KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC), a leading motion picture exhibitor owning and operating the largest theatre circuit in the United States, today announced plans to equip all digital cinema locations with personal captioning and descriptive video technologies.
For years Regal has actively worked with various technology companies and film distributors to create opportunities to increase theatre access for deaf, hard of hearing and blind moviegoers. The advent of digital cinema technology offers new opportunities to increase access at all digitally equipped theatres and Regal expects to have practically all of its theatres converted to digital cinema by the end of 2012. In conjunction with its digital cinema rollout, Regal has developed a strategy to also rollout these adaptive technologies for widespread consumer use over the next 12 to 18 months. In addition, Regal has partnered with Captionfish which is the internet's leading captioned movies search engine that finds open captioned, Rear Window(R) captioned, foreign/subtitled and descriptively-narrated movies showing at theatres across the United States.
"Regal once again has bolstered their commitment to providing movies that are accessible to people with hearing and vision loss. Regal was the first to provide a comprehensive website, advertised show times, theatre manager training program and free screenings to deaf and hard of hearing children. Regal has always been a strong advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing and remains the most committed exhibitor in the U.S. to support captioned programming and providing the deaf and hard of hearing community access to feature films. This announcement demonstrates their continuing leadership in accessible entertainment," said Nanci Linke Ellis, of Captionfish.com. Partner Brendan Gramer added, "We are thrilled that they have chosen to partner with Captionfish as a resource for disseminating accessible showtimes."
"After years of working to ensure that personal captioning solutions would be available through digital cinema, as well as meet the needs and expectations of the deaf, hard of hearing and blind, we are pleased to begin efforts now to offer this access at theatres converted to the all-digital format," stated Randy Smith, Regal Entertainment Group, Chief Administrative Officer & Counsel. "Regal is now ordering and, depending on product availability, will be installing these new technologies at our fully digitized locations. Our intentions are to offer captioning and descriptive video for every film that comes with such content, at all show times, at every theatre equipped and to be equipped with digital cinema systems over the next 12 to 18 months. By the end of 2012, almost every Regal location nationwide will be fully equipped with digital cinema systems and be further equipped to provide closed captions and descriptive video for our deaf, hard of hearing and blind guests."
Regal Entertainment Group is grateful for the many years of aid, insight and support provided by numerous individuals and advocates within the deaf, hard of hearing and blind communities. While obstacles remain for some large format presentations, 3D films and the limited availability of captioned film product from some studios, Regal is eagerly entering a new era of unparalleled access for the deaf, hard of hearing and blind.
NEW YORK and PORTLAND, OR -- Focus Features and LAIKA, the two companies behind the Academy Award-nominated animated feature Coraline are reteaming for LAIKA's next two projects. The first of the duo, ParaNorman, will be released nationwide on August 17th, 2012. The second, yet-to-be-named, picture will be released nationwide in 2014. Following the groundbreaking Coraline, ParaNorman is only the second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D. Focus CEO James Schamus and LAIKA President and CEO Travis Knight made the announcement today.
As on Coraline, Focus will hold worldwide distribution rights to the movies, and Universal Pictures International will release them overseas. Coraline is Focus' second-highest-grossing movie of all time, with over $75 million domestically. The picture earned Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics' Choice, and Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Feature Film; and was named one of the year's 10 Best Films by the American Film Institute (AFI) with an AFI Award.
Currently in production, ParaNorman is being directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler, from Mr. Butler's original screenplay. Mr. Fell was director of The Tale of Despereaux and Flushed Away. Mr. Butler was storyboard supervisor on Coraline and storyboard artist on Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. The voice cast includes Academy Award nominee Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), Tempestt Bledsoe (The Cosby Show), Jeff Garlin (Toy Story 3), John Goodman (Monsters, Inc.), Bernard Hill (Titanic), Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Leslie Mann (Rio), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (How to Train Your Dragon), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In), and Tony and Emmy Award winner Elaine Stritch (30 Rock).
In the comedy thriller, a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (voiced by Mr. McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he'll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst of all, moronic grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.
Arianne Sutner, animation producer on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and Travis Knight are producing ParaNorman. Academy Award winner Brian Van't Hul (King Kong, Coraline) is the movie's visual effects supervisor; Emmy Award winner Nelson Lowry (Fantastic Mr. Fox, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride) is its production designer; and Tristan Oliver (Fantastic Mr. Fox, the Academy Award-winning Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit) is the director of photography on ParaNorman.
Mr. Schamus commented, "Everyone at Focus is proud to be partnered with LAIKA again on their newest wondrous creations. Travis Knight is both an extraordinary businessman and a visionary artist who we know will shepherd these projects with imagination and originality. We're thrilled to have ParaNorman as our next movie together, one which marries the stunning visuals of 3D stop-motion with a compelling, heartfelt, and funny story anchored by a terrifically relatable underdog hero."
Mr. Knight added, "ParaNorman is a story of intense beauty and emotional truth. It's audacious, has genuine heart, and is funny as hell. We're incredibly excited to share this wonderful story with the world. And we're privileged to work again with Focus Features, with whom we share a commitment to bold, distinctive, and enduring films. LAIKA and Focus are truly kindred spirits. James Schamus and his extraordinary team have built their reputation on original thinking, old-fashioned muscle, and an unerring fidelity to creatively rich and thematically challenging cinema. We're thrilled to extend the relationship that began with Coraline and look forward to being a part of the Focus/Universal family for years to come."
NEW YORK -- IMAX Corporation (NYSE:IMAX) (TSX:IMX) and Southern Theatres, LLC today announced a four-theatre joint revenue sharing agreement to install and operate digital IMAX(R) theatre systems in four locations in Panama City Beach, FL; Slidell, LA; Winston-Salem, NC; and Macon, GA. The announcement marks the first time IMAX has entered into a joint revenue sharing arrangement with a regional exhibitor. The theatres are expected to open in July of 2011.
The Company's recent spate of theatre signings is partially attributable to increased interest in the IMAX brand from small-market domestic exhibitors, who are increasingly able to enter into the IMAX business as a result of the more favorable economics of IMAX's digital projection system, increased consumer interest in The IMAX Experience(R) and the expanding IMAX film slate.
"There is significant positive buzz surrounding the IMAX brand among consumers as well as exhibitors, and for good reason," said George Solomon CEO of Southern Theatres, LLC. "More movies are being released in IMAX's format than ever before, and IMAX theatres deliver a differentiated experience that resonates with audiences, regardless of whether the presentation is 2D or 3D. This partnership represents a whole new way for Southern Theatres patrons to experience movies."
"We're seeing very strong performances from our locations in small to mid-sized domestic markets, proving that with the right partners, there is opportunity for expansion and success in this relatively new market segment for our Company," said IMAX's Chief Executive Officer, Richard L. Gelfond. "Through partnerships with exhibitors such as Southern Theatres, who understand the value of delivering top-quality presentations, we will be able to offer The IMAX Experience to more people in places that previously lacked easy access to an IMAX theatre."
IMAX's digital projection system delivers The IMAX Experience and helps drive profitability for studios, exhibitors and IMAX theatres by eliminating the need for film prints, increasing program flexibility and ultimately increasing the number of movies shown on IMAX screens. The system can run both IMAX and IMAX(R) 3D presentations.
The Company's 2011 film slate from April through December includes:
-- Born to be Wild 3D
-- Fast Five: The IMAX Experience
-- Thor: An IMAX 3D Experience
-- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: An IMAX 3D Experience
-- Super 8: The IMAX Experience
-- Cars 2: An IMAX 3D Experience
-- Transformers: Dark of the Moon: An IMAX 3D Experience
-- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II: An IMAX 3D Experience
-- Real Steel: The IMAX Experience
-- Contagion: The IMAX Experience
-- Puss in Boots: An IMAX 3D Experience
-- Happy Feet 2: An IMAX 3D Experience
-- Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol: The IMAX Experience
-- The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn: An IMAX 3D
(Washington, DC -- The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) today called on the movie studios participating in the early-to-the-home "premium" video on demand (VOD) experiment to release sales figures for the movies that have been offered on the platform.
The controversy around the shortened theatrical window involved in the early premium VOD offering has drawn intense interest in Hollywood, the trade and business press, and Wall Street. But has the early VOD offering drawn the interest of the consumer?
"What's an experiment without data?" asked NATO president and CEO John Fithian. "Every weekend—usually before the weekend is over—the performance of movies at the U.S. box office is reported around the world. Studio executives are working the phones, touting the stellar box office for hit movies and explaining the underperformance of the flops. When it comes to premium VOD-crickets."
The movies released so far include Just Go With It (Sony), Cedar Rapids (Fox), and Hall Pass (Warner Bros.). The Adjustment Bureau (Universal) is scheduled for release this week. The movies are being released through DirecTV's Home Premiere at a price of $29.99 roughly 60 days after their theatrical debuts.