Sony releases the Hot Ticket

Biz unit will distribute to digital cinema theaters

Sony Pictures Releasing has launched a business unit, the Hot Ticket, which will distribute event programming such as theater shows, concerts and sports to digital cinema theaters in the U.S. and Canada.

With the emergence of digital cinema, the exhibition community has demonstrated interest in alternative content, which is viewed as an opportunity to fill theaters during non-peak times, and in some cases, charge a premium.

Other studios have ventured into alternative content, but this dedicated business unit is unique.

"As theatrical distribution becomes more digital, we wanted to be a part of it in the content aspect. We felt like we had the infrastructure to provide alternative content," said SPR president Rory Bruer, who will oversee the unit.

"Our mandate will be to identify the one-of-a-kind and sold-out events that people around the country most want to see, and we will work to present them to audiences everywhere."

The Hot Ticket will launch with Cirque du Soleil's "Delirium" in August, followed by Broadway's "Rent" in September.

Further out, he plans to explore numerous options. "I definitely think there is one project that we are looking at that would be 3-D," he said. "I presume at some point, live events." Tapping into other Sony units is also a possibility.

The Hot Ticket is now planning content to offer theaters to run during weekdays or off- hours. Distribution will be handled as would theatrical features, except this will be one-offs.

Bruer said content will be released on a minimum of 2K resolution for the digital systems.
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