Theater chains have climbed down slightly from the record admissions price highs of earlier this year, with the average domestic movie ticket costing $7.71 in the third quarter, according to the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO).
The price is a 3% decline from theater chainsâ record average ticket price of $7.95 in the first quarter of this year, The Wrap reports. But the year-to-date 2010 average price of $7.85 is still up about 5% from the 2009 average of $7.50.
As The Wrap points out, the third quarter did not see a glut of premium-priced 3D films as theaters featured earlier this year (including âAvatarâ and âAlice in Wonderlandâ). But some chains have actually lowered prices across the board in certain markets.
Stereoscopic conversion work has not yet commenced on James Cameronâs âTitanic,â according to the Hollywood Reporter. But the producers of the 1997 blockbuster film are eyeing an early 2012 release date for âTitanic 3Dâ â sometime between April and February. That may put it in contention with the 3D version of Lucasfilmâs âStar Wars: Episode I â The Phantom Menace,â which the Reporter says is also slated for an early-2012 debut.
Interestingly, the original version of âTitanicâ has yet to see Blu-ray release; studio executives claim to be waiting for the install base of players to increase.
Beijing-based Chengtian Entertainment is taking a 3.3% share of âInceptionâ producer Legendary Pictures, in a deal worth $25 million, as the two companies plot distribution of films and games in China and around the world.
China, The Hollywood Reporter notes, has more web surfers and mobile phone users than any other nation in the world â and stands as the Hollywoodâs second-largest export market for films.
Other recent Legendary productions includeÂ âThe Dark Knightâ and âThe Hangover.â
Filmmakers and critics are increasingly criticizing 3D projections in theaters for being significantly darker than their 2D counterparts. Fortunately moviegoers arenât voicing the same complaints (yet). But if 3D is going to permanently establish itself in theaters, The Wrap contends, stereoscopic pictures are going to have to get a lot brighter. The blog profiles the R&D effort underway to solve the issue.
Shares of 3D technology company RealD gained more than 30 percent from the companyâs initial public offering pricing yesterday, even as analysts debated the long-term challenges ahead of both the company and the stereoscopic medium in theaters.
BusinessWeek reports that of the 12.5 million total shares offered, 6.5 million came from private-equity funds and other owners. The high number of owner sales was enough to give Chapwood Capital analyst Ed Butowsky pause.
âIâm surprised theyâre going public when they are,â Butowsky told Bloomberg. âHalf of the shares are being sold by existing shareholders â that bothers me.âÂ Butowsky added that the company was losing money; indeed, RealD reported a net loss of $51 million for its fiscal year ended March 26, 2010 (via RTTNews).
Meanwhile, BTIG Research (which has a Sell rating on the RealD stock) points out that the company â presuming it sticks to its current business model of licensing projectors to movie theaters â ârequires continued strength in 3D attendanceâ if it is to succeed over the long term.
BTIGâs current estimates for the company assume that 3D attendance as a percentage of overall US movie attendance will increase from 15% in 2010 to 35% in 2014. However, the research firm says, âwe have a hard time believing that more than 1 out of every three attendees of a movie in a few years will be for a 3D film and worry that 35% of attendance could still be too high.â
Twentieth Century Fox says it will bring back James Cameronâs top-grossing film to 3D screens on Aug. 27. The âspecial editionâ of the film will incorporate eight minutes of new footage, according to the LA Times. August will see the debut of two other 3D films: Buena Vistaâs musical âStep Up 3Dâ (Aug. 6) and Miramaxâs horror flick âPiranhaâ (Aug. 20).
Summit Entertainmentâs third âTwilight Sagaâ film, âEclipse,â sold a record $30 million in midnight-screening tickets in the U.S. and Canada last night. Thatâs 14% higher than the previous record holder â âNew Moon,â the last âTwilightâ movie â which according to the LA Times sold $26.3 million in midnight-screening tickets last November.
Disney and Pixarâs latest effort happily met expectations this past weekend, grossing an estimated $109 million in its opening weekend. Deadline Hollywood notes that the film â which opened in 4,028 locations, including 2,463 3D screens â still fell shy of topping DreamWorks Animationâs $122 million opening gross for âShrek The Thirdâ in 2007. That movie opened in nearly 100 more theaters than âToy Story 3,â but 3D ticket surcharges played no part in its receipts (via Box Office Mojo).
Meanwhile, Warnerâs comic-book Western âJonah Hexâ fell far short of already-low box office projections. A source tells Deadline that the studio had long âwritten offâ the picture.
Speaking yesterday at an investor conference in Chicago, DreamWorks Animation CFO Lew Coleman acknowledged that his studio would probably have done âsome things slightly differentâ if it had another chance to market âShrek Forever Afterâ (via Home Media Magazine). Though the film has topped $200 million in domestic box office gross, analysts and investors were expecting more â and some have pointed to a subpar 3D conversion of the âShrekâ franchise. âI think you have to make a compelling case to have a 3D movie in 3D, like âAvatarâ and [DreamWorksâ own] âHow To Train Your Dragon,ââ Coleman said. âI donât think we made that case for âShrek.ââ
Reuters reports (via Yahoo)Â that âShrek Forever Afterâ has made more than $213 million in the U.S. and Canada since it opened on May 21. But thatâs only three-quarters of the $285 million the last âShrekâ film earned over the same number of days in 2007 â without 3D. Indeed, higher prices for 3D tickets factor heavily into the revenue figures for the fourth âShrekâ installment: Coleman said that 3D accounts for 65% of the domestic gross, year-to-date, for âHow to Train Your Dragonâ and âShrek Forever Afterâ combined.
Following several high-profile disappointments at the box office, the debate is on as to whether movie studios are in a slump. The New York Times spends 1,200 words on whether studios can win back âturned-off consumersâ with the likes of âToy Story 3.â Movie City Newsâs David Poland vehemently responds: âUntil you get to YEARS of a down cycle, there is zero legitimacy to this notion that audiences are sitting at home, waiting for the industry to deliver better movies.â In any event, Sonyâs âKarate Kidâ remake surpassed expectations this past weekend, grossing $56 million according to the studio (via The Wrap). The LA Timesâ Joe Flint offers links to still more analysis.
Despite a substantial increase in ticket prices, domestic box-office revenue for the first four weekends of May through Memorial Day was essentially flat with 2009, the LA Times reports. Movie attendance for the month, meanwhile, was down 6.3% year over year. Hollywood is now hoping that upcoming summer films such as âToy Story 3â and âThe Twilight Saga: Eclipseâ will put the industry back on a growth course. By the Los Angeles Times
The average ticket price rose to $7.95 in the first quarter of 2010, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners. Surcharges for 3D screenings are behind the 8% increase, which is the largest price hike recorded by the exhibitorsâ association since it began tracking quarterly averages in 2001. By the Los Angeles Times
Paramount opened âIron Man 2â overseas this past weekend to capture international audiences ahead of soccerâs World Cup. The premiere reportedly netted the studio more than $100 million in box office receipts. But with five days to go before the film comes to North American screens, scores of unauthorized copies are available for download via The Pirate Bay. By CNET
Paramount Pictures looks to boost the profit potential of the M. Night Shyamalan-directed âThe Last Airbender,â greenlighting a 3D version of the upcoming film, according to Deadline Hollywood. The studio is reportedly working with Stereo D, whose credits include James Cameronâs âAvatar,â on the 3D conversion.
“Airbender” remains slated for a July 2 debut. DreamWorks Animationâs âShrek Forever Afterâ kicks off the 3D summer film schedule May 21, followed by Disney-Pixarâs âToy Story 3â June 18. By Deadline Hollywood
DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg made waves last week when he slammed Warner Bros.â 3D conversion of âClash of the Titansâ as âdisingenuous.â Speaking yesterday at the NAB convention, Katzenberg remained upbeat about 3D in theaters: âWhatever the decline would be for [upcoming DreamWorks Animation film] âShrek Forever Afterâ when it goes to the home video market will be more than offset by the incremental revenue weâll see from 3D.â
At the same time, Katzenberg issued another caution against cutting corners in 3D film production. âI just want us all to be cautious,â he said, âand to err to the side of delivering more than expected, not the minimum level or less than expected.â By AP
The importance of quality 3D content and the difficulty of achieving it — or even defining it — became a theme of the weekend’s Digital Cinema Summit at NAB Show in Las Vegas, Variety reports. Even when there was agreement at the summit on what constitutes quality, there were harsh words about theatersÂ that fail to deliver it. By Variety
DreamWorks Animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg says Hollywood is at a âgenuine crossroads,â and the decisions studios and producers make in the next few months could ensure a healthy life for film-going — or kill the goose that lays the golden egg. By Variety
RealD, the privately owned technology company based in Beverly Hills that has emerged as the leading provider of 3D systems for movie theaters, is preparing a plan for a public stock offering this summer to cash in on Hollywoodâs infatuation with the new format, according to the L.A. Times. The timing is ripe for RealD, which has invested more than $100 million in technology that Hollywood has been quickly embracing. In addition to supplying theaters with 3D adapters that attach to digital projectors, the company has been licensing its technology for 3D viewing in the home. By the Los Angeles Times
Domestic box office for 2010 stands at $2.62 billion through March 30, according Box Office Mojo — up nearly eight percent over the first-quarter theatrical performance in the U.S. and Canada in 2009. Admissions are also up six percent in the first quarter, according to Exhibitor Relations — spiking to 341.1 million from 321.3 million. Going forward, performance over the next two quarters will largely determine whether 2010 will break the domestic box-office record set last year, as well as the $19.3 billion international mark, also set in 2009. By TheWrap
Theaters showing DreamWorks Animationâs âHow To Train Your Dragonâ on a digital 3D screen averaged 65% higher box office than those with only 2D, while Imax 3-D screens averaged almost four times as much as 2D. Yet despite an aggressive marketing push for âDragon,â its domestic opening was 27% lower than that of DreamWorksâ last animated feature, âMonsters vs. Aliens,â which played on fewer 3D screens on the same weekend last year. By the Los Angeles Times
Major U.S. movie-theater chains, seeking to capitalize on the surge in revenues fueled by such 3D hits as âAvatarâ and âAlice in Wonderland,â are imposing some of the steepest increases in ticket prices in at least a decade. The new prices take effect Friday in many markets across the country in theaters owned by such major exhibitors as Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark Holdings and AMC Entertainment. By The Wall Street Journal
Paramount Pictures is telling theaters that if they donât show the upcoming DreamWorks-produced “How To Train Your Dragon” on a 3D screen, then the studio will withhold from the theater a 2D version of the movie, according to an LA Times report. Many multiplexes only have a single 3D screen, so not having a conventional version of the highly anticipated DreamWorks family film to play on their other screens would severely affect ticket sales. By the Los Angeles Times
Technicolor expects its film-based 3D projection solution â which it claims is more cost effective for theater owners than digital 3D systems â to be installed at more than 150 screens in North America by the release of the 3D film âClash of the Titansâ (Warner Bros.) on April 2. Via MarketWatch
Addressing movie theater owners at their annual ShoWest trade conference on Monday, Sony Pictures chairman and CEO Michael Lynton first made a case for theaters to offer healthier snacks. Eventually, however, Lynton got to commenting about the growing debate between studios and exhibitors over shortened theatrical windows.
âWe donât want to open windows in a way that closes yours,â Lynton said to the ShoWest audience. âWeâve all got to be open to experimenting with new and different windows, taking advantage of new and different technologies.â By Variety
Most of the nationâs major exhibition chains have refused to give Summit Entertainment more screens for Oscar winner âThe Hurt Locker,â citing a policy of not showing films that are already available to watch at home. Two of the three biggest, AMC Entertainment and Cinemark, agreed to play the movie at just a handful of theaters, according to a knowledgeable person. However, Regal Entertainment, the biggest theater circuit in the U.S., won’t show the film at all. By the Los Angeles Times
Global box office receipts reached an all time high of $29.9 billion in 2009, an increase of 8% over 2008 and 30% from 2005, according to year-end stats from the Motion Picture Association. The U.S./Canada market reached $10.6 billion, an increase of 10% from 2008, while International markets rose 6% year-over-year to $19.3 billion in 2009.
The 3D market gave the U.S./Canada box office a boost, with 3D films accounting for 11% of the total compared to 2% in 2008. Studios released 20 3D films in 2009, compared to eight in 2008.
Admissions, meanwhile, rose 5.5% in the U.S. and Canada year-over-year to 1.42 billion. MPAA
âThere is a whole generation of young kids where, if they have a chance to see a film in 3D, they will go in 3D,â says VFX supervisor Joe Letteri of âAvatar,â which took home the visual effects Oscar March 7. ââAvatarâ brought that feeling to an adult audience.â By The Hollywood Reporter
Technicolor has reached an agreement with Bow Tie Cinemas to install its Technicolor 3D system on 25 screens across the New York-based theater chainâs 18 locations.
Technicolor says its new 3D lens system for 35mm film projectors enables exhibitors to upgrade their theaters at a fraction of the cost of installing digital 3D projection systems. Mitigating exhibitors’ upgrade costs is a key issue in ensuring that the number of 3D screens continues to grow as studios beef up their 3D film slates.
The Technicolor system requires studio support on the film production side as well. To this end, DreamWorks Animation SKG, Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Overture Films, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., and The Weinstein Company have all announced support for Technicolor 3D. The studios represent 13 of the 19 3D films already announced for 2010 release. Via MarketWatch
The UKâs biggest movie theater chain, Odeon, has ended its standoff with the Walt Disney Co., and will join exhibitors Vue and Cineworld to show âAlice In Wonderlandâ as scheduled. By Deadline Hollywood
Jeffrey Katzeberg, chief executive of DreamWorks Animation SKG, expects the studiosâ upcoming film âHow To Train Your Dragonâ to command more U.S. and Canadian 3-D screens than the 2,100 his companyâs 2009 hit âMonsters vs. Aliensâ played on. The studioâs fourth-quarter results beat expectations thanks to a strong performance from its television specials and DVD sales, including for âMonsters vs. Aliens.â By Reuters
The UKâs Vue cinema chain has agreed to show âAlice In Wonderlandâ despite its 13-week release window, after Disney agreed to make a formal pledge to retain a 17-week standard for most of its films. But as of Feb. 22, Odeon, which owns one quarter of British cinema screens, still had no plans to show the film. By the Times Online
Walt Disney Pictures, whose decision to advance the date for the DVD release of its upcoming movie “Alice in Wonderland” has created an uproar with European theater operators, made peace with one major UK exhibitor. Cineworld announced Thursday that it had agreed to show Tim Burton’s 3D adaptation of the classic Lewis Carroll tale starring Johnny Depp on more than 150 screens when it debuts March 5. By the Los Angeles Times
Walt Disney Pictures’ decision to accelerate the release of its upcoming 3-D film “Alice in Wonderland” on DVD has sparked a revolt among movie theater owners in Europe. Major chains in the U.K. and the Netherlands have threatened to boycott the movie when it hits theaters March 5, a move that could cut into box-office revenue. By the Los Angeles Times
The Hollywood Reporter speculates that Summit Entertainment will capitalize on the 3D trend as it begins production on its final film in the âTwilightâ saga, âBreaking Dawn.â A decision from the studio is expected by the end of February. By The Hollywood Reporter
Following news that UK exhibitors are being asked to accept a tightened theatrical window on Disneyâs spring tentpole âAlice in Wonderland,â The Hollywood Reporter says that U.S. theater owners have been similarly approached. Disney is talking about a theatrical run of just under 13 weeks on âAlice.â Itâs likely that Disney also will accelerate the availability of âAliceâ on VOD, which home-entertainment execs have come to view as less of a threat to DVD/Blu-ray income and more as a complementary revenue stream. By The Hollywood Reporter
Itâs a problem thatâs been looming for many months: 3D titles surging at a pace that was sure to outrun the number of screens available to exhibit them. Now, Warnerâs decision to add the 3D conversion of âClash of the Titansâ to the mix appears to have finally jammed the works. By The Wrap
Under the service model, producers pay distributors an upfront fee and a percentage of boxoffice — in many cases, that also covers the distributor’s outlays for marketing and distribution. The upside is that they retain rights and future profits on the movie; the downside is they take on much greater financial risk. And new variations on the model are cropping up all the time, sometimes with distributors buying only partial rights. By The Hollywood Reporter