Wolf of Wall Street becomes first film to be only available for digital projection in US cinemas
Paramount has become the first major Hollywood studio to abandon showing its films on print, and commit itself to entirely digital distribution.
According to a report in the LA Times, the studio has quietly made Martin Scorsese’s stockbroker-excess fable The Wolf of Wall Street the first Hollywood film to be released entirely on digital formats in the US – ironically as Scorsese has spearheaded attempts to preserve decaying film prints in national archives around the world.
According to the Times, the decision was taken behind closed doors, with Anchorman 2: The Legend Returns the final offering the studio made with showprints available.
This development comes on the back of a concerted charge by major film industry players to convert cinemas to digital projection systems. Now only 8% of US cinemas can screen a 35mm print. The commercial advantages are clear, with each print costing distributors around $2000 (£1200), and each digital copy under $100 (£60). The digital systems also make it possible for cinemas to show 3D films, for which they charge higher ticket prices.
Film prints have not been entirely abandoned, however, as Paramount will make them for overseas cinemas in Latin America and Asia, where digital takeup has been slower. Nor does it mean the end of shooting on film, with directors such as Christopher Nolan still committed to the format. Interstellar, Nolan’s upcoming sci-fi film, is being shot on a combination of 35mm and Imax.
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