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