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By Alex Edghill

Friday Morning Update: For an unprecedented 5th week in a row Star Wars: The Force Awakens led all upcoming films on Twitter. I can't recall a film have a longer streak over the last six years. Generally films will repeat in the 3-6 week before release window when the marketing really heats up but at 6+ months from release Star Wars is clearly showing that it is a heavyweight contender for the highest grossing film on the year.

Deadpool continues to impress as well, coming in with over 60,000 tweets on the week. For a film which hasn't even released its first trailer it amazes me just how strong the draw is for the red-costumed wise-cracker. The hopes are sky-high here for not only this film but potential sequels down the line and for it to be in the top 10 every week for the last 6 weeks+ this far from release really shows that its future is indeed exceedingly bright.

Upcoming releases Jurassic World, Tomorrowland and Poltergeist round out the top 5. I will say that it is someone surprising that the Summer films are being so handily trounced week after week by Star Wars and even Deadpool as well. Lots of massive budgeted Summer films are languishing down the list including Ant-Man, Fantastic Four, Terminator and San Andreas. Not necessarily saying any of these are in trouble of underperforming based on this fact alone but its certainly not what I would have predicted to be seeing in mid-May for weekly Twitter numbers.

Twitter Top 10 Movies for the week of May 8th to May 14th

Date Movie Tweets Rank Change
12/18/15 Star Wars: The Force Awakens 118,158 1 (-) -70.43%
2/12/16 Deadpool 62,497 2 (+4) 108.59%
6/12/15 Jurassic World 57,290 3 (-) 27.31%
5/22/15 Tomorrowland 39,978 4 (-2) -41.92%
5/22/15 Poltergeist (2015) 35,597 5 (+4) 57.39%

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

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by Daniel Loria 

Avengers: Age of Ultron is the latest entry in the Billion Dollar club, hitting the mark after 24 days of release. Ultron joins Marvel's The Avengers and Iron Man 3 as Marvel Studios' third billion-dollar earner and becomes Disney's eight release to hit the milestone.  

The latest Avengers film entered the weekend at $990 million with top overseas results coming from South Korea ($76M), China ($69M), UK ($63M), Mexico ($41M), Brazil ($39M), and Russia ($32M). The film holds the record for the biggest opening weekend of all time in Brazil, Mexico, Hong Kong, Philippines, Ecuador, and Bolivia. China's $34 million opening day on May 12 is Disney/Marvel's biggest opening day ever in the market and the highest non-weekend opening day of all time. 

Avengers: Age of Ultron will open in Japan on July 4.

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may8wknd.pngDisney reports that Avengers: Age of Ultron was off 54 percent from last Wednesday to $4.34 million in first place yesterday. That brings the blockbuster sequel's total up to $329.1 million domestically, 17 percent behind the pace of the first Avengers and 10 percent ahead of Iron Man 3.

Hot Pursuit claimed second place in its sixth day of release, taking in $0.85 million. That gives the comedy $17.04 million thus far, 3 percent behind where Something Borrowed stood with a similar release in 2011.

The Age of Adaline landed in third place yesterday, off just 16 percent from last Wednesday to $0.51 million. The romantic period drama's domestic tally is now $33.44 million.

In fourth place, Ex Machina was up 26 percent from last week to $0.42 million on Wednesday. The indie sci-fi sleeper's total now stands at an impressive $17.14 million.

Filling out the top five, Furious 7 added $0.375 million yesterday for a soft 22 percent week-to-week drop. Its domestic haul is now $339.8 million.

 

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PRESS RELEASE:

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JAKARTA, Indonesia - (May 13, 2015) - Christie®, the global leader in visual displays and audio technologies, is proud to announce that Cinema 21, the largest movie theater chain in Indonesia, has installed the first Christie Vive AudioTM cinema sound system in its state-of-the-art Auditorium 2 at Epicentrum XXI complex located in Central Jakarta to provide the best possible cinematic experience for its movie-goers.

The 302-seat auditorium, which features a 14-meter screen and plush seating for maximum comfort, is the preferred venue for premieres and gala screenings in the Indonesian capital. The Vive Audio system installed has been configured to meet the requirements of the Dolby® AtmosTM sound technology system. Cinema 21 becomes the first movie theater chain in Southeast Asia to be equipped with Christie's cutting-edge cinema audio solution which utilizes ribbon driver speakers and Class D amplifiers.

Besides offering truly rich, dynamic and detailed sound, the innovative Christie Vive Audio system unlocks the full potential of the DCI digital cinema audio format and is compatible with the leading immersive and surround audio formats in the market. It consists of wall and ceiling surround speakers that use unique ribbon driver technology in a line array design, purpose-built for cinema environments.

The installation in Auditorium 2 was undertaken by Christie's Indonesian partner, PT Megatech Engineering, and comprises close to 50 Christie Vive Audio speakers of varying combinations. These include LA3 screen channel speakers, LA3C speakers for ceiling surrounds, LA4S speakers for wall surround effects, S215 subwoofers (for full range frequency response), as well as S218 for Low Frequency Effects (subwoofers) channels. The end result is highly immersive cinema sound known for delivering exceptional power and performance.

"We've been working with Christie for almost a decade and have always been very impressed with the company's constant technological and groundbreaking advancements in digital cinema. We have benefited much working with Christie's technical team from the Vive Audio installation and are very pleased to once again bring the latest cinema technologies to the audiences in Indonesia," commented Rudy Susanto, president,
PT Megatech Engineering.

Besides the immersive aural experience brought about by Christie Vive Audio, audiences can enjoy the most brilliant and high resolution visuals offered by the Christie CP4230 4K DLP® Digital Cinema Projector that is already deployed in the auditorium. With twice as many pixels in horizontal and vertical directions than 2K, the CP4230 is ready for the next evolution of digital cinema - capable of displaying premium 4K content or 2D/3D 2K High Frame Rate (HFR) feature films and alternative content in its original format. Combined with the newly installed Vive Audio, Auditorium 2 has joined a league of "all Christie" cinema halls offering Christie's complete cinema solutions that sets new standards, and deliver superior movie-viewing and cinema sound experience.

"When we first heard the sound from Christie Vive Audio, we were so impressed by its clarity and how it delivered the audio details in the movies. This is exactly what we're looking for to provide our patrons with the best movie listening experience ever," said Suryo Suherman, president, Cinema 21. "We're proud to be the first cinema chain in Southeast Asia to install Christie Vive Audio and are confident that it is the best audio system available today for accurate reproduction of immersive cinema audio formats."

Lin Yu, vice president, Christie Asia Pacific, added, "We are delighted and honored that Cinema 21 has chosen Christie Vive Audio to be installed in one of its most well-known cinema complexes in Indonesia. This is a clear testimony that besides offering advanced visual solutions, we have also set the bar in immersive cinema sound that cinema-goers appreciate. With the sustained growth of the cinema industry in Indonesia, we will continue to devote our commitment and dedication to cinema operators like Cinema 21."

An increasing number of cinema chains around the world have embraced the Christie Vive Audio, with close to 150 installations worldwide to date. Besides Cinema 21, China's largest movie theater operator, Wanda Cinema Line, has also deployed Vive Audio in Hall 9 of its flagship cinema complex in Beijing. The audio quality is widely acclaimed by industry players and the venue has been used for a number of gala screenings, including the China premiere of the Hollywood blockbuster film Transformers: Age of Extinction in June last year.

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[Photo Credit: Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging]

Interview by Daniel Loria

Your involvement in exhibition began as an usher at a movie theater. Were there any early lessons your learned from that experience?

One of the key focuses at that level is the guest, and if you keep that in mind throughout your career-that this is about the guest experience-then that influences everything that you do and the decisions that you make. I always look at the exhibition business as multiple businesses: it's a real estate business; in terms of dining options and food service, it's a hospitality business; it's about showmanship and the movies. You need to keep all those things in mind. Where you locate your theater, what kind of building you have, what amenities you add-you learn that from the ground up when you greet the guests and cut their tickets.

You've worked in a number of different sectors in the industry-sales, booking, distribution-and you went back to exhibition. What brought you back to this side of the business?

I was both a distributor and an exhibitor, and in my last iteration I was more on the technology side, working between exhibition and distribution. Exhibition has a special place for me, because I think it's more entrepreneurial. It allows you to challenge yourself on a lot of different fronts in terms of staying ahead of the industry. In distribution, a lot of these things stay out of your entrepreneurial realm. You're given a slate of films, so you're dealing with the given, whereas with exhibition you can make decisions that affect change. That's quite appealing to me, to make a decision that influences the other parts of the business.

You have international experience as well, not only with your work in Canada but with UCI. What are some of the lessons you've learned from the global marketplace, which has grown from an ancillary part of the business to a leading influencer?

I think that exhibition around the world has to be regarded as multiple local businesses. The one thing that you learn quite early when you take on a multinational job is to not paint everything with the same brush. You have to really listen to the local operators, customers, and competitors. The differences are vast throughout the world. You have to really take account of the local cultures and people and the local appetite for your product-whether it's the film, the theater building, or the seats. Everything must have that sensibility in order to succeed.

Are the borders being blurred between international exhibition markets and those in North America?

Absolutely. I don't think the United States has a monopoly on all the good ideas. I've seen a wonderful execution on cinemas in other parts of the world. The U.S. didn't start luxury seating; that came from Australia. Reserved seating, big in Europe, is now finding its way to the U.S. Cinemas serving alcoholic beverages like beer and wine, that was happening in Europe years ago. I think it's all about finding the right ideas and best practices, and then going out and testing them. Customers have to adopt them, and not everything is transferable between markets.

You've been at the forefront of many revolutions within the industry: the introduction of the multiplex, the transition from analog to digital, and the evolution of digital 3D.

I think it's part of the industry's need to stay ahead of competing activities that a customer might have. I always used to say that you compete more for peoples' time than for anything else, so you need to completely reinvent yourself, and this industry is very good at that. Whether it was stadium seating, multiplexes, digital, 3D, the industry is constantly looking for the next big thing. I was always one to ask what's next, and if there was something coming out, I wanted to try it. Not everything works, but you want to try it in order to see if your customers will react to it. I remember before digital cinema, doing football-game broadcasts in Canada on a big television projector that would show a very fuzzy picture. We had a great time with that because we made it an event. I was in Europe when the first digital projectors came along, and they were expensive, but we had to see where this was going. Maybe sometimes we were a little early, meaning more cost, difficulty, and bugs. I remember getting the call that said that the 1.2K projector I just purchased wasn't going to be getting any more films, that I had to upgrade to the 2K. Sometimes being early also means being a little bit ahead of the curve.

You were certainly early for something like digital 3D. Tell us about your experience with RealD; what was it like to launch digital 3D at time when people really weren't sure of the format's long-term viability? Far from being a passing fad, you helped build a global leader in the business.

I was invited to look at the [RealD] presentation early on. I had the same skepticism that I think everyone else shared: is it going to be a fad? Is it going to come and go? And I asked those same questions. I always like to approach things from that perspective: how is this going to be different? Why is it going to work this time when it didn't in the previous two attempts? Digital technology allowed for a lot of the corrections to 3D that were never possible before. 3D in the past gave people headaches because it was so hard to sync. The glasses were also horrible. It was just a terrible experience. When I went to see RealD and what they were doing, it was different. The next thing was to socialize it with some of my studio and filmmaker connections to see what they thought. If this was going to work, it had to have support from the entire ecosystem-not just me pushing it on somebody. It had to be something filmmakers, studios, and exhibition would embrace. Creating that ecosystem was key to whether or not this was going to be successful. When filmmakers like James Cameron came aboard, he ended up being on the board of RealD. I remember early on sitting with Dick Cook [former chairman of Walt Disney Studios] and he wanted to transform Chicken Little into a 3D movie. I saw the light go on in who I considered to be geniuses in our industry; they believed in it, and that gave me even more confidence that it could happen. Then it was just about putting all the other pieces together. The exhibitor platform: we designed a business plan where it would take very little capital for the exhibitor to participate and where we would participate only once they made money.

Was there ever a "eureka" moment with digital 3D, where you just stepped back and realized it was going to work, or was it more of a gradual process?

I relied quite a bit on what I was hearing in the creative community. They looked at 3D as another creative tool, and it's been most successful when it's utilized that way. It has been least successful when it's forced on a movie that doesn't need to be in 3D. If you look at the great storytellers that use that tool effectively: James Cameron, Ang Lee, Martin Scorsese-these great filmmakers who know how to best use their cinematic tools-that's when it's effective. We saw it play out again with Gravity.

Have you had any mentors in your career?

I think you learn as much from people you don't want to emulate as you do from those you do. People that have very draconian ways of doing business, you learn just as much from them about how you don't want to act. Then there are those people you want to emulate, and there are a lot of them who influenced my career, both in distribution and exhibition. I don't mean to leave anybody out: Frank Mancuso, Ted Mann, Larry Gleason, Dick Cook, Sumner Redstone. There are so many who touched my life and influenced me positively.

If we look at cinema, before we were an art form, before we were an industry, before anything else-we were first and foremost a technology. In your career you've helped bring new technologies to exhibitors and audiences alike. Are there any new technology projects you're involved in?

I always say, what's next? When I was building theaters, I would challenge my team by asking them what they did to make people turn right into our complex instead of turning left into our competitors'. That's a question I continue to ask about the industry. How do you make people come back instead of having them watch movies on their mobile devices? I think the answer is technology. Technology is our friend and enemy; it's the same reason we lose people from coming to our theaters, but it can also cure that problem. I look at technology as how you can stay ahead of other experiences.

Where do you think we are now as an industry, and where do you see the business going in the next 10 or 15 years?

I think there will always be a place for cinema-going as a communal experience, but that experience will change by definition in the way we approach our guests. I don't think the conventional theater in the future will look like it does today. I think it's important to try to understand that technology can get us to a more immersive and entertaining spectacle than what we have today. I see interactivity playing a big role, immersiveness, a reconfiguration of cinemas. It will be evolutionary, not revolutionary; one technology will lead to the invention of others, and so on.

 

 

 

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