Stars, studios and movie theater owners convene at CinemaCon

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The film industry — everyone in the Hollywood studios that produce the films to the businesses which produce seats, speakers and the screens in theaters — have been descending on Las Vegas this week to get CinemaCon. Movie going’s future will probably be in the spotlight as the yearly trade show kicks off Monday at Caesar’s Palace.

However that season’s CinemaCon is coming in a time of great change in Hollywood. Streaming and how long movies play in theaters have been a conversation staple in CinemaCon in the last several years, but Walt Disney Co.’s just-completed acquisition of 20th Century Fox is going to be the elephant in the room.

“People are actually questioning what this consolidation will look like to the whole company,” explained Kevin Grayson, the president of domestic distribution for STX Films.

On a practical level, it means there won’t be a presentation from Fox, which constantly staged an elaborate production, normally involving its supply chief.

“We can miss the Fox existence, but we also have to encourage and embrace Disney for what they deliver into our industry and what they are likely to look to do so to further fortify the supply line of great product,” said Mitch Neuhauser, the managing director of CinemaCon. “It is definitely going to be quite a bittersweet convention. But we’ll shift with the times and also proceed in a productive manner.”

Disney, that has been the market-leader for 3 years running, along with each of the other major studios, including Universal, Warner Bros. and Paramount (Sony is sitting out this year ), will come equipped with splashy fresh footage, trailers and some of their main stars to hype their slates to summer season and beyond an audience of theater owners, from the largest chains into the smallest mom and pop stores.

It is not only the biggest studios: Lionsgate, Amazon, Neon and STX Entertainment will also be present, with a few showing sneak peeks of upcoming films like”Wild Rose,””Late Night” and”Long Shot.”

STX will kick off the studio presentations after a few remarks on the state of the business.

“It actually gives us this chance to shine a light on STX and reveal we are not here for the brief term, we are here for the long run,” explained STX’s Grayson.

STX specializes in mid sized and mid-budgeted commercial movies including”The Upside” and”Second Act,” and CinemaCon is still also an essential area to interact with not just the big players in exhibit but the men and women who have”twins and triples” at the middle of the nation which are just as crucial to their organization.

“We’re releasing 10 to 12 movies this season and 12 to 15 second year,”Grayson said.

Outside the primary theater, there’ll also be an entire world on the transaction exhibition floor demonstrating the most up-to-date and best in everything to concession snacks from theater technology.

“There’s been a nonstop momentum of new technology that’s driving the industry,” said Neuhauser.

Ray Nutt, the CEO of Fathom Occasions, which specializes in occasion cinema, from classic films to the Metropolitan Opera as well as sporting events, agrees.

“That box office listing doesn’t only happen because there’s very good content on the market,” Nutt said. “It happens because the comforts in the theaters are awesome nowadays, whether it’s luxury seats or improved food and drink. These are all things which make going to the movie theater unique and one of a kind.”

Julien Marcel, the CEO of Webedia Movies Guru, a tech and information company for the staging industry, forecasts that there will also be much debate within the”second digital revolution” in movie moving.

“All movie experiences begin online and also the important challenge for exhibitors is the best way to accommodate with this 2nd digital revolution,” Marcel said. “The very first digital revolution was once projection transferred from analog to digital. Now we are at the core of the 2nd digital revolution where the marketing goes all digital and the ticket sales go digital.”

Marcel’s firm recently published a study that said that there was 18.7 percent growth in online ticket sales in 2018. Film tickets purchased online now constitute about a quarter of ticket sales.

In addition, he expects there to be a great deal of focus on the”subscription economy.” Cinemark and AMC have found successes and more companies are gearing up to do the same, although moviePass might be struggling.

And with all of the changes afoot, as going into CinemaCon the mood is optimism.

“I’ve been around the industry for 30 years now and it was always something which has been coming whether it was cable tv or the VCR that was planning to kill the market,” said Nutt. “But people in this industry keep innovating in different methods to keep people coming back from the theater to get that communal experience. It’s pretty gratifying to find that the resiliency of this industry”

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