Can This Man Save The Movies? (Again?)

In the digital era, is film dead? As audiences gravitate to DVDs, Hollywood wonders if the movie theater can survive. The rebels are surging. Can the Empire strike back?

Here's a magic glimpse into the future of movies. A big blockbuster opens. Some people see it in sparkling digital clarity on wraparound screens in ultraswank theaters; others watch the same movie the same day on an 8-ft.-wide screen in their home media center; still others get it transmitted instantly through their computer, iPod or cell phone. It's a looking-glass scenario that could happen in a future near you--if the people who finance and exhibit Hollywood movies want it to.

On Oscar night last week, though, the looking glass was not a crystal ball but a rearview mirror. Hollywood's gentry celebrated...

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