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Studios Set Tentpoles for Dolby Cinema Premium Format

Upcoming "Hunger Games" and "Mission Impossible" pics get high-end treatment

The theatrical moviegoing experience may be losing ground to ever-improving TVs and home theaters, but the major studios are starting to fight back — by supporting another premium format.

Sony, Paramount, Universal and Lionsgate have all set films that will be released in the premium Dolby Cinema format, Dolby announced today.

The Dolby Cinema titles just announced are Sony’s ” “Pixels”; Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation”; Universal’s “Everest”; and Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2.” Fox, too, will release titles in the format, but will announce them “soon,” according to Dolby.

“We are excited for our films to be shown in Dolby Cinemas across the globe and look forward to announcing our upcoming slate to be graded in Dolby Vision,” said Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution, Twentieth Century Fox. “Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos will allow our audiences to further enjoy their cinematic experiences, propelling moviemaking to the next level.”

The first Dolby Cinema releases were earlier this year: Disney’s “Tomorrowland” and Warner’s “San Andreas.” Disney-Pixar also released “Inside Out” in the format, and Disney has previously announced that “The Jungle Book” will be released in the format next year.

Dolby Cinema combines the premium Dolby Atmos sound system with the new high dynamic range Dolby Vision format, which delivers brighter images and truer colors. Proper Dolby Cinema facilities also have a specialized theater design with custom acoustics.

The extra brightness of Dolby Vision also improves the 3D experience for stereoscopic shows, and Dolby Atmos has been called a “3D audio” format for its ability to move sounds around the theater and place them in space. However, those higher light levels require a separate color grading pass in post-production and another digital master for distribution.

Though it doesn’t require extra-large screens, the Dolby Cinema package is one of the emerging premium formats aiming for the premium niche currently dominated by Imax.

Few locations yet offer Dolby Cinema, but AMC Theaters is offering it in their AMC Prime theaters, and two European exhibitors recently announced plans to install it: JT Cinemas in the Netherlands, and Cineplexx, which will launch Dolby Cinema in Austria.

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