disney.pngBy Shawn Robbins

Cinderella, fresh off a $132 million global box office debut last weekend, marks the latest in a growing string of live action fantasy hits from Disney. As we discussed last week, the trend represents a previously overlooked facet of the studio's resurgent family appeal. Fresh off the press yesterday was the release date set for one of their next fairy tale efforts, so it seems like a good time for a brief look at that and several other upcoming entries in Disney's newfound "cinematic universe".

The Jungle Book
April 15, 2016

Director Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Elf, Chef) tackles this latest edition of Rudyard Kipling's 1894 novel, set to feature voice performances from Scarlett Johansson (Kaa), Bill Murray (Baloo), Ben Kingsley (Bagheera), Christopher Walken (King Louie), Idris Elba (Shere Khan), and Lupita Nyong'o (Raksha). Young newcomer Neel Seethi fills the live action roll of Mowgli.

Disney attempted a traditionally animated Jungle Book sequel in 2003, as well as a 1994 live action feature, but each were met with lukewarm results at the box office (generating less than $50 million domestically each). In fact, no Jungle Book effort has ever matched the original 1967 animation's success, which earned nearly $74 million in its day (more than $465 million using today's ticket prices), plus another $68 million between two re-releases in 1984 and 1990. With a talented cast and crew for the 2016 outing, it seems likely to find more success.

Of note: this film precedes Warner Bros.' own iteration of the property, The Jungle Book: Origins -- set to be directed by Andy Serkis, with an all-star cast its own, for an October 6, 2017 release.

Alice In Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass
May 27, 2016

Six years after Tim Burton capitalized on the 3D craze and delivered a $1 billion blockbuster with Alice in Wonderland, Disney returns to the well with much of that film's cast set to reprise their characters. Most notable is the return of Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter, who proved to be a significant draw for the 2010 flick. Unfortunately, Depp's box office power has diminished since then, and so to has the 3D craze which significantly boosted the previous flick's appeal just months after Avatar hit theaters. Nevertheless, the actual 1871 Lewis Carrol follow-up book of the same title has its share of fans.

Anne Hathaway (White Queen), Mia Wasikowska (Alice), and Helena Bonham Carter (Red Queen) all return, although Burton won't be; instead, The Muppets director James Bobin takes over the reigns. It's hard to imagine Looking Glass getting anywhere near the surprising box office numbers of Burton's entry, especially with the move from a spring release to what looks like a very crowded May in 2016. The sequel is currently set to open directly against Bryan Singer's X-Men: Apocalypse on Memorial Day weekend. Still, some of the Disney faithful could still turn out for this given the amount of goodwill behind the studio's projects right now.

(Release Date Pending)

It was only recently reported that Dumbo would be the next classic remade as a live action flick, so details are few and far between. What we do know is that Tim Burton will return to the Mouse House for directing duties. There's not much box office precedence here as the original 1941 animation (distributed by the iconic RKO) predates any relevant comparisons, but Burton has proven with films like Big Fish (happening to prominently feature a circus in its own plot) that he's capable of delivering heart alongside his unique brand of fantasy. This is in the very early stages of development and likely won't see release before 2018, but, forgive the pun, keep your ears open.

Beauty and the Beast
March 17, 2017

Just given its release date yesterday, this remake may have the most potential on Disney's fairy tale slate. Emma Watson takes the seemingly pitch perfect role of Belle, while Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) will return to familiar musical grounds. Fans of the classic 1991 animated version will also be happy to hear Oscar-winner Alan Menken is set to score the film's soundtrack, to feature new renditions of that film's classic tunes as well as original songs by Menken and Sir Tim Rice.

The 1991 box office sensation was that year's third-highest grossing movie with $146 million (around $290 million in today's ticket prices), and has gone on to become an endearing classic. The film enjoyed a successful IMAX re-release in 2002, followed by a somewhat modest 3D run in 2012. With a cast already set to feature Luke Evans (Gaston), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), and Kevin Kline (Maurice) in addition to Watson, not to mention kids and families looking for the next Frozen-like musical experience, Beauty and the Beast has the early makings of a probable blockbuster.

Which of these films are you looking most forward to, readers?

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By Daniel Garris

Cinderella took in $4.81 million on Monday to lead the daily box office with ease for a fourth consecutive day. Disney's well-received fairy tale adaptation was down 73 percent from Sunday's performance. Daily percentage holds for family films on Monday were helped out in general from some schools currently being out of session for spring break. Cinderella surpassed the $70 million mark yesterday and continues to perform on the very high end of its lofty pre-release expectations with a strong four-day start of $72.69 million. That places the film just 4 percent behind the $75.64 million four-day start of last year's Maleficent (which fell 68 percent on its first Monday to gross $6.21 million). However, unlike Maleficent, Cinderella doesn't have the added advantage of higher priced 3D admissions.

Warner's Run All Night placed in a distant second with $0.876 million. The Liam Neeson led action thriller was down 68 percent from Sunday. Run All Night has grossed a softer than expected $11.89 million in its first four days, as the film's potential has been limited by being the fourth Neeson-led action thriller in just over a year. The film is currently running 13 percent behind the $13.72 million four-day start of last year's A Walk Among the Tombstones (which fell 67 percent on its first Monday to gross $0.963 million).

Fox's Kingsman: The Secret Service claimed third place with $0.592 million. The Matthew Vaughn directed graphic novel adaptation starring Colin Firth was down 65 percent from Sunday and down a very slim 18 percent from last Monday. Kingsman: The Secret Service has grossed a stronger than expected $107.98 million through 32 days of release, thanks in part to strong holding power, especially for its genre.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel took fourth place with $0.569 million. The ensemble comedy sequel from Fox Searchlight declined 64 percent from Sunday and a healthy 32 percent from last Monday. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has grossed a very solid $18.62 million in eleven days, which places it 24 percent behind the $24.45 million eleven-day gross of last year's The Hundred-Foot Journey.

Sony's CHAPPiE rounded out Monday's top five with $0.549 million. The Neill Blomkamp directed sci-fi film fell 68 percent from Sunday and a sizable 50 percent from last Monday. In addition to poor critical reviews and mixed word of mouth, CHAPPiE has also taken a hit from losing IMAX screens to Cinderella this week. The eleven-day total for CHAPPiE stands at a very lackluster $23.87 million.

Focus followed closely behind in sixth place with $0.530 million. Warner's romantic heist film starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie was down 65 percent from Sunday and down a solid 39 percent from last Monday. Focus has grossed $44.49 million through 18 days of release.

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Discovery Cube in Los Angeles gives kids the ultimate education experience by placing children right in the middle of the action. From an "Aquavator" that stimulates a subterranean descent to a virtual helicopter tour of L.A., Discovery Cube provides an immersive learning experience like no other science center or classroom. And with the help of NEC and Edwards Technology Inc. (ETI)., Discovery Cube transformed 3D movies into a 4D experience.

In a case study featuring NEC and ETI, it tells the challenges of setting up a state-of-the-art 4D theater with superb image quality and how NEC's NC1100L projector was the solution to the problem.

ETI's Videro platform, which is a cloud system that connects to an Apple Mac Pro, allows ETI to remotely access content, diagnose issues and configure playback without setting foot in the theater. Combining the integrator's content solution with NEC's NC1100L laser phosphor projector to capture the best image quality being pushed out through the Mac, Discovery Cube was able to send kids 40 million years back in time to a world filled with raptors and tyrannosaurus rex.

The NC1100L DCI-compliant projector provides consistent, true color with little-to-no maintenance. The 2K resolution provides a crystal-clear 3D image, no matter how detailed the picture on the screen or how quickly it moves. Because it relies on a laser and not a bulb, the light engine will function 20,000 hours without compromising the brightness. The 4D technology has museum goers eager for future movies and museum employees ready to push the technology envelope to get kids excited about learning.

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marcustheatres.pngMILWAUKEE--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Marcus Theatres® , a division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE:MCS), announced today that membership in its Magical Movie Rewards® (MMR) Program reached 1,000,000 in less than a year's time. In addition to building the program quickly, the company is clearly making a connection with members, as more than one third (36 percent) of transactions since program inception are from registered members of the loyalty program.

"Membership in the Magical Movie Rewards Program grew more quickly than we could have imagined," said Rolando Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of Marcus Theatres. "Based on the size of our circuit, reaching 1,000,000 members in less than a year's time is truly meaningful."

Designed to enhance the movie-going experience for customers, Marcus Theatres released this user-friendly program across its 55-theatre network on March 31, 2014. The MMR loyalty program allows members to earn points and rewards and access special offers, including:

No Fees for Online or Mobile Ticketing - Loyalty card members avoid any ticketing fees that traditionally come with online or mobile purchases, simply by becoming a member.
Ticketing and Screening Opportunities - Pre-release, member-only screenings are available for MMR members.
Concession Offers - Members receive free popcorn on $5 Tuesdays and free refills on fountain drinks every day. In addition, customers receive targeted offers on various concession purchases.
As a way to recognize the one millionth member, Marcus Theatres is rewarding the lucky winner from the Village Pointe Cinema in Omaha, Nebraska with an annual pass and merchandise. Other loyalty members are eligible to receive free popcorn - 1,000,000 kernels - which translate into hundreds of large popcorns, randomly awarded to MMR cardholders across the circuit.

"Although we are excited to reach 1,000,000 members, the value goes way beyond the number," said Rodriguez. "The program allows us to better customize and target information as we communicate to each member. This ensures the prompt delivery of relevant information and already has resulted in very successful campaigns as we strive to be the most customer-engaging loyalty program in the industry."

About Marcus Theatres

Marcus Theatres® , a division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE:MCS), is the fifth largest theatre circuit in the United States and currently owns or operates 685 screens at 55 locations in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and Ohio. For more information, please visit www.marcustheatres.com and follow the company on Facebook and Twitter (@Marcus_Theatres).

About The Marcus Corporation

Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, The Marcus Corporation is a leader in the lodging and entertainment industries, with significant company-owned real estate assets. In addition to its Marcus Theatres division, the company's lodging division, Marcus® Hotels & Resorts , owns and/or manages 20 hotels, resorts and other properties in 11 states. For more information, visit the company's web site at www.marcuscorp.com .


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Centennial, CO -- National CineMedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: NCMI) (the "Company" or "NCM"), said today that after a thorough review of options, it has agreed with SV Holdco, LLC and Screenvision, LLC to terminate the Merger Agreement signed May 5, 2014, that would have combined NCM and Screenvision. The Company is the managing member and owner of 45.8% of National CineMedia, LLC (NCM LLC), the operator of the largest in-theatre digital media network in North America.

In November 2014, the Department of Justice filed suit seeking to block the merger. NCM and Screenvision together determined that the ongoing cost and distraction of the suit to their employees, advertisers and exhibitor partners could no longer be justified and that both companies would be better served pursuing their independent businesses as standalone companies.

"NCM has created a highly effective offering in the hyper-competitive video advertising marketplace through the power of our world-class entertainment content; premium video ratings; national reach; scalable, state-of-the-art content distribution technology; and integrated digital marketing products. While I am disappointed that our shareholders and our advertising clients and exhibitor partners will not realize the benefits of a merger with Screenvision, I remain confident in our ability to continue to innovate and build our business," said Kurt Hall, NCM's Chairman and CEO.

NCM's positive fourth quarter 2014 results were driven largely by growth in national advertising revenue and the success of its upfront strategy and the Company entered 2015 with solid momentum. NCM continues to see strong performance in its local and regional business and, at the same time, has made significant progress expanding its national client base. This success in expanding the client base combined with the successful 2014/2015 upfront campaign has resulted in current commitments that represent approximately 77% of the 2015 national advertising annual budget (versus 51% at this time in 2014 of actual 2014 results), indicating that the Company's network is being viewed favorably as marketers evaluate the impact of the changing media landscape.

NCM expects to continue to make progress executing its long-term strategy to expand its advertising client base by delivering improvements to its premium video network and upgrades to its distribution and inventory management technology. The Company remains confident that these enhancements will allow it to further strengthen its value proposition relative to other video advertising platforms. Combined with the changes in digital technology that are impacting the effectiveness of many traditional media platforms, NCM is well positioned to continue to gain share in the video advertising marketplace.

The termination of the Merger Agreement is effective upon the Company's payment of a $26.84 million termination payment, which the Company has agreed to make within the next 10 business days. This payment is $2 million lower than the reverse termination fee contemplated by the Merger Agreement. NCM LLC has agreed to indemnify the Company for the termination payment as well as other costs incurred in connection with the transaction. The Company and the founding member theatre circuits each will bear a pro rata portion of this fee based on their aggregate ownership percentages in NCM LLC. The total after tax cash cost for NCM, Inc. related to the proposed merger with Screenvision including the termination fee and all legal and other expenses is projected to be approximately $11 million.

Further, certain amendments to NCM LLC's senior secured credit facility that would have become effective upon a contribution of Screenvision to NCM LLC will be immediately and automatically revoked upon the termination of the Merger Agreement.

First Quarter and Full Year 2015 Outlook

The Company today also reaffirmed its first quarter and full year 2015 outlook. For the first quarter 2015, the Company continues to expect:

Total revenue to be in the range of $75.0 million to $78.0 million, up 7% to 11% year-over-year; and
Adjusted OIBDA to be in the range of $25.0 million to $28.0 million, up 11% to 24% compared with the first quarter of 2014.
For the full year 2015, based on the Company's visibility and current forecast, the Company continues to expect:

Total revenue to be in the range of $422.0 million to $432.0 million, up 7% to 10% year-over-year; and
Adjusted OIBDA in the range of $210.0 million to $220.0 million, up 5% to 10% compared with the full year 2014.
Adjusted OIBDA is a non-GAAP measure. See the tables at the end of this release for the reconciliations to the closest GAAP basis measurements.


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