Dolby Laboratories has signed a deal with Real Image Media Technologies, an Indian digital cinema integrator and technology provider, to install a minimum of 50 Dolby Atmos sound systems across South Asia, mainly India. The deal will lift the total number of Dolby Atmos screens in India to nearly 100 once done, up from eight now. Other Indian exhibitors have already acquired Dolby Atmos including SPI Cinemas (37 screens), PVR Cinemas, Inox Movies, Prasads, and Mayajaal. The deal also includes the acquisition of 200 CP850 processors. Part of the wider Atmos strategy is also to encourage local films to be mixed in Atmos, and this is also the case in India where six Tamil films will be released in Atmos this year.
Introduced in April 2012, Dolby Atmos is Dolby's latest sound technology. The first installation was in the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, for the premiere of Brave in June 2012. Since then, the new technology has been relatively widely adopted throughout the world. To date, approximately 250 screens (over 85 exhibitors) have been equipped with or have committed to Dolby Atmos across 30 territories worldwide. Most exhibitors have adopted it in their premier screens only, due to the current elevated cost of this new technology.
In Europe, Odeon and UCI Cinemas Group plan to install Dolby Atmos in 27 of its iSens screens across Europe. Seven screens in Germany (UCI) and Spain (Cinesa) will be installed in the first phase, and the remaining 20 will be completed during H2 2013.
In USA, exhibitor Regal Entertainment Group has equipped Dolby Atmos technology in 22 of its big-screen RPX: Regal Premium Experience theatres.
In China, Wanda Cinemas plans to install Dolby Atmos in its current and upcoming giant screen, X-Land screens. They expect to complete six screens by end of 2013.
Dolby is not the only player in new cinema sound systems. Backed by Barco, Auro 11.1 is a strong competitor. Last month, exhibitor Cinemark agreed a deal with Barco to install Auro 11.1 in over 150 of its "Extreme Digital" premium large format screens worldwide. Before the deal, 67 Auro 11.1 systems had been installed globally and the Cinemark rollout will push the numbers up significantly.