Depending on who you ask, the cinema industry, as distinct from the production side, is under
challenge – from metre-plus LCD and Plasma 16:9 home screens — or it’s not under
challenge, thanks to a flood of successful block-busters.
These are pulling millions of dollars from patrons happy to
travel to a multiplex, sit in the dark with a crowd and enjoy the movie
experience after paying $16 plus for each ticket.
The Australian figures are revealing: In its 10 week run
Batman’s Dark Knight pulled $45 million while Mamma Mia! did $30 million in a
similar period. Movies make money. Buckets of it.
The two thousand cinemas that constitute the Australian
exhibition industry all have film projectors, mostly 35mm models that have
served operators well for decades.
The principle of 35mm projection has remained basically
unchanged since 1895, when the brothers Lumiere held their first public movie
screening, at Paris’s Salon Indien du Grand Café. Wise minds would say "Don’t
mess with it. It works."
That makes you wonder why there is a push to digital cinema. To
find out, why I spoke to some industry players busy trundling digital projection
gear into cinemas across the nation.
A man who could easily be described as the head of the push (to
digital cinema) is Kodak’s Asia Pacific Digital Cinema manager David Sanderson.
I asked him why we needed digital cinema.