Universal Pictures announced Monday that it has struck a deal with digital film systems company Christie/AIX, obligating the film studio to distribute digital movies through Christie/AIX exclusively. The deal is one of three Christie/AIX has maneuvered in the past year-in addition to Twentieth Century Fox and Walt Disney Studios-which bolsters the company's plans to expand into theatres.
Universal Pictures has AIX
Universal's contract demands that the film studio distribute digital movies and pay Christie/AIX a virtual print fee as opposed to the cost of reprinting a filmstrip before sending it to the multiplex. The equipment company guarantees sharper images and better quality with digital film.
The biggest draw is the hundreds of thousands of dollars Universal expects to save when it converts to digital film which will eliminate the cost of shipping thousands of films stocks to theatres. With Christie/AIX, Universal can beam movies directly to digitally-equipped theatres.
"This is a big step forward in the transition to digital cinema," Nikki Rocco, Universal's president of distribution, said in a statement. The studio is said to begin the transition early next year.