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Wehrenberg Theatres to Install Digital Cinema Systems Throughout Midwest

Posted on Thursday, March 15th, 2007 12:26 PM

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If you haven't guessed it by now, looking at the many Journal entries that have been posted on the topic recently, Digital Cinema is coming to more and more theaters across the country. In the past two days, I've posted about Muvico Theatres and Cinemagic Theatres planning on new installations in 2007 and 2008. I'm certain these won't be the last announcements we'll hear coming from the ShoWest convention and the near future.

In the press release below, Thomson is announcing that Wehrenberg Theatres has agreed to install their digital projection systems throughout the Midwest. Wehrenberg operates 15 locations with 204 screens in Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa.

The press release is light on details, so there's no indication of when the first installations will begin, or which locations will get them. 

Press Release

Thomson Advances North American Digital Cinema Deployment Through Deal With Wehrenberg Theatres, Inc.

Wehrenberg Theatres (Midwest American Circuit) Selects Technicolor Digital Cinema to Provide a State-of-the-Art Movie-Going Experience

PARIS and BURBANK, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 13, 2007 -- Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS), through its Technicolor Digital Cinema business, today announced it has entered into an agreement with Wehrenberg Theatres Inc., the family-owned & operated St. Louis, Mo.-based circuit, to install digital projection systems throughout the Midwest as part of its North American digital cinema equipment deployment.

"Throughout its distinguished history Wehrenberg Theatres has provided its audiences with cutting-edge technology. Technicolor is honored to be selected by Wehrenberg Theatres as their partner for the transition into the digital age," said Curt Behlmer, executive vice president of Technicolor Theatrical Services and COO of Technicolor Digital Cinema, within Thomson Services division.

"Wehrenberg Theaters takes tremendous pride in providing a quality movie-going experience to our customers," said Ron Krueger II, President, Wehrenberg Theatres. "Digital Cinema allows us to present our audiences with breathtaking picture and pristine sound, as well as new forms of entertainment such as live concerts, sporting events, and next-generation 3-D."

"There have been many innovations in technology throughout Wehrenberg's 100-year history," added Ronald P. Krueger, Chairman. "From silent films to sound, black and white to color, and now film to digital, Technicolor has been there every step along the way."

Wehrenberg Theatres currently operates 15 theatre complexes with 204 screens (throughout Missouri, Illinois and Iowa). Having celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006, Wehrenberg Theatres is the oldest family-owned and operated theatre circuit in the United States.

The Wehrenberg Theatres installations are part of Thomson's broader rollout of complete digital projection systems in up to 5,000 screens over the next three to four years. Thomson intends to equip at least 15,000 screens in the United States and Canada, through the initial rollout and additional phases, over the next 10 years.

As part of its beta test, the first phase of its roll-out, in North America and Europe, Technicolor Digital Cinema has installed digital cinema systems with several prominent exhibitors including ArcLight Cinema Company, Mann Theatres, National Amusements, Wehrenberg Theatres, Zyacorp's Cinemagic Stadium Theatres, and Kinepolis Group in Belgium.

All hardware and software placed in each Wehrenberg Theatres site will be compliant with industry-standard specifications recently published by the Digital Cinema Initiatives LLC (DCI). Furthermore, the Technicolor Digital Cinema plan is technology agnostic, allowing both exhibitors and studios to benefit from the best available technology, including both 2K and 4K projection. The Thomson-driven initiative encompasses an industry-wide business model and operating infrastructure addressing all aspects of the much-anticipated digital cinema rollout: full-output, long- term content commitments by multiple Hollywood film studios; the widespread deployment of digital projection systems with exhibitors; and a broad industry commitment for the installation, operation, and financing of those systems through a proven, experienced service provider.

As previously announced by Thomson, the Group has signed digital cinema equipment usage agreements with DreamWorks SKG, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. to support its plans for the distribution of digital cinema content and systems throughout North America. Under the separate, long-term accords, each of these studios has agreed to distribute content digitally throughout the United States and Canada, and pay a virtual print fee to Thomson for screens equipped with Technicolor Digital Cinema systems, which began in late 2006. Thomson is currently in negotiations with other film studios to expand the range of its non-exclusive content agreements in North America.

About Thomson — World leader in digital video technologies

Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS) provides technology, services, and systems to help its Media & Entertainment clients - content creators, content distributors and users of its technology - realize their business goals and optimize their performance in a rapidly changing technology environment. The Group is the preferred partner to the Media & Entertainment Industries through its Technicolor, Grass Valley, RCA, and Thomson brands. For more information: http://www.thomson.net.

About Wehrenberg Theatres

Wehrenberg Theatres currently operates fifteen theatres in Missouri, Illinois and Iowa. Having celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006, Wehrenberg Theatres is the oldest family- owned and operated theatre circuit in the United States. For more information: http://www.wehrenberg.com.

Source: Thomson Press Release

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