By Shawn Robbins
Warner Bros. wants to bring Wonder Woman to the big screen. That's been a known fact for some time, but yesterday's reaffirmation from Greg Silverman, the studio's president of creative development and worldwide production, was welcome news for fans of the DC Comics character.
So, when's the right time to make it happen? The studio is currently neck-deep in its part-sequel/part-reboot that is Zack Snyder's still-untitled Superman/Batman flick. While their priorities should be on crafting the best possible version of that movie, the future is now--and the future of movies, if you haven't been paying attention, is in bringing women to the forefront.
Perhaps more than any other studio right now, Warner Bros. knows that. Their Gravity is still the talk of the town three weeks after release, and Sandra Bullock's turn in the film's lead role is a major contribution to its phenomenal global success (having banked $286 million and counting).
Disney and Marvel know it, too. Just hours before Silverman's comments were published, Movies.com's Erik Davis posted an interview with Marvel's Kevin Feige--the executive mastermind behind the success of the Avengers franchise--in which he confirms that there are no current plans for a female-led superhero film coming out of Marvel. Not before 2016 or 2017, at least. (Sorry, Scarlett Johansson/Black Widow fans.) It's not that they don't want to, but logistically, their slate is already packed for the next few years.
Note to WB: that window opening in front of your eyes is one of significant opportunity.
Aside from the mega-success of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, Warner and DC have been playing eternal second-fiddle to Marvel in the cinematic realm for more than a decade. Green Lantern failed in 2011, and several possible iterations of a Justice League film have fizzled out in recent years. Man of Steel was the first best hope in launching their own Avengers-like film universe, but fans aren't quite as enthusiastic about the potential of it as they were after 2008's Iron Man set the stage for Marvel's Cinematic Universe.
A would-be Justice League universe needs a game-changer, and not just the one Snyder and writer David Goyer are concocting for July 18, 2015. They need something to keep them ahead of Marvel's curve. Now is the time to put serious resources into making a Wonder Woman movie happen; one that fans and average moviegoers can both take seriously.
Why? Take this statistic for an example: despite space-set films being historically male-centric, 46 percent of Gravity's opening weekend audience was comprised of women--2 percent more than Man of Steel, and a whopping 17 percent more than the year's highest grosser thus far, Iron Man 3. As noted, Bullock's star power and recent successes were major components in that. It's not a stretch to say that a Wonder Woman film mixing narrative depth and visual spectacle, while led by a dramatically-capable star actress, would bring out more than just male comic nerds.
Such a project shouldn't be rushed, either. The studio has been wise to explore all options carefully, and the first option that should be tossed immediately is any involvement of Wonder Woman in the 2015 Superman/Batman pic (beyond a brief setup or cameo). That project has enough mountains to climb, and the task of establishing a new heroine would likely be narrative overkill.
Instead, scour the industry (or fans, for that matter) for writers and directors that know how to give women a voice on screen. Let them pen a standalone film completely dedicated to the origins and development of a strong female character not well-known by today's audience. The first studio to do the concept justice will reap the rewards, while the other will be left to ponder the opportunity they missed as they watch the competition be the first to embrace the future, and rule the box office in the process.
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Cypress, California -- It's "all Christie, all the time" as Southern Theatres selects Christie®, the dominant brand in the digital cinema market, to power every auditorium in its new, state-of-the-art 14-screen theater complex at the Esplanade Mall in Kenner, Louisiana.
The Grand 14 Esplanade, scheduled to open December 12, will be the first to feature the "complete Christie experience," fitted exclusively with Christie Solaria® Series digital cinema projection technology and the Christie® Vive AudioTM systems. Christie's Managed Services team is providing complete support, from designing the technology floor plan, to installing and integrating all of the products, as well as providing 24/7 remote monitoring, maintenance and support through Christie's own Network Operations Center.
"We're excited to bring the latest developments in digital cinema projection and audio technology to our guests with the opening of the Grand 14 Esplanade in Kenner," said Ron Krueger II, President and Chief Operating Officer, Southern Theatres. "We're the first theater to power every auditorium with Christie Vive Audio, a revolutionary leap in cinema loudspeaker design that provides the benefit of improved sound coverage for every guest in every seat in the house."
The Grand 14 Esplanade will offer Southern Theatres' branded Grand Premium Experience (GPX) auditorium, equipped with the Christie® DuoTM dual-projection system using Christie CP4230 4K DLP Cinema® projectors, ensuring that the RealD 3D images on the huge three story screen are the crispest and brightest possible. The GPX auditorium will also feature Christie Vive Audio configured for 46 channels using Dolby® AtmosTM, a new audio solution that revolutionizes the experience of sound in entertainment. The groundbreaking new Christie Vive Audio system features speakers with an innovative single enclosure line array design combined with ribbon driver technology and high-powered Class D amplification - the first to be used in a cinema environment.
The combination of two Christie Solaria projectors and the Christie Duo integration kit is significantly less expensive than other branded ‘big screen' industry solutions. With lower upfront costs, and no ongoing revenue sharing, Christie Duo is the global solution for creating an affordable, premium large screen movie experience.
"Interest has been exceptionally strong since our launch of Christie Vive Audio in July, with the postproduction and exhibition communities recognizing a unique opportunity to gain a competitive edge by unleashing the full potential of the new generation of digital cinema surround sound technology," said Patrick Artiaga, director of Business Development, Audio Solutions for Christie. "We're proud that Southern Theatres has made the Grand 14 Esplanade the world's first all-inclusive Christie Vive Audio complex, flawlessly complementing it with the crisp images and spectacular video offered by Christie DLP® digital cinema projectors - giving their audience the ultimate movie-viewing experience."
Specifically created and built for the digital cinema environment, Christie Vive Audio's unique parabolic line array design envelopes audiences with dynamic, richly detailed and enhanced audio where speech, special effects, music, and alternative content sound incredibly natural and lifelike.
Added Mr. Krueger II, "The GPX auditorium will really allow our guests to fully immerse themselves into a 3D movie- with the unparalleled brightness of Christie 4K resolution digital projection and the combined power of the Christie Vive Audio and Dolby Atmos systems, viewers will experience every sight and sound as if they are actually ‘in the picture.'"
"Christie's Managed Services team has been involved exclusively since the beginning of the project, providing unparalleled professional consultation, integration, installation, and design services for all of the auditoriums," said Sean James, vice president of Managed Services at Christie. "We supplied the complete, ‘one-stop-shopping' solution, developing specifications for audio, projection, screens, power, system/network infrastructure, special audio support, and theater-wide automation solutions."
Added James: "Our job is not over when the installation is complete. Managed Services will continue to provide the entire theater with 24/7 remote monitoring through Christie's Network Operations Center, once the site is live."
Chicago, IL -- NEC Display Solutions of America, a leading provider of commercial LCD display and projector solutions, announced today the NC1100L Digital Cinema projector, a laser-light source projector targeted to exhibitors with small screens or projection booths as well art houses, mobile cinemas, theaters in universities and public buildings.
As part of NEC's Digital Cinema Projector Series, the NC1100L projector using a laser-light source delivers 2K DCI-compliant cinema quality, which translates to an image brightness of 14-ft-L (using a 1.8 gain screen) on screens up to 36ft./11m in DCI color. It is the world's first Digital Cinema-compliant projector with laser light source built-in.
The NC1100L Digital Cinema projector will be demonstrated at ShowEast on October 21-24 at the Westin Diplomat & Spa in Hollywood, Fla.
"Driving innovation in Digital Cinema is part of what NEC Display does on a daily basis, and as part of our mandate, we're offering a projector that meets the needs of more exhibitors," said Jim Reisteter, General Manager of Digital Cinema at NEC Display Solutions. "Our new NC1100L projector is the light source of the future. The unit's reliability, maintenance-free operation and approximately 20,000 hours (*) of lifetime result in an overall lower total cost of ownership."
The NC1100L projector features 2K (2048 x 1080) resolutions, 3D capabilities and 3-chip DMD reflection method. It is easy to operate with user-friendly accessibility.
The NEC Integrated Media Server (IMS) offers a trouble-free, one-stop solution for exhibitors and other organizations, while the projector's High Frame Rate (HFR) capability offers excellent picture quality. Its all-in-one Integrated Media Server (IMS) and 2 TB RAID5 Storage Server offer versatile connectivity and savings with fewer peripheral devices needed.
Among the key features of the NC1100L Digital Cinema projector:
Lower total cost of ownership (TCO) with up to approximately 20,000 hours of expected light source usage
2048 x 1080 resolution and 1600:1 contrast ratio
Several bayonet lens options for easy installation, enabling motorized zoom, focus and shift capabilities
Suitability for floor and ceiling installation with no exhaust system required
Air cooling with dust-preventing electrostatic filter
Built-in 2 TB RAID5 Storage Server, 2 x 3GSDI, and 1 x HDMI Interfaces, advanced network and built-in GPIO functions
The same IMS (NP-90MS01) for NC900C available with the NC1100L
The NC1100L will be available in March 2014 with a two-year limited warranty (for U.S. and Canada only), including parts and labor. (*) Targeting 20,000 hours expected lifetime. To be finalized in early 2014. This lifetime may vary depending upon environmental conditions.
SHOWEAST, Hollywood -- GDC Technology Limited ("GDC Technology"), a world leading digital cinema solution provider, will showcase its unparalleled digital cinema solutions at ShowEast 2013 in Hollywood, Florida, October 21-24.
SX-3000 Standalone IMB®
The revolutionary SX-3000 Standalone IMB® is GDC Technology's flagship product which was released in the market early this year. The SX-3000 Standalone IMB® is an industry first, with prominent features including the elimination of the need for a file server, which significantly reduces energy consumption, as well as operation and maintenance costs for exhibitors. The SX-3000 Standalone IMB® is equipped with complete alternative content support options such as HDMI (for 2D and 3D content), 3D-SGI ports and live streaming* which allows flexibility to display a wide variety of advertising and alternative content without additional hardware. These new state-of-the-art options will greatly simplify theatre operations and can reduce investment costs.
The SX-3000 Standalone IMB® comes with a cost effective, reliable and scalable external storage solution, serving differing exhibitor needs, namely (i) a portable storage system which is comprised of a compact and light storage device that can be easily mounted on all types of DLP Cinema® projectors with up to 3TB of redundant hot swappable storage and (ii) enterprise storage solution which offers exhibitors with larger and cost-effective storage capacity - up to 8TB of redundant hot swappable storage. The enterprise storage system is designed to be inserted into the projector pedestal. GDC Technology will showcase both the portable and enterprise storage solutions at ShowEast 2013.
VPF program for Latin American exhibitors
In recent years, the worldwide theatrical exhibition industry has been in the process of converting to digital projection and the Virtual Print Free (VPF) program is a key to making this economically feasible for exhibitors. GDC Technology's affiliate, GDC Digital Cinema Network Limited ("GDC DCN") has successfully implemented VPF programs in the North American and Asian markets, and this vital option is also currently available to Latin American exhibitors. Coming into the market with six years of experience and managing over 4,600 screens across 600 VPF agreements with worldwide content distributors and exhibitors, GDC DCN provides an extremely practical and efficient VPF program for the Latin American market.
Product demonstrations and technical training sessions
GDC Technology will offer a wide range of product demonstrations and technical training sessions at ShowEast, which allow visitors to experience its entire digital cinema offerings. The comprehensive sessions will encompass introductions of innovative product offerings, turnkey service and support solutions, comprehensive VPF programs and technical knowledge.
Gravity crossed the $100 million milestone at the overseas box office after a $33.5 million performance from 51 markets. The sci-fi film is the top overseas release for the third consecutive week. Gravity has grossed $114.2 million overseas and has four key markets still scheduled for release.
The film became director Alfonso Cuarón’s biggest opener in his native Mexico after a $5.7 million premiere from 1,770 screens. The special effects were a big hit in the filmmaker’s home market, even fooling a journalist into believing the film was actually shot in outer space. Gravity launched to a $7.1 million first place finish in South Korea, posting a 34% improvement above Life of Pi’s Korean debut. The United Arab Emirates opened to a $1.4 million takes rom only 50 screens, making Gravity the third biggest opening weekend of all time for Warner Bros. in the territory.
The film kept the #1 spot in Australia during its third weekend, grossing $2.2 million from 489 screens –a 27% drop from the previous weekend. Gravity has grossed a total of $11.5 million in Australia. Germany added $2.1 million to reach an $11.9 million total in the territory. Gravity reached a $17.3 million cume in Russia after its third weekend. Gravity has grossed a total of $284.7 million worldwide.
Warner Bros. isn't the only studio celebrating this weekend's overseas box office results. Fox releases contributed $36 million to the studio this weekend, helping the company surpass the $2 billion mark in the global box office for the fifth consecutive year. Fox has reached the milestone a total of seven times.
Turbo contributed the lion’s share of Fox’s weekend numbers overseas. The animated film took $16 million from 20 markets, taking its overseas cume to $143.5 million. Turbo opened in first place in key markets France, Span, and the United Kingdom this weekend. The U.K. brought in $6.4 million in its debut; France posted a $3.3 million bow; and Spain recorded a $1.8 million debut.
The Wolverine crossed the $250 million overseas milestone after a first place opening in China. The superhero spin-off recorded a $13.6 million bow at the Chinese box office, four times more than the debut of Thor and three times the amount grossed by Captain America’s opening weekend in the same market. The Wolverine has grossed $390.8 million worldwide.
Runner Runner added $4.2 million to its overseas cume. The film enjoyed a $1 million opening in Germany. Runner Runner has grossed a total of $55.3 million globally.
Captain Phillips took $9.1 million from its first 11 overseas markets this weekend. The Paul Greengrass film recorded a first place finish in the United Kingdom, where it finished the weekend with a $5.6 million take. The opening is more than twice the amount that Argo posted in its U.K. opening last year. Captain Phillips took second place in Spain, grossing $1.4 million from 411 screens behind new opener Turbo. The film will open in 15 territories next weekend, including top markets Australia and South Korea.
The Fifth Estate flopped in its North American debut, finishing the weekend in 8th place with a dismal $1.7 million gross. The weak debut combined with a struggling $1.6 million overseas total, where The Fifth Estate has also struggled to find an audience. The United Kingdom is the film’s top foreign market, where it has already grossed a $1.4 million total. The Fifth Estate opened in Spain with a disappointing $200K bow.
Planes reached a $110.2 million overseas total after taking $4.5 million from 50 territories this weekend. The animated Disney release has grossed a total of $198.9 million worldwide. The top markets for Planes are the United Kingdom ($13.4M), Spain (($7.8M), Mexico ($7.4M), and Germany ($7.3M). Planes will open in Thailand next weekend.
Despicable Me 2 kept the top spot in Italy for the second consecutive weekend. The animated sequel added $4.4 million from 419 dates, bringing its eleven-day total in Italy to $13.2 million. The film is also posting strong gains in Japan, where it has now reached a $22.3 million cume. Despicable Me 2 has grossed $534.7 million overseas and $898.4 million worldwide. The film is the fifth highest grossing animated film of all time worldwide as of this weekend, surpassing the $887 million global cume of Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
The World’s End opened in eight place in Russia with a $323K take from 323 dates. The film struggled in its Norway debut with a $64K bow from 50 dates. The World’s End has grossed $19.8 million overseas and $45.7 million worldwide. The comedy will open in the Czech Republic and Slovakia next weekend.
Escape Plan struggled out of the gate in its North American debut, placing added pressure to the film’s overseas run. The Stallone/Schwarzenegger vehicle opened in 21 new markets this weekend, adding $9.4 million to its overseas tally. The film placed second in Russia with a $3 million debut from 690 screens. Escape Plan opened in third place in the U.K. with a $1.5 million bow from 362 screens, trailing openers Captain Phillips and Turbo. Escape Plan has grossed $14.1 million overseas and $23.6 million worldwide.
Prisoners posted a $650K debut in Brazil, finishing the weekend in third place behind Gravity and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Prisoners continued with its positive results in France, where it reached a $5 million cume in its second weekend. The United Kingdom continues being a success story for the film after a $1 million weekend brought Prisoners to the $10 million mark in its third frame. Prisoners opened in third place in Australia, grossing $1.1 million from 204 screens. Prisoners has grossed $34.3 million from 49 overseas markets and $91.5 million worldwide.