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Early this month, Marcus Theatres announced that it signed an agreement with a subsidiary of Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp. to install Digital Cinema Projection systems in 630 first-run screens at 47 of the company's locations. 64 systems have been installed already, and the remainder are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2011.
This is big news, as it means that nearly all screens under the Marcus Theatres name will be powered by digital projectors instead of 35mm film projectors. While it is possible for film presentations to eclipse the quality of digital cinema presentations, that only happens under an ideal set of circumstances. In our experience, those ideal circumstances haven't been present for quite some time, so this news is very welcome indeed!
“Marcus Theatres is proud to continue its long history of technological innovation and quality by entering into this agreement with Cinedigm to enable the conversion of our circuit to digital cinema and assure that our guests can experience the pristine visual presentations digital cinema offers. The advantages for our guests will be brighter and better focused images and a consistently clear and steady picture with truer, more vibrant colors, whether they see a motion picture on its first showing or in its last week of exhibition,” said Bruce J. Olson, president of Marcus Theatres.
“The installation of this new digital technology will give us the flexibility to schedule not just major Hollywood motion pictures, but more 2D and 3D presentations of live and recorded non-film programming such as sporting events, music, Broadway plays and many more offerings in all of our markets,” added Olson.
The press release also mentions that this conversion will allow them to increase the number of 3D presentations, but hopefully doing so won't require the highly reflective screens we've seen in some of Marcus' theaters. These screens are reflective to improve the brightness of 3D movies, which is a common complaint among those who attend 3D movies in general. However, the high amount of reflectiveness creates a situation where the image can appear washed-out and the room lighting can be reflected on the screen during the movie.
There's no mention of what kind of equipment is being used in this conversion, as Cinedigm offers equipment from a variety of vendors. The choices that are made during the acquisition process will greatly affect the images customers will see on the screen, so here's hoping that Marcus chooses wisely!
According to the press release Marcus Theatres is the sixth largest movie theater chain in the United States, with 55 locations in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and Ohio. This announcement says that it affects 47 of those locations, and given that it specifically mentions first-run locations, our guess is that their discount and "Value Cinemas" locations will not be receiving new equipment.
Source: Marcus Corporation Press Release
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