Movie theaters turn to live event screenings to fill seats

It's 7 p.m. on a recent Saturday and every seat in the 294-seat theater inside the AMC 16 Burbank is filled. The crowd isn't there to watch "How to Train Your Dragon" or "Alice in Wonderland," but a not-so-family-friendly kind of entertainment: mixed martial arts.

Tonight's feature is a highly anticipated Ultimate Fighting Championship face-off between Brazilian jiujitsu black belt Georges St. Pierre from Montreal and cocky English fighter Dan "The Outlaw" Hardy. When the action starts and St. Pierre scores his first "takedown," fans leap from their seats, pump their fists in the air and whoop wildly.

The event, beamed live to the Burbank theater and other venues around the country from the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., is the latest example of how theater owners are harnessing the latest digital technology to program alternative entertainment such as broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera and live concerts from the likes of the Black Eyed Peas, whose March 30 show at Staples Center was transmitted live to 500 movie theaters.

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Digital Cinema, Film Business


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