Immersive Sound Standards Debated at CinemaCon Event

Cinema sound and related standards were hot topics at last week’s CinemaCon conference in Las Vegas. Industry leaders discussed the promise of immersive sound to extend the theatrical experience into one that cannot be duplicated in the home. They also addressed the issue of developing how to create and distribute mixes for the new types of sound systems that are soon going to show up in theaters. The proposal of an open format approach was debated. Continue reading Immersive Sound Standards Debated at CinemaCon Event

Distribution of Film Prints May Soon End in North America

The end of celluloid film distribution in North America may come as soon as the end of this year, as the transition from film to digital continues. Michael Karagosian, president of MKPE Consulting, said that by the end of last year, 75 percent of worldwide cinema screens had already made the digital transition. This is expected to be an important topic this week at the annual CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas. Continue reading Distribution of Film Prints May Soon End in North America

HPA Tech Retreat: Digital Cinema Opens New Possibilities

During this week’s Hollywood Post Alliance Tech Retreat in Indian Wells, California, industry veterans are discussing the transition to digital cinema and what that means for the future of production, distribution and exhibition. “The industry has spent more than $3 billion… and by the end of this year I predict we will be releasing movies in the U.S. without any film prints,” said Jerry Pierce, chairman of the Inter-Society Digital Cinema Forum. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Digital Cinema Opens New Possibilities

Drive-In Theaters to Receive Help with Digital Transition

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and equipment supplier Cinedigm plan to help drive-in theaters convert to digital projection. The aid comes as many drive-ins run the risk of extinction since studios plan to stop releasing 35mm film versions of their movies later this year. While most drive-in theaters screen physical film on their outdoor projectors, the move to digital puts the theaters in a difficult position. Continue reading Drive-In Theaters to Receive Help with Digital Transition

Directors, Producers Join NATO in Concern Over Premium VOD

We recently reported that a new premium VOD service from DirecTV was in the works that would make movies available in the home shortly after their theatrical release.  The Hollywood Reporter now says 23 industry leaders — including Peter Jackson, James Cameron, Michael Bay, Michael Mann and Kathryn Bigelow — have thrown their support behind the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) by signing an open letter in opposition of the new distribution model.

NATO is running the letter this week in Variety at the same time the new VOD service — dubbed Home Premiere — is launched (the first available title will be Sony’s “Just Go With It”). According to DirecTV, new movie releases will be available in 1080p HD for $29.99, months before they are available on Netflix, DVD or Blu-ray. THR reports that theater owners are threatened by this proposal and what they see as a disruption to a proven distribution model. The directors and producers who signed NATO’s letter do not believe a premium VOD service will solve slumping DVD sales, and could negatively impact the platform release patterns of specialty films and lead to additional piracy issues.

“As a crucial part of a business that last year grossed close to $32 billion in worldwide theatrical ticket sales,” the letter states, “we in the creative community feel that now is the time for studios and cable companies to acknowledge that a release pattern for premium video-on-demand that invades the current theatrical window could irrevocably harm the financial model of our film industry.”

Related THR story: “7 Key Questions Surrounding DirecTV’s Premium VOD Service Controversy” (4/19/11)

Related Bloomberg story: “DirecTV Starts Premium Film Rentals at $29.99 for 48 Hours” (4/19/11)

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