Although all of these titles are available in the analog 35mm print format, some of these (Ocean Waves for one) are also available in DCP (Digital Cinema Package) the format now being adopted by theaters as the new industry projection standard.
Also, once public performance rights have been obtained, it does not matter which format is actually shown. If a group has access to a 35mm print or DCP, those would be the first choice since they are the highest quality formats for both picture and sound. But if necessary, any consumer format for those titles could be shown under the same license (most likely from blu-ray or sometimes from DVD). There would be a notable reduction in picture quality (especially when showing DVD) on a typical theater-size screen (depending upon how picky/savvy the audience is), but it can be done, assuming the theater or venue is equipped for it.
Because many repertory and classic titles are already no longer available in 35mm, theaters specializing in arthouse and repertory programing have taken to publicly announcing the screening format in advance if it is anything other that 35mm.
--Eishagishi 04:01, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I strongly doubt that there are 2K-resolution DCPs of Ocean Waves available, as that would require a high-definition telecine of it having been made and I'd expect one of those (as they're expensive) to be accompanied by the announcement of a Blu-ray Disc release, in order to make the most of it. I haven't seen one of the screenings to confirm (I'm in the UK) but I'd wager that what GKIDS have been distributing is a DVD or, more likely, DigiBeta of the existing standard-definition transfer. But yes, I'd be surprised if Disney hadn't made ones for at least Ponyo and Arrietty (as StudioCanal have for the UK), possibly Earthsea as well.
And perhaps the American distributors aren't as ridiculously pernickety but my experience of British ones is that they're unfortunately not nearly as lenient as what Eishagishi describes above: specifically, whenever my local arthouse has attempted to show The Secret of Kells they've told me that it's UK distributor StudioCanal (also that of the Ghibli features) are only allowing them to screen a DVD of it, even though StudioCanal themselves had already released it on Blu-ray Disc for home viewing (a format they can and had previously projected from, such that I could technically but not legally according to them go and buy the BD in the same city earlier in the same day and get them to screen it). After reading about such matters at the Independent Cinema Office's Web site I imagine it's down to the difference between theatrical and non-theatrical rights, which are typically licensed out by different companies who might not be be able to provide licenses for all the formats the other one does, even though what counts and doesn't count as theatrical is an often confusing and murky distinction.
--Turtleheart 17:11, 5 September 2012 (UTC)