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The Future of Exhibition: Opening the Box Office - our panel at OVC

For those in New York on Friday, the second Open Video Conference kicks off with a packed schedule including academics, makers (from Sally Potter and the Yes Men to Autotune the News and OK Go), enablers (Mozilla, Miro, the Workbook Project, Kaltura, Popcorn.js, etc) and others like the editor of For those not able to make it, there will be the world's first WebM stream of the event which we'll link to here.

I feel very honoured to be in such company presenting a panel about the future of exhibition and cinema with Arin Crumley and Jon Reiss - both of whom have not only shot great independent features (Four Eyed Monsters and Bomb It, respectively) but self distributed them AND are each trying to help everyone else do the same through the recently open-sourced OpenIndie service and the Think Outside the Box Office book. I'm still hoping we will also be joined by one of the world's top rated VJs, but meantime here's the skinny:

The Future of Exhibition - Opening the Box Office

3-3.45pm - October 1st, New York, Seminar Room 2, Fashion Institute of Technology: 7th Ave at 27th St

If cinema going and exhibition is to filmmakers what gigs and concerts are to musicians - a live, unique experience that people are still happy to pay for - why is it a space so dominated by major media companies?

And given the rapid technological shifts in film and videomaking, why has the film-going experience barely changed in 60 years?

In this session we'll look at how people are taking exhibition into their own hands - from microcinemas and indie film clubs, to VJing and visual art, fan-driven screenings and audience interactivity, exploring how the future of exhibition goes way beyond the multiplex.

Arin Crumley, co-director of the breakout self-financed New York-set feature Four Eyed Monsters talks about how he created a groundbreaking release for his first film, and introduces his new platform, OpenIndie, funded by Kickstarter and offering a way for filmmakers to organise screenings outside of traditional cinemas.

Jon Reiss, director of the self-distributed and produced graffiti documentary, Bomb It, and author of Think Outside the Box Office, looks at how producers are bypassing traditional gatekeepers to reach out to their audience while exploring the tools that are shaping this process.

Nic Wistreich, co-author of the 11,000-copy selling self-distributed Film Finance Handbook, occasional VJ/filmmaker and co-founder of Netribution, will discus findings from the Living Cinema R&D project about exhibition and development, exploring what is happening to open the future of exhibition.


It's official: Summer of British film is most popular since 1967

cinema_ticketThe wettest British summer since records began in 1914 appears to have helped British cinema going reach it's highest admissions in 40 years, up some 25% over an average year, and up 44% on 2000.

50.8m visits were made in June to August, according to the Film Distributors Association, with the 5.5m admissions recorded during The Simpsons' opening weekend being possibly the busiest in history. The Summer of British Film was a promotion by BBC2 and UK Film Council to encourage people to watch British films at the cinema, with digital prints of seven classics accompanied with BBC2 documentaries. 


Texan account of inspired response to Sicko

Josh Tyler has written about his experience of watching Sicko in a Texan cinema, where the audience were spurred to action after watching it (via BoingBoing):

I’ve never seen anything like it. This is Texas goddammit, not France or some liberal college campus.  When the credits rolled the audience filed out and into the bathrooms. At the urinals, my redneck friend couldn’t stop talking about the film, and I kept listening. He struck up a conversation with a random black man in his 40s standing next to him, and soon everyone was peeing and talking about just how fucked everything is.

I kept my distance, as we all finished and exited at the same time. Outside the restroom doors… the theater was in chaos. The entire Sicko audience had somehow formed an impromptu town hall meeting in front of the ladies room. I’ve never seen anything like it. This is Texas goddammit, not France or some liberal college campus. But here these people were, complete strangers from every walk of life talking excitedly about the movie. It was as if they simply couldn’t go home without doing something drastic about what they’d just seen. My redneck compadre and his new friend found their wives at the center of the group, while I lingered in the background waiting for my spouse to emerge.

The talk gradually centered around a core of 10 or 12 strangers in a cluster while the rest of us stood around them listening intently to this thing that seemed to be happening out of nowhere. The black gentleman engaged by my redneck in the restroom shouted for everyone’s attention. The conversation stopped instantly as all eyes in this group of 30 or 40 people were now on him. “If we just see this and do nothing about it,” he said, “then what’s the point? Something has to change.” There was silence, then the redneck’s wife started calling for email addresses. Suddenly everyone was scribbling down everyone else’s email, promising to get together and do something… though no one seemed to know quite what.




The U.K. posted its strongest first quarter takings in four years, bringing in $379.4 million from 166 films, compared with $346 million in the same period in 2006, according to figures from Nielsen EDI.

News of the upturn in box figures coincided with a report predicting a surge of growth in the U.K. cinema market. British cinemagoers are set to pay nearly $2.17 billion for movie tickets by 2011, according to predictions made by Dodona Research. U.K. B.O. totaled $1.63 billion last year.

The rollout of digital technologies in the exhibition sector across the U.K. is likely to be main factor behind the bullish numbers.


Full story in VARIETY


World box office defies expectations and grows in 2006

Piracy and the explosion of video on the web did not impact people's hunger to see films on the big screen last year, with world box office takings up 11% to an all time high of $25.82bn. After a dip in 2005, the US box office also rose 5.5% to $9.49bn according to figures from the MPAA.

 The average cost to make and market a major studio film was $100.3 million in 2006.  This includes $65.8 million in production costs and $34.5 million in marketing costs. The total number of films released in the US continued to increase in 2006 with 607 films released, an 11% increase over 2005's 549 films. Internet advertising rose to 3.7% of a films budget  from 0.9% in 2002.


Snakes on a Plane scrapes top spot, still shakes marketing rulebook

shakes on a planeThe Samuel L Jackson film, Snakes on a Plane, described by one blogger as 'the most Internet-hyped movie of all time' has disapointed in it opening weekend, struggling to hold the top spot in the US ahead of last weeks' Talladega Nights. The film, which went back into production to shoot extra scenes following huge web interest, was hoped by some to show the web's potential for making or breaking a film. Some argued that distributor New Line Cinema's decision to not allow any pre-release press screeners scared off movie goers, while others expect the film to pick up in its second week following strong word of mouth.

However, the box office disapointment (and a no.1 spot for a B-movie title isn't exactly a failure) shouldn't overshadow what has been a trendsetting marketing campaign for the studio. As well as providing endless images, video and audio materials for people to brighten and personalise their blog or myspace page, the film inspired dozens of spoof videos and audio tracks months before even the trailers began to circulate.In a further unusual move, the studio partnered with to permit fans of Snakes on a Plane to become official licensees of Snakes on a Plane merchandise. This opened the door for anyone to design and sell - for free - 'official' t-shirts, mugs and so on.


Broadcasters Hope to Copy the iTunes


Video-on-Demand - upsetting the applecart?Video-on-demand hopes to do for broadcasting what iTunes did for the record industry. In a VoD world, armchair viewers tap into a vast onscreen catalogue and download the film or TV programme of their choice, which can be stored on a hard drive or set-top box, burned on to a disc or rented. Watching films when it suits a viewer rather than a scheduler is already commonplace in the cable and satellite industries, but the widespread availability of fast broadband connections is bringing VoD within the reach of almost all UK households.


Cinemas See the Bigger Picture by Reviving Classics


Box Office winner - a rejuvenated Top Gun with Tom Cruise as he used to beThey are timeless cinema classics that have largely been consigned to the late-night graveyard slots on the small screen. Movies such as Taxi Driver, South Pacific, Top Gun and a string of Bond films were the blockbusters that once put bums on velour seats. But in a back-to-the-future move, they are to be seen in their natural habitat again. A new breed of distributor is buying the cinema rights, enhancing and digitising old movie prints, and putting them back on the big screen.


Da Vinci still rules globally, as X Men top US Box Office

x menFox's X Men 3 grossed $120m in the US over the 4-day weekend to become the highest grossing Memorial Day weekend film ever, and pushing Da Vinci Code into second place with an estimated $45m over the weekend period. X Men 3: Last Stand, has the fourth highest grossing film opening of all time in the US (for a three day period).

Meanwhile in the rest of the world, where the idea of Christ's descendant being French may be more palatable, Da Vinci Code stayed on top, grossing $92.8m in its second week against X Men's $76.1m according to Screen International.

See full US chart at Box Office Mojo