Marcus Theaters Loyalty Program Boosts Independent Cinema – Specialty Preview – Deadline

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The country’s fourth-largest movie chain is testing a new subscription program called MovieFlex+ that includes a curated set of small and medium-sized movies every week at no extra cost.

“We can’t live off blockbusters alone,” Chairman and CEO Greg Marcus told Deadline. “We can’t just live off dinner. We also need breakfast and lunch.

The launch of the $14.99 monthly service comes as the box office revival for big-shot studio franchises is clear, but if that’s less of a trickle down to smaller movies. At stake is the long-term health of a theatrical ecosystem with product breadth and depth.

Marcus began testing MovieFlex+ in two markets in January with a general subscription plan, also new, called MovieFlex for $9.99 per month that offers one free movie of your choice. Both programs have agreements on concessions and other benefits. At two theaters in Columbus, Crossroads and Pickering, where both programs are available, MovieFlex+ members outnumber MovieFlex members by about three times. Marcus also offers MovieFlex+ at three theaters in Omaha, Nebraska – Twin Creek, Village Pointe and Majestic Cinema.

Greg Marcus said the circuit also sees MovieFlex+ as an opportunity for films from major studios to expand their runs. Distributors may be “ready to pull it off screens. We’ll say, ‘Let it stay a little longer.’”

Last week’s qualifying films were Mr. Malcolm’s List and The Forgiven. The plan adds Elvis This weekend, Gone into the night with Winona Ryder this week, and the release of Netflix The gray man next with Ryan Gosling.

“The question is, is there enough demand in the market? We do not know yet. But it’s promising,” Marcus said. “We’re just going to keep watching, tweaking, working with content partners. But we see positive signs. MovieFlex+ members are 150% more likely to see a small or medium-sized movie than a control group, he said.

MovieFlex+ includes another perk, the ability to watch unlimited “unqualified” movies (anything not in the free group) for an additional $5 “Flex Up” fee. About 7% of MovieFlex+ members who saw movies went to Top Gun: Maverick using Flex Up. Everything everywhere all at once is second at 3%.

The circuit has not yet determined the next markets. “We want to be a very open book and share what’s going on with studios, and get their feedback,” said Greg Marcus. “There is work to be done on support tickets and families. And once we get through that, to understand what the demand is. We want it to be a win-win for everyone. »

New specialty openings: IFC Films presents Claire Denis’ Both sides of the blade in NY (IFC Center, Lincoln Center), LA (Laemmle Royal) and Toronto (TIFF Bell Lightbox). The film starring Juliette Binoche and Vincent Lindon expands nationwide next week to around 70 theaters. The Berlin Film Festival competition title – Deadline review here – follows Sara (Binoche) as a radio presenter in a long-term relationship with Jean (Lindon), when Sara’s ex-boyfriend François ( Grégoire Colin), who presented them, returns to the stage.

neon gifts fire of love at Angelika, AMC Lincoln Square and Sunset 5 in Los Angeles. The distributor took North America to National Geographic Documentary Films, which acquired worldwide rights to the picture in a bidding war at Sundance. Sara Dosa’s French documentary, which won an editing award at the festival, explores the life and work of intrepid French volcanologists and couple Katia and Maurice Krafft through rare archival footage of them capturing some of the footage nature’s most explosive.

Magnolia Pictures presents Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel by Belgian directors Amélie van Elmbt and Maya Duverdier on 15 screens including IFC Center in NYC, Glendale and Monica in LA. The first photo of the Berlin and Tribeca Fest, produced by Martin Scorsese, documents one of the last enclaves of New York’s old bohemian. As developers transform the Chelsea into a swanky boutique hotel, the aging artists and curators who inhabit it have become resistance fighters living on a construction site. A quintessential New York documentary, it explores the effects of gentrification on the creative community.

Kino Lorber presents Murine a Croatian film that premiered at Cannes (Revue Deadline here) about rising tensions between a restless teenager, Julija, and her oppressive father on their island home. Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic’s feature debut stars Danica Curcic, Gracija Filipovic and Leon Lucev. Martin Scorsese is a producer. It opens today at the Metrograph in New York and will expand to Los Angeles (Laemmle Monica) and other markets next weekend.

Paramount+ Documentary The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s “American Pie”opens for an Academy qualifying run in Los Angeles and New York ahead of its July 19 premiere on the streamer. McLean reveals the secrets behind his iconic 1971 song. Directed by Mark Moormann.

Saban Films opens crime thriller take the night written, directed and performed by Seth Mcitgue in four locations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis and Phoenix. An elaborate surprise birthday stunt heads for darker places when career criminals hired to stage a fake kidnapping go rogue.

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