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An Open Statement to the Giant Screen Film Industry

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Written by: Selected Big Movie Members (see list below)
Date: July 7, 2004

The following statement appeared in the LF EXaminer after it was submitted by a group of exhibitors, producers and distributors who, in light of recent trends, share a concern for the future economic viability of the giant screen industry. This statement represents the first time a group of individual stakeholders have come together to make a joint public statement in support of original 15/70 films produced specifically for exhibition in giant screen theatres. Some of these organizations have notably and vigorously disagreed with one another over industry issues in the past. The group collectively prepared the following "Open Statement" with the hope that it will generate increased discussion over these and other important issues related to the future of the industry on the eve of the upcoming GSTA 2004 Conference in Montreal. The views and opinions expressed herein do not represent the views of BMZ and are solely those of the signatories.

  

Category: Columns

The last few years have brought many challenges to all members of the giant-screen theater community. Overall attendance has decreased sharply as the giant-screen experience has become less unique, commercial 35mm films have been shown on IMAX screens, and some of these Hollywood films have been blown up and released worldwide under the IMAX brand.

These trends now create economic forces that greatly increase the difficulty for giant screen filmmakers to produce films that offer our loyal audiences a unique experience. Consequently, the viability of many giant-screen theaters is threatened. Film programming options for most theaters are declining tremendously as evidenced by the falling number of original giant-screen feature films being released in 2004 and in the industry pipeline. The average number of such releases over the past five years has been more than 12; in 2004 it might be six or seven.

Far and away, these original films generate more overall box office value — and numerous other benefits for the giant-screen industry — than films that were not produced with our giant-screen theaters in mind.

We represent a substantial group of giant-screen exhibitors, producers, and distributors who have large stakes in this unique industry's future. We want to share some of our thoughts on how we can best survive the daunting challenges before us.

We believe:

  • that to achieve overall success, giant-screen theaters should not only remain involved in shaping original film content, but also continue to be active participants in determining how and when a film is released in individual marketplaces.

  • that local promotional efforts are critical to success in the giant screen industry. Everyone — theaters, producers, and distributors — must work hard to ensure that original-content films continue to benefit from tailored advertising investment and best marketing practices.

  • that our industry can thrive for decades to come if giant-screen theaters steadfastly support, and film companies produce, high-quality original-content films intended primarily for exhibition in giant-screen theaters.

We understand that reformatted commercial films address the immediate economic needs of some giant-screen industry organizations. However, focusing on the longer term big picture, along with innovations and hard work, will give this wonderful medium a chance to evolve and continue providing its benefits to the communities we serve.

We invite everyone's thoughts about this statement. Please join us in discussions about the industry's future. We look forward to the opportunities.

Signed,

Big Screen Cinema GmbH, Munich, Germany
Blue Mountain Film Associates Inc., New York, NY
Giant Screen Films, Evanston, IL
Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center, Mobile, AL
K2 Communications, El Segundo, CA
MacGillivray Freeman Films, Laguna Beach, CA
Montreal Science Centre IMAX Theatre, Montreal, QC
National Wildlife Productions, Reston, VA
nWave Pictures, Brussels, Belgium
Principal Large Format, Leigh on Mendip, UK
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego, CA
SK Films Inc., Toronto, ON
Stephen Low Company, Dorval, QC
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden
Swiss Transport Museum, Lucerne, Switzerland
Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Theater, Chattanooga, TN
Truett Latimer Productions, L.L.C.

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