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Monday, July 04, 2022

Cine'polis Greenlights IMAX Dine-in Theater

Cine'polis, the Mexican cinema chain, announced that a new venue will offer waiter-service throughout a new 12-plex luxury cinema complete with a 300-seat IMAX auditorium. 


Scheduled to open in the spring of 2023, the Inglewood, CA location will be adjacent to the SoFi Stadium, home to the LA Rams and the largest NFL stadium with over a 70,000-seat capacity. Dubbed the 'Luxury Cinema', this will be one of the world's only dine-in IMAX theaters.

Cine'polis operates theaters in eight U.S. states and has nine locations in Southern California. "We want to bring the best cinema experience and offer moviegoers luxury at affordable prices", says Luis Olloqui, CEO of Cine'polis USA.


A Cine'polis dine-in theater

The biggest challenge according to Olloqui was figuring out waiter service for the IMAX. With its 300 seats, the auditorium is often sold out during the first several weeks of a film debut. The service has to be fast, courteous, and delicious - that's a big challenge in terms of service and a right-sized kitchen. All of the food is prepared from scratch.

The lobby will have the look and feel of a 5-star hotel. Cine'polis's strategy is that it has to compete against the streaming platforms and not other cinemas. Therefore, the cinema experience must offer a combination of large screen size, top-quality sound, comfortable chairs, and impeccable service. A very different experience than home-viewing. 

The name Cine'polis translates to 'City of Cinema'. The chain has 427 theaters and it's the world's fourth-largest cinema chain with over 6,200 screens.

If you read CMG with any regularity, you know I have a firm belief that the cinema is in the beginning of a major comeback as an entertainment destination. This belief is based upon a whole variety of reasons and it appears Cine'polis is in agreement.



Sunday, July 03, 2022

Kevin Hart Goes Web3 Big-time!

 Kevin Hart is the latest celeb to embrace Web3 as he dives into the NFT and Metaverse worlds. A popular actor-comedian-entrepreneur, Hart is looking to extend his brand, make bank, and have fun in the process. 


A sampling of Hart's NFT images

His foray into Web3 is multi-tactical. He is premiering an original TV docu, which will be aired on Roku called, "Confessions From the Hart". This show reenacts moments from Hart's life, as narrated by him. To coincide with this show his media company, Hartbeat, will release a limited number of NFTs that will allow fans to access bonus content for "Confessions From the Hart" in the Kevin Hart Nation Metaverse, 'Screening Room', developed in partnership with Web3 platform Moonwalk and virtual entertainment company Virtua.

There will be 10,000 NFTs minted and will sell for $65 each. They will be available for purchase via credit card of with Ethereum coins. In addition to the tokens the NFTs will carry member benefits, such as first-rights to tickets for Hart's upcoming comedy tour. Hartbeat is also launching a Discord.

"My favorite thing to do is make people lauch, and with Hartbeat's expansion into the metaverse and Web3 we will have exponential opportunities to bring huor and comedy to a whole new audience," says Hart.

As of the fourth quarter of 2021, Roku reached U.S. households with an estimated 80 million people.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Kids Just Want To Have FUN!

 Like most of us, children have very short attention spans. Content has to grab them quickly and keep them amused - and that goes double for movies.

Animated films are generally expected to deliver kid fun that satisfy parents as well. The recent, "Sonic The Hedgehog 2" is a great example of this and as such, generated over $400 million globally.

Young kids want FUN movies

On the flip-side is animation that is not kid friendly... such as Pixar films, which are story and message-based. Pixar movies are good but they are not kid-fun movies. They are too complicated in plot and not what parents look for as content for their young children. Understanding a Pixar film means getting up to speed with the backstory and kids don't walk into cinemas knowing all of the ins and outs of the storyline and the plots are confusing for them. An example is the latest Pixar, "Lightyear", which required knowing who Buzz was from a previous film "Toy Story". "Lightyear" grossed about $150 million worldwide.

The upcoming "Minions: The Rise of Gru" is a perfect kid-fun film and I am expecting it to gross as much as the first "Minions" which took in over $1.2 billion globally, 

CryptoFilms Present Huge Upside for Cinemas

Films based upon Web3 components will begin to dominate the box office! 

That's quite a statement for me to make but I truly believe films based upon NFTs, Discords, and metaverses will eventually dominate the cinema box office. The beginnings of this evolution are starting to coalesce and represent a new wave of big-screen viewing.


Reese Witherspoon
Several films based upon NFT collectibles are already in production. The Bored Ape Yacht Club series and the World of Women series will be screened in cinemas by next year. And many more, let's call them CryptoFilms, are in the works. Celebs like Reese Witherspoon, who is producing the World of Women film, are instigating and backing these projects. 

One very interesting CryptoFilm will be a biopic called "The Infinite Machine" which adds a metaverse component to the mix. This film (which is based on a book of the same name) tells the story of Vitalik Buterin, which anyone in the Web3 community knows was the developer of the Ethereum blockchain and the Ethereum crypto coin (the second most valuable digital currency next to Bitcoin).

Vitalik Buterin
Vitalik was 19 when he developed the Layer 1 Ethereum blockchain which has become the blockchain of choice when trading NFTs. He conceptualized the Ethereum blockchain in 2013 which went live in 2015. The film's associated NFT collection (which has already been in two pre-film sales with more to come) is a series of ETH logos from no less than 36 artists from around the globe. These original images are then enhanced (using an auto-imaging program) into 10,499 unique NFTs.

Decentraland, a virtual metaverse that uses an open-source protocol to run its blockchain, is managed as a DAO (a Web3 decentralized autonomous organization). The agreement between Versus, the film's production company, Ridley Scott's Scott Free Productions, and Decentraland envisions that the film and its NFT collection will be developed and integrated into the Decentraland metaverse. 

Lumiere, a Hong Kong/Singapore-based entertainment specialist, will be tasked with developing and integrating the experience of the film and engaging its audiences into the Decentraland metaverse. 

The film industry's outreach into the metaverse will be immense and films such as "The Infinite Machine" will bolster mainstream audiences' further acceptance and understanding of Web3 and all of its many facets. 



Saturday, June 04, 2022

Cannes, Not So 'Cheeri' This Year

 

                                       Promenade de la Croisette, Cannes

Cannes is an idyllic place. Picturesque, with a deep-blue sea cascading on a crescent-shaped beach, all surrounded by beautiful resorts, hotels, inns, homes, cafes, and 3-Star Michelins. 

Cannes is the perfect spot for the top-tier glitterati of the entertainment world, rich moguls, jet-setters, and mega-yacht owners to spend a few days enjoying each other's company, back-slapping, and presenting one another kudos and awards. An opportunity to see and be seen by the very top of global media.

                        Women from Argentina protesting that country's abortion law

But, like many things in life, Cannes is but a facade (like a Hollywood set) where behind the scenes lurks a much less tranquil and beautiful side. Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending upon which side you're on) this year's festival was festooned with protests, malcontents, and disrupters. 

French women (with a list of names) of those sexually abused since the last festival

Dressed all in black, women from the feminist movement Les Colleusesa walked the red carpet with the names of women who were victims of domestic violence since the last Cannes festival. They filled the air with thick, black smoke to reinforce their claim to be noticed. 

This event took place two days after a topless woman stormed the red carpet protesting against sexual violence. The words, "stop raping us" were written in paint across her abdomen. She ran screaming down the runway until security took her away.


These incidents were just those that got to the red carpet there were many others outside the parameters of the festive.

Cannes ain't what it used to be. But, hey, join the club. Everything in every society around the world is polarized. Everyone has picked their spot on the spectrum and is going with it. Nowhere (and no one) not even Cannes can escape. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

For Disney and Netflix Woke Don't Work

In their quest to appease ultraliberal social norms and dictates both Disney and Netflix have gotten on the wrong side of history.

Last year I authored an essay entitled "Woke Don't Work" , in it I explained that adoption of woke causes does nothing to enhance a company's revenue and may, in fact, hurt it. How much pain will Disney and Netflix suffer from their woke posturing is significant.

Let's take Disney first. Over the last decade, Disney has become more liberal in embracing social causes and woke positions. Yesterday, that all came to a head when the Florida State Legislature passed a bill ending Disney's special tax privileges and self-governing perks that were established years ago when Walt Disney was building Disney World. Repealing these corporate perks will cost Disney tens of millions.



This all occurred last month when Disney went full-out in denouncing a State law that prohibited elementary schools from teaching sex education to children 8 and under. Disney received wide condemnation for this. Why Disney management feels the need to get involved in these woke issues is beyond reason.  However, they will suffer the consequences. Disney stock has gone from a high of 185 to its current price of 121 or a 35% loss in value over the last 12 months, my prediction is that it will trend lower given its social posture and the inflationary economy we find ourselves in - which is principally due to the Biden administration's war on fossil fuels.


Netflix has faired much worst. Their capitulation to Hollywood's wokism by producing content that is geared toward the left politically has gotten Netflix a decrease in subscriptions for the first time in its history. Its stock price bears this out. Over the last year Netflix stock price has gone from $687 to $218 or an eye-popping 69%. 

Corporations need to learn that taking on social or political issues is risky and does not to enhance their bottom line or their acceptance by consumers. Being good corporate citizens is a must for any company of size but totally embracing left-leaning political causes is dangerous and demonstrates a high degree of mismanagement.

Wokism can be used as a marketing tool but with the caveat that its use rquires carefull research and a light touch.

Jim Lavorato

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Captain America Comic Fetches $3.1 Million

 


An 'almost' mint #1 issue of 'Captain America' sold for $3.1 million last week. At 82 years of age, the comic's cover depicts Cap America 'powing' Hitler.

Captain America is the story of a weak-kneed man, Steve Rogers, who is injected with a serum that transforms him into a super-soldier. An instant hit, upon its debut, only three copies in near mint condition exist of the thousands published in 1940. 

The $3.1 million price tag is the 3rd highest recorded. A comic featuring the first appearance of Spider-Man sold for $3.6 million in 2021, while an Action Comic #1 sold for $3.2 million in 2014.


Saturday, April 02, 2022

China Gives Hollywood The Bum's Rush

 


For years, Hollywood studios have wooed China - and the CCP knew just how to play them. Like dangling a pork chop in front of a hungry dog China promised a huge box office. And, like many industries before and now, there wasn't a Chinese apple that wouldn't be shined or a boot that wasn't licked as the studios aided China in building new production facilities, readopting plots, rewriting scripts, edited films, and generally kowtowing to every Chinese censors' wish. Now, Chinese-produced films are breaking box office records while Hollywood films are shunned. 

You can blame it on a new wave of Chinese nationalism but this scenario has been played out many times before. In 2021, only 20 U.S. titles were released in China, representing only 12% of the total Chinese box office. In 2012, for example, Hollywood films garnered 48% of the box office and in 2016, 36%. It has been a steady downtrend which will continue.

There was much hype over the scale of the Chinese market by H'wood. The studios sadly and naively thinking they would dominate it. Now, the few Western films that are screened are highly censored and their releases as to when and where are dictated. 

There is no doubt that the Chinese movie market is the largest on the planet but in reality, the notion of  Hollywood grabbing a large share of it is but a dream! Perhaps the studios will finally learn that the CCP doesn't care for their social views, and wokeness even if they bow to or dismiss China's multitude of social, moral, political, and environmental sins there is still no room for them at the table.

China has given Hollywood the bum's rush and deservedly so. Fiascos, such as the 'slap' incident at the Oscars, or Amy Schumer suggesting that President Zelensky leave Ukraine to make a speech at the Academy Awards while waging a war with Russia demonstrate how out of touch with reality the Hollywood glitterati is.

"Sorry,  I can't make it I'm in the middle of a war"

One would have thought that Western companies have learned their lessons when it comes to conducting business in China - but I'm afraid that's not the case. Just yesterday, the CCP informed Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, that Apple would have to produce the chips that run iPhones in China, hmmm sounds familiar. 




 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

RUST ...The Saga Continues

 As a follow-up to our other posts on the 'Rust' movie and Alec Baldwin, the latest news is that the Directors Guild of America issued orders to all of its members to stop working on a related project.


Baldwin with the backdrop of the 'Rust' movie set

Citing safety concerns, the Guild issued a directive to stop work on the teen genre film 'Oak' being produced by Thomasville Pictures, one of the companies behind 'Rust'.

The Guild informed its members that they should stop work on "Oak' and leave the set or face union discipline. 

Representatives of the Guild informed the producers of specific safety requirements that needed to be satisfied for the film to be covered under a Guile agreement. According to a spokesperson for the Directors Guild, "The producers failed to meet those conditions".

And so the sage of 'Rust' continues. Baldwin has now disavowed all responsibility for the on-set shooting in which one person was killed and another severely injured - although he was the shooter. CMG will continue to follow this story as events unfold.








Mission Impossible's Real-life Mission

 

Six films and two to go - #7 & #8 Missions

The Mission Impossible franchise has raked in close to $4 billion in admissions. That is six films about a super spy, Ethan Hunt, played by Tom Cruise. The MI franchise is based upon an American TV series of the same name which was created by Bruce Geller. Then in 1996 the first (in the now 8 film franchise) was released and from that point on the films have been one of Paramount's best moneymakers.

However, things aren't so rosy between Cruise and Paramount these days, as his lawyers have notified the studio that he was not happy with the 45 days theatrical release window - much shorter than his usual three-month cinema release - before streaming to Paramount+. 

So, the production of MI #7 was put on ice, and filming of MI#8 started. MI 7s release has been postponed four times and is now scheduled for release in July 2023, but on hold pending resolution of the release issue while working on #8. 

Cruise, who has creative control over the films, wants the longer cinema release window for both films. So, the notion that the studio has control over Cruise and the films' budget is wrong. Cruise is a guy that is incredibly detailed and willing to put an enormous amount of time and effort into every detail of the films. But, the still-unfinished #7 has already blown through $290 million as there is a relentless drive for bigger and better stunts and more and more shooting locations. 

At this time, Paramount has no other big, surefire franchises and #7 and #8 (both untitled as yet) will be big moneymakers. So, Cruise has Paramount under a barrel, and Paramount, like all other studios, is desperate for tentpoles.

Looks like we'll have to wait until 2023 to see another MI, but it should be worth the wait.





Monroe Biopic Gets NC-17 Rating

 The Motion Picture Association of America has given the new Netflix biopic on Marilyn Monroe an NC-17 adult-only rating.

The film stars Ana de Armas as the iconic Monroe and the rating was based upon sexual content. It is no surprise that a well-made depiction of Monroe would carry this rating. Monroe was not adverse to nude pictures of herself, she was the pin-up in the first issue of Playboy. She was a Hollywood sex kitten and liked playing that role. 

                                          Ana de Armas and Monroe

'Blonde' was "a demanding movie and one of true depiction. It's an NC-17 movie about Marilyn Monroe, it's kind of what one would expect," says Director Andrew Dominik. 

CMG agrees. A film of Monroe's life, if depicted truthfully, would be rated as an adult film. Try to catch the film at your local 'art' cinema as mainstream theater circuits are wary of screening NC-17s. I can't wait to see it.


Monday, March 07, 2022

Can The Academy Resuscitate The Oscar

 This year's Oscar Awards show represents a pivotal point in its history. This year is meant to "be a fun and engaging telecast for all viewers", according to Will Parker, this year's show producer. Really!

The Oscar is going to need a lot more than a snort of coke to revive 


The show will have three hosts, (Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes - all three old-school SNL-type comics which makes for a big yawn) so you start with this as a challenge from the get-go. Additionally, there has developed a major riff regarding the Academy's decision to pre-record eight 'craft' awards and disperse them throughout the show. Many in the industry strongly feel this degrades the work of filmmakers in general.

All of this aside, the fact remains that no matter how the Oscars are presented, in what format, who hosts, what awards are given live and which are not - the show has no relevance to fans.

The Oscars have to have a whole make-over from top-to-bottom. Award the relevant films no matter the genre. This show should be all about entertainment and should be aired as an entertainment property. 

The Academy misses the point on the relevance of the Oscars. It is not a night to honor celebrities it is a night to honor moviegoers. The emphasis should be placed on the user and not the provider.

A core group is going to watch the show no matter what, but that core gets smaller each year. Viewers and movie fans have many choices and their choice is to be entertainment not to view a half-assed, pretentious, forced-humor, social-speak fashion/award show of the same old.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Oscars...Trying To Span The Disconnect

There exists a chasm between the Academy members and the moviegoing public. This divide is wider and deeper than it has ever been and is reflected in the viewership of the Oscars which has been on a downward trajectory over the last 15 years and reached an all-time low of 9.5million viewers last year.

OUT OF TOUCH WITH MOVIEGOERS

The  Academy needs to get relevant and lose the elevated snobbery that the brand projects, particularly when it comes to nominating movies that very few see and which generate little to no box office attendance.  If nothing else it should be taken as a monetary problem, as the Oscar telecast is a major source of revenue for the nonprofit organization - and this continues to drop. 

So, to alleviate the problem, this year the Academy has decided to present a 'the Twitter Award', in an attempt to reverse the course of non-interest on the part of film fans.




Twitter users will be able to tweet their submissions up to 20 times a day using the hashtag #OscarsFanFavorite. The film that receives the most fan votes by March 3rd will be recognized during the March 27th broadcast.

CMG believes that this 'scheme', to get younger moviegoers interested in watching the Oscars, will fail. It is the latest, there have been many, to hold on to the cultural importance it once had. The Oscars have become a boorish event for the Hollywood glitterati to backslap and pontificate on their wokish political views.

Only when the films that generate the bulk of the box office gate will film fans return to watching the Oscar awards --- and not before that.



Friday, February 11, 2022

No Vac or Mask for Oscar

In Los Angeles, all moviegoers MUST be fully vaccinated and masked before being admitted to a cinema to enjoy a movie... yet those mandates do not apply for attending the Academy Awards.

Yes, the mandates have been waived for the Hollywood hotshots and the glitterati will be free to congregate vac and mask free during the Oscar presentations.

The Academy confirmed that attendees to the big show would not be required to show vac status nor wear masks.

No need for masks or vacs at Oscars

With standing-room-only at the event, tinsel-town elites see no reason why they should be burdened by trivial mandates reserved for the common folk. 

So, an unvaccinated person in L.A. cannot go to a cinema, gym, restaurant, or bar without showing proof of being fully vac'ed. It occurs to me that of all the public places one can visit a cinema is the safest!  There is distance separation, the seats are sanitized, and there is very little co-mingling of patrons. Not so at the Oscars, where thousands will be packed into the Dolby Theater and I guarantee you the only people wearing masks will be the paparazzi.

What about masks you say? Well, it seems that masks will not be required at the Oscars either. CA State officials announced this week that the indoor mask mandate will be lifted on February 16th. The Oscars will be aired on March 27th.

So at cinemas, it's No Pokey No Showy. For Oscars: No Pokey Who Cares - let the games begin.

No need for the glitterati to be vac'ed of masked














 

Saturday, February 05, 2022

Old Stars and Songsters Have No Relevance

 Whether Neil Youn, Joni Mitchell, or Barbra Streisand why on earth do they believe they are still relevant and can sway public opinion and cancel others that pose different views than their own.



To their credit, Spotify did not capitulate to demands by these older, non-relevant music artists to cancel podcasters that didn't agree with their held beliefs.

The term Covidians (those that have elevated the COVID crisis to a religious level) is what these anti-free speech retro-artists represent.

CMG believes people have the right to any beliefs regarding the pandemic or any other topic. If businesses give in to unfounded demands by others - they will lose in the long run.

Wokeism is a cultural trend that will become irrelevant because of its ridge and unflexible posture. If more companies, follow Spotify's example the current cancel culture which pits people against each other will die out.

Call For Gun Safety on Film Sets

 New Mexican Republican State Senator, Cliff Pirtle, introduced a bill that would require all film and TV production personnel who handle firearms to complete a gun safety course with the New Mexico Game & Fish Department.



Spurred on by the Alec Baldwin shooting that took the life of cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins while filming the movie, 'Rust', it was unclear if the bill will gain support in the Democrat-led legislature and Dem. Governor, Michelle Grisham, had no immediate comment on the proposal.


Senator Pirtle, in a statement, stated, "Unfortunately, to the Hollywood elite, the talk around guns is all too abstract. This is  a simple bill to bring  some gravity back to the use of firearms  on production sets."

CMG agrees with Senator Pirtle and other States should follow. There definitely needs to be a higher sense of awareness regarding firearms on film and TV production sets. 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Movies In Outer Space - Literally

 Space Entertainment Enterprise announced last week that it is planning to have a full-blown movie production studio and sports arena in space! The company said they are aiming to build a space station module by December 2024 that "would host films, television, music and sports events and enable artists, producers, and other creatives to produce content in a low-orbit, micro-gravity environment."



 Axiom Space, which received NASA's approval in January 2020 to build a commercial component on the International Space Station, is supposed to undertake the construction of the SEE-1 project.

Thin-skinned Chinese Take Aim At Keanu Reeves

 Tibet is a national issue for the Chinese. They believe that the nation of Tibet is part of the greater Middle Kingdom - and they are very put-off by any mention of their right of ownership. 

To this point, a Chinese Nationalist Group called 'little pinks', has requested the Chinese government ban the movie 'The Matrix Resurrections' because its star, Keanu Reeves, supports Tibet House (a pro-Tibetan non-profit that supports the Dalai Lama - the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet). 

Reeves promoting Matrix Resurrections

Reeves isn't the first Hollywood star to be castigated for supporting Tibetan independence. Past actors have included Richard Gere and Brad Pitt.

The social wires were ablaze in China as the anti 'Matrix' movement went viral. Many Chinese, towing the 'little pinks' Communist line, expressed "shock and dismay" at Reeves saying they would quit being fans.

And so it goes. China is becoming annoying. For such a large and 'modern' nation to be this petty clearly demonstrates their thin skin when dealing with issues pertaining to their national aggression.   

 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Timepieces as Props: Real or Fake? You Decide

 In many films, timepieces and watches are very often used as center-piece props. Are they real or fake? It all depends on the movie.


In the photo above, taken from the movie "Don't Look Up", Johna Hill is wearing a Richard Mille RM52 Skull Tourbillon. The watch is prominently displayed in the scene but it is fake - the real Mille sells for $600,000. This did not go unnoticed by watch aficionados who filled the internet with posts regarding the 'counterfeit timepiece'.   

Fake watches are often substituted for real ones in movies, one because of the cost to rent the real ones, two because of the risk of them 'going missing' from the set, and third, they may be damaged during filming.

However, there are times when nothing but the real will do. For example, in "Crazy Rich Asians" a pivotal scene occurs where only the best, and real, could be used. In this case, the borrowing of a Newman Rolex Daytona (one was last sold at auction for $17.8 million). It is sometimes the details that make the film much more realistic.

Newman with Rolex Daytona

Sometimes studios will make deals with manufacturers, making them the official timepieces of the movie, for example, Omegas used in the Bond films. Unless you're a watch geek you wouldn't have noticed that Elvis wore a Hamilton Ventura (a Swiss watch that Presley wore for years) in "Blue Hawaii". In fact, many watches are sold based, in part, because they were viewed in a favorite movie.

 

Elvis sporting Hamilton Ventura

So, the next time you're at the movies check out the watches and other timepieces. Can you tell the difference between real and fake?


Monday, January 03, 2022

Ugly People - A Short Post

 Someone quipped, "Politics is show business for ugly people" and from the looks of our politicians, this is very true.

What was ugly in 2021 was the movie box office. At $4.4 billion, and representing a 91% increase over 2020, it still has a long way to go.

The good news is that the cinema's ugliness will be overcome and it will rise again as the preeminent means of viewing films and the emotion they bring to the viewer. As for our politicians - no such luck!

People are returning to the cinema

 According to a recent poll by Nielson, when asked where would you prefer to view a new movie, 58% of people within the age of 18 to 58 responded 'in a movie theater'!  People want to go to the movies. They know the value of viewing a film in a movie theater vs. at home and they will return post (or sort of post) pandemic.


Movie Theaters Will Rise, Phoenix-like, in 2022

 'Spider Man' was an echo of the past as the last two years were hell to the movie exhibition industry. 


Movie theaters will rise phoenix-like in 2022

2021 ended with a bang as 'Spider Man' grossed over $600 million in N. America and over $1 billion globally. Shortened theatrical release windows, day-and-date streaming content, and pandemic restraints were huge challenges never faced before by cinemas.

What was demonstrated however was that cinemas still reign supreme as viewing venues which can not be replicated in the home.

Although movie exhibition continues to wrestle with COVID-induced issues, the U.S. box office was much improved over 2020 - as total gross admissions for 2021 topped $4.4 billion, a 91% increase over 2020. 

The good news is that frequent moviegoers (those that attend at least once per month) have returned. People are fed-up with pandemic restrictions - we've had enough. Additionally, it has not gone unnoticed by the movie studios that films released in cinemas and streamed simultaneously, ie. The Matrix, lose out on the box office revenue stream.

By and large, movie theaters are much safer places for patrons to visit than bars or restaurants - and this fact should be widely advertised by each and every cinema.

Considering the beating cinemas underwent over the past two years, most endured, with only 5% of U.S. screen closing. It will take time for audiences to return in full and for cinemas to adjust to a shortened release window - but in reality, most admissions occur in the first three weeks of release.

It's funny, but the fate of cinemas rests not with the studios or the cinemas but the moviegoing public and their decision on whether or not to 'go to the movies' and view films the way they were meant to be seen.


Sunday, December 19, 2021

The AMC Saga: The Best Hollywood Story of the Year

 


Being resurrected from the brink of bankruptcy was only the start of this entertainment saga.

More than 4 million retail investors betted billions on AMC's future as the entity was rocked and battered by COVID and content streamers.

Amassing on social media, these retail investors took AMC's shares price from $2.20 to $76.02 and the new 'crowd' investors ended up owning 80% of the company. Empowered by Robin Hood, Webull, and other online investment apps, that have made stock trading easy and cheap, the mob rescued the faltering movie house. 

Robin Hood founders: Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Phatt

Not guided by Wall Street's normal financial investment motives, these retail investors were moved by internet buzz. AMC and video game retailer Game Stop were 2021 'mob' favorites. Fancied a populist revolt against Wall Street take-over predators who had bet heavily on both companies' demise.

"It was the 99% against the 1%. I love the movies, we would go every week. I knew there was a bunch of people that would come together for this battle", stated Kathy Larsen, a 40-year-old bartender from Oceanside, CA. 

Larsen, and her mates, call themselves 'apes', a reference to the film 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes'. The apes made AMC their cause, and AMC CEO, Adam Aron, climbed on board. To appease the apes, AMC began accepting cryptocurrencies and hosting mixed martial arts tournaments.

$2 billion had been raised but Aron felt he would need double that to survive the impact of the pandemic but the new 'owners' shot down that idea. Led by several leaders, including Trey Collins, a 24-year-old Army officer, the apes told Aron to "forget about AMC's business fundamentals" and instead put trust in the ape collective.

Now, looking in from the outside, Wall Street analysts cited AMC's pandemic losses, a $5 billion debt load, and the changing consumers' viewing habits make AMC's performance outlook extremely dim.

Numbers don't lie, and AMC's share price currently stands at $29.12 (as of 12/18/21). The apes did allow AMC senior executives to become rich however as they unloaded their shares - to the tune of $80 million. 

Trey Collins and other ape influencers tell AMC mob investors to hold their shares - predicting the stock will soar again.

The apes vs. Wall Street, there can only be one winner. Who do you think will come out on top?


Friday, December 17, 2021

"I Didn't Pull The Trigger"

 Things got a lot worse for Alec Baldwin this week as a warrant to search his cell phone was issued. 

In the continuation of the investigation of the fatal shooting on the set of 'Rust', the lead investigator, Santa Fe Detective Alexandria Hancock stated that she had asked Baldwin and his attorney to voluntarily turn over the phone, but her request was refused. She was told by Baldwin's attorney to "get a warrant." Which she did!

Hancock also indicated that in a search of Halyna Hutchins' (the cinematographer that was killed) phone found conversations regarding the protocols during the production of 'Rust' that went back to July 14th. 

                                 Alec Baldwin in a world of hurt

The affidavit for the warrant included details of Baldwin's initial interview with detectives. In that interview, Baldwin stated that he had exchanged emails with Hannah Reed, the armorer of the production, about what type of gun was to be used and that he selected the Colt .45 used in the fatal shooting.

In an interview on ABC, Baldwin stated, "it's highly unlikely that I would be charged with anything criminally."  Hmmm...not so fast Alec. So far no charges have been ruled out and criminal negligence and 2nd-degree manslaughter are not far-fetched charges in a case such as this.

The warrant included all voice, text, photos, videos, call history, contacts, and GPS date regarding anything to do with the 'Rust' production.

CMG thinks Baldwin is in a world of hurt.

In a related story, the Head of Lighting on the 'Rust' production has filed a lawsuit over Baldwin's fatal shooting, alleging negligence that caused him "severe emotional stress that will haunt him forever."

                             Serge Svernoy and attorney

Serge Svetnoy, said the fatal bullet, that killed Hutchins, narrowly missed him.

The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, names many, including Alec Baldwin, who was a star and a producer of 'Rust". Svetnoy stated that he had seen guns setting unattended in the dirt and had warned the people responsible for them.

"I felt a strange and terrifying whoosh of what felt like pressurized air from my right. I believe I felt gunpowder and other residual materials strike the right side of my face."