The studio consortium on digital cinema has officially confirmed Chuck Goldwater as its first CEO (Daily Variety, June 10) after finalizing a two-year contract with the veteran exhib exec.
Operating under a temporary name of Newco Digital Cinema, the group has been meeting for about 18 months to discuss technical and other issues related to digital cinema.
The CEO’s hiring is considered a watershed move in assuring continued momentum for consortium activities, and the NDC is close to announcing an inaugural chief technical officer for the venture, as well. Walt Ordway, a former Hughes Electronics exec and longtime engineering vet, is believed to have recently accepted the post.
“(Goldwater) brings with him a wealth of distribution and exhibition experience, as well as an excellent understanding of digital cinema,” the consortium said in a statement. “He will provide a great sense of clarity and creative thinking to address the issues associated with d-cinema.”
Financial terms of new CEO’s hiring weren’t disclosed. Consortium members include Fox, Disney, MGM, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros.
Until recently, Goldwater was chief exec of New Jersey-based exhib Clearview Cinemas. He previously was prexy of Burbank ride-simulation and giant-screen exhib Iwerks and before that held high-ranking posts at the Mann and Loews circuits.
“I am thrilled to join NDC and look forward to working with the studios, technology and manufacturing companies, the exhibition community, international groups and others,” Goldwater said.
New chief’s first mission is to supervise NDC efforts at creating a uniform set of engineering standards for d-cinema. After the process — which execs say could take up to two years — it’s expected the group may discuss ways of helping exhibs fund the rollout of digital distribution and projection technology.
“I’m delighted that Chuck accepted the position to lead the studio venture in designing a digital cinema architecture,” said 20th Century Fox digital cinema prexy Julian Levin, who serves as NDC chairman. “Chuck’s very strong business and exhibition background will enhance the venture’s interaction with exhibition, technology (companies) and other parties.”
National Assn. of Theater Owners prexy John Fithian, who has cautioned against an overly quick rollout of digital systems without prior planning for technical and other issues, said Wednesday that NATO members “are encouraged by the sense of cooperation and partnership between Newco and exhibition.”
Added Fithian. “We look forward to helping the venture in any way we can (and) to working with Chuck and his team.”