Archive for October, 2007
The Cinema Buying Group has announced a deadline for CBG membership, for purposes of participating in the digital cinema deal arranged by CBG for CBG members. That deadline is Friday, November 2, 2007:
The Cinema Buying Group is currently engaged in evaluating proposals from digital cinema system integrators to provide digital cinema equipment and service to CBG members. It is now necessary to provide precise information to qualified vendors about the locations they would be equipping-which compels us to finalize the CBG membership list. It is therefore necessary to impose a deadline.
If your paperwork and dues are not received by November 2nd, then you will not qualify to participate in the digital cinema equipment and service deal currently under evaluation. Please visit www.cbgpurchasing.com to get more information about CBG membership and download the forms that must be completed.
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Posted by: Patrick Corcoran in Uncategorized
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Prime 3D evangelist Jeffrey Katzenberg, NATO president John Fithian and Classic Cinema's Chris Johnson talked 3D at ShowEast Tuesday.
Katzenberg was enthusiastic:
(T)he advent of 3-D filmmaking and exhibition also is "an opportunity for a game-changer for your business," he told exhibitors filling a large ballroom at the Orlando Marriott World Center.
But unlike digital cinema systems, distributors are unwilling to pay for the installation of 3D equipment. Katzenberg asserted that exhibitors will be able to charge a premium for 3D content of at least $1 a ticket. Classic Cinema's Johnson noted
With "Chicken Little," the chain enjoyed grosses more than one-third higher than would have been true without 3-D availability, Johnson said.
"Literally, with one picture, you will have paid for the cost of the installation of one screen," Katzenberg said.
Johnson, however, couldn't let the opportunity for some good-natured ribbing of his podium partner slip by.
"The unfortunate part is, you have to share some of that (extra) gross with the studio," he jibed.
NATO's Fithian made the point that a broad and stable base of digital cinema systems is the first priority, both as a requirement for 3D and for the health of the industry - a point backed up by an independent exhibitor in the audience.
The majors have agreed to underwrite the rollout of thousands of d-cinema systems by paying third-party installers the equivalent of what distributors will save in print costs during the next few years. Such agreements have been dubbed virtual film print agreements, or VPFs.
"Let's remember that digital is the dog, and 3-D is the tail -- a very important, wagging tail," Fithian said.
Katzenberg replied that the metaphor might fairly be reversed and went on to predict that within just a few years two-thirds of all major movies will be released in 3-D -- about 40 or more 3-D titles per year.
"Let's get the digital-cinema platform there, so we're not doing hodgepodge 3-D installations," Fithian said.
Indeed, exhibitors in smaller markets are still waiting for help with digital startup costs.
Greg Razmus, who operates an eight-screen theater in Corbin, Ky., said the closest digital screens in his area are in distant Lexington, Ky., and Knoxville, Tenn.
"We're still struggling with digital," Razmus said. "I think the 3-D part of that is going to be great, but at this point it's still a dream."
So, is 3D the tail wagging the dog - or will it be the dog that didn't bark?
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Focus Features' head and Lust, Caution screenwriter James Schamus was interviewed on KCRW's The Business this afternoon and calmly and genially eviscerated every myth surrounding the NC-17 rating.
A few highlights:
- Very few newspapers have refused ads for the movie.
- Television advertising and standards & practices execs are eager to work with them should Focus choose to advertise on TV.
- The two difficulties he cites are audience perceptions of a stigma surrounding the rating, and a single major theater chain that has a blanket policy against screening NC-17 films.
I highly recommend you listen. His take on the process is refreshing, light-hearted and hypocrisy-free.
The film has taken in $1.3 million through its third weekend in release and is playing in 77 locations in the top 20 markets.
Update: Two newspapers weigh in on Lust, Caution and NC-17.:
The Naperville Sun in Illinois wonders whether the film will play in the suburbs. The upshot?
In either case, it seems to be the audience, not the theaters, that will determine if an NC-17 film will be played in local venues. Like any other foreign, independent or art film, they will show it - but only if you come.
In the Hartford Courant, NATO president John Fithian continues his campaign for broader acceptance of the rating:
Fithian's support for the rating is a matter of integrity.
"A lot of studios just require their filmmakers to produce a film that is not an NC-17. We think that is a mistake. By not using the rating appropriately, the pressure to cram films into the R rating is too great," Fithian says. "What we see is filmmakers making just enough cuts in their movie to fit into an R.
"This damages the integrity of their movie and is a potential abuse of the rating system," he continued. "As a consequence, the R rating is too broad. The soft end of R and the hard end of R are too different. If NC-17 were used correctly, ratings would make a lot more sense."
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NATO has released its DVD release window tracking reports and they include some good news for movie theater owners. Year-to-date (as of 9/26/2007), the average release window has expanded by a full week - 4 months 18 days vs. 4 months 11 days for all of 2006.
A few caveats. These tracking reports follow a moving target - averages will go up and down as films are added to the DVD release schedule through the year. There are only nine Q3 releases that have DVD release dates as of the report's release (this lack could also be seen in a positive light, as the major studios are not pulling the trigger early on DVD release dates for Q3 films).
The report is here, plus Video Release Window Averages by Gross, Video Release Window by Film, and Percentage of Releases Over Four Month Release Window by Studio.
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smashed records in its exclusive opening weekend iat New York's Lincoln Plaza Cinema. according to Variety
"Lust," carrying the ultra-restrictive NC-17 rating and clocking in at 158 minutes, grossed an estimated $61,688 for Focus Features in its exclusive run at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas. Among exclusive openings, it nabbed the best debut ever for a foreign-language film, as well as one of the best showings ever for a live-action film.
Per-screen average is the best on the books for an NC-17 film, whether in an exclusive or limited run. Focus topper James Schamus co-penned the screenplay based on a story by Eileen Chang.
"What does this mean? It means that the running time, the foreign language and the rating just didn't have an impact on the opening," Focus prexy of distribution Jack Foley said. "It just cranked to that level."
Ang Lee's film goes into wider limited release Friday.
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