U.K.'s Apollo Cinemas, Sony Digital Cinema Team for 3D Alternative Content


LONDON – U.K. independent chain Apollo Cinemas is partnering with Sony Digital Cinema "to offer sports, opera, live music and more in stunning 3D" using Sony's 4K tech specs across its estate.

The plan, hatched by the partners, is for Apollo to deploy 4K projectors and launch a campaign to attract punters to shows such as screenings of Carmen in 3D or to repeat showcases like the one earlier this month which saw Avril Lavigne launch her new album with a Q&A and 3D video screening for fans.

Named MORE, the Apollo campaign will include partners like The Royal Opera House, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the English National Opera as well as boxing, soccer and basketball and live music festivals, gigs and concerts beamed in via satellite.

The argument from exhibitors looking to offset the costs of expensive installations has always been that alternative content can be programmed at different times to the traditional movie show times.

Sony will be hoping this is true with Battle: Los Angeles, Priest 3D, The Roommate and a James Bond installment all featuring on a busy theatrical distribution release slate this year.

Apollo told The Hollywood Reporter the alternative programming would be built around the regular movie scheduling and not clash with the traditional role of the movie theater.

Sony Professional Solutions director David McIntosh said: "This exciting partnership clearly demonstrates Sony Digital Cinema's commitment to the long-term success of the industry, heralding the next generation of 4K digital cinema experience. It enables Apollo to capitalize on the enormous opportunities that digital cinema offers to strengthen and sustain their business, as well as to revolutionize the movie-going experience for its customers."

Apollo Cinemas marketing manager Nicole Oakley said: "The Sony 4K technology provides outstanding image and sound quality, and enables us to extend our programming to alternative content, delivering new and exciting experiences for our existing and future customers."

For consumers such high-end technology comes at a cost and a change in the traditional pricing models for the alternative content offerings.

A spokesperson for the chain said that for pre-recorded 3D experiences the full price is set at £15 ($24) while for live 3D experiences, the cost will be £18 ($29). This compares to a top price of £13.30 ($21.50) at the chain's flagship London west end location while just shy of $9 is the average ticket price in the U.K. for a trip to the cinema.

Apollo is the U.K.'s largest independent chain and the sixth largest cinema operator with 83 screens across 14 cinema locations. It has a further 32 screens and three cinemas in development. By mid-summer it pledges that all its screens will be fully equipped with Sony 4K digital projectors, RealD 3D and Arqiva satellites.

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