Acclaimed director Christopher Nolan thinks that you and I will “lay down [our] money to those studios, theaters and filmmakers who value the theatrical experience and create a new distinction from home entertainment.” Do you?
Nolan has penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal where he laments movies as content and acknowledges the “bleak future” created by this path. Although Nolan doesn’t deny that the industry is currently on that path, one that favors digital content that can be ported to any screen in any location, he offers optimism for the theater experience.
“The theaters of the future will be bigger and more beautiful than ever before. They will employ expensive presentation formats that cannot be accessed or reproduced in the home (such as, ironically, film prints). And they will still enjoy exclusivity, as studios relearn the tremendous economic value of the staggered release of their products,” he says.
Nolan’s argument is that instead of simply becoming “television in public” – just another place to watch the same content that people can watch from home – theaters and filmmakers must go “back to the future.”
“As streams of data, movies would be thrown in with other endeavors under the reductive term ‘content,’ jargon that pretends to elevate the creative, but actually trivializes differences of form that have been important to creators and audiences alike. ‘Content’ can be ported across phones, watches, gas-station pumps or any other screen, and the idea would be that movie theaters should acknowledge their place as just another of these ‘platforms,’ albeit with bigger screens and cupholders.”
Nolan offers a prescriptive take on the cinema of the future.
“The cinema of the future will depend not just on grander presentation, but on the emergence of filmmakers inventive enough to command the focused attention of a crowd for hours,” says Nolan.
“The audience experience is distinct from home entertainment, but not so much that people seek it out for its own sake. The experience must distinguish itself in other ways. And it will. The public will lay down their money to those studios, theaters and filmmakers who value the theatrical experience and create a new distinction from home entertainment that will enthrall—just as movies fought back with widescreen and multitrack sound when television first nipped at its heels.”
It’s an interesting read, so check out the entire thing here. What do you think? Can the industry support a classic moviegoing experience and the convenience of “content?”
Image via Wikimedia Commons