has d cinema seen the release of any movies that fiancially would have been not possible before - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-21-2013, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Figuring that releasing a movie on 2000 screens can cost movie studios less than $100,000 on d cinema screens versus $4,000,000 on film reels has there been any movies released that woud have not been possible before or a future movie coming out that would have not been possible before?

I know Paul Thomas Anderson was having troubles getting funding for the Master which was awesome and I don't know if dci had anything to do with it and I'm hoping more risky, independent, art house dramas can get made because of the dci initiative.

Paul Thomas Anderson also has a new movie coming out called Inherant Vice and I know his films are low budget and I wonder if digital cinema helped the movie get made at all.

I have to assume digital cinema will be vastly easier to open movies on a world wide scale also allowing lower budget movies to be made too.



Does anyone have any information?
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-21-2013, 10:04 PM
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It's made a huge difference for smaller releases. Obviously for big tent pole movies, spending $10mill on prints is a drop in the bucket. They make that back in the first few hours of opening day. But for documentary and small independent feature, the cost of making just one or two prints will run in the 50-60K plus range. Which many of them are not likely to make back in one theatre. Additionally that doesn't really scale well. If your film catches on and you want to expand, you have to pay for another print and wait for the lab to turn it around.

So with DCP, you're seeming many, many more films making them 1- for festival screenings and the taking those same DCPs (DCPs are Digital Cinema Packages, they are the digital files that are distributed to theaters for DCi screenings) and going into release with them. If the release goes well they can quickly and easily scale it up, by just making a copy of the drive, at a cost of a few hundred bucks!

So it's saving the studios a ton of money, it's great for small release operations, it's good for theatre owners as its easier to move things around, it's good for the audience as the "prints" don't wear out so quality is better, and the spec has requirements on the performance of equipment so the projection tends to be more consistent and generally accurate, respecting the filmmakers intention.

As to specific films that got made which wouldn't have been otherwise, it's tough to site specific examples. What I can say with certainty is there are films which have seen theatrical release which probably would not have otherwise. But they might very well have been made anyway.
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post #3 of 13 Old 04-21-2013, 10:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Dang I'd really like to know some specific movies. Availability for Americans isn't a huge problem but those people in small foreign towns in like Germany or the UK population 10,000 must be happy they can watch the Avengers 2 or Man of Steel.

Do the copies really cost a couple hundred of dollars? A 500gb hard drive only costs like $50-100 retail depending on the model and what like $30 each if you buy like 1,000 directly from the manufacturer? I'm sure these companies probably buy like 10,000 hard drives at a time for like $300,000.
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-22-2013, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by ComputerTech0903 View Post

Figuring that releasing a movie on 2000 screens can cost movie studios less than $100,000 on d cinema screens versus $4,000,000 on film reels has there been any movies released that woud have not been possible before or a future movie coming out that would have not been possible before?
No.
Just fewer release prints for movies that had low budget and wasn't expected to draw a large audience.
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I know Paul Thomas Anderson was having troubles getting funding for the Master which was awesome and I don't know if dci had anything to do with it and I'm hoping more risky, independent, art house dramas can get made because of the dci initiative.

Paul Thomas Anderson also has a new movie coming out called Inherant Vice and I know his films are low budget and I wonder if digital cinema helped the movie get made at all.
Director have problems financing movies all the time. Specially their own "pet project" movies.
Even directors like Ridley Scott doesn't have guaranteed financing.

His movie "Kingdom of Heaven" really started as a project for a movie about the Battle of Tripoli with Russel Crow leading. Had gotten green light from Fox and started building sets in Morocco, when Fox suddenly pulled the funding.
By then Ridley Scott had hired full crew and actors. So he turns to the script writer and ask him if he has something else in the same vein, which was the script to Kingdom of Heaven which Fox green-lit after Ridley had reduced the script from 150 pages to 130 pages by removing all parentheses, commas and whatever he could remove fast without changing or rewriting the script.
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I have to assume digital cinema will be vastly easier to open movies on a world wide scale also allowing lower budget movies to be made too.
Lower budget movies have never opened on a worldwide scale. The prints are touring from one place to another often ending their world tour several years after it original opening date.

Owning a Digital camera makes it possible to shoot and edit the movie on your own equipment without needing to have funding for film-stock, lab costs and distribution prints. In that way it is cheaper now to make an independent movie than before.

The biggest problem for Independent movies is that the big studios/distributors have locked in all their movies in the cinemas, and this way there are little or no opening for Independent movies to have free screens they can be shown on.
Only Independent movie producers that are able to score a deal with a big enough distributor have any chance at being seen by a big audience and have a chance of recuperating some of the budget.
Hundreds of movies every year will only be seen at film festivals and special screenings.
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Dang I'd really like to know some specific movies. Availability for Americans isn't a huge problem but those people in small foreign towns in like Germany or the UK population 10,000 must be happy they can watch the Avengers 2 or Man of Steel.
Years ago, all movies opened in Europe months after the US. (many still does)
The reason being that first the prints played in American cinemas. Then they went through a chemical wash and was sent to Europe where they had their European run.

Lately (10-15 years ago) more and more big blockbusters started to have approximately same opening date all over the world. That was the first time countries outside the US started to get "fresh prints" of US movies.
The reason for this change was more about the savings on promoting the film worldwide in one timeslot and not have to re-start promotion with moths apart. Internet did this possible.

All big movies have always been available in Europe even in small towns without movie theatres. A guy would tour the country with a projector and show the movie in local community houses.

In addition, in Europe regular commercial cinemas has always shown European produced movies. Movies you in the US would only be able to see in Art House Cinemas in big cities, even though the European movies often was not the Art house type.
Much larger diversity in European cinemas than in the US.
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Do the copies really cost a couple hundred of dollars? A 500gb hard drive only costs like $50-100 retail depending on the model and what like $30 each if you buy like 1,000 directly from the manufacturer? I'm sure these companies probably buy like 10,000 hard drives at a time for like $300,000.

Here is a recent Variety article that should give you some more info on movie distribution today; Filmmakers Lament Extinction of Film Prints.

Victim of Its Success: Film’s Last Surge Plants Seeds of Its Demise
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post #5 of 13 Old 04-22-2013, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by coolscan View Post

Years ago, all movies opened in Europe months after the US. (many still does)
The reason being that first the prints played in American cinemas. Then they went through a chemical wash and was sent to Europe where they had their European run.

Lately (10-15 years ago) more and more big blockbusters started to have approximately same opening date all over the world. That was the first time countries outside the US started to get "fresh prints" of US movies.

Are you aware that most European countries have always dubbed U.S movies and that requires new prints to be struck. The countries with subtitling also often got new prints because laser burning subtitles on old prints gets more expensive after a certain number of prints than to make an inter-negative with subtitles and make new prints from that.
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post #6 of 13 Old 04-22-2013, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Axel Fransberg View Post

Are you aware that most European countries have always dubbed U.S movies and that requires new prints to be struck. The countries with subtitling also often got new prints because laser burning subtitles on old prints gets more expensive after a certain number of prints than to make an inter-negative with subtitles and make new prints from that.
Yes I am aware of both dubbing and subtitles.
For the subtitles I know they mostly burnt in on the washed and reused US prints, at least until more movies started to open same day and date as the US (living in such a country).
For the large dubbing countries (Germany, Spain and Italy) I have heard both of reuse (some way of syncing the dubbing to the recycled prints) and new prints. I am sure someone from f.ex. Germany here have more info on the various practises used through the decades.
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post #7 of 13 Old 04-22-2013, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by coolscan View Post

Yes I am aware of both dubbing and subtitles.
For the subtitles I know they mostly burnt in on the washed and reused US prints, at least until more movies started to open same day and date as the US (living in such a country).
For the large dubbing countries (Germany, Spain and Italy) I have heard both of reuse (some way of syncing the dubbing to the recycled prints) and new prints. I am sure someone from f.ex. Germany here have more info on the various practises used through the decades.

Still "fresh prints" was quite common, the U.S prints wouldn't be enough anyway for the whole of Europe. Also if they were able to afford new prints for domestic European movies that made in general significantly less money then they could also afford new prints for Hollywood blockbusters too. Sure the distributors probably tried to reuse as many old prints as they could but new fresh prints wasn't something unheard of.
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post #8 of 13 Old 04-22-2013, 11:19 PM
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Do the copies really cost a couple hundred of dollars? A 500gb hard drive only costs like $50-100 retail depending on the model and what like $30 each if you buy like 1,000 directly from the manufacturer? I'm sure these companies probably buy like 10,000 hard drives at a time for like $300,000.
Not a couple of hundred dollars. 4-500 dollars on the low end. It's not just a hard drive (they are frequently ssds) it's also the skill and technology to create and support it. But that's not the end of it. For large distributions you need a whole system to support it. From shipping, to handling encryption and keys, to dealing with dozens of tech support calls as the DCPs are installed. It's big business and costs a lot more than you realize.
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post #9 of 13 Old 04-23-2013, 01:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Not a couple of hundred dollars. 4-500 dollars on the low end. It's not just a hard drive (they are frequently ssds) it's also the skill and technology to create and support it. But that's not the end of it. For large distributions you need a whole system to support it. From shipping, to handling encryption and keys, to dealing with dozens of tech support calls as the DCPs are installed. It's big business and costs a lot more than you realize.

An article posted above said about a thousand a print and would go down to about a 100 a print with digital delivery.

Since it's express mail it probably costs a little more but encryption is automated with universal AES encryption and generating a key doesn't take 3 man hours. I'm also sure after several years they don't have to make many tech support calls unless the drive or key itself doesn't work this has got to have become very efficient after this many years. If a distributor sends out 3,000 dcps I doubt there is more than 5 man hours spent on each single DCP whether it's instillation or whatever and it could be less everything has to be pretty automated unless they pay all of their employees like $100 an hour. Making the master dcp must take time but the artcle said once they move to satellite downloads or whatever they'll basically be paying $100 a print so just making the master dcp shouldn't be where all the money comes from.

Wikipedia says distributors and producers a lot of the times use digital encoding facilities so they must be making a lot of money somehow.
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-23-2013, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by ComputerTech0903 View Post


An article posted above said about a thousand a print and would go down to about a 100 a print with digital delivery.
I'm not telling you how much I *think* these things cost. Telling you what I know they cost. wink.gif
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post #11 of 13 Old 04-23-2013, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by jSalvo View Post

Not a couple of hundred dollars. 4-500 dollars on the low end. It's not just a hard drive (they are frequently ssds) it's also the skill and technology to create and support it. But that's not the end of it. For large distributions you need a whole system to support it. From shipping, to handling encryption and keys, to dealing with dozens of tech support calls as the DCPs are installed. It's big business and costs a lot more than you realize.

I've been working in different cinemas for over four years and I've never encountered a DCP on a SSD drive, I would notice the weight difference. They do use CRU enclosures that cost a couple of hundred but they can be reused for years. DCP mastering, encryption and watermarking is expensive but still is nothing compared to what film costs were.
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post #12 of 13 Old 04-23-2013, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Axel Fransberg View Post

I've been working in different cinemas for over four years and I've never encountered a DCP on a SSD drive, I would notice the weight difference. They do use CRU enclosures that cost a couple of hundred but they can be reused for years. DCP mastering, encryption and watermarking is expensive but still is nothing compared to what film costs were.

CRU enclosures cost about 90. We just started using SSDs for the shorter 2K releases as the media cost has come down, and the reliability in shipping improvements have made it worthwhile.

We don't reuse enclosure or drives. Clients keep them.
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post #13 of 13 Old 04-23-2013, 11:47 PM
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CRU enclosures cost about 90. We just started using SSDs for the shorter 2K releases as the media cost has come down, and the reliability in shipping improvements have made it worthwhile.

We don't reuse enclosure or drives. Clients keep them.

Personally I wouldn't say that the extra cost for a SSD would be worth it, the difference in reliability isn't that great but if you want to there is no reason why not.

Deluxe and technicolor sometimes at least send enclosures that has been reused, you can see the old sticker from the previous movie. No idea if they reuse the drives inside too.
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