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Cinema Expo 1996
June 24 - June 27, 1996

This article first appeared in
..in 70mm
The 70mm Newsletter

Written by: Wouter de Voogd, Amsterdam Issue 47 - December 1996
This year I had the privilege of visiting the Cinema Expo 1996 show in Amsterdam as a delegate of The 70mm Association. A great film week with, among others, a big trade show, screenings of various new films and a lot of gala dinners, and prize presentations. The RAI auditorium had been transformed into a big cinema, complete with a huge 16 x 6 meter retractable screen from Harkness Ltd. Two Century 70/35mm projectors with powerful 7000 watt lamp houses and a JBL sound system made a big impression.

The atmosphere at the expo was relaxed and the organization of the exposition was very good. Next year the Expo will also be held in Amsterdam. Films that I saw were "Fled", "Eraser" starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and "The Rock" starring Sean Connery. Instead of the planned "Courage under Fire", as a surprise the much awaited "ID4" got its European premiere, a spectacular science fiction movie with lots of special effects. Also "Twister" was shown in the presence of the director. This film about tornadoes was quite impressive, despite the lack of a good storyline. After the screening of Disney's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", Buena Vista had organized a spectacular party in one of the oldest churches of Amsterdam. Inside we were part of a big festival with acrobats, music bands and lots of food. At the end, Quasimodo himself granted us a visit. A great show!

Almost no 70mm in sight at the Film Expo, unfortunately! I spoke with several people in the cinema industry. Most of them were quite pessimistic about the future of 70mm. The arrival of digital sound on 35mm and the high costs for release prints in 70mm made them doubt if 70mm still had a future. Also the declining number of cinemas capable of running 70mm is a problem. As a cinema owner said "70mm is a great fuss". Of course I tried to convince these people that 70mm is the future for cinemas against the new high definition projection systems that will be available for the home very soon.

The trade show was a big success, 100 companies presented their products, from cinema chairs to projectors and sound systems. The only 70mm material on display was the Showscan stand at the trade show. Also Cinemeccanica had a projector on display, capable of running 70mm. It struck me that a lot of the people with whom I spoke at the Expo, hardly had any real interest in movies at all. Most of them were only interested in one thing: making money by selling lots of popcorn. The content and quality of the movies was clearly of secondary importance for them. I nevertheless had a great time. It was wonderful to see all these new movies. And I was impressed with the perfect organization of this event. I hope to come back next year.
 

Further in 70mm reading:

Cinema Expo 1995

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Updated 22-12-16