Showeast 2012: Cinemark CEO Tim Warner: 'Dimension in Sound' Is Industry's Next Step

Tim Warner Cinemark CEO - P 2012
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Tim Warner Cinemark CEO - P 2012

The executive says his business is testing Dolby Atmos and Barco’s Auro 11.1.

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. — Tim Warner, president and CEO of Cinemark Holdings, outlined opportunities including immersive sound, high frame rates and alternative content on Monday during his International Day keynote at Showeast, which runs through Thursday at the Westin Dipomat.

Calling the international market the industry's "growth engine," he reported that in 2011 the domestic box office reached $10.1 billion while the international market totaled $22.4 billion.

On the potential of digital technology, Warner said: "35mm served our industry well for 100 years but it was limiting and costly. Getting to digital was key to opening up a lot of opportunities."

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For one thing, it enables digital sound. Pointing to new sound systems from Dolby (Atmos) and Barco (Auro 11.1), Warner said: "We are testing Atmos and Auro. I don't know which one finally moves forward but I think the next step for the industry is the next dimension in sound."

He also expects to see implementation of high frame rate projection at 48 frames per second or possibly 60 fps. "I first saw Showscan [a film-based high frame rate projection system developed by Douglas Trumbull] 15-20 years ago. It probably doubled the cost [of prints, due to the extra frames]. That [high frame rate] technology has been sitting there for years. We are going to unlock it with digital. That is going to offer a premium experience."

Warner also pointed to the opportunity to fulfill the promise of alternative content through satellite delivery of content. Noting that the Digital Content Distribution Coalition network is being put together and will be open to all exhibitors and content providers, he said this "superhighway" could help to lower distribution costs while unlocking the potential of alternative content.

The modern stadium multiplex is "key to our growth," Warner said, adding that this model still needs to be developed in many international markets.