Films and Cinema: The Future

As you all know, I write a lot about films. I have done A-Z challenges, recent reviews, and a retro series too. When I started this blog, I wrote numerous posts about World Cinema, featuring the films made in various countries. Since I began blogging in 2012, I have only been to the cinema on two occasions, but I have seen many films on DVD, TV showings, and recently via streaming too.

Cinemas no longer hold much appeal for me. They are too small, too bright, and many people who visit them are not real film fans, in the main. At least not ones I recognise, with their takeaway food, popcorn, slurpy drinks, and constant checking of mobile phones. The dark and quiet cinemas of my youth are but a memory.

Films have enjoyed something of a renaissance recently. Many of them are super-hero blockbusters and comic-book franchises of course, none of which interest me. But I can see their appeal for the younger generation of regular cinema-goers. There is still much to celebrate though, with great independent films being made in the UK and America, as well as the continuing excellence of World Cinema offerings from around the globe.

I have come late to streaming services, (I come late to most things…) but my recent experience with a streaming box has opened up new avenues of exploration. What has impressed me most over the last five years has been the real improvement in the quality of TV drama series, and those made specifically for companies like Netflix, or Amazon. In many cases, they have overtaken the popularity of both regular TV scheduling, and mainstream cinema. Television companies like the BBC and Film 4 in Britain are continuing to invest in new films that are shown on TV much sooner than they were in the past. The explosion in the market has raised the game of all the players, that’s for sure.

It has left me wondering if cinema as we understand it has a future. The same applies to conventional television broadcasting. Will the day come when everything is online, I wonder? Will we all pick and choose what to see, and when and where to see it? For many people, that time may have already arrived of course, using Tablets and mobile phones, instead of television and cinema screens. Let’s hope that this does not result in a lack of choice and reduction in quality, in years to come.

What do you think? Are you already one of the ‘streaming only’ generation? Or will you be sticking with the big-screen multiplex experience?

75 thoughts on “Films and Cinema: The Future

  1. I was born in 1981 so going to the Cinema was a sacred place and sacred thing to do as often as I could. It was and still is my home away from home. It’s where the magic happens. No matter who else is in that room with me.

    Ultimately, I am the only one in there. I never thought of the Cinema as a place that was meant Only for those who were film lovers and enthusiasts and scholars. It meant for anyone who loved to escape, who Needed to escape. Anyone who enjoyed movies, even if it was for entertainment purposes only. Anyone who saw a movie in the Cinema found themselves transported away from routine and the minucia of their daily lives.

    Furthermore I never thought of going to the Cinema or saw it from a business aspect. I think part of the problem of today’s society in this country and why everyone has this fragile sensibility, why “triggered” is a term regularly used by this generation is because of the lack of connection between people. No one wants to be around other people. Everyone wants to stay home and watch their movies in their living room, away from others. There’s no sense of connectivity and understanding. Now, I am one of the biggest introverts in the world and I get social anxiety anytime I have to be around a lot of people. However, being in the Cinema is the ONLY place I can feel comfortable enough to be around a room full of people. And the reason for that? It’s a shared experience. No one is judging anyone, everyone is looking in the same direction, looking at the same story unfolding before us all in an exciting, romantic, scary, dramatic way. It is the one time and place where a room full of people are able to connect and share that one experience.

    Yes, it is nice to relax at home with streaming movies. But where is the physical human connection? Also too much staying at home with movies all the time, people become complacent. They neither connecting with people outside their home but they’re not even connecting with the characters nor the story on screen. They are vegging out. They are shutting down and tuning out, completely.

    People also tend to treat going to the Cinema as a business transaction. And I believe that to be a mistake. I think this generation has lost something. When it comes to not only watching movies but watching movies in the Cinema, it’s not about numbers, or how many butts are in the seat. It’s not about how much we have to pay. If its important, and I believe it to be, then it’s about connection, human bonding, it is sharing a very human experience through an art form. Together. Not separately. Not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Phil,
      Thanks for your interesting viewpoint, and I share many of your conclusions. Unfortunately my most recent cinema experiences are not of a group of people ‘looking in the same direction’. Many are using mobile phones, updating statuses on Facebook, or casting glances around to see if they know anyone else in there. As they do this, they are also usually slurping away at ice-rattling drinks, or munching through an assortment of very noisy snacks. But I agree that it should be a place to escape, and always was, during my youth. You might be interested in this post, about my childhood cinema experiences.
      https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/going-to-the-pictures/
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You raise some interesting questions, but I believe cinema’s future is ensured as people will always want to views films on the big screen. I love the picturehouse cinemas as they have a diverse programme of blockbusters and classic films, beating the multiplex on style and atmosphere. The modern cinema experience lacks the magic of the cinema in my youth, perhaps because it was more of an occasion and there wasn’t much to watch on TV!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to love visiting the theater for the whole experience of watching a movie that is louder and bigger. But the experience is lessened when ticket prices have soared to over $10 and the food costs are outrageous. For now, I’d rather sit at home, watch a movie by myself. If there is something major that comes to the theaters, I may go…but not likely. Nowadays, I’ll be lucky to visit the theater even once a year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As someone who often frequents the cinema, I have the occasional sinking feeling of dread at the prospect that streaming services may someday kill the big screen. However, back when Napster first emerged, everyone thought the music industry would quickly die. However, record labels jumped at the opportunity to embrace this new online platform and they now make more money than ever, though, admittedly, hard copy sales have diminished. One way cinema has adapted over the decades is by becomes a sweet shop with a big screen attached which, while being annoying for those of us who can’t hear a film’s dialogue for the incessant munching of a few dozen adolescents, has actually kept the cinema doors open. Another way they are adapting is by diversifying what they show, like Opera performances, plays and major TV events (I’m thinking of the Dr Who 50th Anniversary and the Game of Thrones finale, which will reportedly be shown in cinemas). I think cinema will continue to struggle in the years to come but, with enough movie lovers supporting the industry and with the right tactics to adapt to the changing business landscape, it will survive!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your considered thoughts, Steven. I hope you are right, and it would also be great to see more smaller independent cinemas flourishing, showing films out of the mainstream.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

    1. Thanks for your opinion, Mike. I agree that cinema is often the best way to see a film, but many modern cinemas (at least those close to me) are not as conducive to concentration as they once were.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  5. I wrote a university paper on this, and feel so passionate about it! I hope cinema keeps on thriving so we can exhibit a film as a work of art when it deserves it. But the appeal of streaming services is taking over, so maybe we will sadly see everything online.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jade. I think cinemas will continue for a while yet, but it is getting harder to be able to see ‘serious’ films in popular multiplexes. I hope you got a good mark! 🙂
      And thanks for the much appreciated follow too.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love going to the movies but even I have to admit crowds can be annoying as much as communal and the trend is away from it. There’s an app in America called MoviePass which I think lets you go see as many movies as you want for $10 a month. That has seen significant uptick in those attending cinema screenings but as a business model is not sustainable unless certain profit sharing or concessions are agreed to by cinema chains. Also they’re changing the rules constantly for subscribers which is leading to a backlack and downturn in shares. I’m not making a statement either way about MoviePass itself but it does suggest that we movie tickets were a lot cheaper people do tend to enjoy the experience and increase it. Apart from this evidence cinemas have appeared to be diminishing in attendance.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I very rarely go to the cinema – cost is an issue along with the often unruliness of the other cinema goers. I use a combination of buying physical media and streaming services. This serves my needs for now.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Film these days show a lack of imagination….too many re-makes that are far worse than the original….I have britbox streaming and enjoy many Brit shows and such….I refuse to go to the cinema because it cost about $40 for two….it is just not worth it….chuq

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My crew ditched cable and over-the-air braodcast TV many, many moons ago. The streaming only route works for us, particularly via the Google Cast and Amazon Fire stick devices. I suspect viewers will increasingly want more granularity and control over their cinema/viewing options, which means niche productions… So I’m not really worried about reality TV!

    I think of traditional movie theaters as coffee houses, cafes. They’re basically a shared space to consume culture, as well as a space to socially share and participate in culture. Yeah, they’re businesses too, which is why they sell overpriced popcorn combos, I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting to hear your thoughts and experience. I am making the presumption that you are reasonably young, and part of the ‘electronic generation’? (I could be wrong of course)
      Many people my age and older don’t find it so easy to cope with the concept of ditching what they have always understood, in favour of new technology, (I still go into Banks, and use a cheque book, for example) but I suspect that anyone currently under 30 will not use TV and cinemas in the same way in the future.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  10. I’m just waiting for them to come and lock me up for downloading pretty much anything that we watch, no matter which network it is on, as long as it has a popular following then someone out there will make it available to download for free. I have given up feeling guilty about it.
    And if I want real time TV then the likes of catchuptv provide all the UK channels. Having paid my license fee back in my days in Blighty I reckon they owe me one 🙂 I did enquire about a paid for streaming service form the BBC for Europe when I first moved, but they said it was a long way off, I think the Beeb are missing a trick there.
    Sorry, rambling, ultimately as the size of home screens gets bigger and availability of programs and films easier and more accessible then that’s the future, download and watch at your own leisure in an environment that you feel comfortable. I think the only future for the cinema is kids parties wanting to watch the latest animated sequel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you should take advantage of all available ‘Piracy’, Captain Eduardo Hook. After all, they make untold millions from those who pay, and I refuse to believe that piracy is the problem they bang on about. If it was, those companies would have gone bust a long time ago.
      Like you, I have a suspicion that the days of ‘real cinema’ are numbered.
      Best wishes to you all in Poland. Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I have to believe that the big screen will always hold its popularity, much like books and libraries are going strong in spite of eBooks. There will always be good movies and bad, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Until 20 years ago or so, I went to the movie theater quite often. But then I stopped going. I also cut the cable TV eight or nine years ago. I have a pretty extensive collection of DVDs (and a few Blu-Rays), and just choose to watch them. I must admit, though, I’m a few years behind in modern releases, as my shelves are overcrowded…and I have other financial priorities. I’ve never streamed a film, subscribed to a film delivery service, or rented a film from a kiosk. I’ve borrowed a few films from the public library, though..

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I enjoy the cinema experience, and have been lucky when I was in Penistone with the local cinema, that showed quite a variety of films. Here in Barcelona they always have a bargain day in the middle of the week, and I tend to go with my mother early in the afternoon when there aren’t that many people. There is a much bigger offer, but sometimes it’s difficult to get organised. There’s a cinema where they show not brand-new movies, but always interesting, and you can pay a low price for the whole day, and just watch the movies you want (you have 4 or 5).
    I do watch some movies as part of Prime, although here my Fire Stick doesn’t work and I have to watch on the computer. I guess there is the risk that the numbers game wins and only blockbusters get made, (or distributed), but it is also possible to make movies more cheaply these days…
    We shall see…
    Thanks for the debate. And have a great weekend, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I have only seen two films in a cinema in the past 20 years or so. Waiting to Exhale in which I was only one of two males in a packed house; and, W during which I found the popcorn stale (the second-hand smell of the boxes held by people all around me). This means I generally run a few years behind the current offerings because with rentals, various movie channels and even broadcast TV I have probably seen well over 200 films a year. I do like big screens, so will not stream on a tablet or device. Occasionally I will watch an old offering on my computer, but not very often. On small screens one misses a lot of the impact directors put into ‘big screen’ productions.
    I have observed the growth of choices in what is presented on cable or dish and find it comes up lacking. There are a plethora of reruns of old television series and so-called reality television along with hobby and entertainment industry news. However, there do seem to be a handful of productions adding choices each year. On balance I would say the ‘talkies’ are still expanding.
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You feature one of my concerns about the future of Internet TV, Theo. The dominance of awful ‘reality’ shows, phone-in voting to generate income, and re-runs of films on a cyclical basis. Once we are all ‘trapped’ online, I fear the current innovation will take a back seat to profit.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. My wife and I have no TV. But we enjoy having access to the internet, which means we can watch Netflix YouTube, and practically all programs of the major TV stations, BBC, Deutsche Welle etc. In a TV series we never have to worry missing an episode. We watch it whenever we have time to watch it. Best wishes! Peter

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to agree, Kim. There are still some films made that work best on the cinema screen, but with the increasing size of TV screens, and the reduction of size in some cinema screens, they may soon balance out. I can also buy most films on DVD for less than the price of watching it once at a cinema.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. I still love the movie theater, just not the multiplex amusement arcades at which watching a film often seems the least priority. An interesting note about multi-dimensional presentations: the NYC Madame Tussaud’s museum was showing a digest version of “The Polar Express” in the “miracle of 4-D”, which consisted of the usual 3D trickery, but in a sequence with the train skidding on the ice, the screening became an immersive experience, spraying cold mists of water into the audience, an action which rendered the audience sightless as it obscured the Polaroid lenses. Rather than regarding this as ill-conceived foolishness, it made me ponder: “if only I had such a blinding device for those 20,000 or so truly terrible films I’ve had to sit through.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I watched a 3-D ‘experience’ in the BFI I-Max cinema in London. It was certainly interesting, but I couldn’t have sat through a mainstream two-hour film like that.
      The cinemas with just one screen and a civilised atmosphere are becoming all too rare here, sadly.

      As for audience stimulation, I recall seeing ‘Earthquake’ in 1974. The cinema had some sonic device that ‘rumbled’ the seats to simulate being in an earthquake. It became annoying after a while, but it did take my mind off of Heston’s acting. They called it ‘Sensurround’, as I am sure you know.
      “Sensurround” – a series of large speakers made by Cerwin-Vega powered by BGW amplifiers, that would pump in sub-audible “infra bass” sound waves at 120 decibels (equivalent to a jet airplane at takeoff), giving the viewer the sensation of an earthquake. The process was tested in several theatres around the United States prior to the film’s release, yielding various results. A famous example is Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, where the “Sensurround” cracked the plaster in the ceiling”.

      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. First “Earthquake”, then “Midway”, then “Rollercoaster”. Sensurround certainly did sucker people into the theatres. There was a similar, though more effective, use of sound waves in the initial release of Ken Russell’s “Altered States”, used especially during the climactic regression sequences.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I did see ‘Altered States’ at the cinema. Unfortunately, I made use of recreational drugs to alter my own state before watching it, so have little memory of the film, or sound effects. 🙂 I just had to look up to remind myself that it was starring William Hurt. I would have failed that one in your quiz, for sure.
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

  17. I’ve been mainly streaming TV for some time now. I like that I can watch what I want, when I want. In fact I rarely watch TV programmes when they are on. They are either recorded on a PVR or streamed.

    I probably go to a cinema maybe half a dozen times a year, usually mid week during the day.

    We’ve been to Leicester Square mid week and had the screen to ourselves in the past, which probably says something about the state of cinemas these days. Our local cinema has a deal for £3.95 Andy you can see as many films as you want for the whole day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers, Ian. I used a PVR almost exclusively before I got the catch-up services on the NOW box. I still use it, mainly for films, and rarely watch ‘live’ TV, except the News. Your local deal for £3.95 is excellent. Even my ‘pensioner’ ticket costs £5.90 fro one film, and that’s in Norfolk! 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  18. We rarely go to the cinema, and converted our little garage into a home cinema. It’s great as you can pause to go to the loo and not miss anything. 🤣 We’re just getting into streaming with Amazon, and when Game of Thrones is over will ditch sky. Am interested in the NOW box though so will have to pick your brains on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The NOW TV box is tiny. It is easy to set up, but has no access to Netflix or Amazon. (You have to buy the box from a shop or online, then create an account with NOW to get started.) I have the standard ‘Entertainment’ package for £7.99 a month. For that I get access to Sky Atlantic, some of their box set series, and a selection of films, (no new ones) as well as their own content, which varies every now and then.

      There is also all the ‘Catch-up’ TV, like I-Player and All 4, as well as box sets of lots of regular TV shows, with all the episodes available, and some from ITV Encore. I have the option of ‘buying in’ passes to SKY Movies, SKY Sport, and other services, They cost £7.99 for 72 hours of access. (I haven’t done that yet)

      It is probably all I need for now. More than I have time to watch, and affordable on my income.

      The main thing that appeals to me is that it streams smoothly and easily, even when there are 3-4 other devices online in the house. We have fibre-optic broadband from EE, but it is not that fast, so I was pleased that the box streams well, with no hesitations or break-ups. You can also access your account from Tablets or mobiles, and watch on those.

      I have the £14.99 box, given as a gift, but they also have a more sophisticated box for £39.99, or a dongle similar to the Amazon Firestick.

      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Hard to avoid SKY, I know. For that very reason, I wouldn’t have got this unless it had been given to me as a gift. I was considering the Amazon setup before, but this was a birthday present. I didn’t have the heart to say ‘No thanks”. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  19. I personally, prefer not to stream and watch movies. I honestly feel that the magic and the entertainment value of cinema lies in the experience we get in the theatre. Of course we may not be able to go to the theatre for every movie, but that kind of enjoyment is decreasing. Like you said it’s just movie snacks and mobile phones and people having a conversation while the film is going on. Noone is caught up with the stiry or immersed in it at all! I don’t think though that it’s an end. With streaming services broadening our likes and reach, I think it’s going to bring about a very different kind of cinema lifestyle.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I used to go to the cinema in the past, but I live in a small town with a small cinema, it is not too busy there!
    Meanwhile, I prefer to watch movies at home as well. I’ve been streaming movies on Netflix or Amazon for the past year. Also on the individual television programs you can access here on media libraries and watch movies that were sent days ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I haven’t voluntarily been to a film in the cinema in five-ten years or more. It’s become a complete zoo, and the stimuli overwhelms me, even without the giant loud and visually-confusing film as the main event. My partner dragged me to some Star Wars film in the last five or so years, but it was so crowded that it was sold out, so mercifully we could leave instead of having to suffer through the noisy frantic scrum. I just don’t see the fun in it–films to me are more private, or if fun with friends, I’d rather view it at someone’s home and have more relaxed food and fun there. I am not a tv watcher, but it seems like everything from ‘real life’ to politics to entertainment happens online, so that seems the trend–

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your take on this, Donnalee. I have to agree that large busy cinemas are possibly the worst places to go to see a film. I prefer to watch them alone anyway, as people do tend to talk, even when they are enjoying the film.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I am a streaming only participant now but only because tv costs these days and the price is lower for streaming for my family. But I do agree with you far as too bright etc. etc for the fact I am only in my 40’s but I have always been drawn to drama real acting. and appreciate the classic movies mainly done in 1950’s etc. I enjoy real actors and so on who really had no color but more of scenery and talent. I find that I rather sit back and relax watching old shows far as tv and in movies. I stay on tcm a lot and me/tv a couple westerns. I think now most movies are redundant and over played. i could only wish to have been around to witness the great beginning of all those actors and entertainers I’ve grown to love. like bogart, Mitchell, stewart, douglas and so many others. great post pete I am a true cinematic lover! always have been and always will be. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to hear of your love for the old films, and stars of that era. I started watching films in the 1950s, and later on I tried to catch up with the films from the decades before. Despite my love for many more modern films, such as ‘The Godfather’, or ‘Blade Runner’, I do still enjoy seeing the old ones as often as possible.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. I don’t like cinemas, Pete. For me, a film is an intimate experience, like reading a novel or listening to music. Having said that, I do go to plays and gigs, but those are totally different, an element of spontaneity exists with those.
    But…I did read about these special cinemas in which you can have a restaurant standard dinner, and then watch a film with a glass of what you fancy, on comfy chairs – it’s probably elitist, avoids the riff raff, but I’d pay to go at least once to try it. Also I like the idea of seeing a silent movie, restored, and with old fashioned piano accompaniment. Unfortunately, all this never happens in the sticks.
    Last point, I bet the future of film will be with these 3D VR occulus goggles – going for maximum immersion, maybe even taking part in the action. A different experience altogether, maybe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good call with those 3D goggles, BF. I hadn’t even though about those. I did see some silent films accompanied by piano, at the NFT in London. But I have never had a meal and a drink in a cinema. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I was given a NOW TV box as a gift. I mainly use it for catch-up, but can also access free films, and box sets of telly dramas that I have never seen. The subscription is only £7.99 a month, and the box is tiny, and easy to set up too. Knowing me, if I hadn’t been given it, I would have put off diving into the age of Internet TV for a lot longer. 🙂
          Cheers, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

  24. Pete, I work in the entertainment business, and these are questions being asked every single day…on the positive side, Amazon and Netflix have given smaller filmmakers a way to have their films seen…that said, for the most part the market for smaller films in movie theaters in the US is gone – it is simply a “loss leader” to make the films eligible for awards consideration at the end of the year. In my opinion, theaters will continue to be the place for “big blockbusters”, as the massive screens provide the best viewing experience for them – the others will premiere on a “on demand” service in your home…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for your insight from within the industry, John. I fear you could already be correct, as many ‘small’ films are failing to get cinema showings at all over here.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pete, the Netflix model is to buy up interesting films from stars big and small and give them to you at home – no theater required – it has gotten all of the major studios in the same mindset, with the exception of their big “tentpole” films like remakes and superhero films

        Liked by 1 person

All comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.