The Broadway Television Network has announced a one-night-only "digital cinema" theatre release schedule for its recorded version of Broadway's Jekyll and Hyde. BTN and its allied companies will make the show available in regional theatres located in seven cities on March 10.
Just one year old, BTN has been developing high-quality HDTV and SurroundSound pay-per-view (PPV) offerings of Broadway shows. This March 10 release is being sold under the BTN banner, BroadwayCinema.
BTN's one-night-only "digital cinema" release schedule is a major marketing step: By exposing BTN's upscale product in theatres across the country (average price $19.95), the network is clearly aiming to demonstrate that consumers are ready to shell out PPV rates for BTN's product—that being legitimate Broadway product with high definition television (HDTV) picture quality and state of the art, five-channel surround sound.
BTN has just re-released another of its shows, the network's inaugural digital version of the Leiber and Stoller revue, Smokey Joe's Cafe. International viewership numbers have not been released on the Smokey Joe's PPV offers and there have been questions about BTN's bottom line success with the show. This issue is closely associated with speculation over the viability of BTN's PPV model.
BTN CEO Bruce Brandwen dismisses naysayers and has countered such criticism by suggesting that the company be judged by what it has accomplished relative to its unique and ambitious goals. BTN is developing its market as it goes about building itself. While the video and sound technology necessary to support the BTN PPV model exists, its distribution is not widespread at this time. Thus, BTN's cinema bookings at various domestic venues can be interpreted as a move to develop and accelerate initial demand for digital Broadway product.
The March 10 world premiere of the final Broadway cast of J&H stars David Hasselhoff and will be made available at regional "digital cinemas" nationwide.
In a prepared statement, BTN described the multi-industry team that has made these cinema expositions possible. Comprising the group are Texas Instruments, National Amusements, QuVIS, Cinemark USA, Boeing Digital Cinema, Harkins Enterprises, BARCO Digital Cinema, Christie Digital Systems and Dolby Laboratories.
In its statement, BTN claims the spring release is historic: "Working with cinema exhibitors National Amusements, Cinemark USA and Harkins Enterprises [as well as a] technology team led by the DLP Cinema technology group at Texas Instruments (TI) and including Boeing Digital Cinema, QuVIS, BARCO Digital Cinema, Christie Digital Systems and Dolby Laboratories, BTN's Direct From Broadway, one-night-only presentation of Jekyll & Hyde represents the first non-film program distributed for digital cinema display."
On March 10, BTN says, "seven cities across the country will have the opportunity to experience state-of-the art digital cinema technology blended with the world's finest live entertainment content, Broadway musicals captured live-in-performance."
Promising that the March 10 shows will "enable consumers to experience the thrill, excitement and wonder of Broadway right in their own home town" BTN founder and CEO Bruce Brandwen described the release as a "unique and electrifying in-theater experience." Brandwen said the network was "already planning to distribute three more Broadway shows for digital cinema exhibition."
BTN said it used "10 high definition cameras and over 70 microphones" to capture Broadway's Jekyll and Hyde. The digital filming was directed by three-time Emmy winner Don Roy King and the production enjoyed "the participation of the Broadway creative team and BTN's creative director for stage, four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks. "
The March 10 BroadwayCinema venues are: Cinemark at Legacy (Dallas Metro Area)
7201 Central Expressway
7 and 10 PM
Cinemark at Valley View (Cleveland Metro Area)
6001 Canal Road
Valley View, OH
7 PM only
Harkins Arrowhead Fountains 18 (Phoenix Metro Area)
16046 N Arrowhead Fountain Center Drive
2 and 8 PM
Showcase Cinemas Randolph (Boston Metro Area)
Route 139, 73 Mazzeo Drive
7 and 10 PM
Showcase Cinemas Springdale (Cincinnati Metro Area)
12064 Springfield Place
7 and 10 PM
Edgewater Multiplex Cinemas (NY/NJ Metro Area)
339 River Road
7 and 10 PM
Lee Highway Multiplex Cinemas (Northern VA/DC Metro Area)
8223 Lee Highway
7 and 10 PM
—By Murdoch McBride