Tuesday March 31st, 2009: Las Vegas, Nevada.
Scrabble Entertainment executives in Las Vegas for the annual theatrical convention, ShoWest, today announced that they will partner with five of the six major Hollywood film studios to deploy up to digital cinema screens to India. Scrabble has signed non exclusive agreements with Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros, Walt Disney Studios and Paramount Pictures and is finalizing a contract with Universal Pictures. These agreements become effective tomorrow, April 1st, 2009. The presence of digital screens will make it easier for film fans in India to enjoy more movies in 3-D which is fast becoming a popular medium through which to view films.
India has had a long and rich history of filmmaking with over 1,000 films made each year. With the new multiplexes built in India over the last three to four years, there is an increasing opportunity for Hollywood studios to increase their product volume of 2D and 3D films and overall presence in India. Converting conventional 35mm film projectors to digital projection systems is expected to facilitate increased efficiency and lower distribution costs thereby providing the opportunity to significantly increase both the number of movies released and the breadth of each release within India.
Scrabble Entertainment is currently India’s only 2K DCI-compliant deploying entity. Scrabble has installed 80 screens to date within the metro cities of India and will install over 500 screens over the next 3 years in more than 100 multiplexes mostly in the top 8 cities of India. All the large exhibition circuits in India including PVR Cinemas, Fame India Limited, Inox Leisure and Fun Cinemas have signed up with Scrabble for the installation of these digital systems. Prior to Scrabble, India was a market dominated by 1.3” DMD chip (or e-cinema) projectors which are not DCI compliant.
The deployment agreements are based upon the VPF model, essentially a pay per use or booking model. The Hollywood Studios will get an opportunity to have wider day and date releases in India at a much lower cost, and the digital platform will allow the studios to showcase their 3D titles. The Studios can additionally use this platform for playing alternate content. These are some of the benefits that are expected to be realized through Scrabble’s deployment plans.
Another core advantage of the mass deployment by Scrabble is an expected significant reduction of piracy because DCI compliant systems are protected through sophisticated security and encryption technologies. The Indian market for Hollywood films is expected to increase and this will translate into higher box office collections for Hollywood Films in India. Currently, all the multiplexes in the 8 top cities of India collect over 75% of the total Indian boxoffice collection.
Hollywood contributes less than 10% of that collection. Industry experts feel that there is potential for Hollywood to be over 20% of the Indian market and certainly going digital with more day and date releases is one of the ways for them to get there.
Christie worked with Scrabble Entertainment (SEPL) and successfully rolled out the massive digital cinema plan by already supplying 200 Christie DLP Cinema® projectors for India’s largest single digital cinema deployment. This historic roll-out brought the digital cinema revolution to India.
Most importantly, Indian consumers and patrons will benefit by the enhanced digital viewing experience both in 2D and 3D and a range of alternative content exhibition.
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Mr. Ranjit Thakur, CEO, Scrabble Entertainment, said: “ Scrabble has been a dream come true for me. The ultimate beneficiary of our Hollywood alliances will be the Indian movie audience. India will finally see more Hollywood day and date releases , generally wider releases and most importantly all the awesome 3D content which would not be possible without the Scrabble digital platform. Our vision is to convert every multiplex in India which has a potential to screen Hollywood content to DCI compliant 2K or 4K Systems. ”
Julian Levin, Executive Vice President, Digital Exhibition, Twentieth Century Fox said: “We are thrilled to have reached agreement with Scrabble. Fox intends to fully support Scrabble’s deployment of DCI compliant digital projection systems in India and will provide its movies, in 2D and 3D, to their digital projection systems under the terms of our agreement with Scrabble. Most importantly, Indian movie goers will be the ultimate beneficiaries and will enjoy a significantly enhanced viewing experience through digital exhibition. We look forward to working with our friends at Scrabble throughout this exciting transition in India.”
Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, President, International Distribution, from Warner Brothers said: “ The agreement with Scrabble marks a significant milestone for Warner Bros.’ wide array of films in India, including the commitment to supply high quality local productions that moviegoers will now be able to enjoy on DCI compliant digital projection systems. India holds promising growth for Warner Bros. films, and Scrabble’s digital distribution network should facilitate the expansion of the theatrical industry further.”
Anthony Marcoly, President of Sales and Distribution for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International, said: “Digital cinema represents the absolute best and most enjoyable way to experience motion pictures, and we’re excited to be working with Scrabble Entertainment as they expand the number of theaters capable of exhibiting films digitally. This is great news for moviegoers and provides Disney and the other Studios the ability to release films in the highest quality digital format. We’re especially delighted that with our 17 digital 3D titles already in the pipeline, audiences are in for some amazing new entertainment in the very near future.”
Roger Pollock, Executive Vice President, International Distribution & Operations , from Paramount Studios, said: “Paramount Pictures International Digital agreement with Scrabble is an important marker to enable the deployment of DCI compliant digital projection systems throughout India. Hollywood has until now had limited access to the vast distribution infrastructure in India, and this agreement presents PPI with a digital distribution platform for more day/date releases as well as an opportunity to accelerate Hollywood’s contribution to the total theatrical market in India.”