Warner Bros. is one of the world’s most recognisable movie brands, and in 1991 founded a cinema division to boost studio revenues by bettering existing offerings for film exhibition.
Executives formulated a plan to build on the brand identity of the much loved ‘Loony Tunes’ characters by setting these into stylised film set environments built within each cinema foyer. Through the use of flown trusses and theatrical fittings, the vast area within each foyer could be filled with a dynamic and exciting space that would better customer dwell times and thus increase revenues in concessions sales.
Warner Village Cinemas worked with architects to develop a new concept for planned flagship cinemas in Leicester, UK and Madrid, Spain. These identified a requirement for architectural use of theatrical lighting and video displays on a massive scale.
Following a competitive tender, PAI were appointed to realise designers’ plans and deliver these first two projects. Each installation required around 200 luminaires and up to 50 display monitors, including flown video walls. Loudspeakers were to be carefully located to allow localisation of sound, and Loony Toon characters had to be rigged among the technology and illuminated carefully with fixtures. The entire scheme had to evolve and change throughout the day, and a highly complex control system was necessary to provide the granularity of control.
Delighted with the initial flagships, Warner Village Cinemas executives committed to the immersive technology environment for their cinema foyers, and PAI went on to complete close to 100 installations throughout Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany and Japan.
The increasing capacity for high quality enjoyment of cinema boosted exhibitor and studio turnover during this period, and spurned a new genre of fast action movies that could be enjoyed in these high quality settings.