How Kodak's customers are trying to save film

There's customer loyalty and then there's this: a group of movie studios are apparently embroiled in secret negotiations to save Kodak.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 30 Jul 2014

Now you can shoot a pretty passable movie on an iPhone, the sceptical among us might argue the time for celluloid is over - but that's not what the likes of Quentin Tarantino, JJ Abrams, Christopher Nolan and Judd Apatow think. The directors have clubbed together with a group of movie studios to save celluloid film.

It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster already: according to The Wall Street Journal, Kodak is in secret negotiations with a coalition of studios to keep Kodak producing film, even though the amount bought has fallen by 96% since 2006, from 12.4 billion feet to just 449 this year.

The arrangement, if agreed, will mean studios owned by the likes of Time Warner, Warner Bros, Universal and Disney promise to buy a certain amount of film for the next few years, which will put off the closure of a film manufacturing plant in New York. Now Fuji has quit the film (-making) biz, Kodak's the only one left.

So is Hollywood about to go all retro on us? JJ Abrams is already making Star Wars Episode VII on film. Judd Apatow, who is shooting his upcoming movie, 'Trainwreck', on celluloid, told the WSJ 'there's a magic to the grain and the colour quality that you get with film'. Bob Weinstein, brother of Hollywood legend Harvey Weinstein, said 'I don't think we could look some of our filmmakers in the eyes if we didn't do it'.

This all feels suspiciously like when MT's dad sticks one of his vinyl records on and gets all misty-eyed about the crackly bits. Although to be fair, since the yoof got a taste for vinyl, sales have shot up: according to figures published in January, in 2013 vinyl sales hit their highest level in 15 years, with 780,000 albums sold.

So is a celluloid resurgence on the cards? We're all for the unstoppable march of progress - but there has to be room for a bit of Hollywood sparkle, too....

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