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Friday, January 23, 2009

Paramount Offers To Pay Print Fees Directly To Theaters!

Hey guys - Jim here. GOOD NEWS! ...And a quick catch up here - last year a consortium of players (AMC, Regal and Cinemark) joined together to obtain about $1 billion to finance the conversion of their theaters to digital and it was very good news indeed.

Then the credit crunch hit and money dried up fairly fast - even for money making ventures like the movies (which don't seem to suffer AT ALL during hard times).

Enter the studios and in particular Paramount, who are getting very anxious to get the theaters converted to digital and to provide the required equipment for 3D add-ons from companies like Real D. So Paramount has stepped forward today acoording to Variety and offered to pay the print fees directly to the theaters if they can finance their own conversions.

A print fee is representative of the old system of printing off copy reels of the original movies and distributing them to theaters across the country. It was expensive to do this. With digital movies, the print fee is practically eliminated and now the studios are saying that perhaps we will pay theaters this "virtual" fee (for digital movies) if they are willing to invest as well.

Apparently there are about 1,250 theaters converted to 3D from the 5,620 digital screens that are available (and growing).

Paramount will pay a "virtual print fee" to any theater owner that converts at least half of all of it's screens to digital and will pay even more of a fee for 3D conversions.
"We urge all studios to give this creative option a fair chance," John Fithian of the National Association of Theater Owners said.

This is awesome news. I had not expected movement from the studios on a wide scale on this front but the end result of higher profits is the golden carrot enticing everyone along. Great to hear this!!

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