Netflix Expanding Previews as Ad Tier Gets Up and Running

Netflix is now live with its ad-supported tier, but company co-CEO Reed Hastings said he regrets not having launched it sooner. Speaking at The New York Times’ DealBook Summit, Hastings said he was preoccupied with digital competition from Google and Facebook. “I didn’t believe in the ad-supported tactic for us. I was wrong about that. Hulu proved you could do that at scale and offer customers lower prices,” Hastings told NYT columnist and DealBook founder and editor-at-large Andrew Ross Sorkin. “I wish we had flipped a few years earlier on that, but we’ll catch up.” Continue reading Netflix Expanding Previews as Ad Tier Gets Up and Running

The Sundance Film Festival Advances Tech for Hybrid Model

The Sundance Film Festival is returning to Park City, Utah in January after holding its last annual event entirely online. The 2022 Festival will introduce a new hybrid format that will expand The Spaceship, a virtual venue of the New Frontier exhibition where attendees can socialize and visit virtual reality and mixed reality installations. Sundance is also introducing a new Biodigital Bridge, a human-scale screen that will connect “festivalgoers in Park City and those attending The Spaceship online from anywhere in the world — establishing the Festival as a metaverse that overlays the physical event with a virtual one.” Continue reading The Sundance Film Festival Advances Tech for Hybrid Model

Co-Founder Acquires MoviePass, Aims to Relaunch Next Year

The MoviePass subscription theater ticket service appears on track for a re-launch. The company was purchased by one of its original co-founders, Stacy Spikes, as a liquidated asset of parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics, which filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2020. Spikes was upon launch in 2011 the CEO of MoviePass, which Helios acquired in 2017. He released a statement last week confirming the acquisition, which was “encouraged by the continued interest from the moviegoing community,” and said he hopes to relaunch the service next year with new investors. Continue reading Co-Founder Acquires MoviePass, Aims to Relaunch Next Year

AMC Opens New Theater Locations, Plans to Accept Bitcoin

AMC Entertainment Holdings is in the midst of changes intended to appeal to its Reddit investors. In addition to opening new locations, chief executive Adam Aron said the company would start accepting Bitcoin at U.S. locations by the end of 2021. After AMC was brought to the verge of bankruptcy by COVID-19 lockdowns, its revenue tripled in the June quarter compared to the previous 2021 quarter. In the wake of that news, share prices rose 4.6 percent to $35.36 in after-hours trading. Its stock ended in 2020 at $2.12. Continue reading AMC Opens New Theater Locations, Plans to Accept Bitcoin

ArcLight Cinemas, Pacific Theatres to Shut Down Operations

To the dismay of cinephiles, ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres are permanently shuttered, a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the company’s holdings is the historic Cinerama Dome on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. An IndieWire report stated that Pacific Theatres still owes $181,900 for its March 2021 rent on the Culver City ArcLight location, which could rise to $2.2 million for a full year. Parent company Decurion Corporation controlled 300+ screens in California, including 18 at the Americana at Brand mall in Glendale and 14 at The Grove in Los Angeles. Continue reading ArcLight Cinemas, Pacific Theatres to Shut Down Operations

Survey Suggests Movie Theaters Will Struggle in Near Future

Deloitte Insights’ recent Digital Media Trends survey revealed that 71 percent of consumers are not comfortable about attending a movie in the theater in the next month and just over 50 percent said they wouldn’t go to a theater in the next six months. The survey revealed that a mere 18 percent of U.S. consumers have gone to see a movie in a theater since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Deloitte concluded that, when the pandemic is over, “it is unclear what role movie theaters will play in consumer entertainment.” Continue reading Survey Suggests Movie Theaters Will Struggle in Near Future

Warner to Simultaneously Screen, Stream Its 2021 Film Slate

Warner Bros. announced that its entire 2021 slate, comprised of 17 movies, will be distributed simultaneously via movie theaters and on its streaming service HBO Max where new titles will remain for one month. Warner Bros. made the decision that, despite coronavirus vaccines on track to be widely deployed, the movie-going audiences won’t return to theaters until next fall. The move is also intended to boost interest in HBO Max, which debuted in May for $15 per month as a new competitor to Netflix and other streaming services. Continue reading Warner to Simultaneously Screen, Stream Its 2021 Film Slate

Universal Adopts a New Theatrical/Online Distribution Model

During the holiday season, to pump up motion picture theater attendance, Comcast’s Universal Pictures is trying a new distribution model — releasing more movies and making them available sooner for online rental. On December 4, it will release “All My Life” to U.S. theaters, the eighth film slated for domestic release by the end of 2020. That’s almost double its releases during the same period in 2019, and far more than other Hollywood studios. Meanwhile, AMC is offering its theaters for rent, starting at $99.

Continue reading Universal Adopts a New Theatrical/Online Distribution Model

AMC Is Running Out of Cash, Sells Some Shares and Assets

AMC Entertainment, the world’s largest movie theater chain, will run out of cash by the end of 2020 if current conditions do not change. Although it’s reopened 83 percent of its U.S. theaters, attendance is down 85 percent from a year ago. In September, AMC set a goal of raising $180 million but so far has raised only about $37.8 million by selling shares. Other fundraising options include taking on debt or selling assets. AMC sold its nine theaters in Europe’s Baltic region of Europe for about $77 million. Continue reading AMC Is Running Out of Cash, Sells Some Shares and Assets

ETC Executive Coffee: Verizon’s Albert Lao & USC Students

“How will advances in network technology over the next 36 months impact the way we watch movies, play video games, and create and produce immersive and engaging experiences?” was addressed during the first “ETC Executive Coffee with…” Zoom session. The September 23rd meeting was hosted by Albert Lao, executive director of solutions architecture for the Americas, Verizon Business Group, who took time to speak with a group of USC students. After a short video describing Verizon’s plans for 5G and edge computing, Lao led a discussion on the future of streaming media, the post-pandemic theatrical experience, immersive media, and other topics related to entertainment and technology. You can watch a 22-minute highlight reel of the one hour discussion or start with a 4-minute preview video. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Verizon’s Albert Lao & USC Students

Cineworld Temporarily Suspends Operation of Regal Cinemas

A day after the opening of James Bond film “No Time to Die” was pushed to April 2, 2021, Cineworld stated it was considering closing 536 Regal Cinema theaters across the United States and 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse Cinemas locations in the United Kingdom. Now, Cineworld has confirmed the temporary suspension of its U.S. and UK operations starting Thursday, October 8, blaming the lack of new films in the pipeline. Cineworld is the UK’s biggest cinema operator and the second largest chain in the U.S. The closure will impact about 45,000 employees. Continue reading Cineworld Temporarily Suspends Operation of Regal Cinemas

Release of ‘Tenet’ Could Be a Bellwether for Movie Exhibitors

Major Hollywood movies are finally being released in movie theaters, with “The New Mutants,” which had a $70+ million budget, and director Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” a $200 million thriller. But it’s still unclear how many people in the U.S. feel safe enough to go inside. Abroad, “Tenet” raked in $53 million on its opening day weekend from 41 global markets, a source of optimism for Warner Bros. (the film opens in the U.S. and China this week). Pirates have been foiled, meanwhile, fooled into downloading fake torrents of the blockbuster. Continue reading Release of ‘Tenet’ Could Be a Bellwether for Movie Exhibitors

Judge Rules in Favor of Ending Paramount Consent Decrees

U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres approved the Justice Department’s proposal to terminate the 71-year-old Paramount Consent Decrees, intended to prevent Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Paramount and other major studios from owning both the means of production and distribution. Studios such as The Walt Disney Company and Lionsgate that became distributors after the law went into effect were not subject to its rules. Last fall, the Justice Department suggested the Decrees were anachronistic in today’s entertainment ecosystem. Continue reading Judge Rules in Favor of Ending Paramount Consent Decrees

AMC Prepares to Open Most of its Theaters Worldwide by July

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit AMC Entertainment, the world’s largest movie-theater chain, particularly hard. After registering a $2.2 billion net loss for Q1, it made “virtually no revenue” in the first two weeks of the quarter ending March 30. Now, AMC chief executive Adam Aron says he hopes to get AMC Theatres in the U.S. and U.K. open in July, although he did not specify a date. AMC has 1,000 theaters with 11,000 screens in several countries. In California, 51 counties have been approved to reopen movie theaters as soon as June 12. Continue reading AMC Prepares to Open Most of its Theaters Worldwide by July

AMC Expresses ‘Substantial Doubt’ About its Chain’s Survival

AMC Theatres told its investors that “substantial doubt exists about our ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period of time.” In a new 8-K filing, ahead of its earning call next week, the company described how it is trying to survive but also stressed how badly the coronavirus pandemic is eroding its financial stability. The movie theater chain had $5 billion in debt by the end of 2019 and continues to borrow more. Adding to its woes is the worry that distributors will postpone new film releases. Continue reading AMC Expresses ‘Substantial Doubt’ About its Chain’s Survival