By Dan Waterman
Lockdown has changed my viewing habits and the home movie experience is my go-to with cinemas being more of a luxury.
Like most of Victoria, I have recently started to experience cabin-fever while locked at home, with only my hour of outdoor exercise as the only comfort in my day of sitting on my couch. With cinemas closed, all of my media consumption has been done via streaming services like Netflix and the occasional renting on Google Play.
Two weeks ago, it was announced that Melbourne and regional Victoria would be entering stage 4 and stage 3 lockdown respectively for another six weeks as the number of coronavirus cases skyrocketed across the state. It is hard to argue that this decision made by premier Daniel Andrews was ill-advised as since the lockdown was extended, the increasing trend of new cases has started to slow, with the number of new cases on the 14th of August to almost half what it was 9 days before.
In an attempt to remain profitable while cinemas are unavailable, the film industry has begun to release films straight to online services such as Netflix and Google Play, cutting out the cinemas entirely.
10 few years ago the only way to see the newest blockbusters was a the local cinema, but over the last decade there has been an increase in high quality films made by and for streaming services, with Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ being nominated for various Oscar. This also coincide with a decrease in cinema attendance numbers by 25% since 2002 in the US, even though the US population has increased by 15%.
The Coronavirus pandemic will not be the end of the cinema experience nor will Cinemas ever go extinct as they offer the most optimised viewing experience and I am eagerly awaiting the day when I can go to my local theatre again. However, I have become accustomed to the idea of an at home movie experience, where I can control the snacks and volume, and most likely spend a lot less money.
I believe that over the next 10-15 years, films will be released online as well as well as in cinemas, giving the audience more of a choice. This will result in the cinema industry to focus more on specialised movie experiences, such as gold class and Imax.
I look forward to seeing more high-quality films from the comfort of my own couch.