Hollywood East?

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Tue, 06/10/2008 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

No Digital Deal in the States but Significant Activity in Europe While the Hollywood studios continue to differ over how to move forward with DCIP in the United States four of them have combined for a major European deal. XDC has signed non-exclusive long-term agreements with four major distributors – Warners Paramount Disney and Twentieth Century Fox – to deploy 8 000 upcoming DCI-compliant digital cinema installations across Europe. Similar agreements with Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures are reportedly in a very advanced stage and are expected to close shortly. The four distributors will support XDC acting as a Deploying Entity in order to roll out and fund digital systems for theatrical presentations in several countries in Europe. Under the terms of the agreements Warners Paramount Fox and Disney have independently agreed to supply European exhibitors with their feature films in digital form for projection on the digital screens as well as temporarily contribute to the financing of XDC's DCI-compliant digital cinema projection systems. Veronika Kwan-Rubinek president international distribution for Warner Bros. Pictures says Warner Bros. has established a strong working relationship with XDC over the last few years supplying more digital releases in Europe than any other studio. This is the first digital cinema deployment agreement for Warner Bros. Pictures International and I'm pleased to be crossing this milestone with a company as experienced and committed as XDC. Andrew Cripps president for Paramount says Paramount is delighted to have reached this agreement with XDC to deploy DCI-compliant digital projection systems across Europe. We look forward to working together to bring digital cinema to exhibitors and consumers alike which we believe will help to expand and improve the experience of going to the cinema. Paul Hanneman and Tomas Jegeus co-presidents of Twentieth Century Fox International jointly said This agreement with XDC represents another significant plan to finance and roll out DCI-compliant digital projection systems across Europe. Fox remains committed to the transition to a digital cinema platform and looks forward to supplying its movies to DCI-compliant digital projection systems installed by XDC. We are delighted to collaborate with XDC staff which has the experience and technical expertise to manage this process. Anthony Marcoly president of sales and distribution for Disney says Digital cinema represents the absolute best and most enjoyable way to experience motion pictures and we're excited to be working with XDC as they expand the number of theaters capable of exhibiting films digitally. XDC's commitment to install DCI-Compliant digital cinema systems throughout Europe is great news for moviegoers and provides Disney and the other Studios the ability to release films in the highest quality digital format possible. These XDC D-Cinema installations are also 3D-ready which means more great 3D experiences for European moviegoers. With our latest 3D animated feature 'Bolt ' due to arrive at the end of this year and more than 10 other Disney 3D titles already in the pipeline audiences are in for some amazing new entertainment in the very near future. Serge Plasch chief executive officer for XDC says We are very happy to announce these milestone agreements which offer European exhibitors a viable business model to convert their screens to digital cinema. The support of Warners Paramount Fox and Disney is a key factor for XDC and will allow us to keep our momentum in Europe where XDC along with over 120 staunch pioneer customers have shown that commercial digital cinema works. Walt Disney Pictures Bolt Successes like this are the result of great team efforts. XDC thanks and recognizes its team members for their unflagging business technical and legal support during the negotiations. John Birchell Hughes our Senior Vice President has guided us on the exciting and challenging journey that produced these four agreements. We are now working intensively on enhancing our products and services in order to offer the best solutions to our first customers who will start their deployment plans within the next 12 months says Bernard Collard executive vice president for XDC.