MovieMobz initiative bowed July 7

MADRID — Social networking has become a way to program cinemas for Brazilian film fans.

MovieMobz, a novel Brazilian “Cinema on Demand” initiative, bowed July 7. Start-up results are now in.

Based out of Rio, MovieMobz combines digital exhibition with online social networks, showing niche films theatrically..

It’s owned by Rain Network, Latin America’s biggest digital cinema operator, which has already digitized all of Brazil’s 149 arthouse screens. Rain now handles the distribution of an average 23 film titles a week, a 173% leap in title numbers from a year ago.

But MovieMobz goes a social step further.

Its website allows filmgoers from the MovieMobz.com film club, to “mobilize” by choosing films, both classics and new releases, and click on a “I Want to See It” button.

Once enough viewers vote on a film, it emails members with screening details.

So far, MovieMobz has attracted 4,000 members and staged 20 film sessions, MovieMobz CEO Fabio Lima says.

About 2.5 people attend for every member who’s voted.

“People bring their friends. Newspapers highlight sessions. Our entry prices are always lower than the half-price tickets students get,” Lima says.

MovieMobz members can write online reviews and rate films: Berlin breakout “The Lemon Tree” currently merits 10-out-of-10.

Screenings are generally lively events. “We’ve noticed people enjoy very much the idea of being together as a group to watch their favorite films,” says Isabela Santiago, programming director at cinema circuit Grupo Estacao, which has hosted 12 “mobilized” screenings.

Numbers aren’t huge, but then these are truly specialized films.

Jean Luc Godard’s “Sympathy for the Devil” sold 84 tickets, for example, while David Lynch’s “Inland Empire” sold 87 tickets on a Thursday, normally a bad day for cinemagoing, says Santiago.

At September’s Rio Film Fest, MovieMobz will recruit new members and program screenings for cult hits.

Lima says he’d like to take MovieMobz international.

“There nothing special about MovieMobz members in Brazil. They’re just people who love seeing films.”

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