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Thursday, October 03, 2019

NATO Takes D-Cinema Tech Requirements

It was announced on Tuesday (10/1/19) that NATO (National Association of Theater Owners) was taking the lead in setting requirements for any new digital cinema technology - which is cinema-speak means d-cinema tech is no longer important.

NATO's executive board approved a resolution that details how d-cinema technology will be evaluated going forward. It has always been that the exhibition side of the movie business was the primary consumer of  the technology so going forward exhibition will test and evaluate which, if any, upcoming technologies will work best for cinemas.

Heretofore, the major studios ran technology advances through the Digital Cinema Initiative which set the standard architecture for d-cinema systems across the world. The NATO board stated that it initial findings would be announced at the NATO annual meeting in 2020.

CMG believes that giving NATO this responsibility means that the studios are no longer interested in d-cinema. The status quo will do. Otherwise they would have keep control.  NATO has no power is the cinema industry. Movie exhibitors are reactive to the moves of the studios and now content streamers. NATO is a step-child within the movie industry family.

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp

Apple & Disney : What Could Have Been

If Steve Jobs' untimely death at the age of 56 hadn't occurred he would be running Disney right now and it would be a totally different company.

So says Bob Iger, current Disney CEO, in his new book, "The Ride of a Lifetime". Apple and Disney wound-up having a great relationship. Iger explains that he had a very close relationship with Steve Jobs. That relationship took some work on Iger's part as Jobs' relationship with Michael Eisner, Iger's predecessor as CEO of the Mouse-house was very dicey, at best, after Eisner ruined Disney's relationship with Jobs by destroying Pixar's partnership with Disney.

Iger rebuilt the Apple/Disney trust and in October 2005 both Jobs and Iger stood on stage to announce that five Disney shows - including two of the most popular TV shows, 'Desperate Housevives' and 'Lost', would now be available for download on iTunes.

Jobs and Iger became close friends

The relationship grew, and a few years later, Disney purchased Pixar from Apple for $7.4billion and Jobs took a seat on Disney's board of directors. That seat was passed on to Laurene Jobs, Steve's widow, upon his death.

I believe Disney would be a different entity if a merger between the two companies had taken place. Jobs would have been CEO, as Apple is a much richer company than Disney, and he would have taken the new Apple/Disney into the streaming content industry, perhaps even acquiring Netflix.

Disney would have been a piece of the much larger entity where innovation is paramount to continue prosperity - which is the Apple (Jobs) credo.

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

MoviePass: The Resurrection

The 'Pass' is dead, long-live the 'Pass'
'Movie Pass: The Resurrection',  sounds like a bad sequel and that's just what it is.

That's if Ted Farnsworth, the former top-dog at the crashed & burned MoviePass, has his way - I don't think its second-coming is in the cards.

Says Farnsworth,  "MoviePass is something that we can reshape and rebuild. It will take time, but I think we can revitalized the whole brand." Ted, there is no brand. There is nothing to save and resurrect!

MoviePass is the ill-fated movie admission subscription service which allowed members to view a movie per day for $9.99 per month.
Theory: more people in cinemas - sell more concession - make more profits which are shared between MP and exhibitor.
Reality: a colossal conceptual failure from the get-on.

CMG and ScreenTrade Magazine predicted, from MP's outset, that it was based upon a false premise and was doomed to fail and would never, ever work. After burning through $329 million (according to the bankruptcy filings) it shuttered its doors.

There was bad dealings on all sides of the MP scheme, as many of its members 'gamed' the company by using the MP app to buy tickets and resell them at a discounted admission price. Management couldn't see this flaw in their strategy?

But even after all of this nonsense, Ted Farnsworth says, "There's an opportunity here. We were a lot like Uber and what it did to the taxis." Someone should clue Ted in on the fact that Uber has never made a profit either. What's the definition of insanity?

Jim Lavorato, Founder/President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Playing The Content Game

Golden Age In Now!
As the options for content distribution grow, money is pouring into production - you just need to have a global mindset.

The current trend is to let the content be the brand and not the production studio or filmmaker. The demand for good content is huge - from cinemas, streamers, TV, the internet, and even video gaming - the appetite is insatiable.

The game in the viewing entertainment business is to tell your story on as many platforms as possible. Cinemas than streamer than TV and perhaps a segue into a video game - it's the vertical strategy that's in play.

Lots of options Worldwide

The demand is vast, global, and varied making this is the real golden age of entertainment for both the content maker and the viewer/user.

Jim Lavorato
Entertainment Equipment Corp.
Cinema Mucho Gusto blogspot

Docus Go Wide, and Their Right

Docus get it right
Fueled on by streamers and the boxoffice documentaries have never had it so good. At this year's Toronto Fest, for example, there were 850 docu entries which had to be whittled- down to 25.

It seems politics and global issues are driving the genre - and it's not about Trump for the films with the most impact. The current theme, and rightly so, is about politics in third-world nations - election manipulations, corruption, fake news/propaganda, and democracies on the brink of failure.

Wide and growing/Docus reveal 
Documentaries about post-Soviet Russia, the resurrection of Imelda Marcos and how the 90 year old exiled dictator and son (through graft) was allowed to return after 32 years and won seats in the Philippines congress.

Today documentary filmmakers see themselves as the real truth-teller in the industry and strive to present an accurate, non-partisan version of history.
Whether about Armenia, Russia, or the Philippines exploring the corruption and extortion of leaders that have and still do hold many countries from becoming prosperous democratic societies is what needs airing and action.

Look for the introduction of 4M Performance
the online business accelerator via your social
media platform - coming in November.

Dictatorship has superseded democracy in many cases. U.S. politics and its daily churn can be seen all day, every day on a wide variety of media outlets. It's the smaller, non-reported and often propagandized events that are occurring around the world in many countries that impact vast numbers of people in a detrimental way and go unreported by the international press. Documentary producers are trying to fill the void and draw attention to these much more significant issues.

I don't think most of us care about Kristen Stewart wanting to play a gay superhero, or Debra Messing crying out that black Americans who support Trump are mentally ill. What matters is the much larger issue of where the world (or most of it) is headed, and how this message gets to normal people in major democracies because where much of the world is headed is not a good place.

Jim Lavorato
Entertainment Equipment Corp.
Cinema Mucho Gusto blogspot

Saturday, August 31, 2019

CA Puts Movie Tax Credits Increase On Hold

A tax credit to attract film and TV production in CA as a counter to those states that enacted anti-abortion laws - has been tabled.

The CA initiative (termed: the 'Share Our Values' bill) would provide for $50m in additional credits each year for the next five years.  The proposal was widely reported last month with many kudos from the liberal press, but got no traction as the bill was tabled by the CA Senate Appropriations Committee.

CA has been losing out as a production venue for some time as the expense of doing business was so much more in CA vs. other States and countries. Currently, the CA Film & TV Tax Credit program has a yearly allocation of $330m, which has tripled since 2014 to help compete against the very lucrative credit programs of New York, Georgia and some of the other southern States.

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However, Georgia recently approved anti-abortion legislation and many content producers, including Netflix and Disney, vowed to cease production of future projects in Georgia, due to this more restrictive abortion law. This put CA in a very good position and figured because of this turn-of-events they would not be required to increase the Film & TV Tax Credit program at this time.

Politics and art. Who ever said they were separate and distinct social determinants. 

Jim Lavorato
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Netflix & Exhibs .... Will The Twain Ever Meet

'The Irishman', a film by Marty Scorsese, includes a star-studded cast of gangster favs: Pacino, DeNiro, and Pesci. It will premiere on opening night at the New York Film Festival September 27th and is already rumored to be a strong Oscar contender.
Love the 'de-aged' effect

When Scorsese brought the idea of the film to Paramount, the studio balked at the estimated $159m price tag, so Marty went pitching to Netflix who embraced the project. Now the film is in the middle of a battle between the big cinema chains and the world's foremost content streamer. The conflict has dragged on for months and there appears to be no compromise in sight.

Scorsese has been pushing for a national release and Netflix is negotiating with AMC and Cineplex for a wide release; however, the chains want the film for 90 days before available for streaming. Netflix's focus is on it ability to deliver prime content to its 150 million subscribers and does not want to adhere to "old-style movie business habits". For 'The Irishman' Netflix was willing to go out 21 days before streaming - but no deal so far.

An example of  de-age special effects

Under Academy rules, to be eligible for an Oscar, a film must have a seven-day run at a commercial cinema in L.A. county but it can be screened simultaneously on another platform. This is the right scenario. CMG has always pushed for a day-and-date release to the Netflix/exhibition controversy.

Note: Scorsese used a new special effects technique called "de-age" in the making of 'The Irishman'. It takes the actors actual faces makes them look younger and then ages them gradually throughout the film. Also of note, Joe Pesci can out of retirement to star in the film as a favor to Scorsese.

Jim Lavorato, President & Founder
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Best Re-release Ever .... Perhaps

On August 5th, Dolby Labs announced that they inked a 3-way deal with Warner Bros. and AMC Theaters.  The deal will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of 'The Matrix' in an exclusive one-week engagement.

Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Sound, the movie will be screened exclusively at AMC Theaters across the U.S. and be presented in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos - transforming one of the most iconic sci-fi films into a must see event for the first timer or return viewer.

With Dolby Vision the on-screen image exhibits brighter colors and darker darks and provides for a real-time sense of depth and detail. Dolby Atmos, the all emersive cinema sound technology, turns the movie into reality with all-around sound.

Tickets are on sale now for 'The Matrix:20th Anniversary' at select AMC/Dolby cinemas. The movie will run from August 30th - September 5th.

This will be the first re-release of this type and we hope it won't be the last. There are plenty of films that viewers would want to experience in this full Dolby enhanced presentation.

Jim Lavorato
Founder & President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.                                                                     

Friday, August 16, 2019

Entertainment China, Will It Ever Be Number 1

With China it's all about volume, as in headcount, and that goes for entertainment as well.

  • Within the last decade over 60,000 movie screens have been constructed, over 20,000 more than in North America. 
  • There are 800 million internet users in China, 98% of which access the web via phone. 
  • Over 90% of cinema admissions are sold online.

With all that said, China remains a very dicey place for  entertainment businesses to function. So far, entertainment has been able to escape the wrath of the U.S./China trade issues - but talks of expanding foreign entertainment have stopped.

The movie industry is the poster child for everything entertainment in Big Red.  Local movie production and its accompanying boxoffice has been on a steep rise and when added to U.S. produced films the total gate is expected to surpass the U.S. boxoffice next year.

China is also looking Westward. Gone are the days of co-produced films with the major studios for local consumption - the goal now is to create home-grown films that satisfy local tastes and also 'play' in overseas markets.

Qingdao Metropolis
For example, the newly constructed Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis is the world's largest studio complex with 40 soundstages, currently running at 70% capacity. What the Chinese lack is talent in screenwriting, production, script consulting, and VFX know-how.

Content streaming is very big in China. Netflix is not allowed to operate as is YouTube and Amazon. Instead it's TenCent Video, Alibaba's Youku, and iQiyi, these three streamers represent a full 60% of all video-on-demand subscribers in the world!

The greatest foe of the entertainment industry are the government censors. Beijing views entertainment as a vehicle to boost China's image and bolster the Communist Party's politically correct values. Movies come under the control of the propaganda bureau - a group with no sensitivity for a commercial film's success or failure.

Currently there is a cap on the number of foreign films imported each year into the China market at 34. This cap was set in 2014 and there are no on-going discussions to increase this quota.

The Chinese entertainment market is huge and remains the big prize. The entertainment landscape has changed greatly over the last 10 years and the next 10 will see greater change and greater opportunities.

Jim Lavorato, President & Founder
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Access Over Possession : UltraViolet Falls

Back in 2014 (a lifetime in the digital domain) we posted about a cloud-based video locker service called UltraViolet - this week UV will be tossed into the proverbial trash bin of cinema history.

UltraViolet as launched by a number of media-based companies from equipment manufacturers, to retailers, to all of the major HWD studios with the exception of Disney (which introduced its own service called Disney Movies Anywhere).

UltraViolet never really got much traction from consumers as they embraced streaming services, i.e. Netflix, over media ownership as access vs. possession has become the norm in our lives.

Several of UV's members
Shuttering its doors this coming Wednesday (7/31) puts an end to one of the media industry's most ambitious efforts to promote the ownership of content with retrieval of that content from one site specific by the owner.

In hindsight, UltraViolet was doomed from the start. Like many services from Uber to Netflix it is not the possession that counts but the access to the service that matters.

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Netflix Tightens The Noose on HWD

SAG-AFTRA, inked a new deal with Netflix yesterday, which expanded the coverage and benefits of  Union's members.

Up to the present, Netflix and the Union had a standard master contract which was signed on a production by production basis. The new deal, a master two-year contract, includes gains for the Union's members in theatrical residuals, improved overtime rates for stunt performers, and member protections regarding harassment and auditions.

The new agreement was "overwhelmingly" approved by the national board which issued a statement saying, "Netflix has set the gold-standard in the industry for awareness of gender equality and promoting the participation of all regardless of gender, ethnicity, or race".

SAG-AFTRA's agenda now includes getting the major film studios to match the Netflix deal. This was a very smart move by Netflix.

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Euro-exhibs Go Ballistic

The European exhibitors organization, UNIC, blasted the Venice Film Fest for allowing Netflix into the fest's competition lineup.

The UNIC demanded that all Netflix titles get "a full theatrical release." All of the Netflix entries were streamed but had "technical only releases in cinemas." 

Last year, Netflix had six entries and was embraced by the Festival bigwigs which repeatedly stated that it was not up to the Festival to get involved in distribution issues. There are three Netflix titles entered this year: 'Sullen Mia Pelle', 'Roma', and 'The King'. Cannes did not include any Netflix films in its main competition because of fierce opposition from French exhibs. Berlin did include them.

Festival does not want to get involved in
distribution issues.

CMG believes the battle will continue but given the dominance of Disney at the cinema boxoffice, Netflix has, by default, only one competitor. If Netflix continues to outpace all of the major studios in terms of content delivery the tide will turn in its favor.

Note: The Venice Fest will close with 'The Burnt Orange Heresy' starring Mick Jagger and Donald Sutherland. Tagged a "erotic neo-noir thriller" it's a must see.

Jim Lavorato President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

iPic Hits The Wall

iPic, the high-end, exclusive cinema chain warned yesterday that they were facing a 'cash crunch' that could push them into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Citing its inability to pay a $10.1m interest payment
due on its $204 outstanding debt, the company issued a press release stating,"If we are unable to
restructure our debt, given our lack of liquidity, we 
will not have the ability to continue as an on-going

iPic, founded in 2006, operates 16 theatres (123 screens) in major cities throughout the U.S. It provides luxury movie-going with admission
prices topping $30 and offering waiter-served gourmet food and cocktails. 

iPic Lounge in Restaurant/Bar area
iPic was the first chain to screen Netflix original films day-and-date with the streamer. 

I've visited the iPic in Scottsdale, AZ and it does live up to the expectations and experience one anticipates. Everything is first-rate: setting, seating, service, and concession. This level of movie-going does come with a price however - a movie for two with food and drink is north of $100.

Jim Lavorato
Cinema Mucho Gusto

Sabo Strikes Again

Sabo with his Art
An L.A. billboard for 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood' was Sabo'ed. The faces of Brad Pitt and Leo DiCaprio replaced with those of Roman Polanski and Jeffery Epstein and the word 'Pedowood' placed over "Hollywood'.

A street artist, Sabo (whose works have graced the our writings before) took full credit for what he calls "alterations" of the billboard. Sabo, like Banksy, highlights the hypocrisy inherent in our entertainment and political arenas. Good going Sabo.

Other Sabo works:

Friday, July 19, 2019

What's Going On

Admission Price Surges in 2Q

U.S. admissions averaged $9.26 for the 2nd Qtr., up 25 cents over the 1st Qtr. This compares to an average price of  $9.11 for FY 2018.

YTD, the N. American boxoffice is running about 10% behind last year with 18-34 yr. olds accounting for half of all tickets sold in the 2nd Q., while the 18-44 group accounted for 64% of the total.

Rubber Chickens OUT!

The big gala fund-raisers are passe' in H'wd. Schlepping to a mass get-together to back-slap with group thinkers and dine on droll while shelling-out the obligatory donation is no longer in vogue.

Customizing to the organization and audience and the use of  'lower tier' celebs and influencers vs. 'A' listers as guests is now fashionable in raising moola.  Gala charity dinners aren't completely out but there is a shifting toward more intimate, more engaging 'give us your money' experiences.

Weinstein: Stalling Tactics?
Harvey with new defense team

In NYC, last week, Harvey Weinstein announced to the presiding Judge that he was switching his legal team (for the 2nd time). His new defense team stepped-in as the prior attorneys requested to be excused from the case, "for not getting along with their client."

Last January, Weinstein's original legal team also sited differences with their client - which delayed the trail by 5 months. This current switch (which many feel is a stalling tactic on Weinstein's part) postponed the trial until September. For his part, Harvey continues to declare his innocence of all sexual and abuse charges.

Case Dismissed
In a related, #MeToo case, against Kevin Spacey, being adjudicated in Massachusetts, all charges were dropped after the alleged victim in the case decided not to testify. The District Attorneys in the case stated the reason for dismissal was "the unavailability of a complaining witness."

Spacey contends he is innocent of all charges. He is still under investigation in LA and England for other alleged sexual assaults. He is currently a persona non grata in H'wd.

Jim Lavorato, Editor
Cinema Mucho Gusto

Monday, July 08, 2019

UPDATE: Bond 'Goldfinger' Aston Gets Real

DB5 'Continuation' will feature machine guns!

Building out the DB5s

Back on January 14th, I posted that Aston Martin was going to do a remake of the DB5 that appeared in the 'Goldfinger' film. 25 of these cars were going to be made and they would include the 'Q -gadgets' that the iconic Bond auto featured. Aston has now revealed what those 'gadgets' will be.

To be hand-built at the Aston Martin Works in Newport Pagnell, all 25 will be in the original Silver Birch color and include the following Bond-inspired gadgets:

- Revolving Number Plates
- Rear Smoke Screen
- Replica Machine Guns
- Battering Rams Front & Rear
- Retractable Bullet-proof Rear Screen
- Oil Slick Delivery System

In addition, the cars will feature a simulated radar screen, telephone in the driver's door, under-seat weapons storage, and gearknob actuator button (no seat ejector but will be used for something, as yet unspecified).

The Goldfinger DB5 is the latest in a series of Continuation Cars to be made by Aston. It started with the DB4-GT and GT Zagato - all being pre-sold to deep-pocketed motor-heads.

The DB5, as delivered will not be road-legal, but I have no doubt that it is not beyond the ingenuity of the buyers (coupled with the funds to do it) to make these replicas approved for road use. I mean they are really all about having a license to Thrill.

Current Aston models include: Vantage, DB11, DBS Superleggera, Rapide AMR & E, and the Valkyrie. Pricing, $153k for the base Vantage up to $3.25m for the Valkyrie. Coming soon, the DBX (SUV).  Great cars!
2019 Valkyrie
Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Academy's New Members

Getting an invite to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is 'heady', but then you learn that 842 others were also invited kind of puts the prestige on a lower peg.
Gaga, Lennox, Adele

Regardless, this years invitees include three noted songwriters: Gaga, Adele, and Lennox. All three are prior Oscar winners and are among 28 composers, songwriters, and music editors who were asked to join the group.

Acceptance into the Academy is virtually universal. Membership currently stands at 8,946 (including retirees 9,794).  So, it's not all that exclusive, but to the glitterati it represents acceptance by the flock.

After the invitations are accepted, the Academy will hold a autumn mixer for the new arrivals. All the best ladies!

So it goes,

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Cinema BUZZ by Seymour Flix

Judy Dench says, Weinstein and Spacey cinema credits and contributions should be repected. 

The veteran acting star says that both Weinstein and Spacey should be separated from their alleged sexual offences (both of whom have stated in court that they are not guilty of the charges).

According to Dench, their works still deserve recognition and respect. "You can not deny somebody a talent" that's wrong says Dench. She went on to speak about how Spacey helped her in the aftermath of her husband's death.

It's clear that both men have made major contributions to the cinema industry. CMG agrees with Dench, you can't deny talent no matter who has it and the contributions made should not be diminished.

The Full Monty
The Great Pythons

As a part of their 50th anniversary celebration never-before heard radio specials will be released.  These will air on the BBC and then travel across the pond for millions of MP fans to hear on Sirius XM radio. This is all part of a bigger celebration that will include film and TV specials.

Michael Palin, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and the late Graham Chapman will be showcased in the five BBC specials. Restored episodes of 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' will be screened in London along with rare pre and post Python shows.

According to a statement by the group, "Python has survived because we live in an increasingly Pythonesque world. Extreme silliness seems more relevant now then it ever was."

Horse v Rooster

It's the  battle of the Chinese film award shows - the Golden Horse Awards Show (held in Taiwan) vs. the Golden Rooster Awards (held in China) because this year they are being held on the same day.

No coincidence this as the Communist -backed Golden Rooster will ensure that no major mainland Chinese talent will attend the Golden Horse event (which is considered to be Asia's Oscar  show.'

The Chinese government wants to stymie any notion to Taiwanese independence, as it considers Taiwan part of its territory. Taiwan, doesn't see it that way and wants full-independence from China.

It will be interesting to see how the Horse vs. Rooster awards battle unfolds.
Both shows are to be held on November 23rd.

All the Best
Seymour Flix aka Jim Lavorato

Friday, June 21, 2019

Oscar Must Wait For Its Museum, AGAIN!

Museum as it current stands
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' Museum is on hold once again, as it appears the H'wood glitterati are reluctant to pony-up the $100m required to complete the project. 

According to the Academy, "we have always chosen the path that would enhance the structure, even if that meant construction would take more time to complete". Funny, they left out the words 'we need more cash to complete this wildly out-of-control project". 

Since original inception, the Museum's exhibitions have been expanded in scope (requiring more interior space) and the collection of items to be exhibited has doubled - thereby bringing the new budget to $388m. It has been reported, by Variety, that fundraising has stalled at $281m - leaving a $100m+ shortfall.

Hmmm.... I guess all of the big-monied H'wood movers & shakers aren't up for doing the civic, good-deed.  Who needs the Museum anyway? Who cares about the fans? Let them eat cake.

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

It's All About Egos : Pissing Rights to Biggest B.O.

Who will hold the B.O. record?
Yes, it's all about who has the biggest gross. In the egotistical world of entertainment Disney has decided that it wants to have the record for the film with the largest box office in history - so, it is re-releasing a new version of  'Avengers: End Game' next weekend.

The new version will have a "few new twists at the end of the movie and if you stay until after the credits, there will be a deleted scene from the first film, a little tribute, and a few minor surprises", according to a Disney spokesperson.

The reason for the re-release is an effort to take-down 'Avatar' as the biggest grossing film on record. For nearly a decade, 'Avatar' has held the gate-take record at $2.78b. 'Avengers: End Game' has amassed $2.74b to date - it needs to garner $44m to surpass 'Avatar's' record.

Now, 'Avengers: End Game' (the first version) is still in release in second-run houses and even in first-run auditoriums at megaplexes (nothing else to screen), so was it wise to release the revised version so soon?  Could the prospect that Disney (Marvel) in unveiling deleted scenes and post-credit footage be enough to get the comic-crazy fans back into cinema seats?


'Avenger' devotees have been busy on social media, rallying support for 'End Game' to be the world b.o. champ. CMG predicts Disney will make at least the $44m required to break 'Avatar's' record and than some. As one should  never
underestimate fan-power and its inexplicable emotional draw.

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

F&F In Good Company

Only Potter and Star Wars can match Fast and Furious when it comes to franchise stardom - as Universal announced that the ninth film in the series will be release in May 2020.

First launched in 2001 (can you believe it) with  'The Fast and the Furious', the series is centered on family and friend relationships with a heavy dose of supped-up  import cars and a loose code of moral ethics.

Note: if by some odd quirk you missed or purposely avoided any of the past eight films, iTunes is offering them as a package for $49.99. So, if you want to catch-up do so, and turn up the volume.

To give you some perspective as to what the F&F films are all about, the opening lines in the first movie pretty much indicate what to expect. "We just packed up the real money load, and it's comin' your way." a dockworker says. Then three black Hondas attack a semi with grappling hooks - what's not to like?

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The Fast Franchise is not high-end drama. Plot is loose here. What is the sell, is the interaction of the characters and the special effects and stunts. Where else can you witness over 200 vehicles being destroyed - cars, planes, trucks, helicopters, motorcycles, - it's all in a day's work for the Furious. Oh, did I mention explosions both via pyrotechnics and in the interaction of the characters. Realism is irrelevant in the Furious films, as it should be. They are intended to be over-the-top, high-impact films - and moviegoers love them.
Hobbs and Shaw cast

Because of a riff with Van Diesel, Dwayne Johnson will not star in the new film and is being replaced by John Cena but the remaining cast, ex Paul Walker, is present.  A F&F spin-off , 'Hobbs and Shaw' staring Johnson and Jason Statham is being released in August. It will also feature Edris Elba and Helen Mirren in leading roles.

I enjoy the F&F films and to be ranked with the likes of the Star Wars and Harry Potter franchises is a wonder unto itself.  Enjoy the ninth edition.

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Best Productive Time: Mornings

I hardly ever write personal pieces for this blog, but I'm breaking the rule today and imposing my own bias on you. Come on .... you can take it, and besides, it's for your own good.  

We all want to be productive, I think? Well, most of us anyway. For me, the most productive time - to do almost anything - is in the morning. Sticking to a morning regime will help you stay central and focused. So, each morning:

- Exercise Mentally (and physically too). Do things that get your brain started:
crosswords, brain teasers, blog writing, video game play, etc. Just get things juiced-up.

Don't start your day with this
- Eat Breakfast, but not a huge repast. I don't advocate large breakfasts to start the normal day (perhaps this works for a Sunday brunch). Coffee (a must have for me),
 yogurt, fruit, toast, are good choices. Keep it light.

- Think - what's my main purpose for today. What do I want to accomplish - professionally and personally. Make the to-dos realistic.

- Keep a written calendar and refer/update/change on daily basis. Use the calendars where you see
 the whole month at once. Always use a physical and not virtual calendar. If I write it down its much better for me to remember and much easier to change.

- Go through emails (I use 4 email accounts each related to a different activity or
company: I go to each and respond as required.

- Finally, I post to the two blogs I author.  For me, I'm most creative in the morning particularly when composing.

OMG - I'm Going to Cry
So, that's it. The moral: the morning starts the day. You need time in the morning. It's not a time to be rushed. Get up early enough to allow yourself to 'set' for the day ahead.  I think you'll find that your creative and cognitive thinking is best in
the morning - try it!

Top of the morning to ya,
Jim Lavorato