Netflix Signs Lease to Keep Open Iconic New York Theater

Netflix has announced a lease agreement to keep open New York’s iconic Paris Theatre, one of the oldest art houses in the United States, and the last single-screen theater in New York. The theater was shuttered earlier this year and was re-opened earlier this month to a successful run of Marriage Story, by filmmaker Noah Baumbach.

Netflix plans to use the theater for special events, screenings and theatrical releases of its films. Terms of the lease were not disclosed.

“After 71 years, the Paris Theatre has an enduring legacy, and remains the destination for a one-of-a kind movie-going experience,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, in a statement. “We are incredibly proud to preserve this historic New York institution so it can continue to be a cinematic home for film lovers.”

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The Paris Theatre first opened in 1948, when actress Marlene Dietrich cut the ribbon to commemorate the occasion. The theater, opened by Pathé Cinema, originally showed French titles, the first of which was La Symphonie Pastorale, which ran for eight months.

The Paris became a symbol of prestige cinema, known for showcasing specialized films, and can be credited with introducing renowned foreign-language films to an American audience, including Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, which ran for almost a year from 1968-1969; Claude Lelouch’s A Man and a Woman; and Marcello Mastroianni’s comedy Divorce Italian Style, which played for more than a year. The theater closed in August 2019 after a successful run of Ron Howard’s Pavarotti.

Fandango VIP Presale Buyers of Ch. 3 Can Get Free Copy of a Previous ‘John Wick’ Film on FandangoNow

Fandango VIP members can get a copy of either of the first two “John Wick” movies when they buy advance tickets for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum on Fandango.

Presales are April 15-17 for Fandango’s VIP advance tickets for the third installment of Keanu Reeves’ neo-noir action franchise.

Fans who purchase Chapter 3 tickets through their Fandango VIP accounts can get a free SD or HD copy of John Wick or John Wick: Chapter 2 on FandangoNOW, Fandango’s transactional video streaming service.

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Members of Fandango VIP, Fandango’s free-to-join rewards program for movie-ticket buyers, can get insider perks such as discounted movies to stream at home, exclusive movie gear, and access to advance screenings.

New In-Home Theatrical VOD Service Launches

A new transactional VOD service offering early home entertainment access to European theatrical releases has launched in the United States.

Dubbed ROW8, the service aims to accelerate home entertainment access to exclusive premieres of foreign theatrical titles in the U.S. market. Users can rent movies for $7.99, watchable on Internet-connected TVs, Roku, Android and Apple devices.

Founded by entrepreneurs George Christoph and Jasmina Christoph, and led by CEO John Calkins (formerly head of digital distribution at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), ROW8 is working with industry advisors Craig Kornblau (former president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment, and current advisor to a number of companies in the GV [Google Ventures] portfolio), and Ken Ziffren, co-founding partner of Ziffren Brittenham.

The service features proprietary technology, guided by CTO David Rondan, offering filmmakers the flexibility of tailoring their in-home releases with session-identifiable watermarks.

ROW8 is initially available on Web, iOS, Android and Roku, with other platforms to follow.

Initial titles include Danish box office hit Darkland; The End?, a stylish and imaginative Italian horror film, and Box 27, an emotional family drama from France.

Calkins said ROW8 aims to focus on advances in digital marketing and consumer demand, in addition to creating alternatives to traditional release patterns for “forward-thinking” film distributors.

“We are passionate film lovers who understand the challenges that a rapidly changing landscape has created for theatrically released films the world over,” he said in a statement.

Initial studio partner includes Germany’s Constantin Films, whose titles Adidas vs. Puma, and World War II drama, Friends Forever are available to stream.

“We are excited to be among the first to provide films to the ROW8 service, and believe the time is right in the market for the consumer to have accelerated access to great theatrical films, without compromising the upside to filmmakers or the risk of being lost in a subscription video-on-demand bundle,” said Constantin CEO Martin Moszkowicz.

China Streaming Video Service iQiYi Opens First On-Demand Movie Theater

Chinese online video platform iQiYi has launched what it claims is the first on-demand movie theater in the world.

Dubbed “China’s Netflix,” iQiYi May 20 officially opened the “Yuke” on-demand movie theater in Zhongshan, Guangdong, enabling consumers to select a movie online and watch it at a Yuke theater. The six-seat theaters include Dolby audio, reclined seating and other enhanced features not available in the typical Chinese household.

China is one of the largest film production countries in the world generating nearly a thousand films annually. In 2017, a total of 970 films were produced, yet only 487 of them were played in theaters, according to iQiYi. As the national income level continues to rise in China, consumer demand for cinema viewing is rising.

The company – which is owned by China’s online search giant Baidu and launched an IPO on Wall Street earlier this year – said it working to bring Yuke movie theaters to first- and second-tier cities throughout China.

“The development of on-demand movie theaters poses an exciting opportunity to increase the strength and overall scale of China’s film industry,” Yang Xianghua, SVP at iQiYi, said in a statement. “[We] will take advantage of our strong brand awareness, massive user base, popular content and advanced technology to contribute to the growth of this booming market and extend our premium viewing experience to offline consumers.”

At the end of March, iQiYi had 61.3 million subscribers. Going forward, iQiYi said it would combine online and offline subscriber bases to integrate retail services and offline consumption with related merchandise for purchase in cinemas.

Sinemia Offering $4.99 Movie Ticket Subscription

Upstart Sinemia has begun offering a $4.99 monthly (billed annually) movie ticket subscription plan enabling members one theatrical screening per month – half the price of rival MoviePass.

Los Angeles-based Sinemia, founded by Turkish native Rifat Oguz, offers a two-ticket plan priced at $6.99 monthly (also billed annually); $9.99 for two tickets, including 3D, 4D and Imax formats; and $14.99 for three tickets, including 3D, 4D, Imax formats.

The privately-held service claims to offer tickets to all movies and major theater chains, including advanced ticketing and seat selection. The Sinemia app also includes restaurant deals and location-based recommendations.

“Our vision and goal has been to create a movie ticket subscription service that adds value for both for moviegoers and the movie industry. We believe the only way to accomplish this is through a sustainable movie subscription model,” Oguz said in a statement.

It isn’t immediately clear how Sinemia plans to absorb the actual cost of tickets used by subscribers that it must reimburse at full value to theater operators. Publicly-traded MoviePass has more than two million subscribers; yet is losing money on the subscription business model.

“Since 2014, we’ve been fine-tuning our model and are now the leading movie subscription service in the Canada, U.K., Turkey, and Australia,” Oguz said. “Thanks to our global experience, we’ve created a sustainable model and are very excited to bring a new slate of affordable and flexible subscription plans to moviegoers.”

 

Theaters Partnering for Online Content, Live Event Service

A consortium of independent theatrical venues and the National Association of Theatre Owners trade group are partnering for an online platform offering alternative content and live streaming events.

Dubbed “MyCinema.live,” the broadband platform is officially launching at Cinemacon 2018 through April 26 in Las Vegas.

Theaters and Cinema Buying Group-NATO are working with digital TV unit NAGRA to deploy the technology they claim will “revitalize” their operations, expand their customer base and enhance the cinema-going entertainment experience.

With the rise of over-the-top video, mainstream and smaller theatrical chains have seen attendance diminish for non-blockbuster movies. Theatrical attendance in the U.S. and Canada in 2017 fell to its lowest point since 1992, according to industry estimates.

MyCinema enables theaters to more easily offer a broad range of alternative content and live events, including live musical events, sporting events and Broadway shows, faith-based programming and independent films, as well e-sporting events and leagues.

For example, the Georgia Theatre April 21 streamed the annual G-Day: UGA Spring Football Game for fans unwilling to the watch the event live at nearby Sanford Stadium.

“The imagination is the only limit and the programming library theater management can choose from is growing constantly,” Bill Campbell, managing director of NATO’s Cinema Buying Group, said in a statement. “This is an exciting new evolution in theatre programming.”