Why the power of the big screen is as important as ever

    Author Zoe Aresti

In a blog post written for Cinema Technology, DCM's Head of Film, Tom Linay, talks about why the power of the big screen is as important as ever and how cinema will continue to deliver the WOW factor for years to come.

With UK box office receipts in 2015 reaching £1.24bn, the highest in history and up 17 per cent from 2014, exhibition had a terrific year, but it wasn’t just cinema owners celebrating, cinema advertising also had a spectacular 2015. While SPECTRE and Star Wars: The Force Awakens were breaking records and rightly taking all the headlines, cinema ad revenue was up a whopping 27 per cent, well ahead of the 9 per cent uplift in admissions. 
Clearly an amazing film slate played a big part in this growth but the digitisation of cinema screens has transformed the cinema advertising market. Lead times have been cut from four weeks to less than a week, even down to one day for a Camelot campaign last year, and production costs of up to £100,000 per ad have been reduced to as little as £3,000 to make a television spot big-screen ready. 
The unique cinema environment is also becoming more important than ever to the wider advertising industry. A perhaps surprising (or not) stat from the latest IPA Touchpoints 6 data is that 87 per cent of adults now consume media simultaneously and brands are experiencing intense competition due to this ‘attention deficit’. From a personal level, I use adblocker on my computer and I tend to only watch television on demand. It’s fair to say, the only place that ads have my full, undivided attention, is at the cinema and brands are waking up to the fact that I’m not alone in these viewing habits.

Can the film world top 2015?
Cinema advertising is expected to go from strength to strength but can the film slate live up to 2015? A year when two of the UK’s top three biggest films of all time were released, along with the third biggest animated film in history (Minions), and the summer's best blockbuster, Mad Max: Fury Road, snagged 10 Oscar nominations. It's a tough act, but I think 2016 just might be up to it. Awards season has already released some gems and there's quality liberally sprinkled across the calendar.
As always, we’re well served with blockbusters throughout the year, with Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Captain America: Civil War likely to be battling it out for the title of biggest superhero film. Fans of 90s nostalgia will be eagerly anticipating Independence Day: Resurgence in June and with Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman back, it'll be hoping for similar success to Jurassic World last year. However, it may get trumped in the nostalgia stakes by Ghostbusters. Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and the female Ghostbusting team will be getting most of the laughs, but expect Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd to steal at least one scene. The best action film of the year is likely to be Jason Bourne, which sees Matt Damon return in the title role and Paul Greengrass, the man behind the best two Bourne films, and more recently, Captain Phillips, return behind the camera. 

And fun for all the family 

The family audience is crucial to cinema, and this year there’s the biggest family slate in years. Pixar’s Finding Dory is likely to be the most popular animation, and Disney will also be expecting big things from their spectacular looking live-action The Jungle Book. However, Steven Spielberg’s The BFG will be wowing young and old alike, and in what would have been Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday year, interest in the title will be huge. 
Q4 tends to be where the real fireworks happen in cinema, with almost 50m admissions during the final three months of 2015, and this year is shaping up to be equally as strong. J.K. Rowling returns to the wizarding world of Harry Potter and pens her first screenplay with Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them in November and a month later, Star Wars is back. Rogue One is about the team who steal the plans for the Death Star, which enables the rebels to attack it at the climax of A New Hope. After the huge success of The Force Awakens, it's the film to beat next year.
It’s not all about the blockbusters though, some of the world’s greatest filmmakers return, including the Coen and Dardennes brothers, Robert Zemeckis, Ang Lee, Richard Linklater and Martin Scorsese, and if you want a tip for a genuine break-out hit, April’s Eddie The Eagle is by all accounts, a real crowd-pleaser. 

With a film slate packed with big names and a unique environment that is more important than ever, cinema is in a fantastic position and should continue to deliver the wow factor for years to come.

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Thsi piece first appeared in Cinema Technology.