By Daniel Garris
Warner's Mad Max: Fury Road took first place at the daily box office for the first time on Monday with $5.33 million. The critically acclaimed action film starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron held up very nicely on Monday, as the film was down just 58 percent from Sunday. Strong word of mouth, skewing heavily to adult moviegoers and the Victoria Day holiday in Canada all helped out Mad Max: Fury Road on Monday. Mad Max: Fury Road surpassed the $50 million mark yesterday and has grossed a very solid $50.76 million in four days. That is in line with expectations and places the film 10 percent behind the $56.25 million four-day start of 2012's Prometheus (which fell 62 percent on its first Monday to gross $5.20 million).
Universal's Pitch Perfect 2 placed in a close second on Monday with $5.21 million. The highly anticipated musical comedy sequel starring Anna Kendrick fell 68 percent from Sunday's performance. With Pitch Perfect 2 skewing heavily towards younger moviegoers, the film should remain more of a weekend film until schools are out of session for the summer. Pitch Perfect 2 surpassed the $70 million mark yesterday and has grossed $74.43 million in four days. The film continues to exceed its already lofty pre-release expectations in a big way and is currently running a very impressive 39 percent ahead of the $53.48 million four-day take of last year's Neighbors (which fell 62 percent on its first Monday to gross $4.44 million).
Avengers: Age of Ultron claimed third place with $3.44 million. The blockbuster superhero sequel from Disney and Marvel fell 70.5 percent from Sunday and 36 percent from last Monday. Avengers: Age of Ultron is the highest grossing release of 2015 to date domestically with an 18-day take of $375.47 million. The film is currently running 19 percent behind the $463.35 million 18-day take of 2012's Marvel's The Avengers and 10 percent ahead of the $340.87 million 18-day gross of 2013's Iron Man 3.
Warner's Hot Pursuit took fourth place with $0.481 million. The comedy from MGM and New Line starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara was down 68.5 percent from Sunday and down 50 percent from last Monday. Hot Pursuit has clearly taken a direct hit from Pitch Perfect 2 this week and has grossed a softer than expected $23.93 million in eleven days. That places the film 8 percent behind the $26.10 million eleven-day take of 2011's Something Borrowed.
By Jonathan Papish, Phil Contrino, and EntGroup Consulting
Disney's Avengers: Age of Ultron will have no problem holding the #1 spot at the Chinese box office this week. The action flick is poised to fend off five newcomers.
With $155 million and counting from its Chinese run, Avengers is already a huge success. While the superhero flick won't top the recent record of $390.5 million set by Furious 7, we see it ending its run in the $250-$275 million range. This is the final weekend Ultron has little competition as another Disney summer blockbuster Tomorrowland opens Tuesday, May 26. Globally, Ultron is up to $1.15 billion with its eyes on the $1.51 billion haul of 2012's Marvel's The Avengers.
Four homegrown titles will try to steal away attention from Age of Ultron: Alibaba and the Thief (阿里巴巴大盗奇兵) , Unforgettable Blast (迷于狂), Feed Me (哺乳期的女人) and Love Without Distance (土豪520). All four titles are aimed at different demographics. Alibaba is an animated flick for kids, Unforgettable Blast is for twentysomethings, Feed Me is for arthouse film enthusiasts and Love Without Distance is for adult crowds.
Alibaba has already earned nearly $600K from advance screenings, so if buzz is strong it could end up connecting with families who have children that are too young for Ultron. Love Without Distance comes with name recognition courtesy of Francis Ng (his third film released in six weeks), Ma Tainyu and Zhou Weitong, which means it could turn into a modest hit. Unforgettable Blast is already battling negative buzz. As for Feed Me, it could find a niche among viewers who crave something other than a blockbuster.
One other imported film is entering theaters this week, India's P.K. (我的个神啊). The highest grossing Indian movie of all time will try to reverse the trend of Bollywood cinema not catching on in China. Only six Bollywood films have entered China since 2010, and the last one, Happy New Year starring Shah Rukh Khan, failed to hit even $1 million. Popular actor Wang Baoqiang (王宝强) is providing the lead actor's voice in this dubbed version of P.K. which could bring in some fans, however chatter from Sina Weibo indicates the nearly six-month delay since the domestic Indian release has hurt box office prospects since fans have already gotten their hands on HD copies. Still, according to EntGroup's EFMT Marketing Index, P.K. boasts the strongest awareness, intent to purchase and word-of-mouth levels of any new release this week.
Camille Rizko, Founder and CEO, Doremi Labs, 1985-Present
Interview by Daniel Loria
How did the founding of the company come about?
The company was founded in 1985 in my garage, and we incorporated in 1988. The original mission was to build a tapeless 8-track digital audio workstation for post-production. Ten years later we started aligning our technology to imaging; we started with audio and went to imaging in 1995. It culminated in 2005 with the imaging for cinema.
What were some of your first products to really get traction in the cinema industry?
Our first product, the digital audio workstation, was successful and we built that until 1994. We sold hundreds of those products. In 1995 we introduced the video disc recorder for post-production application, and we sold that for roughly another ten years-and we sold thousands of those products. Then in 2005 we branched out to digital cinema exhibition with our digital cinema server, and that was also quite successful.
What did the spread of digital cinema mean for Doremi as a company?
We were approached back in 1998 to do digital cinema, but at that time we just didn't see the market. We refused those requests solely based on the cost of digital cinema when compared to a film projector. The quality of the presentation was lower back then. In 2005 when we started seeing the DLP technology and what it offers exhibitors, that's when we went into digital cinema. We came in with a server and a technology that no one else had.
How much did you focus on digital cinema before 2005?
Before, when it was film, it was only an experiment, and a lot of companies were spending a lot of money on those experiments hoping for a major [breakthrough]. We didn't play that game because we didn't think the [analog] business would be deserted unless there was a cost-benefit analysis that made sense-and that only happened in 2005. That's when the studios came out with the virtual print fee (VPF) model and established that deal, which enabled the financing of the migration.
I take it the launch of your digital cinema server brought a new era for the company, or was there another moment that you would single out?
It was in 2005. We had a product that no one else had; people were still scrambling with old technology, and we came in with a technology that worked, a quality of presentation that was at least as good-if not superior-to film, and the stability of a digital image. This was a winning combination for us that translated to sales.
What were some of the challenges you faced with Doremi?
With Doremi, the earliest challenge for us was always finding the right fit between our products and our customers. We constantly monitored our early clients, listened to their requests, and adapted our products to their needs. It helped us overcome our initial lack of experience in cinema and post-production. The other challenge we were having early on was that our customers were so successful with our products that they were keeping it a secret and not telling people they were having results with our product. Another one was to basically go out there, find new clients, and inform them of our customers' success ourselves.
How important is it for companies to embrace the global marketplace in our industry?
It was always important for Doremi. We always had higher international sales than local sales in the United States. Our primary markets were Europe and the U.S., but our products were sold through dealers all over the world. We are living in a global marketplace, but it has always been that way-even in the late '80s when we started.
What is on the horizon for the cinema business now that the digital conversion has mostly been completed?
I think the next big thing for our industry is immersive sound. That's one of the main reasons we're in business with Dolby; we approached them because we felt like their immersive sound technology was the next step, and we wanted to be a part of it. There is also high dynamic range (HDR), which is also being developed by Dolby.
How did the Dolby deal come together?
We looked at the landscape and saw that we were the leading manufacturer and the leading presence in the exhibition market, and Dolby was coming out with what we believe to be the best immersive-sound offering. So we came together and decided to maintain the leadership of both companies; it made sense for us to join forces and continue this journey with Dolby.
by Damian Wardle, VP of Worldwide Theatre Technology & Presentation, Cinemark
In 1985, while most of us were enjoying Back to the Future and its creation of a DeLorean time machine, Camille Rizko was busy unknowingly creating the future of digital cinema by establishing Doremi Laboratories Inc. Today, with Doremi celebrating 30 years as a global presence in the theatrical industry, it is only fitting that Camille is being recognized in the BOXOFFICE Hall of Fame for all he has done for the industry.
Camille was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, but he moved to France to attend universities in Nice and later Paris, where he received an engineering degree from what is known today as Centrale-Supélec. Camille then relocated to Southern California, where he earned an MBA at UCLA. It was during his tenure at UCLA that Camille's entrepreneurial streak started and where he introduced himself to the cinema industry by becoming a distributor for post-production devices.
After graduating, Camille literally started Doremi from his garage. (Note to self: that is probably why he is so crazy about cars today.) It wasn't much later that his brother, Emil Rizko, and Safar Ghazal joined him in the business. After asking himself, "What can I do for this industry?" Camille introduced his first product, the DAWN (Digital Audio Workstation Nucleus), an audio editing device with the capability to play eight high-quality audio tracks from one hard disk. However, it was the debut of the V1 in 1994 that put Doremi on the map. Camille conceived what would be considered the first DVR, turning his successful start-up into a global company and opening facilities in France and Japan. It was Camille's design that replaced the commonly used VCR.
Camille's experience with the V1 and other video products gave him a tremendous springboard into digital cinema. In 2004, working from a request from Texas Instruments, Doremi created a server for the emerging digital cinema market. Under Camille's leadership, Doremi produced the DCP-2000 Digital Cinema Player and the DMS-2000 Digital Mastering Station, both JPEG2000 compression projects. After Camille's demonstration of a playback of a DCP at CineEurope in 2005, Doremi received thousands of orders.
In 2009, when exhibitors were opting for a 4K digital solution, Camille led the charge with TI and Barco to develop a 4K DLP solution with the first 4K integrated media block (IMB) in the market. After this accomplishment, Doremi simply dominated the digital cinema server market.
In all the years I have known Camille, I've always been impressed at his ability to balance what the customer wants with what he envisions for the future of the industry. When he is challenged with a product request, one can literally see the ideas flowing in his mind. The attention he pays to his customers' needs and his willingness to be flexible in such a changing industry are invaluable. No matter how large Doremi grew, Camille's leadership and vision still remained the rudder that steered the company toward success.
It's hard to pinpoint Camille's single greatest contribution to the industry. The answer will vary; studios may claim the V1 forever changed post-production, while exhibitors still delight in the creation of the DPC-2000 and the 4K IMB. However, one point is difficult to argue-Camille's mark on the industry is definitely significant. His creations touch hundreds of millions of moviegoers around the world each year. With the combined efforts now of both Dolby and Doremi, the digital entertainment sector can only expect more ingenious products and industry-leading technological innovations from the newly formed giant. Personally, I cannot wait to see what Camille creates next.