Cinema chains dimming movies “up to 85%” on digital projectors

posted by bicyclereporter on May 27, 2011 at 7:45 am

It’s been reported that AMC, National Amusements and Regal Cinema chains are leaving 3D projector lenses on for 2D movies. This means that the projected image is polarized and far dimmer than it should be. The 3 chains are mum but an insider, speaking on condition of anonymity, says it’s “unspoken” corporate policy.

Delving deeper, a possible reason for this is it’s too much work after each film to accurately swap lenses but also because a certain security feature could be disabled; DRM (or Digital Rights Management) that is the bane of privacy issues to most internet users.

(You can find out more about DRM issues at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and/or the Free Software Foundation,

Comments (10)

CapnRob on May 27, 2011 at 10:23 am

This is depressing. Whatever happened to THX certified theaters (and I don’t mean RPX or or any of those other marketing terms)? It’s the wave of the future and it blows.

Giles on May 27, 2011 at 11:57 am

I’ve seen the opposite, at AMC Tysons' they project TOO much light on the XD screen, over at AMC Mazza though, the Sony DP screens have consistently look great (and bright). I’m reading though online that AMC is installing Christie DP systems over Sony units since this problem and accusation arose.

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on May 27, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Typical case of internet misappropriation and misrepresenting of other people’s hard work, and then having the lemmings respond not to the original points but the screwed up “facts.”

Twistr54 on May 27, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I miss THX theatres,,,,,

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 27, 2011 at 5:56 pm

So the light on the screen is generated by the lens, not the lamp, and THX was some kind of projection brightness system.

Got it!

Harvey on May 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Tim League, Owner of The Alamo Drafthouse brand, weighs in here.

View link

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 27, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Thank you Harvey.

And THX was a noise reduction certification system that was mostly about marketing and collecting fees even if standards failed.

JohnRice on May 27, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Just when you thought the multiplex experience could get no worse! Joe Sixpack doesn’t seem to mind at all though. Just as long as he can see the latest blockbuster on opening week he doesn’t care if it’s projected with a 100 watt bulb or even in focus or in frame. $15 for 3-D, ten bucks for a small popcorn and small Coke? No problem. “Dude I was first on my block to see \"Pirates of the Caribbean, Part…Whatever”!

moviebuff82 on May 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm

From what I’m reading on the internet, AMC might switch to Christie DLP projectors instead of the faulty Sony projection systems. Clearview Cinemas uses Barco projectors, which are the same thing, except the rollout is slower than what AMC and other chains are doing.

JodarMovieFan on May 29, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Aha! The truth is out. I’ve always wondered why some DP movies were so dark. For shame. How difficult is it to change a lens? Doesn’t it just screw on and off?

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