16 / 5 / 2003
Cannes Festival has been scenario of a lot of noise (about almost nothing) the past few years, for part of the industry interested in scattering the digital cinema. Filmmakers like Lars von Trier and Wim Wenders have become the advertisement boys for Sony in the dazzling use of their digital cameras. George Lucas showed in 2002 the sequence of "Star Wars", "Attack of the Clones" in original digital version. Almost melancholically, this year won't be the "Matrix Reloaded" that will be seen in digital projection, which would be expected for the so-called up-to-date pretension of the brothers Andy and Larry Wachowski, but the restored copy of "Modern Times" the masterpiece directed by Chaplin in 1936. Bologna Cinematheque has done its restoration, with high tech resources. What is missing then so that the modern resources of the digital cinema can get to the audiences in the screening rooms? According to the French magazine L'Express, there's a lack of investment that will not be made in a short period of time. The magazine estimates that only 147 screening rooms, out of 165,000 worldwide, have digital projectors. And it explains this blunder: first of all, there's the high costs of the cinema digital projectors, higher than twice the price of the 35mm film projectors; secondly, and even more important, there is no section in the millionaire film industry willing to pay the price for the screening rooms updating. In Brazil, out of 1,500 screening rooms, there are only 3 with digital projectors, and they find no available number of films to show to its audience. Also in France, the so-called Mecca of cinemagoers, there are only 3 digital screening rooms out of 5,500. The magazine calculates this mega operation and the business plan so that all French screening rooms would have digital projectors: 500 million euros, that is, half the yearly income earned by all these screening rooms. The money spared with the end of film printing would be as much as 3 times the price of all the digital projectors for the 3,500 cinemas in France - something around 1,65 billion euros, considering that each film print costs around one thousand euros. And that is without mentioning the fact of the price of digital projectors have gone down more than 50% in less during the last 3 years. L'Express obvious conclusion is that this economy doesn't launch because the film industry, even profiting a lot with the digital film distribution - through satellites, discs, DVD, etc. - leaves the bill, at the moment, to be paid only by the exhibitors. And the exhibitors, also at this moment, do not show any interest in paying these new expenses.