The cinema will be very different if they survive COVID-19


The end of 2019, Netflix was granted a lease on the Paris Theatre, a historic cinema in New York which had closed its doors at the beginning of the year. Netflix / Marion Curtis

The cinemas were my second home in high school. Thanks to a strange family situation, I spent my last year I crashed on the couches, futons and beds invited a half-dozen friends. As I had no more room to me, I thought often of the time alone in the morning after (or during) school. I went to dozens and dozens of films in seven or eight months.

Of course, these screenings were sometimes awkward, as when the breath of the mouth of middle-aged perched directly behind me in a theater otherwise empty, five minutes of Black Swan. But I still feel a great nostalgia for this time – for the fresh air, the seats creaking and anonymity dimly lit cinema.

Now, thanks to the closures and the rise of the debt of the franchises of theatre COVID-19[female[femininethe future of the companies that offered me as much comfort to the teen is in danger. In a time of uncertainty, one thing seems increasingly clear: the theatre industry must change to survive. Here’s what the cinema might look like in the future.

A stage-independent continuous and active

The independent theatres often forge links the deeply personal with their customers, and although they have struggled during the pandemic, their loyal customers can be the key to their survival whereas the larger cinemas will fold or find new business models.

I talked to Leslie Aberson, president of Apex Entertainment, which manages two independent theatres in Louisville, Kentucky. Cinemas Apex have opened 30% of their capacity, projecting classic films such as Jurassic Park and The Goonies, with considerable success.

“I believe, on the basis of this initial participation, when [Christopher Nolan’s new blockbuster film] Principle opens, “said Aberson,” we’re going to see a huge resurgence of business. ”

Aberson does not believe that the pandemic will lead to long-term changes in its businesses. It is anticipated that the rooms Apex will operate at full capacity by the holidays or at the beginning of 2021, and when we talked, he seemed to be fully confident in the future of the film as a product.

“I’m not worried for the industry,” he said. “They do not go out Tenet PPV, for the love of God. ”

Of course, such predictions depend on the changing realities of both the spread of the new coronavirus, and perceptions of theatre-goers. It remains to be seen if the “status quo” is feasible in a near future, such as the think Aberson, or if more creative solutions, such as theatre seats rearranged or requiring temperature controls for customers – will be needed to attract the crowds towards the tower. films such as Tenet, Mulan, and James Bond later this year.

Subscriptions to the cineplex traditional

Of course, companies such as AMC hated the application based on a subscription super cheap Moviepassbut the subscription model is a method increasingly popular and proven to guarantee income – some cinemas in the Uk use these services for over a decade. Last year, AMC has instituted a subscription service of $ 20 that allows users to see up to three films per week, and as movie theaters AMC – with competitors such as CineMark and Regal – begin to reopen, you can expect to see more investment in this service and others like him. Maybe $ 10 per month will not allow you access to thousands of titles as well as other services, but this could gives you access to a giant screen to watch the latest movies and the brightest each month.

Subscription services to tv and movies have enjoyed success on the personal devices. The cinemas could they use the same strategies?

Sarah Tew / CNET

Most of the drive-in

My usual visits more than weekly in the cinema was interrupted for the first time in 2016, when my wife and I had our first child and I stayed a year without going to the theater. But once we had our second child, we decided to solve the problems. We started looking for cinemas with driver, where our children could sleep in their car seats after sunset, and we could watch the Black Panther. We had the chance to be in an area with pretty rural in central America for graduate studies, so we quickly found a drive-in less than 10 minutes of our tiny apartment.

The open-air cinemas, which flourished in the 50s and early 60s, are already a second (or third) life, in the midst of the pandemic, thanks to the remoteness built-in social and – for the reason that many of them have still survived before COVID-19 – nostalgia. The model of the drive-ins differs from the cineplex traditional: they do not usually work in the weekends, during the warmer months and after the dark of the night. This means that the double features are the norm, and usually only the most popular films find a home on their projectors.

The drive-in will not replace completely their counterparts in more traditional, given their seasonality, their broadcast schedules and limited their dependence on external spaces wide open. (They would probably not do well in large cities.) But they will probably be the continuation of a form the theatre will in the foreseeable future.

Take control of a giant technological

Remains to be seen what it will look like, but the giants of the technology and the streaming such as Apple, Amazon and Netflix have planned to buy of the theatres or are already committed to do so. While the buyouts in large are likely to be long-term, Silicon Valley has the capital to buy franchises of theatre in a slump, and integrate them into their business models to existing integration – and this could significantly shift the landscape of cinema.

What would it look like? It may be that the members Bonus receive exclusive offers and discounts in cinemas Amazon, just like on Whole foods. Or maybe a premium subscription to Netflix would gain more subscribers of visits “free” in the cinemas, Netflix, where algorithms define the films and schedules depending on the region. Or it could be that Disney would include large stores of goods in its theatres, selling dolls Mulan the children while they are queuing for tickets.


Films like Tentpole like Mulan from Disney and the last film of James Bond could lose hundreds of millions of dollars to their production companies if they renounce the rounds in cinemas.


For movie buffs, this vision of the future may seem dark, but, as argued by Ben Fritz in The Big Picture – his book exploring the future of cinema – it is a future that correctly understands the priorities of the media conglomerates: “Disney may have generated record profits from its films, Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars, and remakes of live classics, animated, but finally its movie studio were to launch and sustain franchises that were selling toys and T-shirts and attracted a lot of tourists in the theme parks. ”

Imagine the future

While the world – and in many markets, including the film industry – unpredictable in 2020, theatre lovers and business owners at all levels will be grappling with the challenges of a world post-quarantine. In all likelihood, we will not see a single response to the problems posed to cinema by COVID-19, but we may well see a realignment of the existing ecosystem, in which the drive-in theatres, independent cinemas and cineplex great brand all play an important role.

But as I said the president of the independent theatre Alberson, when asked about the future, ” I have the feeling [that regardless of other changes] we will work all together. ”


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