Paris (France), Burbank(Calif.)—Jan 3, 2006
Thomson Advances North American Digital Cinema Rollout Through Strategic Agreement with Century Theatres, Inc.
Technicolor Digital Cinema to Launch Beta Test of DCI-Compliant Digital Projection Systems In Century Theatres’ Network in Early 2006
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 – 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 agreements.