Morristown, N.J.—Nov 2, 2005
Access Integrated Technologies on Target to Reach Year-End Goal of 150 Installed Systems
Disney, Fox, Universal Agreements Drive Digital Cinema Rollout
Access Integrated Technologies, Inc.
("AccessIT") (AMEX:AIX) and Christie Digital Systems ("Christie") said today
their target for installing the first 150 digital cinema projection systems
under their 4,000-screen national rollout plan is on schedule for completion by
December 31, 2005.
Based on recent distribution agreements signed with Disney, Twentieth Century
Fox and Universal, the company has begun the initial deployment of systems in
theatres in Detroit, Michigan owned by Emagine Entertainment, Inc. This will be
followed shortly by installations at multiple locations in San Diego and
Riverside County (CA) multiplexes owned by Ultrastar Theaters, Inc.
"Both of these regional chains have been partners with AccessIT since its
purchase of Boeing Digital Systems in March 2004, making them excellent partners
for this initial phase of the rollout. They have been involved with digital
cinema for nearly two years now and have been anxious to deploy systems across
their circuits. As soon as we had the studio agreements in place, they were
ready to begin deploying the systems in their theatres," stated Bud Mayo,
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AccessIT.
Jack Kline, President and COO of Christie Digital Systems USA, Inc., commented:
"Our initial focus has been on ensuring that the Hollywood studios will provide
a consistent flow of digital content to exhibitors. As more studios offer titles
digitally, the need to retrofit theatres to accommodate and manage multiple
projectors is minimized. I'm delighted that Emagine and Ultrastar recognize the
long-term business advantages of digital cinema, as well as the benefit to movie
As advanced negotiations continue with several national and regional exhibition
chains, Christie/AIX expects Emagine and Ultrastar Theaters, Inc. to deploy
digital cinema systems throughout their entire regional circuits, totaling
approximately 148 screens. These screens are in addition to AccessIT's own
Pavilion Digital Showcase nine-plex in Brooklyn, New York, where five digital
projectors have been operating since May and four more are planned. AccessIT
will announce future exhibitor agreements as they are signed.
In late June 2005, AccessIT and Christie announced details of their digital
cinema rollout plan, providing the first economically sound framework for
advancing Hollywood's on-going transition to digital cinema. Designed to address
the needs of studios and exhibitors both large and small, the plan is based on a
fundable business model for the purchase of DCI-compliant projection equipment
at nominal cost to exhibitors, supported by a steady supply of digital content
for the new hardware from the studios.
Support from Hollywood's major studios enabled AccessIT to expand its total
planned installations from 2,500 to 4,000 screens. Disney, Fox and Universal
have agreed to help finance exhibitors' transition to digital technology by
paying virtual print fees to Christie/AIX for each film projected on
Christie/AIX-funded hardware. The company is also in late-stage negotiations
with a number of other studios and content distributors for their participation
in the plan.
"Over the past four months, AccessIT and Christie have been working diligently
toward obtaining first-of-their-kind commitments to digital cinema from the
major Hollywood studios -- an essential element of our groundbreaking digital
cinema rollout strategy. The entertainment community's response to our plan has
been extremely encouraging and we are excited to have now begun preparations for
the first series of installations as planned. Based on the unprecedented level
of interest in our plan expressed by both regional and national exhibitors at
ShowEast, this experience will be invaluable going forward as we continue with
our deployments next year," added Mayo.
Under the Christie/AIX funding plan, participating exhibitors will receive
complete digital cinema systems at no cost other than a project management and
commissioning fee and a standard 10-year maintenance contract with Christie
similar to existing film maintenance agreements. The Christie/AIX-funded
deployment of Christie DLP Cinema(r) projectors also includes media players and
a central "library" server plus two-way satellite communications and data
storage equipment. The central servers feature AccessIT's unique vendor-neutral
Theater Command Centre ("TCC") software, which enables all digitally-equipped
screens in a multiplex to be networked, simplifying theater operations through
centralized content management, scheduling, and reporting.