DCI Expects Business Plan By September
For Digital Cinemas?
VEGAS – Digital
Cinema Initiative (DCI) is studying the idea of using a
3rd-party “financing entity” to expedite
the conversion of cinemas into digital cinemas, it was
by chief DCI exec Charles Goldwater at a March 24 ShoWest
DCI officials have had “substantive talks” with
JPMorgan about setting up such a financing mechanism,
according to a Variety report.
Goldwater, however, told ShoWest delegates, “I can’t
tell you today who or what that financing entity is or
would be or how or on what terms the subsidy would be
Such a plan, one of several reportedly being considered
by DCI, might see a financier create a fund that cinema
owners would use to purchase projectors, servers and
other equipment necessary to d-cinema implementation. Distributors, using monies
normally earmarked to strike expensive cellulloid prints, would contribute
to such a fund.
While Goldwater warned delegates that they should not
assume “any conclusions
or any agreements have been reached,” he did offer that he expected a business
plan to be hatched before DCI’s planned September dissolution. DCI also
currently plans to finalize d-cinema technical specifications by September.
The exec’s comments at ShoWest suggest distribution now acknowledges that
exhibition is not in a position to unilaterally finance conversions to digital
cinema. “The contribution toward the financing of digital cinema employment
from the various industry participants, including distributors and exhibitors,
should be relative and proportional to the potential benefits expected to be
realized in digital cinema,” Goldwater told conventioneers.
A widely-held expectation is that exhibs would be free
to use the subsidies to buy the d-cinema projectors, servers
and other equipment from whatever
vendor they choose.
Cinema owners keen to own and control fully any new equipment
in their booths were generally said to be heartened by
Goldwater’s comments. “First,
the exhibitors are encouraged that the studios recognize a need to subsidize
this transition,” noted NATO president John Fithian. “Secondly,
the beauty of this business model, which is one under consideration,
is that it maintains
the relationships between exhibitors and our equipment suppliers. It
will also maintain the relationship between exhibitors and distributors.”
D-Plans For Every Auditorium In 81-Screen Chain
Plans Giant D-Rollout
SAN DIEGO – UltraStar
Cinemas and American Cinema Advertising Network (ACAN) announced
on April 2 plans to
deploy DLP digital-cinema projectors to all 81 UltraStar
auditoria by 2005.
Initial installation plans for UltraStar, which currently
operates 11 California sites, call for equipping 20 auditoria
with d-projection by summer’s end.
“This agreement puts UltraStar on track to become
the first exhibitor in the world to be 100-percent equipped
DLP Cinema technology,” said circuit president and
CEO Alan Grossberg.
Although financial terms of the deal were not released,
ACAN, which has been involved with preshow slide advertising
since 1982, is helping to finance the conversions of the
circuit’s screens to DLP Cinema projectors, according
to The Hollywood Reporter.
In 2002, UltraStar, in conjunction with Boeing Digital
Cinema, installed six 1.3k DLP d-cinema projectors in four
of its sites for the release of “Star Wars: Episode
San Diego-based UltraStar also announced that it has
44 screens currently in development.