Why The Movie Experience is Dying: An Editorial

VdpuuFkeAs you can guess from the lack of content in the past month from my website, Movie Talk With Jake Salinas, I haven’t seen a film in the theater since August’s Get on Up. This is primarily due to the fact that I have some personal matters to attend to before I pack up and move out of Austin for a couple of years to go study the medium of film somewhere in the American Southwest. And while I’ve had time to see films in the theater, nothing really has caught my eye recently. This weekend will be the release of David Fincher’s Gone Girl, a film I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time, so I will definitely be checking that one out. But I just haven’t felt motivated because like a lot of the American movie going public, going to the theater is a pain in the ass.

Unfortunately, God created the piece of technology known as the cell phone, and the other piece of technology known as the a-hole who texts on this cell phone. While I’ve always been a person who would rather have a conversation with somebody face to face rather than through a small mobile device, there are a lot of folks that really love texting. And people even bring that habit to the theater, during a movie. It’s a very annoying habit that’s continued to piss me off-year after year. It also doesn’t help that we are a generation of self entitled ass clowns that can be as rude and crude during a film because we paid 9 dollars to sit through it. Granted, I’ve been able to map out the theaters in town that are the best and the worst for its audience, but anything can happen. You’re best shot at a great movie going experience is the Alamo Drafthouse theater chain, but I can’t afford to see every movie at the Drafthouse, and when I can, it’s for a special reason.

I write and rant to you today because in the past couple of days, the streaming juggernaut known as Netflix has made two massive bombshells. The first being a partnership with The Weinstein Company and IMAX to release the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on the same day in both theaters and on Netflix. And just a day ago, Adam Sandler struck a deal with Netflix for the exclusive rights to stream his next four movies, with the only way of seeing these films on the streaming service. This is big news because Netflix is now a foe to both the television industry and the film industry. The big theater chains of Cinemark, Regal, and AMC are furious over the Crouching Tiger partnership, and are even threatening to not even show the film in their theaters when it’s released next summer.

This is a sign of what may be the beginning of the end of the moviegoing experience as we know it. It’s both incredibly sad and scary as it is a wake up call. I’m not the only person in the world that feels this way about going to a movie theater to see a film, and I’m hoping that with a deal like this, the theater chains will start to finally wake up and realize that they need to do something drastic and do it now. Going to see a film in a theater is a big deal for a lot of people, and I prefer seeing a film in a theater. Films like Gravity and Avatar are made for the theater experience, and watching the films on HBO decreases the quality of what makes them so special. There are big spectacles that are made to be seen on a big screen with surround sound, with an upcoming example being Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, which will be my last time I see a film on 70 mm IMAX ever, but that’s a different argument for another day.

I wanted to make this editorial as brief and straight to the point as I could, because writers with more experience professionally and personally have much more intriguing things to say about this matter. But the idea that we will start to see films, not necessarily Star Wars or Marvel films, available to watch on Netflix while being in the theaters to view, is now becoming a reality that Hollywood has tried to block out for years now. It’s about to happen, and its a mixed feeling of sadness and a tiny bit of joy. The great thing being that in the near future, you will be able to watch the new Adam Sandler film from the comfort of your own living room. Even worse is that you can watch the new Adam Sandler film on a six-inch iPhone screen. That’s something that still scares me, that this generation can watch any film they want on the tiniest of screens. Film is big, and should be viewed in the best way possible, no matter how massive or intimate the film you’re viewing is. I just hope that the theater chains begin to take drastic action on this inevitable change to the industry in a way that benefits everyone, in the best way possible.

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