Indian multiplexes go 3-D for 'Avatar'
According to industry insiders, the number of 3D screens in the country is expected to increase from around 40 currently to about 70 by the time the movie is released.
"I believe that the 3D version of 'Avatar' is going to be the revolutionary movie for this generation," said Aditya Shroff of Fame Cinemas in a statement.
"Hence, Fame is trying to go as wide as possible with the 3D release," added Shroff, who is in charge of the company's distribution, programming and corporate sales businesses.
Conceived by Cameron 14 years ago, the movie is being touted as a "fully immersive cinematic experience of a new kind" and a "revolutionary technology" that will "alter movie-making experience" across the globe.
'Avatar' has been shot using the fusion digital 3D camera developed by Cameron and Vince Pace, the movie's director of photography.
To be released in both the 2-D and 3-D format, the film is the director's comeback venture after his multiple Oscar-winning 'Titanic' (1997).
It'll also be dubbed in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu for Indian viewers.
As of now, the capital has 3D compatible screens at PVR's Ambience and Select Citywalk multiplexes.
Single-screen theatres like Central Plaza in Mumbai and Urvasi in Bangalore are also going 3D before the release.
Cinemax in Andheri, Mumbai has updated itself with the technology while cinema chain Inox will have 3D screens in Pune, Baroda, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Nagpur, Raipur, Rajasthan, Indore and Kolkata.
But multiplex chains like Spice Cinemas and Wave on the other hand have decided to stick to the 2D format.
"We don't have that provision and will be running the movie on the 2D format, as 3D requires digital projectors and we run on telecine machine," said Amit Awasthi, programming and operations manager of Noida-based Spice.
"A digital machine costs around Rs.45 lakh where you have to download a movie and then play it. You also have to make some changes in the screen to make it 3D compatible," Awasthi told us.
Said Fox Star Studios India chief executive Vijay Singh: "The dramatic increase in the number of 3D screens, as well as the strong interest that we are getting from the Hindi, Tamil and Telugu language markets reaffirms the strong buzz for the film."
Produced by Twentieth Century Fox, the motion picture is a blend of live-action photography and virtual photo realistic production techniques.
It is also touted as the most expensive film ever, made at a whopping $230-million (Rs.1,200-crore) budget.
Starring Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver and Zoe Saldana, the movie depicts the story of a wounded ex-marine thrust unwillingly into an effort to exploit an exotic planet rich in bio-diversity, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival.
Scrabble Entertainment, the only digital cinema initiative (DCI)-compliant deployment entity in India -- which is also an intermediary between content owners including major studios and independent distributors and exhibitors -- is upbeat about the development.
"The demand for 2K digital and 3D systems is from all corners of the county. Even the single-screen exhibitors want to capitalise on the opportunity of screening 'Avatar' in 3D," said Scrabble chief executive Ranjit Thakur.
"The demand for the film has created a worldwide shortage of digital equipment," Thakur added.
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