CinemaCon: Barco Inks Five-Year, Multi-Title Deal With Fox To Release Films for Cinerama-like Escape

Maze Runner Film Still - H 2014

Maze Runner Film Still - H 2014

Barco and 20th Century Fox have inked a five-year, multi-title per year agreement to release movies in Barco’s Cinerama-like Barco Escape format. As part of the agreement, a Barco Escape setup will be installed in one of the theaters (yet to be selected) on the Fox studio lot.

Fox will be working with its filmmakers to produce new projects for the format, beginning with the Sept. 18 release of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, which, as previously reported in The Hollywood Reporter, will contain roughly 20 minutes formatted for the Escape tri-screen setup. Escape puts images on screens in the front and on each of the side walls in an auditorium for a panoramic display (the remainder of the film will only use the front screen).

Barco introduced the Escape system to theater owners a year ago at CinemaCon. It debuted commercially with roughly 10 minutes of Fox's Maze Runner shown in the format, at five Barco Escape Cinemark theaters in the U.S. and two Kinepolis theaters in Belgium. For The Scorch Trials, Barco is targeting 25 locations as Fox aims to convert approximately 20 minutes. For future titles, Fox will determine how many minutes will play in the Escape format.

The system is "out of the experimental stage" and is now DCI compliant, meaning that it supports the studios’ digital cinema specification, according to Barco’s ‘cinemavangelist’ Ted Schilowitz, who is also Fox’s futurist.

“We started working with Barco on this technology because we believe immersive experiences are the future of cinema,” said Chris Aronson, 20th Century Fox’s president of domestic distribution. “Now that Barco has upgraded its Barco Escape systems to be fully DCI compliant, we are further interested in finding tentpole movies for the format that will inspire audiences to leave their homes and go to the theater to share in this unique experience.”

“20th Century Fox has been an incredible partner for Barco Escape from the very beginning,” said Todd Hoddick, Barco’s vp, global entertainment. “We are thrilled to extend our relationship with the studio and its filmmakers.”

Last week, Jerry Bruckheimer Productions announced a deal to create content for Barco Escape, and said that Bruckheimer would join the system's advisory board.

Also coming to Barco Escape theaters later in the year is a special performance program featuring Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. And experimentation has started with cinema gaming.

At CinemaCon, Barco is demonstrating the Escape system, along with a new line of laser-illuminated projectors (ranging in price from $165,000-$300,000) and an immersive sound system, Auro 11.1.