Category Archives: Exhibitor News

The feet hitting the street. This is where it all plays out.

Palace Cinemas Add 12 3D Screens

The press release reads as follows:

Palace Cinemas Adds Twelve 3D Digital Screens Across Central Europe for Monsters vs. Aliens in 3D Premiere

20 March 2009 – Palace Cinemas announces the addition of twelve (12) 3D-capable digital screens at its sites in Central Europe in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Three will be in Prague, two in Brno, two in Bratislava and five in Budapest in addition to the one in operation since December 2007. Eleven of the sites will use the Masterimage 3D technology while Palace West End in Budapest will add an additional Real D system. The Barco projectors and XDC servers were provided through XDC and installed by Film-Ton-Technik (FTT). Palace Cinemas’ first wide 3D premiere will be Monsters vs. Aliens, a DreamWorks Animation production. There will be a special sneak-preview on 25 March at Palace Cinemas in the Czech Republic followed by a general release in the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 26 March and Hungary on 2 April.

“We are extremely excited to bring to our customers the very best in entertainment and 3D technology. It’s a revolutionary technology that will radically change the business,” says V.J Maury, CEO of Palace Cinemas. He adds “Palace Cinemas was the first to introduce digital projection to its markets in 2002. Our experience as an early-adopter of digital has given us invaluable experience. Our current expansion ensures that filmgoers in all our markets now have the opportunity to experience the many great new films being released in 3D this year.”

Country Manager for Czech Republic David Horacek says, “We are eager to build on our earlier experience and expand into both Prague and Brno.” “We see an audience eager to experience 3D at both of our sites in Bratislava,” notes Slovakia Country Manager Andrea Baisova. “We believe Palace will have the best digital 3D offer in Hungary now with six screens in Budapest,” comments Andrea Lovasz, Hungary Country Manager.

Palace Cinemas Central Europe is the leading cinema company in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary with 20 sites and 170 screens, with plans for further expansion. Palace Cinemas includes Palacemedia for cinema ad sales and Palace Pictures for distribution. The company consistently leads the market in new technologies including digital projectors, 3D, e-tickets, full web services and its own management software End 2 End (E2E). Palace Cinemas is dedicated to giving its customers a great night at the movies with its commitment to People, Entertainment and Fun.

Palace Cinemas was founded in 1999 by Arthur Goldblatt and V.J Maury. It is majority owned by funds managed by ARGUS Capital Group Limited (“ARGUS”), a private equity fund manager focusing on Central and Eastern Europe. ARGUS was established in 1998 and is supported by leading institutional investors from Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Japan. With total commitments of approx. €400 million in its two funds, ARGUS has invested in thirteen companies in the CEE region over the past ten years.

For additional information on Palace Cinemas, see Country Managers : Palace Cinemas Czech Republic : David Horacek [email protected] Palace Cinemas Slovakia : Andrea Baisova [email protected], Palace Cinemas Hungary : Andrea Lovasz, andrealovasz/, Corporate: CEO: V.J Maury, [email protected], GSM : +36203408676 CFO : David Jelinek, [email protected] Tech Manager : Mark Waldman, [email protected] E2E/IT Manager : Greg Bridle, [email protected]

Logic is Paramount as a Studio Buys-In Directly

(a) Exhibitor shall install at least fifty percent (50%) of the number of screens in each Exhibitor’s Complex(es), …, no later than six (6) months from the Effective Date of this Agreement.
(b) Exhibitor shall install one hundred percent (100%) of the screens in each Exhibitor’s Complex(es), …, within three (3) years from the Effective Date of this Agreement.

Now we are talking. No more lingering around. And what about 3D?

(c) Notwithstanding … Exhibitor is allowed to install as few as one (1) 3D screen in each Complex(es) as listed on Exhibit “B”.

The legalese is enough to melt the pixels from your computer screen. But given what they are trying to do, and the realities of money, it seems like a good document to launch a conversation from. There are a few twists about DCI Specification that are noteworthy should any exhibitor decide to stick their neck out and buy equipment before a spec is formalized or compliant product is available…Which. Is. Everyone., since, as we remember, the companies who will test for compliance were only recently announced and have not completed one test yet.

Exhibitor shall ensure all equipment … required by the DCI Spec will be compliant with the DCI Spec.

To the extent a hardware or software component necessary for such equipment to fully comply with the DCI Spec is not commercially available at the time of installation Exhibitor will not be obligated to develop any such components and may complete installation of such equipment as is. When the technology necessary to make Digital Systems compliant with the DCI Spec becomes commercially available from any manufacturer and whether or not any such equipment is available from the manufacturer from whom Exhibitor originally obtained the equipment,

You can smell that there is a kicker coming, can’t you? Fortunately, the streets are not as likely to be littered, as they were after the JPEG transition, with equipment that didn’t make the spec before their business model failed. It is still a risk, because…

…, Exhibitor will by the later of six (6) months after such availability upgrade or the next available window in which upgrades are permitted after such availability upgrade (it being agreed and understood that such windows generally occur between January 15 and March 31 and between September 1 and October 31, or as otherwise generally accepted in the industry), upgrade all Digital Systems to bring such Digital Systems into compliance with the DCI Spec, the costs of which shall be paid for by Exhibitor.

Well, we know that an Exhibitor is going to pound the manufacturer for some kind of guarantee that the equipment they purchase is going to get through the certifying process. And, any manufacturer is going to have to jump through those hoops. There is one hopeless TI hoop that is being allowed for, but that is the topic of another post…the good news is that (at least from Paramount’s viewpoint) there is no reason to string a pointless technical exercise on the back of this contract. 

As we digest this contract, we’ll make some more comments. Enjoy reading it yourself and mention your favorite parts…for example, I’ll close with this one, important only because we see that the parties of the first part are learning as they experience frustrations from the parties of the second part.

In the event a key fails because Exhibitor failed to provide current information (e.g., a “server swap”), Distributor will charge a fee of one hundred dollars ($100.00) for each and every time Distributor is not informed.

Labels: Paramount DCI Contract  VPF

Concepts in Exhibition…Making money with Digital

As Andreas Gronarz of Sanyo points out, a less expensive projector with a less expensive bulb can more easily play a variety of inputs (commercials usually come in MPEG2 and MPEG4), from a less expensive server, and without the trauma extra steps of the encryption process.

Local commercials aren’t difficult to create. A Blackmagic card in a decent computer can ingest most anything and send it out HD-SDI. A camera, some talent in front of it, a little practice and voilà, extra income and a service to the community.
This forum begins today, dedicated to the exchange of ideas in our dcinema community about the successes and trials and thoughts about adding more to the d-cinema movie server/projector chain.

We’ll provide space for manufacturer editorial, we’ll jot down a few of our ideas, but what we really hope to inspire is real life lessons that will get us all down the road more efficiently. The curtain opens, and it is your stage. Thanks in advance for your participation.

ShoWest 2009

The exhibitors (the cinema owners) have gotten to rely upon the studios capabilities of scheduling correctly. Quite amazing, given the schedules of all the participants, the ability to make one more take last all day, editing a billion variables and the process of dubbing and scoring and translations and prints and distribution. But they pull it off, and with that they get the trust of the exhibitors.

And so it happens again on the final days of March and the first days of April. ShoWest in Vegas, jointly at the adjoining Paris and Balley’s hotels.

[Après ShoWest] Always good to be reminded how much one hates places like that. Not those particular hotels in particular, but all of them in general for their overpriced and insipid everything.  

One wonders, of course, what it will be like given restrictions on travel budgets and a general malaise of the financial world. Fewer movies being made, less than expected in the dcinema transition and equipment manufacturers who have to be biting their nails.

[Après ShoWest] The MPAA released their movie numbers for the year while we were there assembled. If one doesn’t look past the mirrors, then things look good; up this and better that. Look behind the mirrors and really things were level…which ain’t bad in times like these. 

If the manufacturing companies ramps up to expect sales in the consistent thousands, if one hires engineers and people to handle customer needs and wants and of course, people to make face at the convention – Hundreds of thousands of dollars…a day. Booths themselves are several hundred per square meter. Hotel charges to put all these people up…ouch. The cost of dragging equipment around…double ouch. Getting prepared for the show…a huge distraction that consumes resources that could better be used a hundred other places.

[Après ShoWest] Just after the show, Panasonic announced that they were pulling out of IBC. Apple and Avid and others have already pulled out of NAB. Their reason to show is to grab the coattails of big companies like these who can draw people. If they are gone and people find it hard to travel for budget reasons…zounds…not look good, boss. 

This has gone on for years in the DCinema world. And what does anyone have to show for it. Perhaps Boeing was brilliant for seeing it as a game too long and bailing early. Texas Instruments has poured a decades worth of blood on the floor in terrific support and little in return. What we just saw is 35% of their staff gone.

Who has breathed aloud the question…what if they decided to pull out now?

Well, they didn’t and probably won’t. Sony is not waiting for that to happen. They’ve got a solid bead on the prize now that the product works and are playing the cards. A good thing to do when the premier show is in Vegas.

[Après ShoWest] Sony had the major announcement of the show; 5,000 pieces of big digital 4K headed to all the AMC theater screens. The inside data shows that everyone is probably a winner, and the implications for DCIP are interesting.  

As usual, for people like me, it is trolling for passes time. Can’t get in without a fistful of money, but the Sunshine’s put on a great show. Perhaps it is time to pay the $300 and get the pass and the food and the respect. Oh? No pass for that amount? No respect either?

[Après ShoWest] As it turned out, I got a couple of passes. But alas, there was very little food. I pretty much starved, but will save you the stories. Suffice to say that the convention that used to brag on its great entertainment and spectacular parties with wonderful food was actually serving hot dogs at one of the lunches…and it went downhill from there.

Well, the food’s decent.

[Après ShoWest] The people are still good to be with. See you next year.