Add Sumner Redstone’s exhibitor company National Amusements to the list of chains who won’t show Universal’s upcoming caper comedy Tower Heist. The 950-screen circuit said today that it won’t screen the Ben Stiller-Eddie Murphy movie if the the studio moves ahead with plans to test a shortened video-on-demand window that will make it available three weeks after it premieres in theaters for $59.99. The film opens November 4. Cinemark has been the lone major chain to say it won’t screen the film if the VOD test — set for two markets, Atlanta and Portland, Ore. — goes forward, arguing that any shortening of release windows will impact its business. Earlier this week, regional chains Regency Theatres, Galaxy Theatres and Emagine Theatres also said they wouldn’t play the film. The other national chains, AMC and Regal, and industry group NATO have not weighed in, and Universal has been declining comment so far.
CBS Corp and Viacom vice chairman and National Amusements president Shari Redstone has co-founded Advancit Capital, an early-stage investment firm that has been involved in early funding for app maker Nettle. AllThingsD reports that the company, co-founded with Jason Ostheimer, is focusing on media, entertainment and technology companies. Redstone, the daughter of CBS Corp and Viacom chief Sumner Redstone, recently ran Midway Games before her father sold his stock in the game-maker. She is thought to be the eventual successor to the throne at Viacom and CBS Corp.
Have you ever gone to the local cineplex, the one with the state-of-the-art, digital auditoriums — and watched a movie whose images are dim, dark and lacking color? That apparently has happened one too many times to Boston Globe reviewer Ty Burr, who wrote about this issue over the weekend and shed some light on what seems to be a growing problem. What he discovered was this: Many exhibition chains are using 4K projectors from Sony to run their digital prints. These projectors require a special lens when showing 3D movies that frequently isn’t removed by projectionists when a 2D print is shown, essentially resulting in a filter that one of Burr’s sources says can take away as much as 85% of the light that reaches the screen. The problem is bad enough in Boston to have riled director Peter Farrelly, who earlier this year attended a promotional screening of his film Hall Pass. “I walked into the room and I could barely see, and my stomach dropped,’’ the filmmaker told the Globe. “The first screening looked spectacular and the second was so dark, it was daytime versus nighttime. If they’re doing this for a big screening, I can’t imagine what they do for regular customers. That’s no way to see a movie.”
The story is staring to gain traction in film circles, but what people should be talking about is the dismissive attitudes of the companies involved that Burr discovered when writing his story: