color pictures, and to see them in a greatly improved state.
BUT what will all this mean to Dr. Kalmus and his company? From these figures, the answer can be drawn:
Suppose that there are 8,000 feet of film in a feature picture. That is, 8,000 feet that the public actually sees. To get this 8,000 feet of finished product, the producer may shoot 80,000 feet of film. And because Technicolor uses three separate strips of negative it uses three times as much negative as black and white. Therefore Technicolor would require 240,000 feet of negative. For this negative, Technicolor gets seven and one-half cents a foot and therefore takes in $18,000.
These 240,000 feet of film are developed at two cents a foot. So from developing, Technicolor would get $4,800. But not all of this developed negative is made into a positive print, because there are many scenes in which things have gone so badly that the director knows there is no use in printing them up. But possibly 120,000 feet of the negative would survive this first process of elimination, and Technicolor would "rush" print these 120,000 feet at twelve cents a foot, get $14,400 more.
But its major receipts come from the final 8,000 feet of film that are actually distributed. Not that 8,000 feet is so much, but that it is customary to make 200 duplicates so that the picture may be simultaneously released throughout the country. And 8,000 times 200 makes 1,600,000 feet. For its printing job, Technicolor gets five and one-half cents a foot, which would come to $88,000. So there would be:
$18,000 from negative
$4,800 from developing
$14,400 from "rush" prints
$88,000 from all other prints making a total of
$125,200 photographic income. The same picture could be photographed in black and white for about $40,000, making an excess photographic color charge of, about $85,000.
Technicolor also supplies two cameras rented at $90 a week, each; a part-time color director at $125 a week; and two or three cameramen, one at $200, one at $100, and one at $50. Figuring six weeks as the average picture-taking time would run these items into a total of $3,930. But this is a comparatively small figure and besides is not an added cost to the producer. For of course the producer does not have to use his black and white camera or pay his black and white cameramen. The rental of equipment is only a minor item of Technicolor's income.
If we take $125,000 as a round number for what a feature picture would bring
Technicolor and remember that in 1933 the company took in only $630,000, we see that one feature picture is equal to about 20 per cent of the whole 1933 income. And as the average annual cinema output is about 350 features, a very small percentage of the potential volume would make a very large increase in Technicolor sales. At present, and without any feature business, Technicolor is getting about one-third of its volume from Walt Disney, about one-tenth from other cartoonists, and about one-half from various color shorts (the rest is miscellaneous). It is handling about 1,500,000 feet a month, has 1935 contracts for 2,000,000 a month, and hopes to go into 1936 at 3,000,000. There is certainly no question that Technicolor has brilliant potentialities.
TO Dr. Kalmus the future of Technicolor is hardly debatable. One of the few examples of the professor in business, Dr. Kalmus has guided Technicolor through a long series of lean years in which 1929 and 1930 have been virtually the only money-making period. Tall (six-feet plus), straight, vigorous – he is only fifty-two – the Doctor talks Technicolor with a great deal of confidence, although also with considerable restraint. He has a square jaw and thin lips and a steady, penetration gaze along with the reputation of being an extremely shrewd trader. Equally devoted to Technicolor is Mrs. Natalie Kalmus, who is the company's color director and works with the
producer to see that he gets the best color effects. Inasmuch as the producers also have their own art directors and since they are importing outside artists like Mr. Jones, there is bound to be friction between Mrs. Kalmus and the local artistic lights. But as long as Technicolor is the one-man show it is, with Dr. Kalmus the man, Mrs. Kalmus will no doubt continue to run its color department. Dr. Kalmus is a pleasant and genial person when he is not crossed, but he does not like contradiction or interference and he can set his square jaw in a very determined fashion. The Kalmuses live in Beverly Hills, although they also have an estate near Hyannis, Massachusetts, where they spend as much of the summer as their business permits. The Doctor shaves with a Gillette razor, likes his fried eggs done on one side only, reads a great deal of biography and physics but very little fiction. He feels that people who wear colored clothing and live in a colored world will not accept black and white pictures any longer than it takes them to realize the merit of Technicolor's present process. Businessmen regard Dr. Kalmus as a scientist and scientists regard him as a businessman, which gives him rather an edge with both. For he is always an expert in one field in which the other man is a novice. He has done an admirable promoting and managing job on Technicolor. There are those who think that the direction of the company is too entirely concentrated in Dr. Kalmus and that goodwill for the company is one of the few items that he has not successfully promoted. However, Technicolor will stand or fall on the merits of its process and not on whatever Beverly Hills may think of its President.
IT IS difficult to go the whole way with Dr. Kalmus on the topic of color versus black and white pictures. Most of the picture producers are staggering along under very heavy fixed charges and with little or no profit at the year's end. To the $85,000 added photographic cost of color there might be added another $50,000 increased