Listen to Episode 10 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. This week, Deadline Executive Editor Lieberman and host David Bloom discuss how Quarter 3 earnings season turned out; whether DirecTV and Dish Network should merge; Cinemark’s smartphone app Cinemode to encourage people not to use their smartphone during movies; and growing uncertainty over Google plans to renew funding deals with more than 100 original-content channels on YouTube.
Nomura Equity Research’s Robert Fishman and Michael Nathanson slashed Q3 earnings forecasts for exhibition chains Regal and Cinemark after noting that industry sales in the quarter will be -8% vs last year — which is “worse than we expected.” They cut Regal by nearly 49% to 16 cents a share, which they say is 6 cents lower than the consensus forecast from their peers. And they took Cinemark down 22% to 35 cents a share, 7 cents below the Street’s expectations. Theaters were hurt because only about seven films in Q3 are likely to generate $100M or more at domestic box offices vs nine films that did so in the period last year. As a result, the analysts cut their domestic box office projection for the year to $10.6B (it had been $10.9B), which would still be up 4% for all of 2011. They remain optimistic that holiday releases including Lionsgate’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, Warner Bros’ The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and Sony/MGM’s James Bond film Skyfall will contribute to a bounce-back resulting in a 7% increase in Q4 sales vs last year.
Here’s the statement from the exhibition company that owns the theater where the murders took place:
Cinemark is deeply saddened about this tragic incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and loved ones, our employees, and the Aurora community. We are grateful for the quick and
Don’t become too giddy over the MPAA’s optimistic forecast last week for the theatrical movie business, and the record sales for The Hunger Games. Nomura Securities analyst Robert Fishman warns today in a 91-page first look at the exhibition business that chains are in for a tough couple of years after 2012 is over, with admissions falling slowly but steadily from 2013 through 2016. He says domestic box office sales slid 3.8% last year to $10.2B while attendance dropped 4.2% to 1.3B, and that’s “just the beginning of emerging secular headwinds facing the box office.” MPAA data shows that from 2000 to 2011 the percentage of people who frequently go to the movies dropped to 10% from 30% while the ranks of those who never attend grew to 33% from 26%, Fishman says. The biggest drop was among young people. The analyst also says theaters could suffer as the major studios begin to slash the number of movies they make. Although smaller producers have picked up some of the slack, “we do not think the scale of the majority of these other films will be sufficient” to draw the same number of ticket-buyers who typically turn out to see big studio productions. Fishman also notes that consumers are rebelling against high priced tickets — including for 3D. And he fears that theaters will be hurt by changing release patterns, including premium VOD. “Based on our discussion with different studios,” Fishman says, “we believe there is likely to be another push for premium VOD either towards the end of the year or next year.”
Wall Street’s backlash against 3D movies is growing serious. Just weeks after movie executives and investors wondered how well 3D films would do this summer, they’ve begun to ask much tougher questions including: When will movie theater chains begin to cancel orders for 3D projection equipment? And could continued weakening in ticket sales force AMC Entertainment to shelve its plan to go public and raise as much as $450 million?
Defenders of the technology are urging everyone to wait and see whether there’s an uptick in 3D ticket sales for Paramount’s Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, which opens July 1, and Warner Bros’ Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part II, which opens July 15. The films should “help provide for a more positive outlook” for 3D in general and particularly for 3D technology company RealD, says Merriman Capital analyst Eric Wold.
But investors didn’t appear to agree on Friday. RealD’s stock price fell 13.2% to $20.90 the day after executives responded to the Street’s concerns with talking points that simply urged people not to read too much into disappointing 3D sales for just a few films. RealD shares now have lost 41.3% of their value since May 19. “While management dismisses a change in consumer enthusiasm toward 3D, the public is speaking and 3D is simply being overused with ticket premiums far too high,” says BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield — who has a “sell” rating on RealD.
Here’s the strange thing about IMAX these days: the large screen exhibitor reported terrible financial results for the first quarter although analysts were projecting it would continue to …
Nikki Finke (who’s just fnishing up her medical leave with a last visit to the doctor) will be posting a complete update on the battle over DirecTV’s recently announced premium plan in partnership with Sony, Warner Bros, Fox and Universal to offer on-demand movies only 60 days after they premiere in theaters. On Wednesday, …