Excellent cover story in L.A.Weekly this week about a hot topic in the film industry: the dramatic move away from 35mm film and toward digital — resulting in, many fear, the abandonment of countless archival prints, and the end of many independent moviehouses. Here’s an excerpt:
“Distributing movies digitally into theaters has been the holy grail of the studios,” former Universal Pictures chairman Tom Pollock told Variety back in 2010. “They stand to eliminate billions of dollars in costs in coming years without spending very much.”
In 2012, it seems, the grail is finally within the studios’ grasp. Fate hasn’t yet been sealed on the image-capture end, as directors like [Christopher] Nolan dig their heels in about aesthetics and continue to insist on shooting on film. But even a motion picture shot entirely on film can be converted to digital after the fact. And on the projection side, digital is winning.
This year, for the first time in history, celluloid ceases to be the world’s prevailing movie-projector technology. By the end of 2012, according to IHS Screen Digest Cinema Intelligence Service, the majority of theaters will be showing movies digitally. By 2013, film will slip to niche status, shown in only a third of theaters. By 2015, used in a paltry 17 percent of global cinemas, venerable old 35 mm film will be mostly gone.
The repercussions will be vast — and felt down the entire length of the movie-industry food chain.
Read the entire article here; it’s well worth the time.