Big Studios Push Digital Cinema Rollout

There are about 250 digital cinema-ready screens out of approximately 105,000 worldwide, and most are not compliant with industry standard Digital Cinema Initiative specifications.



Access Integrated Technologies Inc. and Christie Digital Systems on Wednesday said they'll meet their target for installing the first 150 digital cinema projection systems under their 4,000-screen goal is on schedule to complete by Dec. 31.

There are about 250 digital cinema-ready screens out of approximately 105,000 worldwide, and most are not compliant with industry standard Digital Cinema Initiative specifications, said Bud Mayo, chairman and CEO of AccessIT. "This is only the beginning, and we have the studios' support," he said. "There are about 36,000 screens in the U.S. and Canada."

Based on recent distribution agreements signed with Disney, Twentieth Century Fox and Universal, AccessIT has begun the initial deployment of systems in Emagine Entertainment Inc. theatres in Detroit, Mich. Ultrastar Theaters Inc. locations in southern California are scheduled next.

As negotiations continue with several national and regional theater chains, Christie/AIX expects Emagine and Ultrastar Theaters, Inc. to deploy digital cinema systems throughout their entire regional chains, totaling approximately 148 screens. These screens are in addition to the Pavilion Digital Showcase nine-plex in New York City's Brooklyn, that AccessIT owns, where five digital projectors have been operating since May and four more are planned.

The rollout is getting a boost from the deal AccessIT and Christie Digital USA signed in June. The plan is to provide the movie theater industry with funding and equipment to advance Hollywood's transition to digital cinema.

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