2017. A combination of new

sites and major acquisitions

thrust the company into a

market leadership position,

one it expected to capitalize on

in 2020. A planned takeover of

Texas-based dine-in chain Star

Cinema Grill was announced

in mid-March, unfortunately

timed just as the Covid-19

pandemic started to storm its

way through the country. The

deal was abandoned within

a matter of weeks as CMX

became the first major circuit

in North America to file for

Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to

the pandemic. Rather than

grow in size with its latest

acquisition, the pandemic

threw both circuits into court

to resolve the failed merger.

As CMX emerged from

bankruptcy in September,

the circuit quickly moved to

restructure its existing sites

and business operations in

order to make it through the

pandemic. It has also been one

of the most vocal entities in

calling for a renewed business

model amid studios’ rush

to shorten or eliminate the

theatrical exclusivity window.

In an open letter published in

Boxoffice Pro in December,

the circuit’s CFO expressed

a flexibility in programming

titles with early streaming

debuts, as long as the

percentage of theatrical ticket

sales going back to studios

is decreased to account for

the resulting loss of revenue

from admissions. Despite the

bankruptcy, CMX plans to get

back to growth in 2021 with the

addition of three new locations.





Location: Calgary, AL (Canada)

Founded: 1965

Screens: 334 ↗ 4%

Locations: 36 ↗ 2%

Celebrating its 55th birthday

in 2020, Landmark Cinemas

of Canada is owned by multinational

exhibitor Kinepolis,

which owns MJR Digital

Cinemas in the United States.

Canada’s second-largest theater

chain, it operates in six of

the country’s 10 provinces.

After announcing its temporary

chain-wide closure on

March 16, the chain kicked off

a phased reopening on June

26 with the reopening of six

locations in Alberta. Additional

theaters reopened their

doors throughout the summer,

though moving into the early

weeks of 2021 all but a handful

of its theaters were temporarily

reclosed due to rising Covid


Through its reopening

and closings, Landmark

Cinemas of Canada

maintained connections

with its moviegoers by way

of a robust social media

presence, as well as private

auditorium rentals (offering

both new and classic films for

up to 20 guests) and takeout

concessions sales through

Uber Eats, SkiptheDishes,

and DoorDash. Starting in

July it opened applications

for the Landmark Cinemas

Community Advertising

Grant, offering digital preshow

advertising to small and

medium-sized businesses

within 15 kilometers of one

of its locations. Late 2020

saw the completion of a new

location in the Tamarack

neighborhood of Edmonton,

Alberta, boasting its branded

Laser Ultra technology.

30 Q1 2021



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Location: Norwood, MA

Founded: 1936

Screens: 321 ↘ 11%

Locations: 24 ↘ 11%


Location: New Orleans, LA

Founded: 2003

Screens: 266

Locations: 18


Location: Culver City, CA

Founded: 2000

Screens: 238

Locations: 24


Location: Maple Grove, MN

Founded: 1993

Screens: 191

Locations: 22




Location: Austin, TX

Founded: 1997

Screens: 317

Locations: 41





Location: St Simons Island, GA

Founded: 1992

Screens: 263

Locations: 25




Location: Los Angeles, CA

Founded: 1993

Screens: 234

Locations: 17



Location: Sherman Oaks, CA

Founded: 1998

Screens: 186 ↗ 9%

Locations: 16 ↗ 7%



Location: Dallas, TX

Founded: 2000

Screens: 294 ↘ -17%

Locations: 27 ↘ -23%





Location: Owosso, MI

Founded: 1983

Screens: 263

Locations: 27



Location: Agoura Hills, CA

Founded: 1996

Screens: 206 ↗ 5%

Locations: 28





Location: Sandy, UT

Founded: 1999

Screens: 176 ↘ -3%

Locations: 15 ↘ -6%



Location: San Juan, PR

Founded: 1968

Screens: 281 ↘ -5%

Locations: 32 ↘ -6%



Location: Big Spring, TX

Founded: 1993

Screens: 259 ↘ -14%

Locations: 23 ↘ -18%



Location: West Hollywood, CA

Founded: 1974

Screens: 201 ↘ -20%

Locations: 40 ↘ -22%



Location: Bloomfield Hills, MI

Founded: 1980

Screens: 164

Locations: 10




Location: Dallas, TX

Founded: 2011

Screens: 276 ↗ 5%

Locations: 28




Location: Troy, MI

Founded: 1997

Screens: 255

Locations: 21



Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Founded: 2020

Screens: 200 ↘ -29%

Locations: 25 ↘ -17%



Location: Beckley, WV

Founded: 1979

Screens: 163 ↘ -7%

Locations: 15 ↘ -12%

32 Q1 2021






Location: Ridgefield, CT

Founded: 1900

Screens: 156 ↘ -29%

Locations: 20 ↘ -38%



Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Founded: 1944

Screens: 145 ↘ -11%

Locations: 11 ↘ -8%


Location: Reisterstown, MD

Founded: 1932

Screens: 119

Locations: 13


Location: Elkhart, KS

Founded: 2005

Screens: 107

Locations: 15




Location: Petaluma, CA

Founded: 1984

Screens: 154 ↘ -8%

Locations: 14 ↘ -18%




Location: Deltona, FL

Founded: 2003

Screens: 144

Locations: 12




Location: Boca Raton, FL

Founded: 2007

Screens: 116 ↘ -1%

Locations: 15




Location: Charlotte, NC

Founded: 2003

Screens: 104

Locations: 9





Location: Waite Park, MN

Founded: 1964

Screens: 154 ↘ -4%

Locations: 19 ↘ -5%




Location: Knoxville, TN

Founded: 2001

Screens: 144 ↗ 24%

Locations: 14 ↗ 8%




Location: Las Cruces, NM

Founded: 1912

Screens: 116

Locations: 17




Location: Des Moines, IA

Founded: 1972

Screens: 98

Locations: 18 ↘ -5%




Location: Ashland, OR

Founded: 1985

Screens: 153

Locations: 18



Location: Terrebonne, QC

Founded: 2003

Screens: 133

Locations: 9




Location: San Antonio, TX

Founded: 1948

Screens: 115

Locations: 9





Location: Chicago, IL

Founded: 1909

Screens: 98

Locations: 7




Location: Cambridge, MA

Founded: 1995

Screens: 149 ↘ -7%

Locations: 19 ↘ -5%



Location: Downers Grove, IL

Founded: 1978

Screens: 131 ↗ 8%

Locations: 15



Location: New Albany, IN

Founded: 2013

Screens: 108

Locations: 8




Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Founded: 2003

Screens: 96

Locations: 11

Q1 2021


Industry BIG DATA



As Theatrical Exclusivity Windows Shrink,

Cinema Owners Look at the Potential Impact of

Streaming on Their Bottom Line


34 Q1 2021

Does streaming finally spell the end

of cinema? It is the question many

theatrical exhibition professionals are

asking themselves with greater urgency,

thanks to a newly shortened theatrical

exclusivity window and studios rushing

to get their films on home entertainment

platforms as quickly as possible during the

coronavirus pandemic.

Driven by these concerns, a team from

the University of Memphis Kemmons

Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort

Management, under the leadership

of Radesh Palakurthi, PhD, MBA, and

commissioned by Larry Etter, director of

education for the National Association

of Concessionaires, compiled research

on audiences’ streaming and moviegoing

preferences and habits to determine

the potential impact of streaming on


Palakurthi enlisted the support of

Qualtrics, a globally recognized survey

facilitator, to assist in the study. The

survey was performed in 2019, before

Covid-19 shutdowns, allowing for a

fair comparison between streaming

and moviegoing. The survey offered 35

statements comparing streaming services

with movie theaters on a 5-point Likert

Scale (1 = strongly agree to 5 = strongly

disagree). A factor analysis was used

to reduce the 35 statements to core

constructs for in-depth study. There were

420 usable responses (as determined by


The demographics of the qualified

respondents were as follows:

Respondent Demographics

Age distribution of respondents (% of total)

Respondents by race (% of total)

25-34 White

















0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35

Annual household income of respondents (% of total)

Education of respondents (% of total)





Graduate or




degree in


Some college

or associate


High school

or less


















Q1 2021


Industry BIG DATA

The first inquiry concerned the use

of streaming services. All were asked

their satisfaction level with their service

provider and whether they owned a

home theater. This was a key question,

since high satisfaction with streaming

was necessary to qualify for the survey.

There were at least 10 streaming services

identified, with an added category of

“other” to include all possibilities. The top

four services were Amazon Prime, Hulu,

Netflix, and YouTube TV.

The survey also included a “length of

time” category using a particular service.

The responses were graded on “Extremely

Satisfied” to “Extremely Dissatisfied” with

their streaming services: The answers

among the 1- to 3-year users were nearly

equal for all services at 59 percent to 70

percent extremely satisfied.

The statistics showed no difference

in satisfaction between genders, as the

satisfaction average for streaming services

was 1.55 (more than very satisfied) and for

home theater viewing was 2.15 (nearly very

satisfied) on the 1–5 Likert Scale. There

were likewise no statistical differences

based on age or household income. In

summary, all respondents, regardless

of demographics, maintained similar

opinions: roughly a score of 1.5 (more than

very satisfied) with the service they were

using, and a score of approximately 2.1

(nearly very satisfied) with their home

theater experience. It is important to note

that the “average Likert score” equals

Does streaming finally spell

the end of cinema? It is the

question many theatrical

exhibition professionals

are asking themselves with

greater urgency.

Competitive Landscape

Uniqueness Factor





0 5 0


I have more options to watch the movies I

want at a movie theater compared to what is

available through digital streaming services

The amenities offered at movie theaters

2.9 positively add to the experience compared


to using digital streaming services

The overall price-value offered by movie

theaters is better than any digital streaming

service can provide


The ambience at a movie theater makes

it a more thrilling experience compared to

digitally streaming movies at home


Watching a movie at a theater is more

convenient than digitally streaming a movie


The immersive movie experience presented

at theaters cannot be duplicated through

digital streaming at a home theater


Movie theater technologies are advancing

at a faster pace than digital movie

streaming technologies


The best home theater technologies cannot

compete with what the movie theaters

have to offer


Easy access to a variety of movie theater

types makes them more competitive than

digital streaming services


The benefits of watching a movie at a

theater clearly outweigh digitally streaming

a movie


Movie theater bundling packages are a lot

more attractive than what are offered by

digital streaming services


The movie theater industry is a lot more

innovative than the digital streaming



Thematically connected concession stands

and commercials at movie theaters make

the movies more enjoyable compared to

digital streaming


Nothing that the digital streaming services

offer can be a replacement for watching a

movie at a theater


I enjoy the buzz around a release of a new

movie at a theater, something I cannot get

when I digitally stream movies


Movie technologies such as 3-D and

Imax formats make theaters a lot more

compelling compared to digital streaming


36 Q1 2021

2.5 and was labeled as merely “satisfied.”

Hence, it appears that most streamers

are very or more than satisfied with their

service provider, and the average person

interviewed is very satisfied (2.1) with

their home theater use. Remember, the

closer to the number 1, the more strongly

individuals agree with the statement.

One must remember that with over

400 respondents, an average of 2.5 is a

moderately positive score.

A factor analysis was then applied to

the results. Thirty-five agree-disagree

statements were grouped into 5 factors,

or categories: Uniqueness, Competitive

Landscape, Motivational, Presentation

Superiority, Coexistence. The factors

were then classified under the type of

agree-disagree statements reflected in

the questionnaire. All of these questions

were biased toward movie theaters being a

better experience than streaming. (While

all the charts and graphs with a complete

listing are available, the following is

a representation of the critical data


The final analysis was conducted to

determine the Belief Factors people have

regarding movie theaters. The 11 agreedisagree

statements were reduced to two

factors for movie theaters: They possess a

positive image, and they provide a highquality

resource for the user. The factors

were labeled by the research team as

Positive Image Factor and High-Quality

Resources Factor.

Motivational Factors

Presentation Superiority (prejudiced in favor of cinemas)





0 5 0


Movie theaters are only for seeing new

movies that I am very excited about; the rest

can be digitally streamed

Digital streaming cannot match the audio

2.3 and video quality offered at a movie



Movie theaters are for blockbusters, while

digital streaming is for whatever grabs my

attention at that specific time


Movie studios offer fresh content, while

digital streaming services exist to display

the leftovers


Watching a movie at a theater is regarded

as a special event activity, while streaming

a movie is regarded as watching a movie

studio’s dumped content


Studio movies are made for best

experience at a movie theater and not for

small-screen digital streaming


Watching movies in a movie theater honors

cinematography, while digital streaming on

small screens does not


Certain movies should only be seen on

the big screen at a movie theater for a

fuller experience


Movie theaters offer fewer but higherquality

movie choices compared to a

variety of basic choices available through

digital streaming


Movie theaters offer popular releases, while

digital streaming services offer movies that

are rarely found in mainstream theaters


Movie theaters provide a better social

experience with friends and family

compared to digital streaming at home


Movie theater screenings are the pinnacles

of cinematic achievement, while digital

streaming is not


Q1 2021


Industry BIG DATA

An analogy could be made

to the challenges faced by

radio after the invention of

the television. Radio did not

go out of business but found

a way to coexist with TV.

The study’s synopsis is succinct:

Streaming is here to stay; it has

advantages that cannot be matched by

brick-and-mortar cinemas. In the same

way, cinemas have assets that cannot

be matched by mobile devices or even

home theaters. An analogy could be

made to the challenges faced by radio

after the invention of the television.

Radio did not go out of business but

found a way to coexist with TV. Radio

became the mobile media option, while

TV became the preferred in-home

medium. Both of these entertainment

media were challenges to the cinema

industry. What did the cinema industry

do? Continue to employ its strengths:

state-of-the-art audio and visual

delivery, a place to congregate and

share the emotional experience of the

film, premium production values, and

authentic storytelling and performances.

Let’s not forget that back in the day, airconditioning

was a huge lift for cinemas;

cool comfort was an amenity many

could not enjoy at home. Reclining seats,

gourmet foods, and alcoholic beverages

are the new “comfort” features cinemas

can offer to outclass the streaming sector.

Theaters will have to reinvent themselves

while still offering the highest quality film

product, not because of streaming, but

because human nature requires it.

Larry Etter is Director of Education at the

National Association of Concessionaires.

Radesh Palakurthi, PhD, MBA, is Dean

at University of Memphis Kemmons

Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort

Management, IHG Chair of Excellence

Coexistance Factor

Belief Factor 1: Positive Image Factor





0 5 0


I see movie theaters and digital movie

streaming companies as two distinct

services that can be used together


I believe that movie theaters are an integral


part of the local community

I will never stop going to the movies at a

theater because of the availability of digital



I have a very positive opinion about movie



One does not have to stop watching

movies in a theater just because of their

digital streaming habits


I often talk positively about my movie

theater experiences with my friends and



The real value of movie theaters comes

from being able to see new releases

without waiting for them to be digitally

streamed months later


I believe movie theaters create a great

environment to enjoy a movie


My digital streaming habits have not

reduced my frequency of watching a movie

at a movie theater


I believe that the movie theater industry

serves a positive economic purpose in our



I get to enjoy the best technical and

cinematographic qualities of a movie when

watching it in a movie theater compared to

digital streaming


I believe that the movie theater industry

does an excellent job or providing

entertainment to local communities


CGI-laden, action-packed blockbusters

are best seen in a movie theater rather

than being digitally streamed


I do not let weather (very hot day, heavy

rainfall, or a bitterly cold day) get between

me and going to movie theater to watch a

movie I am really excited to see


I often try to sway people to go to see a

movie at a theater whenever there is an



I usually prefer to see a movie at a movie

theater rather than go to a local festival

or event


38 Q1 2021

Celebrating 50 years of unwavering

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In In the face of of unprecedented

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Q1 2021




0 s

marked the 100th anniversary of



Globalization and



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 this series, A Century in


40 Q1 2021

As the exhibition industry entered the

last decade of the 20th century, the

outlook was gloomy. Even the record year of

1990—with a domestic total of $5.02B—was

not enough to assuage the fears of industry

pundits who warned that a recession was

looming. They cautioned exhibitors that

several factors, including high ticket prices,

home video, aging Baby Boomers and the

ascent of a new generation who had grown

up with home entertainment, as well as an

oversaturation of screens, painted a bleak

picture for the exhibition industry.

The economy plunged into a recession

in July 1990, taking the box office with it.

There was, however, still reason for optimism.

The end of the Cold War ushered in

the era of the American superpower, bringing

the promise of a liberal world order to

the cinema industry. This new geopolitical

context accelerated globalization and

offered unprecedented opportunities for

the expansion of American theater circuits

abroad at a time when the domestic

market was tapped out. The enthusiasm

for international expansion was matched

by the excitement generated by an entirely

new kind of frontier: cyberspace. The

surge in telecommunications innovation

and new technologies in the 1990s would

be a boon for some—yet an existential

threat for others. In any case, it prompted

the industry to innovate and reinvent itself

for the digital age of the new millennium.

‘The World Is Watching’

“When pundits and cultural historians

look back on the 1990s, the globalization

of the world economy will likely be the

defining story of the decade,” wrote

Boxoffice Pro editor Ray Greene in

July 1996. Greene was right. Not only

has globalization shaped the world as

we know it today, but this new global

interconnectedness—documented by

Boxoffice Pro and Greene himself—

pushed American exhibition abroad

while raising new questions about

American cinema’s financial and cultural

role in the world.

By 1991, Hollywood was already

experiencing the impact of globalization

at home. Four out of the seven majors

had fallen into foreign hands: MGM/

UA was now owned by the French Pathé

Communications, Columbia TriStar by

the Japanese giant Sony, 20th Century

Fox by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp

Australia, and Matsushita Electric had

just clinched a deal worth $6.59 billion to

acquire MCA/Universal. But this sense of

“foreign invasion” began to abate after the

collapse of the USSR, and the proliferation

of free-trade agreements brought new

opportunities in previously impenetrable

markets. Soon, Boxoffice Pro developed

its coverage of foreign markets with an

“International Reports” section, countryspecific

columns, and special issues on

Q1 2021



CinemaExpo in Europe, the Australian

Movie Convention, and CineAsia. Greene,

welcoming the launch of the first CineAsia

in January 1995, lauded these global trade

shows for revealing “that we all share a

human face by celebrating what we share

and providing an interpersonal conduit

for educating each other about the things

we do not.”

Trade shows were significant spaces

for global intercultural exchanges. NATO/

ShoWest, the amalgam of the annual

conventions of NATO and ShoWest

since 1988, emerged both as a forum to

debate how exhibitors would adapt to a

globalized world and as a driving force

for international expansion. The slogan

for the 1991 NATO/ShowWest trade show,

“The World is Watching,” encapsulated the

industry’s new preoccupations. William

Kartozian, NATO’s president, introduced

international audiences to the convention

with “A Global Welcome,” while NATO

executive director Mary Ann Grasso wrote,

“Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome!” It

was the first convention chiefly focused

on the international economy, featuring

numerous presentations and seminars

on international exhibition, distribution,

and marketing. A few months earlier, in

November 1990, NATO had launched

an International Exhibition Committee

to help facilitate American investments

abroad. Soon, North American exhibitors

were popping up all over Europe, South

America, and Southeast Asia, while the

African and Middle Eastern markets

remained sidelined. Cineplex, for instance,

expanded to Eastern Europe and South

America, while UA expanded to Singapore

in 1994 following the 1985 introduction of

its first Asian multiplex in Hong Kong.

The signing of the North American

Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994

and the 1993 deregulation of the Mexican

film market, which lifted caps on ticket

prices and dropped quota requirements

for Mexican films from 50 percent to

just 10 percent by 1997, put Mexico at

the center of the American expansion

strategy. According to a Boxoffice Pro

report from February 1994, AMC had

“retained a real estate agent in Mexico to

hunt up potential AMC sites there.” The

Mexican market seemed particularly

favorable, as Mexican cinemas, all

previously owned and/or regulated by

the government, were not in the way

“of modern competition” for American

firms. Cinemark de Mexico president

Ken Higgins echoed the argument,

claiming that “Mexico is where the

U.S. was 30 years ago, with little single

theaters and twins,” and that it boasted

the second most avid moviegoers in the

world after China. While local players

like Cinemex began to rise, American

exhibitors were quick to rival them.

Cinemark, which had opened its first

Latin American theater in the Chilean

capital of Santiago in 1993, opened four

theaters in Mexico right after NAFTA was

signed. By 1997, Cinemark was on track

to become the second-largest circuit

in the world, with locations in the U.S.,

Canada, Mexico, Central America, Peru,

Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, where the

first multiplex with Cinemark’s signature

stadium seating opened in July 1997.

Cinemark International also announced

a partnership with the second-largest

Japanese circuit, Shochiku Co., to build

100 screens in Japan by the year 2000.

This expansion was driven by one

mission: to bring innovative multiplexes

to underscreened markets. Tim Warner,

president of Cinemark International,

summarized this in a May 1997 interview:

“The thing we’re going to primarily bring

is the state-of-the-art multiplex theater to

Japan. Right now, they have something

like one screen for every hundred and

some thousand people—as compared

to the U.S. which is about one screen for

every 10,000 people—and yet it’s still one

of the primary markets outside of the U.S.

for U.S. films from a dollar standpoint.”

But, he continued, “The potential of the

marketplace, or the risk versus rewards,

are very high because most of the markets

that we are going in are very, very much


42 Q1 2021

“You can expect to meet

resistance in almost every

market you go to, and in

some places, it’s just flat-out

against the law for anyone

from outside the country to be

involved in exhibition.”

Building global multiplex empires

was not devoid of challenges. Exhibitors

needed to change their corporate culture

to fit into global companies as well as

navigate local laws, economic regulations,

and cultural attitudes toward cinema.

Although the megaplex boom was taking

off in Europe, particularly in the U.K. and

Scandinavian countries, the Old Continent

emerged as a particularly abstruse market.

“You can expect to meet resistance in

almost every market you go to, and in

some places, it’s just flat-out against the

law for anyone from outside the country

to be involved in exhibition,” decried AMC

International president David Seal in an

interview in July 1994. Seal proposed

circumventing working with local theater

operators altogether, favoring instead

partnerships with financial institutions

and investors.

The last-minute failure in 1993 to

incorporate films and other intellectual

properties in the General Agreement

on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the most

sweeping free-trade agreement until that

point, further hampered the expansion

of American audiovisual firms in Europe.

There was a pervasive fear that these

trade barriers in conjunction with

the cultural policies of the European

Economic Community, which was

gearing up for a deepened integration

and expansion after the reunification of

Germany, would crowd U.S. product off

of European screens. Jack Valenti, the

MPAA (now MPA) chief who spearheaded

the GATT talks on the cinema industry

and, in the words of Greene, “emerged

as perhaps the U.S.’s most eloquent

spokesman for open global markets,”

spoke to Boxoffice Pro in February 1994.

“It was absurd—it was a joke. At 3 o’clock

in the morning, it occurred to me like an

epiphany that these people never wanted

to negotiate. … I’m sad and disappointed

that after seven years we couldn’t come to

some sane conclusions.”

Indeed, the lowering of trade barriers

for cinema was a contentious topic for

many Europeans, particularly the French,

who wished to protect their cultural

identity from a perceived American

imperialism. Reporting from Amsterdam

at the CinemaExpo convention in August

1999, Senior Editor Francesca Dinglasan

noted that “it was apparent that the

continent’s individual countries remain

fiercely proud of their own national and

cultural identities.” Greene weighed in on

the debate frequently, offering a qualified

view on American cultural imperialism

and arguing that the U.S. had a lot to

learn from foreign markets. “It might

be interesting to speculate about the

invigorating effects of a sort of inverse

cultural imperialism—in which the often

more humane and humanistic messages

celebrated in foreign product begin to

influence American movies—might have

on Hollywood,” he wrote in July 1995.

In 1996, he added: “To Americans the

notion that U.S. movies could be perceived

a threat to the intellectual life of other

societies seems inexplicable since so

few U.S. movies aspire to do more than

entertain (…) but there is a certain truth

to the ‘cultural imperialism’ arguments

in the sense that even the most seemingly

mindless American action film often

deals in attitudes (about violence as a

rite of passage, about the heroism of the

common individual), which are American

preoccupations, if only at the level of

cliché. American cultural hegemony is

rapidly becoming obsolete because of

the commercial importance of foreign

attitudes on the bottom line.” The

imperative to please a foreign audience

was inevitable for Greene, because, just a

year earlier, American movies had grossed

more in foreign lands than in the U.S for

the first time in the history of Hollywood.

Megacircuits Rising

The international momentum was not

only a consequence of a propitious global

context. It was also a response to a very

real domestic problem. The overscreening

of America, due to the megaplex fever that

started in the 1980s, led to an unrelenting

hunt for foreign moviegoers. It was also

a catalyst for the consolidation of the

exhibition industry at home. The case

of Ontario, California, where two major

megaplexes were built across from one

another and 54 screens existed within

700 square feet, served as a reminder of

the nonviability of the current situation.

“Thou Shalt not Ontario one another,”

proclaimed NATO’s Kartozian.

“‘Grow or die’ still seems to be the

philosophy of the megaplex exhibitors;

with new construction destined to

become an increasingly less viable option

for expansion in the years ahead, the

acquisition of already existing circuits

has emerged as exhibition’s next big

Q1 2021



thing,” explained Greene in the Giants of

Exhibition issue of January 1998. Cineplex

Odeon and Cinemark had announced a

merger in 1995. Had the deal materialized,

the new company would have formed the

largest North American circuit, with 2,839

screens. The announcement became a

starting pistol for a trend of mergers and

consolidations. 1997 was undoubtedly the

year of the mergers: Carmike purchased

the 195-screen First International

Theatres. Regal proceeded to buy out

the 95-screen Magic Cinemas chain and

acquired the massive 643-screen Cobb

Theatres, pushing Regal’s screen count

past the 2,000 mark. Sony-owned Loews,

meanwhile, merged with Cineplex Odeon

to create the largest exhibition chain in

history. In 1998, Regal was sold for $1.5

billion to two investment companies—

Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, and Kohlberg

Kravis Roberts & Co.—which combined

it with the UA Theatre Group and Act III

Theatres, creating another exhibition


The studios were also moving forward

with megamergers. In 1994, Sumner

Redstone’s Viacom bought Paramount

Communications for $9.85 billion. In

1995, the Walt Disney Co. announced

plans to buy Capital Cities/ABC for

$19 billion, making Disney the largest

entertainment company in the world. The

following year, Time Warner and Turner

Broadcasting System merged in a $7.3

billion deal, creating the world’s largest

communications company. The decade

ended with the creation of the secondlargest

media company, with Viacom’s

acquisition of the CBS Corporation for

$37.3 billion.

Ray Greene warned against the dangers

of this anticompetitive consolidation.

He feared that an ever-smaller number

of megacircuits would exercise an

unprecedented amount of control over

what American audiences would watch. In

January 1998, the editor wrote, “There is

as yet no reason to view this development

as anything other than virtue rewarded,

the upside for a handful of visionaries who

are reinventing the history of exhibition

in our time. But big companies can also

represent big targets, as Microsoft’s

ongoing antitrust difficulties clearly

demonstrate. The bad old days of the

consent decree will almost surely never

return but that doesn’t mean exhibition

can’t learn from its history in a time where

megacircuits for which there has been

no pre-existing precedent start to define

themselves and take shape.” Greene’s

fears were surely justified. Yet the 1990s

also saw growth for independent circuits

like Landmark Theatres and Laemmle

Theatres, coinciding with the boom

of independent films. Companies like

Miramax, bought by Disney in 1993 for $80

“The bad old days of

the consent decree will

almost surely never return

but that doesn’t mean

exhibition can’t learn from

its history in a time where

megacircuits for which

there has been no preexisting

precedent start

to define themselves and

take shape.”

44 Q1 2021

million, New Line, and October Films—

plus Sundance directors like Quentin

Tarantino and Steven Soderbergh—

reinvigorated independent films and their

theatrical consumption. “Independents,”

wrote Greene in August 1994, “continue

to survive and even thrive by doing what

they’ve always done—offering alternatives

to mainstream sensibilities in which the

majors specialize.”

Interactivity and the ‘Information


The hypercompetitive landscape of the

American market pushed theaters to

innovate. American companies began

creating immense urban screening

environments capable of handling a wide

range of films in release at any given

moment under a single roof. But the

megaplex of the 1990s was not merely

a movie theater: It strived to be a total

entertainment complex. Special formats

were sought after for their impressive

effects and potential to explore new

narratives. After Sony Theatres’ giant

flagship in Manhattan’s Lincoln Square

became the first major circuit in North

America to house an Imax venue, Imax

rapidly moved into conventional

exhibition. More and more exhibitors

capitalized on the convergence between

film and new entertainment technologies

to create “family entertainment centers”

aimed at providing innovative, interactive,

multimedia experiences to their patrons.

United Artists had its “Starports,” Regal

its “Funscapes,” Carmike its “Hollywood

Connection,” and Cineplex its “Cinescapes.”

One such multimedia product

appeared in the winter of 1992 in select

Loews locations in Los Angeles and

New York. The “interfilm” I’m Your Man,

which ran for 20 minutes, gave audiences

the capability to select plot twists and

pick the characters’ next moves. In 1994,

AMC installed the interactive Interfilm

technology exhibition system in some of

its auditoriums. Loews partnered with ITT

Systems Corp. to exhibit games in 10 of its

multiplexes, and Cineplex teamed with

Sega, DreamWorks, and MCA for its own

entertainment center in 1996. Studios, too,

got in on the action. By 1995, Time Warner,

Sony, and Viacom/Paramount boasted

interactive divisions, with Disney jumping

on the bandwagon that same year.

The studios capitalized on their IPs with

film-based video games or CD-ROMs that

complemented individual movies. That

strategy paired especially well with the

exponential growth of animation prompted

by Disney, Pixar, and the undeniable

amelioration of computer graphics. In

1993, Disney’s Aladdin became the first

animated feature in history to earn more

than $200 million at the U.S. box office.

The successes of The Lion King and later

Pixar’s Toy Story validated the studios’

investments in interactive IPs. For instance,

Disney’s animated storybook of The Lion

King, which compressed the story of

the film and offered additional material,

animated characters, narration, and search

options, sold successfully for $39.95 apiece.

Yet, Boxoffice Pro was rather skeptical

about the marriage of CD-ROMs and

moviegoing, pointing to the flops of gamebased

movies like Mortal Kombat and

Super Mario Bros.

Theater lobbies, seen as perfect

locations for cross-marketing due to

their heavy foot traffic, also underwent

significant revamps. The lobby needed

to expand far beyond its old identity as

a place for concession stands with menu

boards that merely displayed pricing

information. “We propose entertainment

be brought out of the theater and into

the lobby,” argued Cineplex Odeon’s

manager of design and construction,

Dana Kalczak, who supported showing

trailers and other marketing material on

HDTVs in theater lobbies. One critical

innovation, developed by companies

such as EIMS, ETM, Vast, and RDS Data

Group, was the introduction of interactive

POS kiosks that displayed information

about current and upcoming films and

discounts and allowed ticket sales to take

place outside the typical box office stand.

One example written about in Boxoffice

Q1 2021



“Like many of our readers,

we view the ‘brave new world’

of ‘cyberspace’ with what

we consider to be a certain

healthy skepticism.”

Pro with great enthusiasm, despite its

numerous glitches, was the installation

of the first Cinetouch kiosks in Cineplex

Odeon theaters in Toronto in March 1995.

“It’s called Cinetouch, and it’s going to

revolutionize the way moviegoers choose

movies,” wrote the magazine’s Canadian

correspondent, Shlomo Schwartzberg.

Throughout the decade, no other

technological development garnered

as much curiosity as the internet. In

November 1994, a Boxoffice Pro writer

defined this elusive new technology. “The

internet comprises more than 20,000

computer networks in 150 countries and

has over 25 million users worldwide. The

internet provides information in both

an exclusively text-based format and

in a multimedia format,” he wrote. As

it became increasingly clear that the

trend was here to stay, understanding

the internet became a central mission for

the magazine. In an editorial in October

1995, Greene elaborated: “We’ve made

informing you about developments on the

‘information superhighway’ a part of our

mandate, not because we’re particularly

obsessed with this stuff (like many of our

readers, we view the ‘brave new world’ of

‘cyberspace’ with what we consider to be a

certain healthy skepticism) but because—

whatever their current status—many

of the new ‘leading-edge’ information

transmission technologies may eventually

have a direct effect on the way exhibition

conducts business.” One of these effects

was the emergence of e-commerce. A

growing number of profiles of and ads

for companies like Moviefone showed

that virtual teleticketing and the ability

to book tickets online 24/7 was beginning

to intrigue exhibitors. “Patrons like

it because there’s no fuss—just a site

and a few keystrokes. Exhibitors like it

because it extends their box office into

the multi-ticketing arena, affording

greater coverage and helping translate a

cinemagoing impulse into a final ticketsales

transaction,” noted one writer in

November 1999.

Exhibitors also realized the importance

of the internet in finding information

about movies and theaters before

one’s visit. Several theater owners and

managers reported that they received

incessant requests from patrons that they

set up websites. Contributor Christine

James wrote in February 1997, “More

and more, modern-day moviegoers are

turning on their computers and seeking

out that ubiquitous https:// prefix to find

the information that they need to decide

where and when they’re going to see the

latest Hollywood blockbusters.” In 1997,

NATO initiated an ambitious plan to

take all of exhibition into the Digital Age.

Through an alliance with Times Mirror

Company, NATO set up “Hollywood

46 Q1 2021

“The shortening of the video

release window doesn’t just

cheat exhibitors. It cheats

moviegoers, filmmakers, and

everyone involved with every

step in the process.”

Online,” a website providing information

on films and individual theater locations,

including what was playing on which

screen, cinema maps, and details on

sound systems and accessibility. The

startling success of 1999’s The Blair Witch

Project, whose marketing was virtually

limited to its website, crystallized the

need to employ internet-based marketing.

It also foreshadowed the democratization

of video production and distribution

as we know it today, while launching

rudimentary “netcasters” (the ancestors

of streaming) like Broadcast.com,

Entertainer.com, and CinemaNow.

Shrinking Windows in a Fast-Paced


The internet caused a wider cultural shift,

one that Boxoffice Pro readers will surely

relate to today. Already in the 1990s, the

internet began to accelerate the pace of an

increasingly fast, interconnected world and

instilled, as some writers noted, a sense of

disconnection from the “real world.” This

changed the way many exhibitors thought

about the societal role of cinema. Rusty

Gordon, a theater operator in Tennessee,

wrote an opinion piece in July 1996 in

which he stated that “it’s a fast-paced

world we live in—instant this, overnight

that. But movies are special. People leave

their homes, faxes, and phones to forget

their troubles for a couple of hours at the

movies. And that’s something you can’t do

on television.” Director James Cameron

delivered an impassioned plea to “keep

showmanship alive in our hearts” as he

accepted his 1995 NATO/ShoWest Producer

of the Year Award. He implored exhibitors

to “embrace the future, while remembering

the real source of our energy: the images

flickering on those screens, those big

screens, in dark rooms, across the planet”

at a time when “the world is speeding up

logarithmically, and we are bombarded by

a million shiny new ideas [... while] surfing

fast and wobbly across a liquid landscape

of new media, new delivery systems, whole

new forms of entertainment made possible

by the digital revolution.”

In a fast-paced world, cinemas offered

a short, magical, breathing spell. The

advent of new technologies and a societal

view of theaters contributed to reframing

the debate on theatrical exclusivity.

William Kartozian insisted in April 1997

that a minimum six-month window

would be necessary if exhibition were

to remain healthy. The Boxoffice Pro

team suggested a two-month extension

for the bigger titles to ensure second-run

theaters would have a fair chance. The

internet, online piracy, HDTV, cassettes,

and DVDs, Boxoffice Pro argued, were

not just threatening the livelihood of

theater owners by shortening the length of

exclusive windows. As the pleas of theater

owners like Rusty Gordon made clear, they

were also assailing the sanctity of movie

theaters as guards against the alienation

and rush of the interconnected age. The

issue of windows also became linked to

the preservation of film as an art form and

a technology. In April 1997, Greene was

calling filmmaker/producers like Steven

Spielberg and George Lucas to support

the idea of six-month windows even if it

hurt their bottom line. “The shortening

of the video release window doesn’t just

cheat exhibitors. It cheats moviegoers,

filmmakers, and everyone involved with

every step in the process. It seems like a

no-brainer to expect that the same leading

figures on the film production side who

stand against the panning and scanning

of widescreen film prints […] would

get behind the concept of a six-month

exhibition window,” he argued.

It seemed that for Greene, the issue

of windows was tied to the preservation

of film against a new threat: digital

projection. By the mid-1990s, digital

sound was already advancing fast, thanks

to the work of pioneering companies like

Dolby, Optical Radiation Corporation,

and Eastman Kodak. The rapidity of

innovation was such that the death of

the analog soundtrack (even if rejected

by Boxoffice Pro and its contributing

specialists) was speculated on as early as

1996. As analog sound was increasingly

questioned, so was film. Many alternatives

to 35 mm film were beginning to rival

traditional formats. MaxiVision 48, touted

as far brighter, less wasteful, and more

inexpensive, or CDP, a format eliminating

the separations between frames without

compromising the size or integrity of the

image, were such examples. These ideas,

however, never received the attention

that the most controversial alternative,

digital projection, would get. As would

become clear in the first decade of the

new millennium, no technology since the

introduction of sound in the 1920s would

engender as much controversy as digital


Q1 2021


Industry 2020: YEAR IN REVIEW





A global pandemic plunged the global exhibition

business into an existential crisis. Our look back on

the 10 pivotal moments of a historic year.



What’s your biggest takeaway from 2020?




Sony’s Bad Boys for Life hit

screens in North America

on January 17, finishing its

opening weekend at the box

office with a successful $62.5

million. The first blockbuster

of the year signaled a positive

start for the industry; while

analysts expected a dip in box

office sales in 2020, there was

widespread expectation the

market would hit $11 billion

for the sixth consecutive

year. A day after the film’s

opening weekend, January

20, the United States officially

announced its first positive

case of Covid-19.

There was no model by

which to adequately gauge

the potential impact of the

virus on the cinema industry.

Movie theaters had weathered

epidemics before, most

recently in 2009 with H1N1,

commonly known as the

Swine Flu, and even the direst

of forecasts failed to predict

the crisis that would soon

unfold. Within days of the first

confirmed infection in the U.S.,

the Chinese film industry took

the drastic step of closing all

its cinemas ahead of its Lunar

New Year celebration—one

of the busiest moviegoing

periods of the year.

As the number of cases

started to grow, business

around the world began to

feel the economic impact

of the virus. On March 11

the National Association of

Theatre Owners canceled

its annual convention,

CinemaCon, hours after it had

come to light that actors Tom

Hanks and Rita Wilson had

contracted the virus while

on set in Australia. By the

following week, every major

circuit in the North American

market voluntarily closed,

citing the public health risk

of the pandemic. While some

cinemas in the United States

reopened as early as May, most

major circuits remained closed

until late August—after five

months of working with health

groups and local authorities

to determine reopening


“People need and crave

community experiences

more than ever, and cinema

is top of the priority list.

The movie industry was

built upon the dream of

providing transformative

experiences—big, immersive,

visual stories that stir our

senses and emotions. The

pandemic, and the craziness

of the past months, will pass.

Alamo Drafthouse will be at

the front, leading the charge

to evolve the cinematic

experience and reemerge

better than ever.”

Shelli Taylor


Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

“My biggest takeaway is that

cinemas are going to survive

and thrive due to the strong

commitment of everyone

involved with our industry. I’ve

been so impressed watching

operators and vendors who

are fierce competitors work

together for the common

good of the industry. I’ve

also been blown away by

the commitment of our NATO

staff, who have worked

around the clock to promote

our industry, develop

CinemaSafe protocols,

talk with the studios to

encourage the release

of new films, encourage

state governments to allow

cinemas to open again,

and work with the federal

government to approve tax

relief and grants for cinemas.

After the 1917 pandemic

came the roaring twenties,

and I predict that this will

happen again.”

Bob Bagby

President & CEO

B&B Theatres

“Last March, I felt like the lead

driver whose car broke down

in the middle of the race.

As I sat on the sidelines, the

other drivers roared by and

I helplessly watched. Those

drivers didn’t feel my pain,

and their success made it

harder for me to regain my

competitive edge.

“2020 established that the

business world is fragile,

and no one is immune to a

downturn. We’ve helplessly

watched from the sidelines

as technology evolves, and

never before has our industry

lost such precious time and

resources needed to keep

pace. We sailed through the

Great Recession, and this is

our turn to face adversity and

learn from it. I call this a

devastating opportunity.

“Through all the adversity,

I’ve learned that good

people make a difference.

Family, friends, employees,

competitors, and vendors

make me thankful for the

many years I’ve enjoyed

this business. The pandemic

may have changed the

landscape, but there’s still

the opportunity for each of

us to experience a checkered

flag. Thank you for all of the

work you’ve done to share

information and experiences.

We’ll be back stronger than

ever by the summer.”

Dave Corkill


Cinema West

Q1 2021


Industry 2020: YEAR IN REVIEW





On March 4, MGM/UA’s

James Bond adventure No

Time To Die became the first

title to forgo its release date,

moving its April release to

November. Universal followed

suit days later by announcing

it was delaying the Fast and

Furious sequel F9 by a year

to spring 2021. Those early

shifts in the schedule set the

stage for a wildly unstable

(and unpredictable) release

calendar in 2020. One by one,

every major studio rushed

to clear its second-quarter

theatrical slate, as it became

clear the crisis would extend

into the summer.

July 17 was tentatively set

as the date that would kick

off the summer movie season,

with Christopher Nolan’s

Tenet, followed by Disney’s

live-action Mulan a week later.

Things didn’t go according

to plan. Warner Bros. moved

Tenet to July 31st, then August

12, before finally settling on

a staggered global release

launching on August 26. The

film eventually hit theaters

in the United States on

September 3.

For all the headaches caused

by Tenet’s delay, exhibitors

were grateful the film at least

kept its commitment for a

2020 theatrical release. The

same can’t be said about

Mulan, which was taken off

the release calendar in favor

of a PVOD debut on Disney

Plus. After earning $4.3 billion

at the domestic box office in

2019, Disney pulled all its major

titles from release in 2020.

While most of those films were

rescheduled for 2021, others,

like Pixar’s Soul, were sent

straight to streaming.

An unstable release calendar

has since become a hallmark of

the Covid-19 era, with release

delays and cancellations

occurring well into 2021.






Universal’s decision to move

Trolls: World Tour to streaming

as a PVOD rental instead of

shelving it for theatrical release

received little comment from

exhibitors in the early days

of the pandemic. Several

titles whose runs had been

interrupted by the closures—

including releases from Disney,

Sony, and Universal—had

already premiered on home

entertainment platforms earlier

than usual, an understandable

exception to traditional

exclusivity practices.

Trolls: World Tour wasn’t

expected to be a major

blockbuster in theaters, but

the film was able to seize a

unique moment in the market

just as the United States

entered what was essentially a

national lockdown. The film’s

success became a turning

point for the industry when

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell

told The Wall Street Journal

Universal planned to replicate

the model’s success with

its theatrical slate moving

forward. The news was an

unpleasant surprise to leading

exhibitors, their circuits closed

indefinitely, leading AMC

Theatres to renounce the

studio and vow not to program

its titles moving forward.

The tensions were smoothed

over by the summer, as

Universal signed deals with

top cinema chains granting

their titles a shorter exclusivity

window in theaters. Universal’s

decision to send Trolls: World

Tour to PVOD would act as a

catalyst to a slew of changes

instituted across the industry

in the months to come.

50 Q1 2021


What’s your biggest takeaway from 2020?

“I’ve always said that the

strength of Cineplex is its

employees, and that couldn’t

be more evident than right

now. Despite the challenges

of 2020, the team came

together like never before,

putting the right measures in

place to solidify Cineplex’s

future and ensure we remain

Canada’s leading source

of entertainment for many

generations to come.”

Ellis Jacob

President & CEO


“For many, 2020 caused us to

reevaluate our priorities, and,

for most of us, family, friends,

and communal experiences

were what we valued and

missed the most. While we

could instantly consume

infinite media within our

homes and get just about

any item delivered within two

hours, 2020 didn’t change

the fact that we’re social

creatures. Humans crave

communal experiences, and

I believe concerts, movie

theaters, theme parks, and

out-of-home entertainment

will not only prevail but

eventually thrive again.”

Luis Olloqui


Cinépolis USA

“You find out who your true

partners are; their acts of

kindness and compassion

mean the world.”

Chris Johnson


Classic Cinemas

“Our takeaway from 2020 is

that our most competitive

force was government

mandates and the impact

they had on studio movie

releases, leading to

disastrous situations for most,

if not all, of the industry. We

look forward to a change

in course of the prejudice

against the safety of


Matt McSparin


GQT Movies

“Along with so many others,

I will remember the stress

and damage to the industry I

love so much. But even more

so, I will remember how the

industry came together to

support each other and our

team members in 2020. I will

also remember the efforts

and valuable guidance of

everyone at NATO, as well

as their passionate and

determined advocacy for

our industry. Lastly, I will

remember the support of our

loyal guests and dedicated

team members. I have never

been more confident in the

theatrical experience and

look forward to our industry

roaring back to record

success in the coming

months and years.”

Mike Bowers

President & CEO

Harkins Theatres




If Universal’s PVOD launch of

Trolls: World Tour was the first

step in shrinking the theatrical

window, the studio took another

leap toward that goal when it

announced a groundbreaking

agreement with AMC Theatres

to shorten that window beyond

the duration of the Covid-19

pandemic. After initially vowing

not to book any Universal titles

that would break exclusivity,

AMC went on to negotiate

with the studio on a deal that

shortened theatrical exclusivity

to either 17 or 30 days

depending on the title. Crucially,

AMC received a commitment

from Universal to receive an

undisclosed portion of digital

rental revenues in exchange for

being the first major chain to

sign on to the proposal.

Signed in July, the

AMC-Universal deal sent

shockwaves across the

industry. It signaled a shift

from pandemic-specific

measures around a handful

of titles to a long-standing

change in the economics

of theatrical distribution.

Nevertheless, the model was

unlikely to work without

additional circuits on board.

It took nearly four months for

that to occur, with Cinemark—

the third largest exhibitor in

North America—joining the

deal and coining the term

“Dynamic Window.” Cineplex,

Canada’s largest circuit, struck

its own agreement days after


Universal’s “Dynamic

Window” establishes a 17-day

minimum exclusivity for its

titles at cinemas, after which

they become available for

digital rental at home. For

select titles, that exclusivity

period is extended to 30 days.

It stands apart from similar

moves made by competing

studios by being the only

model that has openly engaged

cinemas (albeit limited to major

circuits) in collaborating on

an agreement. What theatrical

exclusivity will look like once

the market recovers is still up

in the air, especially as the

pandemic drags on into 2021,

but the Dynamic Window

model remains the only one to

have gained significant traction

with exhibitors.

Q1 2021


Industry 2020: YEAR IN REVIEW

GDC Technology Congratulates

the Giants of Exhibition!

It’s finally arrived…our favorite time of

year when Boxoffice Pro spotlights the

Giants of Exhibition.

GDC congratulates not only the Giants

but every exhibitor for demonstrating,

despite challenges, that “the show

must go on.” We are proud to be one

of your trusted partners.

It’s also that time of year we

introduce our new products

and services to improve the

moviegoing experience.

Introducing the new

Espedeo Supra-5000 RGB+ laser

phosphor cinema projector

for mini-theatres.

See you soon.

Your friends at GDC

GDC Technology

Hong Kong ∙ Beijing ∙ Shenzhen ∙ Barcelona ∙ Dubai ∙ Jakarta ∙ Los Angeles ∙ Mexico City ∙ Mumbai ∙ São Paulo ∙ Seoul ∙ Singapore ∙ Tokyo

Powering your digital cinema experience


52 Q1 2021

PA-1056-2101-V1E Copyright©2021 GDC Technology Limited. All rights reserved. www.gdc-tech.com


What’s your biggest takeaway from 2020?




As soon as cinemas went dark

in March, the industry’s focus

turned to reopening. A crucial

part of that step was developing

and instituting an industrywide

set of guidelines and best

practices to mitigate the spread

of Covid-19 in cinemas.

That effort culminated

in August with the launch

of CinemaSafe, a NATOled

initiative to establish a

voluntary set of protocols

based on World Health

Organization, Centers

for Disease Control, and

Occupational Safety and

Health Administration

guidelines, in consultation

with leading epidemiologists.

More than 370 companies,

representing over 33,000

screens in North America,

signed up for the program

at launch. The CinemaSafe

protocols include provisions

for mask enforcement inside

auditoriums, social distancing,

reduced capacity, air filtration,

modified concessions

sales, mobile ticketing, and

enhanced cleaning and

disinfection measures for

employees. The CinemaSafe

logo became a fixture of

pandemic-era moviegoing,

informing and easing the first

wave of moviegoers returning

to theaters.

“The biggest impact this year

to all of us was the disruption

of our normal business by

the Covid pandemic. It

was a systemic shock to

the entire entertainment

industrial complex. The

March shutdown closed

movie theaters, canceled

concerts, shuttered theme

parks, and stopped film and

TV production. For movie

theaters it killed momentum

built by the first 11 weeks of

2020, where pictures like

Bad Boys for Life, 1917, and

Sonic the Hedgehog were

overperforming. In a perfect

example of the Newtonian

Laws of Audience Dynamics,

an audience in motion

was acted upon by that

other force and completely


“But it’s not like they

stopped watching filmed

entertainment. Oh, no,

people still watched. The

biggest beneficiaries of the

Covid theater crisis were the

alphabet streaming soup

of Amazon, Netflix, Apple,

Disney Plus, Hulu, HBO Max,

and Peacock. They were

already competing with

movie theaters for audiences

and original productions

before Covid. The pandemic

shutdown only accelerated

that trend. With no theaters

to show their films, studios

did what they always do.

They made decisions in their

own self-interest and found

other ways to monetize their

movies. Darwin would have

been proud. Some studios,

like Paramount and Sony,

sold off releases to streaming

services. Others, like Disney

and Warner Bros., used the

disruption to feed what were

once theatrical releases to

their proprietary streaming

outlets. Universal’s Covid

strategy was to recalculate

the theatrical window. Now,

10 months into the pandemic,

theaters are still facing

forced health closures, and

audiences are gathering

around the watercooler

talking about ‘The Queen’s

Gambit,’ ‘Bridgerton,’ ‘The

Crown,’ ‘The Undoing,’ and

other streaming series.

Sometime in 2021, exhibition

will awake from its Rip Van

Winkle slumber to a different

landscape. Only time will tell

as to its ultimate effect. As

the stuttering effort to turn

vaccines into vaccinations

ramps up, a cloud will lift

over all of us. The biggest

takeaway is that people still

want stories. Soon they will

be able to experience them

again on our big screens.”

Jeffrey Kaufman

SVP Film and Marketing

Malco Theatres

Q1 2021


Industry 2020: YEAR IN REVIEW





Christopher Nolan was among

the exhibition industry’s most

vocal supporters as the global

health crisis took hold. It

was therefore fitting that his

latest film, Tenet, emerged

as the frontrunner to signal a

return to cinemas following

the spring and early summer

closures. A series of delays

moved the title’s July 17 release

date to a Labor Day weekend

debut in the United States. The

expectation was that the film

would spur a gradual return to

movie theaters, with tentpole

titles to be released monthly

to account for capacity


Tenet’s box office

performance did the opposite.

Rather than encouraging

studios to adapt to the

demands of a pandemicstricken

market, it instead

inspired an additional wave

of delays and cancellations

through the end of the year.

Tenet’s box office

performance was unfairly

maligned: A $363 million

global haul is hardly

disappointing, especially

during a global pandemic.

The film’s tepid run in North

America, however, where it

was never able to reach screens

in either L.A. or New York City,

the country’s top two cities

for box office potential, ended

with a $57.9 million take—

setting an underwhelming

benchmark for the domestic

market. Ultimately, the title

suffered from the weight of

unrealistic expectations: the

absurd notion that a baroque

action-thriller could singlehandedly

initiate the revival

of moviegoing in the middle

of a pandemic. Tenet might

not have saved cinemas, but

it did offer a crucial financial

lifeline—and is notable for

being the only studio tentpole

released during the pandemic

to adhere to the preexisting

theatrical exclusivity timeline.




Disney’s live-action version

of Mulan (2020) was originally

scheduled to hit screens in

the United States on March

27. The title came with

lofty expectations for the

studio; shot in China, it had

blockbuster potential in the

top two global markets. Disney

was forced to move the title to

late July after the coronavirus

shuttered cinemas across the

U.S. and China.

Intended to open a week

following Warner Bros.’ release

of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet,

Disney’s Mulan was seen as

the more commercially viable

of the two titles. The plan kept

its shape when both titles

were rescheduled for August

but was suddenly scrapped

in late July, when both Tenet

and Mulan were removed

from the schedule with little

explanation. While Tenet

eventually settled on a Labor

Day release, Disney CEO Bob

Chapek surprised investors

during an early August

earnings call by announcing

that Mulan would skip theaters

entirely and go straight to

streaming on Disney Plus as a

$29.99 digital rental.

Mulan’s move to PVOD

marked a significant shift in

Disney’s approach to theatrical

distribution. The studio kept

a steady supply of rereleases

from its vault through the end

of 2020, while also releasing

titles from 20th Century

Studios like The New Mutants

and The Empty Man. Its highprofile

titles, however, were

either pushed to 2021 or, as

was the case with Pixar’s Soul,

skipped theaters to instead

prioritize a streaming debut on

Disney Plus.

The studio offered little

more than a handful of

platitudes on the “theatrical

experience” during a fourhour-plus

Investor Day

presentation largely focused

on diverting its production

resources to supply content

for Disney Plus. Crucially,

however, the studio didn’t

outright commit to an

overarching policy on its

upcoming tentpole titles in

2021—leaving all distribution

options on the table amid an

uncertain recovery time frame

from the Covid-19 crisis.

54 Q1 2021


What’s your biggest takeaway from 2020?

“One of my biggest takeaways

from 2020 is that our industry,

leaders, teammates, and

associates are amazingly

resilient. Everyone has been

tested like no other time in

our history, both personally

and professionally. While

‘adapting to change’ is

a must for the long-term

viability of any business/

industry, 2020 pressed this

dynamic approach to the

limits. Dealing with Covid-19,

economic hardships, an

important election year,

separation from family/

friends, adjustments in new

operating models, and social

changes at the same time

could be overwhelming for

the most talented leaders.

I’m very proud that our

industry leaders and Marcus

team were always looking

ahead and overcoming the

headwinds we were dealt. Not

only will 2020 be remembered

for the challenges faced,

but the year also made us

more knowledgeable, caring,

generous, unified, strong, and

ready to welcome 2021 and

beyond. Successful leaders

emerged, inspiring others with

their vision and through their

true character. They displayed

values, trust, respect, and

reliability and were committed

to supporting their industry,

community, company, and

people in a very difficult


Rolando Rodriguez


Marcus Theatres

“I will measure 2020 by

how the Megaplex team

rose to meet seemingly

insurmountable challenges

from the global pandemic,

from developing new health

and safety procedures to

innovating and adapting

business practices to

holding firm to our founding

principles of integrity, hard

work, stewardship, and

service. I’m especially proud

of how our team rallied

to develop innovative

solutions—like private family

screenings, curbside popcorn

service, and much more—to

preserve an important part

of ‘normal’ for our loyal

guests. That exceptional

effort by the Megaplex

team and our partners has

been acknowledged by an

ongoing wave of follow-up

calls, texts, and messages

from grateful guests.”

Blake Andersen


Megaplex Theatres

“Agility is the most vital

proficiency to maintain

during a crisis and beyond.

The ability to make decisions

and changes to operations

and processes quickly

and efficiently is incredibly

important in ever-changing

scenarios of extremes. It is

common that with growth

comes complexity, primarily

in the form of added layers

in operations, processes,

and people. Under normal

circumstances these layers

are important to facilitate

healthy growth and wellbeing.

Under extreme

circumstances, these layers

can cause latency in process

improvement and efficiency.

The ability to respond to

changing government

regulations, staffing needs,

and guest expectations

in a quick fashion has

helped many in our industry

overcome the hardships that

came in 2020 and continue to

befall many today.”

Joel Kincaid

VP Operations

MJR Digital Cinemas





U.K.-based Cineworld entered

2020 on track to become the

largest exhibition company

in North America and the

world through its announced

acquisition of Canada’s

Cineplex. News of the deal

came only two years after

the company announced

its acquisition of Regal, the

second-largest circuit in the

United States, and would have

culminated with a presence

of over 10,000 screens in the

U.S. and Canada. Industry

observers expected the deal

to close early in the second

quarter of 2020, perhaps

even as early as CinemaCon—

originally scheduled in late

April. By year’s end, however,

not only was the Cineplex

deal off the table, but the

vast majority of Cineworld

and Regal locations were

voluntarily closed until

further notice.

Cineworld’s scale back

began in June, with the

dissolution of the Cineplex

acquisition, a move that set

off a legal dispute between

the two chains. Cineworld’s

attention was simultaneously

drawn to the reopening effort,

with CEO Mooky Greidinger

being among the loudest

voices asking for clarity on

reopening guidelines from

government officials. That

reopening effort was paused

in October, following MGM/

UA’s decision to further delay

the release of No Time to Die

to 2021. At the time, the lack of

a concrete reopening plan in

important markets like New

York and L.A., along with the

instability in the theatrical

release schedule, led the

circuit to again shut down

most of its locations in the U.K.

and U.S. until further notice.

Cineworld and Regal

locations were still closed as

2021 got under way. Perhaps

most notably, Cineworld

finished the year as the only

major circuit with a leading

U.S. presence to have not

committed to terms with

studios that have announced a

reduced theatrical exclusivity


Q1 2021


Industry 2020: YEAR IN REVIEW

56 Q1 2021





The goodwill that Warner

Bros. earned from exhibitors

in its commitment to release

Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was

tested when the studio decided

to release Wonder Woman

1984 simultaneously for home

streaming on Christmas Day.

In regular circumstances,

the move would be met with

strong opposition from the

exhibition community—but

in this specific case, with

this specific studio, the

decision was met with muted

understanding. Cinemas

had suffered from a dearth

of high-profile titles since

Tenet’s September release;

Wonder Woman 1984 would

hit screens desperate for

content at a critical time. As

the studio had already suffered

a significant financial loss on

Tenet, few could blame Warner

for hedging its losses on the

superhero sequel.

Whatever goodwill was left

after that, however, was gone

once WarnerMedia CEO Jason

Kilar dropped a bombshell

announcement: Warner Bros.

would release its entire 17-

film slate day-and-date on

its streaming service, HBO

Max, at no additional cost to

subscribers throughout 2021.

The model treated cinemas

as a secondary distribution

channel, their traditional

exclusivity period pushed

to a full month after a film’s

streaming debut.

The fallout was swift.

Filmmakers Christopher

Nolan and Denis Villeneuve

excoriated the decision

publicly. “There is absolutely

no love for cinema, nor for the

audience here,” Villeneuve

told Variety. In unilaterally

breaking theatrical exclusivity,

Warner Bros. found itself in a

unique position: facing the ire

of dismayed exhibitors as the

only major studio to commit

to a theatrical release calendar

for all its major titles.




As weeks turned into months,

it became increasingly

evident that movie theaters

around the world were

facing an existential crisis.

Several key foreign markets,

whose countries had done

a better job managing the

pandemic, successfully

leveraged local films to take

the place of Hollywood titles

in welcoming audiences back

to the cinema. The United

States, however, had no such

advantage. Contending with

a barren release schedule,

some exhibitors voluntarily

reclosed some or all of their

locations—the cost of staying

open incurring greater losses

than going dark. Come

December, the industry was

nearing irrevocable damage.

Without government support,

NATO president and CEO John

Fithian estimated that as many

as two-thirds of the movie

theaters in the United States

could go out of business.

NATO’s role in the

pandemic was concentrated

on two principal projects:

the launch of CinemaSafe in

September and an ongoing

effort to secure government

aid for movie theaters. The

public-facing side of the

campaign, Save Your Cinema,

coordinated over 365,000

letters of support to all 535

members of Congress. The

effort culminated with the

inclusion of small and midsize

movie theaters in the

larger Save Our Stages Act,

giving eligible theaters a slice

of $15 billion in government

funding dedicated to event

venues. The bill’s passage

in the waning days of 2020

provided a crucial economic

lifeline for cinemas as they

entered an uncertain 2021.

Q1 2021


Industry 2020: YEAR IN REVIEW





First-Quarter Titles Top the Annual

Chart in a Difficult Year




Sony | January 17

$206.3 Million

Only in 2020 would a film

released in mid-January

finish at the top of our yearly

ranking. After a nearly 17-year

hiatus (Bad Boys II came out

way back in July 2003), the

Will Smith–Martin Lawrence

buddy threequel Bad Boys

for Life proved there was

still plenty of juice left in

the series when it debuted

with a franchise-best $62.5

million, three-day gross over

MLK weekend. The leggy

title went on to gross $206.31

million domestically and was

still in wide release when the

pandemic hit. It may have

been able to squeeze out a few

million more were it not for

Covid, but Bad Boys for Life

had already made the majority

of its money by that point,

marking it as a rare bright spot

in an all-around dismal year at

the box office.



February 14 | Paramount

$146 Million

Another film released just

early enough in the year to

qualify as a theatrical success

story was Paramount’s Sonic

the Hedgehog, the long-in-theworks

video game adaptation

based on the Sega series of

the same name. Released over

President’s Day weekend, the

$85 million–budgeted film

grossed a fantastic $58.02

million over the three-day

period and $70 million over the

four-day span before zooming

to $146.07 million by the end

of its pandemic-shortened run.

Still in over 3,000 locations

when the shutdown began,

Sonic the Hedgehog was lucky

enough to play for a full

month before Covid brought

moviegoing to an abrupt halt

across North America.






February 7 | Warner Bros.

$84.1 Million

Considered a box office

disappointment when it

opened to just $33 million in

early February, Birds of Prey

nonetheless lands as the third

highest-grossing film in an

unprecedented, catastrophic

year for North American

exhibitors. Truthfully, there

wasn’t much gas left in the box

office tank for the Suicide Squad

spinoff when the pandemic

shuttered movie theaters, so

its $84.16 million final gross is

pretty close to where it would

have ended up even without

the virus.

58 Q1 2021


What’s your biggest takeaway from 2020?



January 17 | Universal

$77 Million

Universal’s ultra-expensive

reimagining of Hugh Lofting’s

Doctor Dolittle book series

was DOA in North American

multiplexes, grossing just

$21.84/$28.3 million over MLK

weekend against the box office

behemoth that was Bad Boys

for Life (in what can best be

described as a failed bid at

counterprogramming). Beset

by withering reviews, the film

tapped out with just $77.05

million in North America and

became star Robert Downey

Jr.’s latest misfire outside the

Marvel Cinematic Universe.



February 24 | Universal

$64.9 Million

Debuting to a robust $28.21

million over the final weekend

of February, Leigh Whannell’s

acclaimed reimagining of the

nearly century-old horror

franchise seemed a good bet to

join the $100 million club (or at

least close to it) before Covid

brought its theatrical run to

an abrupt end two weeks later.

Produced on a budget of just $7

million, The Invisible Man was

nevertheless a highly profitable

runaway hit right out of the

gate, taking at least some of the

sting out of its abbreviated box

office reign and injecting new

life into Universal’s monstermovie

reboot strategy.

“Although 2020 will be a low

point for our industry, upon

reflection there were many

key takeaways to a year like

no other.

“As operators, the way

we communicate with our

employees, customers,

and partners is our lifeline.

The importance of good,

transparent communication

was a top priority in a year

we could not travel to visit

our theaters. I was proud of

our team as we adapted

to this new environment

and maintained regular

and personal contact with

both our employees and the

moviegoing audience. As

a whole, our proficiency in

Teams and Zoom meetings

would rival any company’s!

“I also take huge pride in

our managers, who kept our

theaters functioning and part

of their communities while

we have been temporarily

closed. As we always look to

give back in the communities

where our theaters operate,

our management turned

our locations into food

pantries, helping those in

need during the pandemic.

These managers also showed

their pride for our company,

wearing multiple hats—

gardening, maintenance,

painting, and the general

upkeep of the building and

property. They know all their

hard work will be rewarded in

2021 when we open our doors

again for our employees and

guests and return to be the

best place to watch a movie!”

Matt Eyre


Regal Cinemas

“Covid continues to impact

our day-to-day operations,

but we, as a team, continue

to battle it every day. The

whole Santikos Entertainment

family came together and

created a safe environment

with all the PPE items and

is now the only theater

company in the world offering

free weekly Covid testing for

all employees. My biggest

takeaway would be the

perseverance our Santikos

family demonstrated. It takes

a team to get through this

pandemic, and our team

has excelled at every turn

since May.”

Rob Lehman


Santikos Entertainment

“Theater owners are resilient,

they are resourceful, and it’s

more than a business, it’s a

calling. We are more allies

than competitors, and thank

you, NATO, for your tireless


Jeremy Devine

VP Marketing & Content

Showbiz Cinemas

“Now more than ever, film

exhibition needs to quickly

evolve as an industry,

‘eventize’ moviegoing, and

excel at everything we do.”

Mark Malinowski

VP Global Marketing

Showcase Cinemas (National

Amusements Inc.).

“2020 brought into focus how

critical movies, theaters, and

the arts are to our society

and sense of community.”

Brian Schultz

Chairman of the Board of


Studio Movie Grill

Q1 2021


Industry 2020: YEAR IN REVIEW




February 13 | Disney

$62.3 Million

The year’s second bona fide

mega-flop after Dolittle was

this Harrison Ford vehicle,

based on the Jack London

novel about an elderly

recluse’s relationship with

a kidnapped dog. Produced

on a bloated $135 million

budget, the FX-heavy actiondrama

debuted in second

place with $24.79 million

(against the sophomore

weekend of Paramount’s Sonic

the Hedgehog) and ended

its pandemic-abbreviated

theatrical run with just $62.34

million in North America.

Not that more time at the

multiplex would have helped

much; it was clear from Call

of the Wild’s debut frame that

profitability wasn’t in the

cards for the 20th Century

Studios leftover.


March 6 | Disney

$61.5 Million

Pixar’s first movie of 2020

(to be followed in December

by Soul, which was released

directly to Disney Plus in

North America), Onward

was released on March 6, just

two weekends before the

pandemic shuttered theaters

across North America. It’s

likely that news of the

coronavirus’s spread in the

U.S. dampened turnout over

its opening frame in early

March—when it grossed a

so-so $39.12 million—though

it’s impossible to say by how

much. Whatever the case, by

Onward’s second weekend

of release, a national panic

had officially set in, and its

sophomore frame plummeted

nearly 73 percent before

theaters closed their doors

altogether. 8


September 3 | Warner Bros.

$57.9 Million

By the time Christopher

Nolan’s heady action sci-fi

film finally reached theaters

over Labor Day weekend,

the pandemic was on the

wane in the U.S., leading

to a momentary sense of

relative calm during a brutal

year. But analyzing Tenet’s

performance was complicated

by Warner Bros.’ cryptic box

office reporting. Though the

film brought in $20.2 million

through end-of-day Monday

of its opening weekend, the

studio remained mum on

how much of that total came

in prior to the traditional

Friday–Monday holiday frame

(the film played in extensive

“sneak previews” the week

before Labor Day). Our own

estimates pegged the film’s

true four-day opening at

somewhere between $10 and

$12 million and its three-day

opening at between $7.8 and

$9.5 million, making it the

highest opening weekend of

the pandemic—until Wonder

Woman 1984’s release in late


60 Q1 2021


What’s your biggest takeaway from 2020?



November 25 | Universal

$43.9 Million

A rare theatrical bright spot

during the pandemic, The

Croods: A New Age boasted the

best debut frame since March

when it opened with $14.27

million over the five-day

Thanksgiving weekend and

$9.72 million over the Friday–

Sunday period. Though it was

a far cry from the first Croods’

opening-weekend gross, the

film’s performance offered

a glimpse into a brighter

future for the exhibition

industry, just as vaccines

from multiple pharmaceutical

companies were on the cusp of

emergency-use authorizations

in the U.S. Over a month

later, A New Age continues to

perform relatively strongly in

North America, marking it as

the family equivalent to the

adult-oriented Tenet in terms

of box office performance

during the pandemic.



Warner Bros. | December 25

$39.2 Million

After numerous release delays,

Warner Bros.’ female-driven

superhero sequel finally hit

the market on Christmas

Day with a controversial

day-and-date debut on the

HBO Max streaming platform.

A $16.7 million opening

weekend suggested betterthan-expected

returns for

Wonder Woman 1984, but the

title’s box office momentum

was swiftly derailed by a

rise of nationwide Covid-19

infections and the title’s

availability to the home.

Wonder Woman 1984 dropped

a whopping 67 percent in its

sophomore frame, crossing

the $37 million mark by the

time its availability on HBO

Max expired.

“Two words come to mind

when I reflect on 2020:

resilience and gratitude.

The terrible impacts of the

pandemic on individuals,

the greater economy, and

the movie theater industry

in particular are well

documented. However, once

again we as an industry have

collectively demonstrated

our resilience. We’ve come

together to help develop

and implement protocols for

the safety of our employees

and guests upon return to

our theaters; we’ve lobbied

Congress like never before to

help support our devastated

industry to weather the

pandemic; we’ve shared best

practices to generate some

small levels of revenue in

these tough times; and we’ve

looked internally to once

again reinvent portions of our

business practices as we look

to come out the other side of

this pandemic.

“At the same time, I look

back at 2020 with amazing

gratitude. Our theater

management teams and

staff have stood by us and

safely taken care of our

guests in these tough times

while dealing with their

own personal and financial

hardships. They have been

truly amazing. I’m grateful

for our trade bodies and

their teams, particularly at

NATO and NAC, for helping

us lobby Congress, keep

us informed, and help us

share our best practices.

I’m grateful for my industry

colleagues, particularly

for their willingness to

share experiences in these

tough times and to help us

reopen and also get on the

lobbying bandwagon to push

Congress to help support our


“There have been countless

learning experiences out of

2020. Our industry has again

demonstrated its ability

to persevere, and we look

forward to a strong ramp-up

in 2021.”

Ron Krueger


VSS-Southern Theatres, LLC

Q1 2021


62 Q1 2021

Premium Large Format 64 | Industry Insiders 70


“We expect those returning to the movies in 2021 to

desire elevated experiences such as a PLF. As we know,

going to the movies is a fun, immersive experience,

and people want the best when they go.”

Premium Large Format, p. 64

Q1 2021


Theater TECH


What Role Will Premium Large Format

Play in Cinema’s Global Recovery?


64 Q1 2021

Q1 2021


Theater TECH

Left. The Palace Imax

cinema at Shanghai’s

iAPM shopping center

Below. China’s The

Eight Hundred, the


global release of 2020

Previous page. Pre-

Covid audiences enjoy

a show at a Dolby


“As markets recover, Imax

fans—often the most frequent

and passionate moviegoers—

have been among the first to

come back to theaters.”

The road to theatrical recovery in

North America has been slower

than anyone could have anticipated as

we approach the one-year anniversary

of the Covid-19 shutdown. Yet as we

closed out 2020 with a gradual vaccine

rollout, and with studios continuing to

delay their tentpole films, one argument

has consistently emerged as a cause for

cautious optimism. Take a look, urged

NATO president and CEO John Fithian

in December, at the state of affairs in

China and Japan, where box office has

become revitalized following the taming

of the pandemic. “Some of these movies

in China and a couple of them in Japan …

they’re doing amazing business,” Fithian

said in an exclusive interview with the

Boxoffice Podcast. “That’s very good news,

because that means people want to come

back to the cinemas, and they love seeing

movies on the big screen.”

There are big screens, of course, and

there are big screens—premium largeformat

(PLF) offerings that provide a

more spectacular, immersive experience

than audiences can get at home. With

global recovery in the works—albeit a

stuttering one, particularly in North

America and Europe—Boxoffice Pro

reached out to PLF providers to get a

sense of what role PLF could play in

helping the industry bounce back from

Covid, both domestically and overseas.

“As markets recover, Imax fans—often

the most frequent and passionate

moviegoers—have been among the first to

come back to theaters,” says Craig Dehmel,

executive vice president, head of global

distribution, at Imax Entertainment and

senior vice president at Imax Corp. In

countries “where Covid is more under

control and people feel safe to return

to multiplexes”—like select markets in

Asia and the Middle East—Imax is seeing

“excellent numbers” for both local titles

and the rare Hollywood release like Tenet.

In Tenet’s first weekend of

66 Q1 2021

international release, premium formats

accounted for over a quarter of box

office receipts in some markets, while

Imax’s per-screen average for Tenet’s

opening weekend—representing nearly

250 screens across 38 countries—was

over $20,000. As of December 21, the film

had earned $42 million on Imax screens.

Tenet was followed by fellow Warner

Bros. release Wonder Woman 1984, which

by December 27 had earned $8.2 million

on Imax screens worldwide, making up

nearly a tenth of its overall gross.

With Hollywood tentpoles thin on the

ground since March 2020, PLF providers

have had to look to other programming

categories to fill their screens and give

moviegoers hungry for out-of-home

entertainment a reason to hit up their

local theater. For Imax, the solution has

been local content, with films like The

Eight Hundred and Jiang Ziya: Legend

of Deification (China), Demon Slayer the

Movie: Infinite Train (Japan), and Train

to Busan sequel Peninsula (South Korea)

drawing audiences to Imax screens across

Asia in droves.

By far Imax’s biggest market in 2020

has been China, where a network of

nearly 700 screens saw a gross box office

(GBO) of nearly $80 million from July

up to (but not including) the December

release of Wonder Woman 1984. “Our

success in China in 2020 has more to do

with Chinese local titles” than Hollywood

imports, explains Dehmel. In Japan—

where between July and December

Imax earned a GBO of over $30 million

on 38 screens—the “key driver for our

success” has been Toho/Aniplex’s Demon

Slayer the Movie: Infinite Train, which

in December surpassed 2001’s Spirited

Away as Japan’s highest-grossing title of

all time. Reflecting the earnings power of

local titles in Japan, in November Imax

inked a deal with Toho for a five-film

distribution agreement.

ScreenX—Korea-based cinema

technology company CJ 4DPLEX’s

270-degree panoramic screen offering—

also found success in 2020 despite a lack

of major Hollywood titles. “Box office for

both of our premium formats, ScreenX

and [motion seating technology] 4DX, has

been increasingly steady as markets have

begun to open up,” says CJ 4DPLEX CEO

JongRyul Kim. Over the second half of

2020, “exhibitor partners have started to

embrace more and more ScreenX (and

4DX) as a means of bringing moviegoers

back to cinema, as the experience can’t be

replicated at home or elsewhere.”

As with Imax, East Asia was ScreenX’s

strongest territory in 2020, with China’s

box office having “fully recovered to past

annual averages, while Korea and Japan

have had a steady inflow of audiences” in

the final months of the year, says Kim.

With audiences eager to set foot in

theaters—and big-budget Hollywood

releases decidedly not, at least not

yet—CJ 4DPLEX has had to be flexible

in terms of programming, says Kim. In

collaboration with parent company CJ

CGV and sister company CJ ENM, “We

recognized the skyrocketing demand for

alternative content made specially for

the big screen, and in particular ScreenX.





screens worldwide

North America: 420

Greater China: 724

APAC: 122

EMEA: 251


Dolby Cinema


locations open or committed


exhibitor partners in 14


Dolby Atmos


screens open or committed





exhibitor partners in 36



screens worldwide

U.S./Canada: 56 screens

LATAM: 4 screens

EMEA: 66 screens

Asia/Oceania: 225 screens

Q1 2021


Theater TECH

With virtually all offline concerts canceled

due to Covid, we found that fans find

inherent value in reliving the exhilarating

experience of a concert-type event in the

cinema instead. So we’ve bolstered our

efforts in creating an immersive and vibrant

way of enjoying concerts through our

ScreenX format. The feedback indicates

that this fledgling segment of cinema shows

great loyalty and box office potential as it

provides a comfortable, safe, and communal

environment for audiences to see their

favorite stars.”

Thank You All: The Kim Ho Joong Movie,

featuring a popular Korean opera star, was

broadcast live to 40 ScreenX theaters in

Korea before being filmed and rereleased

three months later; Kim notes that 80

percent of the film’s audience market share

came from ScreenX. Outside the concert

space, ScreenX’s first-ever livestreams

of Korea’s League of Legends tournament

launched in May 2020. ScreenX’s threescreen

format, explains Kim, allowed

viewers to augment the real-time broadcast

with data and other images that “intensified

the game-viewing experience.” The

company is also expanding its programming

to include more documentaries and content

“[Dolby has] seen our presence

grow overseas in the last

year, particularly in Asia

and the Middle East, which

are bouncing back from the

pandemic ahead of the rest of

the world.”

from TV and YouTube moving forward.

With Covid cases not yet under control

and a consistent movie slate still on the

horizon, the North American market

hasn’t yet fully entered its own recovery

period—though when that day does

come, says Dolby’s Doug Darrow, SVP,

cinema business group, “We expect

those returning to the movies in 2021 to

desire elevated experiences such as a

PLF. As we know, going to the movies is

a fun, immersive experience, and people

want the best when they go.” That belief

is shored up by Dolby’s international

experience, as 2020 was a growth year for

the company’s premium Dolby Cinema

offering. Says Darrow: “We’ve seen our

presence grow overseas in the last year,

particularly in Asia and the Middle

East, which are bouncing back from

the pandemic ahead of the rest of the

world. We have new screens and exhibitor

partners in several countries including

China, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, and

the UAE—showing that people are truly

demanding the best experience possible.”

Looking back at North America,

Dehmel describes Imax’s experience

in the domestic market as “muted”; as

68 Q1 2021



“Cineplex’s premium offerings,

including UltraAVX, Imax, D-Box, 4DX,

ScreenX, and VIP Cinemas, provide

our guests with an immersive big

sound and big-screen experience

that bring films to life—something

that can’t be replicated at home. We

know that our guests miss the magic

of the movies and shared experiences

right now, and we can’t wait to

welcome them back to our theaters

once again.”

Ellis Jacob



“Premium large-format (PLF) screens

provide an unmatchable experience—

the best screens, cinema sound,

comfortable seats, and overall social

environment. It is the way movies

were meant to be seen, and it can’t

be duplicated at home. At Marcus

Theatres we are excited to offer this

experience through UltraScreen DLX,

SuperScreen DLX, UltraScreen, and a

few Imax auditoriums, and our guests

are excited too. In fact, they are

seeking out these large-screen formats

to see new releases and classics in a

way that they are fully immersed into

the movie. It’s extremely popular and

a growing trend, and we look for that

to continue. We also look forward to

the day very soon when our guests are

back to seeing blockbusters on all of

our screens on a weekly basis.”

Rolando Rodriguez

President and CEO

Marcus Theatres

“We have both XPlus and Imax

formats in the U.S., U.K., Brazil, and

Argentina. XPlus is our PLF format

and includes a giant screen, laser

projection, recliners, and Dolby Atmos

sound. Regarding Covid, PLFs made

a difference for us early on with Tenet

and somewhat with Wonder Woman

1984. However, the real difference

they will make will be felt when we

are on the other side of Covid and

people and films are back in force.

Once that happens, people will

want a moviegoing experience that

is dramatically different from what

they have been experiencing from

their sofa over the last year. PLFs will

deliver that.”

Mark Malinowski

Vice President of Global Marketing

Showcase Cinema

of December 21, only 40 percent of its

North American network was open, and

top screens in Los Angeles and New

York had remained closed since March.

Kim of CJ 4DPLEX, too, notes that “we

are eager to have our U.S. business

back,” while MediaMation CEO Howard

Kiedaisch says that some “customers with

capital available are investing now” in

new installations so that they can more

fully take advantage of “what will be an

explosion of demand when consumers are

able to get back out and enjoy what they

all love—movies on the big screen.”

At theaters that have been able to open

in the U.S. and Canada, PLF has played

a role in getting moviegoers in to see

such films as are available. According to

Ryan Noonan, vice president of corporate

communications at AMC Theatres, “A

premium large-format experience is a huge

advantage in the marketplace as it’s become

a primary driver in getting guests to come

to the movies right now.” AMC’s North

American PLF presence includes 153 Dolby

Cinema installations and 186 Imax screens.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Rob Lehman,

COO at Santikos Entertainment, which

boasts its own exhibitor-branded PLF

(called AVX) in addition to one Imax

screen. Starting in May, when Santikos

locations began to reopen with classic

titles, ticket prices for both PLF and

regular auditoriums were reduced to $5.

“This allowed our customers to experience

classic movies like Jurassic Park and

Raiders of the Lost Ark in our AVX

auditoriums,” says Lehman, with the goal

that’d they’d enjoy the experience and

return once prices went back up (as they

did with the release of Tenet) and new

movies began coming out.

On Christmas Day, AVX auditoriums

at Santikos’s Casa Blanca and Palladium

locations boasted 92 and 93 percent

occupancy, respectively (with the caveat

that occupancy rates for both locations

were mandated at 50%). As of January

10, Santikos’s Palladium location was the

highest-grossing nationwide for the films

News of the World and Let Him Go, in part

due to AVX screenings there.

B&B Theatres, too, finds that audiences

have responded to the PLF experience

during the pandemic, with EVP Brock

Bagby arguing that “customers have a

sense of safety in these giant rooms with

tall ceilings. You feel more spread out than

being in a smaller, more intimate setting.”

Among its PLF offerings, B&B boasts Imax,

MediaMation’s MX4D immersive seating

technology, ScreenX, and its own branded

PLF experience, called Grand Screens—

though as of press time, only 23 Grand

Screens and one Imax screen were open.

Says Bagby: “During this time, we only

wish we had more!”

Q1 2021



Right: Telescopic

Seating Systems

premium seating Imax





Fred and Denise Jacobs

Keep It All in the Family at

Telescopic Seating Systems


“Jacobs” might not be in the name—but

Telescopic Seating Systems counts itself

among the many family-run businesses

that keep the exhibition sector moving.

Married for over 40 years, Fred and

Denise Jacobs have come up through

multiple industries together, landing in

the seating world—along with their son,

TSS’s engineering manager, and daughterin-law,

its CPA—as the couple behind

Telescopic Seating Systems.

Born in Flint, Michigan, Fred and

Denise began their respective careers

in the automotive industry. Fred found

his niche in automotive interiors, while

Denise—needing “a little more challenge”

than her job at General Motors afforded—

went back to college at the University of

Michigan. She had two children in four

years while earning her bachelor’s in

physics, then joined Fred at the AC Spark

Plug Division of General Motors as a

manufacturing engineer.

“We thought we were going to be

Flint lifers,” Denise recalls—but a job

opportunity took them to Holland,

Michigan, where Telescopic Seating

Systems is based today. There, Fred

helped manage an automotive seating

company. This was the 1990s, when a

boom in multiplex construction sent

demand for seating through the roof. Ford

Motor Company decided it wanted in on

the action; Fred recalls that he “went in

to make a presentation on seats for their

Mustangs and walked out with a contract

to make movie theater seats instead.” From

there, Fred ran what he calls the “stealth

movie theater seat company,” Visteon,

which from 1998 to 2003 operated as a

division of Ford. “We were making 40,000

to 60,000 seats a year. … Going to all the

trade shows. But people didn’t really know

that the same people that made seats

for their Cadillacs and their Buicks were

making their movie theater seats.”

In 2003, Ford’s six-year experiment

in movie theater seating came to an end

when Visteon was spun off into its own

entity. Fred became a minority partner in

Track Seating, which bid unsuccessfully

for Visteon’s movie theater seat business.

Track Seating continued to make seats

for Buicks and Cadillacs while expanding

into the non-automotive arena, buying

a company called American Desk. While

Denise continued in the automotive

interiors business, Fred expanded

into other facets of the seating world,

manufacturing seats for universities

“People didn’t really know

that the same people

that made seats for their

Cadillacs and their Buicks

were making their movie

theater seats.”

70 Q1 2021

and sports stadiums and setting up an

independent seating company in China to

service that market. Meanwhile, their son

Matt, straight out of high school, joined

Track Seating as an engineering intern.

When Fred’s partners opted to sell

Track Seating, he was left at a career

crossroads. “I wasn’t smart enough to

retire,” he jokes, and Denise “wouldn’t

let me just stay at home and go fishing.”

(Denise counters: “He doesn’t want

to retire!”) In 2011, building on years

of industry knowledge and contacts,

the pair started the U.S. company

Telescopic Seating Systems LLC, with

Fred as managing director and Denise as

president and majority owner.

The decision to name their new

company Telescopic Seating Systems

and not, say, Jacobs Seating, came from a

desire to center their products, which can

be found in theaters, arenas, auditoriums,

and more widely across North America

and Asia. The “Telescopic” in the

name refers to TSS’s most eye-catching

feature: a patented system allowing

all TSS power recliners (up to 100 on a

single circuit) to be raised up for ease of

cleaning underneath. Explains Fred, the

“You look at recliners

and you say, ‘Well, yeah,

I understand they’re

comfortable.’ But I’m

thinking, if I were a manager

of a theater, how in the

world would you clean them

between every show?”

seats “extend and retract … like powered

recliners, but on a much larger scale.”

The company’s Smart Clean Sweep and

Smart Power-2 technologies, Denise says,

“lower theater construction/operations

[costs] while make cleaning recliner

theaters a breeze.”

Ease of recliner cleaning is not

originally what the Jacobses were going

for. Back when Telescopic Seating Systems

first started, “we developed a very good

rocker system and led with that, along

with other products,” Fred says. “And

then people started buying recliners!”

AMC, North America’s largest chain,

upgraded in the early aughts from rockers

to recliners, leading their competitors

to follow suit. Fred and Denise took a

moment to be upset, Fred admits, that

their new invention was now old-school.

Then they took a step back and assessed

what the so-called recliner revolution

meant for the needs of their customers.

“You look at recliners and you say, ‘Well,

yeah, I understand they’re comfortable,’”

says Denise. “But I’m thinking, if I were

a manager of a theater, how in the world

would you clean them between every

show? Especially if you had to open them

Q1 2021



up every time? … How do you get rid of

all the residue that you’re going to find

in the chairs?” The barrier to entry for

making home recliners, Fred adds, isn’t

particularly high: “Can you buy fabric? Can

you buy mechanisms to [recline the seats]?

Can you buy a staple gun?” Telescopic

Seating Systems, they decided, would be a

“technology-based company,” says Fred, at

its core one innovation designed to better

the customer experience: “How to power

a roomful of recliners. How to network

recliners together in a link.” Since then,

the technology has evolved, adding such

features as the ability to lift only the seats

that have not been cleaned since their last

use and a red light/green light system so

the customer can know their seat has been

freshly cleaned.

All of that, of course, positions

Telescopic Seating Systems to meet

exhibitors’ needs during Covid. They are

one of a handful of companies that have

introduced new products since March

2020 designed to increase theaters’ ability

to maintain standards of cleanliness

and sanitation. For Telescopic Seating

Systems, that product is the Seat Suite,

a single-use partition that can be put

between seats, creating a physical barrier

between customers and their neighbors.

(As an added bonus, the shields can also

serve as ad hoc ad spaces.)

As with Telescopic Seating Systems’

rocker system, their Seat Suite was

originally designed for one purpose, until

changing exhibition realities shifted the

company in another direction. While

they’re marketed now as a way to increase

“guest confidence in social distancing,”

they were originally envisioned as a

less-expensive, more flexible way for

Telescopic Seating Systems customers to

adapt to the increasingly popular “pod”

concept, adopted at luxury chains like iPic.

“It’s something that we had been working

on for four or five years,” Fred recalls—

“but it was for privacy,” not safety.

For the Jacobses, the needs of the

customer—and the flexibility required to

meet those needs—remain top of mind,

now as when they first started Telescopic

Seating Solutions. That’s why, though

the cinema seating industry has moved

somewhat toward high-tech seats boasting

heaters, USB ports, and other bells and

whistles befitting the luxury recliner

experience, TSS still sells trusty rockers in

addition to their other products.

“I think that, ultimately, it’s easy to

be blinded by the glorious, luxurious

installation” of high-end chairs, says

Jacobs. Ticket price being the same, most

moviegoers would prefer a luxury recliner

to a ’90s-style rocker—but price usually isn’t

the same, and while the shift to recliners

has driven occupancy rates in theaters, in

some places “a basic rocker chair is all the

market can afford.” On top of that, there

are some theaters—for example, those with

older, sloped floors and a programming

lineup that caters to families with small

(age-wise and height-wise) children—where

a shorter, more compact chair makes

more sense. “We really try to work with

a customer to understand their business

and their market,” says Fred, “rather than

selling the fanciest puppy in the window.”

In 2016, Denise retired from the

automotive world, where she’d worked

at Magna Mirrors, to devote her energies

to Telescopic Seating Systems. “When I

came on board, that was exciting for me,

because for the first time I could start

traveling with Fred” to all the regional

shows, in addition to the major ones she’d

been able to attend before. That, now, is

temporarily on hold—but the couple looks

forward to the day when they can once

again “pack up the trailer and go out and

hit the road and visit customers!” Says

Fred, “the exhibition industry is really

blessed with that personal connection.

There is certainly tough competition

between chains, but most chains

understand and respect one another. …

That civility, within the exhibition

industry, is good to be maintained.”

“We really try to work with a

customer to understand their

business and their market,

rather than selling the fanciest

puppy in the window.”

72 Q1 2021

Change with the Changing Times


info@galalitescreens.com | www.galalitescreens.com

Follow us on :


Q1 2021


Big screen.

Bigger cause.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® is

leading the way the world understands,

treats and defeats childhood cancer and

other life-threatening diseases. But, we

couldn’t do it without you. By donating

pre-show advertising to screen the annual

St. Jude Thanks and Giving® movie trailer,

you support our lifesaving mission: Finding

cures. Saving children.® The generosity of

you and your patrons helps ensure that

families never receive a bill from St. Jude

for treatment, travel, housing or food—

because all a family should worry about is

helping their child live.

St. Jude patient


Art inspired by St. Jude patient Jaden

For more information, please email

chance.weaver@stjude.org or visit stjude.org/theaters

74 Q1 2021

©2020 ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (PRNS1692)

We Are Parable 76 | Booking Guide 81


“We created this raw, immersive moment within the BFI

Southbank. That was a moment where people really saw

themselves represented ...”

We Are Parable, p. 76

Q1 2021






For U.K.’s We Are

Parable, Screenings Are

More Than Just Movies


76 Q1 2021

Left: We Are Parable

co-founders Anthony

and Teanne Andrews at

a January 2020 screening

of Queen & Slim, which

featured a Q&A and a

poetry reading

“That’s something that

is truly so rare and so

precious. And I think the

more that we can create

those connective threads

in our audience, the better

cinema will become.”

When British exhibition pros

Anthony and Teanne Andrews

hosted their first screening in 2013,

they had no thoughts that their one-off

event—born of a shared love for Coming

to America—would turn into an actual

business. Certainly, that said business

might throw them into the same sphere

as Spike Lee was beyond imagining at

the time. And yet eight years later, the

Andrewses’ We Are Parable has become

one of the most exciting companies in the

U.K. exhibition space, crafting innovative

events that celebrate Black films, Black

filmmakers, and Black audiences.

The core of We Are Parable’s philosophy

can be found in that very first event, held at

the Stratford East Picturehouse in London.

“We just wanted to see one of our favorite

films on the big screen,” recalls Anthony

Andrews. Not content with bringing Prince

Akeem back into a theater and calling it a

day, the duo began to think of ways they

could communicate their love of the film to

moviegoers who hopefully felt the same way.

The idea to add in a “few visual cues”

that fans of the films would quickly

recognize “snowballed,” Andrews

says, into a re-creation of the fictional

kingdom of Zamunda in the theater,

with craftspeople and other vendors

from the African diaspora, dancers and

musicians, and—of course—rose bearers

in attendance. Special touches like these

“elicit an emotional response from our

audience,” says Andrews. In an age when

classics can be rented for a few bucks

on streaming platforms, We Are Parable

has found success in adding a “little bit

novel, a little bit avant-garde” edge to their

screenings—thus creating a “connective

thread” between audience members

who recognize and appreciate the same

references. “That’s something that is truly

so rare and so precious. And I think the

more that we can create those connective

threads in our audience, the better cinema

will become.”

We Are Parable’s approach reflects a

truth that exhibitors have understood

since the first days of cinema: that

moviegoing is a communal experience.

Following the success of their Coming

to America screening, We Are Parable

built similar experiences around other

films, like Love & Basketball (giving U.K.

moviegoers “the all-American experience,”

Q1 2021



with cheerleaders and a makeshift

basketball court) and the “Spike is 60” film

festival, where (for example), a double

bill of Do the Right Thing and Crooklyn

was coupled with a block party. The

festival had already been programmed

and scheduled when We Are Parable got

an email from the man himself with an

unexpected offer. Spike Lee would be in

town for a few days. Did they want to do

an event together?

“It’s one of those pinch-yourself

moments,” recalls Andrews. We Are

Parable had three days to secure a cinema,

put together an event, and sell tickets.

(Which they did, to a 400-strong, sold-out

crowd.) “We had to move heaven and earth

to make it happen,” Andrews says. “But

people were so appreciative of being able

to meet him. He did a wonderful meet and

greet afterwards, signing memorabilia,

signing books, taking pictures. The man

is so much for the people. … We still have

people come up to us now, saying, ‘That

was amazing. I never thought I’d meet

Spike Lee, and you guys did that.’”

The Spike Lee event marked a turning

point for We Are Parable, and the fledgling

exhibitors knew at once that they

“We created this raw,

immersive moment within the

BFI Southbank. That was a

moment where people really

saw themselves represented—

not only in the film, but

also in the way we put the

experience together.”

“want[ed] to build on that momentum as

much as possible,” Andrews says. “That’s

when we really started to think of our

organization, of what we built, as a

business.” They became more focused

on funding applications and different

revenue streams. Their boosted visibility

and reputation as a result of the Lee event

helped them make connections and form

relationships—key among them with the

British Film Institute. It was the BFI who

asked We Are Parable, in 2017, if they’d

like to work together on the first-ever

public screening of Black Panther, held in

February of the following year.

While planning the Black Panther

event, Anthony and Teanne had not yet

seen the film—but they “knew what the

film would mean to our audience” and

felt a responsibility to get it right. They

came up with the idea of reimagining

the BFI Southbank in London as a royal

space—not as Wakanda itself, but a

representation of what the regal T’Challa

would expect to see walking into a cinema.

“We had interior designers. We had jewelry

makers. We had booksellers. We had

fashion designers, music, art.” As well

as an exhibition showing famous Black

78 Q1 2021

characters in comics history. “We created

this raw, immersive moment within the

BFI Southbank. That was a moment

where people really saw themselves

represented—not only in the film, but also

in the way we put the experience together.”

In the U.K., as in the U.S., the

exhibition landscape is largely white—

though “it’s definitely getting better,”

says Andrews. “Distributors are starting

to realize that, yes, they are acquiring

these [Black] films, but actually, do they

have the knowledge and the tools and the

resources to be able to reach the audiences

that these films need to be seen by? I think,

on their own, no.” Andrews encourages

distributors to reach out to organizations

and exhibitors like We Are Parable that do

the work to showcase Black films to Black

audiences. The challenge there, he admits,

is in “making sure that you’re paying for

and you’re valuing the service that these

exhibitors bring.”

Since the Black Panther event, We

Are Parable went for “bigger pieces of

funding” and began to schedule events

outside the London area. If landing Spike

Lee and Black Panther (with director Ryan

Coogler in attendance for a Q&A) were

key moments in We Are Parable’s story,

Covid-19 is another—one that shifted We

Are Parable from more events to none at

all, at least for a few months.

During that time, however, We Are

Parable did not stay silent, shifting their

resources to conduct a survey on how

customer confidence about a return to

cinemas varied across different ethnic

groups. Missing in wider conversations

about attracting moviegoers back to

cinemas, Andrews believed, was an

awareness that members of minority

ethnic communities were more likely

to die of Covid-19 than their white

counterparts. Suspecting that this fact

would impact willingness to return to

cinemas among moviegoers of color, and

dissatisfied about the level of attention

paid to this “specific and vulnerable

audience”—which, per statistics

published by the BFI, sees movies more

frequently than the overall population—

We Are Parable surveyed 1,100 moviegoers,

40 percent of them Black, Asian, or from

other non-white ethnic groups, on their

feelings about getting back to the movies.

The results, released in July, found

that Black respondents on the whole were

significantly less likely to be confident

about returning to cinemas than white

respondents. “Almost a fifth of them

said that they wouldn’t be going back to

cinemas till 2021. Another third of that

audience said that they’re not sure about

when they’re going to go back to cinemas.

If you think about that, that’s almost 50

percent of an audience who are some of

the most frequent visitors.” On a dollarsand-cents

level, “it doesn’t make sense

to ignore this cohort of people” and their

comparative hesitancy about returning to

cinemas. “From a moralistic view, in some

ways, it’s unforgivable in my eyes.”

The data We Are Parable has released,

Andrews says, has pushed industry bodies

in the U.K. to think about how they can

better communicate the safety measures

they’re taking to prevent the spread of

Covid-19. Andrews himself integrated the

insight gained from the survey into We

Are Parable’s first event post-shutdown:

a sold-out screening of Sarah Gavron’s

Rocks, held at the Rio Cinema in London

on September 8.

We Are Parable was careful to

communicate the Rio’s “very stringent”

safety measures to their audience in

advance of the event. “What we wanted

to do is be responsible and not contradict

our research by saying, ‘Oh, just come to

the cinema! It’s going to be fine!’” Multiple

posts on social media reiterated, in a “very

succinct” way, the guidelines all attendees

would have to follow. Temperatures would

be taken. Masks would be worn. Tickets

should be purchased in advance. Social

distancing would be in effect. Attendees

would have to wait outside before the film

started. The goal was “reminding people

of the key, fundamental things that you’ll

need to do and [explaining] why, perhaps,

“Do they have the

knowledge and the tools

and the resources to be able

to reach the audiences that

these films need to be seen

by? I think, on their own, no.”

Left: Lupita Nyong’o

and Chadwick

Boseman in Marvel

Studios’ Black Panther

Right: Sarah Gavron’s

Rocks marked We

Are Parable’s first

screening since the

start of the Covid-19


Q1 2021



that might mean that the screening

is going to start later than advertised.

Because it still is very much a new

normal for people.”

“To the untrained eye,” Andrews

admits, “it would look like we are overcommunicating.

However, I think what

we’re doing is showing the commitment

to our audience. Myself and Teanne, we

always say, ‘We are the audience.’” And,

like other audience members, they’re

wary of going into public places with the

pandemic still under way. “We understand

some of the concerns, and I think it would

be remiss of us not to communicate and

try and alleviate some of those concerns

for our audience by quote-unquote

overcommunicating to them.”

With their own concerns—as exhibitors,

as audience members—in the forefront

of their minds leading up to the Rocks

screening, Anthony and Teanne were

uncertain that the event would be well

received. Those concerns were put to rest

when the event sold out—even if “sold out”

in September 2020 meant 160 seats filled

in a 400-seat theater. “That was a great

result for us, because we weren’t sure. We

were thinking we’d get a smattering of

people, but for us to sell out—it vindicated

our decision to go back into cinemas,

albeit safely.”

Other screenings and events have

followed in the months since—online

and in physical spaces, both indoors

and outdoors, reflecting the shifting

requirements of theatrical exhibition in

the U.K. In collaboration with the U.K. Film

and TV Charity, We Are Parable developed

Momentum, a program designed to support

aspiring Black filmmakers. And late in a

tumultuous year, Anthony and Teanne

Andrews—seven years out from their first

We Are Parable screening—were added

as new members of BAFTA. “Not only is

it a massive honour, but it represents an

opportunity for us to contribute to lasting

change within the film and TV industry,”

Anthony wrote on social media. “There’s

work to be done, and we couldn’t be

happier that we’ll be a part of it.”

Above: A pre-pandemic

screening (and postscreening

DJ session) of

Prince's Purple Rain, held

in Bristol’s Cube cinema

in January 2020 as

part of the BFI Musicals!

The Greatest Show on

Screen series

“[The challenge is in]

making sure that you’re

paying for and you’re

valuing the service that

these exhibitors bring.”

80 Q1 2021




Release calendar for theatrical

distribution in North America

Release dates are accurate as of February 11. For the latest

schedule, visit www.boxofficepro.com/release-calendar.





Fri, 5/21/21 WIDE

Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer

Director: Shawn Levy

Rating: NR

Genre: Com/Act


Fri, 8/13/21 WIDE

Stars: Ana de Armas, Ben Affleck

Director: Adrian Lyne

Rating: NR

Genre: Thr


Fri, 8/20/21 WIDE

Stars: Ralph Fiennes,

Gemma Arterton

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Rating: NR

Genre: Act


Fri, 1/7/22 WIDE

Rating: NR


Fri, 1/14/22 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani


Fri, 2/11/22 WIDE

Rating: NR


Fri, 6/10/22 WIDE

Rating: NR


Fri, 9/16/22 WIDE

Rating: NR


Fri, 10/21/22 WIDE

Rating: NR


Fri, 12/16/22 WIDE

Stars: Zoe Saldana,

Sam Worthington

Director: James Cameron

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Fan/SF


Fri, 12/23/22 WIDE

Rating: R


Fri, 1/13/23 WIDE

Rating: NR


Fri, 3/24/23 WIDE

Rating: NR




Fri, 6/30/21 LTD

Stars: Taylour Paige, Riley Keough

Director: Janicza Bravo

Rating: R

Genre: Dra


Fri, 7/30/21 LTD

Stars: Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander

Director: David Lowery

Rating: R

Genre: Fan


Fri, 9/17/21 WIDE

Stars: Tom Bateman,

Annette Bening

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Rating: NR

Genre: Cri/Dra/Mys

West Side Story

Fri, 12/10/21 WIDE


Fri, 10/15/21 WIDE

Rating: NR


Fri, 10/22/21 WIDE

Directors: Alessandro Carloni,

J.P. Vine

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani


Fri, 12/10/21 WIDE

Stars: Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler

Director: Steven Spielberg

Rating: NR

Genre: Mus

Q1 2021




Fri, 11/11/22 WIDE

Stars: Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris

Director: Nia DaCosta

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/SF/Fan


Fri, 11/23/22 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani


Fri, 2/17/23 WIDE

Rating: NR


2023 1

Fri, 3/10/23 WIDE


Six Minutes to Midnight

Fri, 3/26/21 WIDE



Ask for Distribution


Fri, 5/7/21 WIDE

Stars: Scarlett Johansson,

David Harbour

Director: Cate Shortland

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Adv

Specs: 3-D


Fri, 5/28/21 WIDE

Stars: Emma Stone,

Emma Thompson

Director: Craig Gillespie

Rating: NR

Genre: Com


Fri, 6/18/21 WIDE

Director: Enrico Casarosa

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani



Fri, 7/9/21 WIDE

Stars: Simu Liu, Awkwafina

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Adv/Fan


Fri, 7/30/21 WIDE

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Adv

Specs: Dolby Vis/Atmos


Fri, 8/27/21 WIDE

Stars: The Beatles

Director: Peter Jackson

Rating: NR

Genre: Doc


Fri, 11/5/21 WIDE

Stars: Richard Madden,

Angelina Jolie

Director: Chloé Zhao

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Adv/SF


Fri, 11/24/21 WIDE

Drectors: Byron Howard, Jared Bush

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani



Fri, 12/17/21 WIDE

Rating: NR


Fri, 3/11/22 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani



Fri, 3/25/22 WIDE

Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch

Director: Sam Raimi

Rating: NR

Genre: SF/Fan/Adv


2022 1

Fri, 4/8/22 WIDE

Rating: NR


Fri, 5/6/22 WIDE

Stars: Chris Hemsworth,

Tessa Thompson

Director: Taika Waititi

Rating: NR

Genre: SF/Fan/Act


2022 2

Fri, 5/27/22 WIDE

Rating: NR


Fri, 6/17/22 WIDE

Stars: Chris Evans

Director: Angus MacLane

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani


Fri, 7/8/22 WIDE

Director: Ryan Coogler

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/SF/Fan


Fri, 7/29/22 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Adv


2022 3

Fri, 8/12/22 WIDE

Rating: NR


Fri, 10/7/22 WIDE

Rating: NR


2022 4

Fri, 11/4/22 WIDE

Rating: NR


Fri, 5/21/21 WIDE

Director: Luke Holland

Rating: PG-13

Genre: Doc


Fri, 6/25/21 WIDE

Stars: Justin Chon, Alicia Vikander

Director: Justin Chon

Rating: NR

Genre: Dra


Fri, 10/22/21 WIDE

Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy,

Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie

Director: Edgar Wright

Rating: NR

Genre: Hor/Thr

Specs: Dolby Vis/Atmos




Fri, 3/12/21 LTD

Stars: Julia Sarah Stone,

Landon Liboiron

Director: Anthony Scott Burns

Rating: NR

Genre: SF/Rom


Fri, 3/19/21 LTD

Stars: Jeremy Piven, Taryn Manning

Director: Paolo Pilladi

Rating: NR

Genre: Com


Fri, 3/26/21 LTD

Stars: Judi Dench, James D'Arcy

Director: Andy Goddard

Rating: PG-13

Genre: War

82 Q1 2021





Fri, 3/19/21 WIDE

Stars: Nicolas Cage

Director: Tom Gormican

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Com


Fri, 4/23/21 WIDE

Stars: Maggie Q, Samuel L. Jackson

Director: Martin Campbell

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Thr


Fri, 5/21/21 WIDE

Stars: Chris Rock,

Samuel L. Jackson

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Rating: NR

Genre: Hor



Fri, 8/20/21 WIDE

Stars: Ryan Reynolds,

Samuel L. Jackson

Director: Patrick Hughes

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Com



Fri, 12/10/21 WIDE

Directors: Jon Erwin, Andrew Erwin

Rating: NR

Genre: Dra


Fri, 5/27/22 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Act



Neal Block



Fri, 3/19/21 LTD

Stars: Jacob Lohmann, Simon Sears

Directors: Anders Ølholm,

Frederik Louis Hviid

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Cri


Fri, 4/9/21 LTD

Stars: Jill Awbrey, Bart Johnson

Directors: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing

Rating: NR

Genre: Hor/Thr


Fri, 4/30/21 LTD

Stars: Martin Serner,

Jessica Louthander

Director: Roy Andersson

Rating: NR

Genre: Dra




Fri, 5/14/21 LTD

Stars: Clayne Crawford,

Sepideh Moafi

Director: Robert Machoian

Rating: NR

Genre: Thr




Fri, 5/28/21 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: SF


Fri, 7/2/21 WIDE

Stars: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Adv

Specs: Imax/Dolby Vis/Atmos


Fri, 7/23/21 WIDE

Stars: Yvonne Strahovski, Chris Pratt

Director: Chris McKay

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/SF


Fri, 8/20/21 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani


Fri, 9/3/21 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Com


Fri, 9/17/21 WIDE

Stars: Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy

Director: John Krasinski

Rating: PG-13

Genre: Hor


Q1 2021




Fri, 9/24/21 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani


Fri, 10/22/21 WIDE

Stars: Henry Golding, Andrew Koj

Director: Robert Schwentke

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Adv


Fri, 11/5/21 WIDE

Stars: Jack Whitehall, Darby Camp

Director: Walt Becker

Rating: NR

Genre: Fam


Fri, 11/19/21 WIDE

Stars: Tom Cruise

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Rating: NR

Genre: Act


Fri, 1/14/22 WIDE

Stars: Melissa Barrera, Kyle Gallner

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin,

Tyler Gillett

Rating: NR

Genre: Hor


Fri, 2/18/22 WIDE

Stars: Will Arnett, Terry Crews

Director: Hamish Grieve

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani



Fri, 3/4/22 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Hor


Fri, 4/8/22 WIDE

Stars: Ben Schwartz




Fri, 3/19/21 WIDE

Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch,

Rachel Brosnahan

Director: Dominic Cooke

Rating: PG-13

Genre: Thr



Fri, 3/12/21 LTD

Stars: Bruce Willis, Frank Grillo

Director: Edward Drake

Rating: R

Genre: SF/Adv


Fri, 3/19/21 LTD

Stars: Joel McHale, Kerry Bishé

Director: BenDavid Grabinski

Rating: R

Genre: Com/Thr


Fri, 3/26/21 LTD

Stars: Famke Janssen, Sam Riley

Director: Jaume Balagueró

Rating: R

Genre: Thr


Fri, 4/2/21 LTD

Stars: Sean Patrick Flanery,

Rob Van Dam

Director: Christopher Ray

Rating: R

Genre: Act/Thr




Fri, 7/16/21 LTD

Stars: Rebecca Hall,

Sarah Goldberg

Director: David Bruckner

Rating: R

Genre: Hor


Fri, 9/24/21 LTD

Stars: Jessica Chastain,

Andrew Garfield

Director: Michael Showalter

Rating: NR

Genre: Dra


Fri, 10/29/21 LTD

Stars: Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons

Director: Scott Cooper

Rating: R

Genre: Hor


Fri, 12/3/21 LTD

Stars: Bradley Cooper,

Cate Blanchett

Director: Guillermo del Toro


Integrated Digital Signage,

Concession Signs, Lobby &

Directional Signs, Custom Graphics



Web Management, Website

Design and Programming,

Online Ticket Purchasing,

Mobile App Development,

Mobile Ticketing Sales


Online Ticket Sales with Theatre Branded Interface

Your Complete Theatre

Management Solution

Starts Here!



Touch Screen Ticketing,

Concession Point-of-Sale,

Two-in-One Terminals, Kiosk Sales

& Redemptions, Assigned Seating



Show Scheduling, Inventory,

Cash Control, Remote Access,

Labor Management,

Real-Time Corporate Reports



Gift Cards, Virtual Gift Card

Sales, Customer Rewards

888-988-4470 Sales


Automatically Calculate Weekly Film Rental, Create

Payment Vouchers, Settle Films & Manage Credits



Network Support, Hardware

Monitoring, Phone & Surveillance

System Support, ISP Monitoring,

Security & Antivirus


84 Q1 2021



French Exit

Fri, 2/12/21 LTD


Fri, 4/16/21 WIDE

Stars: Kevin Hart, Melody Hurd

Director: Paul Weitz

Rating: NR

Genre: Dra


Fri, 6/4/21 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani


Fri, 6/11/21 WIDE

Stars: Rose Byrne,

Domhnall Gleeson

Director: Will Gluck

Rating: PG

Genre: Fam


Fri, 6/25/21 WIDE

Stars: Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson

Director: Andy Serkis

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/SF


Fri, 7/16/21 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Fan


Fri, 8/6/21 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani/Com


Fri, 8/13/21 WIDE

Director: Rodo Sayagues

Rating: NR

Genre: Hor


Fri, 9/3/21 WIDE

Stars: Kaya Scodelario,

Hannah John-Kamen

Director: Johannes Roberts

Rating: NR

Genre: Hor/Act


FRI, 9/17/21 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Act


Fri, 11/11/21 WIDE

Stars: Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard

Director: Jason Reitman

Rating: NR

Genre: Hor/Com/SF



Fri, 12/17/21 WIDE

Stars: Tom Holland

Rating: NR

Genre: Act


Wed, 12/22/21 WIDE

Stars: Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning

Director: Mélanie Laurent

Rating: NR

Genre: Dra


Fri, 1/7/22 WIDE

Stars: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller

Director: Adam Robitel

Rating: NR

Genre: Hor


Fri, 1/21/22 WIDE

Stars: Jared Leto, Matt Smith

Director: Daniel Espinosa

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Thr/SF

Specs: Imax/Dolby Vis/Atmos


Fri, 2/11/22 WIDE

Stars: Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Adv



Fri, 10/7/22 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani


Tom Prassis



Fri, 2/12/21 LTD

Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer,

Lucas Hedges

Director: Azazel Jacobs

Rating: R

Genre: Dra/Com


Fri, 2/26/21 LTD

Stars: Anthony Hopkins,

Olivia Colman

Director: Florian Zeller

Rating: PG-13

Genre: Dra


Fri, 3/5/21 LTD

Directors: Michael Dweck,

Gregory Kershaw

Rating: PG-13


Fri, 5/7/21 LTD

Director: Dror Moreh

Genre: Doc


Fri, 5/21/21 LTD

Stars: Armando Espitia,

Christian Vazquez

Director: Heidi Ewing

Rating: R

Genre: Dra



Ask for Distribution


Fri, 6/4/21 WIDE

Stars: Sylvester Stallone

Director: Julius Avery

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Thr


Fri, 7/16/21 WIDE

Stars: Channing Tatum

Director: Reid Carolin,

Channing Tatum

Rating: NR

Genre: Com


Fri, 8/13/21 WIDE

Stars: Jennifer Hudson,

Forest Whitaker

Director: Liesl Tommy

Rating: NR

Genre: Dra/Mus


Fri, 9/24/21 WIDE

Director: David Slade

Rating: NR

Genre: Hor


Fri, 10/1/21 WIDE

Stars: Charlize Theron, Oscar Isaac

Director: Greg Tiernan

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani

Q1 2021



Mortal Kombat

Fri, 4/16/21 WIDE


Fri, 10/8/21 WIDE

Stars: Daniel Craig, Rami Malek

Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga

Rating: PG-13

Genre: Act/Thr

Specs: Imax


Fri, 11/24/21 WIDE

Director: Ridley Scott

Rating: NR

Genre: Dra


Fri, 12/10/21 WIDE

Stars: Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett

Director: Joe Wright

Rating: NR

Genre: Dra/Mus




Fri, 4/2/21 WIDE

Stars: Bob Odenkirk

Director: Ilya Naishuller

Rating: R

Genre: Act/Thr


Fri, 5/14/21 WIDE

Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson

Director: Kat Coiro

Rating: NR

Genre: Rom/Com


Fri, 5/28/21 WIDE

Stars: Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron

Director: Justin Lin

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Adv

Specs: Imax/Dolby Vis/Atmos


Fri, 6/4/21 WIDE

Director: Elaine Bogan

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani


Fri, 7/2/21 WIDE

Stars: Steve Carell, Taraji P. Henson

Director: Kyle Balda

Rating: PG

Genre: Ani


Fri, 7/9/21 WIDE

Director: Everardo Gout

Rating: NR

Genre: Hor


Fri, 7/23/21 WIDE

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Rating: NR

Genre: Thr


Fri, 8/13/21 WIDE

Stars: Tom Hanks

Director: Miguel Sapochnik

Rating: NR

Genre: SF


Fri, 8/27/21 WIDE

Stars: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II,

Teyonah Parris

Director: Nia DaCosta

Rating: R

Genre: Hor


Fri, 9/17/21 WIDE

Stars: Alec Baldwin, Jeff Goldblum

Director: Tom McGrath

Rating: PG

Genre: Ani


Fri, 9/24/21 WIDE

Stars: Ben Platt

Director: Stephen Chbosky

Rating: NR

Genre: Dra/Mus


Fri, 10/15/21 WIDE

Director: David Gordon Green

Rating: R

Genre: Hor


Fri, 12/22/21 WIDE

Stars: Matthew McConaughey,

Reese Witherspoon

Director: Garth Jennings

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani/Mus

THE 355

Fri, 1/14/22 WIDE

Stars: Jessica Chastain,

Lupita Nyong’o

Director: Simon Kinberg

Rating: PG-13

Genre: Thr



Fri, 2/11/22 WIDE

Rating: NR


Fri, 2/18/22 WIDE

Director: Michael Bay

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Thr

86 Q1 2021



Fri, 3/11/22 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Mus


Fri, 6/10/22 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Act/Adv




Fri, 3/31/21 WIDE

Stars: Millie Bobby Brown,

Eiza González

Director: Adam Wingard

Rating: PG-13

Genre: SF/Act

Specs: max/3-D/Dolby Vis/Atmos


Fri, 4/16/21 WIDE

Stars: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee

Director: Simon McQuiod

Rating: NR

Genre: Act


Fri, 5/14/21 WIDE

Stars: Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult

Director: Taylor Sheridan

Rating: NR

Genre: Dra/Wes



Fri, 6/4/21 WIDE

Stars: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga

Rating: Michael Chaves

Rating: NR

Genre: Hor

Specs: Dolby Vis/Atmos


Fri, 6/18/21 WIDE

Stars: Anthony Ramos,

Corey Hawkins

Director: Jon M. Chu

Rating: PG-13

Genre: Mus/Rom/Dra


Fri, 7/16/21 WIDE

Stars: LeBron James, Don Cheadle

Director: Malcolm D. Lee

Rating: NR

Genre: Ani/Com


Fri, 8/6/21 WIDE

Stars: Margot Robbie, Taika Waititi

Director: James Gunn

Rating: NR

Genre: Act


Fri, 9/10/21 WIDE

Director: James Wan

Rating: NR

Genre: Hor


Fri, 9/24/21 WIDE

Stars: Alessandro Nivola,

Leslie Odom Jr.

Director: Alan Taylor

Rating: R

Genre: Dra/Cri


Fri, 10/1/21 WIDE

Stars: Timothée Chalamet,

Rebecca Ferguson

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Rating: PG-13

Genre: SF


Fri, 11/19/21 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Dra/Bio


Fri, 12/22/21 WIDE

Stars: Keanu Reeves

Director: Lana Wachowski

Rating: NR

Genre: SF


Fri, 1/14/22 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Fam


Fri, 3/4/22 WIDE

Stars: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz

Director: Matt Reeves

Rating: NR

Genre: Act


Fri, 6/3/22 WIDE

Director: Baz Luhrmann

Rating: NR

Genre: Dra/Bio/Mus


Fri, 7/15/22 WIDE

Rating: NR

Genre: Fan/Act



Like you, we like results:

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ticket sales including

Food and Beverages, use

our F&B ticketing solution,

to increase your average

transaction value and

boost sales.

Send an email to Michelle.Coull@boxoffice.com to learn more

Q1 2021



Our Sponsors



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Cretors 7

Dolby 62

Dolphin Leadcom Seating 56

Enpar Audio 7

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Galalite Screens 73

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Gold Medal Products 15

Jack Roe 39

MOC Insurance 8

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Ready Theater Systems 83

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Tivoli Lighting 1

Image Credits & Acknowledgments

p5: Photo: Melinda Sue Gordon/© 2020 Warner Bros.

Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

p6: Images courtesy ArcLight Cinemas

p11: Images courtesy Cinemark

p12: Illustration by Adam Cruft

p16: Photos courtesy Studio Movie Grill, Variety

- the Children's Charity, and Cheyenne Boone,

St. Louis Post Dispatch

p18-33: All photos courtesy of their respective cinema chains

p34: Photo courtesy Adobe Stock.

p49: Photo: Dan Halstead

p50: Photo: Nicola Dove (C) 2020 DANJAQ LLC and MGM

p54: Photo: Melinda Sue Gordon (C) 2020 Warner Bros.


p57: Photo: © 2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights


p58: Photo: © 2019 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Photo: ©

2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

p59: Photo: Jonathan Prime/Universal Pictures

p60: Photo: © 2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved, Photo:

© 2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

p61: Photo: © 2020 DreamWorks Animation LLC

p63: Photo: ® IMAX Corp.

p64: Photo courtesy Dolby

p66: Photo: ® IMAX Corp, The Eight Hundred: Photo: Huayi

Brothers, courtesy Imax, Photo courtesy Dolby

p70-72: All images courtesy Telescopic Seating


p75: Photo: Matt Kennedy, © Marvel Studios 2018

p76: Photo courtesy Freezeframe

p78: Photo: Matt Kennedy, © Marvel Studios 2018

p79: Photo courtesy BFI London Film Festival 2019

p80: Photo courtesy Freezeframe

p81: Photo: Niko Tavernise, © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox

Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved

p81: Six Minutes to Midnight. Courtesy IFC Films. An IFC Films


p85: French Exit. Photo: Lou Scamble, courtesy Sony Pictures


p86: Mortal Kombat. Courtesy Warner Bros.

88 Q1 2021


can go

Today’s cinema complexes are so much more than just a

place to see movies. You need an audio, video, and control

ecosystem that can manage your entire cinema entertainment


With the new Core Nano and Core 8 Flex, it’s never been

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been waiting for.

©2020 QSC, LLC all rights reserved. QSC, Q-SYS and the QSC logo are registered trademarks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and other countries. All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.

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