Cineworld has stated that all of its 77 cinemas in the UK will be completely digital within 3 years, at total cost of £40 million.

The £40 million estimate includes £10 million that the chain has already spent upgrading its screens. Currently just a third of its 790 screens are digital, but this is set to rise rapidly under the ambitious scheme.

Cineworld is joining forces with the Arts Alliance Media, a leading European provider of digital cinema technology and distribution services, to carry out the upgrades. Cineworld hopes to recoup most of the £40 million outlay through a ‘VPF’ (Virtual Print Fee) deal, which Arts Alliance Media will collect from film distributors.

The move comes as Cineworld reacts to the big boom in 3D cinema. Films like Avatar and Up have whetted the public's appetite for 3D movies and Cineworld expects that to continue and expand into other areas.

"Going to the cinema will no longer be just about going to see movies", said Steve Wiener, CEO of Cineworld.

"Alternative content in 3D such as live rugby, plays, opera, concerts and other sporting events will now become more readily available at all Cineworld cinemas across the UK.  We are delighted to be at the forefront of the UK cinema industry, offering our customers the very best in entertainment at every Cineworld location”.

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