The Box Office results are in for the 2nd quarter. The punter has paid a record breaking $3.3 Billion to see movies at the cinema in the US. This is a whopping 19% increase and shows that Cinema still survives and thrives, in 2018.
Hollywood has worked out a way to keep audiences flocking to the cinema with a mixture of comic book blockbusters and animated smashes. Even in an era of multiple competitive entertainment options, cinema shows resilience and growth.
The big Hollywood play is a merger between two giant studios. Disney has acquired 21stCentury Fox. (Still to be approved at time of writing)
This will change the movie game dramatically and hopefully for the better. The Mid-Range Indie Film has virtually disappeared and this needs to be changed. With the merger development, this could happen
Netflix has disrupted and change the playing field of cinema dramatically. When I was at the American Film Market back in 2011, I recall the studio executives basically dismissing the Netflix effect. How myopic, this has proved to be with Netflix now the dinosaur in the room. Netflix is massive with 125 million subscribers and increasing every month. They have created excellent high quality content and thumbed their nose at cinema release.
I for one think this is a terrible shame. So many great series all released and in a non event launch, swamped by an over abundance of content. Binging has come trendy where it is cool to watch the series in one glutinous sitting.
Movies are now called content and this seems to me to pull down it’s mystique Movie stars now seem to regularly star in “Streamed Content”, diminishing their star myth further.
Even worst, the indie filmmaker is forced to offload exclusive rights to Netflix for between $50K to $1 million. if you have the very best Sundance winner indie film, you will get $1 million, paid over 3 years for your efforts. Netflix insists on exclusive rights.
This is not great for indie films budgets and also kills any chance of a theatrical cinema release. If Tarantino had made Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction today, it would have been buried, as a non-event release on Netflix. The films would be called “great content” and that would be about it. This has to change in the long run.
It is not great for Cinema or for the great Indie Films, that we remember years later. I would love to say that this is nearly criminal, but of course it is not. It is business and no company has really found a way to fight back against the rampaging Netflix, till now.
With the merger of Disney and 21st Century Fox, they will come the biggest player on the block. They will have massive releases followed by their own streaming service, set to launch in 2019. This hopefully will create room again for the mid-range iconic Movies.
Netflix will need to have a great reason to go for Cinema Release. That will have to be competition. Amazon Prime are also knocking on the door and are determined to release their major films in the cinema.
What if Netflix changed and had a major theatrical cinema release of one of their major TV series. The Movie version would make everyone want to watch the series online on Netflix, and dramatically increase subscribers.
Now with Disney/ Fox and Amazon releasing in cinemas, we may see major change again. Competition may force Netflix’s hand and they may have to adopt a major cinema release strategy. With their excellent high quality “content”, they could have awesome movies in the cinema.
Outside of Oscar season the major Indie Film release seems to have faded away. Oscar season has grown lame, with TV ratings plunging.
With the demise of the scandalous Weinstein Company and the ridiculous cost of releasing in the cinema, indie film has slumped away from the silver screen.
My hope is that the indie film release and the mid-range films will have a comeback and the current trend is just a temporary slump. There has to be a place in the cinemas for the indie, sooner rather than later. Comedies and high quality Dramas with Movie Stars and the hottest new Indie Filmmaker storming the box office… yes it can happen.
You may say that I am an optimist and and you are possibly right. What ever happens in the future of cinema, economics will in the end determine the outcome. ?
ColmO”Murchu is a filmmaker from Sydney Australia and is currently in postproduction on his new Supernatural Thriller Tabernacle 101. He owns production company, International Film Base.