CinemaCon, the official convention for the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), took place in early April. SurveyMe VP Scott Hanlon and Client Experience Manager Jen Bogue were there, along with cinema owners, filmmakers, film distributors and even a few celebrities. Here are the highlights.
1. Cinemas Continue to be Profitable
The best news to come out at CinemaCon? The record-breaking $11.9 billion year in North America. The movie industry is changing, and cinemas are changing right along with it and remaining profitable. Bravo!
2. AI & Your Customer
Each moviegoing customer comes with their own unique preferences for the cinema experience. The data we gather on these customer preferences enables the creation of specialized offers which are more meaningful to the consumer and increase sales. Customer data and preferences will play a bigger roll in targeted marketing, both in 2019 and beyond.
Are the days of standing in long concession lines a thing of the past? They could be with the help of automated software that allows a customer to buy tickets and order concessions before they ever get to the theatre. As the cinema world becomes more automated, look for moviegoing to become an easier experience, both for the customer and for the theatre staff.
4. Oh, Netflix...
Contention continues to center around Netflix Original Programming's partial or non-existent theatrical releases, which lessens the opportunity for cinemas to obtain much needed ticket and concession revenue.
Some of the loudest applause of the week erupted when Academy Award winner Dame Helen Mirren confessed: “I love Netflix, but Netflix.” Yikes. She went on to praise those that make the cinema experience happen, proclaiming, "There’s nothing like sitting in the cinema and the lights go down...I would like to thank you guys for making that environment possible."
Some would argue that Netflix actually benefits cinemas simply by renewing interest in forgotten genres. The theory is that once moviegoers get familiar with a genre they like on Netflix, they start looking for similar films in other places. The theory isn’t totally crazy.
For example, 14 documentaries that were released in-theatre in 2018 grossed over $1 million individually. Five of those earned over $12 million at the box office, a welcome increase for the struggling genre. This trend will continue, or even increase in 2019, according to 2 award winning producers' CinemaCon lecture: Documentaries Mean Business, Big Business.
5. Is Netflix an Asset?
NATO’s John Fithian sees Netflix as an asset to cinemas. “Even though I represent the movie theater industry, it’s great that people like to watch movies and television shows on Netflix because people who love content love it everywhere”. Fithian went so far as to conduct a study on the correlation between movie streaming and cinema attendance, finding that frequent moviegoers also tend to stream movies at home more often.
In addition, Hollywood power players may pressure Netflix for theatrical releases on their projects. Netflix’s mobster drama “The Irishman” may see the inside of theatres this year. It seems legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese wants a robust theatrical release. Could the winner of multiple Oscars be the force that makes it happen?
6. Filmmaker & Exhibitor Change-ups
Disney reveled in its rise to 2019’s top power player. Not only will they be releasing Walt Disney Picture’s live action versions of Aladdin and The Lion King. They’ve added Fox franchises like “Avatar,” “X-Men” and “Deadpool”, setting them up for a big year.
Major changes this year. Cinemex became a Top 10 US Exhibitor by acquiring Cobb Theatres. Marcus Theatres acquired Movie Tavern and rose to the top 5. In addition, North America has been invaded by some international players. Cineworld reached over from England to acquire Regal Cinemas, and Belgium exhibitor Kinepolis acquired Landmark Cinemas of Canada.
At MyCinema, our goal is “to get people off their couches and phones
and into the community centers we all love: the cinema.”
7. MyCinema & GoGoCinema & Innovative Film Distribution
Later this year, China, Malaysia and Singapore will be introduced to innovative movie distribution that allows cinemas to directly book and exhibit content. Employing My Cinema, whose goal is: “to get people off their couches and phones and into the community centers we all love: the cinema.” Exhibitors may potentially enjoy greater flexibility than the more traditional options.
8. Film Diversity
Look for more diversity in 2019’s films and features, specifically to satisfy the Hispanic/Latino consumer. Although Hispanic/Latino consumers represent only 18% of the US population, 24% consider themselves frequent moviegoers.
9. Immersive Seating & Enhanced Cinema Experience
4D superstar MediaMation announced new deals with B&B Theatres, Cine Colombia, and Nigeria’s Film House Cinemas. Immersive seating has been embraced by nearly every major exhibitor around the world. CinemaCon attendees thrilled to hear that Warner Bros. will release features specially coded for enhanced-seating cinemas.
All of this, plus PLF are driving premium ticket prices even higher. While it’s true that 3-D’s popularity is declining, 4D immersive seating is on the rise and PLF auditoriums worldwide have more than doubled in the last three years. Competitive PLF solutions have been delivered from several brands and that means better theatre experiences for patrons and continued premium ticket prices for cinemas.
CinemaCon came with theatre industry change-ups, movie distribution alternatives and increased demand for the enhanced cinema experience. It all points to a great year for the cinema.
As always, if you need more insight into your theatre or customers, call us at SurveyMe or just click on the image below.