As first reported by the LA Times, Paramount Pictures has announced it’s plans to no longer produce movies on 35-mm film in the United States. Anchorman 2 – The Legend of Ron Burgundy was Paramount Picture’s last movie to be released on 35-mm film. Meanwhile, Paramount’s Wolf of Wall Street was the first movie to be distributed entirely digital. This is seen as a bold move by industry insiders since only 8% of screens in the United States have embraced digital technology. It’s believed that since Paramount has made the first move towards digital distribution, other studios will soon follow.

The switch to digital distribution has been in the works for years. Both Disney and 20th Century Fox had plans a couple years ago to stop film distribution although neither studio has officially announced the switch yet. One of the major reasons for the move to digital,  is price. Distributing movies on film can cost a studio as much as $2,000 per print to make and ship to a theater. Meanwhile, delivering a movie digitally on disc costs a fraction of that at only $200. Studios are also looking at the possibility of beaming movies via satellite directly to movie theaters in an effort to cut costs even more.

The shift to digital won’t be without it’s share of pain. Many smaller theaters are finding the shift to digital to be very difficult. Digital equipment can cost upward of $70,000 which can be a tough pill to swallow for small community theaters. The digital switch will also have a catastrophic effect on the waning film processing industry. Technicolor who is a leading, film processing and post production company, recently was forced to close locations in Los Angeles and Britain because of the declining demand for film.

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