The Chinese movie market this year shattered multiple previous records to become the highest-grossing Chinese New Year holiday in the history of domestic cinema. Statistics from the China Film Administration, the nation's top industry regulator, showed that during the holiday period from February 10-17, the country grossed 8.02 billion yuan ($1.12 billion) from 163 million tickets, representing an increase of 18.47 percent and 26.36 percent, respectively, compared with the same period last year.
The Big Picture
London-based Gower Street Analytics estimates that the 2023 Global box office hit $33.9 billion through December 31. This represented a +30.5 percent gain over 2022, continuing the global box office recovery. However, it remains -15 percent behind the average of the last three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019). Gower Street also recently estimated that, due in part to a strike-impacted release calendar 2024 is projected to drop slightly to $31.5 billion (a seven percent drop from 2023).
Twenty-five influential films have been selected for the 2023 Library of Congress National Film Registry, the Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today. The films are selected each year for their cultural, historic, or aesthetic importance to preserve the nation’s film heritage. The newest selections include a diverse group of films, filmmakers and Hollywood landmarks exploring the drama of history, social justice and reform, the experiences of immigrants and more. This year’s selections date back more than 100 years to a 1921 Kodak educational film titled A Movie Trip Through Filmland about how film stock is produced and the impact of movies globally. The most recent films added to the registry are 2013’s Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave and the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom.
To make a movie based on one of world’s most famous toy brands is to venture into a particularly public arena, where everyone has at least a passing familiarity and expects a certain recognizability. In bringing Barbie to the big screen, director Greta Gerwig and cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC therefore had to find the right balance between the authentic and the inventive. Working with an inspired script by Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, larger-than-life production design by Sarah Greenwood, and Panavision System 65 large-format spherical optics, Prieto helped realize a world that’s been welcomed by fans and newcomers alike, inviting one and all to participate in the fun and share in the joy. Gerwig has called the look of the film “authentic artificiality.” Here, Pietro speaks about his experiences in Barbieland and beyond.
This has been a momentous year for digital cinema pioneer Arts Alliance Media. The company celebrated its twentieth year in business and the tenth anniversary of one of its flagship products, the Screenwriter theatre management system that has supported cinema operations through the transition to digital cinema. First launched in 2013, Screenwriter was designed to supersede AAM’s first generation theatre management system that supported exhibitors enrolled in the virtual print fee program as they upgraded to digital cinema equipment. Consequently, Screenwriter embodied an operational restructure, enabling cinemas to centralize their workflows from a single screen instead of traditional, manual methods. The company also launched Screenlighter, a theatre management system designed to solely meet the operational requirements of independent and one-four screen cinemas. But today, the company is thinking only of the future and the ways in which it can help the cinema industry thrive in the months and years ahead. To get a better sense of the company’s plans, I recently spoke via email with David Ong, AAM’s chief commercial officer. One thing he made very clear was the fact that at AAM, people matter most.
What happens to a film when an actor's face is changed? Over the past year, everyone in the film world has started talking about artificial intelligence. Will the technology enable different and better films, or will it just make everyone unemployed? And how does AI affect how directors and actors create their art? In collaboration with SF Studios, Gothenburg Film Studios and The Ingmar Bergman Foundation, Göteborg Film Festival is producing an AI-generated version of Persona, featuring Alma Pöysti in Liv Ullmann's role as Elisabet Vogler.
Last week AMC Theatres announced that Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour concert film had officially become a record-breaking movie. The film, which was announced with tickets on sale Thursday morning, shattered the record for single-day advance ticket sales revenue at AMC at $26 million. The previous record of $16.9 million was held by Spider-Man: No Way Home.
"It's an intimate, emotional and immersive psychological drama, as well as spectacular event cinema," says cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema FSF NSC ASC, as he reveals details about capturing Christopher Nolan's nail-biting thriller, Oppenheimer, in Imax (15-perf) format using Kodak 65mm large-format film, including, for the very first time, sections on 65mm black and white shot in Imax. "I am super proud about the result and know it will provoke a lot of interesting discussion and debate," he adds.
PVR-Inox, India’s largest cinema chain, has been implementing impactful marketing tools to promote new films, in this case, a horror film. In a recent initiative, the chain used fear to show what it is like to see a horror film alone, on a big screen, in this case – Insidious: The Red Door.
Greig Fraser, ACS, ASC, is an award-winning Australian cinematographer. His artistic composition together with his flowing, immersive approach to cinematography has made him a go-to director of photography for a number of high-profile directors. His most well-known work includes Zero Dark Thirty (2012), Lion (2016), Rogue One (2016), Vice (2018), Dune (2021), and The Batman (2022). Fraser also returned to the Star Wars franchise with the 2019 television series The Mandalorian. Recently, Fraser shot Dune: Part Two, which will be in theatres in November. He has since joined the jury for the 2023 FilmLight Color Awards. Fraser spoke via email with Digital Cinema Report about his relationship with color and his collaboration with 2022 FilmLiight Color Awards nominee Dave Cole, for their work on the grade of Dune.