New MoviePass CEO Hopes to Get Theater Owners on Board

Mitch Lowe, a Netflix co-founder and former Redbox president, is now chief executive at New York-based MoviePass, a company that pitches a subscription service for moviegoers. The user gets a debit card, which starts at $30 a month, to attend as many movies as she likes, in movie theaters that cover 90 percent of the country. But movie theater owners are reluctant to fully adopt the non-traditional idea. To gain acceptance, Lowe plans to launch the company’s first major marketing campaign, expand its services and raise more money. Continue reading New MoviePass CEO Hopes to Get Theater Owners on Board

Flix Premiere: New Online Movie Platform Streams Indie Films

Flix Premiere — “the world’s first online Cineplex” featuring international and indie films — has launched in the U.S., two months after its debut in the U.K. Available online and via iOS and Android apps, the streaming service offers exclusive “curated theatrical releases” for $4.99 per title (or five tickets for $19.99). The website describes the service as “the single point of discovery for the 95 percent of films that ‘never’ find their audience.” Flix Premiere plans to introduce 8-9 new films every 10-14 days that will be exclusive to the platform for 12 months. Continue reading Flix Premiere: New Online Movie Platform Streams Indie Films

Judge Rules Against Netflix Bid to Offer Relativity Films Early

Netflix had been fighting to stream two movies produced by Relativity Media ahead of their planned theatrical releases, but a judge on Friday issued an order preventing Netflix from doing so. According to Judge Michael Wiles of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, an early release of the comedy “Masterminds” and horror film “The Disappointments Room” could be “devastating” for Relativity, the studio he recently released from chapter 11. Ruling in favor of Netflix “would threaten the bankruptcy process… with devastating consequences to the plan and distributions” to creditors, the judge said. Continue reading Judge Rules Against Netflix Bid to Offer Relativity Films Early

Many Exhibitors and Studios Remain Wary of Screening Room

The first quarter of 2016 has brought some upbeat news to the movie industry, including the hits “Deadpool” and “Zootopia” which created a 12 percent uptick in box office compared to the same quarter last year. More long-term problems — stagnant attendance and the lure of Internet content — still threaten the bottom line. But what many exhibitors are really worried about is Screening Room, the brainchild of Napster co-founder Sean Parker, which offers first-run movies at home, at the same time they debut in theaters. Continue reading Many Exhibitors and Studios Remain Wary of Screening Room

Screening Room Proposes Bold Day-and-Date Release Model

Last year, the motion picture box office surpassed $11 billion for the first time in history. But that hasn’t kept distributors and exhibitors from guarding the traditional 90-day window between theatrical release and home entertainment. When major studios attempted to shrink that window five years ago, theater owners fought back. Now, Screening Room, a startup backed by entrepreneur and former Facebook/Napster executive Sean Parker, as well as some Hollywood heavyweights, is trying again — and may succeed by offering anti-piracy tech and revenue sharing. Continue reading Screening Room Proposes Bold Day-and-Date Release Model

‘Star Wars’ Smashes Box Office, Rallies Blockbuster Strategy

On its opening weekend, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” demolished box office records — as well as the trope that crowds no longer throng to movie theaters, even in the first days. The Walt Disney Company’s latest “Star Wars” movie brought in about $517 million globally, a success that is stunning in its size and scope, and that underscores Hollywood studios’ efforts to focus on repurposing the blockbuster, from “Avatar” to “Frozen.” According to Disney, 3D screenings account for 47 percent of the gross. Continue reading ‘Star Wars’ Smashes Box Office, Rallies Blockbuster Strategy

AMC, Regal Debut Mobile Apps to Pre-Order Popcorn, Drinks

Movie theaters make their primary living at the concession stands, so it’s no surprise that the next trend at the local multiplex is aimed at making it easier to buy popcorn. AMC Theatres (about 350 theaters) and Regal Entertainment (570 theaters), the largest multiplex chains in North America, just debuted a way for customers to preorder and prepay for food and drinks via a smartphone app. The goal is to reduce what the chains call the “popcorn pinch point,” and reduce or eliminate the line at the concession stand. Continue reading AMC, Regal Debut Mobile Apps to Pre-Order Popcorn, Drinks

Netflix Doubles Down on Movie Production with $50M for ‘Okja’

On the heels of its first original theatrical film acquisition, “Beasts of No Nation,” Netflix is financing “Snowpiercer” director Bong Joon-ho’s next film, “Okja,” to the tune of $50 million. The film, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton and Paul Dano and will be produced by Brad Pitt/Dede Gardner’s Plan B, marks the next step of the streaming media company’s transition to film production studio. Netflix’s 2016 releases include a “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel and the Weinstein’s “Marco Polo.” Continue reading Netflix Doubles Down on Movie Production with $50M for ‘Okja’

What it Will Take to Present Tarantino Film in Ultra Panavision

When Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” debuts on December 25, it won’t simply resurrect Ultra Panavision, an extra-wide format last used in 1966 on “Khartoum.” The filmmaker will release the 70mm film on 100 screens — 96 in the U.S. and four in Canada — a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 1992. And to do so, Tarantino has had to find and refurbish projectors and train projectionists to run them. It’s all in service of an old-fashioned night at the movie palace, with overture, intermission and additional footage. Continue reading What it Will Take to Present Tarantino Film in Ultra Panavision

SMPTE HDR Report Offers Recommendations for Standards

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers has published a study group report on the high dynamic range imaging ecosystem, now available for download on the SMPTE site. The report provides a detailed summary regarding “the implementation of HDR in professional media workflows and addresses key questions that will arise for industry members as they move forward in taking advantage of HDR technology.” In addition, it provides recommendations for standardization efforts. According to SMPTE, the report reflects the efforts of 170 international experts. Continue reading SMPTE HDR Report Offers Recommendations for Standards

Paramount to Test Shorter Release Window for Home Video

Paramount Studios is using two October releases to test a shorter window than the traditional 90-day window between theatrical release and home video. “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension,” which opens on October 23, and “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse,” which opens a week later, will go to home video about two weeks after their screen count falls below 300 locations. Paramount offered participating theater chains a percentage of digital revenue; AMC Entertainment and Canada’s Cineplex have signed on. Continue reading Paramount to Test Shorter Release Window for Home Video

D3D Cinema, Christie Debut Laser Projection for Dome Theaters

After a year of R&D, D3D Cinema and Christie just finished testing a new laser-illuminated digital projection system for giant domes. The system will be ready for client demonstration this fall, with the first installations expected in 2016. Although movie theaters have essentially all migrated to digital projection, large dome theaters have found it more difficult to find a digital solution. Executives at D3D Cinema and Christie say the new laser projection system fits the bill, with regard to price and image quality. Continue reading D3D Cinema, Christie Debut Laser Projection for Dome Theaters

Hollywood to Target Older Audience with Large Format Films

Large-screen format theaters have typically played action-adventure blockbusters aimed at the younger crowd. This fall, however, Hollywood plans to release more adult-oriented stories on the bigger screens, and often in 3D. Proof of that trend can be found in the films chosen to open recent festivals, including the 3D “Everest” at the Venice Film Festival and Robert Zemeckis’ 3D “The Walk” at the New York Film Festival. Exhibitors and their partners are also wooing adults to watch 3D films, which peaked in 2013 with “Gravity.” Continue reading Hollywood to Target Older Audience with Large Format Films

Paramount to Experiment with Flexible Film Release Window

Paramount Pictures is looking to experiment with two October film releases — “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” and “Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” — by shortening the length of time it takes to make them available to watch at home via digital platforms. AMC and Cineplex are joined by several smaller operators in participating in the new approach. However, Cinemark (the nation’s third largest exhibitor) and Regal Entertainment Group (the No. 1 chain in North America) have declined. Continue reading Paramount to Experiment with Flexible Film Release Window

Paramount Shortens Release Date from Movie Theater to DVD

Paramount Pictures has inked a deal with two major theater chains to release two upcoming films on DVD just two weeks after they leave theaters, a significant change to the traditional schedule. Since the 1980s, and the advent of the VCR, studios have waited at least 90 days, so this new deal marks a real break with the status quo. The Viacom-owned movie studio has partnered with AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and Canada’s Cineplex Inc., two of North America’s largest exhibitors. Continue reading Paramount Shortens Release Date from Movie Theater to DVD

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