Walt Disney, AAM ink digital cinema deal


MUMBAI: Walt Disney Studios International and Arts Alliance Media, one of Europe’s providers of digital film distribution services, have reached a non-exclusive long-term agreement for digital cinema rollout across Europe. 
Disney is the latest studio to support the AAM DCI-compliant rollout. Under the terms of the agreement, Disney will supply European exhibitors with its feature films in digital format and will make provisional contributions towards the digital cinema hardware costs of AAM-deployed DCI-compliant screens.
AAM is the only company in Europe to have signed long term digital cinema deployment agreements with Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures International, Paramount Pictures International and Sony Pictures Releasing International. These agreements cover the conversion of up to 7,000 screens over the next few years.
In November 2007, the first European cinema chain, CGR Cinemas in France, signed up with AAM to convert 100 per cent of its 400 screens to digital. AAM is currently creating a fully integrated DCI-compliant digital cinema network within the CGR Cinémas infrastructure. This network includes digital cinema systems, including projectors including projectors and servers, central storage servers and a Theatre Management System. 
Widespread commercial digital cinema rollout across Europe will enable exhibitors, distributors and the entertainment industry at large to reap the substantial benefits of digital cinema: consistently high quality non-degradable prints, new programming opportunities – alternative content and premium ticket shows, notably 3D films and live satellite events (opera, concerts, sports, etc), as well as vastly reduced print production and logistics costs.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International president of sales and distribution Anthony Marcoly stated, “We are pleased to join forces with AAM in the rollout of digital cinema throughout the European marketplace. Not only do we release all our films in the digital format, Disney is also the number one provider of digital 3D motion pictures. Most recently we’ve had a record breaking opening weekend in the U.S. with the Disney Digital 3D release of Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus : Best of Both Worlds Concert.  We’re delighted that audiences everywhere will soon be able to see movies like they’ve never seen before.”
AAM chief executive officer Howard Kiedaisch said, “We are very excited to add Disney to our group of studios as they continue to demonstrate their leadership role in the digital field. This is great news for European exhibitors and we look forward to more innovative cinema circuits joining up to our distributor-supported rollout plan.”
AAM director of digital cinema Fiona Deans added, “Disney are leaders in delivering the finest quality filmed entertainment to cinema audiences and we are delighted to have their support and commitment.”
AAM completed the UK Film Council digital cinema rollout of 240 screens on 30 April 2007, known as the Digital Screen Network. The company is also participating in two digital cinema trials in Europe, one in the UK at the Odeon Surrey Quays multiplex, since February 2007, and the other in Norway, in various cinemas across the country, since April 2006. To date, AAM’s in-house digital cinema lab has encoded over 200 digital cinema titles and shipped over 4000 digital prints.  
AAM is in active negotiations for further digital cinema deployment agreements with other major distributors and exhibitors and announcements are expected shortly.