Technology

  • October 8, 2008

    NATO calls for equity for independent theaters

    Following the agreement five movie studios signed with the three largest theater chains to pay virtual print fees to help defray the cost of buying digital cinema projectors, the National Association of Theater Owners called on the studios to sign a similar agreement with the hundreds of independent cinemas around the country.

    The theater chains, AMC Entertainment Inc., Cinemark and Regal Entertainment Group negotiated the agreement with 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures and Walt Disney Studios.

    The studios will pay a vitual print fee of $800 to $1,000 per film to help the chains convert to digital projection. The average film print costs the studios $1000-to-$1500 plus shipping while a digital print can be sent on a $200 to $300 hard drive which can be used again. Digital projectors cost $70,000-to-$100,000 twice as much as 35mm projectors. The studios are promising to refund the chains their savings over film prints for the next three-to-five years, or until the projectors are paid off.

    Financing through JP Morgan and the Blackstone Group will allow the three chains to quickly convert up to 20,000 screens, or more than half the country’s 38,000 auditoriums.

  • October 3, 2008

    Major Hollywood Studios behind major 3D digital rollout

    According to a recent AP News article, five major Hollywood studios (Disney, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, LionsGate and Universal) are helping theaters with a $1Billion-plus rollout of converting many movie screens to show Digital 3D.

    The article points out that the average cost of an install will be $70,000 and that they face financing obstacles in the fourth quarter, due to the now growing financing crisis that is hitting financial institutions.

    Independent theaters are urging the group to not forget them and are requesting assistance with their screens.

    The original article can be found by followingthis link.

  • July 22, 2008

    AMC opening Northwest’s first all-digital cineplex

    TUKWILA, WA — The new AMC Westfield Southcenter not only provides Seattle-area moviegoers with luxurious accommodations but also the Northwest’s first all digital cinema.

    It’s not being billed as such, but the opening Friday of AMC’s luxurious 16-screen multiplex at Westfield Southcenter in Tukwila is a milestone event in local movie history. It’s the first large-scale cinema in the Northwest in which every projector is digital.

    The 2,900-seat complex is one of 10 nonfilm theaters AMC is introducing into the hard-pressed movie market this year, and the prototype for a movie-theater future that industry experts predict could be all-digital in less than a decade.

    Will this transition affect the average moviegoer?

    Read the full story in the Seattle PI.

  • June 25, 2008

    Big-screen giant Imax eyes digital future

    With pressure to grow into more areas and still stay relevant, Imax is going digital.

    The giant of the large-screen format is beginning one of the biggest initiatives in its 40-year history: switching from 70mm film to a digital system of projection.

    Next month, the company will roll out the first three digital Imax installations with exhibitor AMC Entertainment — two in Washington and one in Baltimore. Three more will debut in August in Philadelphia. Imax expects to have digital systems deployed at 50 sites by year’s end, with the goal of converting its 296 owned or equipped theaters in 40 countries.

    Imax believes that the digital offerings will prompt new installations and more studio films for release in Imax theaters.

    Read more at Reuters.

  • June 2, 2008

    Barco launches a training program

    According to Digital Cinema Buyers Guide, Barco is starting a formal training program at their California and EU facilities.

    The press release says that the major topics covered during the course include:
    Introduction to Digital Cinema
    Projector components
    Specifying lamps, lenses, and projectors for the environment
    Installation procedures
    Communicator software
    Upgrades, troubleshooting, and maintenance

    Seems like a good step forward in the evolution of this technology shift. There are many more potential points of failure than the projector, of course. But it is one of the more significant parts of the system. That, and the server, and the network itself, and the satellite download gear, and the encrypted key system.

    I wonder if Cinemeccanica, a Barco sub-licensee of the TI technology will have this training. I would rather go to Milan.

  • May 19, 2008

    DTS Digital Cinema business sold to Beaufort

    Beaufort International Group Plc announced that it has acquired the business and assets of DTS Digital Cinema from DTS, Inc. for an undisclosed sum. Beaufort made the acquisition through its US subsidiary, Beaufort California, Inc.

    Full story at: Digital Cinema Info.

  • May 7, 2008

    IMAX sells $18 million worth of shares

    IMAX has centralized a larger portion of its ownership with this new deal.

    IMAX Corp. has announced that the Douglas family, its largest shareholder, is adding to its stake by buying 2.7 million shares for $18 million in a private placement. As a result of the move, the Douglas family now owns 19.9 percent of the company.

    In addition, IMAX also said Wachovia Capital Finance Corp. has agreed to expand and ease the terms of its credit facility.

    These transactions will help fund the roll-out of the IMAX digital projection system.

    Full press release at: Digital Cinema Info

  • March 12, 2008

    Plan for Regal, AMC, Cinemark to go all digital

    Three exhibitor chains are negotiating a financing plan to go all digital.

    Several theater chains and studios are nearing an estimated $1.1 billion financing deal to deploy in cinemas digital technology that promises to boost attendance and save Hollywood billions of dollars in annual print and delivery costs, industry officials said on Sunday.

    “We’re hopeful that in the second quarter we will get it all arranged,” said Travis Reid, chief executive of Digital Cinema Implementation Partners. DCIP is wholly owned by theater chains Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark Holdings Inc and AMC Entertainment Inc, which collectively operate over 14,000 screens.

    Read more at Yahoo News.

  • March 7, 2008

    NATO issues digital guidelines

    NATO released specifications for digital theaters that will hopefully smooth things out and give exhibitors an extra level of confidence in the product.

    The National Assn. of Theater Owners has issued more guidelines for vendors and manufacturers in the digital cinema supply line to follow, saying the additional guidelines will ease the growing pains facing exhibitors as they begin to operate digital screens.

    NATO released its first Digital Cinema System Req-uirements report two years ago. An updated report released Tuesday tweaked and expanded those suggested requirements.

    For the full story, go to Variety.

  • January 16, 2008

    U.S. movie theaters going digital

    Movie theaters nationwide are going digital in film projection.

    By the end of 2005, there were fewer than 200 auditoriums equipped with digital-projection equipment in the United States. At the end of 2007, there were about 2,500, and by the end of this year, there’ll be at least double that number.

    Among the leaders has been UltraStar Cinemas, the 102-screen San Diego County-based theater chain whose mantra is ‘'pure digital cinema.’‘ It operates seven local multiplexes and others in Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial counties.

    Read the full article in the Union-Tribune.