Over the past decade, the movie theater industry has spent millions of dollars converting their traditional 35mm film projectors to digital projectors. Saturday, at the NAB’s Technology Summit on Cinema, it was announced that 50 percent of screens worldwide had made the switch to digital, 70 percent in the United States.
On film blogs, this conversion has largely been derided and smeared — “How can they get rid of 35mm? It’s the best way to watch a movie!” While I understand the sentiment behind this protest, it seems to me that the approach is rather narrow — Hollywood isn’t going to fix the “problem” just because a niche group of purists say it exists. There’s too much money to be saved by going 100 percent digital. What is necessary to actually create positive change is for the everyday moviegoer to join in the fight to keep 35mm alive. Which first requires them to understand what’s at stake.