The Future of Cinema →

January 05, 2015 |

M.G. Siegler:

All of this is a world — probably ten years away, maybe less — where you go to a theater to see a handful of films each year. The tentpoles. Everything else goes right to your living room. The tadpoles.

And if a tadpole hits it big at home, it could even turn into the next tentpole!

I suppose it makes sense. After all, every major industry will eventually need to adapt to the realities of technology and online video. But as a lover of cinema and everything it entails — from the popcorn to the sheer awe of a gigantic screen — I find this future to be utterly depressing.

It’s already happening, mind you, and there are other implications. What movie theater can survive with only “a handful of films each year”? Not ten years ago there were almost 10 movie theaters in Madrid’s Gran Vía. They were all beautiful, big old theaters, with red velvety seats and gorgeous marbled hallways. The Callao square was always dressed up in enormous, hand-drawn movie posters that made it look like a movie aficionado’s version of paradise.

All of that is almost completely gone now, and it’s but a memory of a seemingly distant past. Except it was practically yesterday. Today, only two movie theaters remain active in Gran Vía, and the posters are nowhere to be found. In their place, there now sit regular ads for cosmetic products, or whatever new fashion campaign that happens to be hitting the streets that week.

I don’t just love movies, I love going to the movies, but the whole experience is becoming so impractical and expensive that even I am going less and less as the years roll by. It pains me to no end, but I do agree with M.G. that the future looks bleak for movie theaters. And I will miss them dearly when they’re gone.