Movies

Movie theatre operators upbeat

MUMBAI: Despite the global recession, movie theater operators were in festive mood during Cinema Expo, which ended its four-day run at the RAI convention center on Thursday -- and why not? As in the U.S., box-office is booming in most international territories.

The credit crunch has stalled many digital screen conversions. But exhibs came away pleased with sneak peeks of films screened throughout the week, and most believe d-cinema and 3-D projection will spread through the marketplace eventually, further bolstering business.


"It‘s been a really great week, with many exciting movies and exciting lineups," said Peter Janovsky of Hollywood Megaplex, which operates 48 screens in five Austrian theaters. "In 2009, we have had a very good year -- the best in three years -- and the future looks positive."


Studio participation also remained strong, though as with recent domestic confabs, Universal sat out Cinema Expo this year. Film distribs are clearly cognizant that foreign receipts now account for half of the boxoffice, and on many pics, international grosses outpace domestic coin.


That was the case as far back as 1997-98, when James Cameron‘s Titanic rang up twice as much box-office overseas as in the U.S. and Canada. So it was fitting that the clear highlight of this year‘s confab was Tuesday‘s presentation of a 24-minute clip of first-ever public footage from Cameron‘s Avatar set for worldwide release by Fox on Dec. 18.

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