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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.