BURBANK, Calif. —Aug 29, 2006
Thomson Continues Momentum for North American Digital Cinema Plan Through Major Agreement with National Amusements, Inc.
Technicolor Digital Cinema to Install, Maintain Digital Projection Systems at 120 National Amusements Screens in Select Markets, Including Boston, Los Angeles, and New York, Beginning in Fall of 2006
Reinforcing its global leadership in digital cinema, Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS), through its Technicolor Digital Cinema business, today announced it has reached a strategic agreement with National Amusements, Inc., a world leader in the motion picture exhibition industry operating more than 1,500 screens in the U.S., U.K., Latin America, and Russia, to install and maintain digital cinema systems in National Amusements-owned and operated screens, in line with Digital Cinema Initiatives, LLC (DCI) specifications.
The agreement calls for Technicolor Digital Cinema, as part of its previously-announced beta test, to place state-of-the-art digital projection equipment in 14 National Amusements sites, reaching 120 screens located in select areas nationwide, including the Boston, Los Angeles, and New York markets. The installations began earlier this month at the new Cinema de Lux 14: The Greene in Dayton, Ohio, which opened on August 25, 2006. The companies are committed to continuing discussions regarding the deployment of digital cinema projection equipment throughout National Amusements’ North American theatres.
The addition of National Amusements to Technicolor Digital Cinema’s beta test, and its growing roster of top-10 exhibitors, is noteworthy as the circuit is comprised in the United States of 1,066 state-of-the-art screens in high-traffic venues. National Amusements has among the highest per-screen revenue totals of any theatre circuit in the nation, and it is the fourth-highest grossing exhibitor in the U.S.
“We are extremely pleased to be working with National Amusements on this very important industry transition,” said Joe Berchtold, president of Technicolor Theatrical Services, and head of Technicolor Digital Cinema. “With its impressive portfolio of theatres, and strong commitment to advancing the customer experience through the newest technologies, National Amusements is an ideal partner for Technicolor Digital Cinema as it aggressively moves ahead with its strategic equipment deployment initiatives.”
“We are excited to be working with Technicolor Digital Cinema on their beta test of digital projection equipment in our U.S. theatres,” said Shari Redstone, president of National Amusements, Inc. “Technicolor Digital Cinema’s extensive experience and expertise in digital cinema will help us continue to provide our patrons with the highest-quality entertainment experience.”
The agreement with National Amusements is part of Thomson’s broader rollout of complete digital projection systems in up to 5,000 screens over the next 3-4 years. Thomson intends to equip at least 15,000 screens in the United States and Canada, through the initial rollout and additional phases, over the next 10 years.
All hardware and software placed in each National Amusements site will be installed in line with industry-standard specifications recently published by 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 National Amusements, Inc.; 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 has signed digital cinema equipment usage agreements with DreamWorks SKG, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. to support 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 in the third quarter of 2006. Thomson is currently in negotiations with other film studios to expand the range of its non-exclusive content agreements in North America.