The Australian International Movie Convention celebrates 70 years
The 2015 Australian International Movie Convention (AIMC) marks the 70th year since a few cinema owners and film distributors gathered for a common cause – the love of movie. From humble beginnings the AIMC has grown to be one of the great film conventions in the world. The 2015 AIMC will, once again, be hosted by the National Association of Cinema Operators-Australasia (NACO) and will run from October 11-15 at Jupiters Hotel & Casino at Broadbeach on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
The AIMC brings exhibitors, distributors, producers and allied trades and suppliers together in one place for four days – and provides an opportunity for industry participants to make a smart investment in their businesses.
From those humble beginnings as a Queensland state-based conference in the mid-1940s with only about 60 delegates, the Convention grew to around 200 delegates by the 1970s, increased steadily to around 550 in the mid-1990s, and now hosts over 1,000 delegates.
To reflect the growth in delegates nationally, the Convention was officially branded as the “Australian National Movie Convention” in 1989. The Gold Coast became the official “home” of the Convention. In 2000, as a reflection of the increasing number of International speakers and delegates, the Convention was rebranded as the “Australian International Movie Convention”, as it is now known.
The move to Jupiters Hotel & Casino at Broadbeach in 2009 was an initiative designed to amalgamate all convention activities – film screenings, seminars, trade show and networking functions – in one venue. Adding to the convenience this offered was the opportunity for the majority of delegates to stay on-site if they wished, or in alternate accommodation in close proximity in the Broadbeach area.
In 1992 the inaugural Australian Star of the Year Award was won by Paul Mercurio for “Strictly Ballroom”. Since then other actors to be honoured, all of whom have gone on to international success, have included Russell Crowe, Eric Bana, Hugo Weaving, Geoffrey Rush, Jack Thompson, Hugh Jackman, Jacki Weaver, Ben Mendelsohn, Michael Caton and the late Heath Ledger.
A very special event is planned to celebrate the 70th year of the AIMC. Many of the presentations, functions and screenings will feature theming and footage from the last 70 years. Displays are planned of movies, equipment, costumes, photos and other memorabilia from the past seven decades.
The AIMC continues to go from strength to strength, working continually with its partners in film distribution, technology & sound, auditorium fit-out, catering and marketing to provide the optimal convention experience. In 2015, the AIMC organisers are reaching out to representatives from allied film industries such as home entertainment to attend. We will also be welcoming a larger international contingent from Asia, United States and Europe and will continue to evolve the variety of speakers and presentations.
It is always gratifying to receive positive feedback from each convention, and our team works hard to provide an informative and exciting event each year within our basic framework. The program is very full, but it represents value for money and a good business investment.
Sunday, October 11 will see an Australian Premiere Film Event which provides an opportunity to encourage participation from local government, businesses and the community.
The Trade Show offers our allied businesses the chance to showcase the latest equipment and trends from the international market. With digitalisation almost complete, what will be next to ensure the optimal patron experience?
The film distributors present their upcoming product slate to the key decision makers in the exhibition market via presentations and screenings.
Our guest speakers and presenters update delegates on international trends affecting not only the industry but also on a range of topics relating to business in general.
Networking functions provide an invaluable opportunity for delegates to interact with their peers in a social atmosphere. These include seated dinner functions, an exclusive delegate bar each evening and gala convention wrap party. Throughout the convention, awards recognising achievements for the preceding year for box office grosses, cinema owner/operators, and individual industry honours are presented.
THE AUSTRALIAN MARKET
“The 2014 box office of $1,074 billion demonstrated that cinema going is still one of the most popular forms of entertainment in Australia, despite a slight decrease from 2013. 2015 is shaping up to be one of the biggest & most exciting years in the film industry with a formidable line-up and the MPDAA distributors are eager to share all the latest film clips and material to enable exhibitors to better plan, prepare and optimise their box office takings on all our releases”. 1
It is estimated that 95% of the total 2041 cinema screens in Australia have converted to digital projection.
Of the country’s 2041 screens, 1204 are operated by the four major exhibitors in Australia, being Amalgamated Holdings Ltd (Event / Greater Union / Birch, Carroll and Coyle brands), Hoyts Cinemas, Village Cinemas and Reading Cinemas.
Australia enjoys a strong independent cinema segment, with five independent operators controlling 130 screens over multiple locations.
As a mature market, further expansion is limited. A refurbishment program is likely to be undertaken as many cinemas approach lease term renewals. Australia has some of the best exhibition minds in the world who will continue to focus on what is required to get people out of their homes and into the cinema environment. Expect to see continual upgrades of cinemas, including premium offerings, bigger screens, sharper sound and better seating, both in size and configuration.
It is possible that within the next five years we could see satellite delivery – currently limited to mostly alternate content. Australia is a big, expansive country with a population adroit at adopting the latest in technologies.
Australians generally embrace a broad range of movies and our multicultural society ensures a strong acceptance of international movies as well as those from the Hollywood studios. Of the 505 movies released in 2014, 233 or 46% were foreign language films.
The top 10 films of 2014 represented a significant 25.4% of the total annual box office and included a strong mix of franchises such as “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1”, “Transformers: Age of Extinction”, X-Men: Days of Future Past” as well as broad appeal animation hits “The Lego Movie”, “Frozen”, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” and “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Gone Girl”, “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “22 Jump Street” rounded out the biggest movies of the year. 2
2014 AT A GLANCE
2014 Box Office – $1,074,565,480
-2.28 on last year ($1,099,615,801)
Highest year on record was 2010 – $1,128,498,000
ALL FILMS RELEASED
505 Films released in 2014 (421 in 2013) (421 in 2012)
AUSTRALIAN FILM DETAILS
39 Aus films released in 2014 (26 in 2013) (27 in 2012)
AVERAGE TICKET PRICE
$13.68 Average ticket price in 2014 ($13.41 in 2013) (13.10 in 2012)
SCREENS AND THEATRES
2041 screens in 2014 (2057 in 2013) (1991 in 2012)
489 Theatres in 2014 (486 in 2013) (478 in 2012)
918 3D Screens in 2014 (916 in 2013)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
37 countries in 2014 (26 in 2013)
87 in 2014 (75 in 2013)
13 in 2014 (10 in 2013)
13 in 2014 (8 in 2013)
Genre Films Released
2014 Box Office 2013 Box Office
Action 86 387,134,000 73 323,347,000
Adventure 12 36,533,000 13 89,200,000
Animated 23 127,867,000 18 172,991,000
Biography 14 17,252,000 8 8,322,000
Broadcast 14 124,672 N/a N/a
Comedy 99 169,118,000 82 159,844,000
Crime 9 26,610,000 15 33,933,000
Dance Nil Nil 1 241,000
Doco 44 3,661,000 38 8,723,000
Drama 110 169,112,000 96 152,935,000
Family 7 26,277,000 1 1,220,000
Fantasy 3 2,987,000 3 16,481,000
Horror 10 11,288,000 12 11,690,000
Live 53 4,711,000 35 3,552,000
Music/ Musical 2 1,127,000 2 81,000
Mystery 1 1,124,000 1 275,000
Romance 6 747,000 8 18,185,000
Sci-fi 2 21,314,000 3 24,028,000
Thriller 8 12,333,000 12 29,906,000
War 1 9,000 Nil Nil
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CINEMA OPERATORS-AUSTRALASIA (NACO)
A national association of cinema operators did not happen overnight. For most of the past 70 years, cinema exhibition has been represented by various state associations, independent associations, trade associations, employer associations and state chambers of commerce, but never by a national association made up entirely of cinema exhibitors, until 2011.
In that year, NACO evolved out of the Motion Picture Exhibitors Association of Queensland (MPEAQ), which was incorporated in 1947. NACO continues to host the annual AIMC as part of this long tradition and as a service to the film industry in the Australia/Pacific region.
There has been a very significant investment by exhibitors in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific region, with 2,041 screens in nearly 500 locations in Australia and over 400 screens in New Zealand. More than 10,000 people are employed in the cinema industry, and the big screen consistently rates as one of the top social outings for all demographics.
NACO’s primary objective is to protect this very substantial investment made by its members. It is an organisation for all exhibitors – majors; independents; multi-screen; single screen; or drive-in – from the city or the country – and it represents all member exhibitors, irrespective of their size or structure, in genuine, whole-of-industry issues. These issues could include film theft, licencing fees, film classification, collapsing of windows, digitalisation.
Movie theft, or piracy, costs our industry and our economies billions of dollars and threatens the jobs and livelihoods of many people. The industry is taking very active steps to protect itself and NACO supports the activities of the two key agencies in Australia working to protect the industry – the Australian Screen Association and the IP Awareness Foundation – as well as working with the film distributors through the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA) and the Australian Independent Distributors Association (AIDA). We also work with international organisations such as the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in the U.S.
The Australian Screen Association (ASA) works closely with industry, government and law enforcement authorities to protect the film and television industry, retailers and movie fans from the adverse impact of copyright theft in Australia. NACO has collaborated with ASA/AFACT, MPDAA and the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association (AHEDA) in the preparation of submissions to government relating to new standards of regulation of telecommunications, television, radio and the internet.
GOLD COAST, QUEENSLAND
The attractions of the Gold Coast make the region an ideal destination for conferences and many delegates choose to extend their stay either before or after the convention. With 300 days of sunshine a year and an average temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, the Gold Coast offers a full spectrum of interactive entertainment – from dazzling big-budget theme parks to small, hilariously kitsch museums; world-renowned beaches and over 70 kilometres of pristine coastline; world-class golfing facilities; sporting events from surfing to V8 supercars; sophisticated dining and shopping precincts; shows and live entertainment; lush, green Hinterland – just a few of the reasons 10.5 million visitors flock to this vibrant city each year; a destination as scenic and peaceful as it is fast-paced and active.
1 Source – The Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia
2 Source – The Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia
3 Source – The Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia