April 3, 2019

Fathom Events Premieres World War II Documentary The Cold Blue From Acclaimed Filmmaker Erik Nelson With a Special One-Night Event in Cinemas Worldwide

DENVER – April 3, 2019 – Fathom Events has teamed with Spencer Proffer’s Meteor 17 to bring acclaimed filmmaker Erik Nelson’s new documentary The Cold Blue, chronicling the heroic struggles of the U.S. Eighth Air Force during World War II, to the big screen on May 23 only. The new film, from Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions and Creative Differences, was constructed using recently discovered and meticulously restored raw color footage from the WWII-era documentary Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress, directed by the legendary director William Wyler and filmed aboard B17s during combat air missions. A meditation on youth, war and trauma, The Cold Blue is a tribute to one of the world’s greatest filmmakers, his cameraman Harold Tannenbaum – who perished in combat while filming – and the men of the Eighth Air Force, who flew mission after lethal mission during the Air War.

Fathom Events will exclusively premiere The Cold Blue in cinemas across the globe on Thursday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m. local time. Tickets for U.S. screenings can be purchased beginning April 5 at www.FathomEvents.com and participating theater box offices. International cinema locations and ticket-on-sale dates will be announced at a later date.

The Cold Blue Fathom event is produced by Spencer Proffer of Meteor 17. The documentary, produced by Vulcan Productions and Creative Differences in association with HBO Documentary Films, was made with the full cooperation of the Wyler Estate and Catherine Wyler. Produced by Peter Hankoff; executive produced by Paul G. Allen, Carole Tomko, Rocky Collins, Catherine Wyler, Clark Bunting and Dave Harding; directed and produced by Erik Nelson.

“This project was a labor of love that has been three years in the making, from the discovery of William Wyler’s original footage to working closely with the National Archives to restore it frame by frame,” said The Cold Blue director Erik Nelson. “We’re excited to finally share this special project with audiences across the United States, and to celebrate the last of the best — the men who risked their lives to save the world 75 years ago.”

"My father would be amazed and delighted that the aerial footage he and his camera crew shot in such terrifying conditions is having a new life and new audiences 75 years later,” said The Cold Blue executive producer Catherine Wyler. “Erik Nelson’s new work captures the danger and the courage required of our airmen in the battle over Europe.”

The film features interviews with nine of these surviving veterans, whose voices narrate the harrowing world that Wyler and his cameramen captured in the summer of 1943. The immersive theatrical experience also includes an original orchestral score from celebrated musician and composer Richard Thompson (Grizzly Man), and sound design by David Hughes (Black Panther).

The Cold Blue is a first-of-its-kind documentary, which reinvents the visionary work of one of our greatest American directors to create an entirely new film,” said Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt. “Fathom is proud to give this documentary a showcase fit for its technical feats, historical importance and beautiful storytelling — on big screens worldwide.”

For artwork/photos related to The Cold Blue, visit the Fathom Events press site.

About Fathom Events

Fathom Events is the leading event cinema distributor with theater locations in all top 100 DMAs® (Designated Market Areas) and ranks as one of the largest overall theater content
distributors. Owned by AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: AMC); Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK); and Regal, a subsidiary of the Cineworld Group (LSE: CINE.L), Fathom Events offers a variety of unique entertainment events in movie theaters such as live performances of the Metropolitan Opera, top Broadway stage productions, major sporting events, epic concerts, the yearlong TCM Big Screen Classics series, inspirational events and popular anime franchises. Fathom Events takes audiences behind the scenes for unique extras including audience Q&As, backstage footage and interviews with cast and crew, creating the ultimate VIP experience. Fathom Events’ live Digital Broadcast Network (“DBN”) is the largest cinema broadcast network in North America, bringing live and pre-recorded events to 975 locations and 1,578 screens in 181 DMAs. The company also provides corporations a compelling national footprint for hosting employee meetings, customer rewards events and new product launches. For more information, visit www.FathomEvents.com.

About Meteor 17 & Spencer Proffer

Headquartered in Los Angeles, this convergence and production venture is helmed by innovative media and music producer, Spencer Proffer. M17 is producing and is developing an ambitious slate of projects across music, TV, film, Internet, live event, and other platforms, integrating brand marketing and music as organic components. M17 is a full service organization that actively participates from conception and architecture through all phases of deal making, production, marketing and distribution entities highlighted on www.meteor17.com.

About Vulcan Productions

Vulcan Productions is dedicated to the power of storytelling. The company produces content and large-scale campaigns that entertain, inspire and activate audiences around the world's toughest challenges. Its films, television series and digital content spark ideas and turn action into measurable impact. Founded by Paul G. Allen and Jody Allen, Vulcan Productions creates content across all formats and genres, and spotlights their vision for impact in biodiversity, science, climate, technology, current social issues, history and the arts. The company also uses cutting edge technology to create unique experiences for its audiences, incorporating virtual, mixed and augmented reality. The team’s award-winning and critically-acclaimed projects include Ghost Fleet, Reason I Jump, Oliver Sacks, X-Ray Fashion, The Cold Blue, The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress – The Restoration, Ballet Now, Going to WarUSS Indianapolis: The Final ChapterSTEPThe Ivory GameUnseen EnemyRacing Extinction, News & Documentary Emmy Nominee Naledi: A Baby Elephant’s Tale, News & Documentary Emmy winner and Academy Award®-nominated Body Team 12Mind of a GiantWe the

EconomyWe the VotersOcean Warriors#ISurvivedEbola, and Girl Rising. In 2018, Vulcan Productions produced the first-ever immersive reality experiences for the Holodome at the Museum of Pop Culture: Songs of Infinity: Journey into a Black Hole, Justin Timberlake’s Montana: An Immersive Music Experience, Seattle Seahawks: The Art of the Play, and Death Planet

Rescue. For information on Vulcan Productions and its leadership generating change through impact storytelling, visit www.vulcanproductions.com.

About Creative Differences

Creative Differences has produced an array of notable feature documentaries, including Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man (2005), Herzog’s Oscar nominated Encounters At The World (2008) and the 2011 3D box office hit Cave Of Forgotten Dreams. Company founder Erik Nelson has also produced and directed such films as the 2008 biography of writer Harlan Ellison, Dreams With Sharp Teeth, as well as the 2012 animated feature Dinotasia and 2017’s A Gray State. For more information on Creative Differences, please visit http://cdtvfilms.com.

About HBO Documentary Films

HBO Documentary Films offers a full spectrum of stellar, non-fiction programming by acclaimed documentary filmmakers. Recent films include such critically praised documentaries as LEAVING NEVERLAND, THE INVENTOR: OUT FOR BLOOD IN SILICON VALLEY, THE CASE AGAINST ADNAN SYED, THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING, SAY HER NAME: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SANDRA BLAND, JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS, THE SENTENCE and ROBIN WILLIAMS: COME INSIDE MY MIND, among others. Upcoming projects include THE APOLLO, I LOVE YOU, NOW DIE and the series AXIOS. HBO’s powerful, uncompromising documentary programming has won virtually every award within the genre including 59 Primetime Emmys®, 73 News & Documentary Emmys, 52 George Foster Peabody Awards and 30 Academy Awards®. www.hbo.com/documentaries/

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Jessica Nelson / Katherine Schwappach

Fathom Events

720-262-2753 / 720-262-2713
jnelson@fathomevents.com / kschwappach@fathomevents.com

April 2, 2019

Fathom Events and Meteor 17 Form Strategic Partnership for Content Development

DENVER, April 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Fathom Events, the leading event cinema distributor that acquires, markets and distributes content to theaters around the world, and Meteor 17, founded by highly respected music and media producer Spencer Proffer, have entered into a long-term "First Look" and production agreement for projects to premiere on the Fathom Events platform, with Proffer serving as the event and added-value content producer. This content agreement will initially focus on the music vertical as well as culturally relevant topics and initiatives, both of which are foundational to Fathom and Meteor 17.

For these events, Proffer will serve as event producer for involved parties, including superstar musical talent, political leaders and pop culture icons and their concerts, programs, interviews and speeches. Additionally, he will produce original, added-value segments, which will screen alongside the core exhibitions. These segments will showcase the visionary and timeless works still relevant to audiences of today.

Proffer will bring multiple projects to Fathom Events, including "The Cold Blue" a documentary film chronicling the men of the 8th Air Force who flew mission after suicidal mission in the 2nd World War on the legendary B17 bomber, The Memphis Belle. This revolutionary WWII documentary will be followed by "Elvis – Unleashed," a behind-the-scenes look at Elvis' '68 Comeback Special with Steve Binder, and numerous others yet to be announced. 

"Fathom Events is thrilled to partner with Meteor 17 and founder Spencer Proffer to expand the wide range of content offerings to consumers in their local movie theaters," said Fathom Events CEO, Ray Nutt. "This arrangement allows Fathom to continue offering high quality content to the largest audiences around the globe." 

Proffer has been aligned with Fathom for over 14 years, producing multiple successful one-night events in movie theaters, beginning with "Rockin' The Corps" on behalf of the U.S. Marine Corps, headlined by Beyoncé with Destiny's Child and KISS, produced with Doc McGhee, Executive Produced by Quincy Jones and hosted by Cedric, The Entertainer.

One of the most recent projects resulting from this partnership was a collaboration between Meteor 17, Authentic Brands Group and Fathom Events, bringing the iconic Elvis '68 Comeback Special, directed by Steve Binder, to 1982 theaters in 32 countries around the world, drawing more than 160,000 attendees over two nights. Proffer then produced "Diana Ross: Her Life, Love and Legacy" featuring "Diana Ross Live in Central Park," which was shown in partnership with Fathom Events on March 26 and 28 in theaters around the world. 

"I am excited to work with the team that Ray Nutt has assembled for Fathom Events," said Proffer. "Their vision, passion, integrity, knowledge and appetite to raise the bar make them an ideal partner to present innovative entertainment."

About Fathom Events
Fathom Events is the leading event cinema distributor with theater locations in all top 100 DMAs® (Designated Market Areas) and ranks as one of the largest overall theater content distributors. Owned by AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: AMC); Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK); and Regal Cinemas, a subsidiary of the Cineworld Group (LSE: CINE.L), Fathom Events offers a variety of unique entertainment events in movie theaters such as live performances of the Metropolitan Opera, top Broadway stage productions, major sporting events, epic concerts, the yearlong TCM Big Screen Classics series, inspirational events and popular anime franchises. Fathom Events takes audiences behind the scenes for unique extras including audience Q&As, backstage footage and interviews with cast and crew, creating the ultimate VIP experience. Fathom Events' live Digital Broadcast Network ("DBN") is the largest cinema broadcast network in North America, bringing live and pre-recorded events to 1,010 locations and over 1,628 screens in 182 DMAs. The company also provides corporations a compelling national footprint for hosting employee meetings, customer rewards events and new product launches. For more information, visit www.FathomEvents.com

About Meteor 17 and Spencer Proffer
Headquartered in Los Angeles, this convergence and production venture is helmed by innovative media and music producer, Spencer Proffer. M17 is producing and is developing an ambitious slate of projects across music, TV, film, Internet, live event, and other platforms, integrating brand marketing and music as organic components. M17 is a full-service organization that actively participates from conception and architecture through all phases of deal-making, production, marketing and distribution entities highlighted on www.meteor17.com.

Proffer strives to make a difference in pop culture with projects that have meaning for people's lives, while entertaining them. He is a music industry veteran who has graduated to pioneer convergence media integrations of projects in film and television for many years. His productions and those he has been integrally involved with have garnered Academy, Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy and Tony awards and nominations. As music producer, Spencer has sold millions of gold and platinum records.

April 1, 2019

CinemaCon 2019: Fathom Events Looks Beyond Streaming to Disrupt Exhibition

Even as CinemaCon begins under a cloud of streamer anxiety, event cinema is growing fast. In an effort to lure moviegoers to off-peak screens, some 60 theater chains have turned to six-year-old Fathom Events and it now ranks 12th among U.S. distributors. In 2018, Fathom released 164 titles across 277 event dates to more than 5.1 million people; 23 titles surpassed $1 million at the box office.

As the powerful theater chains fight to maintain the status quo in a drastically shifting environment, Fathom stands out in sharp contrast as a company that is rapidly learning and innovating, much like such disruptors as Netflix. That is what theaters need to do in order to adapt and survive.

Consider the January box office, which suffered its usual post-holiday doldrums. Not at Fathom, where January delivered a record $11-million month, spurred by disparate titles like “The Met: Live in HD: Carmen,” Pathé Live’s “BTS World Tour: Love Yourself in Seoul,” and the 80th anniversary reissue of “The Wizard of Oz,” which became Fathom’s highest-grossing rerelease at more than $2 million. By the end of 2019, Fathom expects its live cinema broadcast network to total more than 1,100 cinemas and 1,700 screens.

While Fathom content usually veers far from the world of superhero blockbusters, it finds its tentpoles on cable, broadcast and Broadway. Titles range from the populist (AMC’s “Walking Dead” finale, Mayweather vs. McGregor) to the tony (the Bolshoi Ballet, National Theater Live, the Metropolitan Opera), along with specialized-audience targets that include The Grateful Dead (“Meetup 2018”), Studio Ghibli (“Princess Mononoke”), and the BBC’s “Doctor Who” (five season premieres). It also supplies content to 800 churches via the faith-based Fathom Affinity Network.

Fathom also finds gold in major studios, as in its recent partnership with Warner Bros. for the release of Peter Jackson’s “They Shall Not Grow Old.” The colorized World War I documentary opened on over 1000 screens in December 2018 and again in January, at which point the ecstatic Warners took the film to 500 theaters in February 2019 for a record stateside total of $16 million.

Given the exhibitors’ anxiety over streamers’ encroachment, why doesn’t Fathom encounter the same pushback? One big reason is lies in its ownership; it’s co-owned by AMC, Cinemark, and Cineworld’s Regal Cinemas. Also, most of its screenings are brief, one- to four-day hits — not enough time to cannibalize, but plenty to build awareness, fan media attention, and awards qualification. Those short stints also allow room for extras like Q&As, or backstage footage and interviews with cast and crew.

Fathom CEO Ray Nutt considers the “incremental” Fathom window — which falls between other platforms, like further theatrical release, or VOD — as a promotional opportunity. Fathom advertises its titles for 30 days with standees and posters, as well as trailers that run on up to 20,000 screens.

“People are realizing we’re a promotional vehicle, at end of the day,” he said. “We’re bringing Broadway to theaters as well. Musical ‘Bandstand’ did well on Broadway, it lost its Broadway theatre, then we brought it back. Disney theatrical did ‘Newsies’ and brought it into theaters, as well as then taking it on the road.”

All of this is achieved with lower upfront costs for Fathom; unlike many pure-play distributors, it works on a revenue-sharing model and doesn’t provide minimum guarantees. “Companies like the BBC are typically doing something else with the content,” Nutt said. “They get to make money as well with us.”

Nutt expects to see more suppliers as they become convinced that Fathom offers cross promotion rather than cannibalization.  “We’re 1 or 2 percent of the total box office in North America,” he said.

Fathom titles vary in size and scope. Its partnership with Turner Classics, which books a dozen TCM slots year round, led Fathom to supplement them with its own branded series, Spotlight. And when distribution chief Dave Hollis left Disney to run the online lifestyle business owned his wife, Rachel Hollis, he reached out to Nutt to book their documentary “Rachel Hollis Presents: Made for More.” The show sold 5,000 tickets on the day Hollis previewed it on her site.

Fathom is also looking to expand via the Tugg on-demand model, which would allow it to identify customer interest in more obscure indies and encore showings. “When they can’t get traditional theatrical distribution, they look to us,” said Nutt, who brought back The Orchard’s climbing movie “Dawn Wall” for a second round of showings after it scored with audiences.

Would Fathom ever show content from streamers like Netflix? They’ve had discussions about it, but so far that’s a non-starter for their big circuit owners. That’s too bad, because nimble Fathom has the ability to innovate. They’ve brought in former HBO executive Andrew Goldman) to curate more quality programming. Another area to mine is all the data available to Fathom from their owners, which have launched loyalty and subscriber clubs, Regal, AMC and Cinemark.

“You can’t have enough data,” said Nutt. “We’re here to engage people’s passions. There are so many genres like anime and science-fiction. We’re delivering content on the big screen so people come together and share that experience. The challenge for us is targeting and marketing, how to find people and promote that content.”

Coming up in 2019 are more TCM Big Screen Classics, including “Alien,” “My Fair Lady,” “When Harry Met Sally …,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Field of Dreams” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” as well as the long-awaited Terry Gilliam feature, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” starring Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce.

February 4, 2019

Diana Ross: Diamond Diana Celebration Event

DENVER – February 4 , 2019 – Diana Ross and Fathom Events will celebrate the star’s 75th Diamond Diana Birthday Celebration with a special gift to fans around the world. The special two-night screening of “Diana Ross: Her Life, Love and Legacy” featuring “Diana Ross Live in Central Park” comes to movie theaters worldwide, premiering on her birthday, March 26,

The exclusive theatrical release will feature a remastered version of Ross’ iconic Central Park concert, documented in July 1983 and considered one of the most important landmark events in music and entertainment history. The cinema event will also include special, never-before-seen footage and messages from the Ross family, including sons Ross Naess and Evan Ross, daughters Rhonda Ross Kendrick and Chudney Ross, with Tracee Ellis Ross giving a loving and passionate introduction to the film in celebration of the superstar’s legacy.

Tickets for U.S. screenings of “Diana Ross: Her Life, Love and Legacy” featuring “Diana Ross Live in Central Park” can be purchased at www.FathomEvents.com and participating theater box offices.

Fathom Events and Meteor 17 present “Diana Ross: Her Life, Love and Legacy” featuring “Diana Ross Live in Central Park” in nearly 700 U.S. movie theaters on Tuesday, March 26 and Thursday, March 28 at 7:00 p.m. local time (both days), through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network (DBN). For a complete list of U.S. theater locations, visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change). International cinema locations and ticket-on-sale dates will be announced at a later date.

“I envisioned a dream and that’s what I created over those two days in Central Park. I picked a goal, and then imagined all the details,” Ms. Ross said. “I believe imagination is magical, that we can think of something and bring it into being.”

Directed by award-winning producer and director Steve Binder, “Diana Ross: Live in Central Park” was filmed over the course of two days when nearly 1.2 million people united on the Great Lawn of Central Park to experience a moment that defined a generation, bringing together music fans to experience one of the greatest artists of all time. The Fathom Events special is executive produced by Ms. Ross and produced by music/media producer Spencer Proffer of Meteor 17.

“We are thrilled to kick off this year-long celebration of an icon like Diana Ross in conjunction with her 75th birthday with this special screening event in movie theaters worldwide,” said Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt. “As we are always looking to bring the best-in-class experiences to our viewers, we are excited to bring the legacy of Diana Ross to fans and music lovers everywhere.”

“This cinema event encompasses the passion, love and talent of one of the most legendary artists of all time,” said Meteor 17 CEO, Spencer Proffer. “With my partners at Fathom Events, we are excited to share Ms. Ross’ special legacy with a new generation and relive one of the most momentous times in music history.”

For artwork/photos related to “Diana Ross: Her Life, Love and Legacy” featuring “Diana Ross Live in Central Park,” visit the Fathom Events press site.

About Fathom Events

Fathom Events is the leading event cinema distributor with theater locations in all top 100 DMAs® (Designated Market Areas) and ranks as one of the largest overall theater content distributors. Owned by AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: AMC); Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK); and Regal, a subsidiary of the Cineworld Group (LSE: CINE.L), Fathom Events offers a variety of unique entertainment events in movie theaters such as live performances of the Metropolitan Opera, top Broadway stage productions, major sporting events, epic concerts, the

yearlong TCM Big Screen Classics series, inspirational events and popular anime franchises. Fathom Events takes audiences behind the scenes for unique extras including audience Q&As, backstage footage and interviews with cast and crew, creating the ultimate VIP experience. Fathom Events’ live Digital Broadcast Network (“DBN”) is the largest cinema broadcast network in North America, bringing live and pre-recorded events to 975 locations and 1,578 screens in 181 DMAs. The company also provides corporations a compelling national footprint for hosting employee meetings, customer rewards events and new product launches. For more information, visit www.FathomEvents.com.

About Meteor 17

Headquartered in Los Angeles, this convergence and production venture is helmed by innovative media and music producer, Spencer Proffer. M17 is producing and is developing an ambitious slate of projects across music, TV, film, Internet, live event, and other platforms, integrating brand marketing and music as organic components. M17 is a full service organization that actively participates from conception and architecture through all phases of deal making, production, marketing and distribution entities. www.meteor17.com.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Jessica Nelson / Katherine Schwappach

Fathom Events

720-262-2753 / 720-262-2713
jnelson@fathomevents.com / kschwappach@fathomevents.com

Alex Wollman

CIVIC PR

914-588-0313

alex.wollman@civic-us.com

Mark Young

The Fame Factory

917-826-6650

myoung@thefactoryinc.com

January 3, 2019

Peter Jackson’s “They Shall Not Grow Old” to Have a Third Date from Fathom Events

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On the heels of its already record-breaking release, and in response to popular demand, a third Fathom Events date has been added for Warner Bros. Pictures’ much-heralded WWI documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old,” from Oscar-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson. The film will be screened at more than 1,000 locations in the U.S. and Canada on Monday, January 21, 2019, taking advantage of the holiday weekend. The announcement was made today by Jeff Goldstein, President, Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Ray Nutt, CEO of Fathom Events.

“They Shall Not Grow Old” debuted in North America at 1,122 locations on December 17, 2018, taking in an impressive $2.327 million. As anticipation grew for the second Fathom Events release date, on December 27, several locations were sold out more than a week in advance. Playing on 1,007 screens, the film earned an astounding $3.375 million for a record-shattering two-day total of $5.702 million. It is the highest-grossing U.S. cinema event to date, for both Fathom Events and the event-cinema industry.

In making the announcement, Goldstein stated, “The response to ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ has been overwhelming. Peter Jackson’s documentary is a towering achievement of film restoration that has conquered the ravages of time and stands as a fitting tribute to all those who fought and died in what was then called ‘The War to End All Wars.’ We are so proud to be part of bringing this film to audiences across the U.S. and Canada.”

“This project has been a historic and record-setting journey for Fathom, Warner Bros., our exhibitor partners and the event-cinema industry,” said Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt. “We are honored to give audiences another chance to experience this groundbreaking documentary as it should be seen—in 3D and on the big screen.”

Tickets will be available soon at www.FathomEvents.com and participating theater box offices.

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, “The Hobbit” Trilogy) comes the groundbreaking documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old,” presented on the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Applying state-of-the-art restoration, colorization and 3D technologies to century-old footage—carefully chosen from hundreds of hours of original Great War film held in the archives of the Imperial War Museum (IWM)—Jackson has created an intensely gripping, immersive and authentic cinematic experience. The only narration comes from Great War veterans themselves, selected from over 600 hours of BBC and IWM archive interviews, resulting in a gripping account of “The War to End All Wars,” told by the soldiers who experienced it.

By restoring the original footage to a standard never seen before, the human face of WWI emerges with vivid clarity through the fog of time. Jackson captures the day-to-day experience of its soldiers and reveals the reality of war for those on the front line: their attitudes about the conflict; their camaraderie and their need for humor amidst the horror; the functions of daily life in the trenches; and what their lives were like during periods of rest. Using cutting-edge techniques to transform the images of a century ago into footage that could have been shot today, Jackson both remembers and honors a generation changed forever by a global war.

“They Shall Not Grow Old” was directed by Peter Jackson and produced by Clare Olssen and Jackson, with Ken Kamins, Tessa Ross, Di Lees and Jenny Waldman serving as executive producers. The film was edited by Jabez Olssen. The music is by David Donaldson, Janet Roddick & Steve Roche.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Wingnut Films Production, co‐commissioned by 14‐18 NOW and Imperial War Museum in association with BBC. This film has been rated R for disturbing war images.

November 21, 2018

Looking back at the 1968 TV special that made Elvis Presley matter again

Just how far removed from cultural relevance was Elvis Presley in 1968?

When Singer — the maker of sewing machines — brokered a deal with NBC to sponsor three TV music specials, the company’s go-to artist list consisted of Hawaiian pop crooner Don Ho, Las Vegas king of glitz Liberace and Presley.

If that weren’t enough, Presley’s manager, Col. Tom Parker, envisioned his client’s show as a traditional holiday special. At his first meeting with Steve Binder, who produced and directed the special, Parker handed him an audiotape containing 20 Presley recordings of Christmas songs; on the box was a picture of the King, a holiday wreath behind him.

All that was missing was an ugly sweater.

“I thought, ‘This is not going to work,’ ” Binder says in an interview with The Times. “’I don’t want to do some Andy Williams or Perry Como TV special.’ I thought it was over.”

Yet in mid-1968 when the negotiations were underway for Presley’s appearance on NBC the following December, Binder managed to forge a bond with the singer that resulted in him defying Parker, however briefly.

The result was a turning point in Presley’s career. Indeed the Singer-sponsored show “Elvis” was subsequently referred to as “The 1968 Comeback Special.” Over the course of one hour, a 33-year-old Presley galvanized TV audiences with electrifying performances that gave fans a persuasive reason to forgive him for nearly a decade’s worth of formulaic Hollywood B movies that enriched his (and Parker’s) bank accounts but virtually depleted his musical credibility.

“If there hadn’t been the ’68 special, I’m not sure he’d occupy the place in rock music history he does today,” says Alanna Nash, a veteran music writer and author of “The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley” published in 2004. “I saw it on the big screen this past summer in Denmark at an Elvis event I was doing. You just can’t take your eyes off him. He’s so magnetic. It’s such a miracle to watch him regain his confidence after those awful movies like ‘Easy Come, Easy Go.’

“What’s Greil Marcus’ famous quote about it? ‘It’s like watching a man find his way home again,’ ” Nash says. “That’s really what it is.”

To mark this year’s 50th anniversary of the show that first aired Dec. 3, 1968, Sony Legacy is issuing an expanded “Comeback Special” box set with five CDs and two Blu-ray discs, a set that goes well beyond the original single LP soundtrack and even beyond the 40thanniversary four-CD set with additional audio released in 2008.

The new set contains all the audio and video recorded for the show, which first included only about 47 minutes of performance material interspersed with the requisite 13 minutes of commercials for a one-hour prime-time TV show at that time. It also comes with an 80-page book with photos and other documentation of the show, plus a new oral history assembled from video/filmmaker Thom Zimny’s interviews for the recent HBO special “Elvis Presley — The Searcher.”

Subsequently, through a serendipitous fluke, the “Comeback Special” has usually been shown in a 90-minute director’s cut that Binder created, but which NBC originally rejected.

Along with several production numbers, the heart of the original special was an in-the-round performance sequence in which Elvis jammed and engaged in playful banter with his longtime band mates, guitarist Scotty Moore and drummer D.J. Fontana (bassist Bill Black had died three years earlier) along with other musicians in front of a small, live studio audience.

Dressed head to toe in a tight black leather suit, Presley exuded raw sexuality as he and the band worked their way through essentially ad-libbed renditions of songs including “That’s All Right,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Baby What You Want Me To Do,” “One Night” and “Lawdy, Miss Clawdy,” among many others.

Binder, now 85 and living in Ventura County, says despite his initial misgivings about the ideas Parker was bandying about early on, he was persuaded to take on the project by Bones Howe, the respected music engineer.

“If it wasn’t for Bones Howe, I never would have done it,” Binder says. “He said, ‘Steve, you’re crazy not to do this. I engineered an album with Elvis and I really think you’d hit it off with him.’”

A few years earlier, in 1964, Binder had directed one of the 1960s’ greatest rock-R&B specials, “The T.A.M.I. Show,” which captured vibrant live performances by James Brown, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye and others, filmed at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

But the subject of that show never came up when he met with Presley to talk about what his projected special might look like: “I was not curious enough to even ask him about that.”

The in-the-round portion of the show, which many consider to be the template for “MTV Unplugged” when it emerged a couple of decades later, was also the result of happenstance.

“He’d been renting a home in Beverly Hills at that time, but while we were rehearsing, he said, ‘How about me living in my dressing room while we’re making the show?’ If it hadn’t been for that, there would have been no acoustic sessions. How he unwound after rehearsals was he just jammed in his dressing room with whoever was around. That’s what triggered the idea. I thought ‘I’ve got to get a camera in here.’

“The Colonel wouldn’t allow me to bring a hand-held camera in, but I kept pleading with him day after day. He finally said, ‘I’ll let you re-create it out on stage, but I won’t guarantee I’ll let you use any of it,’ ” Binder says.

“It was Elvis who came to me and said, ‘Do you think we could get Scotty and D.J. to do this with me? He was so [mad] at Parker for breaking them up in the first place,” he says.

Binder loved the idea, and arranged for Moore and Fontana to be in that segment. It was the last time they ever played with the man they helped turn into a global cultural phenomenon 14 years earlier starting with revolutionary recordings they made with producer Sam Phillips at his Sun Studio in Memphis.

“We didn’t rehearse it,” Binder says of the onstage jam session. “Elvis just sat down with all those guys — they just came in and did it. They knew all the songs, all the ones he loved, and it was totally real. We got two [one-]hour sessions of him doing improv. The beauty of it for me was that not only was he honest, he forgot he was doing a show with Scotty and Bill, and they were just playing together again.”

You’d never know it from what came through the TV cameras, but Binder recalls that Elvis was uneasy about the show. “He was nervous as hell when we did this special,” he says. “When I worked with him, he was extremely unhappy with where his career had taken him. He wasn’t sure if he could come back.”

I thought, ‘This is not going to work. I don’t want to do some Andy Williams or Perry Como TV special.’ - STEVE BINDER, PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR OF "THE 1968 COMEBACK SPECIAL"

Presley needn’t have worried. The special triggered a rejuvenation of his career — some using even stronger terms for the event that paved the way for a new round of hits including “In the Ghetto,” “Suspicious Minds” and “Burning Love” and set the stage for his final years of work in Las Vegas.

“It was a resurrection in the way he came back stronger than ever,” says Greg Harris, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, which is hosting a session about the show with Binder on Dec. 2 of what he calls “Comeback Special Weekend” at the institution.

“This was pure unadulterated emotion and the essence of rock ’n’ roll,” Harris says. “I think that learning the narrative of how it came together just gives us a better appreciation for Elvis’ true concern and his love and passion for the music.”

“Another really important part of this whole thing is how Binder was able to see what Elvis was doing in his downtime in his dressing room, find a way to actually incorporate it into the show and then capture that moment,” Harris adds. “So many performers put a lot of time and effort into making their performances look perfect, and trying to make them look unrehearsed. One thing that makes this special so great is that it’s not perfect — it’s raw and it’s real and it’s fantastic.”

Binder and project partner Spencer Proffer, a music industry veteran, are planning a series of activities over the next year highlighting the “Comeback Special” and Binder’s role in its creation.

In August, special-event producer Fathom Events showed the special on some 2,000 screens, and next year Proffer says he and Binder are planning another session in which Binder will discuss the making of the show, during which he’ll be joined by guest musicians who will perform their takes on some of the songs, mixed in with the vintage footage of Presley on stage.

They’re also moving forward with a documentary film about Presley and Binder’s friendship to be directed by John Scheinfeld (“Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary”) to follow the Fathom screenings in 2020.

Proffer also persuaded Binder to expand a “modest” book he’d written about his experiences with Presley and the show into a more lavish coffee-table book they’re targeting for broader distribution next year. It’s titled “Comeback ‘68/Elvis — The Story of the Elvis Special.”

NBC is also getting into the act with a TV special revisiting Presley’s show assembled by veteran Grammy Awards telecast executive producer Ken Ehrlich, with contemporary musicians offering their renditions of the songs Presley sang that night 50 years ago. That special is slated to air early next year.

Proffer also is helping bring Nash’s biography of Parker to the big screen after years of negotiations with different parties interested in telling the tale.

One of the most significant facets of the whole “ ’68 Comeback Special” story is that it’s one of the few instances in Presley’s life where he overruled Parker, who has been widely pilloried over the years for the way he managed the singer’s career, starting with the 50% management commission he collected — with Presley’s approval.

In addition to rejecting Parker’s original idea for the show to be a Christmas special, Elvis — and Binder — also found a way around Parker’s request that they include one Christmas song to be released as a single. Instead, they closed the show with a powerful original expression of social justice, “If I Can Dream,” written for him by W. Earl Brown, credited on the show for “special lyrics and vocal arrangements.”

“We became very close while working on the show,” Binder says. “Elvis once told me, ‘Steve, I never want to sing any more songs I don’t believe in…. I never want to make another movie I don’t believe in’ and going on and on and projecting into the future. He wanted to travel the world, experience things he never had the opportunity to do.

“I said, ‘Elvis I hear you, but I don’t know if you’re strong enough to stand up to the Colonel,’ ” Binder says. “He always pulled his power play over Elvis, and Elvis would humbly bow his head. He never stood up to him in any other confrontations. In the end, unfortunately, I was right.”

August 29, 2018

Fathom Events’ Two Night Presentation of ELVIS 50th Anniversary Comeback Special’ Lands Spot as Top- Performing Music Event of 2018

DENVER – August 29, 2018 – Fathom Events, the leading event cinema distributor that acquires, markets and distributes exclusive cinema events nationwide, presented “ELVIS 50th Anniversary Comeback Special” in 718 movie theaters across the U.S. on August 16 and 20. The two-night event attracted 73,440 attendees domestically and sold 169,356 tickets across 1,982 movie theaters in 32 territories, internationally.

Both event dates performed in the top 10 at the box office; the first night secured the fourth highest per-screen average attendance and the second night secured the second highest per-screen average attendance. With such a strong turnout, “ELVIS 50th Anniversary Comeback Special” was the top performing Fathom music event of 2018 and the top performing music event in cinemas worldwide, 2018.

Each screening included the legendary television “’68 Comeback Special,” directed and produced by Steve Binder, plus exclusive bonus content about the making of the special.. Audiences were taken on a walkthrough of the NBC soundstage with insights from Binder, Priscilla Presley and others influenced by Elvis’ music and the making of the iconic Special. The short documentary was architected and produced by Spencer Proffer, of Meteor 17, a partner to Fathom and The Authentic Brands Group {ABG} on this successful project.

Proffer and ABG SVP Entertainment, Marc Rosen, were the producers of the overall event.

“Even 50 years after the original premiere of the special, audiences were eager to experience it on the big screen,” said Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt. “In partnership with ABG and Spencer Proffer, we were able to create a successful campaign that only Fathom Events can deliver with trailers, in-theater promotional assets, a comprehensive digital campaign, creation of new behind-the-scenes content and a promotional screening in New York. Combined, these tactics brought in a whole new generation of Elvis fans.”

“We are thrilled with the success of the 50th Anniversary Comeback Special event, which is attributed to our incredible team,” said Marc Rosen, SVP Entertainment of ABG. “Building on this momentum, we are working with Fathom and Proffer’s Meteor 17 to produce more one-of-a-kind events for theaters around the world featuring some of our other iconic brands, including Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali.”

“What strikes me most about the success of the Elvis Comeback event is that despite the torrent of content available on television, and some really good content at that, audiences are still compelled to leave their homes to experience something unique, and communally, on the big screen,” said Spencer Proffer, CEO of M17. “This special was made fifty years ago and it still holds up thanks to Steve Binder’s pioneering use of handheld cameras in a concert setting and Elvis at his best - unplugged, playful, raw.”

About Fathom Events

Fathom Events is the leading event cinema distributor with theater locations in all top 100 DMAs® (Designated Market Areas) and ranks as one of the largest overall theater content distributors. Owned by AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: AMC), Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK) and Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC), Fathom Events offers a variety of unique entertainment events in movie theaters such as live performances of the Metropolitan Opera, top Broadway stage productions, major sporting events, epic concerts, the yearlong TCM Big Screen Classics series, inspirational events and popular anime franchises. Fathom Events takes audiences behind the scenes for unique extras including audience Q&As, backstage footage and interviews with cast and crew, creating the ultimate VIP experience. Fathom Events’ live Digital Broadcast Network (“DBN”) is the largest cinema broadcast network in North America, bringing live and pre-recorded events to 941 locations and 1,496 screens in 181 DMAs. The company also provides corporations a compelling national footprint for hosting employee meetings, customer rewards events and new product launches. For more information, visit www.FathomEvents.com.

About Authentic Brands Group

Authentic Brands Group (ABG) is a brand development, marketing, and entertainment company, and the owner of Elvis Presley Enterprises, LLC. Headquartered in New York City, ABG manages, elevates, and builds the long-term value of more than 33 entertainment and lifestyle brands by partnering with best-in-class manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. Our brands have a global retail footprint in more than 50,000 points of sale across the luxury, specialty, department store, mid-tier, mass, and e-commerce channels and more than 4,390 branded freestanding stores and shop-in-shops around the world. ABG is committed to transforming brands by delivering compelling product, content, business, and immersive brand experiences. We create and activate original marketing strategies to drive the success of our brands across all consumer touchpoints, platforms, and emerging media. ABG's global portfolio of iconic and world-renowned brands includes Marilyn Monroe®, Mini Marilyn®, Elvis Presley®, Muhammad Ali®, Shaquille O'Neal®, Dr. J®, Greg Norman®, Neil Lane®, Thalia®, Michael Jackson® (managed brand), Nautica®, Aéropostale®, Juicy Couture®, Jones New York®, Herve Leger®, Judith Leiber®, Frederick's of Hollywood®, Frye®, Adrienne Vittadini®, Taryn Rose®, Misook®, Hickey Freeman®, Hart Schaffner Marx®, Spyder®, Tretorn®, Tapout®, Prince®, Airwalk®, Vision Street Wear®, Above The Rim®, and Hind®. abg-nyc.com

About Meteor 17 & Spencer Proffer

Headquartered in Los Angeles, this convergence and production venture is helmed by innovative media and music producer, Spencer Proffer. M17 is producing and is developing an ambitious slate of projects across music, TV, film, Internet, live event, and other platforms, integrating brand marketing and music as organic components. M17 is a full-service organization that actively participates from conception and architecture through all phases of deal-making, production, marketing and distribution entities highlighted on www.meteor17.com.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Katherine Schwappach

Fathom Events

720-262-2713

kschwappach@fathomevents.com

Fathom PR agency contact(s)

Haley Steinberg

Authentic Brands Group / Elvis Presley Enterprises, LLC 646-612-7439

hsteinberg@abg-nyc.com.

August 3, 2018

Revisiting Elvis Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special With Its Director

When Elvis Presley was filming the intro to his fabled “’68 Comeback Special,” the program’s director had an unusual problem. “I ended up having too many Elvises in the background,” filmmaker Steve Binder tells Rolling Stone. “I hate to fire anybody, so I decided to use them all. We were afraid the scaffold was not gonna hold the weight. We were sure we were gonna have a major lawsuit if it collapsed.”

Today, the image of the King, flanked by dozens of Elvises and wearing black clothing and a tough look on his face, has become iconic. The special, known then simply as Elvis, relaunched his singing career and proved that, after nearly a decade of making movies, he was still one of the most thrilling performers around. Now Binder is hoping the film reaches a new audience when the special gets a theatrical release this month to mark its 50th anniversary. Fathom Events will screen the film on August 16th and 20th at various theaters around the world.

“These screenings mean a lot to me,” Binder says. “Aside from all the Elvis fans worldwide – and there are millions of them – I think it’s good that the younger generation who have only been sort of brainwashed about how important Elvis was to the world really get a chance to see him.”

As an added bonus, the filmmaker sat for a 19-minute interview with Presley’s widow, Priscilla, for a feature that will accompany the screening. In a scene from it premiering here, Binder discusses the rehearsal process, how the set list came together and stories about Presley’s tough-as-nails manager, Colonel Tom Parker, and his demands for a Christmas song in the special. As Binder recalls, the clash led to a standoff and Presley had to step in.

Binder has been thinking intensely about Presley lately, since he’s also authored an upcoming book – Comeback ’68: The Story of the Elvis Special – which he’s filled with photos, memorabilia (like the script his writers drafted for the “improv section” of the special) and his own personal recollections; he’ll be unveiling it at Elvis Week in Graceland this month. “I wrote the book because I was reading all these books about Elvis and [the authors] had to hear the story third-party,” he says. “Some were accurate in some areas and not in others, and I felt that I was able to clarify a lot of the stories that people tell and have heard.” Additionally, he’s been consulting on an upcoming NBC special “with superstars taking a shot at the songs from the ’68 special,” as well as a documentary about the special and working with filmmaker Baz Luhrmann on an Elvis picture he’ll be making next year.

The filmmaker says that part of the reason the special was such a success was because he was able to put Presley at ease. Leading up to the show, the King was nervous – as drummer D.J. Fontana and singer Darlene Love told Rolling Stone last year – so Binder made it so that Presley didn’t have to think about much more than performing. “My biggest contribution was saying, ‘Elvis, you just make an album and I’ll put pictures to it, and I don’t want you to be aware of where the cameras are,'” he says. “With television concerts up to that point, you put a piece of tape on the floor and told the artist to stand there, and you shot it all from the front. I was determined to make it like a real concert and three-dimensional.” He also worked with his production staff to make Elvis look larger than life, dressing him in bespoke costumes and erecting the giant E-L-V-I-S sign behind him (taking inspiration from The Judy Garland Show).

When they were rehearsing, Presley asked to move into the studio to shorten his commute. “He said, ‘Maybe if I get a dressing room big enough, I can put a bed in there,'” Binder recalls with a laugh. “That’s what we did, and that was the reason I did the acoustic improv sequence. Every day after rehearsal or taping, he would go into the dressing room, and here was this incredible performer who was totally relaxed, all mussed up, having fun and sharing stories with everybody.” He brought the idea to the Colonel who stuck his nose up at it but eventually relented, leading to a memorable summit of Presley’s friends and early collaborators, like Fontana. It was loose and fun, it showed off the King’s sense of humor and it allowed him to cut loose on “Hound Dog,” “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” “I knew it was really the heart and soul of the show,” Binder says.

Ultimately, Binder ended up with too much good material and went rogue, cutting his own 90-minute version of the special and begging NBC to expand it from an hour-long broadcast. At the time, the execs said no, but after Presley’s death, they ran the longer cut that is now the best-known version. The special would subsequently become one of the King’s defining moments.

“The ’68 Elvis Comeback Special was so much more than a comeback, so much bigger than all it offered to Presley’s career,” Spencer Proffer, producer of the coming theatrical release, offers. “It actually paved the way for future artists to return and reinvent after a career chasm, intentional or otherwise. I’m honored to partner with Steve Binder, Fathom Events and the Authentic Brands Group in the marketing of Steve’s book, chronicling the making of the Special and its extensions on various multimedia platforms, all commemorating the Elvis comeback.”

“Elvis and his music have a place in the hearts of many fans across the globe,” Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt says. “We want to offer those people a way to experience and celebrate the anniversary of this legendary performance together, by bringing it to cinemas worldwide.”

When he thinks back on the struggles he faced to make it, Binder is especially happy about the special’s longevity. “I did it in 1968 and thought it was gonna air one time for 48 minutes and that was the end of it,” he says. “So I’m thrilled it’ll come back 50 years later.”