Dolby looking to wow Wanda, partners
Dolby Laboratories Inc is surveying the vast Chinese market to introduce its Dolby Cinema advanced technology for “immersive” movie experiences.
The San Francisco-based company has announced China’s sixth Dolby Cinema, in Changsha, Central China’s Hunan province, with Wanda Cinema Line. By the end of 2018, a total of 100 Dolby Cinema movie theaters will be opened by Wanda, two years earlier than originally planned.
Dolby’s mission is to draw people away from their computers and homes to movie theaters.
Looking like conventional theaters, Dolby Cinema features Dolby Atmos sound systems and Dolby Vision projection systems, according to Dough Darrow, senior vice president of Cinema Business Group at Dolby.
“Dolby Atmos delivers sound anywhere in the three-dimensional space of a movie theater, recreates a lifelike sound effect,” he said. “We can literally pinpoint a sound element anywhere we want.”
The Dolby Vision laser projection system uses advanced optics and image processing to deliver dynamic range images at more than twice the brightness and 500 times the contrast of standard cinema projection.
From the design standpoint, the acoustic transparent fabric system conceals speakers so audiences don’t see them hanging on the wall.
The matte black design makes sure no light from the screen is reflected back to the screen, he added.
Launched two years ago, Dolby Cinema has more than 300 screens under contract so far, and at least 49 sites have been built worldwide.
Calling a new facility at the San Francisco headquarters “the crown jewel”, Dolby CEO Kevin Yeaman said the 230-seat theater served as a working lab where researchers, scientists and engineers developed cinema imaging and sound technologies.
Dolby’s biggest partner in the US is AMC Entertainment, which has announced 160 Dolby Cinema theaters by the end of 2018. In China, Wanda is its largest exhibitor.
“We’ll have more new builds in China and with Wanda than anywhere else in the world,” said Frank Bryant, senior vicepresident with Dolby.
“We are actively talking to 10 more potential partners in China. There are a lot of exhibitors in that market who seem really interested and providing premium experience,” he said.
Despite the slower box-office growth this year, China is adding movie theaters and is expected to overtake the US soon as the world’s largest cinema market.
“It’s one of the only markets in the world right now that’s growing and growing fast, so there are a tremendous number of new builds in China, and that’s not the case anywhere else in the world,” said Bryant.