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Bulk Film Printing and Pricing


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#1 Matt Goldberg

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 07:41 PM

How much does a 90-minute (8500 ft.) film cost to print in bulk? 10,000 copies? 20,000 copies? 10 copies? Does anyone know of the differential-- i.e. is more ordered discounting per print? I've gotten different rates in the past, but thought to bring this topic to the table.

Raw 2383 stock should be included-- color timing, shipping/distribution outlay should be excluded. I.e., the stock, printing and processing. Thanks much!

-Matt
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#2 Dominic Case

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 10:24 PM

You would need to contact the lab you want to use in order to get a price for something like this.

Release prints are supplied on the basis you mention - a cost per foot that includes stock, printing and processing. Colour timing (grading) is incorporated in the cost of the first print (answer print or check print) from the dupe negative. Release prints effectively start at copy #2. There are indeed price points, typically for 10 or more copies, the price per foot will come down siginficantly. For hundreds or thousands of copies, the price would obviously drop further still.

Shipping would be an extra charge as you suggest.

10,000 or 20,000 copies is an astronomically high figure. I believe that The Da Vinci Code went to 15,000 copies world wide, but those numbers are rarely reached. You would be looking at a number of dupe negative in order to make that number of prints.
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#3 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 09:01 PM

I recall a presentation by Kodak's Bob Mayson at ShoWest a few years ago. He noted that the cost of putting a NEW 35mm release print in a theatre averaged less than $5.00 USD per showing, if the print was in release for the typical several months. In the USA, many theatres have five showings per day, so there can be up to 150 showings per month. 35mm FILM prints are still a very cost-effective way of putting quality images on large theatre screens.

Remember, in addition to the cost of delivering the compressed and encrypted data for a feature film, the digital cinema business case also requires paying for the purchase and maintenance of a server and digital projection system that can cost over $100,000 per screen, as compared to a much less expensive 35mm film projection system that can have a useful life measured in decades rather than years.
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#4 Dominic Case

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 11:23 PM

I recall a presentation by Kodak's Bob Mayson at ShoWest a few years ago. He noted that the cost of putting a NEW 35mm release print in a theatre averaged less than $5.00 USD per showing, if the print was in release for the typical several months.

Julian Levin of Fox recently presented some calculations (at the Movie Convention in Australia last month) which he based on an average turnover time of 3 1/2 weeks. (films seem to come and go faster than when Bob Mayson said that!). Of course his calculations ignore recycled prints going to a second or subsequent venue: but on his model, he demonstrated that a D-cinema installation, on the latest finacing models, would be paid off in eight years.

(Of course it might well be obsolete in five.)

That model is based on a Virtual Print Fee , in which the distributor takes the money saved by NOT paying for 35mm prints, and pays the projector supplier/financier a fee for every title/booking.

I think you can push all these numbers around to show almost whatever you want. But no-one has pushed them around far enough yet to show that Digital Cinema is an economical replacement for existing 35mm print distribution.
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#5 Matt Goldberg

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 12:47 PM

Remember, in addition to the cost of delivering the compressed and encrypted data for a feature film, the digital cinema business case also requires paying for the purchase and maintenance of a server and digital projection system that can cost over $100,000 per screen, as compared to a much less expensive 35mm film projection system that can have a useful life measured in decades rather than years.


To add to your comments about digital cinema systems, therein lies the technology curve behind anything digital, and that is an exponential curve as well. I think this is going to have an impact on implementing digital cinema for some time-- 'how much are upgrades going to be?' is likely to be a consideration to exhibitors..... 2K to 4K to 8K etc., let alone other quality upgrades besides form factors. Film projectors do not have to be assessed in such a way, and lifelines are opportunistic to most theater owners (less maintenance and ancillary costs).

On the flip side, digital cinema has several advantages, and hopefully software-based updates will govern these upgrades that I am currently forcasting. I don't see that happening in the forseeable future, though. Dig. cinema has plenty of time to get acclamated and ready to market, but I think it is going to take substantially longer than what many are hoping for.
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