×

D-Cinema waits on time, dime

Panel optimistic there's a model acceptable to auds

The arrival of digital cinema is just a matter of time and money, film biz toppers agreed Wednesday — the only question is how much time and money it will take.

“The biggest single sticking issue is, without question, the business model and its acceptance, but I am optimistic it will be cracked,” U.K. Film Council exhib/distribution head Peter Buckingham told the crowd gathered to hear developments in the quest for a rollout of digital cinema.

Joining Buckingham on the panel were Joost Bert, CEO of Belgium-based exhib Kinepolis Group; Jogchem’s Theaters managing director and Union Internationale des Cinemas prexy Jan van Dommelen; and Digital Cinema Initiatives CEO Chuck Goldwater.

Sesh at the Variety Conference Series was moderated by Digital Cinema Deluxe VP Steve Bergman.

Goldwater opened the proceedings with a prepared statement on progress and goals of DCI, the joint venture of the seven major studios. DCI was created two years ago to come up with a plan for implementation of digital cinema that Hollywood and the rest of the world can agree on.

Popular on Variety

The goal, he says, is to make sure the image of digital movies is better than 35mm, to enhance competitiveness for the industry and to maintain the primacy of the moviegoing experience.

More specifically, the idea is to create a standard format and a solid way to approach the sticky question of who pays and how much?

“By working together, we can achieve long-term benefits for the good of the industry and not just short-term gains for one or the other,” the exhibition vet said.

“What we are trying to do is achieve solutions that are workable in the U.S. and around the world. I think everyone recognizes it will take time and a financial commitment to go from 35mm to digital,” Goldwater said.

How much time? Van Dommelen is looking to the U.S. to lead the way and expects a rollout to begin in 2007, but cautions it will probably take about 10 years — provided there is just one standard agreed upon worldwide.

Bert said he has 350 screens and expects them all to be digitized in five years, even if he has to go his own way to do it.

“I won’t wait for (others). We will do it and it will be a big hit,” he stated. “Let the law of the jungle do its thing and we will see.”

Others weren’t quite as bold, but Buckingham said the U.K. is attempting to kickstart the process with approximately 250 screens (out of 3,500) in the specialized sector.

He encouraged the creation of contracts that guarantee cinemas will play, market and promote digital cinema.

Echoing many in Cannes this week, Goldwater said rights management and combating piracy must be key parts of the digital transformation. He also said, with the talents of Oscar-nominated cinematographers, DCI has created a 12-minute mini-movie for testing purposes of the various digital possibilities.

Van Dommelen got down to the basics of digital cinema’s future. “We don’t have the feeling the audience asks if it’s digital or analog.

“As Shakespeare said, ‘The play’s the thing,’ ” he mused. “We hope digital can help increase attendance, but the audience will decide, not us.”

More Film

  • Liam Neeson Widows

    Film News Roundup: Liam Neeson's Comedy 'Made in Italy' Sells to IFC

    In today’s film news roundup, IFC buys a Liam Neeson comedy and STX takes territories on Karen Gillan and Lena Headey’s “Gunpowder Milkshake.” ACQUISITIONS IFC Films is acquiring U.S. rights to James D’Arcy’s feature directorial debut, “Made In Italy,” starring Liam Neeson and Micheál Richardson. “Made In Italy” will receive a traditional theatrical release in [...]

  • Baby Peggy

    Diana Serra Cary, Child Star Known as Baby Peggy, Dies at 101

    Diana Serra Cary, the child silent film star known by the nickname Baby Peggy, died on Monday in Gustine, Calif. She was 101. Born on October 29, 1918 as Peggy Jean Montgomery, Cary began her career in the film industry at the early age of 19 months. During a visit with her mother and a [...]

  • Riz Ahmed

    Riz Ahmed on Creating ‘A Really Personal Piece of Work’ with ‘Mogul Mowgli’

    The idea for “Mogul Mowgli” first began in 2017 when British actor, rapper and activist Riz Ahmed met Bassam Tariq, a producer and independent filmmaker, between trips to New York. Almost three years later, the pair is debuting “Mogul Mowgli” in Berlin’s Panorama. The film, which Tariq directed and co-wrote with Ahmed, who also stars, [...]

  • David Permut

    'Hacksaw Ridge' Producer Developing Colombo Crime Family Son's Story (EXCLUSIVE)

    David Permut, the Oscar-nominated producer of “Hacksaw Ridge,” has acquired the life rights to the story of John Franzese Jr., the son of the Colombo crime family’s second-in-command, Sonny Franzese. The elder Franzese passed away on Sunday at the age of 103. Franzese Jr. became active in the family business during the 1980s, leading to [...]

  • Annabella Sciorra

    Annabella Sciorra on Weinstein Verdict: 'We Can Never Regret Breaking the Silence'

    Annabella Sciorra hailed the guilty verdict against ex-mogul Harvey Weinstein, which included a “criminal sexual act” and third-degree rape, on Monday. Weinstein was also acquitted on two counts of predatory sexual assault that centered on Sciorra’s testimony — indicating that the jurors did not believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Weinstein had raped and assaulted [...]

  • Gabrielle Carteris participates in Fox's "BH90210"

    SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris on Weinstein Verdict: 'You Can't Hide Any Longer'

    SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris has hailed the verdicts in the Harvey Weinstein case, with the disgraced ex-mogul found guilty of committing a criminal sexual act and third-degree rape. “Justice was served today and Harvey Weinstein was held accountable for his crimes,” Carteris said. “But it is only a beginning. We look forward to the Weinstein [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content