New Christie Laser Projection System to Brighten 3D Films

Projector maker Christie hopes to quell critics who claim 3D films appear too dark in cinemas by implementing a laser-driven projection technology. The new system is expected to create brighter and more vibrant images. The technology will be used to screen Paramount’s “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” at AMC’s Burbank 16 theater on March 28, the first time that laser projection will be made available for paying audiences. Continue reading New Christie Laser Projection System to Brighten 3D Films

JVC Plans to Ship 8K Projector to Japan Later This Month

JVC first revealed a prototype of its 8K Super Hi-Vision projector at CEATEC in 2008. After five years of development, the company is reportedly ready to ship a product version later this month. The DLA-VS4800, which uses JVC’s e-Shift pixel technology, is expected to initially be made available in Japan for about 25 million yen, or $261,000 U.S. (without the four available lenses). Continue reading JVC Plans to Ship 8K Projector to Japan Later This Month

Tweet Seats and Other Attempts at Audience Engagement

The Mobile Symphony Orchestra in Alabama introduced its “tweet seats” late last year during a performance of Beethoven’s Eroica symphony. The seats are located in the back row of the auditorium and are made available to those who wish to text or tweet during the performance. This type of move is representative of many arts organizations’ attempts to encourage audiences to engage technologically with performances. Continue reading Tweet Seats and Other Attempts at Audience Engagement

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

Cinema Dining: Theaters Attract Patrons with Themed Meals

The Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn is not your average movie theater. The venue has become part of a growing trend of “Dine-In” theaters emerging in different parts of the country. Serving movie-themed specials such as “Django Unchained Dynamite Shrimp and Grits,” these theaters have created a special combination of entertainment and food services as a viable means of survival in a consolidating industry. Continue reading Cinema Dining: Theaters Attract Patrons with Themed Meals

YouTube Space LA: Production Facility Opens in Playa Vista

YouTube has opened another digital video production facility intended for its content partners. Officially called “YouTube Space LA,” the new 41,000-square-foot Playa Vista facility features four soundstages, three green screens, high-end production equipment, 20 post production bays and a screening room with 4K projector. The over-sized lobby, designed for fostering collaboration and hosting big events, touts an HD video wall comprised of 36 monitors. Continue reading YouTube Space LA: Production Facility Opens in Playa Vista

Nielsen Study Says Mobile Users Make Better Moviegoers

According to Nielsen NRG’s 2012 American Moviegoing report, owners of wireless mobile devices go to movie theaters at a higher rate than the average cinema fan. The report also suggests that smartphone and tablet users spend more money on entertainment in general. Interestingly, about 30 percent of moviegoers explained that comments on social media sites had affected their choice of films to attend. Continue reading Nielsen Study Says Mobile Users Make Better Moviegoers

Report: Worldwide Spending on Movies Up $1.3 Billion in 2012

Worldwide spending on watching movies last year reached $62.4 billion, up from $61.1 billion in 2011 and $60.1 billion in 2010, according to IHS Screen Digest. The numbers include theatrical releases, disc rentals, pay TV VOD and digital retail purchases and rentals. North America accounted for 41 percent of global movie revenue in 2012, although spending on physical media saw a decline. Continue reading Report: Worldwide Spending on Movies Up $1.3 Billion in 2012

Convicted File Sharer Recieves Record 5-Year Prison Term

Jeramiah Perkins of the IMAGiNE Group was handed a record prison term for illegal file-sharing. The 40-year old Perkins, who is the reported leader of the in-theater camcording gang, was ordered to serve a 60-month prison term. The sentence surpasses that of IMAGiNE co-defendant Gregory Cherwonik of New York, who received 40 months in November. “In all, five IMAGiNE members have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement for operating what prosecutors described as the world’s most prolific piracy release group between 2009 and 2011,” reports Wired. Continue reading Convicted File Sharer Recieves Record 5-Year Prison Term

Tweet Seats: Will More Theaters Reserve Sections for Social Interaction?

  • Some theaters and performance groups are setting aside “tweet seats,” special sections for patrons to live-tweet during performances.
  • Rick Dildine, a theater festival director in St. Louis, says tweet seats have “become a national trend.”
  • “Coast to coast, theaters are experimenting with how to use ‘tweet seats’ effectively,” he explains. “The arts are evolving right now, they are participatory… Social media is a tool we rely on, and we have been unafraid to experiment with it.”
  • Some have placed tweet seats in the back row of theaters to minimize disruption, while others (including Carnegie Hall in NYC and the Kennedy Center in DC), “have not tried tweet seats and expect audience members not to access their phones during performances,” reports USA Today.
  • The article cites some interesting success stories of performances incorporating tweet seats, including a recent example involving the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO). “Tweeting the CSO’s performance was like attending a members-only social event in the midst of a traditionally formal setting,” said tweeter Jennifer Nissenbaum. “I could communicate openly about my reactions to the music, musicians and conductor — without speaking a word. Plus, I had the opportunity to engage others, and get their reactions to the performance.”

Retro Movement: Will Horror Films Bring the VCR Back from the Dead?

  • Horror fans are resurrecting the VHS format to enjoy films of the 1980s, “the kind in which brains were made of Jell-O and the cast was paid in wine coolers,” suggests The New York Times.
  • “It’s hard to get into the aesthetic of shakycam, pretty people, safe scares — like something jumping out at you — and the digital photography and CG blood,” says Evan Husney, director of Drafthouse Films.
  • These fans prefer dusting off their VCRs to viewing via tablets or DVD. As a result, several distributors are re-releasing select 80s titles on VHS.
  • “You just don’t get the same feeling in a pristine print of a DVD,” explains blogger Dan Kinem. “With VHS it’s like I’m experiencing an old grind-house movie theater. I would never watch them on a computer.”
  • Additionally, VHS nights are emerging at theaters such as Cinefamily in Los Angeles; the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas; and at the Spectacle Theater and Nighthawk Cinema in Brooklyn, New York.

Mexican Revolution: Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas Coming to California

  • Mexico City-based Cinepolis, the world’s fourth-largest theater chain, has plans to extend luxury cinemas to Southern California.
  • The luxury chain has seen success in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, and has already “expanded to about 150 screens across Latin America,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
  • The company has invested $8 million in its Del Mar facility, “where patrons can kick back in a leather recliner and press a button to order teriyaki beef skewers, sushi rolls or a glass of Thomas Hyland Chardonnay.”
  • The all-digital theater features a lounge area with sofas, a full bar serving specialty drinks, and a cafe with coffee and desserts. Touch screen monitors in the lobby show upcoming movie trailers.
  • Tickets cost as much as $19.50, a hefty premium for this economy, but the concept may become an attractive alternative for consumers looking for a new experience.
  • Three theaters are planned for Carlsbad (under construction), Laguna Niguel and Rancho Santa Margarita, while deals are underway for additional locations in Westlake and Westwood.

First Scorsese 3D Feature Draws Rave Reviews at Film Festival

  • Early reviews to Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” — the director’s first foray into 3D production — are so enthusiastic that Steve Pond at TheWrap suggests, “it left one question lingering in the air: Has Scorsese just saved 3D?”
  • Pond was reacting to an early screening of the unfinished film at this week’s New York Film Festival, after which attendees raved about the experience. Katey Rich at CinemaBlend described it as, “probably the most gorgeous live-action 3D film ever made.”
  • Prior to the screening, the noted director explained that his film was not quite completed and would still require additional work with color correction, visual effects, music and sound.
  • That didn’t seem to deter a flood of positive reactions tweeted immediately following the screening. For example: “Hugo is outstanding. 1st film where 3D is a vital organ of the overall narrative. Brilliant and at its heart, profound.” Another: “In Hugo, Scorsese experiments w/ 3D the way Melies pioneered SFX. The simple first 1/3rd is a showcase for the power of visual storytelling.”

Innovative Concept: Sony Developing Subtitle Glasses for Moviegoers

  • Sony is developing special subtitle-enabled glasses that could be in UK movie theaters as early as next year.
  • According to the BBC, one in six people have some level of deafness and are not being served well by the movie industry. In fact, many film fans with hearing issues wait for films to be released on DVD when subtitles are available.
  • “What we do is put the closed captions or the subtitles onto the screen of the glasses so it’s super-imposed on the cinema screen, [making it look] like the actual subtitles are on the cinema screen,” explains Tim Potter of Sony.
  • “The good thing about them is that you’re not refocusing. It doesn’t feel like the words are really near and the screen is far away. It feels like they’re together,” said test subject Charlie Swinbourne, who is hard of hearing.
  • “It was a great experience,” he added. “I think it’s a massive opportunity to improve deaf people’s lives and I think there’s great hope that this would give us a cinema-going future.”
  • If the glasses prove popular in the UK, we should expect to see them in wider availability in the near future.

Reel China: Hollywood Seeks Workarounds for Import Restrictions

  • Hollywood continues its frustration with the Chinese government’s limits on how many imported movies can play in its theaters in addition to how box office receipts are shared. Now, prominent American film producers are seeking change through ambitious deals that provide alternative routes into China’s market.
  • Success with the Chinese may prove crucial. With traditional distribution models such as DVD sales presently slumping, China could become a much-needed revenue source.
  • “It’s not about détente, it’s about making money,” suggests the Los Angeles Times. “The partnerships give the American firms better access to the country’s growing movie market.”
  • According to the LA Times report: “China’s box-office receipts surged 64 percent last year to a record $1.5 billion, and they will likely bring in about $2 billion in ticket sales this year. By the end of the decade, industry experts predict China will grow from the world’s No. 5 movie market to No. 1.”
  • Although lobbyists and the World Trade Organization have been unsuccessful in getting the Chinese to relax import restrictions, smaller American film companies such as Legendary and Relativity are partnering with Chinese-based companies in co-production and exhibition deals. Through the partnerships, companies are not subject to restrictions and find they can dramatically improve upon percentage of box office receipts.
  • Major Hollywood studios have not formed long-term partnerships to co-produce with Chinese firms, but have discovered other alternatives, such as making Mandarin-language productions in China and pushing digital product, including 3D: “To boost the rollout of high-tech projectors in the country’s theaters, China in 2007 began allowing several pictures per year into the country on a revenue-share basis if they played only in digital theaters.”
  • The ultimate goal is to eliminate the restrictions, but for the time being Hollywood is finding ways to work around them.