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Paramount Pictures to make some exceptions to all-digital policy

Paramount Pictures to make some exceptions to all-digital policy
Film is spooled onto a movie projector at a theater in Denver. (Matthew Staver / Bloomberg)

Paramount Pictures reiterated to exhibitors this week its plans to embrace the digital format, but added that it would make exceptions for some movies.

"In keeping with the digital direction of the studio's exhibition partners, we have moved forward with the conversion to primarily digital projection," Rob Moore, vice chairman of Paramount Pictures, wrote in a letter to exhibitors on Monday. "This resolve follows the successful release of Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-nominated film 'The Wolf of Wall Street,' and it is the first Paramount feature to be released nationwide entirely in digital."

Moore added: "Although we anticipate the majority of the studio's future releases to be executed in digital formats across the U.S., select exceptions will be made."

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Among the exceptions will be Christopher Nolan's science fiction movie "Interstellar," which will be released in both film and digital formats when it opens nationwide Nov. 7, Moore wrote.

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With the release of "The Wolf of Wall Street" last month, Paramount became the first major studio in Hollywood to distribute a wide-release movie entirely in a digital format.

The move is likely to encourage other studios to follow suit, accelerating a complete phase-out of film that could come by the end of the year.

Studios prefer digital distribution because it is much cheaper. Film prints cost as much as $2,000; a digital copy on disc usually costs less than $100. Eventually, these movies could be beamed into cinemas by satellite, saving even more on production and shipping costs.

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Digital technology also enables theaters to screen higher-priced 3-D films and makes it easier for them to book and program entertainment.

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