Yes, film is on the way out
If you love movies, you love film. For movie fans everywhere, myself included, film is like analog recording for music fans.
We love the color, the texture, the warmth of film, but we're also bracing ourselves for the day that film is done, which is coming sooner than later.
Yes, there are filmmakers that have sworn their allegiance to celluloid and refuse to go digital, Dark Knight helmer Christopher Nolan just spoke publicly of his dislike of digital, but by 2013, theaters will no longer be showing film prints.
As Deadline confirms, "Time is running out for theaters that haven't made the switch to digital projection."
The report tells us by 2013, the major studios will stop using 35mm prints, and "the global cutoff" will probably happen by the end of 2015. This report also tells us that digital projectors have increased in theaters 82% from 2010 to 2011.
Down here in L.A. at revival theaters, there have also recently been showings where a combination of 35mm prints and DVDs have been projected on the big screen. This practice seems a little strange, because you can watch a DVD at home, and go out to see a great movie with a good condition print. I saw several last year alone with prints that were freshly made by the studios, and it was really a treat.
Still, many of us film fans have resigned ourselves to the fact that film is going away, as its just going to be too expensive to keep the development labs. And as skeptical as I've been about digital when it first came in, I think David Fincher's done wonderful things with it, and if it looks like film, and is well shot, I'm cool with that.
I also don't see why the two can't co-exist either, but again, it's all about economics, and with movies costing a fortune as it is, especially considering Fincher and James Cameron's films still cost a fortune huge amount when they're not working on film, the end of an era is certainly near. We definitely have to add it's nice to see directors with clout like Spielberg and Nolan singing the praises of film, and publicly saying they'll stay with it until they can't.
As Nolan also recently told Deadline, digital video "devalu[es] what we do as filmmakers," adding he "didn't have any interest in being the research department for an electronics company. It's like filmmakers are being encouraged to buy cameras like we are buying iPods." Yet, he added, "When it is as good as film and makes economic sense, I'd be completely open to it."