Amazon Aims for Quality Not Quantity With 30 Films Per Year

Amazon hasn’t had a good year in the film business since 2017 when it moved away from its Hollywood distribution partners into self-distribution. Since then, the company released six flops in a row, including director Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel,” which cost $25 million and only earned $14 million in North America, and “Beautiful Boy,” which cost $23 million and made a mere $7.6 million. Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke surmised that the company put “too much focus on a narrow prestige lane.” Continue reading Amazon Aims for Quality Not Quantity With 30 Films Per Year

Netflix’s Release Models Are Challenging Hollywood Studios

If director Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” gets Netflix its first Best Picture nomination for the Oscars, much of the credit will go to Scott Stuber, who heads Netflix’s movie business. His mandate is to help Netflix loom as large in movies as it does in television, where it received 112 Emmy nominations this year, the most of any network. Netflix is spending big on its Academy Awards campaign for “Roma,” and studios are worried that Netflix’s move into features might lead viewers to avoid movie theaters altogether. Continue reading Netflix’s Release Models Are Challenging Hollywood Studios

Netflix Misses Subscriber Estimates, Rethinks Movie Releases

New subscriber numbers for Netflix, both in the U.S. and globally, were lower than expected, at 98.75 million total subscribers, up from 81.5 million a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters before Netflix released the number expected 98.9 million subscribers. Netflix has stated it expects to pass the 100-million subscriber mark this week. Netflix also indicated a willingness to debut its feature films first in large theater chains, saying that it should be up to the consumers who pay for these films to be made. Continue reading Netflix Misses Subscriber Estimates, Rethinks Movie Releases

‘Twilight’ Coming to Facebook, Netflix Unveils Exclusive Deals

Lionsgate and “Twilight” creator Stephenie Meyer announced plans to distribute a series of short films exclusively via Facebook. Five aspiring female directors will be hired to produce mini-movies based on the “Twilight” characters. Meanwhile, Netflix announced a new original series for kids, the animated “Kong: King of the Apes,” in addition to an exclusive four-picture deal with Adam Sandler. Netflix is also dealing with a potential exhibition boycott after announcing the sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Continue reading ‘Twilight’ Coming to Facebook, Netflix Unveils Exclusive Deals

Major Record Companies Invest $3M Each in Shazam Music App

Music-identification app Shazam has landed investments from the industry’s biggest record labels, including Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. London-based Shazam’s most recent valuation was $500 million. Its value for the labels involves its potential as a marketing partner. Not only does the app enable users to identify music playing on the radio or TV, but it lets them share a song’s name via social media, download it from iTunes, or stream it via services such as Spotify. Continue reading Major Record Companies Invest $3M Each in Shazam Music App

IMAX Has New Competition in Premium Large Format Theaters

Large format theaters with over-sized high-resolution screens, more comfortable seating, and better sound systems are on the rise. IMAX has traditionally been the leader in these offerings, but competitors such as Cinemark Holdings, Regal Entertainment and AMC Entertainment have started offering their own premium large format (PLF) theaters. Last year, the three chains’ 325 PLF theaters increased revenue by 31 percent to $237 million. Continue reading IMAX Has New Competition in Premium Large Format Theaters

CinemaCon: 4DX Theater Technology Coming to Los Angeles

Seoul-based CJ Group, which operates Asia’s largest theater chain, wants to transform the multiplex experience with its new 4DX theater technology. The conglomerate has signed a deal with AEG to introduce “4-D” cinema to U.S. consumers this summer at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live Stadium 14 in downtown Los Angeles. The 4DX tech combines moving and vibrating theater seats with effects such as wind, strobes, fog, rain and scents — all synchronized to the film action taking place on screen. Continue reading CinemaCon: 4DX Theater Technology Coming to Los Angeles

Digital Cinema Consortium Plans to Acquire Satellite Network

The Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition — a consortium formed by AMC, Cinemark, Regal, Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures — signed a letter of intent to acquire the Deluxe/Echostar satellite network in a significant step toward updating the digital delivery of content to theaters and eventually eliminating the need to ship hard drives. Over the next 12-14 months, the consortium will pay to convert 699 Deluxe/Echostar screens to DCDC and add another 300 that were not yet deployed. Continue reading Digital Cinema Consortium Plans to Acquire Satellite Network

CinemaCon: Exhibitors Hope Alternative Content Will Fill Seats

Digital Cinema is a hot topic this week at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on two specific fronts: the pursuit of alternative content to help fill theater seats during weeknights, and the need for a cost-effective electronic delivery system to transmit content to theaters. Still in its infancy, alternative content has already seen a number of success stories, including Met Live in HD (the Metropolitan Opera) and a 3D broadcast of the 50th-anniversary special of the BBC’s “Doctor Who.” Continue reading CinemaCon: Exhibitors Hope Alternative Content Will Fill Seats

CinemaCon: Distribution Plans Challenge Traditional Models

A recent deal between the four largest U.S. theater chains — Regal, AMC, Cinemark, and Carmike — with producer Robert Simonds’ newly announced movie company could place pressure on the traditional Hollywood distribution model. The new company, backed by investors Hony Capital and TPG Growth, plans to release at least ten films per year, and through a new deal release films directly into theaters, bypassing Hollywood’s major studios. Continue reading CinemaCon: Distribution Plans Challenge Traditional Models

Disney Teams with Shanghai Media, Producer Forms New Studio

Disney has signed a multiyear deal with Shanghai Media Group that will have writers in the U.S. collaborate with Chinese writers and filmmakers to develop Disney-branded movies that incorporate Chinese themes. The partnership will also expand training opportunities between the creative teams of both countries. Meanwhile, film producer Robert Simonds is forming a new movie studio that intends to meet the growing needs of China and self-distribute the types of films that have been displaced by summer blockbusters. Continue reading Disney Teams with Shanghai Media, Producer Forms New Studio

“Veronica Mars” To Be Released in Theaters, VOD on Same Day

Warner Bros. is planning to release its Kickstarter-initiated “Veronica Mars” movie, starring Kristen Bell, in 270 theaters on March 14, the same day the film will be made available to rent or purchase online. While independent studios and theaters have been experimenting with same-day releases in recent years, the move will mark the first time that a major Hollywood studio has distributed a movie theatrically and for home viewing simultaneously in the U.S. Continue reading “Veronica Mars” To Be Released in Theaters, VOD on Same Day

DCDC Launches Digital Theatrical Delivery Service via Satellite

The Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition launched the industry’s first-ever digital theatrical delivery service yesterday. The service delivers films and other content to theaters via satellite. The DCDC initiative was founded by theater chains AMC, Regal and Cinemark, with Warner Bros. and Universal. Partnering with the remaining major studios and exhibitors Southern Theatres and National Amusements, the service will reach about 17,000 screens in 1,200 theaters. Continue reading DCDC Launches Digital Theatrical Delivery Service via Satellite

Five Studios Team with DCDC for Satellite Movie Delivery

Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition announced that it has reached agreements with five movie studios to provide digital delivery services to theaters in North America. The DCDC satellite and terrestrial digital distribution network will deliver feature, promotional, pre-show and live digital cinema content from Lionsgate, Universal Pictures, Disney, Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures. Continue reading Five Studios Team with DCDC for Satellite Movie Delivery