It’s been mentioned more than once now that streaming is bound to be the future of cinema, and in 2020 this is even more apparent to a lot of people since the movie theaters have been closed for much of the year and the growing feeling is that some of them might not be opening up in the future since they’ve simply lost too much revenue, and they’re quickly becoming outdated. In a year when drive-in theaters have probably done more business than the actual theaters, it’s fair to say that the trend is leaning heavily towards streaming for a lot of reasons. The Russo brothers, who have the distinction of having produced the highest-grossing movie of all time and might not be topped for quite a while, if ever in the next several years, are confident that streaming will become the bigger deal even if the theaters start to open in the coming year. It might be a bold prediction since things can change quickly, as people have found out, and it might be that a vaccine might switch things around so that businesses can start opening and the virus can be kicked to the rearview as so many people are hoping, but the hit that the entertainment business has taken kind of accelerated the need for other options, and the fact that Wonder Woman 1984 is coming out in the theater and on HBO Max at the same time kind of signals that shift as much as anything else has.
Theaters are great to go and spend time in since up until the pandemic they were kind of an escape from home, albeit an expensive one. Since the ticket price started rising it became insanely expensive to take your family to the movie, especially if one was anticipating buying popcorn, drinks, and candy for everyone. A person could spend $100 pretty easily on just a small family between tickets and snacks, and this is just one reason why theaters were already starting to become more of a bother than just staying at home. On top of this, there were rarely ever any smaller, independent movies that would show up at a lot of bigger theaters since they needed to pull in the crowds, meaning they would feature the most mainstream movies and might feature independent movies if they had space or there weren’t enough blockbusters to fill all the theaters. Some of them might have gone so far as to show the same movie on multiple screens though, which is kind of a cheap move but did work at the time.
Streaming is bound to change things in a big way, but it does give the advantage to the consumer since the price of a ticket, of snacks, and even the price of the gas to get to the theater would be negated, which does likely mean that the price to watch the movie might go up. And it’s easy to think that streaming the movie doesn’t mean that it would be saved in the person’s personal library since might be another way to make money off of it. But the idea that streaming could and is changing things in a big way is something that no longer feels as though it can be avoided since if the theaters don’t open then there might not be a lot of other choices to consider if Hollywood wants to keep getting its money. While it’s not likely that every theater will shut down, it’s also feeling as though big blockbusters aren’t being pushed to drive-ins, which feels like a lost opportunity. It’s true that the crowd at a drive-in isn’t quite as big, but it’s revenue all the same. The saying that ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ doesn’t appear to apply to Hollywood, since it’s almost as though the industry can’t find a way to survive without charging the insane amounts that it’s been living on for so long.
At some point, it might be that studios will have to bite the bullet and go one way or the other in order to keep things going, and it might mean that they’ll have to do without as much in order to make things work until they find a way to turn everything around. This is life right now after all, and everyone is trying to make things work, so boo hoo if streaming doesn’t fit in with their plans. Like it or not, as much as Hollywood has suffered this year, the people that make it possible for these studios to crank their works out, the fans, in other words, have often been hit much harder. If the entertainment industry is going to survive it’s likely that they’re going to have to suck it up a bit and realize that the theaters are no longer the haven they once were. Hey, we’ve realized that already.