Cinema Expo International in Amsterdam
This article first appeared in
The 70mm Newsletter
Johan C. M. Wolthuis, The Netherlands
Issue 40 - September 1995
From Monday June 26 up to Thursday June 29
more than 1000 cinema executives from all over the world, even from
Australia, visited the RAI International Exhibition and Congress centre in
Amsterdam (Holland) for the 1995 Cinema Expo International Convention and
Nearly one hundred companies presented their products at the trade show,
among which Cinemeccanica from Italy, Coca Cola (the main sponsor), Decatron
International from Belgium, Digital Theatre Systems from Los Angeles, Dolby
Laboratories Inc. from San Francisco, Harkness Screens from England, ISCO
Optics and Kinoton projection equipment from Germany, Lucas Film from
California, SONY Corporation and Strong International from the U.S.A.
The large RAI auditorium, where all the screenings were presented, was
especially equipped for this occasion with new projectors from Strong
International, a new screen from Harkness Screens in England and a lot of
extra speakers to improve the effect of the different digital sound systems.
The result was indeed overwhelming.
On Monday afternoon the screenings started with UIP/Paramounts "Congo"
presented in Dolby SR.D, followed by the presentation of the first "EDI
International Reel Awards" hosted by Mrs Marcy Poiler, president of
Entertainment Data Inc. for the 13 most successful movies of this season.
After the opening night welcome party and buffet dinner, the program went on
with UIP/MGMs "Species" in DTS.
Tuesday morning started at 9 o'clock with a seminar presented by Mr Wim Van
Wouw, managing director of MGM in The Netherlands. One of the three speakers
of this seminar was Mr Tim Schafbuch, director of THX TAP who presented an
introduction to the LucasFilm Theatre Alignment Program (TAP).
"In 1983 Lucas Film Ltd created the Theatre Alignment Program with the
goal to improve the quality of film presentation. They thought it would
benefit everybody to have a neutral party - an organization that was not a
distributor or an exhibitor - approach studios that were interested in
having the best presentation quality for their films. And so began TAP,
which is basically an insurance program designed to make sure audiences see
and hear what a films creator inteded. TAPs governing philosophy is a
commitment to raising the standards of quality for motion picture
presentation. In many cases, once the final decisions in post production
have been made, the film is literally out of a directors hands."
Speaking of the future of 70mm film, Mr Tim Schafburch thinks that we need
the original 70mm again on the large screen and in his opinion 70mm is not a
past station, but it is slightly behind the horizon and needs a firm push to
rise again! He advised The International 70mm Association to contact Mr
George Lucas to try to convince him to do the next film in the Star Wars
saga in 70mm [65mm] and to approach 20th Century Fox president of
distribution Mr Thomas Sherak to do the February 1997 re-release of "Star
Wars" in 70mm. Just as the original release in 1977.
Tuesday afternoon went on with the screening of "Johnny
Mnemonic" in SDDS proceeded by a trailer reel of the upcoming
releases. In the afternoon Polygram showed "French Kiss" a
relaxing comedy. In the evening 20th Century Fox showed "Nine
Months" in SRD.
On Wednesday the great favorite of Warner Brothers "Batman
Forever" flashed over the screen in Dolby SRD accompanied by a
product reel. In the afternoon Buena Vista presented "Crimsom
Tide" and their great favorite "Pocahontas" both
in Dolby SR.D. After this screening the guests could go on board of canal
boats to navigate to the Maritime Museum where Buena Vista introduced them
to the late night gala dinner party.
On Thuesday UIP/Universal Pictures presented an impressive product reel
followed by "Apollo 13" in DTS. Outside the auditorium Coca
Cola did the outmost to provide the visitors with cold drinks, which was
very much appreciated considering the summer temperatures.
At the trade show I spoke with Mr Vittore Nicelli, president of
Cinemeccanica, Italy who still belives and hopes that 70mm will return on
the screens. Of course they are still producing all kinds of 70mm projection
devices. Nann Linstedt, export manager of ISCO optics in Germany famous for
its projection lenses told us that appr. 3% of the lenses they produce is
for 70mm movies. Kinoton director Mrs Renate Zoller from Munich, Germany
said that there was still a demand for 70mm projectors especially in
multiplexes. And according to Mr John P Vilmers vice president of Strong
International most of their 70mm projection equipment goes to Europe! At DTS
they are ready of course to put the digital time code on 70mm prints as have
already been done for Showscan Corporation. 35% of all American films in
1995 are released in DTS. There are around 5000 DTS installations world
We noticed that the multiplex fever in Europe goes on and on. In the London
area AMC plans to build two 24 screen complexes. Hopefully they will have a
careful look at the Belgian formula. And Cine UK, a multiplex venture, have
plans to construct at least 14 multiplexes in retail and leisure complexes
in the United Kingdom. meanwhile a lot of multiplexes from 10 to 24 screens
are developed or already under construction in Holland, Belgium, France and
The last night during the Coca Cola Final night banquet four awards were
presented, among which a lifetime achievement award for Lord Richard
Attenborough, who came to Amsterdam especially for that occasion.
We are really looking forward to the next Cinema Expo International, this
one was a great event.
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