When's the 201 AS (UK) exam? Exams start on the 16th - the G322 exam: Thursday 19th May, 9am. Yr12 Study Leave begins after ? May (Yr13 from the ?)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Popcorn is cinemas sweet spot not movies

This is a companion post to the analysis of the $10 MoviePass announcement, and what that (and other schemes I also discuss) means for the distribution and exhibition industries.

From a business point of view, cinemas are only partly about films. "When we bought [Odeon]," Guy Hands of private equity group Terra Firma famously said, "the management team really believed they were part of the film business. I had the difficult job of explaining to them that they were in the popcorn-selling business." (Oliver Thring, Guardian 2012)

With the emergence of NATIONAL movie passes, not just schemes within individual chains (Curzon and Kineopolis being being two examples), the revenue model of the film industry faces a huge shake-up with a disruption of the traditional models of renting 'prints' and passing some share of ticket revenues back to distributors (depending on the movie).

That hideous diabetes/clot-encouraging popcorn is set to become the main revenue stream for cinemas - movies could become a loss-leader, just as budget airlines seek to make money from flight 'extras' and in-flight sales more than the actual seat purchase - very bad news for distributors.

That process is arguably already here though...

The pic above is from a Guardian article on an American cinema-goer launching a doomed lawsuit against the US cinema chain for charging $8 for a coke. From the same article:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cinema $10 unlimited month pass brings Netflix style to theatres

NoFilmSchool brought my attention to a HUGE landmark moment in the US - a Netflix-style $10/month pass for 'unlimited' cinema screenings.
NoFilmSchool article.

The MoviePass homepage.

That brings the disruption of digitisation to the a new level, and undermines (though it may take time yet for its impact through user numbers to grow) the traditional cinema exhibition business model: movie 'prints' (just as likely to be streams, Blu-Rays or HDDs now) are rented by cinemas from distributors and a further share of ticket revenue passed back to distributors. There is variation in this basic model depending mostly on the power of the distributor and whether its a tentpole big six production they're touting, but thats a rough outline of how the production (sell all rights to or agree a revenue share with a distributor) to distribution to exhibition film cycle ends up (before further distribution and exhibition through TV, and distribution through physical media, downloads and streams - rental and purchase.

If the audience figures are no longer a simple guide to box office, that suggests a steep medium to long term decline in revenues. Unless its the cinema-avoiding public (non-noisy nuisances, ie kids/teens!) that mostly takes up these passes. The 15-24 age range is the key cinema market as you can see from this BFI chart (page 4):


You can find a great analysis of the older audience in 2017 here, by Stephen Follows. This US analysis by Nielsen also shows roughly 30% of the cinema audience as 12-24, or nearly 50% for 12-34.

There is dispute over how big a revenue driver concessions (popcorn etc) really are, but this certainly will (in the style of bucket airlines like easyJet) shift the profit-making onus onto food and drinks - which distributors are locked out of. See this post for details on how vital the huge mark-ups cinemas make on concessions (typically 85% profit on every dollar spent) are.

The unlimited is limited: one viewing a day, no IMAX or 3D (maybe a supplement charge for longer movies?), but that still means a possible 30c viewing!

This isn't actually completely new ... many moons ago I bought Virgin Cinema monthly passes - £15 if I remember right, back in 1999. That enabled me to be amongst the shellshocked hordes stumbling out of the Phantom Menace midnight premiere wondering what the hell we'd just seen, and what kind of evil madman could invent JarJar Binks - but get over it by going to see plenty more decent movies in the days and weeks that followed.

I figured Curzon, with its membership scheme, would likely do something similar, and sure enough they also offer an unlimited annual pass for its cinemas.

Here in Luxembourg

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

STREAMING Disney quit Netflix for own service. Fragmentation?

Apple will have to join this suddenly crowded market, with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and more facing increasing competition.

If more of the big six follow suit, surely that will actually undermine the paid-for streaming industry and encourage a resurgence in piracy?

If you're a household bill payer will you want to add a $10+ monthly Disney service to a $10 Netflix ... Amazon Prime ... Hulu (and probably Spotify/other music option), never mind a Sky or other cable bundle? If Universal, Sony and the rest mimic Disney, would you really go from 1, 2 or 3 subscription services to nearer 10, with the current big players all being hugely devalued by the loss of studio libraries?

Disney's move in many regards is a smart one - but not if it's rivals copy it's move.

https://www.macrumors.com/2017/08/08/disney-to-launch-new-streaming-services/

Netflix and Amazon on edge as Disney plans own streaming service

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/aug/08/netflix-amazon-nerves-disney-streaming-service?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Copy_to_clipboard

Friday, August 04, 2017

Joe Queenan movie biz based on recycling ideas

Joe Queenan is a highly entertaining writer on film, author of a number of books and many columns like this one where he overviews a large number of flicks in considering a theme, actor, genre or director.

In short, along with the likes of legendary producer Art Linson, his writing is a great tool for expanding your knowledge of film.

I've picked out a single quote from a lengthy feature reflecting on the career of 87 year-old Clint Eastwood, The Man With No Name apart from Dirty Harry and so forth. A 40 DVD Eastwood boxset has been released - I estimate I've seen about 30 of those flicks - and Queenan's take is fair on this huge collection and those that were excluded from the set (though Any Which But Loose is fun as well as dumb!).

In terms of learning cinematic technique, it's the excluded Spaghetti Western dollar trilogy I'd recommend - the boxset of those has great extras showing how director Sergio Leone worked - and he in turn borrowed liberally from the great Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa, whose Yojimbo and Seven Samurai remain masterpieces more than a half century later.

Here he sums up the nature of the industry in one pithy statement:

Movie-making is not so much a process of making new films as of remaking old ones. 

He goes on to add:

Stories work today because they worked yesterday. People never get tired of seeing good triumph over evil, because the only place they ever get to see this happen is in the cinema.

The meaning of Clint: what watching 40 Eastwood films has taught me https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/aug/03/clint-eastwood-what-watching-40-films-box-set-taught-me?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Friday, July 21, 2017

FUNDING Baby Driver part of £415m tax relief benefit bill

Big-budget films receive increase in tax relief to almost £600m https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jul/20/big-budget-films-receive-increase-in-tax-relief-to-almost-600m?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

CONVERGENCE MICRO-BUDGET Soderbergh iPhone movie to be self-distributed

From a great site for students of.film comes news of a true iconoclast further blurring the pro/am line with his own smartphone movie.

Soderbergh is an awkward so and so but an unquestioned auteur and 80s Indie pioneer, like Alex Cox bringing something of a punk attitude to 80s film a decade after the upstart Indie outsiders had become Hollywood insiders (Spielberg, Lucas, Scorsese, Coppola).

...

http://nofilmschool.com/2017/07/steven-soderbergh-unsane-secret-movie-iphone

Sunday, July 16, 2017

BUDGET Cost of IP rights and screenplay

I'll add to this in time; first up a $5m novel rights example with Scorsese and DiCaprio attached - screenplay adaptation could cost the same again depending on how many writers are contracted to draft it:

Rights to Flower Moon – as it’s known to industry insiders – were snapped up by Imperative last year for a reported $5 million, and a script has reportedly been drafted by veteran Oscar-winning scribe Eric Roth of Forrest Gump and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button fame.

https://www.unilad.co.uk/film/leonardo-dicaprio-and-martin-scorcese-are-working-together-again/

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

WARP Meadows C4 Virtues continues the TV convergence

http://variety.com/2017/tv/global/shane-meadows-this-is-england-the-virtues-1202493233/

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Baby Driver set to crash over stupid title?

Baby Driver: can a bad title sink a film? https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jun/27/baby-driver-can-a-bad-title-sink-a-film?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Friday, June 16, 2017

CHINA How Hollywood targets Chinese cinema

https://youtu.be/JEjEU8azqBI

The disc is dead: DVD, Blu-ray doomed?

Netflix and Amazon 'will overtake UK cinema box office spending by 2020' https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jun/14/netflix-amazon-uk-cinema-box-office-film-dvd-blu-ray-pwc?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Thursday, June 01, 2017

RottenTomatoes sank Baywatch and Pirates wail big 6

https://qz.com/995202/movie-studios-are-blaming-rotten-tomatoes-for-killing-baywatch-and-pirates-of-the-caribbean-which-no-one-wanted-to-see/?utm_source=qzfb

Tentpoles and TV blocking Indies' cinema chances

Hollywood and TV put the squeeze on UK's low-budget film-makers https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/may/31/hollywood-and-tv-put-the-squeeze-on-uks-low-budget-film-makers?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Saturday, May 20, 2017

DIGITISATION 4K restorations for re-releases

The music industry is dominated by the old, with back catalogue sales underpinning revenues, though with a similar tentpole strategy in place for a handful of global stars, as Elberse details in her book Blockbusters, analysing the distribution muscle thrown behind Lady Gaga, Jay-Z and other titan acts.

David Bowie has dominated vinyl sales this year, and accounts for a good proportion of other revenues too - the music industry is fuelled by monetising nostalgia.

The Secret Cinema organisation in Britain, putting on screenings of past hits in locations with a thematic link to that film, have squeezed millions in extra box office from many back catalogue flicks, while a black and white Mad Max Fury Road release, or Lord of the Rings re-read with a few extra minutes of tedium added, or just re-release to pop a multi-billion barrier (Avatar) ... the re-release has a place in the film industry's playbook.

There's always the film club and arthouse circuit, with CinemaTheque in Luxembourg an example, Woody Allen re-runs rarely being off the agenda in a typical month, or the summer outdoor screenings of everything from The Force Awakens to Rebel Without a Cause (picks for the 2016 Luxembourg season, the free event paid for through Orange sponsorship).

Retrofitting 3D is a long established practice, a software process of making a film not shot in 3D into this format at a cost of around $10m. Restoration has been a considerable element of arthouse and film festival fare - I've enjoyed watching a newly restored cut of a 50s Poe adaptation at the Bradford National Media Museum (1 strand of the BFI's work), and a new extended cut of Metropolis, weaving in newly discovered and repaired footage, at the Ilkley Film Festival.

The 4K restorations that Maurice, a Merchant and Ivory drama about a gay male love affair starring a young Hugh Grant, is an early example of could become a significant element of the multiplex mix, not just the arthouse circuit, a useful strand of counter-programming or even a means of building hype for a new franchise release by a limited release of an older, pre-reboot, franchise entry (picking up lots of cheap publicity along the way).

Both the 3D retrofits and 4K restorations are notable examples of the impact of digitisation.

Maurice at 30: the gay period drama the world wasn't ready for https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/may/19/maurice-film-period-drama-merchant-ivory?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ghost Stories

Claire Jones (Sightseers [+]), and Robin Gutch ('71 [+]) are producing for the UK’s Warp Films with the backing of the UK’s Catalyst Global Media and Screen YorkshireAltitude Film Sales is handling international sales and is currently representing the film at the American Film MarketDyson and Nyman said of the project, “Over half a million people have seen the play and now we are beyond excited to be bringing the film version of Ghost Stories to life." [CinEuropa.org article Nov 2016]
THIS POST IN BRIEF:
  • Warp announced a new film in Feb 2016, already picked up by 'big 7' Lionsgate for UK distribution, with Altitude handling international sales
  • Pre-selling rights at the pre-production stage is common for Indies (legendary social realist auteurs Ken Loach + Mike Leigh have done this throughout their careers). German rights were also pre-sold to Tele M√ľnchen/Concorde after a pitch at the Berlin European Film Market in feb 2016
  • This is an adaptation of an internationally successful play, bringing some comparisons with Woman in Black (but note the IP is limited compared to Les Mis)
  • Warp's reputation for allowing creatives to retain control, not the accountants, saw Nyman reject interest from Hollywood studios (who immediately suggested star-based changes!)
  • Martin Freeman's casting led most reports; star of the $3bn Hobbit franchise this suggests a more ambitious/commercial approach from Warp ...
  • ...BUT he's no A-lister (the IP and CGI sold the Hobbit, not a UK TV star!), and its no coincidence that as of May 2017 the UK remains the only territory with a distributor
  • Warp's online efforts at building interest and an audience through the pre-/production/post- stages has been typically lax ...
  • ... BUT co-director/writer Andy Nyman has exemplified the ability of cast and crew to use social media to promote a production (eg the 5 crew badges Twitter draw)
  • ... AND Altitude have been very active
  • Lionsgate UK, however, have yet to properly launch; their website contains only a coming soon message!

PRODUCTION ANNOUNCED AT A FAN FEST...
Okay, so its not the 80,000 packed into the Dallas Cowboys football stadium just to see a teaser trailer (1 strand of the epic Avatar campaign, arranged through ComicCon, the world's leading fan forum for such announcements), but Ghost Stories is following a smart path of pre-/production promotion, launching a 'concept teaser trailer' at FrightFest:
Horror blog FlickeringMyth reports the announcement, complete with 'concept teaser trailer'




ScreenDaily (US) announce the production, Feb 2016
So much for the auteur theory! Empire (UK) also led on Freeman's involvement

Casting Martin Freeman seems a real coup for Warp - after all, he was the lead in the tentpole Hobbit franchise (combined budgets $675m, box office $2.9bn). However, IP was the key marketing factor there, and he cannot be considered an A-List star any more than Lord of the Rings star Andy Serkis can 'open a film' by himself. Freeman's presence does help with marketing though, and gaining distribution, but the lack of progress there is significant. Hollywood conglomerate Lionsgate picking the film up for distribution is a coup, as one of what many now argue should be called the big seven to reflect their considerable global success in recent years (expanding the traditional big six of Disney, Warner Bros, Fox, Universal, Sony, Paramount).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Is film piracy sunk?

Message to Pirates of the Caribbean hackers – piracy no longer pays https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/shortcuts/2017/may/17/message-to-pirates-of-the-caribbean-hackers-piracy-no-longer-pays?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Why films fail: Arthur legendary flop

Epic fail: why has King Arthur flopped so badly? https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/may/16/epic-fail-why-has-king-arthur-flopped-so-badly?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Cannes adds TV but bans Netflix over release window

As Cannes turns 70, must cinema adapt to survive in new digital era? https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/may/13/cannes-film-festival-takes-on-tv-digital-upstarts-netflix?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Saturday, May 13, 2017

CONVERGENCE Terminator remade inside GTAV

http://www.unilad.co.uk/gaming/fan-remakes-all-of-terminator-2-in-gta-v/

https://youtu.be/LrX67Gltb-A

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Blockbuster model threatened as release window slashed to 3 weeks?

Blockbusters assemble: can the mega movie survive the digital era? https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/apr/07/blockbusters-assemble-can-the-mega-movie-survive-the-digital-era?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Thursday, March 09, 2017

CINEMA gimmicks including playpens

A theater chain wants to add jungle gyms to movie screens. It's a bad idea https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2017/mar/08/movie-theater-play-area-jungle-gym-cinepolis-junior?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Monday, March 06, 2017

REPRESENTATION Emma Watson post-feminist pose?

Emma Watson 'stunned' by criticism that Vanity Fair cover is not feminist https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/mar/05/emma-watson-vanity-fair-cover-feminism?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Thursday, February 16, 2017

CONVERGENCE Love Actually mini-sequel for TV

What joy - a sequel to the wonderful Love Actually, the profound Richard Curtis classic that puts would-be auteurs like Welles, Hitchcock, Scorsese et al to shame.


Tragically, there will be only ten minutes of this cinematic feast, delivered through TV, as part of the Comic Relief telethon that Curtis helped create. One can only hope for a fourth Bridget Jones movie to ease the pain.

Thanks to Richard for alerting me to this televisual splendour, a nice example of convergence, with the TV/film divide fading - About a Boy being another Working Title example.

LA itself has become a meme since its release; as this article notes, comparisons have been made between the Grant character and Canadian PM Trudeau this week.
A notoriously polarising film, Love Actually’s cultural currency has grown in the 14 years since it was released. The film has been repeatedly unpicked, spoofed and deconstructed; four foreign language films – in Japanese, Hindi, Polish and Dutch – have also been inspired by the movie.
The showdown between Hugh Grant’s upstanding UK prime minister and the boorish, lecherous US president – reportedly based on a Bill Clinton/George W Bush hybrid – has been a touchstone of political discourse ever since. Even this week, Canadian premier Justin Trudeau found himself compared to Grant, following his meeting with US President Donald Trump. 
...



Sunday, February 12, 2017

LIONSGATE thrive without tentpoles

An overview of Lionsgate's evolving strategy, although I don't share the author's confidence that a reversion to lower budget (current hit and Oscar favourite La La Land cost $30m), arthouse Oscar bait is an intentional shift, rather the ending of two huge YA franchises based on book series that came to firm endings.

Their 2017 slate includes a new book adaptation, My Little Pony and Power Rangers, not to mention a Saw reboot, so they're clearly not done with what Elberse describes as the blockbuster strategy yet, let alone the all-prevailing franchise model.

La La Land's success heralds return to Lionsgate's small-scale roots https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/feb/11/la-la-land-lionsgate-film-studio?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Saturday, February 04, 2017

INDUSTRY TV soars while film DVD slumps

Falling DVD sales put boot into profits at Sony Pictures https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/feb/03/sony-pictures-dvd-sales-profits-streaming?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

BBFC Trainspotting joins small band of 18-rated hits

And it’s rare that an 18-certificate film opens north of £5m. Ignoring previews, only three such titles have done so: Fifty Shades of GreyBrunoand Hannibal.

The success is also noteworthy for the 2 decade gap between franchise entries, something only Star Wars (19 years after Jedi) can claim.

Return trip: T2 Trainspotting shoots up UK box-office chart https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/31/uk-box-office-film-t2-trainspotting-sing-la-la-land-split-hacksaw-ridge?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Friday, January 27, 2017

INDUSTRY Tax break makes UK major production base

Star Wars and Trainspotting sequels help UK film production break records https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/26/star-wars-trainspotting-t2-uk-film-production-rise-bfi?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Sunday, January 22, 2017

INDIE ARTHOUSE CINEMAS flourish with weddings and events

New figures show a big increase in the UK market share of Indie cinemas, up from 17% in 2015 to 23% in 2016, and nearer 34% if Indies bought up by chains like Picturehouse are added.

I've blogged on the rise of boutique, small-scale arthouse cinemas such as that launched last year in Ilkley (and the longer established CinemaTheque here, in a country where the Utopolis chain dominates), but also the rise and rise of event cinema, from live screencasts of opera, theatre and orchestra to director Q+A's.

Now we're seeing weddings in cinemas, films paused so the audience can taste the same wine or chocolates as the characters on screen ... a lot of innovation in the fightback against home cinema and the emergent streaming giants.

Wine, weddings and ballet: new role for indie cinemas at heart of high streets https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/22/indie-cinema-at-high-streets-heart-brighton-blackpool?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Thursday, January 19, 2017

SAUDIA ARABIA Sod that, cinema banned!

Saudi Arabia to continue ban on 'immoral, atheistic' cinema https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/18/saudi-arabia-ban-immoral-public-cinema-grand-mufti-sheikh-abdulaziz?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

FRANCE CHINA $180m Eng lang tentpole Valerian

A Chinese production company invested $50m of the staggering $180m budget - standard fare for Big Six Hollywood fantasy, sci-fi and action franchise flicks but more than twice the previous highest budget French production, the $78m Asterix.

To put that into perspective, the UK's consistently most successful production company, WT, have never since exceeded the $100m of war action movie Green Zone, a Matt Damon vehicle.

Having watched the trailer, it strikes me as Blade Runner meets Avatar - though director Lux Besson's 20 year-old Hollywood sci-fi hit The Fifth Dimension is another apt comparison. Where that movie starred Bruce Willis in his global box office pomp, it's much less certain that lead Cara Delevingne can carry the marketing. Her presence didn't help Suicide Squad's relatively disappointing box office.

http://m.imdb.com/title/tt2239822/

Sci-fi and superheroes in 2017: can Luke Skywalker save us from Hollywood's bleak year ahead?

https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2017/jan/04/sci-fi-and-superheroes-2017-can-luke-skywalker-save-us-from-hollywoods-bleak-year-ahead-ridley-scott-blade-runner-ryan-gosling-week-in-geek?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Copy_to_clipboard