|Digital Movie Projector|
Paramount Pictures has become the first major studio to stop releasing movies on film in the United States.
Some studios may also be reluctant to give up box-office revenue by bypassing theaters that can show only film. About 8% of U.S. movie theater screens are equipped to show movies only on film.
Paramount’s move comes nearly a decade after studios began working with exhibitors to help finance the replacement of film projectors with digital systems, which substantially reduce the cost of delivering movie prints to theaters.
In addition to relying on digital hard drives, theaters are installing satellites to digitally beam movies into cinemas. That could significantly lower the cost of delivering a single print, to less than $100 from as much $2,000.
Digital technology also enables cinemas to screen higher-priced 3-D films and makes it easier for them to book and program entertainment.
As a result, large chains have moved quickly to embrace digital technology: Ninety-two percent of 40,045 screens in the U.S. have converted to digital, according to the National Assn. of Theatre Owners. (L.A. Times, 1/17/2014)