Technicolor Digital Cinema to Launch Beta Test of DCI-Compliant Digital Projection Systems
In Century Theatres' Network in Early 2006
Paris (France), Burbank(Calif.) â€” January 3, 2006 â€” Thomson (Euronext 18453; NYSE: TMS), through its Technicolor Digital Cinema business, today announced it has reached a strategic understanding with Century Theatres, Inc., one of America's largest national theatre circuits, to install DCI-compliant (Digital Cinema Initiatives) (*) digital projection systems in Century-owned and operated screens. Under the terms of the understanding, Technicolor Digital Cinema will install digital projection equipment beginning with a beta-test deployment of 90-120 screens in the first quarter of 2006. It is Thomson's intent to place systems in Century's entire network of 1000 + screens following the successful completion of the beta test.
Century Theatres' participation in Thomson's beta-test deployment is significant as Century Theatres' circuit comprises state-of-the-art facilities concentrated in high profile and fast-growing metropolitan areas throughout the western United States. With an expanding portfolio of predominantly stadium-seated theaters, and among the highest per screen revenues of any theater circuit in the nation, Century Theatres is an ideal partner in the development and deployment of next generation projection technology.
The Century Theatres deployment is part of a primary rollout of complete digital projection systems in up to 5,000 DCI-compliant screens over the next 3-4 years. Thomson intends to deploy at least 15,000 digitally-equipped screens in the United States and Canada, through the initial rollout and additional phases, over the next 10 years. Thomson is in late-stage negotiations with other major national and regional exhibitors.
"We are pleased to be working with Century Theatres in advancing the ongoing development of digital cinema in major markets throughout North America, an industry transition which is critically-important to Thomson, the exhibition community, and major film studios," said Joe Berchtold, president of Technicolor Electronic Distribution Services, and head of Technicolor Digital Cinema. "As this process continues, Technicolor Digital Cinema is committed to collaborating with Century Theatres and our studio partners to fully deliver all that digital cinema has to offer to its many stakeholders â€“ particularly movie-goers, who will substantially benefit from a much higher-quality, in-theatre experience."
"Century Theatres is pleased to be involved with Technicolor Digital Cinema as it begins the process of transitioning its network of screens to a DCI-compliant digital projection platform," said David Shesgreen, president and chief executive officer of Century Theatres, Inc. "We were attracted to Technicolor's digital cinema services portfolio, its long-standing relationships with the studio and exhibition communities, and its proven industry leadership. Furthermore, we firmly believe that Technicolor's commitment to a beta test to demonstrate the viability of this technology, and its ability to deploy 4K projection systems from the outset, make it the ideal partner to assist us with this important technological transition."
All hardware and software placed in each Century Theatre site will be compliant with industry-standard specifications recently published by the Digital Cinema Initiatives LLC (DCI). Furthermore, the Technicolor Digital Cinema plan is technology agnostic, allowing both exhibitors and studios to benefit from the best available technology, including both 2K and 4K projection.
The Thomson-driven initiative encompasses an industry-wide business model and operating infrastructure addressing all aspects of the much-anticipated digital cinema rollout: full-output, long-term content commitments by multiple Hollywood film studios; the widespread deployment of digital projection systems with exhibitors, including Century Theatres; and a broad industry commitment for the installation, operation, and financing of those systems through a proven, experienced service provider.
As previously announced by Thomson, the company recently signed digital cinema equipment usage agreements with DreamWorks SKG, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros to accelerate its plans for the distribution of digital cinema content and systems throughout North America. Under the separate, long-term accords, each of these studios has agreed to distribute content digitally throughout the United States and Canada, and pay a virtual print fee to Thomson for screens equipped with Technicolor Digital Cinema systems, beginning as early as the first quarter of 2006. Thomson is currently in negotiations with other film studios to expand the range of its non-exclusive content agreeme
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