Since its founding 10 years ago, signage and environmental branding that enhances theater spaces have represented a major Cima Network focus. From channel letters and digital signage for independent moviehouses and “cinepubs” (combination movie theaters and bar/restaurants) to providing comprehensive sign packages for Regal Cinemas, one of the world’s largest chains.
Movie theaters come in various shapes and sizes, with venues as diverse as the patrons who sit inside the theaters. For film aficionados, who routinely quote famous movie lines and revere movie theaters as hallowed cultural meccas, an experience that harkens back to the Golden Age of Cinema, when theaters were pristine showplaces and neighborhood focal points.
Ten years ago (coincidentally, the year Cima Network was founded), a handful of art-house movie exhibitors gathered in conjunction with the Sundance Film Festival to discuss how to enhance the independent-cinema experience.
This small conclave evolved into Art House Convergence, which now attracts several hundred exhibitors and affiliated vendors, and addresses the wide gamut of financial, operations and programming issues that small theaters face.
For the first team, Cima Network took part in Art House Convergence, which took place January 15-18 at the Zermatt Resort in Midway, Utah. Executive Vice President Keith Denny and Digital Signage Division Manager Brandon Wentworth attended to learn more about the independent-cinema market and how we could support their mission to grow their industry.
“My impression is that they’re an eclectic bunch who are wildly creative and proudly independent,” Denny said. “A lot of these independent cinemas operate in historic properties, which can be limiting in terms of the types of signage they can incorporate.”
Every independent cinema presents its own challenges, and we’re happy to provide our expertise to provide impactful signage, branding and architectural amenities. We enthusiastically fulfilled this need for one such independent theater, the Madison Art Cinemas in Madison, CT. The Madison Art Cinemas first opened in 1912, and was eventually purchased by Australia-based Hoyts Theaters. Hoyts closed the theater in 1998, and entrepreneur Arnold Gorlick purchased the property and promptly transformed into an intimate showplace with such charming amenities as a tomato-red espresso machine imported from Italy.
However, Gorlick understood the need to adapt the Madison to better appeal to younger generations of moviegoers, and contacted Cima Network about installing an LED display for its marquee. Getting the leaders of a small New England town whose roots trace to Colonial times to approve an innovative display took some persuasion.
“In going through three approval processes, we were able to display how technology can be subtly applied to not distract from community charm,” Wentworth said. “In fact, the display enhances the town, because it can be used to convey attractive imagery and provide weather alerts and community news”
The Madison’s new marquee, which is scheduled to be installed by month’s end, features a 3 x 13-ft. Watchfire display with 12mm pixel pitch. To demonstrate the system to Madison’s Planning and Zoning Board, Cima Network brought a pop-up marquee fully programmed with graphics that helped persuade local decisionmakers that the display would be an asset.
“[Arnold] will be able to change, update and schedule his display from his office, at home or on vacation,” Wentworth said. “Getting this sign approved was a very big win for us, and we couldn’t have done it without Watchfire’s support. They’re great partners to have.”