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Jackson memorial to be broadcast in movie theaters

About 17,000 people in at least 20 states will be able to watch the service for free at theaters equipped with Cinedigm Digital Cinema network equipment.

July 07, 2009|Ben Fritz

Michael Jackson's public memorial service will be a theatrical event too, as digital events company Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp. has arranged with AEG Live and the pop singer's family to broadcast the event live at dozens of movie theaters in at least 20 states.

About 17,000 people will be able to watch the service for free at 10 a.m. Pacific time in theaters equipped with digital projection systems and satellite dishes that are part of Morristown, N.J.-based Cinedigm's network.

The company will be using the same feed going out from Staples Center to television networks and displaying it in high definition on big screens.

"This gives Michael Jackson's fans a chance to view the memorial in a communal setting with other like-minded folks and celebrate his life together," said Jonathan Dern, president of Cinedigm's content and entertainment group.

The publicity surrounding Jackson's memorial service could provide a boost to the business of showing live events in movie theaters. Since it started a year ago, Cinedigm has used its network primarily for sporting events and concerts.

The company's work in concerts gave it a connection to AEG that allowed it to reach out to the event production company as soon as the memorial was announced, and to close a deal late Sunday night, Dern said.

Tickets to the theatrical broadcasts are free and will be provided on a first come, first served basis. Cinedigm has posted a list of participating locations on its website. Dern confirmed that Hollywood's Mann Chinese 6 Theatre will be among them. The website also lists locations in Monrovia and Tulare, Calif.

He added that Cinedigm was considering showing an encore presentation of the memorial service in theaters for those who can't attend live.

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ben.fritz@latimes.com

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