NEW YORK, March, 29, 2011 - It was announced today at CinemaCon, by Bob Berney, President, Theatrical Distribution that FilmDistrict will release "The Rum Diary," based on the early Hunter S. Thompson novel that was ultimately published in 1998. It stars Johnny Depp and will be released on October 28, 2011. The film is directed by Bruce Robinson ("Withnail and I") from his own screenplay and also stars Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, Michael Rispoli, Richard Jenkins and Giovanni Ribisi. "The Rum Diary" is produced by Infinitum Nihil, the production company headed by Depp and Christi Dembrowski, along with Graham King and Tim Headington. Anthony Rhulen and Robert Kravis also produce.

"The Rum Diary" tells the increasingly unhinged story of itinerant journalist Paul Kemp (Depp). Tired of the noise and madness of New York and the crushing conventions of late Eisenhower-era America, Kemp travels to the pristine island of Puerto Rico to write for a local San Juan newspaper run by the downtrodden editor Lotterman (Jenkins). Adopting the rum-soaked lifestyle of the late ‘50s version of Hemingway's "The Lost Generation," Paul soon becomes entangled with a very attractive American woman, Chenault (Heard) and her fiancée Sanderson (Eckhart), a businessman involved in shady property development deals. It is within this world that Kemp ultimately discovers his true voice as a writer and integrity as a man.

"Hunter S. Thompson became close with Johnny Depp during the filming of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and showed Depp the unpublished manuscript for The Rum Diary," says producer and FilmDistrict co-founder Graham King. "I am extremely proud to bring this novel to film and to honor Hunter's legacy."

Peter Schlessel, CEO of FilmDistrict and President of GK Films, says, "The Rum Diary" is a special project for all of us here, as it is a true collaboration between both of our entities. Depp gives an extraordinary performance in this remarkable adaptation."

"Robinson directed one of my favorite films, "Withnail and I" - combine that with Hunter S. Thompson and it's a match made in celluloid heaven," says Bob Berney, President of Distribution, FilmDistrict.

"The Rum Diary" is a GK Films, Infinitum Nihil and Film Engine production produced by Johnny Depp, Christi Dembrowski, Anthony Rhulen, Robert Kravis, Tim Headington and Graham King.


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CinemaCon/LAS VEGAS -- Christie®, a global visual technology company, is demonstrating a wide range of innovative cinema projection and digital signage lobby solutions, backed by its behind-the scenes monitoring and control services, at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, March 28 - 31, making Christie the "Exhibitor's Choice" for attendees of this preeminent gathering of movie theater owners from around the world.

"CinemaCon is about knowledge transfer and sharing, as much as it is about leading-edge solutions," said Jack Kline, president and chief operating officer, Christie Digital Systems, USA, "and in that spirit we're excited about our sponsorship of ‘An Afternoon with John Landau.'"

Kline also addressed delegates at the International Day luncheon on March 28, in the Palace Ballrooms. As well, Sean James, vice president, Christie Managed Services, will lend his expertise to the "Keeping Your Cinema Open on a Saturday Night" ICTA panel on March 30, Emperor's Level at Caesars Palace.

John Landau in exclusive Christie VIP Event
Christie is sponsoring an "invite-only" interactive presentation with Oscar-winner Jon Landau, producer of Titanic and Avatar on Tuesday, March 29. This will feature a one-hour dialogue on the exciting future of digital cinema and Landau's experiences in producing box-office blockbusters. The noted producer recently toured Christie's digital-cinema manufacturing facilities and praised the firm for "looking ahead to the future, not sitting on the laurels of today" in its quest to make the filmgoers' experience better.

What's in the Booth?
"Exhibitors touring Christie's booth will witness how the only single-source manufacturer of projector, lamps and managed services can deliver to them a range of optimized, digital cinema systems today," said Kathryn Cress, vice president, global and corporate marketing, Christie.

With the topic of how to cost-effectively transition from film to digital projection still a major concern for exhibitors, Christie's booth will provide reassurance as the "Exhibitor's Choice" for digital conversions. In addition to displaying mainstream digital cinema solutions, the company's Entertainment Solutions group will display the latest in 4K digital cinema projectors with its Christie® CP4200 platform. Both sets of solutions use XenoliteTM lamps, which boast a 99.999 percent reliability rating.

Christie Managed Services (CMS) will be out in full force, demonstrating its array of essential post-installation remote management, monitoring and control solutions for cinema projectors and digital displays, to ensure that all exhibitor systems perform to their maximum ability, reliably, 365 days a year. Allure Global, a valued partner, will be joining CMS to demonstrate how Christie and Allure can support CinemaCon attendees at every stage of their digital signage projects, from strategy determination to equipment procurement, as well as staging, content development, installation, ongoing monitoring and business impact analytics.

As well, Christie's display at booth #1200A includes Christie® MicroTilesTM, which won "The Most InAVative Digital Signage Product" at Amsterdam's prestigious ISE 2011 show, Christie continues to break new ground with an unmatched menu of specialty displays and managed services, as well as innovative and cost-effective a la carte solutions.


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LAS VEGAS -- In his inaugural speech as CEO and Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA), Senator Chris Dodd addressed exhibitors and spoke about the strong ties that bind motion picture studios and theater owners and their shared commitment to one of America's greatest industries. The following is the prepared text of Senator Dodd's keynote address at the National Association of Theatre Owners' CinemaCon:

Thank you, John, for that introduction and for NATO's continuing strong partnership. I'd also like to take a moment to thank Bob Pisano, who served as interim CEO this past year and represented the MPAA so well.
Today marks my ninth day on the job as Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. Despite the brevity of my tenure, I wanted to be here today to share with all of you my thoughts on the direction of our industry, and to listen to your concerns at what is both an exciting and challenging time for all of us.

Much of what I will say this morning I know you know, but at a moment like this, it is important that you know what I feel about this industry and the determination I bring to this undertaking.

So let me begin with the obvious: The production and exhibition industries cannot succeed - cannot survive - without each other. If you fail, we fail. And it's just as true that if we fail so will you.

We've come a long way together in the century since the first screening of a feature length motion picture in Jacob Stern's horse barn in Hollywood, California on February 14, 1914. Cecil B. DeMille invited 45 people (all of whom had worked on the film) to view "The Squaw Man," which he made for $15,000. This premiere, if you want to call it that, was a total disaster.

In order to save some money, Mr. DeMille had purchased second-hand British equipment with ill-fitting sprockets, causing a technical malfunction that allowed the audience to only see the characters' hats, foreheads, boots and feet, and not much else. The economics of our industry have changed, of course, since that day in 1914. And, fortunately, so, too has the technology.

Last year the number of digital and 3D screens more than doubled - and our audience couldn't get enough of it. One in five dollars spent at the box office now comes from 3D. I can't help but wonder what Cecile B. DeMille, Sam Goldwyn, Louis B. Mayer, Jesse Lasky and Adolph Zucker and the rest of these pioneers would say if they could have been among the millions of moviegoers who marvel at the experience of seeing Avatar in a 3D theater. And like moviegoers here at home and all over the world, I can't wait, nor can you, I expect, to see what we come up with next.

But even though so much about our industry has changed over the years, the importance of the theater setting hasn't. Our films are still made to be shown on big screens in dark theaters filled with people. And no matter how our industry continues to evolve, I want all of you gathered here this morning to know that as the new CEO and Chairman of the MPAA, I passionately believe there remains no better way to see a movie than in a theater, and no more important relationship for our studios to maintain than the one we have with you.

So, when we saw box office growth in 2009, we cheered. In 2010 it slowed, and revenues dropped off in the early part of this year. That's not just a concern for you; it's a concern for all of us. But I for one do not believe the sky is falling. Yes, people have a wider variety of entertainment options these days. Yes, gas prices have gone up. But you have seen attendance ebb and flow in the past, and I believe audiences will be coming back to your theaters to see our films because there really is no parallel to the incredible experience that we, together, provide.

You are doing your part by building theaters with great seats, screens and sound systems. This week you'll be seeing some of the exciting projects our studios are working on to fill those seats and screens and sound systems with incredible entertainment later this year.

Thus, on my ninth day on the job, I've come here to commit myself to renewing and strengthening the great American movie-going tradition - and to ask you for your continuing partnership in tackling the challenges we must confront together.

It is, of course, undeniable that we do a fantastic job of providing the American people and others all over the world with quality entertainment. But, in my view, it is just as true that we must do a much better job of educating our audiences and the American people about how we do our job.

Let's begin with perhaps the single biggest threat we face as an industry: movie theft. At the outset, I want you to know that I recognize and appreciate that NATO members are on the front lines every day when it comes to preventing camcording. Further, I want you to know that the member studios of the MPAA deeply appreciate the efforts you make every day to stop the hemorrhaging of movie theft in your theaters.

I am deeply concerned that too many people see movie theft as a victimless crime. After all, how much economic damage could there be to some rich studio executive or Hollywood star if a movie is stolen or someone watches a film that was stolen? It is critical that we aggressively educate people to understand that movie theft is not just a Hollywood problem. It is an American problem.

Nearly 2.5 million people work in our film industry. The success of the movie and TV business doesn't just benefit the names on theater marquees. It also affects all the names in the closing credits and so many more -middle class folks, working hard behind the scenes to provide for their families, saving for college and retirement. And since movies and TV shows are now being made in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, movie theft harms middle class families and small businesses all across the country.

Those who steal movies and TV shows, or who knowingly support those who do, don't see the faces of the camera assistant, seamstresses, electricians, construction workers, drivers, and small business owners and their employees who are among the thousands essential to movie making. They don't see the teenager working their first job taking tickets at the local theater, or the video rental store employees working hard to support their families.

We must continue to work together, pushing for stronger laws to protect intellectual property and more meaningful enforcement of those laws. We must also educate parents and students and everyone else about the real world impact of movie theft on jobs and on local tax revenues, and on our ability to make the kinds of movies and TV shows people wish to see.
At a time when too many Americans are out of work, we remain a major private sector employers, with more than $140 billion in total wages spread out across a nationwide network of businesses. At a time when our trade deficit continues to spiral out of control, we are, to my knowledge, the only large American industry that maintains a positive balance of trade with every country in the world where we do business.

And speaking of trade, it goes without saying that we are all living and working in a global economy. It is therefore crucial to the survival and growth of the film business that we expand our reach around the world. The economics of our industry depends on the success of our films in all markets, not just our own. This issue is important to every single person in this room. To make the kind of great movies that fill seats in your theaters we must fill theaters in Russia, China, Brazil as well as other markets across the globe.

A larger audience overseas means more resources available for producing films here in America. And that, of course, means more films for distribution and exhibition, more seats filled, more popcorn sold. The good news about our industry is that whenever we're given the chance to compete in the world, we succeed. The bad news is we're not always given that chance to compete.

When China limits the import of non-Chinese films to 20 a year, despite the fact that hundreds of U.S. films are produced each year - including more than 100 by the MPAA member studios - we are excluded from a market that presents huge untapped potential.

I am confident that we can work together to ask Congress and others to protect intellectual property by cracking down on rogue websites that profit from the illegal trafficking of counterfeit movies. After all, you are not just our eyes and ears when it comes to illegal camcording - you are the face of the film industry in your local communities. No one is in a better position to educate the American public about these threats than are you.

After three decades in Congress, I have some idea how to attract the attention of a Congressman or Senator. When you return to your states, invite your local governor, state legislator, congressman and senator to your theater and fill it with those who work with you along with video store employees and their families. Tell them about the importance of these issues to you and to your communities. If you become that educator, you will leave a lasting and indelible impression on those who will make decisions about your future.
That's important not just because we sell a great product, but because all of us - studios, filmmakers and theaters alike - are preserving a great tradition, one that is as central to the American character, as it is important to the American economy.

Which brings me to my last point this morning. What I'm about to say isn't quantifiable in economic terms. I can't put a dollar figure on it for you. I can't give you an unemployment number or some other gripping statistic - but as I stand before you this morning one week into this job, I want you to know that it is as important as all data you will have thrown at you during CinemaCon. Our lives are getting more and more complicated. We are increasingly connected to the world by the power of emerging technologies, but at the same time we seem to be increasingly disconnected from each other by the same technology and stream of information and distractions.

And yet, in the midst of all of this, if you drop by a movie theater in America or anywhere around the world on a Friday or Saturday night you will see neighborhoods coming together. You will see people turning off their phones and BlackBerrys. You will see families and friends settling in for two hours in a darkened theater. And even though everyone's eyes are on the screen, it is somehow still a communal experience - unlike any other. The value of that shared experience crosses economic, political and even generational boundaries.

Going to the movies together as a community has stitched together the fabric of American society in a way that few other institutions ever have or could, providing a nation of incredible diversity with a common cultural vocabulary and a common understanding of ourselves. What's at stake as we face these challenges is nothing short of the preservation and renewal of this quintessentially American communal tradition. Those who have come before us built the partnership between producers, distributors and exhibitors, which has sustained that tradition for almost a century.

It is my hope, and my commitment to you this morning that when those who follow us look back on this moment in our shared history, they will see that we did not walk away from the challenges we faced. Let them see that we stood together, attacking our challenges with the creativity and courage that have defined the larger-than-life story of American film from its humble beginnings at Stern's stable a century ago.

Like all good stories, this one features occasional moments of high drama. But for me, especially, this is just the first act. And I'm as excited by this new chapter in my life as I was when I first set foot in my local theater on a Saturday morning decades ago.

I'm so pleased that the first performance of this new chapter in my life has been with you. So pleased that the first person to introduce me to an audience, John Fithian, is someone who I've known for half my life and almost all of his.

I'm proud to be a small part of this great American business, and most importantly, I'm honored to be in your company. Your theaters have given America and the world hours of joy and lifetimes of memories.
I look forward to working with you closely in the days ahead.


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CHICAGO -- NEC Display Solutions of America, a leading provider of commercial LCD display and projector solutions, announced today Wehrenberg Theatres, a century-old theater chain and the oldest family-owned-and-operated cinema company in the U.S., selected NEC digital cinema projectors for its 210 screens in the Midwest.

Wehrenberg will deploy NEC digital cinema projectors - the NC1200, NC2000 and NC3240S models - to replace its 35mm technology for its cinemas across Missouri and other central states. Sixty-five digital systems already have been installed.

NEC Financial Services provided the financing for the Wehrenberg deployment, while Ballantyne Strong, Inc. (NYSE Amex: BTN) is supplying 4K digital projection systems, installation, NOC (Network Operations Center), 24/7 monitoring from its state-of-the-art facility in Omaha, and ongoing maintenance services after installation.

Cinedigm (NASDAQ: CIDM), the global leader in digital cinema conversion programs, is responsible for structuring and implementing the underlying VPF agreement that enables Wehrenberg's conversion to digital cinema, as well as providing the entire administration responsibility of the VPF program for Wehrenberg. GDC Technology will provide the cinema servers.

"We selected NEC projectors because of their reliability and our strong working relationship with NEC over the last number of years," said Ronald P. Krueger, Chairman and CEO of Wehrenberg Theatres. "As we complete our migration to digital technology and explore alternative content, we're grateful to have NEC and its partners contribute to making the Wehrenberg experience that much more memorable for our guests."
The NEC deployment is scheduled to begin in April and slated for completion in September 2011.

"Wehrenberg Theatres will enjoy all the benefits of the NEC technology, such as lower operating costs, centralized operations and the highest digital cinema projector quality on the market," said Pierre Richer, President and COO of NEC Display Solutions. "Wehrenberg has built a reputation for innovation over their 105 years of existence, and we're proud to support them in this next phase of their growth."

"Wehrenberg has created a unique theater experience for movie-goers in the Midwest and upgrading to the latest in digital projection equipment will no doubt be well received," said Gary Cavey, President and CEO of Ballantyne Strong. "We are delighted to once again partner with Cinedigm as well as both NEC Financial Services and NEC Display Solutions."

"Cinedigm is grateful to be working with valued partners NEC Display Solutions and Ballantyne in the Wehrenberg Theatres deployment," said Chuck Goldwater, President, Media Services Group at Cinedigm. "We welcome the opportunity to help Wehrenberg build upon its past successes and forge relationships with new customers."

NEC digital cinema projectors are Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) compliant, which allows exhibitors to capitalize on current and future growth opportunities, and can be centrally managed, freeing up on-site theater personnel for more strategic activities.
To learn more about financing options and current promotions, please visit

NEC's Cinema Advantage program offers cash-back rewards and exclusive promotions to small-to-medium-sized exhibitors. Visit to register.


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CINEMACON, Las Vegas -- GDC Technology ("GDC"), a world leading digital cinema solution provider, is pleased to announce today the signing of a repeat order with partner Southern Theatres, LLC., the management company for VSS-Southern Theatres. The contract will see the deployment of a total of 198 units of GDC SX-2000A Digital Cinema Servers with Integrated Media Block (IMB) at 20 sites across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. To date 51 units have already been deployed in 2010 and the remaining 198 units will be installed this year, commencing in April 2011 and completing by year-end.

A number of parties are joining forces to undertake this project. GDC will retain it's role as the exclusive server provider, while Ballantyne Strong will supply NEC Series 2 DLP Digital Cinema® Projectors and will be responsible for providing the servers and projectors to Southern. Cinedigm (NADAQ: CIDM), the global leader in digital cinema conversion programs, is responsible for structuring and implementing the underlying VPF agreement that enables Southern's conversion to digital cinema, as well as providing the entire administration responsibility of the VPF program for Southern.

Launched in May 2002, Southern Theatres operates state-of-the-art multiplexes with stadium-seating, in 20 locations and totaling 292 screens. GDC servers were first deployed in Southern Theatres in May 2010. Following the successful deployment, Southern Theatres has decided to stick to GDC servers for its next phase of deployment, opting for GDC's latest SX-2000A server incorporated with Integrated Media Block (IMB). The cutting-edge IMB has recently been awarded the industry's first FIPS 140-2 Level 3 security certification, one of the highest level security requirements specified by Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI). GDC's IMB offers the unique advantage of allowing for a much fuller color spectrum which is 500 times richer than that of a legacy server when screening 3D movies; overall the IMB is a state-of-the-art digital cinema accomplishment that is 4K future proof.

"The number of new entertainment avenues added to Southern Theatres is rising fast as we enter into our next phase of digital deployment, and we require reliable and feature-rich products to cater to the needs of our business growth," said George Solomon, CEO of Southern Theatres, LLC. "Having worked with GDC in the past, we know our high expectations will always be met and we can rest assured that whatever they promised, they will deliver."

"We are heartened to see Southern Theatres stick to GDC and take advantage of our server upgrade to the SX-2000A with IMB model," said Dr. Man-Nang Chong, founder and CEO of GDC Technology. "I am confident that patrons of Southern Theatres will be thoroughly impressed with the stunning 3D colour richness brought about by our IMB. We will continue to work hard to bring the best in digital cinema to our customers to make sure their patrons will always enjoy the richest possible cinematic experience."


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