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on digital prints 07 Apr 2009 16:45 #31345

  • Mike
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At ShoWest I asked many people from distribution, the CBG, manufacturers, etc. the following question:

What happens with digial print availability in a situation where the film company releases a film in the 2000-3000 print range with the +/- 1000 theatres that cannot get a print. If they have digital projection will they have a better chance of getting a print vs. what happens from having a 35 mmm system?

The reason I ask is that I have become increasingly concerned by the rising amount iof films in the Jan-April and Sept.-October films with a light print count. I wondered would a digital system help me get more prints.

Some people said yes, off the record. Some said it's got to be better for availability if you have digital. (VPN?) Others said NO and they were all in distribution. I take it that until things change the answer is NO it will not be any easier to get a print. Unfortunately the supposed ease of day and date releases due to digital prints will not appear due to the fact that the cost of reimbursement for the VPN will discouage wider releases in the same way that print costs do today.
Michael Hurley
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Re:on digital prints 07 Apr 2009 16:58 #31348

  • Transit Drive in
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Mike,

That is the correct observation. The VPF will be the same cost for the studios as a print, until the VPFs disappear down the road, after about another 10-15 years. By then, people will be able to download movies directly into their brain.

Rick
"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."
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Re:on digital prints 07 Apr 2009 22:09 #31354

  • cuemarks
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One thing I know for sure is the studios ability to replace a digital copy is very fast. I had one drive sent without the cables, rather than sending just the cables they made a new copy and I had it overnight. Another example, a small independent about 100 miles east of me had a bad copy of mva 3D. I was requested by technicolor to send my hard drive to that theatre which, I gladly did. The next day, I had another copy of mva 3D sitting in my booth, simply for back up of my program. Minus the vpfs, don't get me started on that issue, the studios could have more than ample prints, if they wanted it, that way. cuemarks
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Re:on digital prints 08 Apr 2009 16:37 #31356

  • rufusjack
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Mike,

I asked the same question a year ago with a slight twist: What if we have digital and we do not expect a VPF to paid to us??? Would we be allowed to play on the break?

Why would I ask that? Because like Mike, the off-seasons are going to get bad IMHO. So the question for me is: Would I rather have new product and not receive a fee or stick with film and hope that I can play stuff that is 3-4 weeks old?

I believe I want the former because it is getting harder to find stuff to play.

A siutation that just occurred this week was troubling. I booked a film for Fri 4/10 that would be starting its 4th week. Today (wed) I found out that the two sub-runs in my area are playing it too. One of them is an old 4-plex of a regional chain that also gives away free popcorn along with $3 tickets. hard to charge first-run prices against that.

Now I would hope that If I am ever in this situation, that I would still get VPFs on movies that are over a certain amount of locations, say 3000.

Under this scenario I got a couple of studios to say yes they would, a couple outright no, and a third that were not sure.
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Re:on digital prints 08 Apr 2009 20:32 #31357

  • strand4me
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I'm a single screen with digital and I have found nothing has really changed in regards to print availability with the exception of 3D. If you have 3D everyone wants your screen. I purchased my own equipment and don't get a VPF and some studios will not provide me with a digital print unless I'm playing on the break. It's a bit frustrating to say the least.
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Re:on digital prints 08 Apr 2009 21:03 #31358

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Been digital in some of our screens for almost a year now with no vpfs yet. Your situation sounds a lot like ours, however we have booked digital prints several weeks after the break for our single screen theatre in Wyoming. cuemarks
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Re:on digital prints 09 Apr 2009 11:57 #31359

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re: 3-D absolutely/ if you have it in the house they want you no matter what size or where you fall. Something to think about. But would they cut back on availability for smaller markets if they reach the magic number which seems to be around 2200-3200.
Michael Hurley
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Re:on digital prints 10 Apr 2009 01:55 #31363

  • lionheart
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Seems to me that I would never get ahead of the competition with digital projection or 3D capability. I might be able to catch up a bit, since the next city up the road has it already. I can already see that it would take a larger increase in ticket sales than I could count on anytime soon to pay for it...VPFs or not.

For me, there is no advantage to be gained by taking the plunge and spending the money to "upgrade". I would never get ahead. I would always be just playing catch-up.

I have two screens that seat 132 and 32. If by some stroke of good luck I could manage to install digital and 3D in both for $150k, and I managed to finance that money at some nice rate like 7% for 10 years, my payments would be about $1,742 per month on that loan. I'm thinking that doesn't make much sense in my case. Will there be enough VPF money to cover that? If not, then will my gross revenue increase enough as a result of the new technology to cover the difference? I don't know the answers to these questions. Maybe somebody else can enlighten me.

And then, does the customer really want digital. I don't think they care. Do they want 3D? Some probably do, but I tend to think that if everything goes 3D it will lose its specialness very soon. It would still come down to the story. A crappy movie in 3D is still a crappy movie when every movie is 3D. People will hold out for what they perceive as something special when asked to regularly fork over an extra 3 to 5 bucks for the privilege of watching 3D. If all movies are 3D, I think the number of tickets sold will decrease because of the higher prices, and because some don't like 3D.

Then this excercise is much like pricing the concession stand. The higher the prices, the lower the number of people who will stop and buy snacks. It's simple economics. I remember Large once saying that about 30% of movie-goers purchase snacks at the concession stand. I found that in my theater, more like 75% purchase snacks because I chose to set my prices lower. I have given up higher profit margins for greater volume. Others give up volume for greater margins. At what point do gross revenues suffer from the higher prices? The natural drop in volume with 3D's higher prices (after the new has worn off) is not a welcome effect. I keep my concession prices lower because I want more happy customers, and hopefully more revenue. If we keep finding ways to get more money from fewer people, I worry about the long term effects on our industry.
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