Foreign Audiences Speeding Up 3D Cinema Conversion By Paying Double For 'Avatar'

From Deadline|London editor Tim Adler: Copenhagen cinemagoers are paying up to 20 euros ($28) a ticket to see Avatar, compared with an average Danish ticket price of 10 euros. Slovakian cinemagoers are paying 8 euros per ticket to see the James Cameron technopic, compared with an average of 4 euros. And the average Avatar ticket price in Europe is 7 euros. One unintended consequence of the amount of money Avatar is making is that it’s speeding up digital cinema conversion across Europe. According to consultancy Dodona, Europe currently has 1,688 digital screens. The push is on to convert – and quickly. Before Avatar, French chain UGC had been holding out until the cost of digital projectors came down. Now it has no choice but go digital. Claus Hjorth, a senior adviser to the Danish Film Institute, told me, “The 3D wave has got more energy now. Avatar has proven that 3D works right across Europe.”

This month a big confab took place in Barcelona about how to pay for European digitization. The French competition authority has just blocked the government’s scheme to pay for digital conversion. In the UK, Taxpayers Fund 3D For UK Cinema Chains. But the CNC, the French cinema agency, had wanted to establish a fund to pay for all cinemas. Now it appears as if the French will subsidize only the smaller chains. That’s what’s happening in Denmark, too. The Polish government has just paid to upgrade a dozen screens around Krakow. And guess what’s the only film playing on all 12 screens? That’s right, Avatar.

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