Is Paramount helping to put more 3-D screens in theatres? Some say not. The company’s direct virtual print fee (VFP) financing plan, where it offers to make such payments directly to exhibitors for a single 3-D screen, may have done more to hold up negotiations for digital screens than help. 3rd party deployment entities certainly have not benefited, as the offer gives hope to exhibitors who would like to work directly with studios. But, so far, no other studios have jumped in to offer a similar deal, and Paramount can back out of the plan as soon as another studio’s movie is played on the equipment without paying a VPF.
The plan has caused even more confusion overseas, even though Paramount has not offered it beyond the US. European distributors are taking note of Paramount’s smaller VPF offer for 2-D systems. (Paramount is offering $825 for 3-D, and $725 for 2-D.) Reportedly, this is complicating the signing of VPF agreements between European domestic distributors and European deployment entities.