Paramount shows the way for digital distribution

MUMBAI: Being one of the oldest and largest Hollywood distribution studios, which has relied on 35-millimeter film to capture motion pictures, has taken a huge step for the industry. Paramount Pictures has become the first big studio to stop releasing its major movies on film in the US.


The studio's Oscar-nominated film The Wolf of Wall Street is its first movie in wide release to be distributed entirely in digital format. The studio also notified theater owners that Will Ferrell’s comedy Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which opened in December, was the last movie released on 35-mm film, reports revealed.


The decision is likely to encourage other studios to take a leap of faith and follow suit, pushing for a complete phase-out of film in a year or two. Closer home, we already have movies releasing on the digital format and this historic move will only fuel more distribution studios to think of migrating to the digital format seriously.


The major factor for film studios to still remain hesitant of going completely digital is the factor of missing out on revenues and box-office collections from theatres which are still not equipped to show digital movies and are still on film. Internationally, Paramount is still expected to ship film prints to Latin America and other foreign markets where most theaters still show movies on film.


So how will Paramount benefit from this move? Well here are a few facts to ponder over: Studios prefer digital distribution because it is much cheaper. Eventually, these movies could be beamed into cinemas by satellite, saving even more on production and shipping costs. Digital technology also enables theaters to screen higher-priced 3-D films and makes it easier for them to book and program entertainment.


But then what about the theatre owners, they are at a risk of going out of business if they can no longer obtain film prints of movies.


The future is certainly looking bleak for distribution of movies on film to continue...

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