Theater Owners Question The Payoff For New Cinema Technologies: CinemaCon

This is one of the most important challenges coming out of the exhibition industry’s CinemaCon convention this week. Studios and especially technology companies are heavily promoting advances including high-frame rates, 4K projection, and 3D sound. But theater owners “have to all be very cautious not to buy the next iPhone or iPad with a new doodad,” Carmike Cinemas’ Terrell Mayton said at a panel this morning. “We could spend a lot of money and not get a lot of return on our investment.” Exhibition companies are financially exhausted after collectively spending $2.5B to install digital projectors — and they’re skeptical about gee-whiz promises after hearing Hollywood’s excessive hype for 3D. Now the industry knows that “not every movie should be in 3D,” AMC Cinemas’ Dan Huerta says. Execs are intrigued with the clear images produced by high frame rates — which could become a selling point later this year when Warner Bros releases The Hobbit at 48 frames per second. But theater owners say they’re still figuring out whether it makes sense to deploy the pricey software upgrade needed for high frame rate films in more than a few screens.┬áDigital storage costs “can be significantly larger” than for a conventional 24-frame per second film, Huerta says. Mayton adds that high frame rate (more…)

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