Netflix vs Cinema
The movie experience has gone rotten. As stale as old popcorn and as uncomfortable as the seats you’ve found yourself sitting in at your local Multiplex. The dystopian wasteland of increased film price but diminished film value is here and Netflix is licking its lips at the prospect.
Now if you’re thinking to yourself, just what the hell is this guy talking about? He sounds like the local town loony shouting “the end is nigh!” What I’m talking about is the demise of the modern cinema experience and because we are talking about a creative medium, perhaps a little theatricality is necessary in getting that point across.
Now, if you’re lucky enough to live in a big city like London, New York, Las Angeles, even my hometown of Auckland, New Zealand, you might have large IMAX screens capable of making your eyes and ears bleed like you just stared at the Arc of the Covenant in Indiana Jones and the Last crusade, but when you’re like me and find yourself living in smaller towns with sub-par cinemas, simply watching the latest blockbuster can leave you looking around for the nearest usher to throw your popcorn at.
I’m a movie lover. A born and bred cinephile who can’t get enough of that sweet, sweet nectar of the gods we call movies. However, after living abroad for years in a number of medium-sized towns, I have come to a shocking realisation that big city folk probably have no clue about – paying today’s absurd movie prices to go watch a small screen barely bigger than the one in your home, while sitting in furniture which looks like it was taken to by a pack of wild dogs, is just not what the movie fan ordered.
My local movie house (if you can call it that) charges roughly $16 (US) for a tiny screen and uncomfortable seats that were seemingly designed in the bowels of hell. In order for others to pass by effectively without collecting a lap-full of their crutch or butt, you are forced to stand straight up. You can pay more for ‘luxury seating’ up the back of course, but when the screen is already tinier than your skinny cousin Johnny’s biceps, you figure out pretty quickly that sitting in the back is for chumps who get a kick out of watching feature length movies on their iPhones.
All that would be bad enough, if not for the apologetic remark I received from the very polite 16-year-old attendant working at the ticketing desk before my movie started who proclaimed, “Just so you know, there’s 30 minutes of ads before the beginning of the movie.” I assure you, if there had been a high horse around at that moment, I would have straddled it comfortably and then strangled the life out of it while looking dead in the eyes of every person in sight – because I wanted to watch the world burn…man, and also because my mind is a confusing place full of metaphors.
So let’s break this down. I’m paying $16 so that a German car manufacturer can sell me on their latest automobile? No wonder Netflix is doing so well when the competition is dropping the ball so fantastically.
Since the birth of online streaming, downloading and general movie piracy, the movie houses and film studios have been breathlessly waiting for their revenues to dry up and for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to ride in. However, although smaller more artistic films have suffered at the box office, big budget blockbusters are doing just fine – so are animated films for that matter.
People will spend billions at the multiplex to watch Deadpool slice a guy in half and deliver a cool one-liner, or to go on a quest with an amnesiac fish named Dory to this day. Although, instead of moving with the times, offering better incentives to movie goers or creating good original films on lower budgets, film studios are cramming bad sequel after bad sequel, dead franchise after dead franchise down our throats hoping to God that we never stop swallowing.
Unfortunately, the medium of film has stopped being the leader in quality that it once was and is now largely being surpassed by television. It seems more and more clear that original television is becoming a more creative, richer medium for artistic expression. Once it was film’s poor cousin and now it rides on the back of a white stallion promising to deliver us from the evils of mediocre entertainment.
Netflix has brought us to the mountain and we have had our burning bush moment. God has spoken to us from the fire and proclaimed, “The age of binge watching is upon us!”
The blockbuster is on its way out. That’s because no-one wants to pay their hard earned money one film when it comes with the baggage of advertising, rundown seats and small screens. Then, when you finally see the movie, it’s the kind of burning turd wrapped in a dumpster fire that was Sausage Party, Independence Day Resurgence and Suicide Squad.
Who wants to pay that kind of money for a terrible movie? Who wants to experience thirty minutes of ads for one film when you can pay the same amount on a one-month subscription to Netflix?
People are waking up to where the value is. Something smells rotten folks and it’s not just in Denmark. It’s at the local movie theater that refuses to move with the times just as the big studios are failing to do. Patrons are starting to vote with their feet and those feet are in slippers – that’s because we aren’t leaving our homes, preferring to binge watch Luke Cage on Netflix instead.
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