– by Joseph Jammer Medina

The Wrap is reporting that CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves, speaking at the Milkin Global Conference, had some choice words to say about the future of theatrically released movies. Speaking with Netflix Head of Content Ted Sarandos, they discussed a number of topics, namely the future of the movie business. Les Moonves had this to say.

“I think the television learned a lot from the music business which missed the boat initially,” Moonves said. “The theatrical business is going to have to change its model.”

This is an interesting comment and spot on. When I was a kid, unless you were a millionaire, if you wanted the best visual and audio experience for a movie, you went to see that movie in the theater. Technology has caught up with the movie theater experience. With a tax return in tow, you could end up with a large screen television as well as a surround sound speaker system for your home relatively cheap. Why would someone want to go through the hassle of finding parking, taking out a mortgage to buy some popcorn, finding a comfortable seat only to have the seats behind you taken by a small family of children that suffer from Tourette’s and ADHD, just to see a movie that ends up being mediocre?

I understand that there are some movies you have to see in a theater. When New Line Cinema rereleased Gone With The Wind in theaters in June of 1998, I had no interest in seeing the film. The only reason I went was because I had a free ticket. I’m glad I went because seeing that film on the big screen blew me away. I would not have reacted the same if I saw it on television. Yet for every movie like this, there were plenty of stinkers that I could have waited for the DVD release to see. (For example, I saw Freddy Got Fingered in a theater. Twice.)

Large corporations face tough decisions when a change in the industry that could see their businesses shrivel up comes on the horizon. For every company like Apple that finds a way to adapt and change with the times, you have a company like Blockbuster Video. When given a chance to purchase a struggling start up company called Netflix, they scoffed, certain that people would still want to head to their stores to rent videos.



I think we’re going to see theater chains contract in size over time. There will still be a demand to see movies on the big screen yet the generic, cookie cutter approach will have to change if these companies want to stay in business. I also think we’re going to see the resurgence of small theaters, housing one or two screens, showing movies people want to see. Here in Portland, Oregon, we’re spoiled with small theaters like the Laurelhurst Theater and the Hollywood Theater, both occasionally showing newer movies yet also showcasing classics and sometimes showing some offbeat choices I may not have thought about seeing. Lastly, the wait time for a movie to hit digital and home video will greatly decrease. I anticipate a time where we have to wait no more than a month for a big budget feature to be available for purchase on iTunes.

So what do you think? Are movie theaters doing enough to keep audiences coming or can they be doing more? Should movie theaters be mindful of the home theater experience and make a trip to the theater something more enjoyable? Sound off in the comments section below.

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SOURCE: The Wrap

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.