BARCELONA — While blockbuster movies have, of course, been a success for exhibitors, Eddy Duquenne, CEO of Europe-based Kinepolis Group, asserted that studios need to provide “more estrogen” and “less testosterone.”
“Hollywood needs to do more estrogen, less testosterone,” Duquenne said.
Speaking Monday on a CineEurope panel moderated by The Hollywood Reporter senior film writer Pamela McClintock, several speakers emphasized that they want more variety in the types of films being made in Hollywood. “We need content that is more upscale — [films such as] Forrest Gump, for those in their ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s,” Duquenne added.
The exec reported that the first half of the year hasn’t been a strong one for exhibition, though he admitted that “last weekend was very good … we have strong [summer] movies.”
The urgency to complete the digital cinema transition is being felt around the world, and it was underscored by Jonathan Murray Bruce, chairman of Africa’s Sliverbird Group, who reported that Africa has a growing cinema business, but currently only 15 percent of his auditoriums are digital. “And we are being told [delivery of film prints will cease] at the end of this year,” he said.
He admitted that this transition — that he aims to make by year’s end — brings with it financial challenges, as the company is “not getting incentives,” adding, “it is very difficult, but we don’t have much of a choice.”
He added that Africa is additionally challenged by an inconsistent power supply, saying that this has “required using generators and diesel” at some cinemas.
Speakers also stated their opposition to shortening the windows for home video releases. “I understand the dilemma … but I don’t believe moving windows will be a profitable model for studios,” argued Mark Walukevich, senior vp film, international for National Amusements. “We live with piracy, and by shortening windows we might destroy [the theatrical business] further.”
Speakers also commented that there needs to be a business model for some of the latest cinema technologies. For example, Miguel Mier, COO of South American chain Cinepolis, said that his company has found that customers don’t seem willing to pay extra for immersive sound.