Is Cinema Dead?
Updated: Nov 4, 2020
Even before this global pandemic, film fanatics were worrying about their beloved theaters. Over-The-Top streaming services and the ability to watch films on-demand have been threatening cinemas for years, but is it finally the end for theatergoers?
Pretentious film buffs would huff about how streaming has lowered the standards of a good film, especially now that the Oscars are finally going to consider films that are streaming-only to qualify. But, does that really mean that cinema is dead?
Short answer: absolutely not.
When interviewed in an article by the New York Times, one man said, "...nothing is greater than watching something like ‘Bells Are Ringing’ with another couple hundred people.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was the last movie I saw in theaters. My friend and I walked to our seats where they appeared to be in the seating grid on the website. Only when we had walked up and down the aisles had we realized our mistake. The movie screen was at the top of the website, not the bottom like it would be if looking down at a theater layout. We had somehow ended up about a foot in front of the screen.
My friend and I tried to nudge each-other during a particularly bad scene, but it was difficult with the fifty or so other patrons. We couldn't talk freely or react. It felt suffocating.
This was not a good movie-going experience.
The writing was bad. The plot was confusing and impossible to follow. The charming and likable characters fell flat. The movie was a failure.
The second time I watched the movie, I was sat on the couch with my friend in my family's living room. We had made popcorn and were absentmindedly throwing pieces on the floor for my dog to eat. Kylo Ren appeared on screen and we booed loud enough for my brother to wake up from his nap.
We threw popcorn at the screen. We laughed at Finn's cheesy one-liners. We paused and had to rewind when we noticed a continuity error or mistake. It was fun and we felt free.
The addition of streaming platforms does not deter from cinema, it enhances it.
Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, and other platforms allow the user to relax and rewind. They also allow for more creativity in the writers and actors.
So the next time someone insinuates that cinema is dead, please tell them that she is just getting started.