Including META Cinema Forum Awards, Screenings and More
October 27, 2020 – Dubai, UAE. The third edition of META Cinema Forum kicked off today and is supported by the cinema giants in the region. Throughout the two days the conference will discuss all the latest projects and developments in the industry and the effect that COVID-19 has had on the cinema industry, projections, plans and the vision for recovery.
Taking place on 27 -28 October at VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates, the event will gather 28 of the industry’s leaders in cinema production, distribution, construction, and technology. For the first time ever, the event is taking place in a hybrid format, welcoming attendees to attend physically or virtually via video conferencing technology. The speakers and the panelists choose whether to participate in the physical form hosted at the VOX Cinemas, or on a digital platform, making the event accessible to all and a global first live hybrid event to be shown in a cinema.
Focusing on the current challenges the industry is facing, the content and format has been adjusted accordingly to cater to the needs of the industry and commenced with the welcome remarks from Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner of Great Minds Event Management, organisers and Head of the META Cinema Forum team followed by the Forum’s Strategic Partner, VOX Cinemas, Cameron Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas and Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment.
At the welcome remarks, Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner of Great Minds Event Management said: “We are thrilled to host the world’s first hybrid conference shown live on digital platform and at a cinema, with speakers participating in person or virtually, all blended together for a seamless hybrid experience like no other. We continue to commit to our promise to deliver the richest up-to-date cinema industry content for the Middle East and African markets, working with some of the most influential cinema experts in the world.”
Masinaei continues, “As always the Forum includes features such as slate content presentations, special screenings, an awards ceremony, a post-event reception as well as product showcases, but in the new hybrid format blending the virtual and physical together for a first time ever experience. We are excited to welcome many new delegates to this year’s edition, whom had not attended the pervious editions and is made possible thanks to having the option to attend virtually, this is a blessing of the new era I think we sometimes forget to mention.”
At the opening keynote from Event Strategic Partner: Cameron Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas and Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment, said ”The future of film depends on enhanced collaboration and, VOX Cinemas is proud to once again partner with the META Cinema Forum, which provides an important platform for key stakeholders and leading industry players to engage in open dialogue, share knowledge, challenges and ideas so that we can jointly as an industry navigate the unchartered waters of COVID-19 together and ensure the longevity of the cinema industry.”
He continued, “Cinema is one of the oldest cultural institutions, which has weathered numerous societal storms, wars and prospered through over a century of challenges. At VOX Cinemas, we remain fundamentally confident about the future and resilience of the industry and firmly believe that, if we continue to evolve in line with guest feedback and emerging trends, cinema will find a way, as it has throughout its history, to not just survive but thrive.”
Followed by insightful speech about cinema statistics and analysis during and post-pandemic era by Pablo Carrera, Principal Analyst- Cinema, Omdia. The data shared was exclusively research for META Cinema Forum and presented for the first time to a global audience.
Next on the agenda was a keynote panel discussion titled: Effect of COVID-19 on the cinema industry, projections, plans and vision for recovery and beyond where John Iozzi, CEO and Managing Director, AMC Cinemas – KSA, Maria Gedeon, Marketing Director, Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, Entertainment and Cinemas, Phil Clapp, Chief Executive, UK Cinema Association and John Donnelly, Business Development Director, Dolby Laboratories discussed critical topics such as the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the cinema industry across the globe and in the META region, future of the cinema industry, market forecasts, operating cinemas within the “new normal”, profitability of cinemas at reduced capacity and most importantly, the road to recovery.
The Panel Discussion was followed up by a technical presentation from Dolby.
The second panel of the day, addressed the most critical subject in the theatrical industry, content. As the global news outlets have reported, cinemas are shutting down around the world due to lack of content and continued delays in blockbuster releases from the studios. The META region has a unique advantage by having access to a diverse range of content to cater to their population rich in diversity, and if nurtured, would not only survive the pandemic, but lead the way in the global cinema recovery by pioneering diversified content sources for the cinemas.
Experts offered their perspective on the subject from their unique positions in academia, production, distribution, event cinema, and cinema exhibition, the panel discussion was joined by Toni El Massih, Chief Content Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas, Joel Haikali, Director/Producer at Joe Vision Production, Chairperson of Namibia Film Commission Board, Co-founder of the Creative Industry Guide Africa, Rony Mitri, Independent Distribution Advisor, Melissa Cogavin, Consultant, Melissa Cogavin Ltd, Dr. Fazal Malik, Dean Humanities, Arts and Applied Sciences, Amity University Dubai, Grainne Peat, Managing Director, Event Cinema Association and Serge Zabbal, Business Director, Empire Entertainment.
The final panel discussion of the day was dedicated to the latest in cinema technology and unique products that are being developed with the cinema recovery around the world.
Showreels of upcoming features from various studios were shown throughout the day, and day one was wrapped up by a special film screening of a film that was shot in Dubai, Twisted Blues and this is the first time the film has been played on the big screen.
Day two of the forum is jam-packed with live sessions hosted at VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates, slate content presentations, an awards ceremony and post-event reception.
The forum has attracted the biggest cinema operators in the region to be its partners in success. VOX Cinemas is the forum’s strategic partner whilst Novo, AMC KSA, Cinepolis, Cinepax and FilmOne are the forum’s Cinema Partners. The list of production and distribution partners for the 2020 edition includes Empire Entertainment, Sony, SPRI, and FilmOne.
Source: META Cinema Forum (Press Release)
Disney’s record-setting year at the box office simply won’t quit until the calendar rolls over. As the year comes to a close, Disney has remained king of the 2019 worldwide box office, producing eight out of the year’s 10 highest-grossing films.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hit cinema screens the past weekend and had a strong opening at $175.5 million in the United States. While that’s not as large as The Force Awakens (2015) or The Last Jedi (2017), it’s still going to make the movie a huge hit for Disney, giving them another spot in the top ten highest-grossing US releases of 2019 – edging out Jordan Peele’s acclaimed Us, which grossed $175.05 million at the box office in the United States earlier this year. As such, Disney has produced eight of this year’s top ten, which is a truly unprecedented level of success.
With the success of numerous films including Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin and Toy Story 4 earlier this year, Disney has been growing at an astonishing rate and has earned a record-setting $10 billion at worldwide box office. The recent growth in success of Disney shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that the studio has always been a prominent player in the entertainment industry and has also begun to buy and consume its competition over the last couple of years.
The following 2019 movies also sit in the top ten, all of which were produced by Disney:
Worldwide Box Office: $2,797,800,564
The Lion King
Worldwide Box Office: $1,656,313,097
Toy Story 4
Worldwide Box Office: $1,073,394,813
Worldwide Box Office: $1,128,274,794
Spider-Man: Far From Home
Worldwide Box Office: $1,131,927,996
*Disney’s Marvel Studios produced Spider-Man: Far From Home while Sony handled distribution. Therefore, the film’s box office earnings doesn’t technically count towards Disney’s total for the year.
Worldwide Box Office: $1,165,209,889 (to date as the film is still screening in cinema)
Worldwide Box Office: $1,050,693,953
The only non-Disney movies to crack the top 10 in North America this year were Joker ($333.3 million) and IT Chapter Two ($211.5 million) – both titles produced by Warner Bros.
Disney has officially become the first studio in history to bring in $10 billion at the box office in a single year, and that total doesn’t count Spider-Man: Far From Home, nor does it account for the Fox titles the studio distributed following the $71.3 billion merger of the two companies earlier this year. Thus, Disney has han alarmingly good year and the competition is, without doubt, struggling to accomplish even a fraction of that success financially.
Disney’s 2020 release schedule is far less packed with anticipated movies. However, there are a few major titles including a live-action adaptation of Mulan and Black Widow and The Eternals from Marvel.
Disney’s box office dominance is poised to continue in the new decade, as they will now be in full control of Fox content moving forward, with X-Men and Fantastic Four being two example franchises that can be used for further financial wins.
Contact a member of our sales team for cinema advertising opportunities alongside Disney Blockbusters in the upcoming year!
Sources: The Verge, CinemaBlend and The Numbers.
The gang is back but the game has changed!
In Jumanji: The Next Level – releasing 12th December 2019, the players return to the world of Jumanji to rescue one of their own, only to discover that nothing is as they expected.
The players – Spencer, Martha, Smolder Bravestone, Fridge and a few new faces, brave parts unknown and unexplored (from the arid deserts to the snowy mountains) in order to escape the world’s most dangerous game!
Watch the trailer of the Jumanji: The Next Level 2019:
Here’s what we know about the movie so far:
The MPAA has yet to announce an official rating, but it will probably be PG-13. The first Jumanji in 1995 was PG, but this is more of a direct sequel to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), which earned a PG-13 rating in 2017 for adventure action, suggestive content and some language. It can be presumed that the movie’s rating in the Middle East will end up being PG-15 for cinemagoers.
Will Jumanji: The Next Level Connect to the previous films?
It was initially thought that Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle would be a reboot of the Jumanji franchise. Instead, it was a sequel to the 1995 Robin Williams movie. It didn’t have many references to the original, but it was clear that it was set in the same universe. Director Jake Kasdan states he plans to have Jumanji: The Next Level connect to both previous films, but especially Welcome to the Jungle.
Jake Kasdan has directed numerous theatrical films such as: Zero Effect (1998), Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007), Bad Teacher (2011) and Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle, as well as episodes of TV shows such as: Freaks and Geeks, New Girl and Fresh Off the Boat.
In 2006, Kasdan received his first Golden Globe nomination for Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007) – Best Original Song (shared with John C. Reilly, Judd Apatow, and Marshall Crenshaw).
Kasdan’s proven ability with smart, teen-based comedy, earned him the directing job for Orange County (2002) – starring Jack Black, Colin Hanks and Schuyler Fisk.
Mostly known for R-rated comedies, Kasdan came out of nowhere to prove he could helm a PG-13 action-comedy with major stars Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, and Nick Jonas. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) also directed by Kasdan, went on to become one of Sony’s biggest box-office hits ever.
Hailed as the ‘Helmer of Jumanji series’, Kasdan states the upcoming installment will sew in even more nods to the original Robin Williams classic.
Who’s returning in Jumanji: The Next Level?
Almost every major player from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle will appear in Jumanji: The Next Level, although we’ll get to see several of them in brand-new light.
Dr. Smolder Bravestone
In Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), Dwayne Johnson got to play against his type even though the person playing his avatar was nerdy, allergy-prone Brantford High School student Spencer. However, in the sequel, Johnson’s game avatar (Smolder Bravestone) will play to his literal strengths – a confident and clearly very muscular archaeologist and international explorer.
Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon
Jack Black had a fun role in Welcome to the Jungle as Professor Sheldon Oberon. His cartographer was played by popular, self-absorbed pretty girl Bethany, who was not expecting to be Black’s ‘overweight middle-aged man’. This time round, as seen in the trailer of The Next Level, Fridge (Kevin Heart) ends up in the body of the ‘old, fat dude’ avatar.
Karen Gillan plays “killer of men” Ruby Roundhouse, a fierce martial arts and dance fighting expert. Her avatar was played by shy high school student Martha.
Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough
Nick Jonas was something of a surprise addition to the group as avatar pilot Jefferson ‘Seaplane’ McDonough. He was the avatar of gamer Alex Vreeke – a teen who got stuck in the Jumanji game in 1996. This storyline was a direct tie to the original 1995 Jumanji film, where Alex had taken shelter in the game world in a house built by the previous Jumanji player, Alan Parrish, portrayed in film by Robin Williams.
New characters in Jumanji: The Next Level:
Joining the cast for Jumanji: The Next Level are comedic acting legends Danny DeVito and Danny Glover, playing Spencer’s grandfather, Eddie Gilpin, and his friend, Milo Walker, respectively.
If The Next Level follows the same format as Welcome to the Jungle, we don’t expect to see DeVito and Glover on screen for very long, but it looks like the characters will still have a significant presence in the movie after they accidentally enter the game and wind up controlling the avatars portrayed by Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart.
Also coming aboard are Dania Ramirez (Once Upon a Time) and Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians), both in undisclosed roles. While Ramirez doesn’t appear in the trailer at all, the brief glimpse we get of Awkwafina suggests that she’ll be playing a character within the game.
The Hollywood Reporter states that Awkwafina’s role is ‘key’ and ‘significant’, leading us to guess that she’s likely either an avatar for one of the players — possibly Spencer, Bethany, or even Alex — or she’s the game’s new villain.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) did $964,496,193 at Worldwide Box Office proving to be one of the leggiest (and most unexpected) blockbuster phenomenon’s in recent memory. In the UAE, the film ran for a total of 22 weeks and did over 684K admissions – 2nd highest ranking movie in UAE’s Top 10 Movies of 2017.
Boxoffice Pro is projecting Jumanji: The Next Level to make $66 – 76 million in its opening weekend in the US.
Motivate Val Morgan forecasts over 600K admissions for Jumanji: The Next Level.
Don’t miss out on advertising alongside this fun and comedic blockbuster. Contact a member of our sales for more information on cinema advertising options.
Sources: Looper, The Numbers, Boxoffice Pro, Meaww and MVM Analysis