Probably to very little surprise, the two biggest online ticketing outlets are reporting magnificent first-day pre-sales for the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

From Fandango:

"This is an extraordinary time for the industry, which experienced unprecedented ticketing demand last night for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." In fact, Fandango traffic surged to 7 times its typical peak levels, propelling Fandango's advance sales for "Star Wars" to a record-setting first day of pre-sales. For "Star Wars," we have already sold 8 times as many tickets as we did on the first day of sales for the previous record holder." *
"Movie theaters are continually adding new show times on Fandango to meet the phenomenal demand. The enthusiasm for this year's most anticipated movie is out of this world and we expect it to continue all the way to its debut on December 18."

*Fandango's first day presales record was previously held by the first "The Hunger Games" movie on February 22, 2012.

Meanwhile, also reported:

"Advance ticket sales for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" produced the biggest first day sales of any title for Last night saw traffic 3 times higher than the highest peak in the company's 15+ year history. For comparison, advance tickets sold for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" are already four times greater than advance tickets sold for the last released installment in the franchise, "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," over the same period of time.

U.S. advance ticket sales for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" via continue to trend at number 1 with 95% of all tickets sold in the last 24 hours. Ticket sales to attend the Star Wars Marathon rank number 2.

For the most current trending number, be sure to check the company website's "Trending Now" feature found at You can also follow the company on Twitter for updates: @MovieTickets."

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By Daniel Garris

Fox's The Martian returned to first place at the daily box office on Monday with $1.59 million. The critically acclaimed Ridley Scott directed 3D sci-fi film starring Matt Damon was down 71 percent from Sunday and down 67.5 percent from last Monday's Columbus Day inflated performance. The Martian continues to impress with $145.19 million through 18 days of release. That places the film 18 percent ahead of the $122.66 million last year's Interstellar had grossed after 18 days of wide release and 16 percent behind the $171.97 million 18-day take of 2013's Gravity.

Disney and DreamWorks' Bridge of Spies followed closely behind in second with $1.36 million. The critically acclaimed Steven Spielberg directed thriller starring Tom Hanks was down 64 percent from Sunday's performance. Bridge of Spies experienced one of the day's stronger daily percentage holds among wide releases, thanks in part to strong early word of mouth and to skewing extremely heavily towards older moviegoers. Bridge of Spies has grossed a promising $16.74 million in four days and is running 21 percent behind the $21.29 million four-day take of 2004's The Terminal.

Goosebumps placed in third for the day with $1.17 million. The Jack Black led 3D horror comedy from Sony was down 82 percent from Sunday, which is a sure sign of how heavily the film is skewing towards family audiences. Goosebumps is performing in line with expectations with a solid four-day take of $24.79 million. The film is currently running 18.5 percent ahead of the $20.92 million four-day start of last year's Ouija and going forward should hold up better than Ouija did thanks in part to stronger word of mouth and less initial front-loading.

Universal's Crimson Peak claimed fourth place with $0.970 million. The Guillermo del Toro directed gothic horror romance starring Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston declined 67 percent from Sunday. Crimson Peak continues to perform a bit below expectations with a lackluster four-day start of $14.11 million. That places the film 21 percent behind the $17.84 million four-day take of last year's The Book of Life (which was produced by del Toro).

Hotel Transylvania 2 rounded out Monday's top five with $0.658 million. Sony's Adam Sandler led 3D computer animated film fell 82 percent from Sunday and 83 percent from last Monday. Hotel Transylvania 2 has grossed $137.46 million in 25 days. The film is running a healthy 15 percent ahead of the $119.13 million 25-day gross of 2012's Hotel Transylvania.

Further down in yesterday's rankings Woodlawn placed in ninth with $299,377. The faith-based sports drama from Pure Flix decreased 74 percent from Sunday. Woodlawn has grossed a respectable $4.30 million in four days and is running 10 percent ahead of the $3.92 million four-day start of Pure Flix's Do You Believe? earlier this year.

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By Daniel Garris

It was a fairly close race for first place at the box office this weekend, with Sony's Goosebumps outpacing the third weekend performance of Fox's The Martian. Goosebumps led the way with a $23.62 million debut. The 3D horror comedy starring Jack Black opened towards the lower end of expectations and was off to a solid start with its reported $58 million production budget in mind. Goosebumps was no doubt helped out by the pre-existing fanbase for the R.L. Stine written book series and by the decision to release the film shortly before the Halloween holiday. The film opened 19 percent ahead of the $19.88 million debut of last year's Ouija and 7 percent behind the recent $25.43 million start of The Visit. Given its family audience and the approaching Halloween holiday, Goosebumps is highly likely to hold up better going forward than both of those films did.

Goosebumps opened with $7.35 million on Friday (which included an estimated $600,000 from Thursday evening shows), increased 33 percent on Saturday to take in $9.77 million and is declined 33 percent on Sunday to gross $6.51 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 3.22 to 1, which does indicate that the film experienced some relative front-loading for a family film this weekend. Goosebumps received an excellent A rating on CinemaScore, which is a positive sign for the film going forward. The audience breakdown for Goosebumps was evenly split between male and female moviegoers and skewed towards moviegoers under the age of 25 (59 percent).

After comfortably leading the box office for the previous two weeks, The Martian fell to second place this weekend with $21.30 million. The critically acclaimed Ridley Scott directed 3D sci-fi film starring Matt Damon was down 42 percent from last weekend. While The Martian lost a bit of steam this weekend, the film is still performing very well in the bigger picture with a 17-day gross of $143.60 million. That places The Martian 19 percent ahead of the $120.93 million last year's Interstellar had grossed after 17 days of wide release and 15 percent behind the $169.56 million 17-day take of 2013's Gravity. Both comparisons suggest that The Martian is still in good shape to surpass the $200 million domestic mark before the end of its run.

Disney and DreamWorks' Bridge of Spies debuted in third place this weekend with $15.37 million. The critically acclaimed Steven Spielberg directed thriller starring Tom Hanks debuted on the low end of its relatively modest expectations, which had been held in check by the film's Cold War setting and by the current high level of overall competition for adult audiences. Bridge of Spies opened 19 percent below the $19.05 million start of 2004's The Terminal, which represented the last theatrical collaboration between Spielberg and Hanks. Given its strong critical reviews and that Spielberg's films usually display strong holding power; it is likely that Bridge of Spies will be in store for a lengthy box office run.

Bridge of Spies started out with $5.37 million on Friday (which included an estimated Thursday night take of just $500,000), increased 15 percent on Saturday to gross $6.19 million and decreased 38 percent on Sunday to gross $3.82 million. That gave Bridge of Spies an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.86 to 1. Like Goosebumps, Bridge of Spies also received a strong A rating on CinemaScore. The audience breakdown for Bridge of Spies skewed slightly towards male moviegoers (53 percent) and extremely heavily towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (89 percent).

Universal's Crimson Peak followed in fourth place with a lackluster $13.14 million start. The Guillermo del Toro directed gothic horror romance starring Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston debuted a bit below expectations. While Crimson Peak opened within shouting distance of Bridge of Spies this weekend, Crimson Peak is expected to be more front-loaded in comparison to Bridge of Spies and also carried a higher price tag. Potential for Crimson Peak to appeal towards horror fans and del Toro's fanbase appears to have ultimately been limited by the film's gothic nature. Crimson Peak opened 23 percent below the $17.01 million debut of last year's The Book of Life (which was produced by del Toro).

Crimson Peak opened with $5.25 million on Friday (which included a significant $855,000 from Thursday evening shows), declined 6 percent on Saturday to gross $4.92 million and fell 40 percent on Sunday to take in $2.97 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at a front-loaded 2.50 to 1. Crimson Peak received a modest B- rating on CinemaScore. That doesn't suggest that Crimson Peak will hold up especially well going forward, though the film could still experience some relative back-loading given its pre-Halloween release and the lack of an opening weekend rush out. The audience breakdown for Crimson Peak skewed towards female moviegoers (60 percent) and towards moviegoers 25 years and older (55 percent). IMAX grosses were responsible for an estimated $2.3 million of the film's overall gross this weekend.

Sony's Hotel Transylvania 2 rounded out the weekend's top five with $12.65 million. Sony's Adam Sandler led 3D computer animated film was down 38 percent from last weekend. That represented a very solid weekend hold, especially given the new direct competition for family audiences the film faced from fellow Sony release Goosebumps. Hotel Transylvania 2 continues to impress with $136.81 million through 24 days of release. That places the film a healthy 15 percent ahead of the $118.52 million 24-day gross of 2012's Hotel Transylvania.

Meanwhile, Woodlawn debuted in ninth place with $4.00 million. The faith-based sports drama from Pure Flix opened on the high end of its modest expectations. Woodlawn opened 11 percent ahead of the $3.59 million start of Do You Believe? earlier this year. While it was off to a solid start, Woodlawn was also relatively front-loaded this weekend. The film opened with $1.49 million on Friday, declined 9 percent on Saturday to gross $1.35 million and fell 14 percent on Sunday to gross $1.16 million; which gave Woodlawn an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.69 to 1. Despite the initial front-loading, Woodlawn will still have a very good chance of holding up well going forward, especially after receiving an A+ rating on CinemaScore.

Universal's Steve Jobs continued its strong platform performance with $1.51 million from 60 locations. That gave the Danny Boyle directed drama starring Michael Fassbender a per-location average of $25,212 for the frame. Steve Jobs has grossed a very encouraging $2.22 million through ten days of platform release. The film will expand into wide release this coming Friday when it will be playing in an estimated 2,400 locations.

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By Alex Edghill

Monday Morning Update: Star Wars: The Force Awakens returned to the top spot on Facebook over the past week in terms of new likes as it rose 72,149 tweets. Teasers have been all over the web and on network TV for its full trailer which debuts tonight during Monday Night Football. I have never seen a film so closely followed and talked about on Facebook and Twitter in my 6 years of tracking films. I am excited to see just how many tweets its going to be able to rake in in the week or two leading up to its release. It is all but assured to break the Twitter trailer debut record tonight, and I believe that its a shoe-in to lead Facebook again next week in new likes despite its already hefty 14.4 million total likes.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension was second over the last week with 59,866 new likes. This is about two thirds of the new like expansion that Crimson Peak managed last week which is a bit of a red flag in my mind. Now it is true that the franchise has over 19 million likes so its target audience is quite saturated with its fans (its the most liked horror franchise on Facebook), but on the eve of release I would still expect a larger increase. It would seem as though the glory days of the franchise are behind it and its going to have a hard time even matching the opening of Crimson Peak. We are currently predicting a $11 million opening and $22 million total.

Facebook Top 5 Movies by Like Increase for the last week Ending Sunday October 18th

Rank Release Movie Likes Previous Change % Change
1 12/18/15 Star Wars: The Force Awakens 14,423,167 14,351,018 72,149 0.50%
2 10/23/15 Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension 19,475,621 19,415,755 59,866 0.31%
3 11/20/15 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 22,120,935 22,063,204 57,731 0.26%
4 02/12/16 Deadpool 1,441,581 1,395,561 46,020 3.30%
5 10/23/15 The Last Witch Hunter 250,208 207,772 42,436 20.42%

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

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From Honduras to Miami and encompassing three generations in the exhibition business, the Younger family looks forward to a bright future for Cinema Equipment & Supplies.


By Daniel Loria

Guillermo Younger Sr. greets me with a warm laugh when I call him at his office. It's well after 6:00 p.m. on a Monday and, despite a long day at work, he seems cheerful --like he's actually looking forward to speaking to a reporter for a half hour in between a full day at the office and the Miami rush-hour traffic. The interview begins with the regular pleasantries: How are things? How's the weather? And so on. But before we can dive in to the questions, he catches me off guard: he doesn't seem to be in any kind of rush. "How did you get involved in this business, Daniel?" Before I know it, I'm five minutes into telling him my life story.

I should've seen it coming. When Kelly Samardak, marketing manager at Cinema Equipment & Supplies (CE+S), the company Guillermo Younger Sr. founded in 1982, got in touch with me to schedule the interview, she suggested a time block of 45 minutes for what I estimated would be a 15-minute call. As anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting him can attest, a business conversation with Guillermo Younger Sr. more closely resembles catching up with an old friend. The talk often digresses to anecdotes; Senior, as he's affectionately called, often refers to people in the exhibition industry by their first names, abruptly pausing mid-sentence to mention their last names and adding, "You know him, right? Of course you do! Everyone knows him!" before continuing the story.

"He's like the godfather of the business; everyone seems to know him wherever we go," confesses his son, Guillermo Younger Jr., or Junior, as he's known around the office. Fifteen minutes into our conversation, I come around to delivering my first question --asking Senior to take me back to the beginning of the family business, when the Younger name first became associated with exhibition. "Oh my God." He exhales. "This goes way back ..."

Senior's father, Geza Younger (or Papa Younger), was a Hungarian immigrant with a small dentistry practice in Honduras. Geza ran a side business as a gold merchant, periodically traveling up to the United States. In one of his trips, as the story goes, Geza met another Hungarian fellow who manufactured Holmes projectors in Chicago. The meeting ended with Geza returning to Honduras with a couple of vintage projectors, setting up a bedsheet in a big yard, and screening whatever films he could get his hands on. Shortly thereafter, Geza abandoned his career in dentistry and became a full-fledged exhibitor; a couple of locations in smaller towns eventually led to bigger theaters in the capital city of Tegucigalpa, including the country's first tri-screen cinema.

Geza moved to Miami with his wife and six children while still managing his exhibition circuit in Honduras. "I was small at that time, and my dad's vision was always to have us educated in the U.S," recalls Senior. "He started selling parts and equipment back then while operating these theaters in Honduras." By the time Senior was starting high school, however, his father realized he needed help running the family business. "I was the oldest in the family, so he said he didn't want me to lose my Spanish and had me go down to Honduras for high school, and he put me to work at the theaters. It was no free ride. I did it all, from selling tickets to running the projector, you name it. Sooner or later I became the general manager and ran the theaters in Tegucigalpa."

The toppling of Nicaraguan president Anastasio Somoza brought a period of instability to Central America, and by 1982 Senior had moved back to Miami with his own wife and children. For a brief moment, it looked like the Youngers' days in the exhibition business had come to an end. "I graduated from the University of Miami as an electrical engineer, and my first instinct was to go to Florida Power and Light and ask them for a job," says Senior. "To this day I'm very thankful they didn't hire me." Instead, he continued the family tradition in Miami, repairing projectors from his garage on weekdays and working as a projectionist on nights and weekends.
"Someone asked me the other day what my first childhood memory was, one that I could pinpoint an actual date to," recounts Guillermo Younger Jr. "It struck me because I remember explicitly watching Return of the Jedi at the movies, and that was 1983 --I was only three years old. That's one of my first vivid memories, being scared seeing the Death Star up on the big screen. My father couldn't afford a babysitter and was taking me and my brother to the cinemas where the owners were cool with us running from auditorium to auditorium watching movies."

Business soon picked up for the Youngers as Guillermo's wife, Carolina, took charge of the company's finances and kept the business afloat. "It was real hard at the beginning, but it paid off in the end," says Senior. "I did a lot of work for Wometco, which used to be a big chain down here in Miami. I managed to do repair work for them and sell them some equipment. I started befriending all the vendors in the industry, all the manufacturers, and I started to travel throughout Latin America." It became the foundation for a strong used-equipment business, which Senior highlights as the first great period for his company, Cinema Equipment & Supplies. "Regal used to sell me a lot of used equipment, I mean a lot of used equipment; we're talking trailer loads of used equipment. I had some good engineers and we'd fix everything up. I got a lot of Latin American exhibitors started with our used equipment."

As the business grew, so did the newest generation of Younger children. Carolina would often bring the kids, Alex and Guillermo Younger Jr., into the office, and the two of them spent summers doing basic maintenance at the company. "I remember being put to work cleaning lenses; it was a task my father would always put me in charge of. It gave me a real roll-up-the-sleeves attitude to working," says Junior. The two brothers have played a major role in helping Cinema Equipment & Supplies become the company it is today. The digital cinema boom represented an opportunity for many equipment dealers like CE+S, but the Younger brothers had the foresight to recognize a bigger opportunity within their grasp. In 2009, Alex Younger led the company in creating Cinevise, a remote monitoring solution that was the first of its kind in Latin America. A short time later, Guillermo Younger Jr. left a job at Unilever in New York City to devote himself to the family company full time. "I remember sitting at the dinner table with the family, talking about the new opportunities digital cinema would bring and all of the growth markets," says Junior. "I came back into the business thinking, how can I help take what we've done into the next level? How can we achieve the full value of digitalization?"

Guillermo Younger Jr. had always planned on returning to the family business. His application essays for the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business detailed his plans to apply the skills of the MBA program to the exhibition business. Junior's return to Cinema Equipment & Supplies heralded the development and deployment of Cielo, a cloud-based proactive monitoring and support solution for exhibitors. Cielo has quickly gained traction in the market and is poised to become the next big phase in the Youngers' involvement in the exhibition business. Guillermo Younger Senior's long ties to Latin American exhibitors have opened the door to expanding the business; CE+S has a satellite office in Brazil and maintains close ties with many of the region's top exhibitors. "A lot of it comes from my father making those personal connections throughout the years. It's a relationship business everywhere, but those nuances are magnified when dealing with Latin America. You need to be very personable," explains Junior. "Fortunately, with Cielo we've been able to use a lot of those relationships to build out the product." Cine Colombia was recently announced as the latest circuit to sign on to the Cielo platform and will be deploying the technology across the 280 screens in its 42 locations. Meanwhile, Cielo has also found great scale in North America through numerous partnerships with U.S. exhibitors. Earlier this summer, Marcus Theatres began a rollout of Cielo across 681 of its screens, and in early September they signed a deal with Goodrich Quality Theaters' entire circuit.

CE+S has grown from its roots as a family business. The company has expanded to include a leadership team that drives the company forward and manages and staffs an additional office in Brazil to better serve their Latin American clients.

"It's very satisfying for any parent to have their kids continue what you have sweated for. I'm very proud to say that my sons can continue this business for the next 40 years," says Senior. "I'm not saying it would be impossible for me to come up with the innovations they've contributed, but it would definitely be a lot harder!


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