It’s time to add a 13th animal to the Chinese Zodiac… Because 2020 was clearly the year of the Turd. This was evidenced by lost jobs, a higher rate of depression, and many violent protests. But hey, if it’s okay with you, we here at Modern Neon would love to have some positivity in our lives. Especially after a year of negativity and just awfulness. So let’s just talk about the movie industry and what life was like in 2020 instead of talking about death, riots, and jobless people.
MOVIE THEATERS IN TROUBLE – David
Movie studios look at their opening weekend numbers the same way the sports industry views a big game. What are the people saying about the movie/game? What was the viewership like? Was it profitable and is it an indicator for future marquee movies/games for this time of the year (cinema) / in this time slot (sports)?
With that comparison in mind, it’s tough to look at the movie-theater-landscape without putting an asterisk next to it. When people look back at box office numbers, they need to know that all of the movie theaters were on injured-reserve. Not allowed to play in the big game. And for that reason, movie numbers for the Year of the Turd should forever be held out of the conversations regarding “movie flops” or “highest-grossing films.”
There’s no telling what surefire hits such as James Bond, Soul, and Tenet would have produced in regards to revenue. For a long period of time, movie theaters were simply, just, not allowed to operate. When they re-opened their doors, there were very few major releases to show. Many studios opted to withhold those aforementioned major releases as they eschewed traditional linear release patterns for straight-to-streaming services — a move that, in time’s past, was a signifier of a “trash movie,” also known as the “straight-to-video” special.
Overall, it’s tough to imagine movie theaters making a comeback. Warner just gave their entire line-up away to HBO Max streamers, something that was seen as a massive “F*CK YOU” middle finger to their talent pool. One day, in the not-so-distant-future, a new type of movie theater will emerge from the ashes. It will be more of an experience, more grandiose and involved. This new theater will sell tiered tickets costing $50+ and up. Sure, there will be fewer movies that would qualify and justify such an expense, but the entire experience will be akin to a blending of a professional sporting event, a premium concert, and a show on Broadway. Hey, it’s better than NO movie theaters, am I right?
THE MOVIE VIEWING EXPERIENCE GOING DIGITAL – Brandon
Let’s face it, after 2020 shifted the entire landscape of the world, movie theaters were going to be underneath the guillotine at some point or another. Already struggling with the big four of streaming, movie theaters were already trying to adapt and give people a reason to sit their butts in their chairs and pay increasingly high prices for a mere 90m+ experience. The traditional idea of a movie theater was quickly fading away, but for those still wanting that movie viewing experience, the amenities kept growing. Hell, over the last two years I’ve watched my local theater remodel and change so much that now it has a bar and a dinner service included in the price of your ticket.
Streaming giants like Netflix, Hulu, HBO MAX, and Prime Video have been battling the traditional model for years and thanks to 2020 I’d say they can plant their flag. With major theater chains like AMC declaring bankruptcy, the space is open for platforms to fill the void. The biggest hurdle right now is shifting the opinions of the people, including those who don’t recognize the skill and talent that is included in many of the platform’s original works. Both Netflix and HBO have amazing track records when it comes to original content, and many people need to recognize that these giant platforms are the place to be if you want to succeed in the film industry post-2020. Hell, take one look at Chernobyl and it may help you get on board.
2020 has obviously thrown everyone’s daily lives upside down and many people will never step a foot back into a movie theater again (at least not in the foreseeable future). Many have found solace in platforms that allow them to escape their daily struggles in the safety of their homes. Do you miss the movie theater experience and would you go back once everything is safe to do so? How do you think the movie viewing experience will change in 2021? We will have to wait and see.
David “Nerdberry” is the proud founder and owner of Nerdbacon.com, a video game reviews and news website. Nerdberry owns a local pressure washing business in North Carolina, has a family, and a little house. With a college background in film and a personal love for dissecting movies, he feels aptly suited for Modern-Neon. The jury is still out on whether or not Modern-Neon wants him. We’ll see. But he is excited to be part of the team here in an effort to help it grow!