Report: 35MM Projection Could Be Gone by 2015

Illustration for article titled Report: 35MM Projection Could Be Gone by 2015

Wanna know why movies are called flicks? It's because of the flickering light that's emitted from film projectors. Like smoking, smell-o-vision, and intermissions, it looks like 35MM films and their projectors are on their way out of the cinema.


According to a report from IHS Screen Digest Cinema Intelligence Service 2012 will "mark the crossover point when digital technology overtakes 35mm." This is bad news for film purists like Quentin Tarantino and Steve Spielberg. It's actually good news for Smurf-documentarian James Cameron. According the IHS head of film and cinema research David Hancock, Avatar was the tipping point pushing theatres toward digital projection.

According to Hancock, before Avatar digital projection accounted for 15-percent of global screens. After the film was released, digital projection grew 17-percent in both 2010 and 2011. Here are some more harrowing items from the report for lovers of celluloid:

By the end of 2012, the share of 35mm will decline to 37 percent of global cinema screens, with digital accounting for the remaining 63 percent. This represents a dramatic decline for 35mm, which was used in 68 percent of global cinema screens in 2010. In 2015, 35mm will be used in just 17 percent of global movie screens, relegating it to a niche projection format.

It was bound to happen eventually. While I wait, I'm going to watch a few Goddard flicks at the local independent theatre. [MSNBC]

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As someone who works in the film industry I can honestly tell you this is HORRIBLE for anyone that actually appreciates movies. Firstly, because Kodak is the leader in film and because they receive most of their profits through release prints (what gets shown in your theatre), their profits are going to be completely wiped out. Therefor Kodak could likely go out of business and with it the stock that films are actually shot on. As good as digital capture has gotten in the last 10 years or so, it can still not come anywhere near the beautiful characteristics of film grain. Thats because all digital capture is trying to BECOME film. Film is an absolutely beautiful capture and projection format and the loss of it will be a HUGE loss to the film industry. Listen to any cinematographers, directors, or film professionals that truly value and love the medium and you will see that absolutely no one wants to work in an industry where the only option is digital capture and projection. This will not only turn some of our greatest film artists off to making movies but I believe it will lessen the viewing experience of a large majority of film fans.