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Dolby unveils new Atmos sound system tonight with 'Brave' premiere

June 18, 2012|By Richard Verrier
  • This film image released by Disney/Pixar shows the character Merida, voiced by Kelly Macdonald, in a scene from "Brave."
This film image released by Disney/Pixar shows the character Merida, voiced… (Disney/Pixar )

Dolby's new lifelike sound system will take the stage tonight in Hollywood with the premiere of Disney/Pixar's animated movie"Brave."

San Francisco-based Dolby Laboratories Inc. will introduce what it describes as a groundbreaking sound technology called Dolby Atmos at the newly re-branded Dolby Theatre (formerly the Kodak Theatre) at the Hollywood & Highland Center.

The 3,400-seat, 180,000-square-foot Dolby Theatre is home to the Academy Awards and the Cirque du Soleil show "Iris."

Atmos is being billed as a considerably more lifelike sensory experience than the conventional Dolby 5.1 and 7.1 sound systems.

"Dolby Atmos is our most revolutionary innovation in years, and the industry reaction has been overwhelming,'' said Ramzi Haidamus, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Dolby.

Dolby said 14 other theaters in the U.S. and Canada, including the AMC Burbank, the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood and ArcLight Sherman Oaks, will offer "Brave" screenings in Atmos.

"We are so proud that 'Brave' is the first-ever film to be released in Dolby Atmos,'' said Mark Andrews, director of 'Brave,' an animated movie set in the Highlands of Scotland, featuring Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson. "It is sound technology at its very best."

How quickly Dolby Atmos will be embraced by theaters nationwide is unclear. The system costs $30,000 to $100,000, depending on the size of the theater, and Dolby is still working on a business model to make the technology attractive to theater owners who have invested heavily in new digital upgrades in the last two years.

"We believe this will become the de facto system for the world,'' Haidamus said.

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