June 26, 2013 10:37am PT by Carolyn Giardina
RealD's LUXE: 'Will Exhibitors Be Willing to Walk Away From Their Own Brand?'
Speaking of RealD’s announced plans to ask all exhibitors to brand their Premium Large Format theaters as “LUXE: A RealD Experience,” Dolby’s senior worldwide technical marketing manager Stuart Bowling told The Hollywood Reporter: “It will be interesting to see how exhibition reacts. … Will they be willing to walk away from their own brands? Because obviously they have invested a lot in building these brands.”
I heard this point raised by several other delegates as well this week at CineEurope, where RealD revealed plans to “unify” the PLF market, which RealD president of worldwide cinema Joseph Peixoto described as an “alphabet soup of brands.” In additional to Imax, numerous exhibitors have already launched their own PLF brand, such as Cinemark’s Cinemark XD and Regal’s RPF (Regal Premium Experience).
“Small theater owners would be interested in a strong [PLF] brand, more so than large theaters that already have brands and have invested money in development of the brands," Michael Karagosian, president of MKPE Consulting, told THR. "If [LUXE] grows in a disruptive manner, it would be more interesting to bigger theaters.”
LUXE is scheduled to launch first in Europe before expanding to other territories. RealD revealed that Bulgaria’s Arena Cinema plans to use LUXE initially in seven auditoriums and grow that number to 13 in the next year or so. Karo Film in Russia “anticipates installing multiple” LUXE auditoriums, according to the RealD announcement.
To be branded as a “LUXE” theater, an auditorium must meet technical requirements set by ReadD. That includes use of a RealD 3D system, effectively shutting out the 3D systems made by Dolby, as well as Xpand and Master Image.
A LUXE theater also requires a floor-to-ceiling screen of at least 16 meters (52.2 feet) in width. A RealD exec told THR that the company is recommending its new “Precision White Screen” (which it describes as combining elements of a white screen and silver screen), though it could use any silver screen.
The exec also said that any 2K or 4K DLP Cinema projector (meaning Barco, Christie or NEC) could be used; and sound should be a minimum of 7.1 surround, which therefore could include Dolby Atmos or Barco Auro 11.1.
This week at CineEurope, theater demos include Dolby Atmos, Barco's Auro and RealD's Precision White Screen.