For years, Hollywood has banked ever more money, mostly on established movie franchises, unwilling or unable to bet on less certain ventures. The end result has been a predictable staple of 3-D action hero movies and sequels that draw the same crowds, season after season.
This dependence on blockbuster films to perpetuate a cycle could cause a film-making catastrophe. Famed director Steven Spielberg is on the record as saying that it's harder and harder for new ideas to make it through to studio production. And he thinks it's likely that a string of embarrassing and expensive flops will turn the entire industry upside down [source: Bond].
The end result might be better movies.
If and when Hollywood relearns that storytelling trumps special effects, movie theaters stand to benefit in all sorts of ways, and audiences do, too. People would suddenly have new reasons to return to a public theater instead of hunkering down at home, anti-social and alone, watching lower budget but better quality programming.
There's a psychological benefit to the act of gathering to witness films with other humans. Perhaps more than technological advances and gee-whiz gadgetry, it's solid storytelling amongst others in our tribe that makes films so magnetic.
Director James Cameron thinks that theaters will last for a thousand years, saying that people have a need to enjoy films in a group setting. But that's far more likely to happen if we don't have to suffer through 999 more years of sequels in the "Transformers" franchise.
Author's Note: 10 Ways Our Movie-going Experience Will Change
I used to love going to the theater as a kid. Yet I stopped going to the movies years ago. Why? Two words: instant streaming. For the price of a single movie ticket, I have month-long access to a streaming service that provides hundreds of TV shows and movies at the click of a button, in HD quality, right in my home. There are no unruly children or sticky theater floors. No clueless strangers kicking the back of my seat. No etiquette-challenged phone users distracting everyone around them. Sure, I miss out on the event aspect of actually going to a theater, but the positives so far outweigh the negatives that there's no real competition. If theaters are going to appeal to off-the-grid people like me, they'll need to innovate far, far beyond simple 3-D and better sound. We'll see if they can pull it off.
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- AMC Corporate Site. "The AMC Dine-in Theaters Experience." (Aug. 15, 2014) http://dinein.amctheatres.com/how-it-works
- Bond, Paul. "Steve Spielberg Predicts 'Implosion' of Film Industry." Hollywood Reporter. June 12, 2013. (Aug. 15, 2014) http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/steven-spielberg-predicts-implosion-film-567604
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- Patel, Nilay. "Why Movie Theaters Should be More Like Rock Concerts." Vox. July 10, 2014. (Aug. 15, 2014) http://www.vox.com/2014/7/10/5887191/movie-theaters-should-be-more-like-rock-concerts
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