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The Movie Theatre of the Future

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, September 30, 2004

The movie theatre of the future. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. More and more households are investing in big screen high definition TVs…and sound systems. High definition DVD movies in the home aren't far away. So what will draw people to theatres? The folks at Imax…think they have an answer. Co-CEO Brad Wechsler…

"When Hollywood looks out over the horizon, five years…ten years, what they see is in home entertainment getting much, much better with these flat screen TVs and great DVD images. And increasingly, I think they're trying to differentiate the theatrical experience. And the ability to show something on a screen that's 8 stories high, with exquisite color and very sharp images like Imax with 12 thousand watts of digital sound, is a way of differentiation."

It used to be you'd only find Imax screens in museums and such. Now the company is pushing sales to multiplex theatres. Wechsler says it costs about 1 and a half million dollars to convert a stadium theatre to Imax. How many Hollywood releases in Imax and Imax 3D will make the investment worthwhile…

"You know it's our view that it's probably about a half a dozen a year. We're talking about the best Hollywood films. We're talking about the event Hollywood films."

Warner Brothers, for instance, will be out with a 3D Imax version of The Polar Express, in November…on the same day it comes out in conventional theatres. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.