Country Focus: Germany
Germany: the end of analogue distribution
by Birgit Heidsiek
- Cinema as we know it is coming to an end. The Hollywood studios already announced that there will no longer be any 35mm prints available by the end of 2013. For this reason, many theatres have opted for digital conversion - in Germany, the Munich-based distribution company Concorde Film has informed exhibitors that the romantic fantasy drama Upside Down [+see also:
film profile] by Juan Diego Solanas (photo), which Concorde will open on August 22, will mark a turning point. From that day on, the German distributor will only provide exhibitors with digital cinema packages (DCPs).
This means that the German distributor will give up the hybrid distribution even earlier than the US majors. The last film for which Paramount Pictures will provide 35mm and digital prints is the horror thriller Paranormal Activity 2013, which opens on October 24 in Germany. For the Christmas release of the thriller Jack Ryan, only DCPs will be available. Disney's action adventure The Lone Ranger will also only be released in digital format, while family entertainment films such as Planes and Frozen will be available as 35mm prints too.
The German exhibitor association Hauptverband Deutscher Filmtheater started a status request (Kopienhandhabung) to find out how long distributors will continue hybrid distribution in Germany. Meanwhile, around 75% of all screens in Germany have already been digitized. For the remaining 25%, digital conversion entails a financial investment that is not necessarily covered by public film funds. For this reason, the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg has relaxed rules for digitization support, so that it will become easier for smaller theatres in the region to finance digital projection systems. From now on, Berlin-based exhibitors can apply for up to 50% of digitizations costs, even if they don‘t have 8,000 admissions per screen or a net turnover of €25,000 per year.