Cinedigm touts Q&A as way of digital cinema future

Mon Jun 1, 2009 4:09pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Cinedigm said on Monday it will host the first live, virtual question-and-answer session between a film's cast in one location and audiences in separate theaters to show off a new way that digitally equipped cinemas can lure audiences.

On June 19, moviegoers in 17 U.S. cities will be able text-message questions to the cast of independent movie, "The Narrows," and watch the actors answer on screen in theaters, giving Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp a trial by fire in how to get moviegoers more involved in the cinema experience.

Hollywood's studios and theater chains are hoping that the transition to digital cinema will boost attendance by offering new ways to entertain such as 3D movies, beaming live sports and other events into theaters and setting up interactive chat sessions like Cinedigm's Q&A with the cast of "The Narrows."

Cinedigm's event draws on broadcast-style capabilities of digital cinema delivered into theaters via satellite.

"This is really fulfilling part of the promise of digital cinema," said Bud Mayo, chief executive of Cinedigm.

The New Jersey-based company works with Hollywood movie studios and theater chains to hasten the switch from film to digital, and it specializes in beaming movies from a satellite to theaters.

New initiatives like Cinedigm's have been touted ever since digital projectors began arriving in theaters about five years ago, replacing old filmstrips delivered in canisters.

So far about 6,000 theaters in the United States have upgraded their systems from film prints to digital.   Continued...

<p>Actress Sophia Bush attends the Global Green USA 5th Pre-Oscar Party in Hollywood February 20, 2008. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>