You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

Back in your parents’ or grandparents’ day, movies were shown in ornate movie palaces. Most films were in living black and white. Then, color film made a splash. Next, television showed up in most of our homes and the movie biz took a hit. So, film studios widened movie screens and enhanced illusions of depth with things like 3D and Cinerama, Cinemascope and VistaVision.

This is something you couldn’t get at home on your square TV screen.

Now, here we go again – and as they say, what goes around comes around. In this big, gigantic, HDTV age, why go out to the movies when you can enjoy all the comforts of a theater at home?

And what are studios doing to keep viewers in the seats?

First, films studios have basically gotten rid of film. Now, let me explain, I’m talking about physical film. That’s right, no more film processing, sprocket holes and the click, clack noise emanating from a film projector. Everything will now be digital, and if movie theaters don’t make the conversion they’ll basically close their doors. Locally, downtown Dayton’s Neon Theatre held fundraisers to help with the cost – which ain’t cheap.

Drive-in theaters aren’t exempt, either, and many will close. One that’s already ahead of the curve is the Dixie Twin Drive-In.

“Buch, we just opened for the season and presented the new ‘Captain America’ movie in digital format,” owner Ryan Levin told me. “Yes, we are excited and digital now, baby!”

OK, so digital is one thing, but theater owners want to do more for the movie-going public.

The Cinemark Dayton South Theatres will soon present motion pictures in what is called XD – Extreme Digital Cinema. Regal Cinemas by the Mall at Fairfield Commons unveiled their version of XD – called RPK – earlier this year, but I’m told Cinemark’s will be bigger and badder.

So, XD huh? What will they think of next? You may recall Cinemark Dayton South in 2000, the turn of the century – that sounds weird doesn’t it? – as National Amusement’s Showcase Cinemas. Rave purchased them a decade or so later. Now, Cinemark displays its name.

Cinemark, by the way, is the third largest chain in the U.S., with 334 theatres and 4,457 screens.

They also rank either No. 1 or No. 2 by box office revenues in 23 of their 30 top American markets. Now that’s a lot of popcorn! The chain made the costly conversion a while ago.

“All 16 Dayton South auditoriums are 100 percent digital,” James Meredith, vice president of marketing for the national theater chain said. “Five houses are RealD 3D capable. Digital projection provides excellent picture quality whether a customer watches a movie on opening night or the last day it is in theatres. The Dayton South 16 theatre also features special movie events such as The Metropolitan Opera, select UFC and Boxing matches, concerts and more.” OK, OK, I’m getting to it. So, what’s this whole XD deal all about?

“The XD auditorium provides the best movie-going experience with a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling screen and the best picture and sound quality available,” Meredith said. “The XD auditorium features new plush seating, the brightest digital projection with Barco projectors and all-encompassing Auro 11.1 sound. The Cinemark XD auditorium will feature the newest release films including 2D and RealD 3D options.”

Also, the theatre is getting a complete remodel, including a new color scheme, new plush seating in every auditorium, a birthday party room and an upgraded concession stand with just about anything and everything on the menu.

“The Dayton South 16 remodel and XD addition is estimated to be completed in late April,” Meredith said. “The customers will be able to enjoy the new theatre while enjoying our wide variety of concessions including popcorn, beverages, pizza, burgers, chicken tenders and more.”

Now, I know there are flat screens out there bigger than my garage and sound systems to match, but it’s still nothing like going out to a movie, especially an XD experience.

“Going to the movie theatre provides an experience that is unlike any other,” Meredith said. “Being able to enjoy the latest movies with the best technology offers superior picture and sound quality, taking the movie-going experience to the next level.” James says.

Yes, I understand that James and it all sounds wonderful, but until they invent a pause button so I can go to the bathroom, it just won’t be perfect.


Cheers! (Oh, sorry. No talking in the theatre.)



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