BLOOMFIELD, Conn. -- The Bloomfield 8 theater, located across from Town Hall in the Wintonbury Mall, has begun an estimated $1 million conversion to 3-D digital projection and sound thanks to a recent acquisition by Digital Cinema Destinations Corp. (DCDC), Westfield, N.J. (www.digiplexdest.com). The 22,800 sq. ft. theater with 1,500 seats in eight auditoriums, was purchased from partners Dean Gentile and Tim Keefner for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition of the Bloomfield theater was announced today by digital theater entrepreneur A. Dale "Bud" Mayo, chairman and CEO of Digital Cinema Destinations Corp. The Bloomfield 8 is the third theater acquired by the company which began operation on Dec. 31, 2010, the day Mayo acquired in-town theaters in Westfield and Cranford, N.J. All three Digiplex Destinations theaters will serve as the foundation of a chain of all-digital theaters that Mayo's team plans to open nationwide.
Former Bloomfield 8 co-owner Dean Gentile, a resident of New City, N.Y., becomes Regional Vice President of Operations for DCDC working out of the company's New Jersey headquarters in Westfield. His former partner, Tim Keefner, a resident of Stratford, Conn., has also joined DCDC as General Manager of the Bloomfield 8 theater, with responsibilities to spearhead further expansion of DCDC's Digiplex Destinations theaters in New England. Both were former executives of Crown Theaters based in Norwalk, Conn.
The conversion to digital will also include new seating, carpeting, repainted interiors and a digital sound system. Once completed, staffing at the theater will remain at about 20 full- and part-time employees.
When the digital conversion is completed later this year, patrons visiting the all-digital Bloomfield 8 will notice a brighter, crisper, clearer scratch-free image. For the first time in the theater's 15-year history, 3-D movies such as the blockbuster hit Avatar can be shown. Digital conversion will allow the Bloomfield 8 theater to become a center for special event programming delivered by high definition satellite, such as pop concerts, live sports events and auctions, motivational talks, religious ceremonies, and children's series, thus allowing the theater to fill more seats during off-peak periods.
The first Digiplex Destination event will be Kidtoons Family Matinees on April 9 and 10 featuring free G-rated movies. On the schedule will be: April 9, Candyland: The Great Lollipop Adventure, and The Little Engine That Could; April 10, Tonka Tough Truck and Barbie: A Fairy Secret. After Apr. 10, the Kidtoons Family Matinees will be priced at $3.50 per person.
Digital conversion is also environmentally-friendly: for decades, Hollywood films would arrive in 70 pound cans shipped by air, truck and courier, consuming fuel and up to $1 million per film in distribution costs. With digital projection, movies arrive by satellite or paperback book-sized hard drive that's downloaded into a digital projector, one for each auditorium. It takes only minutes to prepare a digital movie for showing, versus one to two hours to spool six reels of film onto a platter, thread it into a projector, then respool it for return shipment at the end of the run.
DCDC's Bud Mayo says, "In a digital theater, the audience will be totally immersed in the experience. They will be able to text back questions and comments, sing along, host tailgate parties outside, even perform skits to accompany the program, as appropriate.
"Corporate and professional groups will save time, and consume less energy and money using Digiplex Destination theaters as a meeting place."
Mayo continues, "Digital technology allows us to redefine what it means to go to a movie theater."
For more information on the Bloomfield 8 and DCDC, log onto www.digiplexdest.com