The film industry, as it stands, is big and bloated. Yearly release schedules swing from unnecessary big-budget reboots (In the last week, Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Terminator.) to big-budget “artistic” dramas aimed solely at the Oscars. Despite awards or critical acclaim, a success is based singularly around the box office takings and the margin of profit. “Surprise hit” is a common phrase, meaning nothing more than it made more money than expected. Actors are the new gods of today, their every waking moment and action documented obsessively, held to a standard far higher than that expected of us ordinary folk. This is the state of modern film.
Cinema is, I highly suspect, contributing to this decaying art (subtle metaphor, right there). The rise of DVD sales, streaming services like Netflix, and good honest pirating is really pushing at the grip that cinema traditionally holds over the film industry. No matter what your budget, your cast or your script, if the companies don’t pick it up or don’t advertise it, don’t show it during their peak times then it probably isn’t going to do well.
The cinema industry is huge.
So, what do these two statements lead to? Why is cinema killing film? The cinema industry as a whole casts a shadow over what can be shown and what will be popular. If only certain films that will guarantee ticket sales are shown, then after not very long those are the only films that will get the funding. It’s a vicious cycle. Brand name, much like in the gaming industry, starts to mean more than script or story. The actors have to be stars, have to sell the film purely by being in them. It almost doesn’t matter if the story is rubbish, a rehash, the next instalment in an endless sequel cycle; the money has to keep rolling in to pay for the budgets that you need to produce the next “blockbuster”.
Cinema, then, in it’s current form is killing Film. The film industry itself is a part of the problem. However, there’s a resurgence in independent cinema companies and independent films; cinemas with only two or three branches (if that) putting on all the great films that the bigger corporations cannot afford to show. “Independent” film is no longer quite so esoteric, solely dedicated to the underground, the art-house. When the focus isn’t on the box office performance, the focus on story and on film as an art form is allowed to flourish. So go and support your local independent. Enough of the big corporations and the slow ruination of cinema.