Wednesday, March 12, 2008

10,000 B.C. means Better Cinemas? Well Digital at least but not 3D... Yet.

Hold your horses folks. So many media outlets are reporting that four major studios (Disney, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and Universal Pictures) have all agreed to finance the conversion of 10,000 3D compatible theaters to the tune of $700m. Hey - that is truly great news.

But it ain't 3D. Yet. Those same theaters are only getting digital projection. They still have to select their 3D projection of choice (most opt for RealD) at ~$25k a site and the tally for that project is another ~$250m. The studios save on the high cost of distributing heavy film canisters all over the world and replace that with electronic movie file transfers, so it makes sense to do this quickly. The conversion to 3D is more in the hands of the theater chains - they will make more money by charging 3D premiums. I don't want to downplay this too much because digital conversion simply had to happen first! I am happy as can be - to see the studios working together in almost a billion dollar project is breathtaking.

The media outlets must keep this in mind when they are writing their articles! This deal that was announced certainly goes a heckuva long way toward 3D being everywhere, but it is still going to require forward momentum after that. Oh, it will still get done because 3D is truly changing the movie going experience, but there are still a challenge or two left. Onward and upward!

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Jim Dorey
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