NCM Takes Center Stage: Interview with National CineMedia CEO Kurt Hall on June 12, 2014

khall.pngBy Phil Contrino

On May 5, the cinema advertising landscape changed in a significant way. That was the day National CinemaMedia announced that it entered into a definitive merger agreement with Screenvision for $375 million of cash and stock on a debt-free, cash-free basis. According to NCM, this merger "creates a video advertising network that will cover nearly all 210 Designated Market Areas® across all 50 states and deliver to approximately 3,900 theaters with over 34,000 screens, reaching over 1.1 billion annual patrons."

BoxOffice caught up with National CineMedia Chairman and CEO Kurt Hall to discuss this groundbreaking merger.

What will this merger mean for exhibitors who are currently using pre-show content from Screenvision?

There are some things that we're going to be investing in that have a direct and indirect impact on the circuits. First of all, right now Screenvision's network delivers advertising and programming to theaters via four different ways: satellite, broadband, thumb drives, and there's a few theaters that are delivered on 35-millimeter film. One of the first things we're going to do is get all of those screens onto our network as best we can. Some circuits may have technology in certain theaters that will make that more difficult, but we're starting to explore that now. The idea is that when we're done with the integration, we'll have a network that looks more like ours currently does. Our network is 100 percent digital projection and 80 percent digital cinema right now, and that number will continue to go up as people deploy digital cinema or we decide to take the LCD projector out and use a digital cinema projector. Ninety-seven percent of our attendance is delivered via a satellite or broadband network, and Screenvision's percent is much lower than that. For a theater circuit to work with an organization that can deliver via a network as opposed to a disc drive means they have a better product, because it's easier to buy for advertisers. And, hopefully, now that it's easier to buy, companies will buy more of it and at a higher price point. Because of the revenue-sharing deal that's in place with circuits, that means exhibitors will make more money. The ability of the combined company to deploy technology more rapidly is a huge advantage.

In order to create our First Look pre-show, we spend millions of dollars a year, and we have 70 to 80 people who produce around 50 to 60 versions each month. There's a big difference between G, PG, PG-13, and R versions, and then there are many different versions based on circuit and interstitials. We also change out the pre-show content every two weeks.

Are ad sales going to be more dynamic?

We can target all the way down to an individual theater now. That'll be important. The ability to target individual audiences better will make the product better. Right now we have four basic pre-shows, and we target audiences based on G, PG, PG-13, and R-rated films. We also have the ability within those groups to say, "OK, we're going to sell you all the PG-13 films except these films that don't fit your demographic, profile, or target very well." We do a lot of that. In the future we are going to be able to target by genre. The ability to be able to target groups of films better than we currently do is something we've been working on for a while. That technology is in development now, and we're hoping that by the end of this year or early next year that we'll have the ability to optimize the targeting much better than cinema is able to do today.

Do you think this merger will lead to a surge in cinema advertising?

Cinema advertising has been growing very nicely over the last several years. The market share shift that we always thought would happen between television and other avenues has been ongoing for the last 8 to10 years. If you look at last year and add our revenue up with Screenvision's, revenue was up 6 to 7 percent for cinema advertising, which is a higher growth rate than TV. Clearly cinema has continued to rise. I think that this deal will create a better product and we'll continue to see cinema take a bigger chunk out of TV.

The new technologies that are being provided to consumers focused on controlling advertisements is a very powerful advantage for cinema. We are arguably the only video advertising platform where it isn't fairly easy for the consumer to turn it off or get away from it. As online and mobile continues to grow, it's also going to have new technology introduced where people can skip the ads.

When you look at cinema, it offers both high-quality programming and the biggest delivery device, which are both top concerns for advertisers.



NORTH AMERICA: 'The Fault In Our Stars' Shoots Past $60 Million in 6 Days; 'Maleficent' Tops $140M on June 12, 2014

jun6.pngFox reports that The Fault In Our Stars added $4.17 million on Wednesday, off 17 percent from the day prior. The young adult sensation has tallied $62.3 million in its first 6 days, 5 percent behind where Divergent stood at the same point and 6 percent ahead of The Vow.

Edge of Tomorrow grossed $2.77 million yesterday for a day-to-day drop of 20 percent. The Tom Cruise sci-fi pic has earned $38.2 million domestically in its first 6 days, 4 percent off the pace of Elysium through the same point.

Disney's Maleficent declined 29 percent from last Wednesday to $3.987 million yesterday. The Angelina Jolie pic has brought in $140.9 million so far, 32 percent ahead of the pace of Snow White and the Huntsman.

X-Men: Days of Future Past took a 40 percent week-to-week drop with $1.71 million on Wednesday. The Fox sequel has totaled $195.1 million domestically through 20 days of release.

Rounding out the top five, A Million Ways to Die in the West added $0.915 million yesterday, giving it a 36 percent week-to-week decline. The comedy's domestic tally is now $33.2 million through 13 days.

'22 Jump Street' Tips The Scales In Its Favor Over 'Dragon 2' on June 12, 2014


By Alex Edghill

Thursday Morning Update: 22 Jump Street rose a couple points to 81,419 tweets on Wednesday up from 79,925 tweets the day before. Hard to believe that with these numbers it isn't leading all films but The Fault In Our Stars and Maleficent continue to be juggernauts that command huge numbers of tweets each day despite their waning box office numbers. No R-Rated comedy has ever thrown up these types of numbers, not even Hangover II. We are predicting a huge $65 million beginning for it thanks weekend thanks to all this hoopla and with the strong word of mouth it is receiving $200 million+ should be a virtual lock domestically.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 had a 27% jump to 10,816 tweets, up from Tuesday's 8,549 tweets. By comparison, How To Train Your Dragon had 1,698  tweets its Wednesday before release while The LEGO Movie had 18,155, and Rio 2 had 10,524.  Strong numbers here again but I was hoping to see it far surpass Rio 2 and be closer to The LEGO Movie at this point, especially since its search string is actually more straightforward than Rio 2. Still, its not like its disappointing per say, just that I thought it would do even better and in light of this we are predicting a very close race between this and 22 Jump Street with the latter inching ahead of Dragon's projected $64 million start.

Dumb And Dumber To expanded even further to 34,361 tweets on Wednesday which is easily one of the best comedy-genre first trailers I have seen on Twitter. Its a long long way out but this looks primed to be a strong holiday contender given this early reaction. It will be interesting to see how it holds up in appeal to its second trailer and if it can carry this sort of interest along with it but color me impressed.

Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (quite a mouthful I know), debuted its first trailer and it fizzled its way to 4,561 tweets on the day. Considering that 300: Rise OF An Empire had 20,391 tweets for its first trailer back in June of 2013 Dame's number here is severely lacking. The late August date is one that doesn't inspire much confidence as it is traditionally a dumping ground so it will have to do a much better job of generating chatter in the coming months if its to aspire to be more Sin City than The Spirit.

Top 15 Movies for Wednesday June 11th

Rk Film Tue Wed Week Tue-Wed %
1 (-) The Fault in Our Stars 246,462 164,069 646,991 -33.43%
2 (+1) Maleficent 69,880 82,060 214,538 17.43%
3 (-1) 22 Jump Street 79,925 81,419 219,956 1.87%
4 (+1) Dumb and Dumber To 11,067 34,361 45,709 210.48%
5 (-1) Edge of Tomorrow 14,186 14,922 46,853 5.19%
6 (+1) X-Men: Days of Future Past 7,729 12,165 28,404 57.39%
7 (-1) How to Train Your Dragon 2 8,549 10,816 26,643 26.52%
8 (+3) If I Stay 4,746 8,717 18,181 83.67%
9 (-) Transformers: Age of Extinction 5,437 7,524 16,755 38.39%
10 (+80) Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame To Kill For 16 4,561 4,612 28406.25%
11 (+4) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 3,078 3,618 9,797 17.54%
12 (-) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 4,440 3,568 11,845 -19.64%
13 (-) Godzilla (2014) 3,943 3,218 11,208 -18.39%
14 (+22) The Penguins of Madagascar 453 3,217 4,067 610.15%
15 (+34) The Interview (2014) 305 3,144 3,689 930.82%

Please check the methodology page for information about our Twitter project or here for historic data.

'22 Jump Street' and 'Dragon 2' Flying High with Robust Advance Ticket Sales on June 11, 2014

jun13.pngLOS ANGELES - June 11, 2014 - According to Fandango, the nation's leading moviegoer destination, two highly-anticipated sequels, "22 Jump Street" and "How to Train Your Dragon 2" are on track to score big with weekend audiences, scoring 91 and 90 out of 100 points, respectively, on the company's Fanticipation movie buzz indicator. The R-rated "22 Jump Street" is outselling previous R-rated comedies "Ted" and "Neighbors", while the animated "Dragon 2" is currently outselling "Rio 2," "The Croods" and "Hotel Transylvania," at the same point in the Fandango sales cycle.

According to a survey of more than 1,000 "Dragon 2" ticket-buyers on Fandango:
· 85% are eager to see a family-friendly film this summer;

· 81% picked "Toothless" as their favorite dragon;

· 71% saw the first "Dragon" movie on the big screen;

· 63% select Cate Blanchett as the new franchise voice they're most anticipating;

· 61% will see the movie as part of a family outing celebrating Father's Day Weekend.

"'22 Jump Street' and ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2' have more in common than the participation of Jonah Hill," notes Fandango chief correspondent Dave Karger. "They're both sequels to major crowd pleasers and as such have large built-in fan bases. ‘Jump Street' will bring in older teens and twentysomethings in huge numbers, while ‘Dragon' is the most appealing family film since ‘The LEGO Movie,' and the first animated blockbuster of the summer."

About Fandango's Fanticipation
Known for having its finger on the pulse of moviegoers, Fandango's movie buzz indicator, Fanticipation, provides statistical insight into the movies fans are planning to see in a given weekend. Fanticipation scores (based on a 1 to 100-point scale) are calculated via an algorithm of Fandango's advance ticket sales, website and mobile traffic, and social media engagement. Fanticipation is not intended as a forecast of the weekend box office; it is a snapshot of movie fan sentiment.


NORTH AMERICA: 'The Fault In Our Stars' Takes in $5.00M on Tuesday to Hold off 'Maleficent' for #1 on June 11, 2014


By Daniel Garris

Fox's The Fault in Our Stars took in $5.00 million on Tuesday to continue to lead the daily box office. A day after experiencing the day's best daily percentage hold among wide releases on Monday, The Fault in Our Stars experienced Tuesday's poorest daily percentage hold among wide releases as it fell 2 percent from Monday. The low-budget drama starring Shailene Woodley was still able to hold off Maleficent for first place on Tuesday, as it was ahead of Maleficent by $290,266 for the day. The Fault in Our Stars continues to run towards the very high end of pre-release expectations with a very strong five-day start of $58.10 million.

Maleficent placed in a close second on Tuesday with $4.71 million. Disney's 3D fantasy film starring Angelina Jolie continues to hold up relatively well, as it increased 16 percent over Monday and was down 35 percent from last Tuesday. Maleficent continues to be helped out by strong word of mouth, increased summer midweek business and the current lack of competition for family audiences. Maleficent has grossed $136.94 million in twelve days. That is towards the higher end of the film's lofty expectations and places it 31 percent ahead of the $104.19 million twelve-day take of 2012's Snow White and the Huntsman.

Warner's Edge of Tomorrow held steady in third place with $3.48 million. The critically acclaimed 3D sci-fi film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt increased a solid 10 percent over Monday. Edge of Tomorrow has grossed $35.41 million in its first five days. While that is in line with pre-release expectations, the film is having an underwhelming domestic performance when considering its expensive price tag. Edge of Tomorrow is currently running 17.5 percent behind the $42.92 million five-day take of last year's Oblivion (which increased 17 percent on its first Tuesday to gross $3.16 million).

X-Men: Days of Future Past grossed $2.02 million to remain in fourth. Fox's critically acclaimed 3D superhero sequel was up 15 percent over Monday, but still down 47 percent from last Tuesday. X-Men: Days of Future Past has grossed $193.34 million in 19 days, which leaves the film just $6.66 million away from reaching the $200 million domestic milestone. The film is currently running 57 percent ahead of the $123.39 million 19-day take of 2011's X-Men: First Class.

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