Ringer Spy jon peeps in with his knowledge on screen numbers versus theatre numbers. Check it out, and try not to tie your fingers into a pretzel counting on them 🙂
It appears the author has confused screens with theaters. The numbers quoted for other feature films were their theater numbers. Screens counts for blockbusters generally are 1.5 times greater than the theater count.
That said, the 10,000 print launch of LotR would by far still be a record but I think coming in Dec this is HIGHLY unlikely. Not only are screens at a premium but it would amount to 40% of the entire North American screen total.
I think it more likely could be that NL is planning a 10,000 print world wide launch day-and-date with North America. This could involve 5-6,000 screens in the U.S. (about 25% better than SW Ep1, MI:2, The Grinch and so on. With 4-5,000 screens in foreign markets that could embrace just about every major market. This is also kinda backed up by the NZ release date that has been quoted.
Screen counts are rarely quoted by movie studios for the simple reason that a theater-average looks far better on paper than a screen average these days. The last time I saw a screen count confirmed by a studio was “Twister” in 1996 and its 4,000 screens. That year MI:1 opened in 4,400 screens. Think in the days of Star Wars hogging 5 screens at many sites (even here in the UK) shows just how many prints studios can release.
Hope I have geeked myself out with all those stats.
Keep up the FAB work