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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.

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PRESS RELEASE:

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Duo's Cinematic and Location Based Entertainment (LBE) Knowledge and Experience to Benefit Christie Customers and Partners

CYPRESS, Calif. - (May 19, 2015) - Christie®, the global leader in helping customers create the world's best shared experiences, today announced two promotions within its senior sales and business development team.

Mr. George Scheckel is promoted to the position of Senior Director of Entertainment Solutions - Americas, and Mr. Bryan Boehme promoted to Director of Location Based Entertainment - Americas.

Both will continue to report to Jeff Klaas, Vice President of Sales - Americas. "The combination of industry and technology knowledge brought to the fore by these industry veterans, coupled with their over-riding concern for customer satisfaction, made this a logical and easy decision, and I look forward to continuing my work with these two fine individuals," said Klaas.

Scheckel Knows Cinema, From the Street to the Screen
In his new role, Scheckel will guide and influence business development efforts and identify new market opportunities for displays and audio in digital cinema, giant screen cinema and home entertainment.

"I look forward to nurturing strategic relationships with industry stakeholders in the exhibition and content distribution communities, including Christie's partnership with Dolby Laboratories, Inc. in the rollout of Dolby CinemaTM," said Scheckel.

To date at Christie, Scheckel has supported the business development of digital cinema, including VPF rollout and solution deployment plans across Asia, U.S. and Mexico. He was also responsible for sales management of the U.S. and the Americas as Director Business Development Cinema - Americas. Scheckel brings strong relationships with leading industry production, post-production, studio operations and exhibitors, as well as 21 years of experience in sales management and service operations from the telecommunications industry.

Scheckel began his career at Christie in 2007 after an 11-year stint at digital cinema pioneer company QuVis, holding various titles including Vice President of Digital Cinema & Business.

Bryan Boehme Attracted to Location Based Entertainment
Mr. Boehme has enviable experience in the design and development of digital solutions for theme park and attraction entertainment, enabling the mainstream adoption of large-scale visual systems into the location base entertainment markets.

Bolstered by this experience, Boehme will bring a much-appreciated value add to Christie accounts involved in location based entertainment, including several major studios, production companies and partners. He has a well-rounded insight into the emerging LBE world and will use these experiences and relationships to help Christie understand the specific needs of the attraction entertainment industry, maximizing customer satisfaction.

"I have never stopped enjoying the challenges of my career and look forward to even more exciting opportunities in my new role," says Boehme. "Christie has given me the tools required to pursue this very dynamic specialty market over the years and has provided our clients with spectacular support for the very best solutions for their attractions and exhibits over the years, and the best is yet to come!"

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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.

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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.

 

 

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