Filmmakers Purchase the Historic Village Theatre in Westwood

A group of filmmakers led by Jason Reitman has purchased the 93-year-old Village Theatre in Westwood, an architectural gem that currently boasts one of the largest screens in Los Angeles. Originally opened as the Fox Westwood Village in 1931 and operated since 2010 by the Regency Theatres group, the structure’s unusual combination of Spanish Mission and Art Deco design earned it a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument designation in 1988. After it was put on the market last year, Reitman gathered more than three dozen backers, including Steven Spielberg, Judd Apatow, J.J. Abrams, Christopher Nolan, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Alexander Payne. Continue reading Filmmakers Purchase the Historic Village Theatre in Westwood

MoviePass Reaches 1 Million Tickets Sold and Turns First Profit

MoviePass says it has sold more than 1 million tickets since relaunching last spring, and has also announced the first profitable year in the company’s 13-year history. Co-founder and CEO Stacy Spikes, who purchased the company out of bankruptcy in 2021, is giving artificial intelligence much of the credit for the turnaround. The MoviePass Cinematic Marketplace is an aggregator for the theatrical industry that uses AI and machine learning to improve attendance engagement and ticket sales. Spikes says hitting the milestones “highlights the powerful impact” the technology enhancements have had “from the previous business model.” Continue reading MoviePass Reaches 1 Million Tickets Sold and Turns First Profit

MoviePass Goes Live Again with 4,000 Participating Theaters

MoviePass, the movie theater ticketing platform, segued from its beta test and waitlisting to nationwide availability ahead of Memorial Day weekend. The company, which is relaunching under new ownership following a bankruptcy, is offering subscription plans starting with Basic at $10 per month for 1-3 movies, up to the Pro plan for $40 per month for as many as 30 films. There’s also a 3-7 Standard plan for $20, and a 5-11 movie Premium package for $30. MoviePass says it has more than 4,000 participating theater locations — including those from the AMC Theatres, Cinemark and Regal Cinemas chains. Continue reading MoviePass Goes Live Again with 4,000 Participating Theaters

MoviePass Beta Preps for Summer Launch with Limited Tests

Having survived global theater closures due to COVID-19, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy and a change in ownership, MoviePass is back. Informally known as MoviePass 2.0, the company has launched a website for MoviePass Beta that says it is “launching to the public summer 2023.” The resurrection of MoviePass appears well-timed to take advantage of pent-up demand for the moviegoing experience. An August 2022 waitlist, opened for only five days, experienced volume sufficient to crash the server. Prospective subscribers are told to sign up for email advisories of further availability. Continue reading MoviePass Beta Preps for Summer Launch with Limited Tests

Regal Parent Cineworld on Path to Chapter 11 Restructuring

British cinema operator Cineworld Group, owner of Regal Cinemas, has proposed a plan to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In what is described as a “debt-for-equity swap,” the company would reduce by some $4.53 billion the indebtedness of its principal U.S. claimants, who would be getting a stake in the company in exchange for waiving their claims. The group companies have commitments for roughly $1.94 billion in debtor financing from lenders to help ensure Cineworld operations can continue during its anticipated reorganization, which is subject to court approval. The transaction is expected to “result in very significant dilution of existing equity interests.” Continue reading Regal Parent Cineworld on Path to Chapter 11 Restructuring

Apple Reportedly Allocates $1 Billion for Theatrical Releases

Apple plans to spend $1 billion a year on theatrical release films, according to Bloomberg, which say the move is “part of an ambitious effort to raise its profile in Hollywood and lure subscribers to its streaming service.” The films will reportedly play in theaters for at least one month before debuting on Apple TV+. Martin Scorsese’s crime drama “Killers of the Flower Moon,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ridley Scott’s historical drama “Napoleon,” are among the Apple-funded projects expected to be released in “thousands of theaters,” though Apple still hasn’t finalized distribution arrangements. Continue reading Apple Reportedly Allocates $1 Billion for Theatrical Releases

New LG Miraclass LEDs Offer Cinemas Projection Alternative

LG is bringing to market a line of LED screens designed for small movie theaters, the LG Miraclass line. The four initial models range in size from 16- to 46-feet wide, offering 24-bit color and resolution from 2K to 4K. The screens are comprised of smaller panels featuring self-emissive LED pixels that run edge-to-edge (eliminating visible seams). Brightness adjusts across five stages — from 48 to 300 nits  — making the displays suitable for a range of use-cases, from the brightness required for 2D/3D movies to less light-intensive corporate presentations. Continue reading New LG Miraclass LEDs Offer Cinemas Projection Alternative

AMC Introduces Movie Ticket Prices Based on Seat Location

AMC is switching to tiered ticketing, with premium seats costing more. Sightline at AMC will provide seating priced according to the view of the movie screen, with sections designated Value Sightline, Standard Sightline and Preferred Sightline. AMC chief marketing officer and EVP Eliot Hamlisch said Sightline’s “experienced-based pricing” puts movie ticket sales more in line with the way seats are priced at other entertainment venues, such as those featuring music and sports. Sightline at AMC has launched in select markets and the company expects it to expand to additional AMC and AMC DINE-IN locations through 2023. Continue reading AMC Introduces Movie Ticket Prices Based on Seat Location

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

MoviePass Officially Shutters its Cinema Subscription Service

MoviePass notified its subscribers last week that its cinema plan would interrupt service on Saturday, September 14. At one point, the MoviePass subscription service enabled customers to watch up to one movie per day in theaters for $9.95 per month, a model that proved unsustainable. Parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics (HMNY) announced that it is considering options, which includes a possible sale of the MoviePass company. While the business model was seen as a bold experiment by some, the company reportedly burned through cash, ultimately disappointing its shareholders. Continue reading MoviePass Officially Shutters its Cinema Subscription Service

Sinemia Movie Subscription Service Calls It Quits in the U.S.

Sinemia, billed as a competitor to MoviePass with its multi-tiered subscription-based movie ticket offering that started in Europe, announced it will shutter its U.S. operations. Like MoviePass, Sinemia has faced challenges sustaining its subscription model and working out monetization, especially while contending with similar services from theater chains such as AMC with its Stubs A-List offering. In addition, Sinemia has been dealing with a patent lawsuit from MoviePass and a class-action suit from subscribers frustrated by account policies, hidden fees and app problems. Continue reading Sinemia Movie Subscription Service Calls It Quits in the U.S.

Odeon Cinema and Telia Test 5G-Connected Movie Theater

Odeon Cinema Center in Oslo and Norwegian mobile firm Telia teamed to operate the first 5G-connected movie theater, presenting films streamed over the next-gen network. The plan was announced in December, with the introduction of a 5G “test network.” The two companies are still in test mode with the launch of the 5G-enabled Odeon, to demonstrate how 5G will replace 4G and at least some wired broadband services. The Odeon is in fact using 5G to transfer the films to its own server, and said the system “works excellently.” Continue reading Odeon Cinema and Telia Test 5G-Connected Movie Theater

Two Bit Circus Brings Micro-Amusement Park to Los Angeles

Two Bit Circus is on track to open a “micro-amusement park” in a 40,000-square-foot space in downtown Los Angeles in September. Company chief executive Brent Bushnell and cofounder Eric Gradman said they plan to open more digital/physical arcades, potentially in shopping malls, in the future. The interactive playground has zones, “like an amusement park,” with a variety of different games in each one. The company, which was founded in 2012 and raised $15 million in 2017, will invite corporations to sponsor events there. Continue reading Two Bit Circus Brings Micro-Amusement Park to Los Angeles

MoviePass Acquires Moviefone, Plans Recommendation Engine

The disruptive movie subscription company MoviePass plans to build a recommendation engine to rival Rotten Tomatoes, which, say its executives, is too general and too critical for its client base. MoviePass subscribers pay a flat monthly fee to see one showing per day in participating theaters. According to MoviePass chief executive Mitch Lowe, subscribers want to be able to review movies on its site and say they would prefer to read reviews by fellow subscribers. MoviePass is also buying Moviefone from its owner, Verizon Communications’ Oath. Continue reading MoviePass Acquires Moviefone, Plans Recommendation Engine

Netflix Is Not Planning to Compete at Cannes Fest Next Month

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos says the streaming giant will not be heading to the Cannes Film Festival in May. This is in response to the festival banning films from playing in competition if they have not had theatrical distribution in France. “Netflix could screen some of its upcoming movies out of competition,” reports Variety, “but Sarandos says that doesn’t make sense for the streaming service.” “We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker,” he noted. “There’s a risk in us going in this way and having our films and filmmakers treated disrespectfully at the festival.” Continue reading Netflix Is Not Planning to Compete at Cannes Fest Next Month