Silver Screen Technology: Disney Wants You To Bring IPads To The Movies

James Dennin, Kapitall: Disney is making apps to go along with re-releases of their classic movies. Is it a sign of what's to come?

The mayor of Los Angeles is freaking out because no one seems to want to shoot movies anymore. At least not in LA.

He's worried about a city that relies largely on the entertainment industry in a time when movies get left behind, as waves of new technology seem to render the silver screen obsolete. 

[Read more on Entertainment from Kapitall: Netflix Disrupts TV Again, Will Traditional Cable Waive the White Flag?]

Which would be bad news for a stock like  Disney (DIS). The company recently bought the Star Wars franchise for over $4 billion, with plans to release three movies over the next six years – and potentially several more. They've even recruited the original Luke Skywalker, Mark Hammill, who has been reportedly bulking up for the role.

However, with all these long-term investments in the pipeline, one of America's most storied entertainment companies could be in serious trouble if enthusiasm for the movie industry continues to wane. 

But of course family-friendly Disney won't go down without a fight.

Disney has recently partnered with Apple (AAPL) in a bid to make movies more interactive. So this fall, those especially squirmy children who just can't sit still during movies can be placated with an iPad app that links up to the action on screen.

As Mashable noted in their review of the experience – which launched with The Little Mermaid - there's a new game, treasure hunt, or trivia activity every couple of minutes. And Disney plans to release a full "two-screen" version of The Nightmare Before Christmas later this year.

As for now there are some clear problems. For one, the program only works with Apple iPads, meaning only about half of the tablet-owning public will be able to download the special app. There is some hope to weave the two-screen experience into content geared toward adults, which I imagine to be much less annoying. 

Think of how much easier it'd be to follow Game of Thrones if you had maps and family trees at your fingertips. 

But with so much happening on the little screen in their hands, it might be harder for children to follow the real action that their parents have shelled out $15 for them to watch. And this is far from an isolated trend – Nintendo (OTC:NTDOY) has reportedly begun investigating  making an interactive movie experience for its landmark franchise, Zelda

Which of course begs the question, will this become the norm when we go to the movies? Even I can remember that wistful time before commercials ran ahead of the previews. As users crave a more interactive experience – one that puts them into the action as opposed to remaining strictly spectators – what will happen to the traditional movie theaters, and the films they show? Are they destined to go the way of the drive-in?

We at Kapitall Wire will be following this trend closely, although for the time being it's still probably best to continue silencing your devices before the opening credits.

And consider the list below of stocks at the forefront of this crossover between film and personal technology.

Click on the interactive chart to view analyst ratings for companies in our list over time.

Is interactive cinema the future, with Disney winning the race? Use the list below to begin your own analysis. 

1. Walt Disney Co. ( DIS): Operates as an entertainment company worldwide. Market cap at $118.16B, most recent closing price at $66.35.
 

 

2. Apple Inc. ( AAPL): Designs, manufactures, and markets PCs, mobile devices, and portable digital music players, and sells related software and third-party digital content and applications worldwide. Market cap at $458.48B, most recent closing price at $504.66.

 

3. REGAL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP ( RGC): Operates a theatre circuit in the United States. Market cap at $2.92B, most recent closing price at $18.84.
 

 

4. Cinemark Holdings Inc. ( CNK): Engages in the motion picture exhibition business. Market cap at $3.68B, most recent closing price at $32.21.
 

 

5. IMAX Corporation ( IMAX): Operates as an entertainment technology company worldwide. Market cap at $1.7B, most recent closing price at $26.70.
 

 

6. Carmike Cinemas Inc. ( CKEC): Operates as a motion picture exhibitors in the United States. Market cap at $396.11M, most recent closing price at $22.15.

 

 

( List compiled by James Dennin, a Kapitall Writer. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research, all other data sourced from Finviz.)

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