Dynamic pricing flops at Village in Victoria
At the start of the summer school holidays in mid-December, Village Cinemas in some of their Victorian locations introduced a "dynamic pricing trial.” This meant that film tickets, concession items and drinks all rose in price after 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The experiment did not last long—early in January, Village cancelled the trial after a wave of criticism on the Internet and social media.
Hannah Kent, a South Australian writer, has surged into headlines with three movies due for filming this year. Her first novel Burial Rights, set in Iceland, became a best-seller very quickly and will be made into a feature by hot director Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name). Jennifer Lawrence signed on to play the lead role of a woman sent to an isolated farm to await execution after being charged with murder. Local company Aquarius Films (Lion) has screen rights to Kent’s second novel, The Good People. This is set in Ireland in the 19th century and focuses on three women who rescue a child from a very religious community and look after her. No date has been announced for filming. In addition to the above, Kent has written an untitled original screenplay that is expected to film this year.
Kiwi director Taika Waititi has the highest-grossing film in New Zealand for the second consecutive year. In 2016 it was local film Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and in 2017 he did it again with Thor: Ragnarok. Thor had grossed NZ$7.03 million by the end of the year, beating out Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which managed NZ$6.59 million by year’s end; it is still playing in cinemas.
In December we reported on a new seven-screen, 1,300-seat cinema at Bayfair in New Zealand. It has now been announced that Australian independent cinema operator United Cinemas, headed by the Mustafa family, will run the new complex. This will be their first complex outside Australia.
Writer-director Wayne Blair (The Sapphires) is teaming up with scriptwriter Gerard Lee (Breathe, Top of the Lake) for a new feature, Godfrey. The title character is an autistic man in his 30s who lives with his indigenous adoptive-brother. Screen Australia has provided development finance.
Aussie director Phillip Noyce has put a new World War II drama, Rats of Tobruk, onto his schedule for 2019. It is based on the story of his father and the soldiers who held the Libyan port of Tobruk against the German Afrika Corps in 1941. Michael Petroni has been signed to write the script, with filming to take place in Australia in late 2019. Canberra and L.A.-based DEMS Entertainment will finance and co-produce.
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