Paramount Pictures has become the first studio to offer digital cinema support directly to exhibitors across the United States and Canada. The move is expected to accelerate the roll-out of digital and 3-D projection systems in theatres.
The deal works in parallel with previously announced agreements with DCIP (Digital Cinema Implementation Partners), Cinedigm, Kodak, and Sony but allows exhibitors to seek financing for d-cinema systems locally rather than wait for comprehensive integrator agreements, which require significantly more upfront capital, to be completed. In addition, the agreement allows exhibitors to own and control their equipment (which is required to be DCI/SMPTE compliant), and to switch to an integrator-supported agreement at a later date if desired. The new agreement also includes independent theatres that do not belong to any integrator groups.
To date, Paramount has signed nine digital cinema integration deals, the most of any major studio. They include domestic agreements with Cinedigm (previously Access IT) Phase 1 and Phase 2, Kodak, Sony, and DCIP, three deals with European integrators XDC, Arts Alliance Media and Ymagis, and two deals with Asian integrators DCK and GDC. So far, more than 3,500 screens have been converted to digital under Cinedigm's Phase 1 plan.