Digital Cinema May Be Coming to a Theater Near You

Last week, The Walt Disney Company and Texas Instruments announced that DLP Cinema technology will be featured in an all-digital showing of Disney/Pixar's new computer-animated film, Toy Story 2, at six locations in North America. According to the companies, Toy Story 2 will be the first major studio feature to be released simultaneously in both digital and traditional film formats.

The digital showings will commence in six locations: in California, at the Disney El Capitan in Hollywood, the Edwards Spectrum in Irvine, the AMC Media Center 8 in Burbank, and the AMC 1000 Van Ness in San Francisco; in Florida, at the AMC Pleasure Island 24 in Orlando; and in Texas, at the Cinemark at Legacy in Plano. The all-digital showings of Toy Story 2 will open at the Disney El Capitan on November 19, and at the other locations beginning November 24.

The companies say that DLP Cinema projection technology will also be installed at six additional locations, which will feature all-digital showings of Bicentennial Man, opening December 17. The exhibitors participating will be: in Kansas, the AMC Studio 24 in Kansas City; in Illinois, the AMC South Barrington 30 in Chicago; in Ohio, the Cinemark at Valley View in Cleveland; in Arizona, the Harkins Arizona Mills in Phoenix; and in Canada, the Famous Players Paramount in Toronto and the Famous Players Riverport in Vancouver.

Disney also announced plans for digital releases of Mission to Mars (March) and Dinosaur (May) at all 12 locations. It is planned that the 12 DLP Cinema locations will also feature all-digital showings of movies from other studios. DLP Cinema technology has previously featured in all-digital showings of Disney's Tarzan and of Lucasfilm's Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace (see previous story).

Texas Instruments points our that "these all-digital showings of Toy Story 2 mark a further milestone in the short history of digital cinema: Toy Story 2 was created, produced, and delivered in digital images and digital sound, and will be presented without film using DLP Cinema technology." TI's Doug Darrow states that "with each successive new challenge, such as the one presented by multiple all-digital screenings, the reality of digital cinema moves another step closer. Not only can we demonstrate that the projection technology to support digital cinema is ready today, but, by increasing the number of movie patrons who see it, we believe we'll create considerable public demand for the consistently pristine kind of images made possible by DLP Cinema."