ShoWest floor filled with tech treats

Recession played a role in the confab's usual giveaways

LAS VEGAS -- The Coca-Cola booth on ShoWest's trade show floor always hands out big shopping-sized bags, which theater operators checking out the displays like to stuff with candy and popcorn samples.

But the recession has had some obvious effect on concession companies. Rather than giving away full boxes of Sour Patch Kids, candy vendor AICP was passing out individually wrapped pieces of the tart treat.

Fortunately, there were plenty of tech and hardware vendors supplementing the pitches of food and beverage companies on the exhibition confab's large trade show floor this week. Companies hawking 3D glasses were much in evidence, along with vendors of audio and projection equipment, theater seats and popcorn machines.

The huge Sony Electronics booth seemed to draw lots of interest in its 4K digital projectors.

"Traffic has been reacting very enthusiastically," Sony rep Andrew Stucker said. "The show has been very good."

Advanced Graphics of Layton, Utah, staffed a booth full of colorful celebrity standees. Theater operators perused a large catalog of cardboard celebs for possible use in their lobbies, but there were some clear favorites among the offerings.

"Right now, it would have to be Jacob (Taylor Lautner) from 'Twilight,' Elvis or Johnny Depp," company rep Michael Salazar explained. "Anything with Johnny Depp is really popular."

Montreal-based D-Box -- which markets theater seats designed to rock and shake in synchronization with movies' action scenes -- was doing brisk business with its product demos, a fixture at recent exhibition confabs.

D-Box announced this week that Disney's "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" and Warner Bros.' "Clash of the Titans" will feature D-Box action when the pics hit theaters on May 28 and April 2, respectively. D-Box seats are featured in 20 theaters in the U.S. and Canada and one in Nagoya, Japan.

Elsewhere at ShoWest on Wednesday, Jaden Smith -- who stars with Jackie Chan in Sony's upcoming "The Karate Kid" -- was honored as ShoWest 2010's "breakthrough male star" before a screening of the pic. Later, Lionsgate screened summer release "Kick-Ass."

ShoWest concludes its four-day run at the Paris and Bally's hotels Thursday.