Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Will Cinema Die This Time for Real?

The death of cinema has been predicted since it began, but recently I have been thinking it might really be happening now.

When TV arrived on the scene and movies could be seen in the homme, the act of going to the local movie house seemed doomed... but in reality attendence went up... there was always something nice... eventful... about leaving your house and «going out» to see something on the big screen. When cable came around, once again the death bells toll, but for who? As blockbuster films came into being it was clear that a night at the movies was here to stay. The lines around the block for «Exorcist», «Jaws» and «Star Wars» was proof of that.

Now we have the internet, downloadable movies for ipods and computer screens, movies on demand from cable compainies, DVD rentals and sale,HUGE TVs in the house (bigger than some cureent day movie houses it seems) and the film going experience is once again a «dying artform». Seeing a film in a theatre is only one of several ways to see it now and the least convenient. Will this really be the end?

No, not in my opinion, but something else will be and it’s sadder than just some techology taking over the medium. The studios themselves have been slowing eroding the profits from films.. not for themselves of course, but for the actual movies houses and theatre chains that show the films. Most pay truly outrageous and should be illegal percentages to show a film these days... up to 90% of the take for the first two weeks in some cases. Nowadays most films don’t even play for two weeks! The «long roll out and finding a film’s audience» days are over and even the 15$ for a bag of 10 cent popcorns can’t hide the reaility of the situation. A movie house simply can’t turn a profit showing films anymore. Here in Qu├ębec we pay 9-16$ to see a first run film... seems like a lot of money and it is, for the consumer, but for the movie house only getting 10% of that... it’s peanuts. It's becoming too expensive for us and too expensive for them.

In the end, no new technology will kill the film experience... corporate greed will, like it kills everything else.

(On a side note; all the people that see no difference between the cinema and their filthy , noisy living rooms doesn’t help, either.)

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