Streaming films, the death of the modern cinema

Following the shock trailer drop and release of The Cloverfield Paradox we are reaching a tipping point where online streaming services will begin to have a severe negative impact on theatres around the world an eventually the film industry.

For a long time I never believed the idea film studios would release a relatively large potentially successful film on a streaming site, but it has happened. The meteoric rise of Netflix and Amazon with their streaming ability has already altered the landscape of tv.

Series such as The Punisher, Narcos, Making a Murderer etc have meant that tv studios are having to react faster and create more original content as they cannot compete with the budget of Amazon and Netflix. This impact is beginning to effect the traditional movie theatre.

The Cloverfield Paradox might not have been a film that would deliver massive profits for Paramount but would have definitely resulted in a small profit. However, with the financial pressures on the industry as ticket sales fall, studios can no longer afford a dud.

For Netflix and Amazon with their captive subscribers they can take a risk on a big money project. The fact Netflix bought the distribution for Cloverfield shows the shift in power.

What has been forgotten in the excitement and shock of the release is the cold reality that the future of cinemas is now in danger and this is not a good thing for film lovers.

After you watch Cloverfield Paradox it is clear that the film would divide the audience which is why a release on Netflix, avoiding a potential box office bomb and scathing reviews worked but when watching the film it is lacking something special.

The fantastic shots, atmosphere and jaw dropping moments just do not have that wow factor on a small screen. When watching it at home, on a screen a fraction the size of a cinema screen with a much lower volume, it is near impossible to get caught up in the film and forget about reality.

I love watching films at home but when seeing some of my favourite films on the small screen it just does not have the same sensation as a big screen and loud cinema.

What is disconcerting is that film studios are now looking at trying to halt the march of Netflix and Amazon by launching their own streaming service. By going down this route it is only a question of when will a Star Wars or Marvel smash hit be launched via a streaming platform rather than in the cinema.

It is not all negative. Going to the cinema has become an expensive affair, whilst paying for Netflix is far cheaper when you can watch unlimited films and tv shows. But apart from the financial win for the customers and independent films having more opportunity to be seen the benefits of this move is limited.

The awe of seeing a dinosaur on a IMAX screen for children will be lost, instead they will see a small dinosaur due to a comparatively small screen. The magic of films will take a severe blow. My biggest concern though comes with the quality of films produced.

With a cinema audience studios and directors have to deliver a spectacular film that gives the audience what they want to attract them. If they do not deliver the public will not spend their hard earned cash. On streaming platforms with a captive audience it will allow complacency to set in.

Why do reshoots and go over budget to deliver something special when it won’t make a massive difference to your profits. Directors such as James Cameron and Christopher Nolan thrive as they take risks and studios will spend the money to allow them to fulfil their vision as they know the box office return will be massive. If we lose cinemas and have a captive audience who subscribe year on year it is extremely likely studios will not go that extra mile to deliver a special film. Instead we will get a “that will do” approach, with cost cutting and no risk.

There is still chance to save cinemas and cinema chains but something needs to happen and fast.


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