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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.