Cinemark Theatres Eyeing Shortened Movie Window

Cinemark Theatres, the nation’s third-largest exhibitor, is looking to emulate AMC Theatres’ landmark decision to screen Universal Pictures movies for a reduced time in exchange for sharing PVOD revenue with the studio.

With a $148 million loss and a 95% drop in ticket sales in the most-recent fiscal third quarter, ended Sept. 30, Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi admitted the chain was against the wall trying to survive financially in an industry ravaged by extended shutdowns, limited seating capacity due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, Cinemark is reducing the exclusive 90-day theatrical window to just a few weeks for Vince Vaughn horror comedy Freaky, which debuts on Nov. 13; Kevin Costner starrer Let Him Go, debuting Nov. 6; and The Croods: A New Age, which launches Nov. 25.

The move is temporary and fluid as negotiations with Universal and other studios remain ongoing.

“Since we don’t have a specific agreement [with Universal] set on a go-forward basis … we are taking each movie on an individual film-by-film basis, during this period of time,” Zoradi said on the fiscal call.

The Universal/AMC deal enables the studio to distribute new-release content screening in AMC theaters into homes just 17 days after their big screen debut. Universal has been pushing theaters to rethink the release window after it scored a fiscal home run earlier this year releasing Trolls World Tour directly into homes.

Zoradi said he still believes an exclusive theatrical window is “critically” important to the overall media landscape. How long that window remains open is under review.

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“We’re having active discussions with multiple content providers to evolve windows,” he said. “We’re advocating for more of a dynamic window that varies with the box office generated, which benefits all parties, studios, exhibitors, and most importantly, movie goers.”

The CEO revealed that recent theatrical marketing campaigns enabling small groups to rent out theaters for so-called “watch parties” hasn’t panned out for Cinemark.

“While several of our competitors have since followed with their own version of private watch parties, we’ve not seen them impact our sales to date,” Zoradi said, adding that he doesn’t expect the theater business to return to normal operations until 2022.

 

Cinemark Theaters Staying Open For Now

On a day movie theater stocks took a tumble on Wall Street following news Regal Cinemas would be re-closing all screens temporarily, beginning Oct. 8, No. 3 exhibitor Cinemark said it would maintain operations of about 80% of its screens.

Plano, Texas-based Cinemark brands include Century, CinéArts, Tinseltown and Rave, operating 534 theatres and 5,977 screens globally (332 theatres and 4,522 screens domestically; 202 theatres and 1,455 screens throughout South and Central America).

The chain lost $170 million in its most-recent fiscal period (ended June 30), with revenue down 67% to $552.6 million, compared with $1.67 billion for the six months ended June 30, 2019.

“Cinemark’s reopening plan was designed with multiple contingencies in place to ensure we are able to be nimble and react as needed to this ever-changing environment,” the chain said in a media statement. “We do not currently have plans to close our U.S. theatres and are continuing to align with demand, including reducing operating hours and days while we await new studio content to encourage theatrical moviegoing.”

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Cinemark might be waiting a while. Warner Bros. plans to further delay the release of sci-fi reboot Dune to 2021 from its original Dec. 18, 2020, release date. That follows MGM’s decision to again postpone releasing James Bond movie No Time To Die with Daniel Craig until next year.

Warner Bros.’ Labor Day release of Tenet was supposed to jumpstart domestic moviegoing. Instead, the Christopher Nolan-directed espionage thriller has generated just $45.1 million domestically after five weekends in the United States. The film has generated $262 million internationally for a total gross of $307.1 million.

Cinemark Oct. 1 unveiled a marketing campaign giving away 1,000 “Private Watch Parties,” for Halloween, beginning Oct. 9.  A Cinemark Private Watch Party offers the opportunity to rent an entire auditorium for up to 20 guests to watch a film of their choice with the group of their choice. Standard pricing for a Private Watch Party begins at $99 with no minimum concession purchase.

Meanwhile, No. 1 exhibitor AMC Theatres has not provided updates whether it plans to close any domestic screens. Analysts last week suggested the chain has about six months of liquidity left without ticket sales.

Cinemark Theaters to Reopen Beginning Aug. 14

Cinemark Holdings announced the reopening of its theaters closed due to the pandemic beginning Aug. 14 and continuing through Aug. 28.

All theaters will reopen with enhanced cleaning and safety protocols, according to the company.

Tickets are on sale now for Unhinged and the anniversary re-release of Inception. Tickets will go on sale for The New Mutants on Aug. 18 and The Personal History of David Copperfield on Aug. 19. Tickets for Tenet will go on sale very soon, the company announced.

“Cinemark is thrilled to once again welcome moviegoers across the U.S. to enjoy the unparalleled immersive experience of watching movies on the big screen. Through our very successful test-and-learn theaters, we have heard firsthand from moviegoers that we are truly setting The Cinemark Standard by providing the out-of-home entertainment experience they have been craving in a way that makes them feel protected,” Mark Zoradi, Cinemark CEO, said in a statement. “Furthermore, we have been extremely pleased with the results of our 15 test-and-learn theaters across the U.S., which have consistently been top performers among the 500-plus indoor theaters opened. These strong results, coupled with consumer feedback, underscore that moviegoing is a favorite global pastime, and our teams are trained and prepared to safely welcome guests back to the cinema.”

Additional information on Cinemark’s reopening can be found at www.cinemark.com.

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Prior to the newest films hitting the big screen, Cinemark will showcase classics such as The Goonies, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Pricing for the Comeback Classics is $5 per adult and $3 for children and seniors. There will also be reduced pricing on popcorn and candy and fountain and bottle drinks.

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Employees will undergo safety and sanitization training prior to reopening and will wear face masks and gloves while working. All will complete a wellness check-in prior to every shift. Each theater will also have a designated Chief Clean and Safety Monitor on duty to ensure Cinemark’s standards of safety, physical distancing, cleanliness and sanitization are met.

  • Each auditorium will be extensively disinfected every morning and again between showtimes using pressurized sprayers with products identified by the EPA to be effective in eliminating COVID-19.
  • Theaters will have staggered showtimes and limited capacities to maximize physical distancing.
  • Seat-Buffering Technology will automatically block seats adjacent to a party upon ticket purchase.
  • Face masks will be mandatory for all guests within the theater and may only be removed for eating and drinking in the auditoriums. Face masks and gloves will be required for all employees.
  • Cinemark is raising the fresh air rate by adding refresh and replace cycles and utilizing supply fans to increase total volume of fresh, outside air flowing into theaters.
  • Cinemark vacuums are equipped with HEPA filters.
  • All public and high-touch spaces will be thoroughly sanitized every 30 minutes.
  • Seat wipes and hand sanitizer will be available for customer use.
  • Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets online and use contactless payment methods for a more contact-free experience. With that, cash payments options will be limited.

 

The expiration date of all points for Cinemark Movie Rewards members that expired during the time theaters were closed will be extended to Dec. 31. Members of the Cinemark Movie Club, the exhibitor’s monthly in-theater membership program, will be able to see three Comeback Classics, with a guest, for free and will enjoy their standard 20% concessions discount on top of the welcome back pricing.

Headquartered in Plano, Texas, Cinemark, comprised of various brands that also include Century, Tinseltown and Rave, operates 534 theaters with 5,977 screens globally (332 theaters and 4,522 screens across 41 states domestically; 202 theaters and 1,455 screens in 15 countries throughout South and Central America).

Cinemark Posts $170 Million Q2 Loss

When your movie theaters generate just $37,000 in revenue over 90 days, the bottom line turns crimson. That’s the fiscal scenario exhibitor Cinemark disclosed Aug. 4, reporting a second-quarter loss of $170 million on revenue of $8.9 million. How bad was the quarter? Concession revenue ($124,000) topped ticket sales by 235%.

During the previous-year period, Cinemark generated nearly $102 million in net income on revenue of $958 million. The dreary quarter underscored ongoing challenges exhibitors face with business models shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Built into the fiscal loss was a restructuring charge of $19.5 million. The charge was a result of a permanent reduction in headcount and permanent closure of certain underperforming theaters.

Headquartered in Plano, Texas, Cinemark operates 554 theaters and 6,132 screens in the U.S. and Latin America. CEO Mark Zoradi claims consumers are champing at the bit to return to movie theaters, citing an internal survey that that found 97% of respondents had “high satisfaction” how the company would protect their health and safety.

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“We greatly look forward to initiating the rollout of our theaters, beginning Aug. 21 as we welcome our employees and guests back to our theaters for great cinematic storytelling,” Zoradi said in a statement.

Theater Group Sues New Jersey to Re-Open Screens

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), including AMC Theatres, Cinemark and Regal Cinemas, has filed a lawsuit against New Jersey Gov. Philip Murphy and Judith Persichilli, acting commissioner of health of New Jersey, for their legal mandates keeping movie theaters shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The suit, filed July 6 in U.S. District Court for the Court of New Jersey, alleges the state and Murphy are acting “unconstitutional and unlawful” by allowing certain businesses and places of public assembly to reopen, while requiring movie theatres to remain closed.

“COVID-19 represents a serious public health risk, and plaintiffs support fair and reasonable actions by the government to address that risk,” read the complaint. “However, the government-mandated total closure of movie theatres is neither fair nor reasonable, and is instead a violation of plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of expression, equal protection of the laws, due process under the law, and is a ‘taking of property’ without just compensation.”

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NATO contends movie theaters have been unfairly shutout of the government-mandated business re-openings, which include churches, museums and libraries, which are allowed no more than 100 people or 25% of capacity.

“Shopping can be done outdoors or virtually … [but] shopping malls have been allowed to reopen,” read the complaint.

NATO claims there is no “rational basis” for the distinction Gov. Murphy has drawn between places of worship and movie theaters, both places of public assembly.

“In fact, many churches lacking a building of their own, or lacking the capability to safely host religious services during this period, hold their religious services in movie theatres,” NATO said.

The trade group said operators nationwide are spending millions of dollars incorporating sanitization protocols, ticketless admissions, no-contact concessions and air purifiers for planned re-opening by the end of the month. New Jersey is one of the few states that has not yet allowed theaters to re-open.

The suit seeks unspecified financial damages (besides legal fees), asking that NATO’s members be treated in the same manner as comparable entities under the governor’s orders, and be permitted to reopen as other comparable places of public assembly have been allowed to.

Cinemark Partners with Sony Pictures for $5 Summer Movie Series

Cinemark May 22 has partnered with Sony Pictures for the exhibitor’s annual $5 “summer movie clubhouse” film series.

The $5 series card enables users to 10 Sony catalog family movies and is available exclusively at participating Cinemark theatres. Consumers can also purchase individual $1 tickets at participating box offices the morning of the show.

Cinemark operates 547 theatres with 6,051 screens in the U.S., Brazil, Argentina and 13 other Latin American countries.

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“We take great pride in giving our communities the perfect entertainment destination for an affordable price all summer long,” James Meredith, SVP, marketing and communications, at Cinemark.

Sony is using the promotion to plug upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home, opening July 2 and “The Angry Birds Movie 2,” opening Aug. 16.

For participating theatres, movie selections and to print $2-off concession coupons, click here.

Black Friday: MoviePass Parent Market Value Dips Below $100K

A company’s future as a publicly traded stock is undeniably bleak when Wall Street values it less than $100,000.

That’s the reality Helios and Matheson Analytics, parent of MoviePass, found itself Aug. 10 when shares fell to 5.5 cents per share in midday trading, leaving HMNY with a market valuation of just $96, 200.

By comparison, AMC Theatres and Cinemark Theatres, which each have competing ticket subscription services, have $2.2 billion and $4.3 billion market caps, respectively.

The book has pretty much been written on MoviePass, a populist business model that enables subscribers to see a theatrical screening daily (now three times monthly) for $9.95 fee.

Indeed, 3 million people signed up to the service essentially to watch movies for free, leaving MoviePass to pay the bill. The company thought its scale and self-proclaimed user data would convince exhibitors to become partners and split costs.

Exhibitors had different ideas. Such as enjoying the MoviePass fiscal windfall, high-margin concession revenue for themselves, and then building a more economically prudent subscription service.

That might sound unfair and exploitive. But that’s capitalism. A reality HMNY should have known.