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TOPIC: thoughts and Q's on digital cinema

thoughts and Q's on digital cinema 16 Apr 2011 19:26 #35753

  • Mike
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1. how fast will prices of equip drop?
2. how quickly will used equipment start to flow in?
3. many theatre have less than perfect sound/ projection right now. Are there less expensive hybrid options of screen-sound-project that will work for digital projection?
4. when states realize there is a industry poised to force closure of rural theatres across the USA will ther be a class action suit?
5. do you believe the end of prints 35mm by 2013?
6. why won't roll out of digital speed and widen distribution plans?
7. with earlier and earlier dvd/ VOD one way or the other we are going to be buying equipment on the front end , losing films on the back end, and maybe still not being able to get films because "We're not going that wide." It doesn't make sense.
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Re: thoughts and Q's on digital cinema 17 Apr 2011 00:23 #35756

  • rufusjack
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Re: Release patterns:

The reason why you have not been seeing any ease of getting prints on the break for digital is that studios 99% of the time will have to pay a VPF therefore not seeing any decrease in costs for distribution.

Now, I have hopes that we can get this better for us. I know of one digital owner who does not receive VPFs getting movies on the break for a $1000 guarantee with studios that on film would set a guarantee at $1500. That is a start.

I have had conversations with a couple of sales reps exploring increasing access to movies on the break for theaters that do not recieve VPFs. There has been some positive comments made from them.

I believe if all of us in the non-vpf camp push this idea of greater availability, that we might get some studios to agree.

START HAVING THOSE CONVERSATIONS SO IT GOES UP THE CHAIN OF COMMAND!
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Re: thoughts and Q's on digital cinema 17 Apr 2011 15:52 #35760

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I agree/ if the vpf does not apply and you end up purchasing equipment/ there has to be a non vpf availability that makes it easier for them to include more theatres on the break. A friend in the biz has been told point blank he could not have a picture and then he said: "no VPF" and they said: sure. The reason I don't open more pictures is because I have not been able to get prints. We'd open another 30-40% of first run if we'd not heard "not in the marketing plan"
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Re: thoughts and Q's on digital cinema 18 Apr 2011 00:30 #35764

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Mike:

I just dont understand this "not in the marketing plan" nonsense.

We have several single screen theatres here in Central PA that get product on the break that run weekends only and struggle to gross a $1,000 for the three days.

It used to be that the PA market was notoriously one of the most difficult (if not the most difficult) in the country. Based on your constant complaints I guess we no longer hold the most difficult title.
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Re: thoughts and Q's on digital cinema 18 Apr 2011 16:41 #35771

I can definitely concur with Mike's statement about the benefit of not collecting vpfs. For my single screen digital theater, I have to constantly remind our sales rep that we do not collect a vpf every time a book a film, and it makes a big difference. There have a been a number of times when I initially was to told no and then told yes.

I am very concerned about the future of my three screen 35mm theater. We currently show about 85% of our films on the break and it us unclear what would happen if we converted to digital via collecting vpfs. On the other hand, I do not have the capital to convert via self financing. Very tricky situation.
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Re: thoughts and Q's on digital cinema 19 Apr 2011 15:42 #35784

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Worthington Daily Globe
MINNESOTA THEATER OWNERS FACE DIGITAL CHALLENGE
Theater owners face digital challenge
By KARI LUCIN Worthington Daily Globe | Posted: Monday, April 18, 2011 12:00 am

JACKSON, Minn. — A couple with a long history in the theater enjoy the ups and downs of owning a historic theater in southwest Minnesota, despite its many challenges.

“We’d been looking a really long time for a theater of our own . and finally found one that we decided to try,” said Nikki Schwartz, who owns the Historic State Theatre in Jackson with her husband, Mike Schwartz.

They purchased the old theater Dec. 9, 2002, and offered the first movie showing three weeks later. Since then, they’ve been running the only movie theater in Jackson County, with its vintage silver screen-film setup and beautiful art nouveau décor.

Nikki started working in movie theaters in 1987 in Denver, when she was in high school. Mike grew up working at a drive-in theater in Lusk, where he started around 1978 — as a fifth-grader.

The Schwartzes both have jobs outside the State Theatre. Nikki is a cook at Jackson Middle School, and Mike books films for movie theaters in North Dakota, Minnesota, Idaho, Missouri, Montana and New Jersey.

Keeping any historic building up is difficult, but upkeep for the State hasn’t been that tough, compared to a new problem theater operators have not faced in the past.

“Our biggest challenge right now is the digital cinema,” Mike said.

The transition to digital from the existing film setup will cost approximately $70,000.

“It’s going to be a hard transition for a lot of theaters,” Nikki said. “And a lot of theaters will close because of it.”

A digital system would be computer-operated, so the Schwartzes would need to purchase not only a computer, but also a cooling system to keep the computer from overheating. The sound system would need to be upgraded. The screen would need to be replaced, the old projector removed, and film — like the musicians who once played tunes during silent pictures — would become a thing of the past.

“For us to fit in with the program we’re in, we have to be converted by September of 2012, or actively (making) progress” Nikki said. “Eventually, 35-millimeter film will no longer exist, so we have been diligent in planning for the future.”

The price tag for digital conversion is steep, but the State is by no means alone in facing the upgrading challenge. Every theater is facing the same difficulty.

The Schwartzes hope the greater Jackson community will rally around them and the State Theatre because it values the opportunities the movie theater presents for residents of all ages, from small children to seniors.

“We need help,” Nikki said. “We’re taking donations for it from the community. We’ll probably try and do some fundraising. We just put a roof on last year, and there’s just no way, it’s not possible for us to do it, it’s not. We’re barely keeping it open, and it’s because we’re passionate about it.”

Community organizations have already begun to pitch in to help defray the costs of the upgrade. The Jackson Preservation Alliance donated $100 and 25 calendars, which sell for $12 each. The local beautification committee gave $1,400.

“The towns that have single screen theaters — and there are some that do rather well — it’s because their community really values the fact that they do have that as an option for their children,” Nikki said. “You hear people talk about how there’s nothing to do for their kids, so it would be really sad to lose something that they do have for their kids.”

Main Street theaters can be an important asset in keeping downtowns thriving, Nikki said.

And the Jackson community does value its theater, Mike said, although sometimes that feeling isn’t reflected well in attendance figures.

“Statistics show that 12 percent go to movies on a regular basis. If that 12 percent would come here, we would be OK. We wouldn’t have any problems,” Nikki said. “The hardest thing is when somebody comes up to you and says that they went and saw the movie that you’re playing out of town. And that happens. And that hurts.”

The Schwartzes see hopeful signs in the small community of Sherburn, where the theater raised $30,000 in a little more than a month for the digital upgrades it needed.

“They just really came together,” Mike said.

National Association of Theatre Owners
750 First Street, Suite 1130
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 962-0054
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Re: thoughts and Q's on digital cinema 20 Apr 2011 20:22 #35801

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Marketing plan: it's pretty simple I think. If they are going with 2500 prints and there are 4400 locations it leaves out the 1900 who want a print, if they want a print. Every distib knows exactly where each theatre stands in their theatres. you are numbered from one to whatever the last grosser is. I can ask Sony, Fox, etc. and they know exactly where I stand in relation to everyone else I fight for prints with. To those theatres in the top of the list , they suffer from a completely different list of ills that we smaller theatres never experience like the expectation you will play every movie and keep it on screen until the end of time. Back to the subject at hand: I have been asking distribs about more print availability with the rise of digital and it's pretty funny: they are so gun shy they won't answer it.
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Re: thoughts and Q's on digital cinema 21 Apr 2011 20:56 #35810

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Picture Prints 3D
Shrek 4359 2372 54%
Toy Story 4028 2463 61%
Despicable 3476 1565 45%
Cats/Dogs 3705 2130 58%
GaHoole 3575 2479 69%
Megamind 3944 2660 67%
Tangled 3603 2450 68%
Narnia 3555 1990 56%
Tron 3451 2392 69%
Green Hornet 3584 2556 71%
Rio 3825 2613 68%


Expected percentage to be higher for Rio. However, THOR may be telling point of impact before the summer hits.
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Re: thoughts and Q's on digital cinema 21 Apr 2011 21:04 #35811

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The math is very simple.
As higher percentage increases for tentpoles, then there will be less 35mm to go around off the break. Highest grossing off the break pictures get the first shot, then lesser grossing theaters will wait.

Impact is now.
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Re: thoughts and Q's on digital cinema 22 Apr 2011 00:53 #35812

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Getting film prints of the tentpole titles on the break is something that I am not worried about, even in 2013. But getting prints of movies the other 25-30 weeks of the year......now that is what I am worried about.
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Re: thoughts and Q's on digital cinema 24 Apr 2011 16:15 #35823

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25 3D releases scheduled for 2012 so far. dont think 3D is going awaay
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Re: thoughts and Q's on digital cinema 24 Apr 2011 19:56 #35824

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Gene,

Slap is about the only one here who would disagree with you on that. But he can respond if he desires. I have never said 3d would go away.
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