The Blog has acquired a copy of the following letter from 20th Century Fox to theater operators encouraging them to switch to digital projection. Why? Because Fox plans to eliminate film releases altogether. A source has informed me that the planned date of transition is Jan 1, 2013. This follows a similar letter to operators this summer from Disney.
It is unknown how this will affect older films that often show in repertory release or IMAX films distributed to 1570 film-based theaters. Although the recently released trailer for Star Wars Episode I 3D only lists REALD, there has not yet been any indication the Feb 10, 2012 release will not also show in IMAX, except that IMAX has already booked the sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth for the same date.
However, if the relationship between IMAX and Lucasfilm does change, there’s a chance we could see the second Star Wars film in the giant screen format (especially if fans cry out for it). If this happens and 20th decides that their film elimination policy applies to IMAX as well, an expected Feb 2013 release date to domes (it could happen) and the largest IMAX screens could be jeopardized by IMAX’s late 2013 goal of implementing digital laser projection technology in their 1570 theaters.
But that aside, we’ll soon be seeing films the way film-school grad directors intended them to be seen – not on film.