Archive for February, 2011

World Wide B.O. still the champ despite economic downturn and piracy concerns

Studios claim higher budgets and skyrocketing marketing costs leave them in the poorhouse despite evidence to the contrary

LOS ANGELES – The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) today released its annual Theatrical Market Statistics Report for 2010. The report shows that global box office receipts for all films released around the world reached an all time high of $31.8 billion, an increase of 8% over 2009. The U.S./Canada market repeated its peak performance from last year but remained flat at $10.6 billion. International box office increased by 13%, with the largest growth in Asia Pacific which grew by 21%. More than 40% of the Asia Pacific box office growth occurred in China. However, China remains a highly restrictive market for foreign film distribution.

The 3D market was a key driver at the U.S./Canada box office making up 21%, or $2.2 billion of the total, doubling last year’s performance, and compared to just 2% of the box office in 2008. One in three people in the U.S. and Canada saw a 3D movie in 2010. Younger moviegoers are avid consumers of the 3D experience; 64% of moviegoers ages 2-17 viewed at least one 3D movie in 2010.

“It was a strong year at the movies in 2010. Despite a weak economy, shifting business models, and the ongoing impact of digital theft, we had another record year at the global box office driven by growth outside the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S. and Canada 3D was the driving force,” said Bob Pisano, President and Interim CEO of the MPAA. “Higher value entertainment continues to make a significant contribution to box office revenues.”

John Fithian, President and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, added: “The domestic theatrical market continues its strong performance. Box office has grown for four of the past five years, setting records in three of them. It has surpassed $10.5 billion for the past two years. The industry’s investments in digital cinema and 3D have begun to show dividends, with 3D releases doubling their share of the box office. Admissions, which are more volatile than box office, continue to hold their own in the face of a prolonged economic downturn. Theater owners continue to offer their patrons the lowest-priced form of out of home entertainment, with the average movie ticket – including premium-priced tickets – costing less than it did in 1970, adjusted for inflation.”

The number of tickets sold in the U.S./Canada declined 5% to 1.34 billion, returning to the 2008 level. While the number of moviegoers was up 3% compared to the previous year, the average number of movies they attended declined to an average of six times in 2010, from 6.5 in 2009. Ticket sales continue to be fueled by repeated visits to the cinema by frequent moviegoers – thosewho go to the movies once a month or more. Frequent moviegoers make up only 11% of the population but bought over half of all tickets sold in 2010. While the number of frequent moviegoers rose to 35 million, up three million from the previous year, occasional moviegoers – those who see less than one movie per month – went to the movies less frequently in 2010.

The number of screens has remained constant over the past five years at around 150,000 worldwide; however digital screens have increased dramatically. Nearly one-quarter of all screens are now digital and over 60% of those are 3D-capable. In 2010, every region in the world more than doubled its digital screen count for an overall increase of 122%.

“Though innovation and technology continue to be a positive force for the theatrical business, driving moviegoers towards higher value 3D entertainment, the continued theft of movies online will have a sustained adverse impact on movie attendance in the coming years. It’s impossible to compete with free,” said Pisano. “We will continue to work with our industry partners to fight for common sense ways, through legislative, enforcement and legal avenues, to vigilantly protect the creativity at the heart of our industry from theft.”

For a detailed analysis of the 2010 MPAA Theatrical Market Statistics please click here.

Third Reich 3D movies unearthed

Films shot on 3D in pre-war Nazi German have been unearthed in Berlin’s Federal Archives.

Two 30 minute black and white propaganda films in 1936 were found by Australian director Philippe Mora, who is prepping a feature length documentary on how the Nazis used images to manipulate reality.

Mora broke new ground with his first film “Swastika” when it was released in 1973 featuring previously unseen color footage from Hitler’s “home” movies shot on a 16mm camera by his mistress Eva Braun at the Berghof mountain retreat at Obersalzberg in the Bavarian alps.

Now he has discovered that the Nazis were decades ahead of Hollywood in developing a medium first popularized in the 1950s and now enjoying an international renaissance.

“The films are shot on 35mm — apparently with a prism in front of two lenses,” Mora who is at the Berlinale for his planned $13 million 3D biopic on Salvador Dali, starring Alan Cumming and Judy Davis that he plans to shoot in Germany, Australia and Spain.

“They were made by an independent studio for Goebbels’ propaganda ministry and referred to as ‘raum film’ — or space film — which may be why no one ever realised since that they were 3D.”

One film, a musical set during a carnival entitled “So Real You Can Touch It” features close up shots of sizzling bratwurst on a barbeque; the other “Six Girls Roll into Weekend” has what may be UFA studio starlets living it up.

“The quality of the films is fantastic. The Nazis were obsessed with recording everything and every single image was controlled — it was all part of how they gained control of the country and its people,” Mora said.

He plans to incorporate the material in a 3D section of his documentary — working title “How the Third Reich Was Recorded” — and is convinced there is more vintage 3D footage out there to be found.


Roger Deakins may be calling it quits: “Whether I’ll Shoot on Film again, I Don’t Know”

Nine-time Academy Award nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins (The Coen Brothers films, The Shawshank Redemption, A Beautiful Mind, The Reader, Kundun) has seen the future, and it isn’t 35mm. Deakins has worked on film for 35 years. He is the type of veteran whom you would expect to be a film purist. Last year, for the first time in his long history, Deakins decided to shoot a feature length movie (Andrew Niccol’s science fiction thriller Now) using digital video cameras, and he’s not sure he’ll be going back to celluloid.

The technology and how it’s changing and the possibilities that are coming. This film Now, I’m shooting on a digital camera (Arri Alexa). First film I’ve shot digitally, because, frankly, it’s the first camera I’ve worked with that I’ve felt gives me something I can’t get on film. Whether I’ll shoot on film again, I don’t know. [Shooting on Digital] gives me a lot more options. It’s got more latitude, it’s got better color rendition. It’s faster. I can immediately see what I’m recording. I can time that image on set with a color-calibrated monitor. That coloring goes through the whole system, so it’s tied with the meta-data of the image. So that goes through the whole post-production chain, so it’s not a case of being in a lab and having to sit and then time a shot on a shot-by-shot because this has already got a control on it that’s set the timing for the shot, you know?

Am I nostalgic for film? … I mean, it’s had a good run, hasn’t it? You know, I’m not nostalgic for a technology. I’m nostalgic for the kind of films that used to be made that aren’t being made now.

The grain is unique, but on this film Now that I’m doing, I’m probably going to add grain for certain sequences where I feel that they would benefit having grain, just the look and the texture of it. Yeah, there are certain things about film emulsion that I love, and for certain projects, absolutely. I would certainly consider shooting film again, but you can add grain to a digital image. And, frankly, it’s not the technology that makes the great movies. I mean, if you went back to see Citizen Kane and you looked at it on a big screen and you looked at the quality of the image, I mean, frankly, some of it is not very…well, good’s not the right word, because technically it’s not as sharp. Some of it is very grainy. The lens quality is not as good as modern lenses. But…[Laughs] it’s still a better film than ninety-nine percent of what are made today. So, you know, it’s not just about technique and equipment.

Interview with David Chen /

American Cinema Editors asks Film Festivals to add Editing Category

The American Cinema Editors are asking competitions and film festivals to consider adding a motion picture editing category.

While the role of the editor is a key element in film production production, the best editing is often relatively invisible. Designed to keep the audience in the story, the craft is often referred to as the “Invisible Art.”

To raise the visibility of editors, ACE has sent letters to the Shanghai International Film Festival, New York PictureStart Awards, Durban International Film Festival, Boston Film Festival and San Sebastian Film Festival. “We are approaching festivals that already honor cinematography and/or production design, but not editing,” explained Academy Award-nominated editor Stephen Rivkin (Avatar), a member of ACE’s board of directors.

The letter sent to those festivals explains: “The Editor creates the first cut as the film is being shot, which requires skills in storytelling, performance and shot selection, structure, rhythm, pace, length, taste and talent. This first viewing of the film is often the most important, as a first impression is formed and it helps the filmmakers to define the task ahead. The Director and Editor are collaborators in the process of refining and trimming, working closely together through completion and delivery of the final film.”

A separate letter was sent to the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA), which puts on the annual Annie Awards, asking for consideration for the unique role of the editor of animated movies.

“Editors on animated films are involved much earlier than in a live-action production,” the letter reads. “They help shape the story using storyboards, building a temp track, working with the Director on script issues, pacing and characters well before the actual production begins. Performance selection, storytelling, pace, rhythm, shot selection, cutting patterns, length are all elements that are common to both live action and animated film editing.”

The American Cinema Editor’s Eddie Awards will be presented at the Beverly Hilton Saturday, February 19, 2011

For a complete list of the nominees you may go here


Return top

About 3D & Digital Cinema

If you are a tech head, cinema-phile, movie geek or digital imaging consultant, then we'd like to hear from you. Join us in our quest to explore all things digital and beyond. Of particular interest is how a product or new technology can be deployed and impacts storytelling. It may be something that effects how we download and enjoy filmed entertainment. It may pertain to how primary and secondary color grading will enhance a certain tale. The most important thing is that you are in the driver's seat as far as what you watch and how you choose to consume it.