Cinema Expo 1996
June 24 - June 27, 1996
This article first appeared in
The 70mm Newsletter
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
Further in 70mm reading:
Cinema Expo 1995
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