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An Interview with:

Joe Spurling, Co-Founder, Director

Richie Power, Co-Founder, Director

Paul Lynch, Co-Founder, CTO

Showtime Analytics is launching this year. Can you tell us what was behind the creation of the company and what role it plays in big data for the cinema industry?

Joe Spurling: Richie, Paul, and I have worked for over 15 years each as management consultants in the areas of analytics, software development, and performance improvement. We have been fortunate to work across a breadth of industries with big brands here in Europe, the U.S., and Canada where we get the opportunity to understand from a data perspective the best practices, emerging trends, and methodologies that work best for clients.

I myself happen to have a family connection in the exhibition industry, whereby my father and grandfather run small independent cinemas in Ireland. In early 2014 at a family gathering, I got asked the typical question of "What exactly is it that you do?" and upon explanation of how data analytics can reduce costs, increase sales, and improve customer experience, it became apparent to me that this was an alien concept to what is, essentially, a data-rich exhibition sector. From there, Showtime Analytics was born with the goal of supporting the sector to unlock value from data.

Can you tell us more about your data-consultancy services and guided-analytics platform for cinemas?

Richie Power: At Showtime we recognize that as a client you will be at a different stage of maturity depending on your company size and exposure to analytics; however, irrespective of your starting point, the analytics market is changing at an enormous pace, and for any company it will be a struggle to keep up with the latest best practice or new innovative products.

It is simply not realistic to expect individuals or teams to have all the requisite skills to build out a high-functioning analytics practice, when these can be used in an on-demand capacity or capability basis.

Showtime Analytics brings in big data external factors; can you tell us what some of them are and why they are so important in a system like yours?

Paul Lynch: There are two important aspects to the question. Firstly, why are external data sources important? Irrespective of the industry we work in, nearly every conversation starts with the perceived client need for big data; more often than not, someone mentions social media as being the "killer requirement," without really knowing why or what use this information has.

When designing our analytics data model, we looked at a variety of data sources to bring into our structure, ranging from movie-critics' reviews, release dates, weather patterns, local events calendars, customer demographics, and, of course, social media.

These are all interesting data points in their own right, but ultimately in isolation to each other provide only silos of information as opposed to real insights. To achieve insight from external data sources, we believe that the killer proposition is to link these sources with transaction data from sources like point of sale, ultimately providing the context for insights: impact of campaign X was 10 percent more successful in ticket sales based on the time of day we targeted.

Can the Showtime Analytics services be customized to cater specifically to a range of exhibitors-from single screens to multiplex chains?

Richie Power: To be honest, this has always been a guiding principle for us at Showtime. Our experience of the wider analytics-software market is that it is both exploitative and a class-based system, in the respect that if you are large enough with perceived budget to spend, then the costs gets higher, and if you are a small company, you are limited to what you can do in terms of capability by being priced out of the market. Our solution is what we are calling a mass user-consumption model, whereby you sign up on a per-site basis, which caters to both the small and very large organization.

 

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cinemacon.png"THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART 2" DIRECTED BY LAWRENCE TO BE RELEASED ON NOVEMBER 20, 2015

WASHINGTON D.C. (March 26, 2015) - Francis Lawrence will receive the "CinemaCon® Director of the Year Award" it was announced today by Mitch Neuhauser, Managing Director of CinemaCon. CinemaCon, the official convention of The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), will be held April 20 - 23, 2015, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Lawrence will be presented with this special honor at the "CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards" ceremony to take place on Thursday, April 23, in the evening at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The Coca-Cola Company, the official presenting sponsor of CinemaCon, will host the final night gala awards program.

"Since making his feature film debut ten years ago, Francis Lawrence has mesmerized moviegoing audiences with his own unique and inventive style," noted Neuhauser. "A true visionary, Lawrence is sure to captivate audiences next fall when ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2,' the eagerly anticipated finale of the box-office franchise, hits our theaters. We couldn't think of a more deserving director and are thrilled to be honoring him with the ‘CinemaCon® Director of the Year Award.'"

Lawrence's work can be seen this fall in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2," which is set to be released by LIONSGATE, on November 20, 2015. The blockbuster Hunger Games franchise has taken audiences by storm around the world, grossing more than $2.2 billion at the global box office. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 now brings the franchise to its powerful fourth chapter in which Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) now fully realizes the stakes are no longer just for survival -- they are for the future.

With the nation of Panem in a full scale war, Katniss confronts President Snow (Donald Sutherland) in the final showdown. Teamed with a group of her closest friends - including Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Finnick (Sam Claflin), and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) - Katniss goes off on a mission with the unit from District 13 as they risk their lives to stage an assassination attempt on President Snow who has become increasingly obsessed with destroying her. The mortal traps, enemies, and moral choices that await Katniss will challenge her more than any arena she faced in The Hunger Games.

A director and producer of film, music videos, and television, Lawrence made his feature film debut in 2005 with "Constantine," following that up with the hit movie, "I Am Legend" in 2007 and " "Water for Elephants," in 2011. Lawrence most recently directed the last two installments of the hugely popular Hunger Games franchise, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" and "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

On the small screen Lawrence served as director and executive producer on the pilot and several episodes of the acclaimed series "Kings" and directed the pilot for FOX's "Touch" which he continued on as executive producer for both seasons of the show. He is also a noted music video director, having won a GRAMMY®, Latin Grammy and multiple VMA awards. In addition Lawrence has also directed commercials for many high profile clients including The Gap, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, L'Oreal, Bacardi, McDonald's, Disneyland, Oldsmobile, Covergirl, and Maybelline.

About CinemaCon

CinemaCon will attract upwards of 5,000 motion picture professionals from all facets of the industry -from exhibition and distribution, to the equipment and concession areas - all on hand to celebrate the movie-going experience and the cinema industry. From exclusive Hollywood product presentations highlighting a slate of upcoming films, to must-see premiere feature screenings, to the biggest stars, producers and directors, CinemaCon will help jumpstart the excitement and buzz that surrounds the summer season at the box office.

CinemaCon is delighted to have both the International Cinema Technology Association (ICTA) and National Association of Concessionaires (NAC) as its tradeshow partners. CinemaCon is also delighted to have as its official presenting sponsor The Coca-Cola Company, one of the industry's greatest, highly regarded and respected partners in the world of the movies.

About NATO

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing more than 32,000 movie screens in all 50 states, and additional cinemas in 81 countries worldwide. NATO's membership includes the largest cinema chains in the world and hundreds of independent theatre owners, too.

Additional information on CinemaCon can be found at www.cinemacon.com.

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mar20wknd.pngLionsgate reports that The Divergent Series: Insurgent claimed first place again on Wednesday with $2.58 million. That puts its six-day domestic total at $61.76 million, 6 percent off the pace of last year's Divergent.

Disney's Cinderella easily held onto second place with another $2.22 million yesterday, off 51 percent from last week. Their latest fairy tale remake has grossed an impressive $130.3 million through 13 days of release.

Run All Night took third yesterday with $0.46 million, down 44 percent from last week. The Liam Neeson thriller has totaled $21.2 million through 13 days.

Continuing to display strong legs, Kingsman: The Secret Service held fourth place on Wednesday as it eased 34 percent to $0.43 million. The graphic novel pic's total stands at $116.0 million.

Filling out the top five, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel bagged $0.42 million yesterday as it eased 35 percent from last week. The sequel's total is now $25.56 million.

Meanwhile, Do You Believe? took in $0.297 million in eighth place. The faith-based film's six-day haul is $4.6 million, 62 percent behind where God's Not Dead stood.

 

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Interview with Gabriel Tanasescu, CEO, Share Dimension

Can you tell us about how Share Dimension is active in big data for cinemas?

Share Dimension develops business-intelligence solutions for cinema exhibitors designed to optimize forecasting, planning, and scheduling of movies and events. Our software uses a multitude of data sources --anything from POS data on box office performance to weather information and social media monitoring.

The first and most natural use of big data is in forecasting. Our cinema-intelligence application can use an exhibitor's historical box office data to predict what the opening weekend performance of a new release is going to be, deep down to every individual theater. That's never been done before. Most of the solutions on the market offer country-wide predictions of the opening weekend; we do bottom-up predictions, and it is impressively accurate.

How can Share Dimension help exhibitors perform more efficiently with its data-driven services?

At Share Dimension we design software tools to manage the complete lifetime of a movie in a theater environment-from the moment it is announced by the studios to the moment when it stops playing in the theater. We want to bring software tools that can help exhibitors drive decisions in all of these crucial milestones.

So we focus on three pillars: predict, book, and schedule. I'll start with "predict." We developed several software tools to help exhibitors predict the box office performance of a new release, weeks and even months ahead of its release. We help exhibitors predict moviegoer attendance per movie, per theater and play week and analyze location-based past movie performance, box office trends, and attendance habits. Our software understands patterns and gets insight into movie performance for each of your theaters. It predicts pre-release movie performance using similar movies enhanced with predictions and signals from Google searches and social media.

Once the box office performance is predicted, our booking tool comes into play. This is the software tool that helps the exhibitor understand which theaters should play this movie, what the best show times are, and what auditoriums to schedule in. Analyzing theater past performance and then planning releases accordingly is really easy now. Exhibitors can now plan centrally new releases and establish show times and scheduling requirements automatically.

And our last pillar is "schedule." Our smart algorithms will analyze week by week every show and every performance and will suggest the next week's schedule that will optimize the occupancy and maximize the box office performance of each theater. Our scheduling solution automatically generates daily schedules using a wide spectrum of data --from upcoming weather information to local events to public holidays. The booking team can then fine tune the schedule with easy drag-and-drop functionality and release it to POS with a few clicks. It is very powerful.

Can you tell us more about your clients? Who is using your system?

I am happy to announce it here first, that we recently signed up for a pilot implementation with Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas in the U.S. Alamo is a great partner, always looking for the latest technical innovation, and we're proud to partner with them and implement our cinema-intelligence solution.

In Europe we work with Germany's second-largest exhibitor, Cinemaxx. It is a very interesting story, because for Cinemaxx we actually adjusted our scheduling engine to maximize net revenue per show instead of box office. It has proven to be an excellent choice for them and generates significant uplift in revenues.

In parallel to working with Pathe Theatres, No. 1 in the Netherlands, we also recently signed the No. 2, JT Cinemas, which is the first exhibitor to run the brand-new Dolby Cinema concept. In the Middle East, the UAE's No. 1 exhibitor, VOX Cinemas, was an interesting development for us, as it required special scheduling due to the number of VIP and GOLD concepts they are running. Our software team was able to adapt the scheduling and forecasting engine to the exact needs of our client.

I also want to highlight Mars Entertainment, No. 1 in Turkey, with 600 screens now and an ambitious growth plan for 2015. The choice of cinema-intelligence tools was obvious to be able to cope with such growth.

 

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By Daniel Garris

Lionsgate's The Divergent Series: Insurgent grossed $3.76 million on Tuesday to lead the daily box office for a fifth straight day. The second installment of the young adult series starring Shailene Woodley increased 19 percent over Monday. In comparison, last year's Divergent increased 17 percent on its first Tuesday to gross $4.19 million. Insurgent has grossed $59.18 million in five days, which is on the very low end of pre-release expectations. The film is running 5 percent behind the $62.38 million five-day start of Divergent (which didn't have the added advantage of higher priced 3D admissions that Insurgent has).

Cinderella held steady in second place with $3.04 million. Disney's blockbuster fairy tale adaptation was up 22 percent over Monday, but still down 48 percent from last Tuesday. Cinderella has clearly taken a bit of a hit from the arrival of Insurgent, but is highly likely to stabilize going forward thanks in part to strong word of mouth. The twelve-day total for Cinderella stands at an impressive $128.04 million. That places the film 6.5 percent behind the $136.94 million twelve-day take of last year's Maleficent (which, unlike Cinderella, had the added advantage of higher priced 3D admissions).

Warner's Run All Night took in $0.649 million to remain in third. The Liam Neeson led action thriller was up 33 percent from Monday and down 43 percent from last Tuesday. Run All Night has grossed a modest $20.78 million through 12 days of release. That places the film 4.5 behind the $21.76 million twelve-day gross of last year's A Walk Among the Tombstones.

Fellow action thriller The Gunman took in $0.562 million to continue to claim fourth. The Sean Penn led film from Open Road was up 24 percent over Monday's performance. The Gunman has grossed just $6.04 million in five days. That is below the film's already modest expectations and is 54 percent softer than the $13.03 million five-day start of Run All Night at this point last week.

Do You Believe? landed in seventh place for the day with $0.387 million. The faith-based drama from Pure Flix was up 18 percent over Monday. Do You Believe? has grossed $4.31 million in five days, which is a bit below expectations. The film will hope to hold up well going forward with aid from the upcoming Easter holiday.

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