Cinemark Announces New Deals With Studios to Exhibit Movies Theatrically

Cinemark, the nation’s No. 3 movie theater chain, May 7 announced it has reached agreements to theatrically showcase films from five major studio partners across its U.S. screens.

This announcement builds upon the exhibitor’s November agreement with Universal Pictures and includes agreements with Warner Bros. Pictures, The Walt Disney Co., Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Collectively, the agreements secure a consistent supply of content and demonstrate a shared commitment to offering consumers the ultimate movie-viewing experience, with compelling content exhibited within the theatrical environment, according to Cinemark.

The agreements come on the heels of Cinemark inking distribution of Netflix original movies in an abbreviated theatrical window — the first for the streamer. Cinemark isn’t divulging specifics on the studio deals, citing “unique attributes” specific to each studio that mutually benefits both parties.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

With many studios also operating direct-to-consumer distribution through streaming and premium VOD, exhibitors are having to re-visit legacy theatrical window agreements to remake them to better reflect the changing consumer access to screen entertainment.

“In our ongoing efforts to maximize attendance and box office during the pandemic and beyond, our goal is to provide the widest range of content with terms that are in the best long-term interests of Cinemark, our studio partners and moviegoers,” CEO Mark Zoradi said in a statement. “We are pleased with these recent developments and are confident we are taking positive steps toward reigniting theatrical exhibition and evolving the industry for a post-pandemic landscape.”

The new distribution agreements come as Cinemark attempts to claw its way out of a financial hole caused by the pandemic. The chain said it attracted 7.7 million moviegoers and $114.5 million in revenue in the first quarter (ended March 31). That compared with $543.6 million in revenue during the previous-year period. Its net loss ballooned to $208.2 million, compared with a loss of $59.6 million in the previous year period.

Netflix, Cinemark Partner for Zack Synder’s ‘Army of the Dead’ Theatrical Distribution

Cinemark, the nation’s No. 3 theatrical chain, and Netflix have partnered for the pending release of the streamer’s original movie Army of the Dead from director Zack Snyder. Cinemark will release the movie on its screens in both Cinemark XD and Digital Cinema beginning May 14. Cinemark XD is a projector capable of 35 trillion colors and custom surround sound that makes moviegoers feel part of the on-screen action.

Tickets are on sale now at Cinemark.com and on the Cinemark mobile app to watch the zombie movie before it is available on Netflix on May 21.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Army of the Dead stars Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Garret Dillahunt, Tig Notaro, Raúl Castillo, Huma Qureshi and Samantha Win as a group of mercenaries who travel to Las Vegas to pull off a casino heist during a zombie apocalypse.

“Cinemark is excited to work with Netflix on our first wide release … in our theaters across the U.S.,” Justin McDaniel, SVP of global content strategy, said in a statement. “Zack Snyder fans will love seeing the action in an immersive, cinematic environment with larger-than-life sight and sound technology.”

Netflix heretofore has insisted any theatrical release of an original movie coincide with simultaneous streaming access worldwide, a stance that has resulted in most exhibitors boycotting Netflix movies.

Cinemark and Netflix have worked together on limited releases that put multiple films on the big screen. While this is the first wide release of a Netflix film at Cinemark theaters, the companies expect to work together on future releases.

“Following the success of our limited-run in-theater tests with Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Midnight Sky and The Christmas Chronicles 2, we are looking forward to the wider theatrical release of Army of the Dead,” said Spencer Klein, head of distribution at Netflix. “We are thrilled to offer consumers the opportunity to watch this highly anticipated film in theaters and on Netflix.”

Netflix Quietly Bows Movies in Theaters — Ahead of Streaming

Netflix was the first movie producer to flaunt the traditional theatrical window, contending its original feature films should be made available to subscribers concurrently with any box office exhibition. The streamer’s stance angered exhibitors, resulting in most Netflix movies being boycotted by theatrical chains.

Then came the pandemic and traditional mindsets and business practices gave way to change.

During the pandemic, Netflix quietly entered the theatrical market after negotiating a distribution deal with No. 3 U.S. exhibitor Cinemark. In November and December, respectively, Netflix released Christmas Chronicles 2 and The Prom on Cinemark screens for an exclusive one-week window before they streamed on the Netflix platform.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“We assume that Netflix negotiated a much lower film rent fee with Cinemark than studios do for a typical theatrical window, and lower than what Universal Pictures will pay exhibitors for its exclusive 17/31-day windows,” Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, wrote in a note.

Netflix, which has become a perennial Oscar contender with its original movies, hasn’t been shy from debuting titles in Los Angeles theaters to assuage industry awards rules. The streamer bowed Klaus, The Two Popes, Marriage Story, The Irishman​, The King and The Laundromat​ on the big screen prior to its platform.

Last year, Netflix acquired the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, in part to debut premiere original movies. American Cinematheque, the nonprofit organization that previously owned the Egyptian, will continue to screen movies on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Pachter said Apple TV+ released its original documentary Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry on its platform day-and-date with a theatrical release. He said tickets were available a week ahead of its Cinemark availability, but it was released on Feb. 26 in theaters and on the streaming platform. With no exclusive theatrical window, Pachter said he believes Apple negotiated a smaller film rental fee with Cinemark compared to what Netflix received, and both streamers received less in compensation than studios with longer exclusive theatrical windows.

“While these are clearly exceptional times and exhibitors are willing to negotiate terms they typically would not have in a pre-COVID environment, we think these types of negotiations will continue, and we expect to see more original content from streamers playing in theatres post-pandemic,” Pachter wrote. “We think exhibitors are now more willing to negotiate favorable terms with far more flexible windows than they had in the past, as long as their counterpart is willing to pay.”

Cinemark CEO ‘Optimistic’ Theaters Fully Operational by Summer

With 75% of Cinemark’s U.S. theaters operating at the end of 2020 due to ongoing pandemic government restrictions, CEO Mark Zoradi expects all remaining screens to be in service by the summer. Cinemark operated 531 theaters and 5,958 screens in the U.S. and Latin America through Dec. 31, 2020.

Speaking on the company’s Feb. 26 fiscal call, Zoradi said he believes screens in Los Angeles and San Francisco can open in the coming weeks, and combined with pending studio releases Cruella (Disney), F9 (Universal), Infinite (Paramount), Minions (Universal) and Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount) in the spring and summer portend a return to normal in Hollywood for the exhibitor business.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi

“We’re optimistic that we’re going to be able to light up these theaters again come this summer,” Zoradi said, adding the company has been successful adapting to government restrictions and implementing sanitation and safety features in theaters.

“Since we re-opened in June [2020], we have consistently received 96% guest satisfaction scores on Cinemark protecting their health and safety,” he said.

Zoradi said the chain has generated more than 2 million moviegoers through about 150,000 “private watch parties” attracting an average of 13 attendees per group.

“During Q4 alone, private watch parties represented more than 24% of our attendance and box office,” he said, adding that more than 50% of the quarter’s watch parties consumed library content — driven by Warner Bros./New Line’s 2003 release Elf.

“This library content could be watched at home for free on the sofa, but instead, consumers chose to pay $99 to see it in the theater,” Zoradi said. “This reinforces what we recently stated, ‘people are yearning for normality, escape and fun out-of-home opportunity.'”

During Q4, attendance topped 6.6 million patrons, with the average ticket price at $7.42 and concession revenue per patron of $4.75. Admissions revenue reached $49.1 million, concession revenue $31.5 million, and total revenue approached $98.2 million in the period. Net loss in the quarter topped $239 million ($617 million in the year) on revenue of $686 million. That compared with a profit of $191 million on revenue of $3.3 billion in the 2019 fiscal year.

Cinemark Reports 95% Quarterly Revenue Drop as Pandemic Continues to Ravage Movie Theaters

Cinemark Theatres Nov. 5 reported a third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) loss of $148 million, compared with income of $31.9 million during the previous-year period. The nation’s third-largest exhibitor saw revenue plummet more than 95% to $35.4 million, from $821.8 million a year ago, due to shutdowns and limited seating brought on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Through nine months of the fiscal year, Cinemark revenue is down 76.5% to $588 million, from $2.5 billion a year ago. Net loss tops $378 million, compared with a profit of $167 million.

Through the quarter, the company had 252 domestic and 15 international theaters open to limited hours, showing library content and some new releases.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an unprecedented impact on the theatrical exhibition industry, our top near-term priorities remain stringently managing liquidity, driving productivity and reigniting moviegoing,” CEO Mark Zoradi said in a statement. “With nearly 90% of our domestic theaters now operating, we have been encouraged by our results to-date, wherein we have been burning less cash open than when we were shut down.”

Zoradi said the chain has been able to burn less cash through “innovative new ways” of operating theaters and maximizing revenue, such as the “Private Watch Party” concept launched in July.

“We look forward to a more normalized pipeline of new film content,” he said.

Cinemark operates 345 theaters nationwide, in addition to 86 theaters in Brazil, 36 in Chile, and 22 in Argentina. The company’s aggregate screen count was 5,974 and it had commitments to open two new theaters and 16 screens during the remainder of 2020, and 20 new theaters and 205 screens in 2021.

Warner’s ‘Tenet’ Eyeing Second Major Weekend Box Office as AMC Re-Opens 70% of Domestic Screens

Following a surprise opening box office weekend (Aug. 26-30) of $53 million outside the United States and China, Warner Bros.’ Tenet got a boost Sept. 1 when AMC Theatres announced that 70% of domestic screens would be open for business this weekend — including screens in California. Regal Cinemas and Cinemark are re-opening screens as well in key markets.

The return of the domestic  and global box office is key to Hollywood returning to movie production and titles being released into retail channels, including transactional VOD and packaged media.

By this weekend AMC will have resumed operations at approximately 420 theatres nationwide. AMC will open more than 140 theaters this week, with the vast majority of re-openings taking place on Thursday, Sept. 3, the same day director Christopher Nolan’s Tenet opens in the United States.

The next day, Friday, Sept. 4, AMC expects its first California theaters to reopen, when it resumes operations at seven theaters in and around San Diego. AMC is closely monitoring all local directives and will follow all guidelines on auditorium capacity.

AMC expects to make announcements about additional markets in California, New Jersey and other areas of the country in the coming weeks, once theatres are authorized to open by state and local officials.

“The first two weekends of operations have exceeded our expectations in terms of guests returning to the movies and in terms of their feedback about our extensive ‘AMC Safe & Clean’ policies and procedures,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement.

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.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

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.

Follow us on Instagram

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 CEO No Fan of Shortened Theatrical Window

Following AMC Theatres’ landmark decision to allow Universal Pictures to distribute movies into consumer homes just 17 days after their theatrical debut, rival chain Cinemark is questioning the move indirectly.

Headquartered in Plano, Texas, Cinemark operates 554 theaters and 6,132 screens in the U.S. and Latin America. Speaking on the Aug. 4 fiscal call, CEO Mark Zoradi said theatrical exclusivity for new studio movies must be maintained despite the current COVID-19 environment that has seen the exhibition business shuttered since mid-March.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Saying the company wouldn’t comment on the strategies of its rivals, Zoradi said an exclusive theatrical window is critically important to the industry.

“While we have publicly stated that we’re willing to have conversations with our studio partners to evolve windows, we’re mindful that an overly aggressive shortened theatrical window could have an adverse impact to the mid-to-tail-end of a film’s life,” he said.

Follow us on Instagram

Key to the AMC/Universal deal is the exhibitor’s revenue-sharing agreement on sales/rentals of titles into the home entertainment market.

Mindful of incremental revenue possibilities via transactional VOD following a fiscal quarter that saw Cinemark generate just $37,000 in ticket sales over 90 days, Zoradi said he remains open to change during the pandemic and beyond.

“We will be very careful and methodical about how we approach any change to the theatrical windows,” he said. “We continue to carefully analyze and research this matter. And we will endeavor to ensure any modifications are in the best interests of the overall industry, our company and our shareholders.”

Cinemark Delays Re-Opening Movie Screens to July 24

Cinemark June 30 announced it would delay the phased reopening of its U.S. theatres to July 24 as a result of recent shifts in new studio content — and spikes in coronavirus infections. The Dallas-based chain will open screening select studio classics and elevated cleaning and safety standards.

Cinemark, with 555 theatres and 6,145 screens in 41 states domestically and 15 countries throughout South and Central America, plans to begin screening new-release movies on July 31 with Solstice Studios’ Unhinged, starring Russell Crowe, and Sony Pictures’ The Broken Hearts Gallery with Selena Gomez on Aug. 7, followed by Warner Bros.’ Tenet on Aug. 12, Disney’s Mulan on Aug. 21, Orion Pictures’ Bill & Ted Face the Music on Aug. 28, and Paramount Pictures’ A Quiet Place Part II on Sept. 4.

Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi said Cinemark’s initial five-theater test-and-learn phase in the Dallas area went well, suggesting similar results nationwide.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Our multi-phased reopening plan was thoughtfully designed with multiple contingencies in place that enable us to efficiently adapt to today’s ever-changing environment,” Zoradi said. “We continue to pay close attention to status of the virus, local mandates and availability of new content while prioritizing the health and safety of our guests, employees and communities.”

Indeed, all Cinemark theaters will boast “The Cinemark Standard” upon reopening with greatly enhanced cleanliness, sanitizing and safety measures. Each theater will also have a designated “Chief Clean and Safety Monitor” on duty to ensure standards of safety, physical distancing, cleanliness and sanitization.

Cinemark Stresses Virus Protocols Ahead of Theater Re-Openings

With Cinemark set to re-open five theatrical locations June 19 in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the national chain is going to great lengths to convey to uncertain moviegoers its screens are safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cinemark, like AMC Theatres and Regal Cinema, has been shuttered since the outbreak of COVID-19. All three chains are re-opening the majority of domestic screens in July. Consumer response to movie theaters is seen by many as a harbinger to mass spectator events such as sports, conventions and music concerts returning to normal.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“While Cinemark already takes significant precautions to ensure the health and safety of our employees, guests and communities, we have developed The Cinemark Standard for an extra level of cleaning and sanitizing that guests will notice from the moment they walk back through our doors,” CEO Mark Zoradi said in a video statement. “Our teams are trained, prepared and eager to once again entertain movie lovers in an environment that cannot be replicated in-home.”

Indeed, Cinemark said its theaters are “thoroughly sanitized at least every 30 minutes.” It claims to have added an “extra level of cleaning & sanitizing” that meets or exceeds CDC and WHO guidelines. This includes using products identified by the EPA to be effective in eliminating COVID-19 throughout the theater.

Follow us on Instagram

Any seat that is occupied will be sanitized again before the next showtime, as well as adjacent seats, handrails and children’s booster seats. For extra assurance, seat wipe dispensers are available for any guest who wishes to re-clean their seat.

Cinemark is adding a morning “purge cycle” that increases the total volume of fresh, outside air flowing into its theatres. Additionally, the chain is utilizing supply fans constantly while occupied, enabling more fresh air from outdoors to moviegoers inside.

The chain is also using vacuums equipped with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters identified to be effective in trapping at least 99.97 percent of microscopic particles, including the coronavirus.