Spurred by positive industry acceptance of their digital cinema funding plan, Access Integrated Technologies Inc. (AccessIT) and Christie Digital Systems USA Inc. (Christie) strengthened the commitment to their Digital Cinema Framework, removing provisions that had originally allowed either party to terminate their agreement by Sept. 30. The companies viewed the move as an expression of their long-term pledge to the innovative template they designed for funding a nationwide rollout of theater-based digital systems.
The modification reaffirms the AccessIT subsidiary, Christie/AIX's plan to ultimately purchase and install 4,000 Christie DLP Cinema projection systems and related hardware. The first 100 systems covered by the agreement were ordered from projector manufacturer Christie on Aug. 5, 2005. The second 100 were ordered last week, successfully reaching a milestone in the planned deployment of 150 systems by Dec. 31, 2005.
Last month, Walt Disney Studios' Buena Vista Pictures Distribution arm contracted with Christie/AIX to provide up to 100% of all future feature film releases for digital distribution to those 4,000 screens and pay Christie/AIX a virtual print fee for each digital movie displayed on Christie/AIX's systems.
AccessIT chairman/ceo Bud Mayo said, "This amendment underscores both parties' commitment to the rollout plan and our mutual confidence in its success. We remain fully committed to our timeline and confident that we will begin deployments on schedule."
Jack Kline, president and coo of Christie Digital Systems USA Inc., added: "We are making great strides with distribution and exhibition and no longer need a contingency clause in our agreement. We now know it is truly going to happen. All the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. We are making significant progress in negotiating contractual commitments with the top studios and expect the completion of exhibition agreements very soon. There is no doubt that digital cinema is finally shifting into high gear, driven by a practical, workable solution that meets the needs of exhibitors and studios alike."
Christie/AIX is currently in negotiations with multiple major studios for similar commitments and expects formal announcements to be made shortly. Elsewhere, Christie/AIX is also continuing high-level negotiations for installation of digital systems with several regional and national exhibition chains to participate in its deployment plan.
Access Integrated Technologies Inc. (www.accessitx.com) is an industry leader in offering a fully managed storage and electronic delivery service for owners and distributors of digital content to movie theaters and other venues.
Christie (www.christiedigital.com) is a leader in visual solutions for world-class organizations, offering diverse applications for business, entertainment, and industry. Christie offers comprehensive solutions for cinema, large audience venues, control rooms, business presentations, training facilities, 3D and Virtual Reality, simulation and education as well as industrial and government environments.