Major US exhibitor, Marcus Theatres, has agreed to install Technicolor's film-based 3D solution in 15 screens at select theatres in North America. Marcus is the second key exhibitor to sign up to Technicolor's 3D solution after Bow Tie Theatres earlier this year. Marcus currently operates 684 screens in 55 sites, across seven US states. The deal brings the total number of screens equipped with Technicolor's film-based system to over 300 in North America since its launch in March 2010, now spanning nine films in the format. System has also been launched in select international markets, including UK, Italy and Japan, although no further details were available regarding number of screens. Technicolor's 3D solution has also been advocated by Summit Entertainment for prospective release of Drive Angry 3D in February 2011. It will also be available as an additional platform for other 3D titles in 2010 including DWA's Megamind.
However, film-based 3D uptake remains low compared with over 14,000 digital 3D screens deployed globally as at H1 2010. Marcus is one of only two top ten US circuits not to have announced full digital deployment. As a result, circuit will have limited capacity to upgrade to digital 3D, hence the attractiveness of film-based 3D as an instant, albeit, temporary solution. In March 2010, Marcus installed 27 digital screens plus RealD systems using the joint venture financing solution Digital Link II, between Ballantyne and RealD, followed by a further three RealD XL 3D systems for its Ultrascreen venues last month (September). The latest deal is almost certainly an interim solution for Marcus in order to take advantage of higher priced 3D tickets, without the need to invest in the underlying digital equipment. The deal covers only a small proportion of its screens, indicating a strong ambition to upgrade to digital in the near future.