‘Sixth Sense’/’Signs’ Filmmaker
Rails Against Collapsing Windows
Shyamalan Ignites ShowEast!
ORLANDO – Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan received
a standing ovation Oct. 27 as he closed out Orlando’s
ShowEast convention with a speech that derided shrinking
theatrical windows generally and, in particular, the
idea of releasing movies to DVD and cinemas simultaneously.
the theatrical window, Shyamalan told Variety the
day he made his ShowEast comments, is “the
worst idea I have ever heard.”
Shyamalan’s views stand in stark contrast to those
of top Disney exec Robert Iger, who during a July conference-call
told reporters and analysts, “I don’t think
it’s out of the question that a DVD can be released
in effect in the same window as a theatrical release.”
The writer-director of Disney blockbusters “The
Sixth Sense,” “Signs” and “The
Village,” Shyamalan told the convention delegates
he makes his films to be seen first in cinemas, not living
“This thing I’m talking about
is the magic of movies. And this is the ideal art form
right here. The ideal
moment, when the storyteller gets to tell it to the group.
This is that moment. Everything else is a memento; everything
else is a reflection of that moment. It’s a reminder;
it’s a souvenir, and to start worshipping the souvenir – I
cannot tell you how upsetting that is to say.
“So, for me – there is one art form, and then the
reflections of that. I have felt, watching and being
a part of the movie industry, the effects of the worship
of the DVD, and the worship of all that money, and the
effect that’s had.”
“It’s greed,” Shyamalan said later in the
Variety interview. “It’s heartless and soulless
and disrespectful. And of course, cable companies are
behind it, and Internet companies. They need their product.
But they have to wait their turn. Wait for the thing
to finish its life.”
Shyamalan told the gathered exhibitors
that releasing movies to DVD and cinemas at the same
time was certain
to doom the exhibition industry. “It’s obviously
going to crush you – crush you guys. There’s
just no way around that. It’s going to crush you
“If you tell audiences there’s no difference between
a theatrical experience and a DVD, then that’s
it, game’s over, and that whole art form is going
to go away slowly,” Shyamalan told The
Hollywood Reporter in an Oct. 27 interview. “Movies will
end up being this esoteric art form, where only singular
people will put films out in a small group of theaters.”
“I’m just so confused about why the human part of
this is so disregarded,” the filmmaker told the
ShowEast audience. “That’s what we’re
saying, is that the audience is part of the art form,
but we look at the balance of these guys saying, ‘Oh,
it’s so much more efficient if we took out this
whole human part.’”
“The Sixth Sense’ was the biggest
DVD seller of all time. It bought my house. You know
what? Take my
house; take the house, I just want a place to write stories,
you know? You can’t put the house before the story.”
“The ideal form of this movie – this art form – is
the movie theatre. That’s it. They try to convince
us otherwise, they’re lying.”
Industry leaders were quick to applaud
“The impact of Mr. Shyamalan’s remarks have been
felt well beyond the corridors of exhibition,” allowed
NATO president John Fithian. “In the days following
this now-famous speech, senior executives from two of
the major studios have made statements to the press in
support of theatrical windows. Many other studio executives
have shared with us their appreciation for this hugely
talented and influential filmmaker’s position.”
“Our industry is deeply grateful
for Mr. Shyamalan’s
courage and vision at this critical cultural crossroad,” added
NATO general counsel G. Kendrick Macdowell. “The
creative community, so well represented by Mr. Shyamalan,
is in the best position to remind us that, in addition
to being a bad financial decision, collapsing windows
is a terrible cultural and artistic decision.”
“Hollywood’s filmmakers have a choice,” Macdowell
concluded. “Do they want to be remembered for making
movies? Or do they want to be remembered for making movies
“Lady in the Water,” Shyamalan’s first film
for Warner Bros., arrives in cinemas July 21.
Autumn Opening In Virginia’s
AMC Launches D.C.-Area 16
McLEAN, Va. – AMC Theatres opened on Sept. 30
its new 16-plex in the Washington, D.C. suburb of McLean,
Part of a new expansion wing of the Tysons Corner Center,
the site features stadium-style seating, retractable
armrests, and wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling screens.
The plex also offers online and phone advance ticket
purchasing, automated box office kiosks and digital plasma-screen
menus at the concessions counter.
The opening was heralded with a weekend celebration
featuring contests and free popcorn with ticket purchase.
“We’re eager for moviegoers to experience
the AMC difference in comfort, quality, service and convenience,” said
AMC Theatres COO Phil Singleton. “We anticipate
AMC Tysons Corner 16 will become the premiere entertainment
destination in northern Virginia.”
AMC Theatres, based in Kansas City, Mo., operates 3,459
screens at 223 sites in the United States, Canada,
France, Hong Kong, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Maine Multiplex Due In June
Zyacorp 16 For Westbrook
WESTBROOK, Maine – Zyacorp Entertainment announced in November that it
would open a Maine 16-plex by June 16 in the Portland suburb of Westbrook.
The multi will feature stadium-style seating, high-back
rocker seats, digital sound and auditoria equipped for
digital projection. Its concession counter will
offer traditional fare as well as ice cream and popcorn chicken.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve
the wonderful people of Greater Portland, my hometown,
and welcome them to this state-of-the-art family entertainment
center,” commented Zyacorp Entertainment president Mark Adams.
Manchester, N.H.-based Zyacorp, which operates under
the Cinemagic Stadium Theatres brand, currently operates
a 9-plex in Salisbury, N.H., a 12-plex
in Saco, Maine,
and a 12-plex in Merrimack, N.H.
New Exhib To Launch In 2006
First Sundance Site
Headed For Madison
MADISON, Wis. – The first venue in what is expected
to be the Sundance Cinemas specialty chain will make
its home at the Hilldale Mall in Madison, Wis.
The new 6-plex is slated to open its doors next fall.
Like the Sundance Film Festival and the Sundance Channel,
Sundance Cinemas plans to devote itself substantially
to promoting independent film.
“The independent culture of Madison makes it a
great environment for the Sundance Cinema concept,” noted group president
Robert Redford, “and we look forward to creating
together with the local community an experience that
captures that unique nature.”
Twin Cities Suburb
Muller Adding 3
To Minnesota 18
LAKEVILLE, Minn. – Muller Family Theatres will
expand its flagship 18-plex in Lakeville, Minn., just
south of the Twin Cities. The circuit plans to add three
auditoria to the existing plex, elevating the site’s
screen count to 21.
One auditorium, to be equipped for 70mm projection,
will house a screen measuring 85 by 40 feet.
Muller, based in Lakeville, Minn., operates 82 screens
at seven Minnesota sites.
Circuit Promotes Staffers
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. – David Shesgreen, employed
nearly three decades by Century Theatres, is the circuit’s
new president and chief executive officer, it was announced
Shesgreen, who joined Century in 1976 following a stint
with Pacific Theatres, has held positions as film buyer,
head film buyer, executive vice president of programming
and corporate development, and chief operating officer
during his tenure with the circuit.
“David has been a key member of our management
team for almost 30 years and has worked in or overseen
every department in the country,” said Century
chairman Raymond W. Syufy. “It is fitting that
we now formalize and acknowledge David’s leadership
role within the company.”
With Shesgreen’s promotion, another circuit vet,
Victor Castillo, advances to chief operating officer
from his previous role as executive vice president and
chief development officer. General counsel Andrew McCollough
will also now serve as executive vice president of business
affairs and head the marketing division in addition to
his existing duties overseeing the loss prevention and
human resources divisions.
Further, three promotions to senior vice president
were announced: Christi Reddy was made senior vice president
of human resources; Elizabeth Puccinelli is now senior
vice president of corporate development and Pat Hagar
was named senior vice president and controller.
Century, based in San Rafael, Calif., operates 1,000
screens in 12 states under the Century Theatres and CinéArts
10 Brazilian Sites For Viacom Parent
NA Buys 111 From UCI
DEDHAM, Mass. – National Amusements announced on
Nov. 1 its acquisition of UCI Cinema’s exhibition
interests throughout Brazil.
UCI’s holdings in the Portuguese-speaking nation
included 111 screens at 10 sites in seven cities, including
Rio de Janeiro and São Paolo.
According to figures published by Dodona Research, Brazil’s
screen total in 2003 was 1,720.
National Amusements, based in Dedham, Mass., operates
more than 1,425 screens in the United States, the United
Latin America and Russia.