Will movie theaters become more like Broadway theaters, an exclusive and expensive experience for just a chosen few productions that have long runs? That’s the prediction of movie-biz superstars Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Access the full article in Variety here.
It is true that many small neighborhood theaters have closed over the years. Large, multiplex theaters have opened to fill the void. Some have begun to charge high prices for the movie theater “experience,” but they typically include extras like special seating, projection, or full food service. But I still attend matinees for a fiver, and these are first-run, A-list movies I’m talking about seeing.
I agree that too much stock is placed in the giant blockbusters, while less flaunted films receive little marketing or screen-time, or might go directly to DVD or the small screen. But not all. Each year, there are at least a few unknowns to make it to a major audience. And movies aren’t like the live, manpower-intensive productions of Broadway: they are copied prints that can be playing simultaneously all over the nation. Another fact that makes me more hopeful than the sci-fi twins is that movie reviewers, among which I count myself a privileged member, provide information about those “non-blockbusters” for others, who then can choose to see something based on those reviews rather than the commercials and previews bombarding them daily. Finally, there are many avenues open, and opening every day, to aspiring filmmakers. I see right here in my own community as I support local filmmakers. Anyone can make a movie and enter it in the film expos; if it’s good enough, it will be championed and see the light of day — or rather, the light of the big screen.
Rather than predicting a bleak Wal-mart-ish cinema future, maybe Steve and George could put their larger-than-life heads together and provide backing and inspiration for an alternative vision. Hmm, now there’s an idea…
What do you think about the future of moviegoing? Sound off here!