LOS ANGELES -- Turner Sports, The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp. (NASDAQ: CIDM) today announced that they will team up to broadcast TNT's coverage of NBA All-Star Saturday Night in Live 3D to 80 digitally-equipped theaters across the United States. The announcement represents the first-ever fully marketed deal to deliver an NBA sporting event to the public in Live 3D. The Live 3D HD event will be shown on a nationwide basis and continues to expand the league's groundbreaking efforts in 3D HD.

Overall, the live 3D HD event will be shown on up to 160 screens in Carmike Cinemas, Celebration Cinemas, Cinema West, Emagine, Galaxy Theatres, Marquee Cinemas, MJR, NCG, Rave Motion Pictures, Showcase and UltraStar Cinema locations, and will serve fans in 35 states across the country.

The 24th annual NBA All-Star Saturday Night broadcast, expected to be one of the year's most watched sporting events, is scheduled to air on Saturday, February 14th, 2009 at 8 pm ET on TNT. NBAAll-Star Saturday Night on TNT last year was the most watched in the event's 23 year history, enjoying increases in households and significant growth in all key demographics.

"Turner Sports is excited to work with Cinedigm to extend our brand, as well as that of NBA All-Star Weekend, into a new arena through this creative and innovative viewing opportunity," said David Levy, President of Turner Broadcasting Sales, Inc.and Turner Sports. "We are proud to once again be on the cutting edge in providing NBA fans with a truly unique and comprehensive 3D viewing experience during NBA All-Star Weekend. This partnership demonstrates that Turner continues to provide new and innovative concepts for NBA fans to enhance the viewing experience."

"Turner is the ideal partner to work with in delivering the next evolution of 3D HD to our fans," said Steve Hellmuth, Executive Vice President, Operations and Technology, NBA. "The last few seasons we have embraced 3D HD as a new and innovative way to experience the excitement of our game and look forward to putting fans coast-to-coast in a courtside seat for All-Star Saturday Night."

"Cinedigm is the only company that can deliver Live 3D broadcast on a nationwide scale to cinemas and we are thrilled to be working with Turner Sports and the NBA on this event," said Bud Mayo, Chairman and CEO of Cinedigm. "This groundbreaking, publicly available event is a demonstration of the benefits brought to audiences through true digital cinema experiences. Whether it's bringing live 3D events or 3D movies to theaters or allowing theaters to custom-tailor the content they deliver to moviegoers, we are bringing new cinema-based entertainment options to consumers and new revenue streams to theaters," added Bud Mayo.

The NBA has been a sports pioneer in live 3D HD. The league featured the first live sports event in 3D HD with special viewing parties for NBA All-Star 2007. For Game 2 of The Finals in 2007, at the direction of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the NBA delivered the first public viewing of a live sporting event in 3D HD when more than 14,000 fans in the Quicken Loans Arena watched the Cavaliers take on the San Antonio Spurs on four 60-foot screens. Last season, the Dallas Mavericks produced and delivered the first live 3D HD sporting event to a motion picture theater at the Landmark Theater in Dallas to 500 fans.

NBA fans will be able to cheer together from the equivalent of courtside seats as the leagues' top players compete in the following major events (competitors to be announced closer to the event).

• Haier Shooting Stars - 2008 champion Team San Antonio: David Robinson, Tim Duncan and Becky Hammon
• Playstation Skills Challenge - 2008 champion Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams
• Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout - 2008 champion Toronto Raptors forward Jason Kapono
• Sprite Slam Dunk - 2008 champion Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard

The event will employ Cinedigm's CineLive(TM) technology, which enables live 2-D and 3-D streaming currently to more than 80 theater complexes with more than 160 3D screens in the U.S. Cinedigm expects to further expand its CineLive network throughout 2009 to at least 150 locations. Cinema tickets will go on sale today for some locations, others will be added in the coming days. For a location near you and to buy tickets please go to www.cinedigmentertainment.com.

TNT's exclusive coverage of NBA All-Star Weekend, live from Phoenix, Arizona, tips off Friday, February 13 at 9 p.m. ET withthe T-MobileRookie Challenge and Youth Jam, with the excitementcontinuingon Saturday, February 14 at 8 p.m. ET withTNT's live coverage of NBA All-Star Saturday Night, which includes the Haeir Shooting Stars competition, the PlaystationSkills Challenge, the Foot LockerThree-Point Shootout, and the Sprite Slam Dunk. TNT's All-Star coverage takes center stage on Sunday, February 15 at 8 p.m. ET with the 2009 NBA All-Star Game.

 

Read more

CINEASIA, Macau - In a move that will accelerate the conversion of cinemas in Asia to digital technology, GDC has reached separate non-exclusive agreements with three Hollywood Studios for digital cinema deployment across Asia. Under these agreements, 20th Century Fox ("Fox"), Paramount Pictures International ("Paramount"), and Universal Pictures International ("Universal"), will be committed to supply Asian exhibitors with feature film content digitally, as well as to make financial contributions towards the hardware cost of DCI-compliant digital cinema equipment deployed by GDC. Phase 1 of the program covers 6000 screens in various countries throughout Asia. Along with its current roll-out in China, this milestone signals GDC's on-going commitment to Asian exhibitors as a trusted partner in digital conversion. GDC is currently setting its sights on a Phase 2 program, which will cover even more Asian countries.

The conversion of cinemas in Asia to digital technology will enable both exhibitors and distributors to reap substantial benefits of digital cinema: high quality non-degradable prints, new programming opportunities, such as premium digital 3D films, alternative content, and live satellite events, vastly reduced print production and logistics costs, and better protection against piracy.

Julian Levin, Executive Vice President, Digital Exhibition and Non-Theatrical Sales and Distribution, Twentieth Century Fox commented, "GDC's commitment to the digital transition and roll out of DCI compliant digital projection systems across the Asian markets is very significant. Digital projection will not only provide movie goers with an enhanced theatrical viewing experience but also will provide 3D and alternative programming opportunities which are not possible with conventional analog 35mm film. We are delighted to have closed this deal and look forward to working with our friends and colleagues at GDC to bring this plan to fruition."

"This is an important milestone event for the Asian digital cinema industry," said Roger Pollock, Paramount Pictures' Executive Vice President, International Distribution & Operations. "It will help accelerate the conversion to digital screens across Asia and it will also have a major impact on the availability of 3D projection in the region. We intend to work closely with GDC to quicken the pace of this digital transition."

David Kosse, President, Universal Pictures International said: "Speeding up the conversion of Asian cinemas to digital technology is an important step forward. Universal is pleased to be working with GDC in the roll out of digital cinema throughout Asia. We look forward to supplying our movies to this new digital platform and giving moviegoers in Asia the highest quality cinema experience ever available."

"GDC is proud and honored to be the first in Asia to have entered agreements with Hollywood studios," said Dr. Man-Nang CHONG, founder and CEO of GDC Technology. "These milestone agreements finally offer Asian exhibitors a viable commercial model to finance their digital conversion and put together a sustainable roll out strategy. The support of Fox, Paramount and Universal is a strong endorsement of GDC and its competency in delivering a pan Asian deployment. We are expecting more signings with other studios and independent distributors in the near future."

Read more

Toronto, ON - Cineplex Entertainment is pleased to announce that the doors to its newest theatre, SilverCity Hamilton Mountain Cinemas, will open on Friday, December 19, 2008. The box office opens at 3:00 p.m.

The new 10-screen, 41,000 square foot SilverCity Hamilton Mountain Cinemas offers an upscale urban experience with a vibrant new design. Fully equipped with digital projection systems in each auditorium delivering the most stunning, razor-sharp images, guests will be treated to a visually enticing experience like no other. With two auditoriums equipped with RealD 3D technology, guests will enjoy a fully immersive experience with the great line-up of 3D movies scheduled for 2009. The theatre lobby includes a dynamic new digital signage program with 88 LCD screens that transforms the look and feel of the space and provides both information as well as entertainment.

"We are very excited to open our SilverCity Hamilton Mountain Cinemas," said Pat Marshall, Vice President Communications and Investor Relations, Cineplex Entertainment. "SilverCity Hamilton Mountain Cinemas is a first class entertainment destination that Hamilton and area residents will be able to enjoy for years to come."

A new entertainment area - the Red Lounge by Coca-Cola - will feature the latest movie trailers, sports highlights, music videos, a music area with an iPod docking station and an interactive zone that will be a great place to "chill out". For added ease and convenience, guests can use the FastLane service where they can skip the concessions line by ordering their food and beverages at an automated kiosk and then proceed to the FastLane counter for pick-up where their order will be ready and waiting. Also offered is our Print Skip Scan service at no extra charge where guests can print their ticket at home, skip the box office line and scan the ticket on their way into the theatre.

SilverCity Hamilton Mountain Cinemas will feature more than 2,000 all stadium rocker seats (each seat row will be 18" higher than the previous row) with ample legroom; wall-to-wall, giant, curved screens ranging in size with some as large as 55 feet wide; and Digital Surround Sound. The concessions will include traditional movie fare such as popcorn, candy and soft drinks in addition to Pizza Pizza, Outtakes and Yogen Fruz. A Techtown family entertainment centre will offer a number of interactive video games and activities and will be accessible without the purchase of a movie ticket.

Read more

MORRISTOWN, NJ -- Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp. ("Cinedigm") today announced its Phase 2 Entity signed today on an $8.9 million credit facility. The facility will fund the launch of Cinedigm's first 137 Phase 2 conversions of Premiere Cinemas' theatres to the Company's digital cinema platform, in what is expected to ultimately be a 10,000-screen digital cinema deployment plan. The first 35 systems are expected to be operational in December, bringing the total for Phase 2 to 55 by year end. To date, Cinedigm has signed almost 500 screens to its Phase 2 plan and anticipates thousands more in the months ahead.

Cinedigm's Digital Cinema division has already installed more than 3,700 digital cinema systems in theaters across the United States during its two-year Phase 1 rollout, making it by far the market leader in making digital cinema a reality for millions of moviegoers. Cinedigm created the industry-standard, studio-backed deployment program that provides the funding, installation, support, and administration for fully Digital Cinema. The Company's Phase 2 plan will provide networked, turnkey, Digital Cinema systems in conformance with DCI specifications, including Cinedigm's unique Library Management Server(R) and Theatre Command Center(R) software. The system will also include digital projectors and JPEG 2000 media servers from a variety of vendors whose equipment is designed to meet the DCI specifications as well as a demanding set of performance and reliability requirements Cinedigm developed through its success with the Phase 1 plan.

"We are extremely pleased but not surprised to have closed on this initial financing," said Bud Mayo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cinedigm. "While the credit markets overall remain largely closed, Cinedigm is a proven business with a strong track record thanks to its Phase 1 plan and was able to secure credit to initiate our next-stage plans. As industry leader and the only company actually to have converted thousands of screens so far, we are committed to delivering on our promise to begin Phase 2 installations for Premiere Cinemas in this quarter in a significant way. Our goal is to continue to sign thousands of additional screens in the months ahead in anticipation of additional financing from a variety of sources."

Read more

By Russell Wintner

For those who may have missed it, Monday and Tuesday of this week was the first of what might well become an annual event in Hollywood, the 3D Entertainment Summit. Planned in part by The Hollywood Reporter's past publisher, Bob Dowling, the event lived up to his reputation for providing the industry with quality, information-packed events pertinent to the Industry's cutting edge issues. The event was a veritable who's who of the 3D community with panels that touched on everything from how to make it, how to show it and what to include in it; "it" of course being all stereo 3D entertainment.

Many of the presenters admitted to drinking plenty of their home brewed Kool Aid, but still provided several solid reasons for why digital 3D (with the emphasis on digital) is not likely to be another passing fad but an entire paradigm shift in the way all visual content will eventually be consumed. Views covered a range but all were positive. At one extreme, Jeffrey Katzenberg evangelized 3D as something that will happen, must happen and needs to include everything from animated CG to serious drama (My Dinner With Andre seemed to be everyone's favorite example). The most reserved outlook was from NATO's John Fithian, who was a bit more conservative in his view of the appropriate place for 3D, but even he softened on his prior positioning by positing that 3D provides the value-add exhibitors needed to truly embrace the digital cinema transition.

A few speakers mentioned similar signs indicating that the time was right for 3D to become a permanent part of every film makers' toolkit: demand from audiences and exhibitors; genuine desire by leading filmmakers to use 3D to tell their stories and the subsequent support they have received from studios; and finally the money to make it happen. I'll add to that by including that we now have a level of technology which makes the creation and exhibition of 3D content simple and extremely reliable with breathtaking results, which, as everyone pointed out, could not have happened had it not been for digital cinema.
Let's look at some of the numbers these folks spewed out over the two day confab. Charlotte Jones, an analyst with Screen Digest in the U.K., noted that there have been 10 3D releases to date, 6 of them this year and 4 of them released in 3D only. At the same time, there has been a 600% increase in 3D digital screens just this past year. Every major studio has or will have had a 3D release by 2009. And during the 2-day event, estimates ranged from 12 to 15 digital releases for 2009 with more than that already green lit for production.

Disney's Mark Zoradi gave an hour presentation covering Disney's strong commitment to 3D with some sensational clips, some of which have never been seen outside the studio, that gave even more credence to his claim that every CG movie going forward from Disney will be available in 3D. And why not? He cited actual experience from Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, and Bolt where each consistently demonstrated a two and one-half to one advantage over their 2D counterparts in both admissions and revenues. Others agreed with examples of their own. When was the last time exhibitors could increase ticket prices as much as 40% and still rake in audiences at 2½ times normal attendance?

And, of course it doesn't stop with movies. Several people discussed alternative content including a panel moderated by BOXOFFICE Media Publisher Peter Cane. There was plenty of talk about past NBA games, the upcoming NFL game, and the surprise announcement by Fox Sports TV Group chairman-CEO David Hill of Fox's intentions for a theatrical presence of the Bowl Championship Series in 3D.

If there is a problem, there is one on which everybody agreed: not enough screens. Only a small number of existing digital cinema installations have been outfitted with a 3D playback system. So, even if the continuation of the rollout is slowed down by the sad state of the economy, there are still plenty of screens to provide room for the 3D content that is coming. It seems to me that the challenge has been made. Will exhibitors respond?

 

Read more

Subscribe to Articles Feed