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by John Fithian, President & CEO, National Association of Theatre Owners

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It's our fifth year, and we are thrilled to welcome all of our delegates to the 2015 edition of CinemaCon. Could anyone have imagined five years ago how NATO, CinemaCon, and Caesars Palace would combine to build the most important convention in the world for the theatrical motion picture industry? This week we have delegates from more than 80 countries coming to Las Vegas to celebrate what promises to be one of the best years in the modern history of moviegoing.

The NATO and CinemaCon teams, consisting of staff and dedicated volunteer members, are proud of what we have in store for you. From the exciting studio product presentations to the sold-out trade floor and demonstration suites to the educational programming to the networking and the socializing, you'll have a very busy and productive week.

During the week NATO will be joined by our partners at the Motion Picture Association of America to discuss the state of our business. Yes, 2014 was down a bit at the domestic box office. We'll analyze those numbers to see that it was all about product supply. Already in 2015 we have seen what good product can do, as the box office is up again. And the rest of the year just looks fantastic. The schedule includes good movies in diverse genres, appealing to different demographics, in all 12 months of the year. And the great slate doesn't end in 2015, as 2016 is shaping up very nicely as well.

We can't succeed simply because of good movies, of course. NATO members also have to work hard to ensure that those movies can be experienced in great cinemas. Delegates will be walking the trade floor and demonstration suites, holding meetings and discussions, all in pursuit of a superior cinema experience. We'll be talking about luxury seating, delicious food-and-beverage options, and the best technologies for sight and sound.

Indeed, the importance of technological changes in our industry probably can't be overstated. More than 97 percent of our domestic screens, and more than 90 percent globally, have been converted to digital technologies in the biggest transition in our industry's history. But at CinemaCon we continue to examine cutting-edge technologies to carry our industry into the future. In the previous four years, we were the first to show you high frame rates, laser projection, immersive audio, and utility satellite product transmission. This year CinemaCon is the first non-laboratory venue to bring you high dynamic range. You can experience this exciting technology in the Colosseum during Disney's screening of Inside Out on Wednesday.

We are always proud of the educational component at CinemaCon. This year we're offering important programming on issues as diverse as compliance with federal menu-labeling laws; use of social media; moviegoer retention techniques; immersive sight and sound; interactive cinema; patron payment security; Hispanic moviegoers; independent film; and digital cinema's unintended consequences.

Of course it always comes back to the movies. All the major studios will have exciting product presentations, and we'll screen three feature-length movies, too. We are so grateful to our friends at Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony, Universal, and Warner Bros. for their support of the show. By closing night on Thursday, there will be no doubt that 2015 and 2016 will be great years indeed!

I'd like to give a shout-out to a few of the individuals whose contributions have been extraordinary. This fifth annual CinemaCon convention would notbe possible without the leadership of NATO Conventions Task Force Co-Chairmen Rob Del Moro, Regal Entertainment Group, and Steve Zuehlke, Cinemark USA, and task force members Bob Bagby, B&B Theatres; Byron Berkley, Foothills Entertainment Co.; John McDonald, AMC Entertainment, Inc., and Jeremy Welman, Cobb Theatres. The Conventions Task Force works closely with NATO's professional convention staff headed by Managing Director Mitch Neuhauser and Associate Director Matt Pollock. A debt of gratitude, too, goes to NATO's Officers-Chairman David Passman, Carmike Cinemas; Vice Chairwoman Amy Miles, Regal Entertainment Group; Secretary George Solomon, Southern Theatres; and Treasurer Byron Berkley, Foothills Entertainment Co.-and all of the Executive Board members, as well as International Committee Chairman Miguel Rivera, Cinépolis, for their unwavering support of the convention. Working together, NATO member volunteers and staff have created a fifth annual CinemaCon convention that will wow you.

Earlier I mentioned the sold-out, cutting-edge trade show that will take place during the convention. The trade show booths and suites are sold and managed by CinemaCon Operations Manager Matt Shapiro. NATO is also grateful to Joe DeMeo of Barco and the International Cinema Technology Association (ICTA), and to Jeff Scudillo of Promotion in Motion and the National Association of Concessionaires (NAC), for their leadership and support in helping Matt design and fill a world-class trade show floor. And don't miss the demonstration suites as well, which are sold out for the first time in convention history.

CinemaCon presents a great place to recognize outstanding NATO member volunteers, when they are surrounded by their industry colleagues and friends. This year, Valmir Fernandes, Cinemark International, will receive the Global Achievement Award in Exhibition; and Bill Campbell, Orpheum Theatres, will receive NATO's Marquee Award. I hope you'll be on hand to see Valmir receive his award at Monday's International Day lunch and Bill receive his award during the Tuesday morning "State of the Industry" session. NATO and CinemaCon are also pleased to recognize John Lundin of Carmike and George Levitt of National Amusements with the CinemaCon Triumph Award on Monday evening, though we are a bit sad that these two fine gentlemen are retiring!

I also mentioned earlier the wonderful education programming offered during the week. Thank you to NATO members Mark Collins, Marcus Theatres; Terry Crawford and Bob Lenihan, AMC Entertainment; Ted Cooper, Regal Entertainment Group; Michael Hagan, B&B Theatres; Rob Lehman, Carmike Cinemas; Mark Mazrimas, Classic Cinemas; Eric Meyniel, Kinepolis; Cameron Mitchell, Vox Cinemas; Amber Stepper, National Amusements; Damian Wardle, Cinemark USA; Tim Richards, Vue; and Jerry Ye, Wanda Cinemas; as well as presenters from NATO's studio and vendor partners, for sharing their knowledge and experience by participating in the educational programming.

Be sure not to miss the Big Screen Achievement Awards show on Thursday evening honoring the best talent in the movie industry today and the Gala Poolside Party, sponsored by our friends at The Coca-Cola Company. Coca-Cola has remained our steadfast and most significant supporting company throughout the five years of our show.

I encourage you to participate to the fullest in the education, business dealing, and fun that CinemaCon 2015 has to offer. Enjoy the show!

 

 

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by Jonathan Papish

UPDATED 4.20.15

After 19 days of international release, Furious 7 has scored $857.85 million from 67 territories bringing the global gross to $1.152 billion and making it Universal’s highest grossing film worldwide in its 103-year history. It is also the seventh-highest grossing film worldwide. This weekend brought in an additional $166.9 million, with a staggering estimate of $88.7 million coming from China. The film has grossed $245.9 million in 8 days in the Middle Kingdom, becoming the fastest film to cross 1 billion RMB and passing Avatar to become the 2nd highest grossing movie of all time behind Transformers: Age of Extinction ($320 million). Other top grossing territories include the UK and Ireland ($47 million), Mexico ($46 million), Brazil ($33 million), Germany ($32 million), Australia ($29 million), Russia ($27 million), France ($26 million), and India ($23 million). The seventh installment in the Fast series opened in Japan yesterday with an estimated $6 million, the biggest opening of any Fast film there. The film has now opened in all of its international markets.

 

Home transported its overseas total to $129.96 million after grossing $11.37 million in 64 markets. Home has now grossed $272.56 million globally. The animated film from 20th Century Fox opened at #3 in France with $1.59 million, and became the highest grossing animated title in 2015 in the UK, beating Big Hero 6 with $1.26 million/$30.3 million cume. The family friendly pic comes to Chinese screens next weekend, Venezuela on May 15 and South Korean on May 21.

 

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F opened with $8.02 million on 656 screens in Japan. The fifteenth Dragon Ball Z film and the first to be screened in IMAX 3D took the top spot, 43% ahead of the previous installment, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods.

 

Cinderella’s overseas cume reached $271.4 million after taking in an estimated $7.5 million this weekend. Its global tally now stands at $457.724 million and could reach the half billion mark with a strong opening in Japan next week. Australia saw a drop of only 32% this weekend ($14.8 million cume) and the UK fell only 39% ($25.8 million cume) for second place behind Furious 7 for the third straight week.

 

Run All Night opened in 29 new markets this weekend snagging $6.0 million. Its international tally is now $28.5 million and has grossed $54.5 million worldwide. Mexico premiered with $1.3 million on 1,130 screens, Germany bowed to $812k on 377 screens, while Russia opened with $610k on 707 screens and Spain grossed $569k on 240 screens. Liam Neeson’s thriller will open in Italy and Brazil on April 30 and Japan on May 16.

 

The Divergent Series: Insurgent grabbed an additional $4.1 million this weekend in 83 markets for $141.6 million from overseas territories. That brings the global tally to $262.2 million. 

 

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water sopped up $2.2 million from 1,704 locations this weekend bringing the international cume for Paramount’s family film to $147.4 million and the global total to $309.1 million. Thailand opened at #4 with $248k, Australia fell only 38% for $737k/$5.6 million cume, and the UK grosses $566k in its fourth weekend for a total of $10.7 million. The film will open in India on May 8 and Japan on May 16.

 

Child 44 arrived day-and-date with $2.06 million from 24 international markets. Together with a $621K weekend in North America, the thriller is at $2.68 million worldwide. Upcoming major releases are Mexico next weekend, Brazil on May 21, Germany on June 4, and Australia on July 23.

 

The Longest Ride roped in $2.09 million in 33 markets on its second weekend pushing the international cume to $6.2 and the global tally to $29.7 million. Later this month through July will see future releases in 6 of the top 10 international markets. 

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Sunday Update: Universal's Furious 7 took in an estimated $29.06 million this weekend to lead the weekend box office for a third consecutive frame. The seventh installment of the blockbuster franchise featuring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and the late Paul Walker was down 51 percent from last weekend. This weekend's hold was respectable, especially when taking into account the size of the film's grosses thus far and the added presence of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and Unfriended in the marketplace. Furious 7 has grossed a massive $294.41 million in 17 days of release. That leaves the film just $5.59 million away from reaching the $300 million domestic milestone. Furious 7 is currently running a very impressive 45 percent ahead of the $202.81 million 17-day take of 2013's Fast & Furious 6 and a slim 3 percent behind the $302.45 million 17-day gross of 2012's The Hunger Games.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 debuted in a not-so-distant second place with an estimated $24.0 million. Sony's modestly budgeted Kevin James led comedy sequel debuted in line with expectations. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 did open 25 percent below the $31.83 million debut of 2009's Paul Blart: Mall Cop, but the sequel had been widely expected to open below its predecessor due in part to the six-year gap in between films. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 did open 20 percent ahead of the $20.07 million start of 2011's Zookeeper. The solid opening weekend performance is good news for James, who will appear in Sony's upcoming Pixels this July.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 opened with $7.35 million on Friday (which included an estimated $450,000 from Thursday evening shows), increased a healthy 39 percent on Saturday to gross $10.2 million and is estimated to decline 37 percent on Sunday to gross $6.45 million. The film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio stands at 3.27 to 1, which is evidence of the film's appeal with family audiences. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 did receive a lackluster B- rating on CinemaScore. While the film is highly unlikely to match the strong holding power of its predecessor, it will still have a solid chance of holding up well in the weeks ahead due in part to facing a limited amount of competition for family audiences (outside of Disney's Avengers: Age of Ultron).

Universal's Unfriended debuted in third with an estimated $16.02 million. The ultra low-budget horror film from Blumhouse Productions opened on the low end of pre-release expectations. While Unfriended was unable to break out to the degree its high level of online activity had suggested; the film still performed well this weekend with its small price tag in mind. The potential for Unfriended may have also been limited a bit by its R rating. Unfriended opened 19 percent below the $19.88 million start of last year's Ouija.

Unfriended opened with $6.8 million on Friday (which included an estimated $656,000 from Thursday evening shows), fell 12 percent on Saturday to gross $6.0 million and is estimated to decline 46 percent on Sunday to take in $3.22 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday at an understandably front-loaded 2.36 to 1. Unfriended received a C rating on CinemaScore, which is respectable by horror film standards.

Home placed in fourth this weekend with an estimated $10.3 million. The successful 3D computer animated film from Fox and DreamWorks Animation fell 44 percent from last weekend, as the film took a bit of a hit from the new competition from Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. While it has been relatively front-loaded for a computer animated film, Home continues to exceed expectations in a big way with a 24-day take of $142.61 million. That places the film essentially on par with the $142.44 million 24-day take of 2013's The Croods.

Fellow Fox release The Longest Ride rounded out the weekend's top five with an estimated $6.85 million. The Nicholas Sparks adaptation starring Britt Robertson and Scott Eastwood fell 47 percent from last weekend's debut. While that represented a sizable second weekend decline, it also represented a respectable second weekend hold given that Sparks adaptations often experience sharp second weekend declines. The Longest Ride has grossed $23.51 million in ten days. That is on the low end of expectations and places the film 34 percent ahead of the $17.55 million ten-day gross of last year's The Best of Me.

Meanwhile, Monkey Kingdom debuted in seventh place with an estimated $4.72 million. The latest nature documentary from Disney's Disneynature label debuted on the low end of its modest expectations. Despite receiving the widest launch ever for a Disneynature film (2,012 locations); Monkey Kingdom delivered the softest opening weekend performance to date for Disneynature. Monkey Kingdom opened just below the $4.78 million start of last year's Bears.

Monkey Kingdom took in $1.55 million on Friday, increased a slim 8 percent on Saturday to take in $1.67 million and is estimated to decline 10.5 percent on Sunday to gross $1.49 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.04 to 1. Monkey Kingdom will likely hold up well during the week, thanks in part to a promising A- CinemaScore, the past midweek strength of Disneynature films and from Earth Day falling on Wednesday.

On the platform front, A24's Ex Machina continued to perform well with an estimated $814,293 from 39 locations. That gave the critically acclaimed Alex Garland directed sci-fi film a per-location average of $20,879 for the frame. Ex Machina has grossed $1.14 million through ten days of platform release and is scheduled to receive a major expansion on Friday.

Saturday Update: Universal reports that Furious 7 once again held first place on Friday with an estimated $8.3 million, down 56 percent from last Friday. That brings the well-received blockbuster sequel's domestic total up to $273.65 million through 15 days of release, just 3 percent behind where The Hunger Games stood at the same point in its release during the same time of year in 2012. The studio projects a very strong $25.5 million third frame.

Opening in second place yesterday, Sony's Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 bowed to $7.3 million, giving Kevin James his best opening day as the leading man in five years. The sequel to 2009's surprise hit comedy was off 25 percent from its predecessor's first day take and is expected by the studio to land around $22 million for its opening weekend. Unfortunately, early reviews score a flat 0 percent out of 37 critic entries on Rotten Tomatoes, while the audience score sits at just 58 percent. Given the target audience, however, the film is expected to play somewhat better with families than the Internet crowd, but don't expect long legs for this entry as with the first pic. Overall, with a $30 million production budget, this is certainly a successful opening.

Universal's Unfriended took in $6.8 million in its first day yesterday. By comparison, last year's Oculus took in $4.97 million on its first day. The horror-suspense aimed at teens and young adults had been the recipient of big social media buzz for the past few months (mainly Facebook), but that hype peaked a bit too soon and prevented a larger breakout. At 66 percent, critics are favoring the film slightly more than audiences (56 percent). That said, this debut still bests studio expectations and should be considered a success for the low-budget pic. Universal is projecting a $16.2 million opening weekend.

Home claimed fourth place yesterday with another $2.425 million, off over 56 percent from last week. The DreamWorks hit animation has tallied $134.7 million to date and is projected to earn $10.4 million this weekend.

In fifth place, The Longest Ride dropped 56.5 percent from opening day last week to $2.4 million yesterday. With $19.1 million in the bank through eight days of release, the film is pacing nearly 32 percent ahead of fellow Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Best of Me. Look for a $7.5 million sophomore frame.

Also opening this weekend, DisneyNature's Monkey Kingdom pulled $1.55 million yesterday. While that's down from Bears' $2.3 million first day last year, this is the first DisneyNature release to receive a standard Friday opening while also lacking the aid of Good Friday-boosted grosses. That said, opening weekend should land around $4.7 million. Early reviews are enthusiastic with a 93 percent critics' score, and a modest 72 percent audience score.

Meanwhile, opening in semi-limited release this weekend was True Story, a dramatic feature starring Jonah Hill and James Franco. The pic earned $685,000 from 831 locations on opening day, making for an $824 per-screen average. For the weekend, the film could bring in around $1.9 million.

Also opening in limited release, Child 44 brought in $0.23 million from 510 locations yesterday, giving it a $443 per-theater average. BoxOffice projects a $0.7 million opening frame for the under-the-radar flick led by Tom Hardy.

Check back on Sunday for official weekend estimates from the studios.

Friday Update #2: Sources tell BoxOffice that Furious 7 should have no problem holding on to first place this weekend with a third-weekend haul north of $25 million. 

Unfriended and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 are fighting for second place. Unfriended seems to have the edge and it could end up with $19 million, while Blart 2 is pacing for $18 million. 

Monkey Kingdom should snag a modest $6 million haul.

Check back tomorrow for updated projections and official studio numbers.

Friday Update #1: Sources report that Unfriended landed an estimated $656,000 from shows beginning at 8pm last night. That's somewhat ahead of last year's Oculus, which with a similar release date and R rating took in $480,000 from shows starting at 10pm (onward to a $12 million frame). Early reviews have been positive relative to most films in the horror/thriller genre, which could be a good sign for word of mouth among the target young adult audience.

Meanwhile, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 took in $450,000 from shows starting at 7pm Thursday. That's generally on par with Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb's $490,000 last December, although that film opened close to Christmas so it's very possible Blart 2 will be able to top that flick's $17.1 million first weekend.

No early show grosses had been reported for DisneyNature's Monkey Kingdom at the time of publishing.

For the weekend, Furious 7 remains the favorite to claim first place for its third week in a row as strong word of mouth continues to drive the well-reviewed blockbuster.

Check back for more updates throughout the day and weekend.

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Los Angeles, Paris, April 17, 2015 - Webedia, the world's second-largest publisher of web and mobile movie platforms, announced today it is expanding its global presence into the US with the closing of the acquisition of Cote Cine Group (CCG), the parent company of BoxOffice Media.

Webedia is already the market leader for movie-related websites in France (allocine.fr), Germany (moviepilot.de and filmstarts.de), Brazil (adorocinema.com.br), Turkey (Beyazperde.com), Spain and Latin America (sensacine.es). With more than 60 million monthly unique users, Webedia is second only to imdb.com in global movie traffic.

With the acquisition, Webedia also becomes a leading provider of web and mobile platforms for cinemas, including online ticketing.

In the US, BoxOffice Media publishes pro.boxoffice.com, a leading business information website for the US cinema industry, and BoxOffice® Pro, the official magazine of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO).

All movie-related assets of Webedia will form a new group called BoxOffice Global Entertainment.

Julien Marcel, the Los Angeles-based CEO of BoxOffice Media, stated: "With the operational and financial support of Webedia and its unique footprint in the cinema sector, we will now be able to provide innovative digital media solutions to US exhibitors and to the industry as a whole."

Webedia co-CEO Cédric Siré added: "After building leadership positions in key markets in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, we are very excited to welcome Julien Marcel and the highly respected team at BoxOffice Media to our network. Our combined expertise puts us in a great position to provide new digital thinking for the cinema industry, and we couldn't find a better brand than BoxOffice® to make that happen."

 

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By Daniel Garris

Universal's Furious 7 grossed $2.92 million on Thursday to lead the daily box office for a 14th straight day. The well-received seventh installment of the blockbuster franchise featuring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and the late Paul Walker was essentially unchanged from Wednesday's performance and down a sharp 65 percent from last Thursday. Furious 7 easily led the week with a weekly take $73.42 million. That represented a 62 percent decline from the film's opening week performance and brings the film's two-week total to a massive $265.35 million. Furious 7 is running an extremely impressive 45 percent ahead of the $183.19 million 14-day take of 2013's Fast & Furious 6.

Fox's The Longest Ride rounded out its first week of release with a second place take of $0.822 million. The Nicholas Sparks adaptation starring Britt Robertson and Scott Eastwood was up 2 percent over Wednesday, which represented one of the day's better daily percentage holds among wide releases. The Longest Ride placed in third for the week with a seven-day start of $16.66 million. That was on the low end of pre-release expectations. The film is running 29 percent ahead of the $12.93 million seven-day take of last year's The Best of Me and 42 percent behind the $28.60 million seven-day gross of 2012's The Lucky One.

Fellow Fox release Home held steady in third place with $0.712 million. The successful 3D computer animated film from DreamWorks Animation was down 1 percent from Wednesday and down a sharp 77 percent from last Thursday. Home placed in second for the week with $21.76 million. The film was down 49 percent from the previous frame and has grossed a significantly stronger than expected $132.31 million through three weeks of release.

Woman In Gold was up one spot and 2 percent over Wednesday to move into fourth place on Thursday with $0.583 million. The drama from The Weinstein Company starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds placed in seventh for the week with $7.90 million. Woman In Gold has grossed a solid $11.36 million in 16 days and will be playing in 2,011 locations this weekend.

Warner's Get Hard was down one spot and 5 percent from Wednesday to round out Thursday's top five with $0.576 million. The R-rated comedy starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart placed in fourth for the week with $10.88 million. That was down 41 percent from the previous frame and brings the film's three-week total to $73.45 million.

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