In the age of streaming and smartphones, cinema’s power of immersion is more precious than ever
In the future, after Hollywood’s movie palaces have been reclaimed by the Mojave desert sands and the once-grand Odeons and Empires are nothing but squats for pigeons, the last cinemas standing will all be in Pyongyang, Beijing and Shanghai. Why? Because, along with Crimea and Syria, North Korea and China are the only places left in the world where you still can’t get Netflix.
Streaming sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes and Mubi represent such a grave threat to cinema that even Nato has waded in — albeit the National Association of Theatre Owners, not the other Nato. Last October, the industry body condemned Netflix’s decision to bypass the long-established “theatrical window” by releasing its war thriller The Siege of Jadotville, starring Jamie Dornan, online the same day it premiered in a handful of US cinemas. The theatrical release ensured that the film was eligible for awards, while the digital release furthered Netflix’s only real commercial interest: establishing and asserting dominance of this new distribution model. Continue reading...