Dodd, Berg address gathering in Amsterdam
CineEurope shifted into gear on Tuesday with Universal’s presentation of upcoming pics, including “Battleship,” and MPAA topper Chris Dodd’s first address to the European industry.U brought in director Peter Berg to present footage of the sci-fi epic, which stars Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgard and Rihanna. Berg thanked the U.S. and Japanese navies, which he said had given the filmmakers a rare look at their seafaring destroyers. Berg also praised his cast, particular Kitsch, who he said was “poised to become one of the biggest young film stars.” U’s showcase also included trailers and footage of its upcoming “The Thing” prequel; Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington thriller “Safe House”; “The Change-Up,” which co-stars Reynolds and Jason Bateman (described as “the first R-rated body-swap comedy”); and “Tower Heist,” with Alan Alda, Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy and Matthew Broderick. Meanwhile, Sony, which will host its own presentation of releases and cutting-edge digital products today, is seeing brisk business with its 4K projection system. Sony Digital Cinema has 8,800 installations globally and more than 13,000 commitments worldwide. With the international digital cinema rollout well on its way, Sony is looking to excite exhibs with its 4K systems. “What we’re trying to do is give everyone an understanding of the really wide offering that Sony can bring to the exhibition industry,” said David McIntosh, director of Sony’s Digital Cinema in Europe. “We’re really keen to be part of the digital entertainment experience because that’s Sony’s core business and for us it’s as much about content as it is about 4K projection or the theatrical ground that we’re involved in with our systems.” So far, 47% of all 3D screens in the U.S. are Sony Digital Cinema 4K. A third of U.K. screens will be Sony 4K following pacts with Vue Entertainment, Showcase, Apollo and Everyman Cinema.In Germany, Cinemaxx, which operates 292 screens in 34 complexes, began upgrading to 4K last year and has some 100 Sony projectors. Sony has also expanded financing options for small and medium-sized exhibs with a new incentive that allows theaters to own their own digital cinema equipment and reduce their costs by participating in Sony’s virtual print fee (VPF) program with major Hollywood studios. Sony sees growing opportunities with the new technology as demand for alternative content in cinemas grow. This year, for the first time, the Wimbledon tennis finals are being filmed in 3D and screened live in high-definition 3D to cinemas around the world. Exhibs, faced with growing competition from state-of-the-art home cinema systems, games and mobile gadgets, are more eager than ever before to find new ways to attract auds. Despite record international box office grosses in recent years, the industry is worried about the increasing range of competing entertainment options plus piracy. In his address, MPAA chief Dodd said piracy was theft representing a “threat to your cinemas, your businesses, your employees, your customers, the global film industry, our studios, and everyone else who is part of the film profession and business.” The industry is listening … and watching. CineEurope introduced new security measures and a taste of what movie auds may soon expect at their cinemas: the PirateEye camcorder and cell phone lens detection system, which can spot, photograph and notify security of audience members operating digital video recording devices.How moviegoers react to such surveillance practices remains to be seen.