Sony to provide event programming at movie theaters

Sony Pictures said Wednesday that it would distribute digital programming such as concerts, plays and sporting events to theater chains as Hollywood studios and cinema owners look to expand their offerings in an era of essentially flat attendance for traditional movies.

The Culver City studio's new division, the Hot Ticket, will present "Delirium," a music, dance and acrobatics show from Cirque du Soleil, in August, followed by the closing night production of the Broadway musical "Rent" in September.

"As digital cinema starts to roll out in a big way over the next couple of years, you're going to see so many new applications," said Rory Bruer, the studio's distribution president. "Just as people are pounding the table for 3-D, 'alternative content' will be another part of the business."

An estimated 5,000 of the 38,000 screens in the U.S. and Canada are equipped for digital projection, Bruer said, but he added that more than half could be converted over the next few years.

Walt Disney Co. scored a big hit this year with its digital 3-D presentation of "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour," which grossed $70 million despite playing at fewer than 1,000 theaters.

Film Business

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