NCM Rebrands, Introduces E!'s Maria Menounos as the New Face of FirstLook Upfront Event Highlights NCM as the Top Millennial Growth Network and Features Enhanced Moviegoer Targeting Before, During and After the Movie

NEW YORK & CENTENNIAL, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- National CineMedia (NCM) presented its fourth annual upfront event at the AMC Lincoln Square theater in New York today, showing advertisers why it truly is America's Movie Network.

NCM kicked off its presentation with some branding of its own, launching a new look and feel for the largest cinema advertising network in the U.S. Designed by NCM's internal creative agency, the company's new logo calls to mind the projected beam of light that delivers the magic of the movies onto the big screen, while the new positioning of NCM as America's Movie Network reflects the company's distinctive role in connecting brands with movies that shape our culture and the national conversation.

Cliff Marks, NCM's President of Sales and Marketing, explained, "Movies drive the social conversation - they are woven into the fabric of our culture. As we looked more closely at the video universe in which we compete and the value we offer to our advertising partners, we asked ourselves, ‘Who are we? What is unique about the NCM value proposition to advertisers?' And it became clear that NCM is America's Movie Network - we're one of the biggest players in the video advertising marketplace, we have the best content and engagement in the world, we are the top growth network for the Millennial audience, and we're the #1 weekend network in the country. And, of course, everyone loves the movies, so today we plant our flag and claim our rightful place as America's Movie Network."

Marks also announced that E! host Maria Menounos has signed an agreement to be the new face of America's Movie Network as the host of NCM's FirstLook pre-show program, which reaches over 700 million moviegoers annually across a network of 21,000 screens covering 97% of all TV households. "With Maria Menounos we have one of America's premier hosts and entertainment personalities, someone who has done everything from star in movies to interview presidents," Marks said.

Menounos then took the stage, sharing that, "Movies helped me to learn English growing up. They also were the healthiest escape and source of inspiration and remain so to this day. To be part of America's greatest modern art form in theaters daily with NCM's FirstLook is literally a dream come true." Menounos, and her partner, producer Keven Undergaro, co-founders of, the largest online broadcast network that produces "after-shows" for favorite TV shows and plays to a weekly world audience of 23 million, will also create content for NCM. She continued, "NCM is the premier platform in this unique and exciting space. I'm thrilled to host and produce content that will reach moviegoers all across America and hope it will enhance the overall movie experience. We are very much looking forward to working with Cliff and his amazing team." First up will be Movie Minute segments, offering brands a new way to engage moviegoers across all of the platforms where they view movie content - on-screen, online and on mobile devices.

A Big Year At The Movies

Menounos then gave the audience an insider's look at what is coming up in the 2015-16 movie season, one which many industry experts are predicting could be the biggest in movie box office history. So far this year, hits like Fifty Shades of Grey, Furious 7 and Avengers: Age of Ultron have resulted in record crowds and sold-out inventory for NCM. And with upcoming titles including Black Mass, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, The Peanuts Movie, Jurassic World, Spectre, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and everything in between, she expects this to be a fabulous year at the movies.

Cinema Targetability & Measurement

Moving from movies to moviegoers, NCM's Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, Bennett Fogel, got down to business, introducing a number of new ways to target NCM's highly desirable, young and engaged audience. NCM's Cinema Audience Targeting Optimizer (CATO) system, which has been in development for over a year and will be tested this year with select clients and made available across NCM's entire on-screen inventory in early 2016. The CATO system will enable brands to create media schedules based on movie genres that more effectively deliver a target audience for maximum impact and efficiency. In addition, CATO will enable NCM to offer a number of new specialty networks to reach specific multicultural and consumer groups, including an NCM Hispanic network and an NCM High Income network.

But he was quick to point out that targeting the NCM moviegoer shouldn't be confined to just the theater, which is why NCM has engaged Rocket Fuel's Audience Accelerator to power Cinema Accelerator, a new product that utilizes first-party data including movie ticket purchase data, geo-local mobile audiences, cross-device delivery and audience modeling to accurately reach NCM moviegoers as they extend their movie-going experience. It gives NCM Digital the ability to connect the dots from awareness to purchase with proprietary targeting capabilities and optimization to reach in-theater audiences with online and mobile activations. Marketers can now go beyond the big screen in a whole new way to create full-funnel marketing programs that surround the entertainment experience, increasing both recall and frequency. Encompassing NCM's more than 700 million moviegoers a year, Cinema Accelerator has the largest data set in the industry for entertainment audiences and is backed by Nielsen and comScore VCE audience guarantees.

Bennett Fogel noted, "We set out a few years back to reposition NCM as an easy alternative to capture high-quality impressions and include them in the premium video planning process. We converted our audience delivery to Nielsen ratings based on the TV universe, changed our pricing model to compete with premium prime and live event programming and offered standard upfront terms and options. In last year's upfront, against the backdrop of rapidly accelerating audience fragmentation and commercial avoidance, NCM's new approach resulted in the doubling of our upfront commitments and the completion of our transition into a mainstream upfront participant. In fact, we had a strong first quarter and are tracking to have a record second quarter with our national inventory nearly sold out!" He continued, "This year, to further enhance and standardize our measurement and ROI metrics, all of our upfront partners will not only receive demographic guarantees directly posted by Nielsen, but will also receive engagement posts conducted by Nielsen Brand Effect. Every post analysis will not only include target audience delivery, but will now also include measurement of brand recall, message recall and likeability to quantify the impact of an ad in NCM's FirstLook versus TV, and the combination of the two which has proven to provide maximum impact."

After giving NCM's upfront audience a never-before-seen sneak peak at some of the hottest films that are expected to drive the industry box office to record levels for the upcoming year, Cliff Marks concluded, "No one knows moviegoers like NCM. And as America's Movie Network, we know how to connect brands with what America will be talking about - this Friday, next week, next month, next quarter and next year. As the #1 weekend network in the country, NCM is delivering the best entertainment content, national reach and unparalleled audience engagement across our digital in-theater network. You can count on America's Movie Network to always bring you new ideas to capture the power of the movies."


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By Daniel Garris

Disney's Avengers: Age of Ultron took in $5.399 million on Monday to lead the daily box office for an eleventh consecutive day. The blockbuster superhero sequel from Marvel was down 76 percent from Sunday and down a sharp 59 percent from last Monday. In comparison, 2012's Marvel's The Avengers fell 74 percent on its second Monday to gross $7.92 million, while 2013's Iron Man 3 fell 78 percent on its second Monday to gross $4.62 million. With a massive eleven-day gross of $318.80 million, Avengers: Age of Ultron is running 16 percent behind the $380.99 million eleven-day take of The Avengers and 10 percent ahead of the $289.56 million eleven-day haul of Iron Man 3.

Warner's Hot Pursuit placed in a distant second with $0.957 million. The comedy from MGM and New Line starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara was down a sharp 80 percent from Sunday's inflated Mother's Day performance. Hot Pursuit continues to perform softer than expected with a modest four-day start of $14.89 million. The film is currently running just behind the $15.06 million four-day take of 2011's Something Borrowed.

Lionsgate's The Age of Adaline claimed third place with $0.499 million. The romantic drama starring Blake Lively was down 76 percent from Sunday and down a slim 6 percent from last Monday. The Age of Adaline has grossed a very solid $32.25 million through 18 days of release.

Ex Machina continued to hold up nicely on Monday with an estimated fourth place take of $0.441 million. A24's critically acclaimed sci-fi film was down 60 percent from Sunday and up a very impressive 51.5 percent over last Monday. Ex Machina has grossed $16.20 million in 32 days.

Furious 7 rounded out Monday's top five with $0.407 million. The seventh installment of Universal's blockbuster action franchise fell 75 percent from Sunday and just 18 percent from last Monday. The 39-day gross for Furious 7 stands at $338.96 million.

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By Phil Contrino, Jonathan Papish, and EntGroup Consulting

Avengers: Age of Ultron (复仇者联盟2:奥创纪元) will boost its already impressive global haul with what’s sure to be a healthy tally in China. Early reports indicate that Avengers: Age of Ultron earned nearly $5 million from midnight shows in the Middle Kingdom, which is less than Furious 7 ($8.7 million), but higher than Transformers: Age of Extinction ($3.4 million) and quite remarkable for a work/school night. There’s little doubt that Age of Ultron will shatter the performance of recent Disney/Marvel films in China such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($118.3 million) and Guardians of the Galaxy ($96.1 million). Disney reports that Ultron’s global total is already well past $875 million. 

According to EntGroup’s EFMT Marketing Index, Age of Ultron boasts the strongest awareness and intent to purchase levels of any new release this week. While it will be tough for Age of Ultron to top the record-setting run of Furious 7 (Furious had a clear month with little Hollywood competition, but Tomorrowland comes out on May 26 and San Andreas on June 2), it could end up getting pretty close behind Disney's strong marketing push.

Local titles this week will have to fight for any business left over. Mr. Deng Goes To Washington (旋风九月) is a state-sponsored documentary on Deng Xiaoping's 1979 visit with Jimmy Carter that could garner a fair amount of attention. The Beloved (重生爱人) and Death Trip (夺命旅行) will be going after young crowds, while The Light (永远的守望) will appeal more to families. 12 Citizens (十二公民), an adaptation of Sydney Lumet's classic 12 Angry Men, could connect with adults who aren’t interested in loud summer blockbusters.

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The National Association of Concessionaires (NAC) has announced that Dan Kroeger; President, CEO and Chairman of Gold Medal Products Company has been named the 2015 Mickey Warner Award recipient. Kroeger will be honored on Thursday, July 23 at the NAC Membership Luncheon during The Concession & Hospitality Expo at the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati.

The Mickey Warner Award is bestowed upon an individual each year to recognize leadership and significant accomplishments in the non-theatre concession industry by NAC. The award honors the late Mickey Warner, the father of the NAC Concession Manager Certification Program and one of the greatest innovators and educators of the concessions industry.

Dan Kroeger has spent nearly his entire professional career at Gold Medal Products Company, a manufacturer and distributor of concession equipment and supplies. He joined the company in 1979 as an assistant zone sales manager. He held the positions of zone manager, national sales manager and vice president of sales before his promotion to president in 1991. In 2000 he was named president and chief executive officer.

Kroeger has been an active member of NAC for almost 20 years. He was named the prestigious Bert Nathan Memorial Award recipient in 2008. He is only the sixth member of NAC to receive both the Bert Nathan and Mickey Warner honors.

He has served in various NAC leadership positions over the years such as the Al Lapidus Golf Committee, Sponsor of the NAC website, and Gold Sponsor of the NAC Expo, National Sponsor of the Regional Seminar Series, NAC News Advertiser and Platinum Sponsor of the Lapidus Golf event. Kroeger originated the very popular Mentorship Program at the NAC Expo and its predecessor NAC Annual Convention and Trade Show. He has also served the NAC Duffer's Day at ShowEast Golf Tournament committee, securing sponsors and attendees.

Kroeger is extremely active in the industry and in local and regional business. He has served as chairman of the Employers Resource Association, treasurer of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association (OABA), a member of the Trade Show Space Allocation Committee of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), member of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. He is also a past chairman of the Evendale Chamber of Commerce and has been active at the Goering Center for Family and Private Business.

In addition to NAC Mickey Warner and Bert Nathan Awards, Kroeger has received many honors and distinguished service citations. He was named to the People to Know in Manufacturing by the Cincinnati Business Courier. He has also been recognized by the Office of the Secretary of Defense & Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve for, "Contributing to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in America's National Guard and Reserve Force." Kroeger has also been inducted into the Tri State Independent Theatre Association Hall of Fame and been bestowed the Outstanding Service Award by the Evendale Chamber of Commerce.

He received his Bachelor's Degree in Business from the University of Cincinnati and continued his education through Executive Programs at both the University of Cincinnati and Syracuse University.

Dan and Janet Kroeger have been married for 40 years in October 2015 and reside in the Cincinnati area. The couple has three children: Andy (Cindy), Tony (Suzy) and Jenny (Victor) and five grandchildren: Luke, Ben, Addy, Anna and Mia (arriving in June).




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By Daniel Garris

Disney's Avengers: Age of Ultron remained in first place this weekend with $77.75 million. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, that represented the second largest second weekend gross of all-time (behind only the $103.05 million second weekend take of 2012's Marvel's The Avengers). However, Avengers: Age of Ultron was down a sharp 59 percent from last weekend. That represented a significantly sharper decline than the 50 percent The Avengers fell in its second weekend and was much more in line with the 58 percent second weekend decline of 2013's Iron Man 3.

This weekend's hold isn't the most encouraging sign going forward for Avengers: Age of Ultron, especially given that last Saturday's performance was deflated by that day's much talked about sports events and that the film will be facing much tougher competition throughout the rest of May than The Avengers did back in 2012. With that said, Avengers: Age of Ultron has already grossed a massive $313.40 million in ten days, which stands as the third largest ten-day start ever (behind only The Avengers and 2008's The Dark Knight). Avengers: Age of Ultron is currently running 16 percent behind the $373.07 million ten-day take of The Avengers and 10 percent ahead of the $284.95 million ten-day gross of Iron Man 3.

Warner's Hot Pursuit debuted in a distant second place with $13.94 million. The comedy from MGM and New Line starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara opened below pre-release expectations. The film had hoped to receive an added boost from opening on Mother's Day weekend, but the film's potential was clearly limited by very poor critical reviews and by opening only one week before Universal's highly anticipated Pitch Perfect 2 arrives in theatres. Hot Pursuit debuted 20 percent below the $17.41 million three-day take of 2012's This Means War and essentially on par with the $13.95 million start of 2011's Something Borrowed.

Hot Pursuit opened with $4.19 million on Friday (which included an estimated $450,000 from Thursday evening shows), increased 17 percent on Saturday to gross $4.93 million and declined just 2 percent on Sunday to gross $4.82 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at a strong 3.32 to 1, though the Mother's Day holiday obviously aided that figure. In addition to facing tough competition from Pitch Perfect 2, Hot Pursuit is likely to be hurt by poor word of mouth going forward, as the film received a soft C+ rating on CinemaScore.

It was a fairly close three-way race for third place this weekend between Lionsgate's The Age of Adaline, Universal's Furious 7 and Sony's Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. The Age of Adaline ultimately had the edge for third between the three thanks in part to its Mother's Day performance.

The Age of Adaline took in $5.82 million this weekend. That represented a decline of just 6 percent from last weekend, as holdovers in general were helped out this weekend by last Saturday's deflated grosses, Mother's Day and the limited amount of new competition that entered the marketplace. The Age of Adaline has grossed $31.75 million in 17 days. The romantic drama starring Blake Lively is running 5 percent ahead of the recent $30.29 million 17-day take of The Longest Ride.

Furious 7 placed in fourth with $5.41 million. The sixth installment of the blockbuster action franchise was down a very healthy 19 percent from last weekend. Furious 7 has grossed $338.56 million through 38 days of release. That places the film an exceptional 45 percent ahead of the $233.35 million 38-day take of 2013's Fast & Furious 6.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 followed closely behind in fifth with $5.31 million. The Kevin James led comedy sequel was down a slim 10 percent from last weekend. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 has grossed a solid $58.19 million in 24 days. The film is running 15.5 percent behind the $68.83 million 24-day gross of 2011's Zookeeper.

A24's Ex Machina held up very nicely upon expanding into wider release this weekend. The critically acclaimed Alex Garland directed sci-fi film placed in sixth with $3.51 million. Thanks in part to strong word of mouth and expanding into an additional 725 locations, Ex Machina was up an impressive 54 percent over last weekend. Ex Machina has grossed $15.76 million in 31 days.

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