Meanwhile in film news…

Frankly, I still can’t imagine going to the cinema. I have some friends who went to see TENET when it was released and a few others are sometimes going to movie theatres were they are showing classic blockbusters to fill in the hole caused by so few new movies being released. However, even though cinemas have technically been open in most parts of Australia (excepting Victoria) for some time, they aren’t an attractive proposition.

  1. They are typically within large shopping malls.
  2. You are stuck in one place with people you don’t know for even longer than being in, say, a restaurant.
  3. It’s not actually a very sociable experience — so it carries many of the covid risks associated with socialising but none of the benefits.

I do like to see films on a big screen for many reasons. A key one is that if I watch a film on TV or on a device then I will interrupt my own watching (or someone else will). A film at a cinema is a much more immersive experience and I really like that aspect of it.

In Sydney we are in a low-key state of the on-going covid-normal. People go to offices to work…but not most days. People go shopping…but not as much. People go to cafes and restaurants…but the capacity is smaller and there are new rituals of signing in via QR codes. Cinemas? Don’t really fit in the picture.

Meanwhile, in a feedback effect, major films are being pushed later and later into 2021. With few things to draw people to the cinema there are fewer reasons to go back to the cinema.

It will be an interesting marker, I think, of when we enter the post-pandemic period. When going to the movies becomes a habit again. Anyway, Dune will be out later next year and Doctor Strange will be in the next Spider Man movie.

27 thoughts on “Meanwhile in film news…

  1. I saw 86 movies in theaters in 2019 and had already seen 30 in 2020 by the time the shutdown began. I like going to the theater, and have gotten over feeling awkward about going alone (my wife being not so interested). I would go back, but New York City has not allowed movie theaters to reopen yet. I really miss it.

    One nice thing about going to the theater is the freedom from distraction. Unlike watching at home, there are no pauses, you don’t check your phone, you don’t talk to other people, all you do is pay attention to the thing you’re supposed to be focusing on.

    The reason I go to so many movies is the AMC A*List subscription service. For $25 per month, I can go to 3 movies per week, with no surcharges for 3D, IMax, Dolby, or other premium formats. It’s a tremendous bargain. Most of all, it encourages me to go see lots of movies unselectively, which opens me up to finding serendipitous gems. And I get to have a seen-movies list that contains in proximity both First Cow and Bloodshot.

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    1. See, I don’t like to go to the cinema for the exact reason you like to go: since I had kids doing just one thing at a time feels like a dangerous waste of leisure time. If I watch a film at home I can at least be crocheting or something at the same time.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I was such a voracious reader as a teen that I got pretty good at reading whilst doing almost anything else: reading whilst walking between classes, reading whilst doing the dishes… I have been known to read, crochet and watch the TV at the same time, although I can’t say I am doing an especially good job of any one of those things when I’m doing that 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m out of the habit of cinema-going these days but back in the UK I was going at least once a week and often making plans around specific films I wanted to see. When I started travelling, I sort of stopped just going to the cinema on my own, but I’d still go and see films with friends, particularly in Thailand and Malaysia. The act of watching a film in the cinema in and of itself may be somewhat unsociable but I miss the framework of a conversation about a film afterwards, over food or drinks.

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      1. // miss the framework of a conversation about a film afterwards, over food or drinks.//

        Good point. I quite like seeing films when I’m visiting somewhere because you get weird memories of where you saw a film (eg I saw 12 Monkeys in Transylvania and The Matrix in Bangkok)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I saw The Aquatic Life with Steve Zissou in downtown Chicago at a matinee when I was taking an introvert moment away from a conference.

        I really love everything about going to the movies, especially when the space is not crowded. The lights going down. The size of the screen. Tuning everything out for 2 hours. Walking out into the crisp winter air at night. I’ll never forget the thrill of hearing those first notes of the John Williams soundtrack and the Star Wars crawl in a dark, dark space when I was a kid. That excitement and sense of anticipation has really stuck with me. That whole film was just so new and different and loud and immersive to little kid me.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. [should be Life Aquatic, obvs] I love all those films so much. I watched Grand Budapest Hotel twice back to back on a long plane ride. I really want Zissou sneakers.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I saw The Life Aquatic projected onto the wall of a bar in Bali, with one of my absolute favourite people. I loved it (big Wes Anderson fan) and she just didn’t get it. Despite that, she’s still one of my best friends.

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  2. I really envy people who got to go to movies at the cinema as children and teenagers. I grew up in a tiny shitty small town, and we had no money. The only movies I ever got to see were on network TV, films long after their original release or sub-par made-for-TV movies. (I do remember getting to see Planet of the Apes that way, and still being blown away by the ending.)

    When I started university I dated someone for a year who worked at the campus video rental store. I must have seen hundreds of movies that year, including the earlyStar Wars and Star Trek movies — but of course it was on a little TV screen. Nevertheless, it was a revelation, and I’ve been a movie lover ever since. Now when the big blockbuster SFF movies come out I go to see them on the SuperMegaSoundScreen because the big screen and THX/Dolby sound have never gotten old for me.

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  3. It’s a moot point here as who knows how long the theaters will be shut. But there’s no movie worth risking my life for. I’m glad all the big movies have been postponed.

    Mostly we go to movies that are best on the big screen (Marvel, Star Wars, etc.) and/or things we don’t want spoiled. Small movies we don’t spend the money on and wait till they’re available at home — a modern chamber drama doesn’t need anything bigger than our 65″ flat screen. But I like my ‘splosions and superheroes big and loud.

    We often go to movies in mid-afternoon — not only cheaper, but we get better seats and fewer other people.

    Watching movies at home does mean no complex calculations regarding when and how much liquid to consume so you don’t miss something important.

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    1. Re liquid consumption and movies: I made it all the way through the cinema release of Return of the King when seven months pregnant and was very pleased with myself, but definitely no drinks consumed in that session.

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      1. I salute you and your bladder. Good thing it wasn’t the extended version. I didn’t drink anything for any of those movies either.

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  4. New Zealand’s spent a chunk of time this year at Level 4 & Level 3 where cinemas were not allowed to open. At Level 2, crowd maximum is 100 which makes it more viable for cinemas to open. But there is a dearth of new releases and people still feel spooked by the risk of COVID, We are back at Level 1 now, having no limits in crowd anymore. So long as we don’t get another outbreak, people will be more confident about attending large events.

    But yes, while we are living with a global pandemic, picture theaters are really going to struggle to keep going.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The problem in Germany, the UK and much of the rest of Europe is that even though cinemas are still open at a reduced capacity (for now), there simply aren’t any movies, because Hollywood is locking all its blockbusters in the vault and sending the lesser films straight to streaming. And arthouse films just don’t draw the crowds like blockbusters.

      I do think that studios should adopt a hybrid: Theatrical release where it’s possible and streaming, maybe with a one or two week delay, where not. Because if they manage to kill off the theatres that can open, but have nothing to show, they’ll be destroying their own business model.

      Never mind that audiences abroad are used to getting films later than the US, so US viewers can wait for once, too.

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      1. Oddly we often get films earlier in Australia. I think it’s because studios try to get ahead of film pirates in South East Asia and Australia just gets lumped in with the general region.

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      2. The one time we had to wait worked out great: the week between the overseas and US opening of “The Avengers” allowed for shawarma.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Are people even making new movies these days? How? I worry that we’ll run out of movies that have been awaiting release and the studios will go back to the Locked Tomb of movie failures, and we’ll get Fast and Furious: The Muppet Edition.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Batman movie with Robert Pattinson restarted shooting in the U/K and had to shut down production almost immediately again, because Robert Pattinson caught COVID. But the Babelsberg studios are busy again with international productions.

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