Popular Posts

Sunday, November 18, 2012

WEEKLY CineBUZZ REPORT - 18 November 2012


- Cinemark Theatre Circuit Sued by Shooting Victims
- Barco Enters World of Sound
- NEC's New Small Venue D-Cinema Projector
- "That's All I Can Stands"

Cinemark Century 16 Where Shootings Occurred
Cinemark Sued By Shooting Victims

Cinemark, the third largest cinema exhibitor in the U.S., has been sued by victims of the July 20th shooting at their Century 16plex in Aurora, Colorado were 12 cinema patrons were killed and 58 wounded.  The suit was filed on behalf of 3 of the surviving victims and other law suits are anticipated.

The suits allege that Cinemark, 'failed to provide security personnel for the midnight screening of  The Dark Night Rises, the exterior doors to the theatre did not have any alarm or security system that would have alerted the staff that someone had surreptitiously left the theatre or that the door in the back of the theatre was being kept open.' 

The suit also states that 'there was no system in place for the theatre staff to monitor parking areas and external doors behind the theatre and that the multiplex had been the site of previous assaults and robberies, including a prior shooting'.

Cinemark representatives could not be reached for comment; however, the circuit plans to reopen the theatre in the beginning of 2013 although no set date has been given.

In a related story, a man in Bolivar, Missouri was arrested and charged in connection with threats to shoot up a theatre during a presentation of  'Twilight - Breaking Dawn.
Blaec Lammers, 20, was arrested at a Sonic Drive In Restaurant after his mother tipped authorities that her son had purchased weapons and may be planning a movie theatre shooting. 

When questioned, Lammers told police his intention was to target movie patrons at a Sunday night showing of the movie (which he had purchased a ticket for) along with a possible attack on people at the nearby Walmart where more ammunition would be available.  Lammers had purchased several rifles and 400 runs of ammunition. He has been charged with first-degree assault, making a terrorist threat, and numerous firearms violations. He is being held on $500,000 bond pending trial.

Barco Announces New Cinema Sound System

Belgium based Barco, known for its digital projectors, announced its new cinema audio system - the Auro 11.1 and the agreement it has signed with DreamWorks Animation in which the Auro system will be used for mixing and for playback at cinemas for the next 15 DreamWorks animated films

"We are thrilled with the Studio's long-term endorsement of the Barco Auro 11.1 sound format.  Barco is committed to not only developing digital cinema projection but we are making critical advances in cinema sound," said Wim Buyens, CEO of Barco's Entertainment Division.  The Auro 11.1 system creates sound in three distinct layers: surround, height, and overhead and features 11.1 channels of sound.

Similar to the new Dolby Atmos 11.1 sound system, the Auro system  is intended to envelope the cinema audience with life-like sound.

NEC's New NC900C Small Venue Digital Cinema Projector

There has been much talk about D-Cinema projectors for smaller venues such as, screening rooms, small cinema auditoriums, art houses, etc. becoming available.
Well, they are now available and the NEC NC900C is the best thus far.

The NC900C is DCI compliant and comes prepackaged with lens and server (including an integrated media block).  It has dual 350watt lamps and projects a 2048x1080 resolution (2k) on screens up to 21ft wide.  Its is 3D capable and can handle high-frame rates, and like its larger brothers it carries a two year warranty.

If interested in the NC900C contact EEC (800-448-1656) for more information.

Popeye Returns To The Big Screen

Popeye, the sailor man, has to battle his nemeses, Bluto, to save his girl friend, Olive Oyl, by using spinach to enhance his strength.  Sony Pictures has plans to bring Popeye back to the big screen. Slated to be released in 3D (probably in 2014).  Popeye, (who first appeared in a comic strip in 1929) should be a good box office draw.

One of the all time favorite cartoon characters, Popeye is a hero - and reflects his attitude with his famous saying, "That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more".

Jim Lavorato
Comments Welcomed

Saturday, November 17, 2012

EEC Launches D-CinemaRemote

On-line Service Access System for Digital Cinema Systems

Entertainment Equipment Corp. announced today the launch of D-CinemaRemote, an on-line service access system for its digital cinema customers which enables remote management of their digital cinema equipment (projection and sound) ensuring maximum performance and uptime.

"D-CinemaRemote eliminates the need for a cinema technician to be present to check system status issues and solve operational problems, now we can solve many problems remotely - single screen or multiplex," said Jim Lavorato, President of EEC. "It  promotes operating efficiency and pro-active technical maintenance."

D-CinemaRemote is the industry's best, easiest-to-use, and accessible remote service system.  It is the latest addition to EEC's ever-improving commitment to provide the best customer service in the cinema industry. "D-CinemaRemote represents a new and exciting addition to EEC's product/service portfolio" says Lavorato.

In addition to D-CinemaRemote, EEC's services include: Cinema Training Central with its complete compliment of cinema training seminars and workshops; sales, installation, and after-sales service of all makes/models of D-Cinema projection, 3D equipment, and cinema sound systems & components; and Theatre Management Services such as: day-to-day theatre management, cinema planning and design, and marketing & planning management.

Monday, November 12, 2012

WEEKLY CineBUZZ REPORT - 10 October 2012


- Special Report: Day-and-Date Release of Films Across Media Formats
- Dolby: Taking Cinema Sound To New Levels
- Oscar Predictions: Out on the Thin Branches


"Arbitrage", a movie collaboration between LionsGate Entertainment and Roadside Attractions was released simultaneously in cinemas and on video-on-demand via iTunes, AmazonPlus, and through cable and satellite pay-per-view channels.

According to LionsGate"Arbitrage's" VOD sales reached $11 million as of last week, while at cinemas it had grossed $7.3 million. These are very solid numbers for a low budget, independently distributed movie and indicates that for some films day-and-date release via cinemas and VOD makes economic sense.  I believe this trend will become the norm and puts cinemas on notice that the exhibition business is in for major change and adjustment going forward.

"This is a model that we have been in front of - to make both theatrical and VOD work at the same time", said Howard Cohen co-president of Roadside Attractions. Distributors, such as Roadside, that specialize in VOD releases can now tout pay-per-view profits when they try to acquire movies at film festivals and other markets.
Unlike box office grosses, that are typically (on average) split 55/45 between distributor and cinema owner, VOD grosses are split 70/30 and sometimes more in favor of the distributor. "For example, Roadside and LionsGate paid $2 million for the domestic distribution rights to "Arbitrage" at this year's Sundance Film Festival; then spent about $2.5 million promoting the film's theatrical pre-release.  However, the marketing expenses associated with the VOD release were only several hundred thousand dollars", Steve Beeks, President of LionsGate's motion picture group told CMG.

Not long ago, VOD movies that didn't receive a theatrical release couldn't muster an audience and sometimes weren't viewed at all - this is changing!  "There is a huge change that's in the process of taking place - it's probably the biggest revolution in the history of the movie business" says film maker Barry Levinson, who won an Oscar for the "Rain Man", "VOD distribution provides an economical end run around the traditional exhibition model. With VOD, anyone can view a movie anywhere, at any given time - and that opens up lanes to movies that otherwise would be shut-out of the marketplace".  CMG couldn't agree more.

Many moons ago I wrote in this blog that films would eventually be released on all available media formats simultaneously - that time in slowing inching forward and that is why it is imperative that cinema owners convert to digital asap.  First, because they must ensure that their movie (and other content) presentations (both image and sound) are of high quality and a step above 'in-home' entertainment systems; and second, that cinemas take full advantage of the wide variety of presentation opportunities that 'digital cinema' offers.

Needless to say, the large cinema chains, including Regal and Cinemark have refused to exhibit movies that are released day-and-date on VOD - but they are fighting a losing battle.  The technology can not and will not stop, it is relentless.  It it up to each cinema owner to confront reality, embrace the technology, and USE IT!


Last week Dolby Laboratories, Inc. premiered its long anticipated Atmos Cinema Sound System which is centered around the new CP850 Cinema Sound Processor.

The Atmos System takes cinema sound to a whole new level, unattainable on any home entertainment system.  The CP850 offers support for 64 speaker feeds. It supports Cinema Dolby Surround 7.1 and 5.1 digital playback, as well as, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pro LogicII, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby E which covers all alternative content formats.

Along with each CP850, Dolby provides the Atmos Commissioning Service which provides a review of the cinema's sound system design to ensure that the speakers and amplifiers have the necessary performance and room coverage to deliver the high-quality Atmos experience.

For 2012, Atmos enabled films include: Brave, Rise of the Guardians, Taken 2, Chasing Mavericks, Life of Pi, and The Hobbit. 
For 2013 (thus far): Star Trek Into Darkness, Gravity, Pacific Rim

The Atmos System ushers in a new dimension in cinema sound that will afford theatres an opportunity to provide audiences an experience unattainable in any other entertainent venue.


Is it too early to predict what movies will get the Oscar nod, not for CMG it isn't.
Our picks for 2012 are the following:

Best Picture: Lincoln (Hollywood loves history - real or not)
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Best Actress: Naomi Watts (Impossible)
Best Director: Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
Best Musical: Les Miserables
Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)

OK, folks - that's it!

Best & Happy Movie Going
Jim Lavorato
Comments Welcomed

Monday, November 05, 2012



In discussions with cinema exhibitors on their conversion to digital projection, the question of  presenting alternatives to movies usually arises given that they will no longer be tithered solely to the film reel.  One of the most successful of the alternative content providers to cinemas is the Metropolitan Opera Company's HD-Live Program.

Transmitted from the Lincoln Center in NYC, which is the largest (at 3800 seats) and most respected opera house in the world, the Met's HD-Live performances are carried by over 1900 cinemas in all 50 states and in 64 countries.

"The Met's future was on a downward course. We needed to reach more people with our art. That was the purpose and goal of the HD-Live Program and it proved to be a success beyond our wildest expectations,"  states Peter Gelb, the Met's General Manager and mastermind behind HD-Live, "It provided the huge boost in revenue that the Met really needed."  And with over 1600 full-time staff members and a 12 month production schedule the Met's annual budget exceeds $300 million. Full use is made of its stage, which is 150ft. deep and 10 stories high!  Says, Peter Gelb, "We run our productions like sporting events, not only in the way they are managed but also in the way we use today's broadcast technology."

Featuring 12 productions for the 2012-13 HD-Live season, the Met encourages cinema participation and transmission requirements are easily meet by the current digital cinema projection systems.  Launched in 2006, HD-Live at the Met has sold over 10 million tickets and has won both an Emmy and Peabody Awards.

The Met's HD-Live Program is one way cinema exhibitors can expand their market reach and get patrons into their theatre which may normally never attend movie presentations.  If interested simply go to the Met's website (www.metoperafamily.org)
and fill out the on-line Cinema Questionnaire.

Jim Lavorato
Comments Welcomed

Saturday, November 03, 2012

WEEKLY CineBUZZ REPORT - 1 October 2012


 - Disney Buys LucasFilms for $4+ Billion
 - Kodak's Future: Interview w/Ed Monahan
 -  SPECIAL REPORT:Cinema Exhibitors - Why They Need the 'WOW' Factor


At 68, George Lucas is calling it quits and sold LucasFilms to Disney for $4.1 billion.
It's a good move for Disney which purchased Marvel Comics and all of their rights in 2009 for $3.96 billion.  Disney is clearly in the content purchase mode and Lucas's Star Wars franchise is an entertainment property of huge value.

Lucas will receive 40 million shares of Disney stock representing one-half the selling price and the remainder in cash. This will make him the second largest non-institutional shareholder right behind the Steve Jobs Trust  (the Apple honcho was the largest single Disney shareholder before his recent death).

"For the past 35 years, one on my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next.  It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers", said Lucas about his decision to sell LucasFilms. Included in the deal are well known special-effects house Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound, and video game company LucasArts.

Disney CEO, Bob Iger stated that, "It is just fantastic for us to have the opportunity to  buy it, run it, and grow it.  We intend to aggressively expand the Star Wars film schedule. Following the release of Episode VII in 2015, and Episodes VIII and IX will probably follow on a cadence of every other year and then go from there".

After hitting an incredibly long home run with Star Wars, Lucas found an exit strategy with Disney which would keep his legacy alive and well for the long term and not turn to the dark (forgotten) side.

Ed Monahan

In an interview with Ed Monahan, Kodak's Head of Strategic Planning, CMG got some insight into Kodak's future.

CMG: Why did Kodak declare Barkruptcy in the first place?

EM: Kodak encountered the same difficulties a lot of other companies faced in the digital transformation.  In our case, it really took its toll on our perennial cash cows, and while we have done a lot to migrate to a digital portfolio and new business models, in the end we needed to re-organize under Chapter 11 to resolve our financial situation and start anew.

CMG: What's in Kodak's future as it emerges from Chapter 11?

EM: There is a lot of good going on at Kodak to prepare to emerge from Chapter 11. We are preparing to sell the Personalized Imaging business which includes our traditional film and paper business and the retail kiosk/thermal business. The new Kodak that emerges will largely focus on the commercial printing business and the Personalized Imaging business will be sold to generate capital towards that emergence.

CMG: Is there much intrinsic value in these businesses ?

EM: In terms of the traditional film and paper business we solidly believe in them and are excited about the prospect of their sale.  These are businesses which are part of a market structure that continues to generate sales and earnings, and will be attractive to prospective buyers.

CMG: When is the sale contemplated ?

EM: The selling of these businesses is viewed in a very positive light. We are hopeful to complete the sale by the middle of next year.  Kodak will then be in a position to serve our markets with leading products and innovation and make further advances into the digital ecosystem.  It is that digital ecosystem and digital lifestyle that will shape not only what Kodak does but what many companies do to win going forward.

CMG: Thanks Ed.


My mantra to cinema exhibitors (large and small) is that going forward your most significant, and relentless, competition will be the consumer's living room (aka media room, home theatre, family room, whatever).  When I hear exhibs tell me they want to convert to Digital Cinema but only require the smallest (re: least expensive) projector and definitely no sound upgrade (even if they currently have mono sound in their theatre) my heart drops.  Why? Because in the future their business, under this scenario,  is terminal.  That cinema  simply will not be able to compete in terms of presentation quality (image and sound) with a dark on-screen image and sub-par sound.  Exhibs, you need to have the 'WOW' factor in your presentation.  It has to be better, significantly better, than what people are viewing in their homes!

To their credit, after some discussion, most exhibitors that Entertainment Equipment deals with (and most are long-term customers) trust our judgment and understand that since they are making a significant investment regardless, their best course is to invest a little extra and give their patrons a movie presentation the likes of which is beyond their wildest expectations and one that cannot be replicated in their home- media room!

Exhibitors, if an equipment provider isn't telling you that purchasing an undersized D-Cinema projection system is not the way to go - than BEWARE , because they don't have you best interests at heart.

So, you ask "Why do I think this way?" 

Well, let's have a look.  The new normal in Hi-Def  TV purchases for home media is the 72" ( preferably called the 6 footer) screen - which is quickly becoming the 7 ft. (84") screen, These 7 footer will be on many a Christmas list this year, but it doesn't end there.  Several trends are emerging in 'home entertainment' that we need to explore.

First, is the Multiple Screen trend.  The use of dual and multiple screens is becoming more popular.  This can mean two or more flat-panels on the same wall or screens on various walls in a room - which is a popular arrangement in rooms that function as party or entertainment spaces.  Why, multiple screens?  Because our video choices are now so vast that people often don't want to be restricted to just one screen in a room.

Needless to say, a cinema has one screen, so the presentation must be damn good!.

Second, the Media Room is transforming.  What was once the '90s trend of a 'dedicated home theatre' with a 'cinema' look and fixed seating etc. has given way to
more comfort with sofas and chaise lounges.   People want a home theatre experience but don't want to limit the room to just one use and making it a multipurpose room ensures the systems installed are used more frequently and by more family members.

Third, Social Networking.  Multi-screen goes beyond traditional TV,  Smartphones and tablets are not only being used as TV remote controllers but as second viewing screens as well, with social media driving this trend.  Users are 'live' tweeting, posting, and texting while watching sporting events, movies, or TV shows.

Fourth, Networking Media. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 25% of all U.S. homes now have an Internet connected Blu-Ray player and over 70% have a gaming console connected to there primary viewing screen.  The internet will become 'the source' for accessing content in the home.

Fifth, Sound. Sound is one-half the experience in viewing any content. And this is no exception in the home,  Better and higher sound quality continues to evolve and is being incorporated in home media systems.  The current trend is the use of floorstanding speakers rather than in-wall speakers.  Floor speakers deliver the best and clearest sound and they are mobile.  Another trend will be toward 'soundbars'. Not only aesthetically pleasing but good soundbars deliver the quality of full-range speakers and even incorporate subwoofers. 

In summary, Cinemas must have that 'WOW factor'  in all of their presentations.  In-home entertainment isn't at the cinema level - yet,  but cinemas have to do it right and when converting to Digital Cinema, well, that is the time to do it.  Digital cinema is the great equalizer, because it allows a single screen theatre in a small town the opportunity to present a movie or other content that is equal in image and sound quality to the 'best' cinema.

Jim Lavorato
Comments Welcomed