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Behind the Screens: 20 Facts for Our 20th Anniversary

Written by Fathom Events on Jan 17, 2024 2:40 PM

Throughout the years, Fathom has provided a variety of content to movie theaters nationwide and across the world. Our screenings have transformed the moviegoing experience, bringing together communities who crave rediscovering the nostalgia of a classic, finding faith in something inspiring, and sharing their love of theatrical experiences with others.   

This year marks an important milestone in our history: Fathom turns 20! We are officially out of our teenage years, and that means it’s the perfect time to roll out the red carpet, poll the team, and curate a list of 20 facts you didn’t know to celebrate our 20th anniversary. 

20 Facts About Fathom:

1. We are headquartered in the mile-high city: Denver, Colorado.  

2. Fathom Events is the top event cinema company in North America. 

3. Fathom started with live events (The Metropolitan Opera, Drum Corps International [DCI], concerts, etc.), until we branched into all types of content. 

4. DCI Big, Loud & Live is our longest-running consecutive event, first broadcast in 2004. 

5. We used to be known by several names: Satellite Theater Network, Prodigious Network, and NCM Fathom Events. However, when we launched an employee vote in 2014 the name “Ice Monkeys” almost beat out Fathom Events.  

6. In 2007, our first anime festival was called Anime Bento, 4 Nights, 4 Servings. This debut included Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, Full Metal Alchemist, Lupin the III: The Castle of Cagliostro, & Karas – The Prophecy.  

7. The screening of Lupin the III: The Castle of Cagliostro in 2007 was the first Hayao Miyazaki film we ever did. In 2017, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of Princess Mononoke, which led to more Ghibli films and the creation of Studio Ghibli Fest. We have done 44 Ghibli events to date. 

8. We hosted the world’s largest virtual screenwriting workshop with Shia LaBeouf and the writers of Holes (2003) before the premiere of the film. Our CEO keeps a VHS tape of it in his office.  

9. The Fathom Network (our digital broadcast network (DBN)) has grown from 70 theaters in 2004 to more than 1,100 in 2024.  

10. Our first gaming event was the Halo 2 Launch Party in 2004 (which took place outside and inside the Toys “R” Us in Time Square).  

11. We’ve brought more original programming than any other genre to the big screen, with 370 titles.
12. Prince Live on the Big Screen, a 2004 Musicology Tour from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, was our first live concert event.  

13. Before consolidating in 2012, Fathom had a branch of business called Fathom Theater Church. The idea was to allow churches to hold their weekly services in movie theaters nationwide. Years later, in 2018, we helped create the Fathom Affinity Network with the Faith Content Network, LLC. This venture allows churches to screen our content at their location. 

14. Our first faith event was a Third Day concert (a Christian rock band formed in Marietta, Georgia) in 2004. Now Fathom releases the highest number of faith-based films a year compared to any other theatrical distributor (with an average of 20-30 per year).  

15. The Chosen Season 4 will be the first time an entire television season is released in theaters.  

16. In 2017, we partnered with Woody Harrelson to bring Lost in London (the world’s first live movie) to theaters. The movie was broadcast simultaneously while it was being filmed, using only a single camera. Other cast members included Daniel Radcliffe, Owen Wilson, and Willie Nelson. Check out the trailer HERE

17. The Kendrick Brother’s Lifemark was Fathom’s first official specialty engagement release, meaning its theatrical run extended beyond the typical event cinema release, which is usually 1–3 days.    

18. 2023 saw both our highest-grossing film in our history (The Blind) and our biggest box office classic movie to date (Coraline).  

19. We have screened 1,570 titles to date. In 2018, Fathom distributed a record-breaking 162 titles (most titles in a single year), and November of 2019 holds the record for the most titles released in a month, 19.   

20. In the early 2010s, digital delivery for content didn’t exist, and we received our content on HD digital tapes. Filmmakers sometimes needed to edit until the last minute, so they used airport courier services to deliver the tapes to us. A particular delivery caught our Senior Director of Digital Mastering’s eye as he noticed it was larger and colder than usual. Surprise! Inside, there was a Styrofoam box with a Biohazard sticker on it. We had accidentally received medical plasma needed for surgery that day at a hospital a few miles from our office. The courier company worked out a quick swap, and we got our tape that afternoon. The plasma made it just in time for surgery. It really put “urgent shipping” into perspective. 

We’re excited to create even more memories with you this year! Sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date with all our events. 

Do you have a Fathom story you’d like to share? If so, leave a comment on our recent blog social post(s)! We want to hear all the magic, chaos, or downright hilarious stories you have about us. Thank you for all the wonderful memories, and we look forward to our 21st birthday next year.   

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