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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Video Q&A: Cinema Owner Mark Stern on Innovation

When I was in Seattle earlier this month, I had a chance to visit Big Picture -- a new cinema concept I'd been eager to see ever since I talked with co-founder Mark Stern for this Hollywood Reporter piece.

Big Picture is a really interesting new direction in theatrical exhibition: an intimate venue where you can throw parties and corporate events, or simply buy a ticket to see a movie in a hip, comfortable environment. (Mark claims Big Picture in Redmond was the first theater to install Tempurpedic seats.)

Here's a video "notebook" of my visit to Big Picture in Redmond Town Center (not far from Microsoft's headquarters), and my conversation with Mark. We talk about the origins of the idea, how he competes with the chains, his early belief in digital cinema, his philosophy on service and design, his plans to expand to either Santa Monica or the San Francisco area, and some of the private events that have been held at Big Picture (including one with live music by Dave Matthews.) Running time: 17 minutes.

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  • Hey Scott!

    I always enjoy your video entries. You really hit the great big question for that kind of venue... how do people know they exist? I noticed they are listed in Fandango for the movies they are playing in their area. Do they have normal theater listings in the local papers?

    I believe you have the incorrect URL for them. It should be

    His comment about the AMC/Regals of the world all being the same is interesting. Here in the Portland area we have Living Room Theaters which is a concept very similar to The Big Picture except they only show foreign/independent films and they do NOT have film projection of any kind. They also have a full liquor license and bar with tapas-style food.

    Also close to Portland up in Vancouver is Cinetopia which is equipped with 35mm and all auditoriums have Christie 2K projectors as well. They have "living room" style auditoriums where wine is served and they also have an attached full restaurant. The projection/sound and environment of the "living room" theaters at Cinetopia rivals the best studio screening rooms I've ever been in. It's where I prefer to see any big Hollywood films in digital.


    By Blogger Steve, at 9:02 AM  

  • Steve-

    Great info, and thanks for catching the URL problem. I just fixed it in the main entry.


    By Blogger Scott Kirsner, at 3:44 PM  

  • Great interview Scott. Love this idea, and now I don't frequent the screening rooms of London, I find it difficult to attend theatres as I have an aversion to the nacho-crunch and smells of my local Brighton cineplexes.

    We could do with a boutique cinema like The Big Picture down here on England's South Coast.

    By Blogger Matt Hanson, at 7:08 AM  

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