The emerging mini-theatre market

In 2017, the concept of a small, intimate room to watch movies was introduced in Asia. Micro-cinemas, aka mini-theatres, quickly caught on by delivering a more personal viewing experience.

Espedeo Introduces the Next Evolution of Projection Technology

The home theater projector market is rapidly growing, but these consumer projectors are not capable of playing content from major motion picture studios in the same format as commercial movie theatres. In 2020, this issue was solved when Espedeo Holdings Limited introduced an innovative projector that not only met the stringent requirements for commercial mini-theatres, but became the perfect solution for alternative venues.

Commercially operated movie theatres use DCI-compliant projection systems (systems that must be approved by Hollywood motion picture studios) to playback encrypted JPEG-2000 content released by worldwide motion picture studios. These projectors must be compliant with Hollywood’s digital rights management (based on processing digital cinema’s security information) to playback the encrypted Digital Cinema Package (DCP); home theater projectors would not be able to playback this specially formatted content.

The Espedeo Supra-5000 RGB Plus Laser Phosphor Cinema Projector is a DCI compliant all-in-one projection system that doubles as a digital cinema projector and a home theater projector. It can playback both DCP content and HDMI input sources. The Supra-5000 is compact, lightweight, and quiet with a noise level below 35dB(A). It received the prestigious 2020 Red Dot Award in the category of “TV and Home Entertainment” for its sophisticated technical features and can be ceiling mounted with no hush-box (enclosed soundproof box). It is perfect for private movie theatre-like screening in conference rooms, hotels, home theaters, yachts, and other small venues.

Based on proven technology from Texas Instruments DLP, the Supra-5000 features ALPD 4.0 RGB Plus laser phosphor technology that delivers sharp contrast, spectacular brightness and vibrant colours in P3 colour space and achieves 98.5 percent of REC 2020 colour space. Unlike digital cinema laser projectors commonly ranked as Risk Group 3, Supra-5000 is certified by the FDA as Risk Group 2 making it safe for home or office usage.

It can project an image of up to 6 meters wide on commercial cinema screens and 270 inches diagonal for private home cinema. The Supra-5000 is the only DCI professional-grade projector that does not require a specific distance from the viewers.

Aside from powerful cinematic imagery, the Supra-5000 is also future-proof. It is available with several affordable upgrade options:

• an optional built-in digital cinema audio processor to playback DCP format movie titles in 5.1 or 7.1 uncompressed surround sound, which reproduces an incredibly deep, rich listening experience.
• a diskless CineCache 2TB built-in solid state storage for playback, which eliminates the need for external storage devices.
• supports PM-2000B 3D polarised system to playback 3D content with more than 30% light efficiency; nearly twice the brightness of many existing 3D projection systems.
• supports GoGoCinema, a cinema-on-demand platform where consumers can have access to thousands of movies.
The Trend of Private Screenings

With the growth of streaming platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, consumers have become accustomed to choosing from a wide variety of entertainment. However, commercial movie theatres have a set schedule with limited content.

This all changed with the launch of GoGoCinema in 2018. GoGoCinema is a cinema-on-demand platform that allows consumers to select a movie from a library of hundreds of current and legacy titles that they want to see, where they want to see it, and when they want to see it. It provides the most popular ticketing option on the App to reserve the entire auditorium for your family and friends.

One of the main reasons for the growth of the mini-theatre and boutique cinema concept is the increasing popularity of private screenings. The GoGoCinema App provides this most popular ticketing option to reserve the entire auditorium for your family and friends. In 2019, GDC Technology partnered with GoGoCinema App in Shanghai and Singapore to offer a highly flexible private rental program to moviegoers. The initial box-office results show an encouraging increase in revenues as compared to a traditional pre-programmed cinema multiplex.

Another reason for the growth of mini-theatres is demanding moviegoers. In certain cities with high income, some cinemas feature small private suites at offering a luxurious experience with comfortable and moveable seats, along with food and drink served to the moviegoers. These intimate luxury cinema experiences help cinema owners to distinguish themselves in the competitive market. Espedeo projection technology has become the ideal solution that caters to these VIP mini-theatres by reducing setup and operation costs.

Mini-theatre Meets the Challenges of Traditional Cinema

Two common challenges of building a traditional theatres are high investment costs and long-term power consumption costs. Considering most of the laser cinema projectors in the market are excessively large, noisy, and potentially hazardous at close distance, exhibitors need to plan for a booth projection for the cinema projector. Even for boothless designs (no projection booth), they still need to spend, on average over $30,000 to install a projector lift and a hush-box to reduce projector noise inside the auditorium. They will also need to consider having a restricted area when a Risk Group 3 projector is used, as well as the setup cost of HVAC and its power consumption for heat dissipation.

Yes, the traditional movie theatre is evolving again. And this time it’s to meet the demanding needs of consumers seeking a big screen cinematic experience, but in an intimate setting with amenities offered by the mini-theatre. There are over 300 exhibitors worldwide, including Singapore’s First-Class WE Cinemas that have already built a mini-theatre and adopted the latest projection technology to overcome the above challenges.

They are using Espedeo Supra-5000 to make the operation area more spacious. Switzerland’s Allianz Cinema even created the world’s first cable car cinema by converting the upper deck into a movie theatre auditorium, with a screen set up on one cable car and the Espedeo Supra-5000 laser projector on an adjacent cable car. The Supra-5000 is so compact, quiet, and lightweight that it is possible to build a cinema with fewer construction constraints and Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment (FF&E) costs.

How Much Space Is Required to Build a Mini-theatre Auditorium?

The amount of space required for each mini-theatre depends on several factors but the figures below provide an approximate guide:

• height 3.6-4.5m (12-15 ft)
• max. screen 6m (20 ft)
• 10-12 luxury seats
• 30-35 traditional or recliner cinema seats
The above figures suggest that a traditional cinema space is not required. Iconic department store Selfridges in the UK, which announced in autumn of 2019 that it would add a cinema to its London flagship location. It is also possible for a café or restaurant to convert into a cinema during off-peak hours to serve more customers.

For more information on products from Espedeo, please contact us at sales@espedeo. com or visit

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