The Future of Cinema

How have cinemas been changed by the pandemic and will they be able to survive it?

For pretty much the entire history of filmmaking and cinema, new releases and studios have often relied on box office sales in the first few weeks of a film’s release – especially since the rise of Netflix and streaming services that allow to consumer not to have to pay for the films themselves. However, the current pandemic has thrown the future of cinema and theatre-going into question: how much can we do, and how soon?

At the beginning of the first lockdown, many films were put on hold until after restrictions had lifted and cinemas had re-opened – however, as the first lockdown dragged on far beyond the originally estimated length, film studios began to commit to releasing films elsewhere. One of the biggest of these would be the live-action Mulan, which never hit the theatres and was put immediately onto Disney+.

But while this works for companies as big as Disney, who have a loyal base they can rely on to watch their films regardless of where they are, many film companies still rely on cinemas and moviegoing to make a profit off their films – and they aren’t the only ones!

I think there is a general longing for cinema – although we are all used to streaming new shows straight from our sofas, there is something special about going to the cinema, being in a dark room surrounded by people, watching a movie on the ‘big screen’ and, of course, enjoying the classic cinema snacks. As much as movie studios rely on cinemas for money, I also think they’re a valuable source of entertainment for lots of people.

It might be months or even years before cinemas can open in the way and on the scale that existed before the pandemic, but I think that cinema fills a specific niche and I have faith that people will be returning to them in herds when restrictions are lifted enough.

Tessa VII