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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Independent Cinema Owners Pick AccessIT to Digitize 8000 Screens

The Cinema Buying Group, which represents 600 independent theater operators (and 8000 screens) in the US and Canada, has chosen AccessIT to handle its digital cinema needs, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Carolyn Giardina writes:

    The majority of the CBG's 8,000 screens are expected to fit into AccessIT's recently launched Phase 2 digital-cinema transition program, targeted for completion within three years. The Phase 2 program incorporates virtual print fee deals that already have been established with Disney, Fox, Paramount and Universal, which have committed to provide movies to as many as 10,000 digital-cinema systems in the U.S. and Canada in conformance with the Digital Cinema Initiatives specification.

    Some insiders have sensed caution on the part of some studios and have had some concern that not all would participate in new virtual print fee deals. But of the remaining two major studios, AccessIT CEO Bud Mayo said, "We are in active discussion and what we hope are final negotiations to bring those two to a close in the very near future."

From the official press release:

    The CBG has over 600 members representing over 8,000 screens in North America. The CBG had assured its members that it would, to the best of its ability, negotiate a deal that provides some access to digital equipment and service for all members in good standing before film ceases to be available.

    Chuck Viane, president of distribution for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures said, "Today's moviegoers want to see films projected under the best possible conditions, and digital projection provides a superior experience that adds to the enjoyment factor. Therefore we applaud the Cinema Buying Group's efforts on behalf of the world of exhibition and their choice of AccessIT. Clearly, everyone in the industry must do its part to make going to the movies as exciting as possible. We're thrilled to see so much interest in installing digital projection in theaters around the country, and we will continue to support and encourage the exhibition world in making this a reality."

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