Muvico signs up with Sony

posted by danpetitpas on October 17, 2008 at 7:37 am

LOS ANGELES, CA — Sony is moving forward with its plan to aggressively sell and install its new 4K digital projectors in theaters by signing an agreement with Muvico Entertainment.

Muvico’s Rosemont, IL location was the first theater in the US to use Sony 4K digital projectors, and following its success there, the movie chain decided to sign an exclusive deal with Sony. Muvico will install Sony technology throughout its new Thousand Oaks, CA facility this winter.

The agreement promises to use Sony equipment throughout its cinemas, such as LCD displays in the lobby and concession areas, PlayStations in its video arcades, VAIO computers for business and accounting, Sony cameras for security, and more.

Muvico has 13 locations with a total of 248 screens. Its Thousand Oaks location will feature valet parking, reserved seating, and a restaurant and bar for moviegoers 21 and older.

Read more at D-Cinema Today.

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Comments (9)

CinemarkFan on October 17, 2008 at 10:32 am

Just don’t throw out the 35MM equipment that may be at the other Muvico locations. I’ve heard rumors that these 2/4k projectors can wear out after a few years, meanwhile film projectors last for decades.

JodarMovieFan on October 17, 2008 at 9:16 pm

This is old news. This was reported a few years ago, unless the previous plan(s) hit a snag.

carolgrau on October 18, 2008 at 8:24 am

I dont know why anyone would even install this junk. Stick to good old projection and someone who knows how to run it. The trouble is that film companies are telling people that they will no longer be making film, and they have to switch to this crap. THEATRES OWNERS YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO DIGITAL. there will always be plenty of film.

danpetitpas on October 18, 2008 at 7:15 pm

I’m afraid the industry is moving toward all digital whether we like it or not. When 50% of the screens are digital, the studios will probably give theaters a deadline of three or five years saying, that’s it. No more film. You get a hard drive or nothing.

The independent movie companies will probably continue to distribute films on film for a while, but they have even more of an incentive to go to digital to save money. Quite often it costs more to market and distribute an indie film than it cost to make. Digital prints would cut both distribution costs as well as production costs. Most indie films will probably be shot, edited and distributed totally in digital.

But going digital will be a substantial cost for an indie theater, and if they take out loans to buy the cinema projectors, they may go baankrupt trying to pay back the loans, causing an indie meltdown sometime in the future. It’s a difficult situation. Going digital will certainly favor the chains, but at the same time, it has already led to higher admission prices.

By the way, responding to the other posts, in 2007, Muvico signed a deal for only the Rosemont, IL theater with Sony. Sony obviously hoped it would lead to a chain-wide rollout. This makes it official. Sony is competing with Christie, which has made a deal with IMAX, and with Barco. Christie says they’ve completed its 5,000th digital projector installation worldwide, so it seems Christie has quite a lead.

As for the digital projectors wearing out, people in the industry are only expecting a 5-10 year lifespan on them. The main problems are heat and continuous use. Obviously, motherboards and computer chips don’t like heat. No one knows how long they’ll really last, but I think the expectation is that technology will make them obsolete before they actually die.

But I’ve been in a theater when a flakey digital projector held up the movie for half an hour, and I found out the night before they cancelled a showing because of the projector, so they’re certainly not foolproof as some theater owners may think.

KramSacul on October 18, 2008 at 9:57 pm

//I dont know why anyone would even install this junk. Stick to good old projection and someone who knows how to run it.

I would agree if the prints nowadays weren’t garbage.

CinemarkFan on October 18, 2008 at 11:30 pm

I’ve heard rumors that theaters with really large screens may get locked out due to digital auditoriums having top-down masking, and the fact that most are pretty small.

And higher admission prices. sigh Studios better crank out quality movies like “Dark Night” or “Tell No One”, or else people will just wait for the blu-ray release. I know one thing, this will end up backfiring if studios are not careful. Count on it.

danpetitpas on October 19, 2008 at 7:33 pm

Christie this week was bragging about premiering High School Music 3 this week on a giant 75' x 40' screen using two projectors from 125' away. Digital IMAX is using twin digital projectors too in its new builds. So you can fill any size screen you want, but it’s going to cost you. Big screens may take two projectors. Switching screen ratios will cost you for extra lenses.

You can go up in size more easily with the 4K projectors than the 2K projectors because there’s 4x more pixels, so it can be blown up more. I think the limit for the 2K projectors are about 40', and a lot of theaters only bought a single lens so they used top screen masking rather than side masking.

As for the ticket prices going up, the theater chains are already charging $3 extra for 3D presentations and $15 for “Luxe Level” seating where they also sell you dinner, drinks and snacks. The theater chains are going after rich people, and they’re making it more difficult for the rest of us to go to the movies.

Giles on October 27, 2008 at 11:27 am

I’m all for Muvico to go all 4K digital, but AMC is also going the Sony route as well – a few of their select theatre/screens that have Sony’s system showed ‘Hancock’ in true 4K. The next such feature is supposed to be ‘Quantum of Solace’ – the idea and actual conversion to digital seems more of promises than actual installation.

moviebuff82 on November 2, 2008 at 3:15 pm

I hope the new Muvico in East Rutherford has those Sony projectors.

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