CYPRESS, Calif. -- Rave Motion Pictures, the fifth largest chain of movie theaters in the United States, has more time to focus on innovation in cinema technology, optimizing seating plans and other operational aspects, resulting from a services alliance with Christie Managed Services (CMS). A longtime user of Christie projectors, Rave is now entrusting CMS to service its entire Lobby Entertainment Network (LEN).

"As a large and decentralized operation, we were having a hard time finding a good outsourced provider for our digital signage needs," said Brad Wardlow, vice president of operations for Rave Motion Pictures. "We have 61 locations in 21 states, and all too often outages resulted in inoperable displays in the common areas of our lobby and concession spaces, with the resultant repairs being expense and taking a long time to complete. We needed find a worry-free solution so we could concentrate on our business, which is to deliver a total theater experience to our movie-patron customers."

In addition to movie projectors, Rave provides a Lobby Entertainment Network (LEN) air show display over concession areas, more than 500 digital menu boards, LED way-finder signage, and extensive LED signage in its box offices. A previous provider had often used distant, non-local technicians, causing high travel and accommodation costs and longer time frames to service and support these products. In contrast, CMS created a one-stop, manageable strategy that addresses ongoing preventive maintenance as well as immediate attention to any problems.

"This solution makes total sense for us operationally, financially and aesthetically," said Wardlow. "The only question we have been asking ourselves is ‘why did we take so long to make the decision?' We're getting faster service, more preventative/proactive management of our signage program, and all at lower costs."

"Christie and Rave collaborated to identify sites, create inventories of assets and to develop a more planned, life-cycle approach to managing these assets, versus a reactive approach to emergencies," said Sean James, vice president, Christie Managed Services. "The CMS approach is to provide a support strategy which minimizes the amount of down time and expense associated with deploying the technology cinema owners want to use. By leveraging our technology and national networks of people and parts, we are able to significantly improve the availability of displays and projection systems.

With expertise developed over 80 years serving the cinema industry, Christie Managed Services works with each customer to deploy, monitor and support their commercial displays. Christie's U.S. Network Operation Center (NOC) offers 24/7/365 monitoring, technical help desk and configuration management and preventive servicing as well as on-site emergency response. The program serves hundreds of organizations in the cinema and other industries.

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CINEMACON, Las Vegas -- GDC Technology ("GDC"), a world leading digital cinema solution provider, is pleased to announce today that it won a server deployment contract with iPic Entertainment, a Florida-based entertainment company. A total of 59 units of GDC Digital Cinema Servers were deployed at 11 sites across Arizona, California, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Illinois, with 46 units already installed in 2010, and the remaining 13 will be installed by April this year. Ballantyne Strong, Inc. was responsible for the equipment installation and integration, and continues to provide a reliable support service through their Network Operations Centre (NOC).

iPic Entertainment, founded by visionary entertainment entrepreneur Hamid Hashemi, offers an innovative new luxury entertainment concept, bringing the next-generation dining and entertainment experience to neighborhoods across America. It is a developer and operator of entertainment venues that include premium movie theatres offering a selection of high-end food and beverage, with a mission to bring people together for an exceptionally entertaining experience at an inviting and unique location.

Creating premier venues requires the most cutting-edge digital cinema technology, for which GDC has remained committed to over the past 12 years. "iPic Entertainment is committed to bringing state-of-the-art technology in film presentation to iPic Theaters and Gold Class Cinemas properties," said Mark Mulcahy, VP of Marketing, iPic Entertainment. "By using GDC's digital servers, we are able to enhance movie lovers' cinema experience with the best in digital projection."

The iPic deal is GDC's latest success in the North American market following a plethora of deployment contracts secured there recently. "We are delighted to see another exhibitor joining our growing list of satisfied customers in the all important North American market where digital conversion is fast gaining momentum," said Dr. Man-Nang Chong, founder and CEO of GDC Technology. "iPic is an innovator who is sensitive to emerging market trends as is GDC. We feel excited to work with iPic in bringing the best in digital cinema entertainment to patrons."

"Working closely with one of our largest resellers - Strong provides iPic Entertainment the highest level of support and service required by a cinema of this calibre." Dr. Man-Nang Chong, added. Ray Boegner, Senior Vice President of Ballantyne Strong echoed Dr. Chong's enthusiasm, "GDC has been a great partner for Strong. We are pleased to work with iPic Entertainment, who owns prestigious cinema complexes and offers the movie-going public something very special. Furthermore, it is extremely satisfying to work with iPic. They understand the quality their customers have come to expect, and they have realized that Strong and GDC's products and services meet such expectations".

 

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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.
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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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