Cinemark makes moviegoing more attractive with XD presentation
With the debut of Lubbock’s first XD auditorium at Movies 16, Cinemark Theaters has fired a figurative warning shot, letting cinema competitors know it has no intention of backing down.
Cinemark has taken an aggressive stance since Premiere Theatres announced its intention to open an ultra-modern movie multiplex on the northwest side of South Plains Mall in 2012.
Each of the 33 individual theaters at Cinemark’s Movies 16 and Tinseltown in Lubbock has been upgraded for digital presentations.
The XD stands for Extreme Digital cinema.
The XD is unlike any other local theater. The XD’s silver screen extends from ceiling-to-floor and wall-to-wall.
James Meredith, vice president of marketing and communications at Cinemark’s home office in Dallas, said a Doremi server and a Barco DLP digital projector deliver the XD’s digital images.
“With the advent of digital projection,” he said, “we now can take these pristine, crystal-clear images and project them on a much larger screen than ever before.”
Cinemark began constructing XD theaters in 2009.
Meredith said the Texas-based exhibitor will operate as many as 450 of the specialized auditoriums nationwide by the end of 2011.
“Customers come in and get the full wow-effect right away when they see the movie on this screen,” Meredith explained. “What we realized over time was that, even though the images are pristine, it is the sound that people are raving about the most.”
Each XD auditorium has a custom JBL sound system installed with higher-end components and 7.1-capable digital surround sound.
Surround sound thrilled those watching “Colombiana,” the first film shown at Movies 16’s XD theater.
The system allowed for different voices and sounds to arrive from various points in the theater.
Meredith said he wished Lubbock’s XD auditorium could have debuted in time to host a “Transformers” sequel or “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.”
“Those types of movies really show off all of the bells and whistles at an XD theater,” he added.
Small crowds greeted “Colombiana.”
Adding an XD auditorium also helps Cinemark deliver more options, one of the theater chain’s goals, said Meredith.
“Patrons now can choose to watch movies in 2D, 3-D or XD,” he said. “And because of digital projection, we never are locked into showing the same movie in XD week after week. We can change movies as often as we like.”
Some moviegoers will drive long distances to see a movie in XD, especially a film driven by special effects and/or action, he added.
Along with pristine visuals and an unbeatable sound system, Cinemark also has installed new seating in the XD theater at Movies 16.
Options extend to ticket pricing.
Tickets for adults on Friday and Saturday nights in Lubbock are $9. Ticket prices for any movie shown in the XD theater are $11 for adults and $8.50 for children 11 and younger, and seniors 62 and older.
Those prices do not change.
XD does not have bargain matinees, Tuesday discounts, Early Bird specials ro Senior Mondays.
On the other hand, films shown in 3-D generally have a $3 service fee attached to the ticket price.
The XD theater charges a $2 service charge for 3-D movies.
Meredith said he has no idea why Cinemark decided to do this.
Construction time on the XD theater at Movies 16 took about two months.
The noisier projects found work days beginning at midnight, after customers cleared the theater.
When building an XD auditorium, Meredith said, Cinemark always chooses the largest auditorium in a multiplex and basically guts it, removing everything.
“We generally start over, first by measuring for a new screen to be built,” he said.
Curved screens make for better presentation, showing a much sharper 3-D image, Meredith said.
Meredith is unsure whether Cinemark’s Tinseltown 17 in Lubbock will see an XD auditorium.
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