As Mayor of Saline, Brian Marl has long been a patron and proponent of Emagine Theatres.
"It's exciting to see a movie in a theatre," he said to Saline 12 earlier this month. He went on to cite a few of the features that distinguish our Saline theatre from competitors, including a unique approach to customer service, its food menu and bar, and spacious seating.
Last Thursday, The Saline Post ran the first segment of our two-part interview with Emagine Entertainment Chairman Paul Glantz where we asked how recently announced changes to the worldwide movie industry might impact his presence here in Washtenaw County.
Here are his answers.
Saline 12 east: "It’s been argued that Disney has actually been slow to adapt its film release schedules 'to reflect the digital age,' and that a change in that past direction would 'surely speed up the end of cinema chains.'
"Does the Fox deal suggest a change in this philosophy and thus a risk to Emagine?"
Paul Glantz: "No. I don’t see it. Again, Disney knows that films that perform best in theatres create the best residual income streams associated with subsequent release channels."
Saline 12 east: "Disney plans to launch an online distribution service in 2019, potentially pushing both Pixar and Marvel movies direct-to-consumer — perhaps forgoing theatrical runs all together. Does this concern you?"
Paul Glantz: "For years, Disney and the other studios have been producing lower-budget films that have gone direct to video. I don’t see their decision to bypass cable companies as a threat to theatrical release, particularly in an era of 'cord cutting.'
"Again, Disney recognizes the value of releasing its most important films in theatres as a basis for sustaining and promoting its franchises.
Saline 12 east: "As channels such as Verizon, Comcast, and Apple look at this as an opportunity to target content originators such as Lionsgate and MGM for their platform-building, could they be successful in re-shaping consumer thinking about the desirability of having any in-theater experience at all?"
Paul Glantz: "The future of the theatrical exhibition lies in our own hands.
"At Emagine, we have worked tirelessly to create a great out-of-home experience. While we have more indirect competitors than ever before in the history of the industry, guests will still come if they see a compelling value proposition in doing so.
"It is incumbent upon us and our industry brethren to make going out to the movies a special and worthwhile experience."
Saline 12 east: "Last quarter, you promoted Anthony LaVerde to CEO, explaining that this would free you to focus on even bigger opportunities. Are those opportunity paths based on concerns you anticipated from deals such as this Walt Disney Company acquisition of the 21st Century Fox film studio business?
"Does the Disney deal change what you were thinking?" Paul Glantz: "Emagine (including its predecessor organization) has grown from a tiny entrepreneurial company into a pretty good size business enterprise over the last 28 years.
"I recognized the need to add more talent to the team to “take it to the next level” and continue to grow. That’s why we have added both a new CEO, Anthony LaVerde, and a new COO, Tripp Adams, to the team in the last two months. The decision to do so was not influenced by the machinations going on in Hollywood."
Saline 12 east: "Next month is your one-year anniversary in Saline. You just completed your first Christmas season here, and that included showing the latest Star Wars feature from Disney.
"How is it going for you? Is there anything new we should be looking for here?"
Paul Glantz: "We have been absolutely thrilled with the receptivity of the community to our new theatre in Saline. It is a wonderful community and we are honored to be doing business there.
"Attendance has surpassed our expectations with guests sometimes driving more than 40 minutes to come see us.
"We welcome continued economic expansion in the area and nothing would please us more than to believe that we are a catalyst for continued growth and prosperity in the Saline business community."
Part 1 of our exclusive interview with Emagine Entertainment Chairman Paul Glantz ran on The Saline Post last week.