End of movies in film

Soon the 35 mm movie format will be a thing of the past, at least in commercial movie exhibition and this might sound both good and bad news for local film producers.

Since digital conversion of local theaters is in full swing, unauthorized distribution of movies (read: movie piracy) will be prevented. The tighter copy protection that comes with digital conversion prevents the distribution of unauthorized copies before the local and world premiere of films, as the interception of prints will no longer happen. Movies will be distributed via Internet without comprising security.

On the other hand, digital conversion could be costly to movie producers because they would need to come up with both 35 mm format and digital copy of their films. The first is for archiving purposes with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and the second is for commercial distribution.

According to FDCP official, this may be costly at the initial stage but local producers will greatly benefit from this program as they will save at least 60 percent of distribution cost in the a long term.

From the cinema operators’ standpoint, digitization will help them attract bigger audience (which means increased revenue).

“We can guarantee that there will simultaneous showing of films available in Manila in other parts of the country. Additionally with digital format we can show trailers of local movies two to three months before their premiere. Normally, we show their trailers two weeks before their opening date. Actually, that’s nothing compared to Hollywood films because their trailers are available six months or even a year before their premiere,” an SM Cinema official said.

“Based on our survey, 75 percent of mall visitors who have seen the trailers ended up watching the movie,” he added.

This month, 100 percent or about 240 movie screens of SM Cinemas will be converted to digital under the Virtual Print Fee (VPF) program. This, in the end, will definitely make 35 mm film a thing of the past.

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