Film distribution

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SteveD | 07:40 Mon 19th Jul 2004 | How it Works
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Assuming that every town or city has at least one multi-screen cinema, when a major new fim is released (Lord of the Rings, Spiderman 2 etc), each of these cinemas has a copy of the film. This must represent a few hundred for the UK alone and this scenario is repeated throughout the world resulting in thousands of copies of the film, the physical size and weight of which must be enormous. Now the questions: How and where are all these copies made? Bearing in mind their size and weight, how are they transported? What happens to them after the film has finished its run? Will movies still be made using reels of 35mm photographic film for the forseeable future, or, in this age of DVDs, will they be recorded in some other way which will allow them to be "projected" onto a cinema screen?


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Where? No idea. How? By huge print-run machines.

Transport? UPS or FedEx, as normal.

They're all coded with silly titles so the transport companies have no idea what they're transporting. (movie database) even has a section which can tell you the fake title that was used for each blockbuster. ("Lord of the Rings Return of the King" would be more of a temptation for UPS employee #2732 than Postman Pat gets a puncture")

After the film is finished I think a few of them are kept, but most are pulped/recycled. They're seriously expensive.

There are some forays being made into pure digital projection for cinemas, which of course means no physical film / lower piracy risk / lower transport costs / production costs but the overwhelming problem seems to be, well, that it's just not as good. It will happen, not just yet.
One reason the UK usually gets films released some time after it comes out in the US is that they send us the copies which have already been shown in the US to save cost of dupliclating new reels. Thats why the quality is often poor.
like a previous poster said - digital projection will happen but not just the moment the costs of converting are just too high to make it practical but give it time and allow the prices to drop and itll happen
I read an article in Focus magazine (UK Version) that said that the latest plan is to have satellite receivers in cinemas which will have the entire file transmitted to them once from the studios and recorded onto digital media (hard disk drive?) from which they can be replayed via digital projectors - there are currently on half a dozen or so cinemas in the UK that are thus equipped though. Apparently the cost savings interms of distributions are massive though I'm sure it will not be long before we see folks trying to pirate off the signal! Death to pirates!

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