AMC, Dolby Launch Premium Cinema Brand

AMC Fresh Meadows - H
Courtesy AMC Theaters

With an eye on growing premium large format business, AMC Theatres and Dolby Laboratories are teaming up to launch Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime.

The new brand combines the features of AMC Prime, AMC’s premium large format theater brand that offers power reclining seats that vibrate with the action on screen; and Dolby Cinema, Dolby’s new theatrical system that uses laser projection to produce images with high dynamic range and a wide color gamut, as well as the Dolby Atmos immersive sound system.

By mid-May 2015, AMC expects to have fully installed Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime in up to four AMC locations in major cities -- including the AMC Burbank in Los Angeles, and AMC locations in Atlanta, Kansus City and Houston -- and expand to at least eight locations in June. The company hopes to have at least 15 installations by the end of 2015, up to 50 locations by December 2018, and up to 100 by December 2024. This will include installations in San Francisco, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Miami, Boston, Denver, and Seattle.

Plans include upgrading all AMC Prime locations to Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime, and also upgrade AMC's premium ETX line.

AMC intends to keep the AMC Prime pricing, a premium of roughly $4-6 over its standard auditoriums, according to John McDonald, executive vp, U.S. and Canada operations at AMC. The chain of course also offers Imax auditoriums, and for entertainment complexes that offer both an Imax screen and Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime auditorium, it plans to, at least initially, use the same price for both, McDonald added.

Dolby unwrapped its Dolby Cinema plan in 2014 with the first installations via JT Cinemas in the Netherlands. This AMC deal is the first announced U.S. installation plan.

While the companies didn't provide a great deal of detail about the business agreement, they said AMC would license the Dolby technology, which Dolby would provide. And AMC will cover the design and installation of the auditoriums.