Paramount kills celluloid

I’ve never been one of those film fans who believes celluloid is better than digital — honestly, I’m not sure I can even tell the difference in the projection. Still, this is big. From “End of film: Paramount first studio to stop distributing film prints” at the Los Angeles Times:

In a historic step for Hollywood, Paramount Pictures has become the first major studio to stop releasing movies on film in the United States.

Paramount recently notified theater owners that the Will Ferrell comedy “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” which opened in December, would be the last movie that would it would release on 35-millimeter film.

The studio’s Oscar-nominated film “The Wolf of Wall Street” from director Martin Scorsese is the first major studio film that was released all digitally, according to theater industry executives who were briefed on the plans but not authorized to speak about them.

There could be some potential upsides to this. Cheaper and easier physical distribution means more films could possibly appear on a big screen in less premium multiplex slots not given over to the blockbusters. In other words, instead of showing The Wolf of Wall Street on a Wednesday morning when few patrons are likely to show up, a multiplex could schedule a movie club screening of, oh, Raging Bull, which the manager would just download from a studio library the night before. But this would require that the studios and distributors agree to entirely revamping the current distribution model, which now involves guaranteed dedicated weekly blocks of screens. Which will never happen, so never mind.

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