June 24, 2013 3:43am PT by Scott Roxborough
CineEurope: RealD Unveils LUXE Large Format Initiative
In a bid to appeal to the growing premium cinema section in Europe, cinema technology company RealD is launching a new large format luxury brand, LUXE: A RealD Experience, which aims to become the standard for top-end 2D and 3D cinemas across the continent.
The LUXE initiative, which RealD presented to European exhibitors at CineEurope on Monday, combines a series of high-end technological standards for screen size, brightness, sound and seating under a single logo, which could be perceived as a threat to giant format exhibitor, Imax.
RealD has won support for its LUXE initiative from the U.S. studios, which welcome the idea of promoting large format luxury offerings under a single label.
"We are wholly supportive" of the new LUXE brand, said DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.
"With premium large format box office figures growing double digits year on year, it’s clear that a greater number of moviegoers are demanding a premium cinema experience," added Anthony Marcoly, president, Paramount Pictures International. "RealD’s new initiative ... delivers the ever-increasing quality expected in the evolving PLF (Premium Large Format) market for premium viewing of 2D and 3D content alike."
“LUXE comes in response to our exhibitor customers, who are seeing increasing demand for premium cinema offerings but really want a single identifiable brand that will be a guarantee of quality to their customers,“ Robert Mayson, managing director of RealD Europe told The Hollywood Reporter. According to Mayson, the technical standards, which include wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling screens of at least 16 meters (52.5 feet) in width; 3D sound; auditorium rakes and a screen brightness for 3D projections about twice the current norm, means LUXE will be an elite standard. "We are talking about the top five percent of cinemas; there will be many theaters that won't have the capacity or the physical dimensions to qualify," he said.
Paul Heth, CEO of Karo Film, a leading cinema chain in Russia, said he planned to install multiple LUXE auditoriums across his circuit. “Audiences that are paying premium prices deserve a premium experience," he said, adding that he would use the LUXE branding to "further segment and improve our 2D and 3D premium offering."
Heth echoes many European exhibitors in his call for a universal standard for premium cinemas, a seal of quality that can be used to differentiate luxury film theaters from their lower-cost competitors and help justify the former's higher ticket prices.
RealD plans to roll out the new LUXE initiative in Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Africa. Europe, in particular, has seen strong growth in the premium segment of the cinema market.