Several exhibitors and film companies have announced their strategies for cutting electric power use this summer in the wake of supply shortages since the March 11 disaster.
Japan’s largest exhibition chain, Toho Cinemas, is aiming to cut its summer power use by 15% following the government’s guidelines for major energy consumers. Toho has installed special energy-saving air conditioning monitoring systems, changed cinema interior lightbulbs to LED, and reduced or cut electric signage and poster lighting.
The territory’s second largest cinema operator, Warner-Mycal, is also employing similar measures to reach the 15% target at 33 of its 60 sites. In addition to lighting adjustments, special reflective mats will be used to reduce solar heat on exterior air conditioning intake units.
Smaller exhibitor United Cinemas, which recently upgraded several locations to IMAX digital, is also employing the ubiquitous “cool biz” dress style, eschewing jackets and ties for cinema staff alongside a warmer lobby temperature setting.
On July 20 the government appealed to businesses and individuals across Japan to conserve electricity (referred to as “setsuden”) this summer to avoid potential rolling blackouts. The calls come amidst hotter than average summer temperatures combined with an energy supply shortfall due to nuclear power plants taken offline and the heavily damaged Fukushima Daiichi facility. An earlier government initiative enacted on July 1 legally requires large-scale consumers supplied by Tokyo and Tohoku electric power companies to cut usage by 15% from July 1 to September 22 on weekdays or suffer fines.
However, exhibitors are being careful that changes don’t discomfort patrons in an increasingly fickle market, avoiding harsher measures such as shortening operation hours, reducing screens, or raising temperatures in cinema halls.
Film production and distribution companies are also finding ways to save. Producer-distributor Asmik Ace recently announced details on reductions in air-conditioning, lighting and office equipment usage. The company releases Matt Reeves’ Let Me In on August 5 and Tekken: Blood Vengeance 3D on September 3.