20th Century Fox president of international theatrical distribution Andrew Cripps. 

Dispelling suggestions that cinema is ailing, Fox executive Andrew Cripps today delivered an upbeat assessment of the global film industry, pointing to a healthy upswing after a big slump in the US summer.

The rebound started in September with New Line/Warner Bros’ It (which has amassed $US604 million globally) and Fox’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle ($254 million) and will continue through the fourth quarter, Cripps told the Australian International Movie Convention (AIMC) on the Gold Coast.

“International audiences continue to be very important to Hollywood and continue to grow and expand – China being a prime example of that,” Fox’s president of international theatrical distribution said in a keynote address entitled Showmanship: The Key to Our Future.

Dismissing consumer and trade media headlines which said ‘Hollywood Faces August Death March’ and asked ‘Is Moviegoing Dead?’, Cripps said: “Moviegoing is now a 12 month a year business and no longer do all films get jammed into a summer or winter release schedule. September of this year is a great reminder that audiences WILL come out for compelling stories no matter when in the year they are released.”

A former president of IMAX International, Paramount Pictures International and United International Pictures, he talked up the upcoming release line-up led by the Walt Disney Co’s Thor: Ragnarok, which opens on October 25, Warner Bros’ Justice League in November and Disney’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi in December as well as Fox’s Murder on the Orient Express, Ferdinand and The Greatest Showman, which stars Hugh Jackman.

Cripps saluted Australia’s world class multiplexes and observed that the Gold Class, VMAX, LUX and Extreme Screen brands have been emulated around the world.

In addition, many new and innovative marketing ideas that originated in Australia have been widely adopted globally.

“All of that has resulted in a per cap attendance of 3.7 which is higher than any European market and amongst the highest in the world. So clearly there is a lot to be proud of down under,” he said.

Last year, the international BO generated $US27.2 billion, 71 per cent of the global total of $38.6 billion, with the US contributing $11.4 billion, up 1 per cent on 2015.

The international sector is averaging a consolidated annual compound growth rate of 5.5 per cent, versus 1.9 per cent for the domestic market.

In the first half of 2017, nine of the top 12 international markets showed good growth while Italy was down by 20 per cent, France by 0.9 per cent and Australia was off by 0.25 per cent.

Cripps suggested Australian exhibitors could borrow some ideas from CGV’s refurbished Yongsan complex in Seoul, which boasts numerous features including a 4DX auditorium with motion seats, beds in another cinema where patrons pay up to $70 to fully recline, a large bank of ticketing kiosks, a boutique selling Marvel and Disney merchandise, a Karaoke bar, lounge and a sports and film themed bar called Cine Pub.

In addition there are DJ booths where customers are invited in to critique films and trailers on air and a Virtual Reality centre where patrons can taste experiences such as navigating the rapids in a boat with their VR headsets on.

Clearly that formula works as CGV Yongsan was the highest grossing complex in Korea on the opening weekend of the Kingsman sequel, making $240,000.

Cripps concluded by asking exhibitors to share their data and insights on consumers so distributors can make their marketing spends more targeted, more focused and more efficient.

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