Digital Transformation of the Movie Industry As Reported at CinemaCon 2012

The relentless march of the movie industry towards an an all digital world was reported at the 2012 Annual Meeting of CinemaCon at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas from April 23-26. The event used to be known as ShoWest and attracts members of NATO(National Association of Theater Owners) and theater owners and programmer’s from around the world. The following chart shows how rapidly film is disappearing from theaters around the United States. Regal Entertainment Group reported that it plans to convert all of its theaters to digital.

Today 2007 %Change
U.S. Screens 39,718 38,803 2.35
Digital Screens 27,091 4,702 476.15
3D Screens 12,901 600(est) 2,050.16

Each of the Seven Majors(yes, Lionsgate, since it acquired Summit is a Major!)
previewed “coming attractions” from their release schedule for the rest of 2012 and into 2013.
The biggest buzz was afforded to Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey(out Dec. 14th) which looked fantastic at 48 frames per second (instead of the normal 24fps) and in 3D. Frame rates are being explored at 48fps, 60fps and even 120fps for 3-D releases. The other film attracting buzz was dazzling footage in 3-D from Ang Lee’s Life of Pi about a young boy lost at sea on a lifeboat with a fully mature Bengal tiger.

John Fithian, President and CEO of NATO reported in his annual report to CinemaCon that “global box office for all films around the world reached $32.6 billion in 2011, up 3% over the previous year. Growth was particularly strong in developing markets such as Latin America, China and Russia.”

Here in the United States and Canada, 2011 brought a 4% box office decline, driven entirely by a weak first quarter. Much of this can be explained by the astounding success of Avatar and Alice in quarter one of 2010.

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