It was a cold pursuit indeed. On October 5, despite frigid temperatures, the film Cold Pursuit screened in an unprecedented format for a movie: on a gondola.
Located next to the picturesque Alps, the 6,227-foot tall Stanserhorn mountain features the world’s first cable car with a roofless upper deck, allowing passengers to sit or stand while taking in the 360 degree panoramic views. The idea: convert that upper deck into a makeshift movie theater auditorium, with a screen set up on one cable car and the new Espedeo Supra-5000 laser projector on an adjacent cable car.
One of the smallest projectors ever designed at the size of about two shoeboxes, the device is intended for smaller spaces than traditional cinema auditoriums, such as miniature theaters, hotels, private homes — and, potentially, gondolas. Swiss technology and signage company Imaculix partnered with open-air cinema Allianz Cinema for the experimental project.
There were several logistical challenges to overcome.
Since there’s no power up there, a 5.1 surround sound system had to be installed entirely powered by batteries. “In the test phase, after only half an hour, the batteries were down to 34 percent,” Imaculix CEO and owner Andy W. Bohli revealed in an interview. “But then we added some new batteries for the next day.”
Then the device had to withstand the elements. “Half an hour into the movie, it started raining. The projector was not meant to be out in these conditions. You cross your fingers and hope it works,” Bohli laughed. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, the movie continued playing uninterrupted. “I was surprised how stable this product was.”
Lastly, which film to screen? “We wanted to do Skyfall,” Bohli admits, “but there were some legal issues.” So they opted for Cold Pursuit, 2019’s action thriller starring Liam Neeson.
The whole contraption cost about $10-$15 thousand to set up, but was free for the six patrons who bundled up to attend. “I’m a huge cable car fan. I have had two passions, since I was four years old: cable cars and cinema,” Bohli says. “So this was the climax of my career.”
Allianz Cinema’s next similar stunt in their Allianz Cinema on Tour series arrives on December 12: a huge screen set up in the middle of a forest, with attendees arriving on horseback.
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