Movies and tv series

Is Netflix killing cinema?

19.03.2019 | By ELENA LONGARI

How long has it been since you last went to the cinema? Because let’s be honest about it: if a cosy night in has become ‘the new going out of the third Millennium’, then the equation should continue with ‘Netflix and chill’ is the new ‘let’s go to the movies’.

Is Netflix killing cinema? And if this is the case, what is it about streaming platforms that will have the world of big screens ultimately see an end?

When I was at Uni I remember I used to go to the cinema every Wednesday, a midweek treat I couldn’t do without: not only was I experiencing my first years as an expat student, but I was also living the thrill of going to the cinema and watching movies that ARE NOT dubbed. This all ended when I moved back to Italy: lips that are not in sync with the sound that comes out  as well as unrecognisable voices made me all lose interest for going to watch a good movie altogether. Plus the few cinemas that do have shows in original language are either too small or offer a super limited amounts of shows.

The ‘exhibition’ effect is fading

I still go to the cinema, every now and then, but two main other culprits have induced me in staying at home and enjoying a binge watch marathon.

Even though the cinema industry believes that the theatrical experience is never going to be surpassed by cosiness of watching a movie from wherever, reinforcing their argument citing the advent of television, VHS, dvd players and blu ray as some of the other occasions in which people should have stopped going to the cinema, 2017 and 2018 have been  key moments in the movie industry.

The numbers

Not only we have seen the number of Netflix subscriptions rising to a stunning 125 million worldwide, but the last couple of years have been the time in which Netflix came out with one of their first big Original movies. A Netflix original movie that did have some theatrical presence too, but was mainly aimed at gluing ‘viewers’ to a small screen. Starring Will Smith, in 2017 Bright did pretty good in terms of grossing  – $90-million (Rs 578 crore).

In 2018 Netflix will total an amount of 80 original movies. This piece of information alone tells you what will change in the showbiz as we know it.

The names

And we are not talking about some independent movies, directed by some unheard straight out of cinema school student. We are talking Martin Scorsese: in 2019 Netflix will reach Bright’s results with The Irishman featuring superstars Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci and we are not even aware if it will be released in theaters as well as on the streaming platform.

If the big names of the cinema industry are physically busy in producing, directing, acting, costume designing the best movies and TV series to watch on Netflix, who is taking care of that in the cinema industry then?

Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Winona Ryder, Kevin Spacey are just few of the names you can now ‘stream’ from home.

Big screen movies: are they worth the experience?

That leads me to the first culprit in me not being too keen on going to the cinema lately: there’s nothing really there worth going for. The last time I was really ‘I can’t miss this movie, I really have to make time for it and book the last couple of seats in the whole of Milan’ was for Tarantino’s Django Unchained, or The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. If the highest grossing actor in Hollywood is Dwayne Johnson ranked in 2nd place for 2018, there’s already the answer to why movies are what they are.

2018 has also been the year in which Cannes film festival ruled that only movies that have had a theatrical release can take part to the ‘competition’, which meant all Netflix released had to pull out.

How are actors ‘taking it’?

Helen Mirren stated :

“It’s devastating for people like my husband, film directors, because they want their movies to be watched in a cinema with a group of people,” 

With the Oscars coming up on February 24, 2019, Netflix has changed its release strategy an inch, so to release in limited version to theatres its original movies few days ahead of the release on the platform , probably in the hope of guaranteeing them a place in all ‘award competitions’ . But what if the it is a flop?

If this might ease the rivalry with Disney and 20thCentury Fox, it still leads me to think that if we are willing to squeeze a gigantic T-Rex into a television screen and not hear the loud stomping of all Jurassic World’s wildlife, then we do not really know what a movie really is and we will be missing out on 50% of the work behind its making.

What are we willing to sacrifice? Experience versus comfort?

You might own one of those 65 inch TV and have a taste of what going to the cinema is, but it’s too bad it isn’t.