CHICAGO - NEC Display Solutions of America, a leading provider of commercial LCD display and projector solutions, announced today an exclusive agreement with Southern Theatres, LLC, management company for VSS-Southern Theatres, owners of The Grand Theatres and AmStar Cinemas, to provide digital cinema projectors at locations in nine states. The move by VSS-Southern Theatres extends its current relationship with NEC and Ballantyne Strong, Inc., and positions this leading exhibitor to capitalize on the growing list of 3D Hollywood blockbusters coming out in 2010 and beyond.

Building upon its more than 30 NEC digital cinema projector systems already installed, VSS-Southern Theatres selected NEC's new Digital Cinema Projector Series for its extreme reliability, performance and brightness. The projectors also were chosen for their upgrade capabilities to 4K technology.

The full complement of NEC digital cinema projectors can be seen in Palace 5 (Booth No. 1205) at ShoWest 2010, the motion picture theater industry convention held today through March 18 at Bally's & Paris in Las Vegas, Nev.

"Our relationship with VSS-Southern Theatres has been a strong one for quite some time, but we're especially grateful for the trust they have placed in us with this exclusive agreement," said Pierre Richer, President and C.O.O. of NEC Display Solutions. "The 3D juggernaut is upon us, and NEC is prepared to help forward-looking exhibitors, such as VSS-Southern Theatres, capitalize on the powerful opportunities presenting themselves to the industry."

NEC Financial Services is providing the financing for the project, which will be rolled out in three phases over the course of this year and early 2011. Phase I will be completed in time for the movie releases, "How to Train Your Dragon 3D" and "Clash of the Titans 3D."

Ballantyne of Omaha, a trusted partner and master reseller for the exhibitor segment of NEC's business, is supplying the ancillary digital components, screens and installation for the 18 VSS-Southern Theatres locations, which consist of 268 screens.

"Ballantyne Strong, Inc.'s, relationship with VSS-Southern Theatres extends back to its start as a theater circuit. We have been providing projectors and associated equipment to the Solomon family since the ‘70s," said John Wilmers, President and CEO, Ballantyne Strong, Inc. "VSS-Southern has aggressively been equipping theaters over the past two years to keep up with the 3D demand, and we are excited they are committed to lead the pack as the industry transitions to digital cinema."

"We pride ourselves on offering the best movie-going experience to the public," said George Solomon, President of Southern Theatres, LLC. "NEC and Ballantyne Strong, Inc., are playing crucial roles in that objective."

Solomon has been in the theater business with his family for more than 50 years and launched Southern Theatres, LLC to develop and operate state-of-the-art, multiplex stadium-seating movie theaters.

Among the NEC digital cinema projectors being deployed are the NC1600-C, NC2500S-A, NC1200C, NC2000C, and the ultra-bright NC3200S at 31,000 lumens.

The Digital Cinema Projector Series models meet DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives) requirements, so exhibitors are prepared to capitalize on current opportunities as well as position themselves for future growth. These NEC projectors include new Texas Instruments Series 2 electronics and are designed for easy maintenance to minimize downtime.

Combining advanced DLP Cinema projectors with reliable multiplex and screen servers, NEC's Digital Cinema Projector Series offers the most comprehensive digital cinema solution on the market today.

 

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Green Zone came out of the gate in first place amongst the new openers with $5 million on Friday. This gave it a Twitter ratio of 650, which was close to my estimated ~525 and $6 million Friday estimate. The movie appears to be on course for a $14.5 million weekend.

Our Family Wedding rung up $2.50 million on its first Friday. This led to a Twitter ratio of 918, right in the range of my predicted ~750 ratio and $3 million. $7.5 million seems to be in store for the full weekend.

Remember Me had by far the biggest ratio of the weekend as expected, coming in a $3.6 million and a 3,062 ratio. This was much higher than my estimated ~2,000 ratio and $5.5 million Friday. The marks the 3rd biggest ratio I have seen since last September after Paranormal Activity (6,974), New Moon (5,171) and This Is It (5,155). It was always going to be difficult to gauge because of the very Tweet-happy Twilight fanbase and as it turned out their effect was bigger than I had imagined. The film appears set to take in $9.5 million for the weekend.

Lastly, She's Out Of My League brought in $3.3 million on Friday, for a Twitter ratio of 817. This was right in line with my estimate of a ~700 and $3.75 million. The film should be able to score $10.20 million for the weekend.

Check back tomorrow for a preview of the upcoming weekend's wide release films: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Repo Men, and The Bounty Hunter. Follow @AlexBOXOFFICE on Twitter for additional updates.

Twitter tracking history. (For 2009's ratio history please check here.)

alltweets031210.jpgThe ratio is the number of tweets per $1 million of Friday Box Office gross. A film with 1,000 tweets and a $10 million Friday would therefore have a ratio of 100. In general, films that appeal to very young or older audiences have lower ratios since those audiences are not big users of Twitter. By comparison, films that appeal to younger audiences (18-35) have much higher ratios since those audiences are much more active users of Twitter.

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Green Zone again had a nice increase on Thursday as it rose to 1,324 tweets, up from 878 the previous day. That gave it 3,250 tweets for the entire week and brought it right in line with my Monday estimate of 3,000 to 3,200. The advertising push of the Studio definitely helped to generate more interest on Twitter as the week went on. Continuing the comparisons I have used this week: Surrogates managed to score 1,418 tweets on its Thursday before release, and 3,062 for the whole week. It had $5.02 million in sales from 2,951 theaters for its first Friday for a Twitter ratio of 609. Law Abiding Citizen had 1,207 tweets on its Thursday before release, and 3,229 for the whole week. It had $7.5 million in sales from 2,889 theaters for its first Friday for a Twitter ratio of 431. Lastly, Edge of Darkness managed to score 1,432 tweets on its Thursday before release, and 4,101 for the whole week. It had $5.66 million in sales from 3,066 theaters for its first Friday for a Twitter ratio of 725. Green Zone appears likely to fall somewhere inbetween these past performances and should be looking at a ~525 ratio for $6 million Friday and $17.5 million for the full weekend.

Our Family Wedding came in with 899 tweets on Thursday, driving its week tally to 2,294. This was slightly higher than my Monday estimate of 2,000 but still in the same ballpark. Leap Year had 505 tweets on its Thursday before release, and 1,401 for the whole week. It managed $3.32 million on its first Friday from 2,511 theaters for a Twitter ratio of 423. When In Rome had 796 tweets on its Thursday before release, and 1,971 for the whole week. It managed $4.38 million on its first Friday from 2,456 theaters for a Twitter ratio of 451. Like I said earlier in the week I think the low theatre count is going to push its ratio upwards quite a ways to around the ~750 mark, giving it $3 million for Friday and $8 million for the weekend.

Remember Me benefited from the Twilight: Eclipse trailer somewhat is it raked in 3,654 tweets on Thursday. This gave it 11,022 tweets for the week, almost exactly on the nose of my predicted 11,000 after Monday's numbers. Direct comparisons for the type of buzz the film is generating to the core of Twitter is hard to find. Twilight: New Moon was on a different planet altogether and not a useful comparison, Jennifer's Body and its Megan Fox fueled explosion is probably the closest I can come up with. That managed 5,081 tweets for its full week back in last September and managed to turn that into $2.80 million from 2,701 theaters on its first Friday, allowing for a ratio of 1815. After some thought I'm going to go ahead and drop my estimated ratio to 2,000 for this, and predict a $5.5 million Friday and $14.5 million for the weekend. The definite interest in the under 25 female audience is massive, and hard to ignore.

Lastly, She's Out of My League cracked the 1,000 tweet mark for the first time on Twitter as it came in with 1,089. This gave it 2,695 tweets for the full week, in line with my Monday estimated total of 2,500. The comparisons drawn for Our Family Wedding are also valid here though I do think the movie will skew quite young which should drive it up somewhat. Expect a ratio in the region of ~700 and a Friday take of $3.75 million, $10.5 million for the full weekend.

Check back Saturday to see Friday's numbers and the actual Twitter ratios for the weekend and follow @AlexBOXOFFICE on Twitter for additional updates.

Twitter tracking history. (For 2009's ratio history please check here.)

alltweets030510.gifThe ratio is the number of tweets per $1 million of Friday Box Office gross. A film with 1,000 tweets and a $10 million Friday would therefore have a ratio of 100. In general, films that appeal to very young or older audiences have lower ratios since those audiences are not big users of Twitter. By comparison, films that appeal to younger audiences (18-35) have much higher ratios since those audiences are much more active users of Twitter.

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CYPRESS, CA - Christie, a global leader in digital cinema, announced that Studio Movie Grill (SMG) has selected its 4K-ready Solaria Series digital cinema projectors for 60 screens in multiplexes across Texas, Missouri and Georgia. SMG audiences watch the latest first-run movies while enjoying restaurant-style table service with upscale foods that include gourmet pizza, BBQ ribs and fresh salads. SMG pioneered the in-theater dining concept and is considered the number one theater of its kind in Texas for close to 10 years. The chain will install the Christie CP2220 and Christie CP2230 projectors, which are based on Texas Instruments' (TI) (NYSE: TXN) Series 2 DLP Cinema technology and are fully upgradeable to 4K.

SMG is recognized for continuously raising the bar on the quality of entertainment outside the home. It strives to provide audiences with a total immersion of their senses that includes great tasting food, exceptional service, and a spectacular movie-viewing experience.

"The contrast and brightness of Christie digital cinema projectors are unparalleled. We foresee a much lower cost of operation while providing a new level of excitement for our audiences, especially with all the great new 3D movies coming down the pipeline this year," remarked founder and President, Brian Schultz of Studio Movie Grill.

In addition to retrofitting all existing theaters across Texas, SMG will also install Christie projectors in two new theater complexes - Zona Rosa in Kansas City, Missouri, and Holcomb Bridge in Atlanta, Georgia - which will be completed this spring. All theaters will have the latest 4K-ready Christie CP2220 and Christie CP2230 projectors featuring Academy Award winning DLP cinema technology.

"SMG is making the investment to go all-digital to ensure that customers enjoy an enhanced cinema experience. With 35% of our screens currently featuring 3D, we look forward to displaying the most vivid images, and benefiting from the more efficient optics and lower lamp wattages of Christie projectors," said Schultz. "SMG is proud to partner with a company of the caliber of Christie, with whom we have always had a great working relationship. They also share our vision for the next generation in movie going, and their superior quality products represent not only the future of cinema but an unrivalled viewing experience for our customers."

Craig Sholder, Vice President of Entertainment Solutions for Christie, noted, "SMG has truly thought of everything. They have transformed their cinemas into the ultimate destination for out-of-home entertainment - it doesn't get much better than full service treatment, dinner and a spectacular feature presentation."

Sholder added: "It's a pleasure to bring cutting-edge entertainment to SMG with our brilliant 4K-ready Solaria Series projectors. They're the full package with superior optics, low cost of ownership, reliability and upgradeability - features that innovative customers like SMG will benefit from for years to come."

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LOS ANGELES - ShoWest has named Amanda Seyfried ShoWest Breakthrough Female Star of the Year, it was announced today by Robert Sunshine, managing director of the event, which will be held March 15-18, 2010, in Las Vegas. Seyfried will be presented with the ShoWest Breakthrough Female Star of the Year Award at ShoWest's Final Night Banquet and Award Ceremony on Thursday, March 18, at Bally's and Paris Las Vegas.

"The diversity in the characters Seyfried has portrayed and the strength of her performances - from the airhead in Mean Girls to the singing dreamer in Mamma Mia - have quickly made her a hot young film actress in recent years," said Sunshine. "This year, her performances in Dear John and the upcoming Letters to Juliet, further showcase the range and power of her skills and have rightfully earned her the ShoWest Breakthrough Female Star of the Year award. We look forward to what more she will offer audiences and are honored to present her with this award."

Opening on May 14, 2010, Seyfried stars in Summit Entertainment's Letters To Juliet as a young American who travels to the city of Verona, home of the star-crossed lover Juliet Capulet of Romeo and Juliet fame. Upon arrival she joins a group of volunteers who respond to letters to Juliet seeking advice about love. After answering a letter dated 1957, she inspires its author to travel to Italy in search of her long-lost love which sets off a chain of events that will bring a love into both of their lives unlike anything they ever imagined. Letters To Juliet also stars Christopher Egan, Gael Garcia Bernal, Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero.

Seyfried broke onto the big screen with her role as a ditsy "plastic" mean girl in 2004's Mean Girls, which enjoyed both box office success as well as a mass cult following. In 2006, she began her role as the daughter of a polygamist father and his first wife on the hit HBO drama "Big Love." as well as landing a starring role opposite Meryl Streep in the movie musical set to the songs of ABBA, Mamma Mia!. Seyfried is currently starring on the silver screen with Channing Tatum in the box office hit Dear John and can be seen, later this month, opposite Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore in the Sony Pictures Classic release Chloe, opening March 26.

 

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