Carmike keeps it Real D times 500

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Real D's goal to install 1,000 3-D screens by the end of next year got one step closer Wednesday. The 3-D technology provider said Carmike Cinema has committed to install 500 Real D screens, with 200 screens to be deployed by March, in time for Buena Vista Pictures' "Meet the Robinsons."

Atlanta-based Carmike's agreement brings Real D's committed screen count to 850 worldwide. The company received a significant bump after Buena Vista's 3-D reissue of "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas" caught fire with audiences in October, grossing more than $8 million in 168 theaters.

"I'm thrilled by this, and I'm hopeful that this is just the beginning of some expansion of the Real D locations," Buena Vista distribution president Chuck Viane said. "On a financial basis, it's really going to help us on 'Meet the Robinsons,' which I hope will be further expanded in October when we reissue 'Nightmare Before Christmas.' The dawning of the 3-D world is just about to happen."

Beyond the Walt Disney Co.'s commitment to Real D, which included 2005's "Chicken Little," Sony Pictures has embraced the format with its release of the animated "Monster House" this year and Paramount's upcoming Robert Zemeckis film "Beowulf."

"We are excited to finalize this agreement with Carmike and appreciate their vision regarding the future of exhibition," Real D chairman Michael Lewis said. "With this agreement, we are guaranteed to reach our 1,000th screen in 2007."

Carmike has 1,000 digital systems throughout its circuit thanks to its relationship with digital cinema provider Access IT. The theater chain already has installed 19 Real D 3-D screens. The remaining 300 Real D screens Carmike committed to will be installed by the end of next year.

"The ability to bring moviegoers this revolutionary 3-D format is an exciting advance and gives us the ability to provide differentiated content," Carmike chairman, president and CEO Michael Patrick said. "Real D is delivering what moviegoers want and demand: Quality films in unique and immersive formats."
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