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Regal L.A. Live theater gets a high-tech boost from Belgium’s Barco

barco-escape

Belgian cinema technology company Barco recently unveiled its new panoramic-screen system Barco Escape.

(Barco)

The Regal L.A. Live movie theater is turning to Belgian cinema innovator Barco for a technological overhaul, adding the company’s laser projectors, advanced sound and a new immersive three-screen system.

Theater chain Regal Entertainment Group and L.A. Live owner AEG have partnered with Barco to bring its cutting edge technology to the downtown Los Angeles multiplex, the companies announced Monday.

“Our goal is to have this be the world’s most technologically advanced movie theater,” said Shelby Russell, vice president of marketing for AEG. “This is a commitment to the future of cinema.”

The investment comes as cinema operators around the country face stagnating attendance and increased competition from other entertainment options. Theater owners hope technological improvements and other additions -- such as better food and beverage options -- can improve their fortunes by better enticing consumers. 

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Barco hopes its latest high-profile deal will help accelerate its global growth in the exhibition industry.

Regal L.A. Live will initially have two laser projectors and will become the West Coast’s first all-laser multiplex by the end of the year, the companies said. 

The theater will also serve as a high-profile showcase for Barco’s Escape theater system, which surrounds the audience with three screens in one auditorium. Barco Escape, first introduced in 2014, has been installed in 20 theaters around the world, including Cinemark XD at the Promenade in Westchester. 

Regal L.A. Live will also unveil a new lobby with new digital displays, lights and other Barco technology. 

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The companies declined to say how much the project would cost. But Barco Escape alone costs $120,000 to $150,000 to install in theaters. 

Barco hopes to use the  partnership with Regal and AEG as a platform to show off its tech innovations for moviegoers, filmmakers and studio executives in the heart of the world’s entertainment industry capital. 

“If you’re going to validate a new business and a new movie-going experience, you need the highest possible bar in the beginning, and for us, that’s Los Angeles,” said Todd Hoddick, Chief Executive of Barco Escape. 

The companies will hold a public event at the theater April 1 to debut the revamped theater, which will be renamed Regal L.A. Live: A Barco Innovation Center.

It’s the latest technological upgrade at Regal L.A. Live, which in 2014 became the first multiplex in the country to offer a 4DX theater from South Korea’s CJ Group. The experience combines moving and vibrating seats with wind, fog and other sensory effects to match the action on screen. 

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder


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