Hooray, George Clooney and Tom Hanks Make The Case For Movie Theater Survival

It’s refreshing reading a contrast from a well-known actor saying the movie theater experience is not going anywhere. Thank you, George Clooney.

And let’s be clear that in 1950 everybody panicked that the movie industry would be done because of television, and then it was VHS, and then it was DVDs. The truth of the matter is there’s always going to be a great space for cinema. People have to get out of the house. I can’t keep saying to my wife, “Let’s watch TV tonight.” What [streaming] has done is provide thousands and thousands of new jobs for actors, writers, directors and producers who are making some really interesting content. It’s given new filmmakers, young people and minorities opportunities to work, so there’s nothing but good that comes out of this.

George Clooney on Why the Movie Industry & Theaters Will Survive – Variety

Tom Hanks also has had some optimistic things to say recently about movie theater survival:

Hanks draws a comparison between himself watching Bridge Over the River Kwai on a crummy TV and the current state of the industry: “Now, of course, with Netflix and all of the streaming services, we have the ability to watch a movie any time we want to on our couch. If the movie is really great and engaging you can still come away from that experience thinking, That is one of the greatest motion pictures I’ve ever seen. I experienced that recently with Chernobyl, the five-part thing. I said, “That was one of the greatest motion pictures I’ve ever seen.” It comes across with other films as well. Will movie theaters still exist? Absolutely they will. In some ways, I think the exhibitors, once they’re up and open, will have a freer choice with what movies they choose to play. I’m no Cassandra when it comes down to this, but big, event motion pictures are going to rule the day at the cinemas.”

Tom Hanks on the Future of Movie Theaters: “A Sea Change Was Due”

Glad to see some movie stars, especially bigger ones, aren’t falling into the trap of lamenting the death of cinema.

Movie theaters have survived over 100 years, folks, they’re not going to disappear because of the pandemic and streaming. Will the experience change? Yes. Will some movie theater chains go away? Sure, but the industry have survived TV, VCRs, DVDs and it will survive — in some revised form, anyway — streaming.

What won’t survive are theatrical windows. These just aren’t as relevant any more. Let your customers see movies when and where they want. Yes, this hurts the physical media sales and some early VOD markets like hotels but maybe those avenues for movies weren’t meant to survive? Maybe people don’t want to pay $20 to rent movies for 24-48 hours.

This also means movie budgets won’t be as large. We won’t see as many big budget movies. Again, is this such a terrible thing? Plenty of great movies can be made on lower, tighter budgets. We don’t need to see a dozen Avatar scale movies every year. Maybe 1 or 2 of those type movies is just fine.

It’s going to be OK. When this pandemic ends — and it will subside at some point in the future (hopefully somewhere in 2021) — a lot of what people did before will be happening again. Yes, including movie theaters.

There is no arguing the experience will change and be different going forward, but what doesn’t change over time? If it wasn’t streaming and the pandemic, it would be something else.

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