Dr Who breaks box office record; Latest example of alternative content brought into cinemas

November 25, 2013 11:13 pm

Dr Who breaks box office record

By Robert Cookson, Digital Media Correspondent

Special cinema screenings of the 50th anniversary episode of Dr Who over the weekend have broken the European record for box office takings from so-called “alternative content”. The Day of the Doctor was screened in 3D by 440 cinemas in the UK and raised £1.8m – making it the third highest-grossing film this weekend after The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Gravity, according to figures from Rentrak.“That’s the sort of number that’s going to get people’s attention, including other TV production companies,” said David Hancock, head of cinema at IHS Screen Digest, a research company.

Many cinema chains – including Cineworld

, Vue, and Odeon & UCI – have in recent years started to screen non-movie content ranging from live opera and ballet to rock concerts and sport.

The Day of the Doctor, which was broadcast for free on television on Saturday, is the latest example of alternative content being brought into cinemas in addition to traditional films.

Mr Hancock of IHS said the £1.8m earned by Dr Who in a single weekend made it the most successful piece of alternative content ever seen in UK and European cinema.

Rentrak estimates that the overall UK market for alternative cinema content will reach £20m in the UK this year.

While this content will account for less than 2 per cent of the forecast £1.1bn in UK cinema takings in 2013, according to IHS, it has grown from next to nothing a decade ago, and is expected to continue increasing as a proportion of box office revenues.

At the weekend, the typical ticket price for Dr Who in cinemas was £12 – almost double the average UK cinema ticket price of £6.37, but in line with the premium attracted for 3D films and alternative content.

As most UK cinemas have now replaced their 35mm film and mechanical projectors with digital technology, they are able to screen a much broader range of content and cater to more niche tastes.

In the US, the Metropolitan Opera pioneered live screening of events in cinemas in 2006, with a satellite transmission of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Since then, the UK’s Royal Opera House and the National Theatre have also embraced cinema as a way to tap into new audiences.

For the cinemas, screening live or unusual shows can attract a new pool of customers, often at off-peak times.

In total, more than 1,500 cinemas across the world screened the Dr Who special at the weekend.

The science fiction drama is one of the most successful shows in the history of the BBC

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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