James Cameron's Lightstorm, Projector-Maker Christie Renew Pact for 'Avatar' Sequels

As part of the pact, Christie will equip Lightstorm with the first of a new RGB laser projection series now in development.

With an eye toward advancing cinema and providing the best possible presentation of the four planned Avatar sequels, James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment has renewed a five-year tech agreement with projector maker Christie.

As part of the pact, Christie will equip Lightstorm with the first of a new RGB laser projection series now in development — one that Christie expects will be more efficient than current systems.

Lightstorm also will have access to the Christie Mirage 4KLH RGB laser projection system — the model that Ang Lee employed on Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk — as it is uniquely capable of handling 3D, 4K resolution at a high frame rate (HFR) of 120 frames a second. Conversely, Lightstorm will share with Christie its own findings into 3D, HFR and high-dynamic range (HDR), as well as formatting and color space requirements, aiding Christie in continued development.

Cameron has long said he wants to make his sequels to 2009's Avatar — which grossed $2.7 billion at the global box office — in 3D and incorporate the use of high frame rates. Accepting an award from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers last fall, he said of making the sequels: "I'm going to push. Not only for better tools, workflow, high dynamic range and high frame rates — the things we are working toward. I'm still very bullish on 3D, but we need brighter projection, and ultimately I think it can happen — with no glasses. We'll get there."

Of the deal with Christie, Cameron said in a statement: "To push the boundary of digital cinema, one needs visionary, like-minded collaborators and that description fits Christie to a tee. ... Several years ago we began our relationship, which has worked well, so I'm pleased to be forging ahead again with Christie at my side."

Added Avatar producer Jon Landau: "Just as we push innovation with our productions, Christie is continually pushing innovation with their projection technology. Its advances in HDR development, epitomized by the co-development of the Dolby Vision projection solution with Dolby, means better in-theater experiences."

The news of the Lightstorm/Christie deal comes as CinemaCon nears its close. Fox, the studio that will release the Avatar sequels, makes its slate presentation to theater owners Thursday morning.

Said Jack Kline, chairman, president and CEO of all of Christie’s operating companies, worldwide: "In addition to the latest in projection technologies, Christie is fully committed to sharing our ongoing research and development efforts, including product roadmaps, with our co-visionary, Lightstorm, so that its productions will repeat the awe-inspiring success of Avatar in the years to come."

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