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Friday, May 26, 2006

News items: Digital Cinema in Singapore...Box Office Tallies...Is the MPAA Hiring Hackers?

- BusinessWeek serves up this short report on digital cinema in Singapore, where the government is helping to finance some digital projection equipment.

- Carl Bialik of the Wall Street Journal offers a look at how global box office estimates are tallied. He writes:

    Buy a ticket in most theaters in Austria, Chile, New Zealand and more than a half-dozen other countries, and a unit of media-tracking company VNU NV will instantly update its global database. Studio executives can access the database online, and adjust marketing strategy accordingly. In countries where theaters' ticketing systems aren't hooked into a central network, local studio offices develop their own estimates by conducting a telephone survey of theaters. Then each nation applies its own projection of Sunday sales, considering regional tastes and what kind of movie is being shown. (Family fare does well on Sunday, but action movies have already done much of their weekend business by then.) The offices send these numbers to Hollywood; on Sunday morning studio employees tally them, along with the North America figures, and then spread the word.

(If you're interested in the topic, here is a recent Edward Jay Epstein piece from Slate about box office estimates.)

- The LA Times reports that a lawsuit has been filed against the MPAA (rather than by them, for a change) asserting that the association hired a hacker to spy on a company called Valence Media. The MPAA replies that Valence is just trying to obscure the fact that the company, which operates the Torrent Spy site, is knowingly supporting movie piracy.


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