bio photo

Thinking Outside the Box 

A Profile of Larry Jacobson



Larry Jacobson began his career as a Division Engineer for American Multi-Cinema at their corporate headquarters in Kansas City in 1971.  Never one to be limited to the confines of projection booths, he ventured into the “front end” of AMC’s new multiplexes to improve presentation quality.  The synergetic impact of combining patron comfort, cinema technologies, and economic efficiencies—both in the theatres and in enhancing net profit at the concession stands—catapulted Larry into senior management within AMC.

During his 45-year career, Larry Jacobson has demonstrated his high degree of competence in both film and digital environments.  His expertise in design and construction of cutting-edge multiplex cinemas, beginning in the 1980’s, is unparalleled in the theatre business.  As Senior VP of AMC Theatres, he was responsible for the design, construction, equipment specification, and fixturing of thousands of screens in complexes throughout North America.  He introduced the stadium seating model into the exhibition industry, with it quickly becoming the blueprint for thousands of multiplexes.  The AMC Grand 24 Theatre in Dallas was the first Megaplex, featuring numerous original designs and ground-breaking technologies that set new standards for cinema.   

The Jacobson systems approach has always entailed breaking down traditional methodology into its most elemental forms and reinventing to increase performance. Cases in point include such diverse examples as the modular design “station concept” concession stand to minimize transaction time, the theatre Cupholder, the streamlining of stadium seats to effect efficiencies through row spacing, and other equally impressive revenue stimulators. He holds patents on a number of innovations, both in the auditoriums and in the projection booths. 

Mr. Jacobson has provided consulting services to various motion picture film and digital suppliers, architects, and entrepreneurs.  In addition to the hundreds of complexes created for AMC, he has designed cinemas for Kerasotes Theatres, Solomon Theatres, United Artists’ Theatres, Santa Rosa Entertainment, and others.  He recently served as President of the Entertainment Division of QuVIS, Inc. in Topeka, KS.  Prior to that, he was Vice President of Strong Digital, a division of Ballantyne of Omaha, Inc.

In 1998, Mr. Jacobson received an Academy Award™ for Technical Achievement for his work on the Projection System Analyzer (PSA), the benchmark technology that has become the standard for measuring luminance and analyzing each component of a projection system. He was one of only four people in NATO history to receive the Medal of Honor for Outstanding Achievement on behalf of NATO and exhibition. He has received numerous awards, including being recognized by the Eastman Kodak Company and Dolby Laboratories, for his superior contributions to exhibition.

He is a Past President of the Inter-Society, former Co-Chair of the NATO Technical Committee, member of the Technical Committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, and the International Cinema Technology Association (formerly ITEA).

Mr. Jacobson’s digital proficiency is keeping pace with his deep-rooted film and theatre knowledge.  He was one of the early pioneers of digital cinema advocacy in the mid-1980’s, envisioning flawless presentations that would be unspoiled by the finite defects inherent in film and sprocket-driven machinery.  Recent work in digital includes electronic networking, projection and secure storage of content, liaison work with studios for satellite and hard media delivery, transition financing for exhibition, alternative content and advertising deployment, mastering and cinema equipment specification, digital peripheral creation and the invention of The Auditorium Projector Lift. His vast structural design creativity and understanding of motion imaging and display on all levels converge so that digital cinema attains its utmost potential.

Ever an exhibitor at heart, Larry Jacobson is simultaneously energized and quite comfortable spearheading the exciting digital era and all the discovery and economic savings it affords.