What do they do with the movie reels once the film is no longer playing?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Troy LaMont, Dec 5, 2001.

  1. Troy LaMont

    Troy LaMont Supporting Actor

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    Just pondering the possibility of my winning the lotto and obtaining an actual theater projector.

    Would it be possible to obtain movie reels?

    Does anyone know if this is possible and what they do with the reels once the movie is no longer playing in theaters (include $2.00 movies)?

    Troy

    (of course, I'd invite all my HTFers to my personal theater....)
     
  2. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Once the run of the film is finished, the 35mm prints are sent back to the shipping depot the particular studio uses. Once there, a destruction order is sent out by the studio and all but a handful - 2 or 3 in most cases - of the prints are destroyed, either by acid bath or routering. Some prints, however, escape destruction and end up on the collector's market. Average price for an "A" title in decent condition is $300-500. For more info, check out The Big Reel magazine or sign up to read the forums at www.35mmforum.com. Remember, it is not particularly legal to purchase such 35mm prints (though I'm sure this can be debated).
     
  3. Jason Whyte

    Jason Whyte Screenwriter

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    I remember there were some Ebay auctions selling full theatrical prints, noting "No rights given or implied -- for colletors only". I recall a print of "Malcolm X," all ten reels for only about $150, and that auction was about three years ago. Now, Ebay mostly auctions all those 35mm film trailers, which you could start a collection with. (I have a few myself) [​IMG]
    The 35mm Forum is a good bet; I already found some prices for full prints there. Just know that you can't ever show these prints in an actual theater. [​IMG]
    Jay
     
  4. Troy LaMont

    Troy LaMont Supporting Actor

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    Peter,

    You da Monster! Thanks for the insightful information.

    Jason,

    Do you have a 35mm projector to show your trailers on? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Troy
     
  5. Nigel McN

    Nigel McN Supporting Actor

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    They end up here (New Zealand)! and other places like us. We are "lucky" to get restored reels, saves the theatres money. Obviously we do get a few films immediately, there would be hell to pay if we had to wait for Lord of the Rings!

    for example, Monsters Inc hasn't started yet,... but Harry Potter has.
     
  6. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Man, this was just being discussed around here about 2 weeks ago, I think in Hardware.
    IIRC you can get a 35mm for as little as $5K if you go for just mono sound. DD and DTS systems are going to run you more. Plus, I assume you would need to get the DTS soundtrack discs if that was what you wanted. I suppose you could cue up the DVD for the sound though (poor man's DTS for 35mm [​IMG]).
    I've been thinking it might be neat to get a 35 mm setup as well.
    I would think the studios would cash in on this and sell them themselves with the buyer signing a not-for-profit waiver.
     
  7. Christian Dolan

    Christian Dolan Stunt Coordinator

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    When I was a projectionist for a multiplex in Indiana, I recall hearing about a recycling process for some prints. I never asked for any more specific info about it, though.

    -Christian
     
  8. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Seth: that was This Thread in TV/Projectors. Nope, you can't synchronize the DTS DVD with a film print. Dolby Digital, since it's on the print itself, is probably the better bet for the home setup. The studios will not sell 35mm prints for the "home market", there is too much chance for abuse. Imagine if Warner sold prints of Harry Potter - well after the theatrical & video release. Picture how many theaters across the country (who would obtain the prints legally as a private individual) would then have a pretty good business staging private Harry Potter birthday parties for years, money the studio would never see! Nope, ain't gonna happen.
    Christian, the studios sometimes "rejuvenate" their prints before they hit the secondary/foreign markets. The only problem with this is that it will, eventually, ruin the print. Warpage and "vinegar syndrome" are the end result over time, rendering the print useless.
     

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