Cinema’s dying plea to you

Being a part of the theatre experience is crucial for the future of cinematic storytelling

My brother recently sent me an article about the lack of revenue films have been making this year. Reading through a few articles, it came to my attention that it was not only the films that were poorly reviewed which experienced a lack of revenue.

This included films that were hailed as masterpieces of the year. Films such as Battle of the Sexes and Blade Runner 2049 are a few examples.

As a result of the lack of revenue, films are being pulled out of the theater earlier than intended. This isn’t just at a few theaters here and there, these films are being pulled out of hundreds of theaters.

This is a big problem.

I understand that reading this may seem as if it isn’t an issue worth fighting for or worrying about. However, I beg to differ.

Film teams are producing and conjuring up tons of money to put into the marketing of a film and release it on the big screen. However, people are not willing to pay for it anymore. It seems that with pirating and streaming, having to get out of the house to buy a movie ticket to view a film on a big screen is not worth it anymore. Why? So that we can all hang out with our iPads and laptops and watch whatever we’d like, whenever we’d like.

We crunch in a few episodes here, half an episode there, 20 minutes of a movie now while working on a document, and then we pause the episode, pull out our phones, play the film while surfing social media on our phones,  all so that you can maximize mobility of your films while also being able to do 10 other things at the same time. With this mentality, the experience of watching movies becomes noise in the background or something to keep you distracted.

I’ve definitely done all of that before when I go onto Netflix. However, I am making the honest effort to go view a film in the theatre where it was meant to be seen.

You’re wasting your time if you watch a film in parts rather than sitting and focusing on it with no distractions. By doing other things while a film is playing on your laptop, you’re ruining the entire experience of being taken into another world where you go through the emotions and become a part of a story other than your own. My brother and I discuss this all the time; you can’t enjoy your favourite novel while simultaneously checking your Facebook, so why do the same with a movie?

Crews of hundreds to thousands of people have their career based around creating one film for you. Years of planning, working, budgeting, producing, and marketing, are put into the creation of a film, yet many of us play the film in the background of our lives as if it was created to be forgotten about.

People work their entire lives delivering these films and TV shows for your enjoyment. Creative minds work to deliver these narratives that we all love to discuss daily. Pirating the film instead of actually going to the theatre doesn’t do the film justice either. Filmmakers not only don’t want you to pirate their films because they’ll lose money, but it also means that you won’t experience the film properly, the way it was intended to be seen. Pirating means you’ll get to see it easier and faster, but you may not see it at all if you don’t pay for the work being created.

Watching a film in a theatre is so important. You purchase tickets for a specific movie, and in turn, the revenue pays the companies who distribute the film, the production companies, the directors, the crew, the actors, and more. Your money is the reason why impactful films have the opportunity to be created and brought to you. If you are not paying to go see films on the big screen, how can you expect those who work in the industry to constantly create films that you would love? Sure, we can send everything to Blu-ray or streaming sites, but that’s a slap on the face of everyone who worked long hours to deliver a narrative to you and bring you into a new world. Not enough revenue is made just from those sources to support the minds behind a film.

Going to see a film in a theatre is not an escape from your life. It is the opportunity for you, to gather with a bunch of strangers, experience the life of another narrative, on a large screen, and immerse yourself within the narrative. You’ll laugh, cry, be angered, scream in horror, and shocked with people you’ve never met before. In that moment, it won’t matter that you’re all strangers. What matters is that you’re there to be with each other and collectively be human together.

Viewing a film is meant to be something done with others. It is a collective experience where you can discuss and aim to understand the film with one another. Playing  a movie on an iPad or phone by yourself leaves you stranded. The chances of your friends having seen the film as well is very slim. When you go and ask if they’ve seen it because of your eagerness to discuss it, and they don’t say anything about it, you’re left to say, “Oh well, just thought I’d tell you it was really good.” And you have no chance to talk about it again.

Don’t let the theatre die or go to waste. If you have the time, take some friends or family to go and watch a movie on a big screen. Pay for the entertainment you want; pay for the art that you don’t want to see disappear.

Films are crucial for us—we live everyday wanting to hear and see stories. It’s time for us to pay for those stories and see them in the cinema.

Immerse yourself with what’s on  the big screen. Be a part of the storytelling experience and share it with those around you. Don’t let cinema die.

 

YOURS,
MAHMOUD SAROUJI