May 18, 2005

Star Wars 3 goes digital
on the Champs-Elysées

George Lucas had promised that the Episode 2 of the Star Wars saga would only be played digitally, putting fear in small cinemas owners and moviegoers together, because the first ones were afraid they wouldn't be able to afford the new technology, and the second ones thought technology hadn't reached a sufficient level of quality. George Lucas had just been a little bit ahead of his time. Episode 2 was digitally played in one Parisian cinema (Gaumont Aquaboulevard). Three years later, the digital version has been released on three screens; it's much better, but there's still a long way to go...

For once, the Champs-Elysées (which used to be THE moviegoers paradise before it became an ugly shopping mall) are becoming again the place to be for moviegoers. Not one, but two of its cinemas are digitally playing "Revenge of the Sith".

Those two cinemas are competitors which were both part of the Gaumont circuit not so long ago: the Gaumont Marignan (now named "Gaumont Champs-Elysées Marignan") and the Publicis Cinemas. Both cinemas play the movie in theater 1, which means the large auditorium in the basement (my favorite) of the Marignan (500 seats, 13m screen), and the 400 seat-auditorium of the Publicis (9.5m screen). Both cinemas got brand new projectors; the Publicis uses a Barco DP 100 2K (more information).

Star Wars at the Gaumont Marignan
Star Wars at the Publicis Cinémas
Star Wars 3 at the Publicis Cinémas
Below, exclusive views of the brand new Barco projector, a few minutes before the first performance...

the Barco of the Publicis Cinémas

the Barco of the Publicis Cinémas the Barco of the Publicis Cinémas
the Barco of the Publicis Cinémas the Barco of the Publicis Cinémas


To help you wait, a quick view of the auditoriums; the Marignan is left and the Publicis Cinemas is right:

Gaumont Champs-Elysées - salle 1 Publicis Cinéma - salle 1


The game started this morning at 0:00 at the Publicis, and started again at 10 this morning when both cinemas opened their doors (no midnight show at the Marignan); but the UGC Normandie with its giant screen and 800+ seats should play a big role as it usually does (it also opened at 10 this morning).

We tested it!!!

That's it, we saw it. We saw Episode III a few hours ago, Tuesday 17 or should I say Wednesday 18 around 0:15, at the Publicis Cinémas.

We were looking for imperfections or compression defects in the image. Three years ago, I saw again Episode 2 at the Kinepolis in Brusels on a 20m screen, and the image was awful, with vertical stripes which started showing on the Lucasfilms logo. Nothing like that at the Publicis: the picture was perfect, extremely well defined (too well? but is this a problem?), really great. The system now needs to be tested on a twenty-meter screen, so we can judge whether it has reached perfection...

Publicis Cinémas

Enjoy the show!

Many thanks to Lawrence Fodot, manager of the Publicis Cinémas, who very kindly allowed us to attend the first show!