Carnival Cinemas, one of the leading multiplex circuits in India, has agreed to install Christie RGB pure laser projectors across its entire screen portfolio, and in doing so, becoming the first multiplex circuit in India to commit fully to RGB laser. The conversion will happen over a period of five years and includes both replacement machines for existing screens as well as new screen openings. The deal reportedly includes over 500 Christie RGB projectors, in tandem with Dolby IMB and Dolby Atmos and in conjunction with TSR Films.
Carnival operates a total of around 425 screens in 150 cinemas according to the company itself. Carnival also operates six screens in Singapore. In 2019, Carnival announced it would acquire Middle East exhibitor Novo Cinemas, but there has been no recent update on this venture.
The deal shows how emerging cinema markets such as India can also be trendsetters in terms of investment in new technologies as they can be more agile to trends through the higher proportion of new screen construction versus replacements. Laser technology, whether RGB or phosphor, is now the default choice for new screens, as reduction in total cost of ownership coupled with higher efficiency versus traditional lamp changes, become increasingly apparent.
India has been slower to adopt digital cinema, on a nationwide level, as a vast network of rural screens migrated to lower cost, non-Hollywood standard, e-cinema. Nonetheless, the leading multiple players in INOX, Carnival and PVR, are investing heavily in screen expansion and technology infrastructure including in premium experiences such as 4D and IMS, Luxury and Premium label screens, as well as screens differentiated by technology experience such as laser, atmos. Other exhibitors in India to have recently installed Christie RGB on select screens include Cinepolis India, and Vettri Theatres and Kalidas M-plex.
There are now a growing list of exhibitors supporting Christie’s lower cost RGB laser lines, including Cineworld (although also partnering with Cinionic), Event Cinemas in Australia, CGR in France and Wanda, China. However, Carnival will be one of only a few exhibitors to adopt full RGB laser to date. Other exhibitors have successfully deployed a combination of RGB laser and Laser phosphor machines within their screen estate.