carmikecinemas.pngCOLUMBUS, Ga.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Carmike Cinemas, Inc. (NASDAQ:CKEC), a leading entertainment, digital cinema and 3-D motion picture exhibitor, today announced the death of Company board member Alan J. Hirschfield, 79, who passed away on Thursday, January 15.

Carmike President and CEO David Passman stated, "We are deeply saddened by the news of Alan's sudden passing and our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Berte and their entire extended family. As a member of Carmike's Board Alan was an invaluable and frequent contributor, demonstrating and offering his wealth of knowledge, experience and relationships across the film and entertainment industries. He will truly be missed by all who had the good fortune to have known him."

Alan J. Hirschfield had served as an independent Carmike Cinemas director since April 2002 and was a member of its Audit and Executive Committees. From 1992 to 2000, he was Co-Chief Executive Officer of Data Broadcasting Corporation, a global provider of financial and business information, which merged with Financial Times/Pearsons, Inc. From 1986 to 1990, Mr. Hirschfield served as a consultant/investor in the entertainment/media industry. Prior to that he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Mr. Hirschfield was also President and Chief Executive Officer of Columbia Pictures, Inc. from 1973 to 1978.

About Carmike Cinemas

Carmike Cinemas, Inc. is a U.S. leader in digital cinema, 3-D cinema deployments and one of the nation's largest motion picture exhibitors. Carmike has 273 theatres with 2,892 screens in 41 states. The circuit includes 45 premium large format (PLF) auditoriums featuring state-of-the-art technology and luxurious seating, including 28 "BigDs," 15 IMAX auditoriums and two MuviXL screens. As "America's Hometown Theatre Chain" Carmike's primary focus is mid-sized communities. Visit www.carmike.com for exact show times and to purchase tickets.

 

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Art House Convergence 2015: The Keynote Speakers

Interview with Anne Thompson, Founder and Editor in Chief, Thompson on Hollywood

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by Daniel Loria

Anne Thompson is among the best-known entertainment-industry journalists working today. She has served as an editor in some of the most respected trade publications, including Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Premiere, and Film Comment. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Vanity Fair, LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, and Entertainment Weekly, among many other outlets. Her book, The $11 Billion Year: From Sundance to the Oscars, an Inside Look at the Changing Hollywood System, is available from HarperCollins. Thompson continues to cover the film industry through her blog, Thompson on Hollywood. BoxOffice spoke with Anne Thompson ahead of her keynote address at Art House Convergence to get her insight on the latest topics affecting theatrical exhibition today.

What would you say is the current state of the exhibition industry?

The transition to digital is well under way, and while the theaters have made the move to digital projection, I don't think the industry as a whole has figured out what the new model is going to be. There's a lot of innovation and experimentation on the independent side, and there's also a lot of pressure on the studio side for theaters to shorten their windows. I think that kind of give-and-take, push and pull, will continue to play out. And I don't think that's going to be easy or necessarily pleasant. I think it's going to be more and more challenging for everybody to step up their game and be open to innovation and experimentation and figuring out ways to reach audiences-figuring out the right film to show to their individual communities. This is not a time for following formulas or doing things the way you've always done them. This is a time to really stay ahead of the game. 

Studios seem to be spending more money on fewer films. Has this opened an even greater opportunity for independent and foreign cinema in North America?

I think the biggest mistake that Hollywood is making is that they're gearing so much of their product to the foreign marketplace and not offering enough diversity at different times of the year domestically. On the independent side, there is more opportunity for discovery of incredibly compelling, original movies that are not as formulaic. I think that's the most exciting thing: exhibitors can be more aggressive about seeking out the films that exist away from established avenues.

Do you believe attitudes concerning day-and-date VOD releases will change significantly in the near future?

I think we're still in an experimental phase. Theaters that are in the VOD space are trying out different things and figuring out what works for them and what works for different kinds of movies. I would like to see more transparency in knowing what the VOD numbers actually are. The more information we have, the more numbers we are working with, the better it will be for everyone involved. A lot of people simply don't know what those numbers are and make a lot of projections and assumptions that may or may not be based on fact. The sweet spot for VOD seems to be when you can establish a brand, get reviews, get a certain buzz going in the marketplace. 


With so many of the bigger exhibition chains investing money in new projection technology and value-added features like luxury seating, what can independent exhibitors do in order to stand out in the market?

I think Alamo Drafthouse has innovated beautifully in this space. They figured out a way to cater to the cinephiles without ruining the moviegoing experience. I think focusing on the experience is going to continue to be an important way to lure moviegoers to cinemas at a time when they're becoming more comfortable watching films in their living rooms. As digital living rooms become more common, comfortable, and sophisticated, it is going to become even more difficult for theaters to pull people out of their homes to see films. That's why I believe programming is the most important thing. Of course the quality of the experience counts, but the quality of the movie is primary. It's something I've learned in my own work as a blogger: you have to reach farther and find the right content in order to get people to read you. You have to reach people with the right hook; you have to reach people with the right topic. I think the same is true for exhibitors. It's about knowing your constituents and knowing how to reach them.

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by Russ Collins

In January, we are reminded of Janus (no, not the legendary distribution company, the Roman god), and are compelled to reflect back and look toward our future simultaneously. The Art House Convergence began as an idea, emerging from the first meeting of the Sundance Institute Art House Project in January 2006. There were 12 exhibitors in attendance and two dozen delegates. This year, our annual conference will have over 450 attendees from all over North America, as well as many international colleagues.

Besides the annual conference, the Art House Convergence now presents regional seminars, hosts the Art House Visiting Members program, and will be launching the newly expanded Sundance Institute Art House Project as a Good Housekeeping institutional validation program in participation with the Sundance Institute in January 2015. In addition to this growth, the IFP Festival Forum partners with the convergence during the annual January conference, providing networking and educational opportunities to film-festival professionals.

The key purpose of the Art House Convergence is to increase the quantity and quality of art-house cinema exhibition in North America. We do this by encouraging cinema exhibition that is innovative, inclusive, strives for win-win solutions, and promotes functionality and success, both financial and in terms of a humanistic and communitarian ethos. Our conferences focus on the education and professional development necessary to operate the community-minded, incredibly passionate art-house exhibitors we represent.

The result: the convergence movement has grown, and a sense of unity and camaraderie is building among art-house cinemas in North America. Art-house cinemas are looking beyond mere profit and are enthusiastically embracing a community cultural mission. For many if not most art-house operators, there has always been a mission, but now, collectively validated, it has grown much deeper. For the last eight years, our art-house community has celebrated this sense of community and unity at the Art House Convergence. Our collaborations with the IFP Festival Forum, our Art House Visiting Members program, and our upcoming Sundance Institute Art House Project program work to build that art-house community with not just cinema exhibitors but also with our cinema audiences.

We deeply appreciate the opportunity to partner with BoxOffice Pro for [their coverage] with a focus on art-house exhibition. Though we have many of the same burdens and opportunities as our commercial exhibitors, there are a few unique qualities to being an art-house exhibitor, and we are grateful to BoxOffice Pro for allowing us to share our stories.

Russ Collins is the founder of Art House Convergence and has served as CEO of the Michigan Theater since 1982.

 

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By Alex Edghill

American Sniper has rolled out the biggest opening of all time in January this weekend, and made it into the top 50 ever with its estimated $90.2 million three day take. It had been doing exceptionally well on Twitter and other social media outlets leading up to its release but perhaps the even more impressive show has been what it has done since Friday. Its Sunday take was 115,332 tweets more than Friday (282,938 versus 167,606). That is more than double the 45,282 tweets that old record-holder Ted managed to increase from its Friday to Sunday tally.

To start with its a rare occurrence to see a film have more buzz on Sunday of its opening weekend than Friday, especially for big name films. The nature of marketing campaigns is to get as many people to rush out and see films on opening day. After all, the faster people go to see a film the faster studios get money in their pockets. This is clearly evident in box office grosses themselves where the percentage of revenue gained from Friday box office over Sunday is currently at its highest in the history of the box office (was just under 2.80 for wide release films in 2014). Since April of 2010 (when we started keeping Friday to Sunday tweet records for wide release openers) we have tracked 579 openers and of those only 106 have seen a positive gain from Friday to Sunday. Break it down even further and only five films (now six with American Sniper) have had a positive increase of more than 10,000. 

Wide release movies with 10,000+ more tweets Sunday than Friday on Release since April 30th 2010

Date Movie Fri-Sun  Increase
1/16/15 American Sniper 115,332
6/29/12 Ted (2012) 45,282
10/25/13 Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa 24,105
6/29/11 Transformers: Dark of the Moon 14,665
11/07/14 Interstellar 13,184
6/18/10 Jonah Hex 11,576

The list is an interesting mix as when measuring tweets any news, good or bad, will register an uptick in buzz. Hence the inclusion of Jonah Hex on the list as its massive bomb was one of the biggest on the year and brought attention to an otherwise largely shunned film. With the exception of the lowly Jonah Hex, the films on the list had above average 'legs', or put another way performed much stronger in subsequent weekends after opening than average films. In fact the average opening weekend to total gross ratio for the list (again minus Hex) was 3.92. Again this isn't an exact science but if we extrapolate that to American Sniper we are looking at a total gross in the region of $350 million. That's rarified air for Clint Eastwood and would be a huge leapfrog over his current top grossing film: Gran Torino's $148 million.

Perhaps more importantly for Hollywood, if American Sniper does indeed cross the $350 million mark it would be a nice win for the industry as a whole as it would mean December 2014 would actually be the highest grossing December since 2009. That's a far cry from its current position as the lowest grossing December since 1999.

Subscribe to Box Office for more social media insights/coverage.

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Taken 3 grossed another $31.4 million overseas, pushing its cume to $99 million. The action flick's top international market this weekend was the UK with $5.4 million from 800 locations. The global cume is now $147.8 million.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb raked in $17.8 million for an overseas total of $179.9 million. Globally, Secret of the Tomb is up to $280.8 million.

Penguins of Madagascar earned $16.3 million, pushing its overseas cume to $225.6 million. The animated effort is now up to $305.7 million globally.

A #1 debut frame of $15 million in China helped Seventh Son's overseas tally hit $21.7 million. The action flick has already grossed $60.5 million internationally before opening in North America.

Exodus: Gods and Kings added $10.9 million, pushing its overseas cume to $185.8 million. The epic is up to $249.8 million globally.

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies took in $9.8 million for an overseas cume of $558.6 million. Globall, Five Armies is up to $803.1 million globally.

Expanding on its staggering North American wide debut, American Sniper added $9.3 million from 8 markets for an early overseas tally of $25.4 million. 

The Theory of Everything snagged another $8 million overseas for a solid international total of $31 million. The global total is $58.5 million.

Into the Woods added another $7.3 million overseas, pushing its total abroad to $26 million. Globally, the musical is now up to $140.3 million.

Big Hero 6 tacked on additional $7.2 million internationally this. Disney's animated flick has earned an impressive $212.2 million overseas, and its global haul is $428.3 million.

Unbroken posted $6.6 million overseas this weekend, The Angelina Jolie-directed drama is now up to $21.8 million internationally. Globally, Unbroken is up to $131.2 million.

Blackhat debuted in 19 overseas territories this weekend, earning $2.2 million. Combined with the weak North American opening, the cyber thriller has earned $6.8 million. 

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