news digest


Christie tops 3,000 d-cinema systems

Christie said that it has installed more than 3,000 digital-cinema systems worldwide. More than 2,600 systems are deployed throughout the U.S. as part of the AccessIT software and funding vehicle introduced in 2005. The company reported that nearly 80% of all digital-cinema installations are using Christie DLP Cinema projectors, and Christie is on target to surpass 4,000 installations by year's end.

'Beowulf' will battle day-date on Imax

TORONTO — "Beowulf," Robert Zemeckis' adaptation of the ninth century English epic poem, will screen in Imax theaters as a digitally remastered 3-D movie beginning Nov. 16. Toronto-based Imax said Friday that it will partner with Paramount Pictures, Shangri-La Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures to show a supersize version of the battle between the warrior Beowulf and the monster Grendel day-and-date with its theatrical release in conventional 35mm theaters. "Beowulf" also will screen in 3-D on about 1,000 Real D large-format screens, Real D chairman and CEO Michael Lewis said.

Fla. union contracts worry filmworkers

A dispute between a Teamsters local and producers of an intended feature shoot in Orlando reportedly could send the projects to other locations. The Orlando Business Journal says disagreements over pay rates and work assignments are affecting plans to shoot HBO Films' "Recount 2000" locally. The newspaper said producers of the Sydney Pollack-directed project now are considering Jacksonville, Fla., Atlanta or Louisiana as alternative sites.

Cora, Frank researching for CBS TV Distrib'n

John Cora and Kym Frank have been named vps research at CBS Television Distribution, reporting to senior vp research Dawn Abel. Cora will oversee all research functions in the Los Angeles office, while Frank, based in Short Hills, N.J., will manage East Coast research efforts. Cora was research director at the NFL Network and before that was director of research at CBS. Frank was research director at King World Prods., which she joined in 1997.

Giveaway of Prince album irks retailers

LONDON — Sony BMG U.K. will not handle Prince's upcoming album after a national British newspaper struck a deal to give the album away before its release in stores. Columbia in the U.S. recently struck a worldwide deal, understood to cover just the one future Prince album release, "Planet Earth." The major's U.K. division had sought, and has now achieved, an exemption from the terms of that deal, a spokesman for Sony BMG said. "The Prince album will not be released in the U.K.," the spokesman said. "It's a one-off situation." The development is a response to a deal the Mail on Sunday is understood to have struck that will see the 10-track album distributed as a "covermount" with an unspecified edition of the newspaper. The U.S. release date for the album is July 24; its international release date is July 16. Columbia released Prince's 2004 disc, "Musicology."

Babbit on MRB's directing roster

Award-winning film and television director Jamie Babbit has joined MRB Prods.' roster of directors. Babbit is the first female helmer tapped by MRB Prods., which specializes in commercials, independent features, television shows and television specials. She recently won best in competition at the South by Southwest Film Festival for her latest feature, "Itty Bitty Titty Committee." Her television credits include FX's "Nip/Tuck" and ABC's "Ugly Betty."
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