Fox Entertainment Group Inc. and Lucasfilm Ltd. said they will show a digital version of the latest "Star Wars" in four U.S. theaters later this month, the first time a fully digital movie will be shown to the public.
Texas Instruments Inc. and CineComm Digital Cinema will provide their competing digital projection systems to screen "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace" on two screens in Los Angeles and two screens in New York starting June 18.
Movie studios and theater owners are looking to digital film projection to bring audiences crisper and brighter images, free of lint and scratches, and to cut the cost of having to ship thousands of reels of film to theaters by using satellites to transmit digitized movies instead. The showing of the high-profile "Phantom Menace" could help accelerate the large-scale introduction of digital projection to the film industry, the companies said.
The screenings may also help determine which of the two competing projection systems will be favored by exhibitors. Los Angeles-based CineComm's system was developed together with Victor Co. of Japan's Hughes-JVC Technology and Qualcomm Inc.
"Phantom Menace," created, directed and owned by George Lucas, has sold more than $207 million in tickets in the U.S. and Canada since its release last month.