TOKYO and BURBANK—Jul 12, 2006
Paramount Pictures Corporation Joins Third Phase of '4K Pure Cinema' - World's First Networked 4K Digital Cinema Joint Field Trial, Which Has Now Been Extended Through 2006
'Mission Impossible III (M:i:III)' to be Distributed Over Fiber-Optic Network and Exhibited in '4K Pure Cinema' in Japan
New Toho Theater Capable of '4K Pure Cinema' Exhibition Opens on September 22nd in Osaka
4K Pure Cinema," the world's first field test to use the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) Digital Cinema System Specifications at the highest quality standard of 4K to test the service model of digital cinema distribution and exhibition of feature-length motion pictures has announced another expansion. Paramount Pictures, a major Hollywood studio, assisted by its local distribution affiliate United International Pictures (Far East), will join current field trial participants Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Warner Entertainment Japan Inc., Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan Inc., Toho Co., Ltd., Warner Mycal Corporation, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East Corporation and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West Corporation.
The first public showing as part of this expanded field trial will start Saturday, July 8, 2006, when "Mission Impossible III (M:i:III)" by Paramount Pictures opens in Japan, with a digital release at "4K Pure Cinema" quality in Warner Mycal Cinemas and TOHO CINEMAS in the Tokyo and Osaka regions. M:i:III, which originated in the 2K format, will be up-converted to 4K resolution in real time as part of the DCI-compliant digital cinema playback process.
Toho Co., Ltd. has also announced that a new Toho theater capable of "4K Pure Cinema" exhibition will open in Osaka on September 22nd increasing the total number of screens showing 4K quality content. To take advantage of new participants joining and a new theater opening, the field trial will be extended until the end of the year 2006 to further evaluate interoperability of Digital Cinema Package (DCP) produced by various distributors.
This expansion marks a further step forward toward the rollout of digital cinema in Japan. The field trial will continue to provide Hollywood's newest feature movies at the highest quality standard of 4K, comparable to a professional 35mm film "answer print" and superior in many ways to traditional film "release prints" typically shown in local cinema theaters. Subsequent digital cinema releases scheduled as part of the field trials through the summer of 2006 will be announced shortly.
The first and second phases of the "4K Pure Cinema" joint field trial have included the films "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride," "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," "V for Vendetta," "The Da Vinci Code" and "Poseidon," all in the DCI specified 4K format. The field trial participants have received many positive comments from movie-goers mentioning the superb quality of the 4K digital images and the uncompressed multi-channel digital sound, as well as the clarity and stability of the Japanese language subtitles, which made them easier to read.
A fiber-optic testbed has been configured to send DCI-compliant digital cinema packages (DCP) containing feature-length motion pictures from California to distribution servers at NTT's Yokosuka R&D Center, NTT West's Osaka Data Center, and NTT East's Tokyo Data Center. The encrypted DCP's received from Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Bros. will be distributed via NTT's domestic fiber optic networks to Warner Mycal Cinemas Itabashi, TOHO CINEMAS Roppongi Hills, CINEMA MEDIAGE, TOHO CINEMAS Takatsuki and TOHO CINEMAS Namba where secure 4K digital cinema playback systems provided by NTT will be used to screen feature movies on a regular schedule for paying customers using Sony SXRD 4K projectors.
This field trial is designed to allow the participants to evaluate digital distribution and digital exhibition from various perspectives including image quality, viewer response, operational efficiency, security and reporting, network performance and reliability, and the costs related to both network distribution and theater management. The field trial will implement the DCI specifications for both the 4K format of 4,096 by 2,160 pixels (total resolution of more than eight million pixels) and the 2K format at 2,048 by 1,080 pixels (total resolution of more than two million pixels).
The 11 companies participating in these expanded field trials share a common conviction that the introduction of digital cinema has the potential for providing real benefits to theatre audiences, theatre owners, filmmakers and distributors. They also recognize that the potential benefits of digital cinema cannot be fully realized without industry-wide standards supporting interoperability and compatibility around the world, as detailed in the Digital Cinema Initiatives Specification that establishes and documents voluntary specifications for an open architecture for digital cinema that ensures a uniform and high level of technical performance, reliability and quality control. The new participants provide distribution management and supply of D-Cinema content in accordance with DCI specifications.