Digital Cinema Implementation Partners (DCIP), a consortium of exhibitors Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Theatres and Cinemark, announced they have struck a deal with five Hollywood studios to support their digital cinema rollout. According to AP:
Five Hollywood studios have agreed to help pay for a $1 billion-plus rollout of digital technology on about 20,000 movie screens in North America, a precursor to showing movies in 3-D.
Digital Cinema Implementation Partners, a consortium of major theater chains, announced the deal Wednesday. The rollout in the U.S. and Canada, covering about half of all screens, is planned to start early next year.
DCIP topper Travis Reid noted that the rollout remains contingent on securing financing for the deal - a difficult task in the midst of the ongoing credit crisis.
"We'll be needing to execute in the debt markets and we hope to do that during the fourth quarter," Reid said. "We don't believe that the markets will be closed forever."
NATO applauded the agreement, but noted there are numerous theaters and screens not covered by the agreement.
With a deal in place for the largest U.S. theater chains, it is time to conclude a similar digital cinema agreement for the hundreds of independent cinemas and thousands of screens not covered by this agreement. It is imperative for the health of the industry and for the millions of moviegoers in small towns and cities that the benefits of digital cinema be spread as widely as possible.
NATO, through the Cinema Buying Group (CBG) and its selected digital cinema integrator Access Integrated Technologies, Inc. (AIX), continues to work with the studios to ensure that CBG members, who are smaller and independent exhibitors, often in small towns, are not left behind.
CBG's website is here.