The end is nigh


Does anyone believe the cinema will survive? Tell me what is wrong with this likely conversation between studio Execs... “So hey, Covid. Bummer, like, no one is going to the cinema”, says the Distribution Gofer. “Right, so let’s pull all the movies that could get people back now and wait till we are sure we can squeeze the maximum return with everyone going back to the theatres in a year’s time”, says the other Exec. “OK, but surely those who don’t go to the cinema now will pay us for pay per view instead. What’s the point in holding off if we kill the business...”  the Gofer replies. “Doh! Why release now when we might miss out on better box office numbers in the future?”, Exec  “Yeah, great,  I feel you... but in the meantime by not giving any product, won’t the cinema chains go bust... so isn’t holding back a year kind of self defeating?”, replies the Gofer. “When I want your opinion, I will give it to you!” Honestly, the knuckleheads at the studios are dumber than dog slobber. The patient is dying of starvation so to solve the problem let’s give him no food at all! Of course it’s sheer greed. If they wait six months plus, they hope more people might go back to Cinemas, but it’s a moot point. The movie theatres won’t exist by then!

...and another thing

Cinema is dying. Face it. Yes, spectacle/special effects laden movies (usually with actors, who should know better, prancing around in spandex) can look good on a big screen. But those films cannot sustain over 40,000 screens in the US alone.

Those tent pole movies need to become events in their own rights. Play them in rock stadiums. Massive screens. Huge surround sound. Staff dress up, props from the movie on display, even a scene recreated, and a Q&A video link with talent. Make it an event and charge rock concert ticket prices. But a short window. Then release it digitally and not via platforms like Sky or services  like Disney, Hulu,and Netflix whose offering changes per country. One big silo per studio with pay per view rights available globally.

Cinema release is now mainly to assuage the ego from an older generation. They see Cinema as the ultimate justification of their art and of course an Oscar.

I wrote this letter which was printed in The Times (UK) in September 2020.

Dear Sir,

 The recent announcement by the Academy for new categories for racial/ minority groups is missing the real need for change to make it relevant. They must accept Television as a category. The quality, budget, writing and star power  of many of these productions equal if not surpass those of theatrical release. 

 Viewing  habits have irrevocably changed yet Oscarsteadfastly refuses to accept the new norm; we binge watch series, really ten hour movies, in the comfort of our home theatres. A visit to the cinema is no longer the cheap entertainment of the Nickel (5 cents) Odeon but an expensive night out; now with the added risk from exposure to others. 

 Oscarnight ratings will continue to plummet (from over 41m in 2010 to 23m in 2020) if the Academy fail to recognise excellence in a medium the public already do. There is no line anymore between film and television, except at Oscars house!

 Mark Grenside

...and another thing

So if the Academy wants to be relevant, recognise TV

If you want Cinemas to survive, the studios must release product now, not hoard them like squirrels in the winter. Do that and there won’t be spring.

After Cinema release, movies must be released on platforms that are globally available.

And someone please improve home hot dog and popcorn machines!!

Stay safe.

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One Comment

  1. Magda says:

    I couldn’t have put it better !!!
    In these difficult times we need to be entertained, we need to be surprised, we need to share good emotions with other people around us..Laugh together, scream together, cry together…
    They indeed need to recreate the big events surrounding new theatrical release…Making it a very special and delightful event…
    Take care !

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