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Re: Consumer Reaction To Digi-Projection

Steve Gladstone writes:

>Film projection is horrendous, and not likely to get any better. Maybe
>if theaters would at least clean the glass that might help.  [...]

What would help even more would be if everybody who is bothered by defects at
the movies speaks up and demands a refund from the manager.  If people just
shrug their shoulders and go home without saying anything, they might not even
be aware that something is wrong, or that somebody in the audience noticed.  If
they start getting lots of complaints every day, they might even take it as an
omen that they better do something before they start losing business.

>Like it or not, Digital projection is going to be
>big. The studios will be the only ones able to afford to buy the
>projectors, I'm sure they will be happy to supply them to the
>Exhibitionist for a bigger portion of the gate.  [...]

You mean 'exhibitor,' not 'exhibitionist,' no? ;-)

Assuming the target price of about $100,000 per unit is achieved by
manufacturers for cinema-type digital projectors, one has to add disk storage,
high speed data lines and/or a satellite dish and receiver, big UPS units in the
basement, new screens, installation and maintenance, and so forth.  Digital
cinema could cost about a quarter of a million dollars per screen.  At last
count, I think there were something like 6,000 or 7,000 screens operating in the
U.S., which makes for an estimate of about $1.5 billion to $2 billion to convert
them all.  This is just for the theaters and does not take into account the
costs of all the telecine suites and other infrastructure needed to distribute
films electronically.  The studios might balk; it's a huge investment, and it's
not like the public will pay more for tickets once the novelty value wears off.

>Theaters really don't make money off of the movie anyway, it's
>the concessions that make them money. So what do they care.  [...]

While it is true that the concession stand is a major part of a theater's
business, nobody goes to the movies just to buy popcorn and soda!

I do not think for one moment that digital projection won't soon be in theaters.
There are tremendous possibilities in it for video-type showings like sports
events, as well as film-originated material.  I also think digital cinema
technology will turn up in many other places, like theme parks, simulators, and
virtual "works of art" projected on buildings and elsewhere.  But I think that
for the most part, the majority of applications will be in addition to film,
rather than in place of it.

Best regards,
Christopher Bacon

Thanks to VAS Group for support in 1999
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