"What Women Want: Unlocking Box Office Revenue" Suggests Studios Leave Money on the Table With Addiction to Tentpoles

Los Angeles, CA and Auckland, New Zealand; October 6, 2015 - Even with such chart-topping titles as "Jurassic World" and "The Avengers: Age of Ultron," 2015's unadjusted cumulative box office is up only 6% over 2014 and only 1% over 20131. Movio, the global leader in marketing data, analysis, insights and campaign creation for theatrical exhibitors, studios and film distributors, suggests that the film industry is "leaving money on the table" by not paying more attention to underserved sectors of the moviegoing audience.

Central to Movio's assertion is the fact that big-budget tentpole films are not sufficient for driving an increase in overall moviegoing. The audience for blockbusters is already well served throughout the year, so spreading that audience over a larger slate of big budget films may not be a sustainable strategy to increase annual box office. Movio Chief Executive and Co-Founder Will Palmer revealed the results of a research campaign initiated exclusively for TheGrill during his presentation on Tuesday, October 6, 2015.

In "What Women Want: Unlocking Box Office Revenue" Palmer presented compelling data to support Movio's premise that female moviegoers may hold the key to significantly increasing the annual box office haul, which suggests that some of the studios' marketing firepower could be redirected to non-tentpole films to increase box office heft.

Movio's data scientists profiled the audience that avoids blockbuster films, partitioning their sample of more than 1 million typical North American moviegoers by their tentpole preferences, concentrating on the group whose preference for these films was significantly less than average. The purpose of this research was to identify areas where there were opportunities to expand moviegoing numbers by attending to populations that are underserved by content or marketing. The analysis revealed two groups that formed the core of the research:

1. Millennial women, who preferred comedies and frequented the movies during the evening almost once a month.

2. Female baby-boomers who primarily like dramas and tend to visit the cinema during the day on a monthly basis as well.

According to Palmer, "It's well known that women are responsible for making many household financial decisions and across the cinema chains that participate in Movio Media, 60% of loyalty cardholders are women. In addition, they are primarily responsible for introducing children to the cinemas, as women make up 57% of the animated film audience."

Further analysis of the financial information that Movio has collected combined with the exclusive insights of the research, shows that of the 203 movies for which Movio could obtain financial data, 45 had an audience that was 60% men, while 40 had an audience that was greater than 60% women. Although the male-dominated films had an average worldwide gross twice as big as the female-dominated films, the average gross to budget ratio of female-dominated films is greater: 5.1 vs. 2.3. This trend is true even when Movio considered blockbusters, with the male-focused superhero films averaging a global gross to budget ratio of 2.9, while the female-focused action films (centered on the Hunger Games franchise) returned an average gross to budget ratio of 4.4.

Palmer adds, "This suggests that a shift in focus towards producing and marketing films to women could pay off not only in incremental box office, but in blockbuster returns as well."

For access to Movio's complete "What Women Want: Unlocking Box Office Revenue" research white paper, visit

1 Source: Box Office Pro


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Acquisition Includes 37 Screens Across Five Theaters

COLUMBUS, Ga. & LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Carmike Cinemas, Inc. (NASDAQ: CKEC) ("Carmike"), a leading digital cinema, alternative programming and 3-D motion picture presenter, today announced that it has entered into a definitive purchase agreement under which Carmike acquired all of Sundance Cinemas, LLC ("Sundance") for $36.0 million in cash, subject to customary working capital and other adjustments. The transaction simultaneously closed upon signing of the purchase agreement. Upon completion of this transaction, Carmike operates 274 theatres with 2,909 screens in 41 states.

The acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive (net of one-time transaction costs), on an EPS, EBITDA, and cash flow basis and is projected to add incremental revenue of $24 million and, after general and administrative synergies, pro forma EBITDA of $5.6 million to Carmike's financials for the trailing twelve month period ended June 30, 2015. A reconciliation of net income to pro forma EBITDA (a non-GAAP measure) is included below.

Sundance theatres acquired

Theatre Location Screens 3D Screens
Sundance Kabuki San Francisco, CA 8 2
Sundance Cinemas Houston Houston, TX 8 2
Sundance Cinemas Madison Madison, WI 6 0
Sundance Sunset West Hollywood, CA 5 0
Sundance Cinemas Seattle Seattle, WA 10 3

Carmike's President and Chief Executive Officer David Passman stated, "Sundance has been enormously successful in creating a compelling consumer experience and shares our mission and vision of offering a world class movie-going experience, including an impressive premium dining offering. Not only are these five theaters located in complementary locations with limited geographic overlap with our existing circuit, but they also offer tremendous opportunity to implement Carmike's proven and successful guest experience strategies and combine our resources to achieve greater innovation that will benefit consumers, theater operations and increase shareholder value. We expect that this acquisition will allow Carmike to capture proportionally higher attendance rates for non-blockbuster titles and provide additional luxury expansion opportunities and meaningful cost synergies as we increase scale to optimize film exhibition and other support costs."

Paul Richardson, Sundance Cinemas' Chief Executive Officer commented "We are excited to join Carmike which brings together two exceptional organizations with a common culture of innovation and customer focus. Sundance has worked hard to deliver the highest levels of customer service across our theaters and we look forward to working together to increase Carmike's leadership position in cinema dining and overall movie-going experience."


($ in thousands)

Twelve Months Ended
June 30,
Net income1 $ 2,580
Depreciation and amortization1 1,381
EBITDA1 $ 3,961
General and administrative2 1,606
Pro forma EBITDA $ 5,567

(1) Net income, interest expense, depreciation and amortization expense and EBITDA, as defined below, reflect the historical results for the twelve month period ended June 30, 2015.

(2) Represents estimated annual general and administrative synergies

EBITDA is defined as net income plus interest expense and depreciation and amortization. Pro forma EBITDA is defined as EBITDA, as defined above, plus general and administrative expense synergies.

The transaction does not provide for the expansion of the Sundance brand under Carmike's ownership, however Carmike will have the ability under a license with Sundance Enterprises Inc. to continue to operate Sundance's five theatres under the Sundance brand. King & Spalding LLP acted as legal counsel to Carmike Cinemas in this transaction. Salem Partners LLC acted as financial advisor and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP acted as legal counsel to Sundance Cinemas, LLC in this transaction.


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USL, Inc., an industry leader in digital cinema technology, for the motion picture industry, has made new advancements on the popular JSD-60 Digital Cinema Processor. The JSD-60's unique features now include a BLU link output board that is compatible with the popular Crown BLU link amplifiers. The module allows for the output of the content of any selected BLU link channel. The JSD-60, along with many of the other innovative USL products will be on display at the ShowEast convention, October 12-15, in the USL, Inc. booth (#418) at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Florida.

Additional updated features for the JSD-60 include an internal RTA, 8 main outputs (for up to 7.1 channels) plus HI and VI-N outputs (all balanced line level). It comes with a digital bypass circuit for AES/EBU and all other formats. An optional internal biamp crossover is available for 5.1 and 7.1 channel auditoriums. Drive-In cinema support is also included.

"Our engineering team really outdid themselves with the JSD-60 series," commented Jack Cashin, Founder and President of USL, Inc. "The series contains five different economically diverse versions. Ultimately, this offers the end user a very flexible product that can be used in various auditorium configurations," added Cashin.

"The other features that make the JSD-60 really stand out from many of the other processors on the market are the 96kHz sample rate, digital bypass for AES/EBU, so you don't lose any shows," stated Clint Koch, Director of Sales. "Also, it is equipped with DTS and Dolby decoding for alternative content, and the digital matrix table that allows the user the ability to decode any of the formats and channels to their liking," continued Koch.

For over thirty-three years, USL, Inc. has been a global leader for technical achievements in design, manufacturing, research and development of cinema products and a six-time International Cinema Technology Association award winner of the Manufacturer of the Year.


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By Daniel Garris

Fox's The Martian took in $4.40 million on Monday to easily lead the daily box office for a fourth consecutive day. The critically acclaimed Ridley Scott directed 3D sci-fi film starring Matt Damon was down 68 percent from Sunday's performance. The Martian continues to perform towards the higher end of its lofty pre-release expectations with a four-day start of $58.71 million. The film is currently running 7 percent ahead of the $54.94 million last year's Interstellar had grossed after four days of wide release and just 5 percent behind the $61.81 million four-day start of 2013's Gravity. Both comparisons are made even more impressive for The Martian when taking into account that unlike Interstellar and Gravity, The Martian hasn't received an added boost from higher priced IMAX admissions.

Sony's Hotel Transylvania 2 placed in a distant second with $1.40 million. The Adam Sandler led 3D computer animated film from Sony Pictures Animation was down 86 percent from Sunday and down 40 percent from last Monday. Hotel Transylvania 2 has grossed a stronger than expected $92.13 million through eleven days of release. That places the film an impressive 13 percent ahead of the $81.37 million eleven-day gross of 2012's Hotel Transylvania.

Lionsgate's Sicario claimed third place with $1.05 million. The critically acclaimed crime thriller starring Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin fell 67 percent from Sunday. That represented one of the day's stronger daily percentage holds among wide releases. The 18-day total for Sicario stands at a promising $16.20 million. Sicario will have a very good chance of holding up well going forward thanks in part to strong critical reviews and strong early word of mouth.

The Intern followed closely behind in fourth with $0.941 million. The Warner Bros. comedy starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway declined 68 percent from Sunday and a very solid 38 percent from last Monday. The Intern has grossed $37.53 million in eleven days. That is on the high end of expectations and places the film 7 percent ahead of the $35.02 million eleven-day take of 2013's Last Vegas.

Black Mass and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials claimed fifth and sixth place for the day with respective daily grosses of $0.501 million and $0.475 million. Warner's Black Mass was down just 64 percent from Sunday, while Fox's Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials was down 77 percent. Respective 18-day total grosses stand at $63.87 million for Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and at $52.96 million for Black Mass.

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

Only one new movie will enter Chinese cinemas this week as the National Day "Golden Week" holiday winds down, and Pixar's Inside Out won't be changing the existing box office landscape very much with its debut.

Playing on just 14% of China's screens, Inside Out pulled in an estimated $4.6 million on its opening Tuesday. While that takes the highest opening day record for a Pixar release in China, topping Monsters University's opening Friday in summer 2013 by 25%, the Chinese film industry itself has nearly doubled its box office capacity within those two years. Given Disney's increased marketing push into China and the success of other animation studio's releases -- DreamWorks Animation with Kung Fu Panda 2, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and The Croods; Blue Sky Studios with Ice Age 4 -- Disney must be feeling less than joyful with Inside Out's performance and the lackluster reception Pixar films in general receive from Middle Kingdom audiences. Of the top 20 highest grossing toons in China, only one Pixar title has a spot: Monsters University all the way down at #17.

So what's behind the poor showing? Rob Cain, a long-time Chinese film industry watcher writing over at Forbes put it nicely: 

Whereas the "New York Times" enthused about Inside Out by exclaiming "The film solves a thorny philosophical problem with the characteristically Pixaresque tools of whimsy, sincerity and ingenious literal-mindedness," for China these elements are problematic for the audience. Judging by the list of films that have excelled there, it would appear that Chinese moviegoers prefer their animation stories to be more simple, straightforward, and traditional.

The Chinese moviegoers Rob is referring to are predominantly in the 3rd and 4th tier cities that are driving China's incredible box office growth. Looking at data from Inside Out's opening day screen count, Beijing and Shanghai had the Pixar film playing on 17% and 19% of their screens respectively, while Shijiazhuang -- a 3rd tier city an hour and a half from Beijing by high speed rail -- played the film on just 12% of its screens. Quite clearly what little demand there is for Inside Out comes from China's big international cities where Disney can more easily target its marketing to residents already familiar with Pixar's unique brand of animation. I'm sure these data points aren't lost on Disney studio execs, but if the company can't figure out how to market Pixar movies to generate the same buzz as it does for its Marvel Cinematic Universe and the upcoming Star Wars films in the Chinese heartland, they'll continue to be on the outside looking in.

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