Studios Re-up Kodak Deals to Keep Celluloid Film Alive

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood BTS - Publicity - H 2019
Andrew Cooper

Film traditionalists can breathe a sigh of relief.

The five major studios — Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros. — have inked new deals with Kodak, the film manufacturer said Wednesday, committing to buying undisclosed amounts of motion picture celluloid and thus guaranteeing its continued use for the foreseeable future.

The first such pacts between Kodak and the studios were struck in early 2015, roughly 18 months after the film manufacturer emerged from bankruptcy protection. At the time, its film sales had plummeted as the use of digital imaging technology rose, and the agreements were designed to keep Kodak’s film manufacturing business going.

The initial 2015 deals were believed to have covered two years, and the latest pacts, which were set to be officially unveiled Wednesday night at the Kodak Film Awards, are believed to span a longer period. Lifetime achievement honoree Quentin Tarantino and Auteur Award recipients Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach shot Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Little Women and Marriage Story, respectively, on film, as did J.J. Abrams for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Martin Scorsese, who relied on a combination of film and digital for The Irishman.

Tarantino and Abrams have been particularly vocal proponents of celluloid, along with Christopher Nolan, whose upcoming Tenet, along with Cary Joji Fukunaga’s James Bond movie No Time to Die, lead the 2020 releases that ensure that shooting on film is not going away anytime soon.