Archive for April, 2010

Summer Movies at Celebration! Cinema

By Ron Van Timmeren
Vice President, Programming

I love summer in Michigan.  Fishing, golfing, the beach, working in the yard… but this summer I’m hoping it rains a lot.  It’ll be a lot easier to keep up with the massive amount of great looking movies coming out his summer if it rains (sorry Kevin Sims at the Getty Drive In).

Iron Man 2May
Summer starts with what will be one of the top 5 movies of the summer and one I can’t wait to see – Iron Man 2 (5/7) on IMAX.  Expectations are high because Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau delivered such a fantastic hit movie in Iron Man.   Ridley Scott and Russel Crowe delivered one my top 10 all-time favorites in Gladiator… I hope they can come close to matching that with Robin Hood (5/14).  Shrek (5/21) has run out of gas, I’m afraid, but it will still deliver the goods. Sex and the City 2 and Prince of Persia both look good for Memorial weekend.

Toy Story 3June
The first weekend in June . . . can Get Him to the Greek (6/4) fill the slot and duplicate the success of The Hangover last summer?  No.  But I love the trailer for Killers (6/4) (big Katherine Heigl fan).  The A-Team (6/11) will look and act a lot like G.I. Joe did last summer and The Karate Kid (6/11) is better than it should be because of lead actors Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith.  Toy Story 3 (6/18) is my favorite movie of the year so far – absolutely fabulous and funny with all the original cast and then some plus the Pixar Midas touch.  We saw an unfinished 2D print at ShoWest and it still blew me away – can’t wait to see it in 3D.  On June 25 two huge pictures go head to head with Knight and Day (Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise) looking like a winner vs. Grown Ups (Adam Sandler and Kevin James).

The Last AirbenderJuly
The week loosely defined as “4th of July” usually brings the biggest movies of the summer… like The Last Airbender (3D 7/2)??  I really hope M Night Shyamalan has some good movies left in him.  No doubt The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (6/30) will be one of the top 3 movies of the summer.  Despicable Me 3D (7/9) looks like big fun.  Steve Carell voices the lead character and has the lead in Dinner for Shmucks (7/23).  He will be part of three $100 million movies this year (but I still can’t watch “The Office”).  Inception (7/16, IMAX) gets the “most intriguing” award for the summer.  Love Christopher Nolan movies and DeCaprio always picks interesting roles.  Don’t count out Salt (7/23) starring Angelina Jolie as one of the summer’s top 10.

The first weekend in August is really the last release weekend for a movie looking to become a blockbuster.  The Other Guys (8/6) fits the bill this year with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.  But on August 13 there’s Eat Pray Love starring Julia Roberts.  Maybe she can break the curse.  If not her, perhaps it will be Piranha 3D (8/27).

It’s fun to speculate what will be this summer’s sleeper(s) like – will The Kids are All Right (7/7) be this year’s Juno? . . will Babies (5/7) be this year’s March of the Penguins? will Splice connect with the horror/thriller crowd or will Step Up 3D connect with teens/young adults?  I’m also intrigued by MacGruber (5/21), Cyrus (John C. Reilly, 7/9), The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Nic Cage, 7/16) and Going the Distance (Drew Barrymore, 8/27).


(PS: Later today – Tuesday, 4/27 – we’re showing the Summer Movie Preview Experience: A free event featuring 80 minutes of previews highlighting this summer’s movies! Register here!)

Ron Van Timmeren is the Vice President of Programming at Celebration! Cinema.

Earth Month at Celebration! Cinema

Emily LoeksBy Emily Loeks
Director of Education & Community Partnerships

It’s April, and for reasons to numerous to count, the whole region is thinking ‘green’! Trees are budding, rain is falling, and (in Michigan anyway) our consumption of energy for heat and electric use drops significantly.

Granted, a theatre business consumes a fairly high level of power.  It’s part of the nature of our business, with all the giant screens and projection bulbs, etc. However, last year, Celebration! Cinema established the goal of decreasing our electric consumption by 10%. With the help of energy audits, change of electric bulbs, etc., we are very close to achieving that!

A Storytelling Business
As a ‘storytelling’ business, we’ve also been active this month.  Our dominant IMAX school group film for the season has been Mysteries of the Great Lakes a beautiful film that both outlines some of the threats to our Great Lakes and showcases some of the successes that have resulted from legislation and community activism. Today, Earth Day, we’ll be opening the film Oceans, presented by Disney Nature, which will showcase a more global perspective on our water system and planet.

The Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative
Beyond the confines of the big screen, Celebration! Cinema will be highlighting the work of a terrific new organization, the ‘Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative’ (GLSI).  GLSI has already established eight regional ‘hubs’ of activity around the state, with the purpose of engaging K-12 students in hands-on service learning projects that help to protect their own local environment and water systems (lakes, rivers & streams). GLSI hubs provide teacher training, connections to a network of many community organizations able to provide expertise needed, and funding for approved classroom projects.  Public, private and charter schools are all eligible to participate in these programs.

GLSIWe, at Celebration!, are really excited about these initiatives.  We hope that you’ll come visit us soon, take the opportunity to see Oceans or bring a group to Mysteries of the Great Lakes. During the weeks of April 22 – May 6, you can donate a dollar and receive a limited-edition green wrist band to lend support & raise continuation funds for the ‘Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative’!

Our Great Lakes are one of this region’s greatest assets. Their health will play a significant role in the economic, environmental and social health of our state in the future.  Please join us in sharing these stories, and in inspiring the next generation of earth caretakers and stewards!

Digital IMAX Projection at Celebration! Cinema Lansing

Steve Van WagonerBy Steve Van Wagoner
Vice President of Marketing

More than a billion people around the world have been spellbound by the force and beauty of The IMAX Experience. At Celebration! Cinema in Lansing, Michigan, movie goers have loved seeing classic IMAX movies as well as blockbuster movies on one of the biggest screens in the world. Now, Lansing’s famous IMAX theatre will be even better – beginning Friday, May 7th the Lansing IMAX theatre will be digital!


What does a digital IMAX theatre mean for Lansing’s movie goers at Celebration! Cinema? “The IMAX movie experience is unparalleled in our industry,” said J.D. Loeks, president and chief operating office for Celebration! Cinema. “The new digital projection system will allow us to make certain that the top IMAX movies are available to our guests so they can have that experience. And when they watch those movies, they will be getting the very best image and sound quality available.

IMAX Digital Projection

Photo from

When ‘Avatar’ opened last December and we could not get a print for the IMAX theatre, we knew something had to change. The new digital projection system means movie distributors can provide us with a digital hard drive at a tiny fraction of the cost of film print. That means we will be able to get the hottest IMAX titles available.

The IMAX Theatre DLP® digital projection system will join the rest of the Celebration! Cinema theatres in the complex that moved to DLP® digital cinema projection in 2007. The IMAX Theatre digital projection installation project will begin Monday, April 26th and be finished by May 7th.

A recent article in Film Journal International explains some of the technical specifications of this projection system:

IMAX Digital is built on all the previously developed IMAX technologies—3D, large-format feature-length content, and lower-cost theatre designs—with the intention of bringing the same immersive IMAX experience within the reach of mainstream exhibitors. By replacing the previous 15/70 film format with an all-new digital path including a custom-designed digital projection system based on the latest generation of Texas Instruments’ DLP Cinema technology, IMAX Digital provides the most cost-effective implementation yet.

IMAX Digital currently uses two Christie-manufactured DLP Cinema projectors, although the company plans to remain technology- and vendor-agnostic to allow progressive improvements as new technologies and products become available. The two projectors are used in a unique configuration: The two images are pre-processed and projected superimposed on each other in a way that increases the image’s fidelity and quality. The light levels are set to 22FL, considerably brighter than the 14FL used in conventional auditoriums.

The projectors are fitted with special IMAX-developed lenses. IMAX has developed a proprietary closed-loop alignment system using a camera that will automatically keep the projectors precisely aligned and balanced. IMAX Digital in 3D uses both projectors to continuously overlay the left and right eye images without the time-sequential triple-flashing required in single-projector solutions. IMAX digital 3D uses circular polarized passive glasses with a proprietary silver screen.

IMAX Digital, much like the 15/70 film version, is a complete end-to-end system, where each element, process and piece of equipment has been designed and optimized to deliver the large-screen IMAX experience.

Iron Man 2 in IMAX

The IMAX digital projection installation project will begin Monday, April 26th and be finished by May 7th, in time for first summer blockbuster “Iron Man 2” to fill the giant screen.  All theatres equipped with IMAX digital projection systems are capable of both IMAX and IMAX 3D presentations. Technically advanced and visually stunning, the IMAX Digital Experience is the world’s most powerful and immersive movie experience!

Celebrating the Getty Drive-In

By Kevin Sims

Manager, Getty Drive-In

Getty Grand Opening

The Getty-4 Drive-In has a long and storied history. The Getty-4 was originally a one screen theatre built in 1948 called the NK Drive-In. In 1966, Jack Loeks Theatres purchased the Drive-In and changed the name to the Getty Drive-In. In 1978, Loeks added three additional screens making the Getty-4 Drive-In one of the largest outdoor theatres in the United States.

In 1993, the Getty-4 introduced radio sound to all of its patrons. This innovation allows theatregoers to enjoy their outdoor movie by listening to nostalgic Drive-In speakers, or by tuning in a specific FM frequency on their car radio for a superior stereo sound experience. The Getty-4 has been a popular entertainment destination for people of all ages in the west Michigan area and beyond.

2010 Season

The Getty-4 will open the 2010 season on Friday, April 16. Do not miss out on first-run double features on all four huge outdoor screens 7 nights a week. Call 231-798-2608 for showtimes and information, or visit the Getty Drive In Page on the Celebration! Cinema website to see the current lineup!

Getty Drive-In

The Future of 3D

Ron Van TimmerenBy Ron VanTimmeren
Vice President, Programming

Chicken Little in Disney Digital 3DIt came out in the summer of 2005.  It starred Zach Braff and Don Knotts and Joan Cusack and Patrick Warburton . . .

And it was like nothing I had ever seen (unless it was on the IMAX screen).

Chicken Little, in Disney Digital 3D at Celebration! Cinema South, was my first digital 3D experience and I was hooked.  It was a first for West Michigan, too, and we really didn’t know if people would pay an extra couple bucks for digital 3D.  But, of course, it was extremely successful and started an industry revolution that is breaking through big time right now.

3D Isn’t Easy…
If we had four 3D capable screens in each of our theatres right now, we could be playing Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, How to Train Your Dragon, and Clash of the Titans – all in 3D. If only having more 3D screens was that simple.  Currently there are at least four competing 3D technologies fighting for market share:  RealD, Master Image, Dolby and Xpand.  They all have pros and cons when it comes to price, glasses, silver or white screens — and, oh yeah, how it looks.

The price for installing a 3D system ranges from $30,000 to $60,000, plus on-going fees in some cases.  If the system needs a silver screen, it costs more (Dolby and Xpand do not require a silver screen).  Disposable glasses or re-usable glasses?  It will require thousands and thousands of man-hours and dollars to wash re-usable glasses, but do we want to keep throwing away disposable glasses?  To quote Meryl Streep, “it’s complicated.”

Clash of the TitansPlenty to choose from
One thing we can say for sure is our customers prefer 3D to 2D… four to one when given the choice. And, Hollywood has the pipeline full of 3D movies headed to our theatres.  At this time there six 3D titles this summer (Shrek Forever After, Toy Story 3, Despicable Me, Cats & Dogs, Step Up 3D, Pirahna) and five slated for November / December of 2010  (Megamind, Harry Potter, Tangled, Yogi Bear, and Tron). And don’t forget Jackass 3 and Saw VII in October.

So, we’re working hard to figure out the best next step and install more 3D screens in all our theatres ASAP.  3D is here to stay!

Ron VanTimmeren is the Vice President of Programming at Celebration! Cinema.

Editor’s Note: What movies are YOU looking forward to seeing in 3D? Leave a comment with your email address to let us know – we’ll give a few gift cards to our favorite answers!