Kinepolis debuts first all-laser for Spain

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European Update

In December, Kinepolis Group launched its new eight-screen and 1,693-seat multiplex in Armilla, located in the southwest of Granada, Spain. Part of the 250-store-capacity Centro Nevada, the cinema venue is expected to attract some 400,000 guests annually and represents the country’s first to feature laser-illuminated projection throughout.

“Kinepolis is constantly looking for innovative technologies which can perfectly convey the magic of films…and take the film experience to an even higher level,” said Eddy Duquenne, chief executive of Kinepolis Group. “Also, the choice of Barco’s laser projectors ensures enhanced ease of use and significant energy savings, up to 40 percent.” After last summer’s opening of Europe’s first all-laser cinema in Breda in the Netherlands, Kinepolis Group will follow with additional all-laser and all-new cinemas in Utrecht (also the Netherlands) and Fenouillet near Toulouse, France.

Entering Spain in 1998 with the opening of Kinepolis Madrid, followed by the purchase of Abaco sites in Madrid and Alicante as well as building a 24-plex at Heron City Valencia, the Group operates six venues now. Armilla is the second location in the Grenada market after a 15-screen, 4,600-seat Kinepolis that opened in 2004. Duquenne is “confident that the city of Granada offers enough opportunity for several multiplexes, especially within the context of the Nevada project, which will broaden the catchment area of this new cinema significantly.”

Ten years before leaving their mark on Spain, Kinepolis had changed European exhibition as we knew it, opening the world’s first 25-screen megaplex in Brussels, Belgium. Included was an IMAX auditorium. “Due to limited content available at the time,” Kinepolis halted IMAX presentations at the end of 2005. In time for Rogue One, the 400-seat IMAX theatre reopened with dual 4K laser projection illuminating the 532-square-meter screen (5,726 sq. ft.) and offering “an update to 12.1 audio with even more power and precision, and extra audio channels on the sides and in the ceiling which ensure that sound can be positioned even more effectively for a truly immersive experience.”

In Flemish that means: Gigantisch beeld. Waanzinnig geluid. Meer intensiteit.”

Alkmaar Aligns with Alcon

After opening doors to its seven screens on Feb. 14 last year, Vue Cinema in Alkmaar, The Netherlands, was voted the best newly built cinema in Europe by the ICTA. Pleased by this outstanding peer recognition, Gerrit Doorn, chief development officer at Vue Nederland, lauded the sound equipment installed, with three auditoriums featuring Dolby Atmos. “The sound of Alcons systems is unbelievable, thanks to their revolutionary pro-ribbon technology. Because Alcons speakers and amplifiers deliver the highest-quality sound, they have become an essential part of Vue cinemas across the country.”

Speaking of the latter, Alkmaar also marked the end of rebranding all former JT Bioscopen to Vue International. The multinational operator completed their purchase in August 2015. JT had been one of the early proponents of Dolby Atmos with several installations in place, Alcons noted. Vue Nederland worked with specialists at CinemaNext (see item below) who had already completed their first Dolby Atmos site using Alcons products back in early 2013.

“When sound is panned, there must not be any perceivable difference in its volume or quality,” elaborated Matthew Jones, CinemaNext regional manager. “The loudspeakers used in the 3D array need to have very similar output and dynamic range to those used for the front channels. Alcons makes very high-quality speakers which, in terms of sonic uniformity, are ideal for this kind of array.” Feedback “received from audiences and our client” confirms that “Vue Alkmaar has the best-sounding auditoriums in Holland.”

250 from 71 Countries Have Talent

For its 15th edition, Berlinale Talents welcomes emerging professionals from around the world as part of the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival. The selection was culled from 2,711 applications from 127 nations “based on their prior achievements and the impact and relevance of their artistic work in their home countries,” organizers explained.

While none hail from the field of exhibition, at least ten of them represent sales and distribution. The largest groups are interested in directing (106) and producing (49). Exploring the theme of “Courage: Against All Odds,” the Talents will participate in a six-day program featuring over 100 events, with “internationally renowned experts presenting and discussing their work.”

As a new co-partner—and celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding as Arnold & Richter in Munich, Germany, this year—ARRI will support the 2017 Berlinale Talents. Fittingly, the world-renowned camera and lighting systems manufacturer will host events focusing on technical innovation in image and light design as well as digital post-production. “ARRI and Berlinale Talents share core values such as a pioneering spirit, a dedication to perfecting their craft, and a passion for artistic work,” said Talents project manager Christine Tröstrum. It is important for ARRI “to actively support this major platform for talent development,” concurred managing director Dr. Jörg Pohlman. “Berlinale Talents is where success stories are created and future trends are forged.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has recognized ARRI’s engineers and their contributions to the industry with 19 Scientific and Technical Awards.

Dalida Performs in EclairColor

In other installation news, CinemaNext equipped the 378-seat main auditorium at Pathé Wepler Cinema in Paris, France, with EclairColor technology. In time for the countrywide release of Dalida, a biography about the legendary chanteuse was also screened “with unparalleled image projection quality” at Gaumont Champs-Elysées Marignan (Paris), Cinéma Confluences (Varennes-sur-Seine) and Les Variétés (Marseille). PathéWepler is the 16th EclairColor-equipped cinema in France and the sixth Parisian site.

Ymagis Group founder, chairman and chief executive officer Jean Mizrahi assured that the combination of post-production grading and upgrades to “projectors already in use in many cinemas” provides a major improvement at minimal cost. “EclairColor projectors have been designed to offer exhibitors greater programming flexibility, as they can be used to show either 2K or 4K content in both standard DCI format and in EclairColor.”