NYC exhibitors escaped Mayor Bloomberg’s attempted soda ban last month. But potential future government regulation of revenue-boosting concessions still has theater owners and operators concerned. And frustrated. “[These] taxations are truly money grabs by the government”, Cinemark Food & Beverage VP Bob Shimmin said at a CinemaCon panel this morning. “They’re not trying to make people healthier, they’re trying to balance their budgets”. Bloomberg’s rule would have limited sales of sugary soft drinks to 16 oz.-sized cups — the smallest portion most theaters even offer. Pushing smaller cup sizes to adults would actually backfire, spins NATO’s Deputy Director of Government Affairs Todd Halstead, because it would lead to more purchasing of refills leading to larger in-theater consumption after all. He insists the NYC soda ban was just the tip of the iceberg: “What better way is there to institute a tax then to connect it to health?”
UPDATE, 3:18 PM: The National Association of Theater Owners says it’s “elated” by the decision. “This issue was never about obesity, nor about soda,” the group says. “This was all about power.” Indeed, the group refers to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-obesity initiative as “an arbitrary and porous Mayoral fiat.” NATO adds that education and “collaboration with all stakeholders” would be more effective than an “unpopular and unfair executive decree.”
PREVIOUS, 12:31 PM: Movie theater owners in the Big Apple won’t have to limit themselves to serving small sodas. New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling enjoined the city on Monday from implementing the law that was due to take effect tomorrow that would bar food sellers regulated by the Board of Health from selling sugared drinks in portions larger than 16 ounces.The rule would apply to restaurants, theaters, and workplace cafeterias, but not supermarkets and convenience stores. It also exempts diet sodas, alcohol, and fruit juices. The regulations are “fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences,” the judge said, according to a Wall Street Journal report. He cited provisions that could lead to “uneven enforcement even within a particular city block, much less the city as a whole.” Mayor Michael Bloomberg favored the rule as part of his effort to fight obesity. His office says that it will appeal …
It may be time for studios and theaters to worry a little less about attracting young people to the movies, and a little more about appealing to people with some gray in their hair. Among those who saw at least one movie over the course of the year, overall attendance to new releases fell slightly to 6.8 movies per person in 2012 vs. 6.9 in 2011, according to the latest American Moviegoing report out today from Nielsen’s National Research Group. But the composition of the audience saw a notable change: People between ages 25 and 54 accounted for 52% of the sales, down from 56% in 2011, and 57% in 2010. By contrast, young audiences (between 12 and 24) represented 30% of last year’s sales, up from 29% in 2011 and 27% in 2010. Older moviegoers (from 55 to 74) bought 18% of the tickets, up from 15% in each of the two previous years. The report also confirmed a trend that the MPAA noted in 2011: the growing enthusiasm for movies among Hispanics. They accounted for 25% of all movies seen, even though they represent 18% of the moviegoing population. They also were the only group that saw more movies in 2012 (9.5 per person on average) than in 2011 (8.5). The data come from online, phone and in-person surveys in August and September of more than 3,000 people who attended at least …
Theater owners and investors won’t find much encouraging news in the latest overview of the exhibition industry by Moody’s Investors Service. “Despite an increase of about 6% in US and Canadian movie theater admissions in 2012, the overall trend is negative,” the debt-rating firm’s Assistant VP Karen Berckmann says this morning. Last year’s increase shows that “appealing product will still draw people to theaters.” But attendance remains 15% lower than it was in 2002 when it came close to 1.6B. “Given alternatives for consumers’ leisure time — from video games to Netflix to web surfing — we do not expect a rebound in movie attendance,” she says. Exhibition chains also have discovered that if they continue to raise ticket prices then “they risk turning off customers and reducing attendance.” What to do? Theaters have fattened their bottom lines by improving concession offerings, selling more on-screen ads, showing alternative content (such as concerts and sports events) on slow nights, and generally cutting costs. The premium-priced tickets for 3D movies are probably a wash since they also come with higher licensing costs, but could provide some modest help as studios and theaters experiment with the format.
Looks like movie theater owners are the biggest beneficiaries on Wall Street today from the excitement over the early box office results for The Hunger Games. Carmike was +2.7%, Marcus Corp was +2.6%, Cinemark was +1.6%, and Regal was +0.6%. Although exhibition companies have done well over the last few months as ticket sales have picked up, they’re also vulnerable when a big film bombs the way Disney’s John Carter did. What about Lionsgate, which produced and distributed Hunger Games? Its stock price bounced around today before ending at $14.53, virtually flat at -0.1%. Investors already exhibited their extravagant expectations for the film by bidding Lionsgate up 10% over the last five days – not to mention the 74.6% jump since the beginning of January, and the 138.6% increase over the last 12 months.
Last year at ShoWest, Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton appealed to theater owners to introduce healthy foods at concession stands to combat obesity in kid moviegoers. This morning, Lynton lauded AMC for listening. Other chains are helping out by making fattening snacks, popcorn and soda so expensive it’s prohibitive expensive to buy them, kind of like cigarettes.
Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Lynton today welcomed the announcement by AMC Theatres (AMC) that audiences will now be able to purchase “smart snack choices” at the company’s theaters.
“I applaud AMC for making healthier snacks available for theatergoers at concession stands around the country. I believe this will be good for business and for public health,” Lynton said.
In March, 2010, Lynton called on theater owners at ShoWest (now CinemaCon) to serve healthy food in addition to their traditional offerings. In his ShoWest remarks, Lynton said, “By bringing healthier snacks into your concession stands, you would be helping our country meet an urgent public health need. Taking this step is also great for audiences and for your business, because people want to see healthier foods in theaters, and when they do, they’ll buy them.”
Lynton announced last year that the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a project of the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association, had offered to advise theater owners on adding healthier snacks to their menus. AMC did work with the Alliance and said it “modeled AMC Smart MovieSnacks on the Alliance’s school competitive food
Doughty Hanson, the private equity firm, has bought Vue Entertainment from investor Cavendish Square Partners and the existing management team. Now the UK’s 3rd-largest cinema chain wants to take over rival Cineworld or even market leader Odeon/UCI. Such a takeover would be referred to the Competition Commission though, which expects to investigate whenever a single company controls more than 25% of the market. Vue commands 23% of the market, while Cineworld has a 24% market share. The new owner outbid Canadian pension fund OMERS and rival equity investor BC Partners. Tim Richards, CEO of Vue, will make just under £25 million from the transaction – although he and his management team will be reinvesting 50% of their windfall back into the company. That still leaves Richards with £10 million. Not bad when you consider he founded Vue in the loft of a Greek restaurant in Chiswick only 13 years ago.
The company’s solid third quarter was driven mainly by aggressive expansion as the large-screen format chain signed up 100 new theaters. Revenue jumped to $51.1 million from $43.5 million in the same quarter last year, and earnings rose to $6.7 million from $1.1 million. With no Avatar, Inception was the big draw; the film grossed $50 million, making it the fourth highest grossing title in the company’s history. The 4th quarter should be strong as releases include Warner Bros’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Disney’s Tron: Legacy and Megamind from DreamWorks Animation. In its report, the company stressed three future initiatives: brand marketing, differentiation through technology and reinvestment.
New York, NY– September 20, 2010 – IMAX Corporation today announced that CJ CGV HOLDINGS, LTD, a subsidiary of CJ CGV Co. Ltd., the leading theatre exhibitor in Korea, and the number one exhibitor in Asia, has signed an agreement to install 15 digital IMAX theatre systems in new locations planned for The People’s Republic of China. The deal marks IMAX’s single largest theatre deal in Asia and expands its existing relationship with CJ CGV, which already
So says Rupert Gavin, CEO of Odeon & UCI Cinemas, speaking on BBC radio. Odeon is spending £70 million ($107 million) converting screens to digital. Odeon expects to have 500 digital projects installed by the end of summer, with Cats & Dogs and Step Up 3 still to come on 3D.
Odeon’s also holding a 3D live fashion show for Ozwald Boeteng at its flagship Leicester Square site in September. Sashaying up and down the catwalk will be beamed live to other cinemas in Paris, Milan and Tokyo. I’ve always felt a bit sceptical when I hear multiplex operators tub-thumping cinemas as conference venues but live 3D does sound innovative. I’m guessing those 3D sunglasses look enough like Wayfarers to satisfy the fashionistas.
Remember I told you about Luke Johnson, the ex-Channel 4 chairman who also presided over the demise of Borders UK, warning High Street book shops are doomed? Curzon Artificial Eye, the arthouse distributor/exhibitor, is building a cinema inside Waterstone’s flagship Piccadilly store. Trade magazine The Bookseller says more Curzon/Waterstone’s bookshop cinemas are planned. The exhibition chain already runs one cinema in Wimbledon out of an HMV record store. HMV owns Waterstone’s. Ross Fitzsimons, group strategy director of Curzon Artificial Eye, says 20 more HMV joint ventures are planned over the next five years. Waterstone’s declined to comment.
IT’S GOOD TO BE BAD! ‘Despicable Me 3D’ Doubles Expectations For $60.1M Weekend; R-Rated ‘Predators’ On Target With $25.3M; ‘Eclipse’ Global Cume Now $456M; See How This Hollywood Summer Is Doing Overseas
SUNDAY AM: It was a great weekend at the box office with the total tally $202M, up an impressive +41.4% from last year. And that doesn’t factor in next week which features the most anticipated movie of the summer, Chris Nolan’s Inception. Year to date, 2010 revenues are running $5.9M, that up 5.06% over last year. But attendance is down 1.42%. Summer 2010′s grosses are even more important internationally than domestic for a lot of motion pictures. So in this extended report I’ve included additional detail on the overseas releases all heavily impacted by World Cup play:
1. North American box office numbers show that Universal Pictures is enjoying something it hasn’t had in a very long time: a big fat hit film. That’s because weeks of great parent-kid family tracking for Despicable Me 3D translated into what even rival studios told me was ”amazing” attendance of Friday’s $21.7 million and Saturday’s $21.3M for a $60.1M weekend opening despite having two other 3D family films in the marketplace. Still, Despicable Me found 3,476 theaters, of which 1,551 locations were in 3D, and managed to double Universal’s expectations of opening domestic grosses. Exit polling data showed the film received an “A” Cinemascore and the audience was 55% kids 12 years and under and parents.
You’ve got to credit those wonderful movie trailers and TV ads that communicated the movie’s bold originality. (Who doesn’t want minions trailing them!) Despicable Me is the first 3D CGI film from Universal’s animated/family-film production company partner, Illumination …
That’s a rise of 3% year-on-year. And the best is yet to come this month and next, with the release of Toy Story 3 – tipped to be the biggest movie of the year – adult must-see Inception and Twi-hard threequel Twilight: Eclipse. Around 25 million people are expected to go to the cinema in July and August alone, says trade body Film Distributors’ Association.
But the movie marketplace continues to grow, creating headaches for distributors. Overcrowding is the biggest problem facing the industry. Distributors released 288 titles between January and June, 18 more than in the first six months of 2009. Producers complain that movies are pushed off screens before they’ve had a chance.
TORONTO AND LOS ANGELES – JULY 7, 2010 – IMAX Corporation today announced that for the second quarter ended June 30, 2010, IMAX DMR® gross box office worldwide was approximately $115.0 million, an approximate 37% increase over last year’s second quarter box office of approximately $84.2 million. For the six months ended June 30, 2010, gross box office
The TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE stars will be visiting theaters across the U.S. to introduce the latest film in the franchise now shattering box office records. Beginning Friday July 2nd and extending through the holiday weekend, approximately 20 cast members will be popping up in theaters all over the country “to show their appreciation for their fans, and thanking them for all of the excitement, enthusiasm and support they have shown,” Summit Entertainment said. “For more information about cast appearances and to see if one will be visiting your hometown, please visit www.eclipsethemovie.com.”
The UK multiplex operator says total revenue, including ticket sales and popcorn, rose by 3.7% in the 26 weeks to July 1. Box office has increased by 4.1% including this month’s World Cup month. But the ticket sales rise was offset by a 3.2% decline in popcorn and Coke sales. Other income rose by 31.4%. Cinema chains will no doubt welcome England getting kicked out of the World Cup on Sunday. Tumbleweed has been rolling through the multiplexes during the tournament. Next time we Brits invent a sport, we should just keep it to ourselves. That way we might at least win something.
EXCLUSIVE: So many Twi-hards stood in line since Monday in advance of tonight’s Eclipse premiere that Summit Entertainment had to set up a 2nd tent city on Chick Hearn Boulevard to accommodate them all outside the Nokia Theater and L.A. live plaza. Trust me, any Hollywood studio would love to have this problem. Right now Eclipse is both Fandango’s and MovieTickets.com’s top advance ticket-seller of the year. And the third movie in the Twilight saga still has another week of ticket sales before its release date. Eclipse leads the Fandango Five with over 52% of daily ticket sales, even with strong daily sales for Toy Story 3 and Karate Kid. MovieTickets.com is also reporting Eclipse online ticketing represent over 50% of daily sales. On Fandango, Eclipse was voted “The Most Anticipated Movie Of The Summer” by the majority (32%) of Fandango moviegoers in a May 2010 poll. Now it’s been among Fandango’s Top 5 ticket-sellers on a daily basis ever since tickets first went on sale five weeks ago.
The studio isn’t playing the lowering expectations game this time around; execs know this 3rd film in the Twilight Saga is going to be huge. The only question is whether it’ll surpass the sequel New Moon which was the biggest yet. ”New Moon set the bar so high as a cultural phenomenon that Eclipse can only try to reach that number,” a …
There will be 15,300 digital 3D screens worldwide by the end of this year. This compares with 8,989 3D screens at the end of 2009. So says Screen Digest in its latest report, Digital Cinema Moves Into the Mainstream. Sixty per cent of the world’s digital screens will be 3D by Christmas. There will be 25,600 digital screens compared with 16,335 in 2009 – a rise of 57%.
Frantic building of 3D will come too late for distributors this summer though. I predict sharp elbows in the UK this August, with Hollywood releases pushing each other out of the way for precious 3D screen space.
August 6-8 is the crunch weekend. Warner Bros will have just released Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, while Universal debuts Step Up 3D. But Disney’s Toy Story 3 will still only be on its third weekend. One exhibitor tells me studios should brace themselves for sharp drop-offs.
With all the 3D screen building going on, too few screens will not be an issue next summer. Odeon and Cineworld both say 40-45% of their screens will have gone digital 3D. But will audiences have grown bored of the gimmick by then?