‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Jurassic Park’ 4DX Screenings to Boost Reopened Cineworld U.K.

Christel Deskins

Cineworld will begin reopening its cinemas in England with a lineup featuring a special 4DX screening program that includes four films projected for the first time in the chain’s exclusive multi-sensory 4DX extreme cinema format. Christopher Nolan’s “Inception,” Chris Columbus’ “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” Alfonso Cuarón’s “Harry […]

Cineworld will begin reopening its cinemas in England with a lineup featuring a special 4DX screening program that includes four films projected for the first time in the chain’s exclusive multi-sensory 4DX extreme cinema format.

Christopher Nolan’s “Inception,” Chris Columbus’ “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” Alfonso Cuarón’s “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” will get Cineworld’s 4DX treatment in 24 cinemas across England. They will be joined in cinemas this weekend by “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” previously screened in 4DX by Cineworld.

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4DX screenings use in-room practical effects such as motion, water, wind, scent and lighting, timed to what’s happening on the screen. Utilizing high-tech motion programming, audience members’ seats also move in synch with the film’s action.

During the COVID downtime, Cineworld executed full scale refurbishments and special format installations in Wolverhampton, Swindon, Boldon and Brighton to prepare an enhanced experience for guests when they return.

Other health and safety measures implemented by the chain include new seating allocations to ensure social distancing, staggered start and end times to limit audience interaction, plastic screens added to concession areas, additional training and masks provided for all employees and hand sanitizers added to the lobby of each venue.

MARKETS

National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) has revealed that this year’s Streaming Plus section of NATPE Virtual, the first online-only version of the popular TV meet-mart running Sept. 14-17, will feature an opening keynote delivered by HBO Max executive VP of content acquisitions Michael Quigley.

Streaming Plus, now in its second year, facilitates conversations specifically catered to the streaming industry and focuses on factors that will shape and define the future of content production, programming, distribution and monetization.

Key decision makers from leading companies such as Fox, GroupM, Pluto, Tubi and Univision will participate in the virtual conference, with more expected to join prior to the event. This year’s NATPE will also host a session led by Fox Corporation president of ad sales Marianne Gambelli, GroupM chief investment office and Steve Mandala, president of ad sales and marketing at Univision, where they will discuss the current state of the marketplace and what the future might look like for both ad-supported streaming platforms and traditional television.

FESTIVAL

Kelly Reichardt’s “First Cow” will open Locarno 2020, where the filmmaker will also sit on the jury of the festival’s The Films After Tomorrow section, comprised of past Locarno features dating back to the 1940s. The Swiss fest also announced that rather than closing with a customary feature film, it will end this year’s edition with an anthology of nine short films from local filmmakers selected from the Collection Lockdown section for Swiss shorts made during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Joining Reichardt on the jury are Israeli writer and director Nadav Lapid (2019 Berlin Golden Bear winner “Synonyms”) and screenwriter, director and cinematographer Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese (“This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection,” “Mother, I Am Suffocating”).

This year’s Locarno will deliver a hybrid experience, with in-person offerings in Switzerland and digital offerings to global audiences. “First Cow” will screen on the evening of Aug. 5 in Locarno’s GranRex theater with Reichardt joining the festivities online. Ten nights later, Aug. 15, former Leopard of Honor winner Jean-Marie Straub’s “La France contre les Robots” will kick off the closing ceremonies, followed by the Collection Lockdown shorts.

CASTING

Alex Horne’s Emmy and BAFTA-nominated series “Taskmaster” has announced five new contestants set to feature on the upcoming season of the popular gameshow, which jumped from UKTV to Channel 4 late last year.

This year’s talent includes BAFTA-winning actors Daisy May Cooper (“This Country”) and Katherine Parkinson (“IT Crowd”), comedian-writer-director Johnny Vegas (“Benidorm”), comedian-actor Mawaan Rizwan (“Live at the Apollo”) and award-winning podcast presenter Richard Herring (“RHLSTP”).

Comedian and host Greg Davies will return as the powerful Taskmaster with Alex Horne at his side. The two will present a series of vexing challenges to the contestants and rate their often laughable efforts.

“Taskmaster” and its format have sold in 106 countries, with 140 episodes of the format having been made outside its native U.K. The original will make its U.K. debut Aug. 2 on The CW Network.

ACQUISITION

Sky Documentaries has closed a deal with production company Fulwell73, producers of award-winning documentary content such as “Bros: After The Screaming Stops” and “Sunderland ‘Til I Die,” for U.K. distribution rights to the company’s feature documentary “Forbidden Games: The Justin Fashanu Story.”

Co-produced with London’s Gospel, the feature first launched on Netflix in 2017 and will now air on Sky Documentaries and Sky platforms in the U.K. this December.

“Forbidden Games: The Justin Fashanu Story” is the story of the first, and so far only, soccer player in the U.K. to come out as gay while still a professional, 25 years ago. Fashanu was also the first Black player in the U.K. to change clubs for £1 million ($1.3 million), and tragically faced unrelenting racism, bigotry and abuse from fans and teammates alike throughout his career and beyond.

Content Now Studios brokered the U.S. broadcast deal and is handling international sales rights for the feature.

HIRING

The moves keep coming following the completion of Banijay’s purchase of Endemol Shine earlier this month, and the company has now hired Peter Lubbers as CEO for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Lubbers will take the reins of the pan-regional umbrella arm on Aug. 1, responsible for the group’s international portfolio in the territories. He joins Banijay from Concept Street, which he co-founded with Roy Aaldernink and MGM in 2018. His other previous positions include director of television at SBS Group, program director at RTL 7, general manager at Zodiak Media and media director for AVRO.

Key brands managed by Banijay Benelux include “Big Brother,” “Temptation Island” and “All You Need is Love” among others. The company’s offering also includes EndemolShine Netherlands’ sports division, the largest in the country.

RESIGNATION

Australian production company Playmaker Media co-founders David Maher and David Taylor have announced they will be stepping down from their management positions at the company, purchased by Sony Pictures Television (SPT) in 2014. According to an SPT release, the pair plan to return to their former work as independent producers.

Maher and Taylor will continue leading the company over the coming months as the search for a new creative executive team is executed by SPT. Current projects and productions co-developed and co-produced between SPT and Playmaker will go on as planned, with new projects to be developed on a case by case basis.

Under the Davids, Playmaker has produced award-winning content such as ABC’s “The Code,” “Love Child,” and the Emmy-nominated “Slide,” among many others.

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