PARIS, FRANCE and BURBANK, Calif.—Mar 13, 2007
Thomson Advances North American Digital Cinema Deployment Through Deal with Wehrenberg Theatres, Inc.
Wehrenberg Theatres Selects Technicolor Digital Cinema to Provide a State-Of-The-Art Moviegoing Experience for the Next Century.
Reinforcing its global leadership in digital cinema, Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS), through its Technicolor Digital Cinema business, today announced it has entered into an agreement with Wehrenberg Theatres Inc., the family-owned & operated St. Louis, Mo.-based circuit, to install digital projection systems throughout the Midwest as part of its North American digital cinema equipment deployment.
“Throughout its distinguished history Wehrenberg Theatres has provided its audiences with cutting-edge technology,” said Curt Behlmer, executive vice president of Technicolor Theatrical Services and COO of Technicolor Digital Cinema. “Technicolor is honored to be selected by Wehrenberg Theatres as their partner for the transition into the digital age.”
“Wehrenberg Theaters takes tremendous pride in providing a quality movie-going experience to our customers,” said Ron Krueger II, President, Wehrenberg Theatres. “Digital Cinema allows us to present our audiences with breathtaking picture and pristine sound, as well as new forms of entertainment such as live concerts, sporting events, and next-generation 3-D.”
“There have been many innovations in technology throughout Wehrenberg’s 100-year history,” added Ronald P. Krueger, Chairman. “From silent films to sound, black and white to color, and now film to digital, Technicolor has been there every step along the way.”
Wehrenberg Theatres currently operates 15 theatre complexes with 204 screens (throughout Missouri, Illinois and Iowa). Having celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006, Wehrenberg Theatres is the oldest family-owned and operated theatre circuit in the United States.
The Wehrenberg Theatres installations are part of Thomson’s broader rollout of complete digital projection systems in up to 5,000 screens over the next three to four 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.
As part of its beta test, the first phase of its roll-out, in North America and Europe, Technicolor Digital Cinema has installed digital cinema systems with several prominent exhibitors including ArcLight Cinema Company, Mann Theatres, National Amusements, Wehrenberg Theatres, Zyacorp’s Cinemagic Stadium Theatres, and Kinepolis Group in Belgium.
All hardware and software placed in each Wehrenberg Theatres site will conform to 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; 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 Group 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, which began in late 2006. Thomson is currently in negotiations with other film studios to expand the range of its non-exclusive content agreements in North America.