Coming off its roughly $7b box office take of 2016, Disney played it very safe in previewing its 2017 roster of movies. It gave attending movie exhibitors at CinemaCon a very short, sneak-peek of its upcoming films that lasted only 12 minutes!
The major studios attend Cinemacon, the movie exhibition industry's annual back-slap, to showcase their upcoming, big-screen product with trailers, A-listers, and full-length previews - but not Disney.
This year, Disney's dog-and-pony was a recap of 2016, referencing its unrivaled box office performance and renewing its commitment to producing a few big blockbusters from its Marvel and LucanFilm offspring, coupled with product from its in-house animation arm and Pixar.
Disney's goal is, "To deliberately engage audiences with branded product from the greatest storytellers alive. We give audiences what they want", Dave Hollis, Disney Distribution Head, told the Cinemacon attendees.
Exhibition 'Biggies' - Is That The Way To Go?
Of the top 35 global movie theater chains only four are U.S. circuits. Boxoffice Magazine compiled the ranking and it was hands down dominated by China, with 19 of the top 35 spots.
For the U.S.:
- Regal Entertainment Group, ranked 2nd in size globally with 7,310 screens (all located in the U.S.).
- CineMark ranked 4th with 4,542 screens but unlike Regal has cinemas in not only 41 U.S. States but in 15 Latin American countries.
- National Amusements earned the 26th slot with 924 screens.
- Marcus Theaters at 29th with 875 screens.
And that was it for the U.S.. China's Wanda Group was 1st with 14,040 screens spread across China, Europe, and the U.S. Beijing New Film Association took the 35th slot with 655 screens. Now, one may think that this ranking by screen count is bad for the U.S. but it isn't, in fact, it bodes well for the U.S. Think about it.
The top four largest U.S. circuits represent only 13,651 screens out of a total U.S. screen count of about 42,000. Meaning that the smaller cinema circuits and independent theater operators are well represented and point to a robust and very diverse cinema exhibition industry. This is good news for the U.S. moviegoer. Unlike China, where it's all about big chains screening big box office bruisers, U.S. exhibitors offer-up independent films, documentaries, art house fare, alternative content, film fest entries, retrospectives, and yes,the big bruisers. Go U.S. exhibitors.
New Tech for Cinemas
|QSC's DPA-Q Amps come in 4 and 8 channels|
CinemaCon's trade show and product demonstration suites showcased cinema sound. Power amplifiers were the big news. The 2 channel amp for cinema sound is going the way of the DVD player, replaced by multi-channel amps boasting 4, 8,24, and even 32 channels. Cinemas are entering a new era in sound. Sound which cannot be replicated in the home. Spurred on by the Dolby Atmos system the days of the 5.1 and 7.1 channel cinema sound systems will become extinct.
QSC Audio, now QSC Cinema, recently purchased Ultra Stereo Labs. This is a prudent and wise move for QSC as it broadens its product line with a brand that is well known in the cinema industry for manufacturing excellent and useful products of high technical quality.
Also very noticable was the large number of seating manufacturers all pushing plush auto-recliners. Again, the idea is to make movie-going a unique sight and sound experience coupled with comfort food and seating. Retrofitting existing auditoriums with new comfy recliners lowers seat count but the trade-off in customer satisfaction is well worth it, as is the expense.
All the best,