Digital cinema unit to be launched by Sony Pictures soon


LOS ANGELES – Sony motion pictures and studios announced their expansion plans on Wednesday for a new digital cinema unit. It will bring filmed appearance of Broadway shows, rock concerts and sports events to predominantly organize movie theaters nation wide.

The new project, named the Hot Ticket, will take off in August 2008 with a presentation of the concluding staging of the music and dance diversity “Delirium” from Cirque du Soleil that closed its universal tour in London in April.

In September, the final presentation in the 12 year Broadway run of the hit musical “Rent” will be presented.

“Our mandate will be to identify the one-of-a-kind, and sold-out events that people around the country most want to see … and present them to audiences everywhere,” Sony distribution stated.

The new Sony business is capitalizing on a sweeping improve of movie houses being undertaken by major theater chains and studios to bring high-tech digital projection technology to thousands more screens in the US and Canada.

Sony Corp is barely alone in bringing such non-movie entertainment to a theater near you, but it is believed to be the first main studio to make a separate unit dedicated to such content.

“We’re excited to be on the ground of floor of what is going to be a new business for movie theaters,” Bruer told Reuters.

About 5,000 of almost 39,000 U.S. cinema screens are by now digitally equipped, and that number is anticipated to scale up progressively, said John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners.

He called Sony’s move a “confirmation that everyone in the movie industry envisions the cinema as a growing entertainment destination for a variety of products.”

“It’s significant that Sony recognizes the potential for alternative content in cinemas by creating a separate unit,” he added.

Concert films have long been popular offerings at the multiplex, and the Walt Disney Co. scored a box-office bonanza with its recent 3-D release “Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert.”

National Amusements, the controlling shareholder in Viacom Inc., has been screening high-def broadcasts of select Boston Red Sox baseball games in its Showcase Cinemas in New England since 2003.