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Cinema Expo International in Amsterdam

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

Written by: 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 Trade Show.

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 wide.

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 Spain.

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.

Further in 70mm reading:

Parade Cinema
70mm Promotion Tour

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Updated 21-01-24