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.)


Lex10 said...

3D est la raison seulement pour visiter la cinema.

Cell phones, les idiots avec les crunchy nachos et les autres bruits dit: DVD chez moi!

Lex10 said...

Je parle Francais comme un singe....

Samuel Wilson said...

What seems to be fatal now is what Lex10 so frangtastically describes: the increased resentment of having to share the public experience of moviegoing with other people who make no distinction between public decorum and private squalor. The absolute privatization of experience is something to be deplored, but in this case many people have only themselves to blame.

Vincent-louis said...

Lex: when I read your comment I had to go back and make sure I had not written in French... I sometime for get what language I write things in!

Samuel: I agree, the combination of price and turning what used to be a communal experience into one that resembles more a bunch of people transported from their hovels into the same space, but with no awareness the others exist makes watching something on blu-ray so much alluring these days.

Pantheon Zeus said...

people are piggish with their yapping, babies crying and cel phone rings and lights going off -
I saw 2 films at cinema this year -
next year I plan to see less.

In LA, we have the Arclight cinema - high ticket prices and assigned seats - so none of that latecomer "will you move down one do I can sit with my friend?" shit.
This may be the only way cinema survives-- as a niche market for "nerdy" people who can actually shut up for 90 minutes.

Lex10 said...

Cette fois en Anglais:

Not to mention out of focus, malfunctioning dolby, hair in the gate, shite presentation, put on by post-pubescent slacker morons who resolve nothing after making a football field long march to complain.

And we have the Ritz. Elegant every time.

Even so one still runs the risk of .......
......the movie sucking!!!

Vincent-louis said...

still my real point is that despite all this stuff, it will be the profit margin that kills cinema in the end. Movie chains will have to make more money form films.. and not by raising prices but from giving studios less. People are still going, rude, egotistical people yes, but they are still going. (albiet to see "tansformers 2"...)

Keith said...

I very rarely go to the movies anymore. People talk to each other or on their cell phones, etc. You can't even hear half the time what's going on. If I'm going to pay that much money to watch a movie, I would like to be able to enjoy it. That's what I just wait until movies come out on Netflix. I can think watch them with my buddies.

Christopher said...

I hate all the stupid Ads they have now before the movies..and tho I didn't used to,I can't wait till the stupid Trailers are over..and I can't stand all those creepy blockbuster movie going mortals all around me,spreading their germs! :o)