2006: The Year Of Digital Cinema?
Theater owners, who have long been depicted as the roadblock to digital exhibition, now appear ready to welcome it. Speaking Tuesday in Las Vegas during opening ceremonies of ShoWest, the annual exhibitors' gathering, National Association of Theatre Owners President and CEO John Fithian said, "We stand now at the dawn of the biggest technological revolution since the advent of sound. Digital cinema starts right now, in the year 2006, and it couldn't come at a more important time." Fithian also suggested that the failure of the Steven Soderbergh movie Bubble in January may have caused studios to reconsider plans to close the window between the time a movie is released in theaters and the time it is on DVD. Bubble bombed at the box office and drew relatively tiny sales on DVD. It was, said Fithian, a "radical, misguided" experiment, but, he added, it "caused studios and exhibitors to sit down and talk with the creative community about this issue. It got us all together." Later, he remarked, "The reality is the window is not changing. The vast majority of Hollywood knows this windows model works."