Recently Lars von Trier’s latest offering Melancholia was released for download on iTunes prior to its cinema debut, and at a lower cost for customers. Why would this be an appealing option in our current cinematic climate?
Personally I think 3D has a lot to answer for. Having a scan over cinema listings in my area, I’m hard pressed for choice of films which are not screened in 3D, as well as their alternative 2D counterparts. The large cinema chains clearly think this is what the public wants…as well as being able to charge us an extra few quid for the privilege.
For me watching in 3D is not an enjoyable experience. Firstly, the glasses are too big for my face. As well as this I have to attempt to juggle them with my regular glasses which usually results in my having to hold them in place for the entire duration of the film. Then there’s the overall dim quality of the picture…and the headaches…and the usually not being able to tell if it actually contains any 3D elements or not…
I think people who choose to see films in 3D mainly do so because they think that’s what they should be doing, as if there’s an assumption that if it is being released in 3D then it must be worth paying the extra money for, when really they are just putting more cash into the pockets of the producers.
This blockbuster takeover has led to most films released only seeing the insides of cinemas for a couple of weeks at best, which is why straight to dvd could provide a welcome alternative to filmmakers, especially those involved with more independent fare. This then allows films to reach an audience sooner, enabling the viewer to watch at their leisure and comfort, and can have profitable consequences for the film. This tactic is favoured especially by makers of horror, who’s work may be deemed unsuitable for cinemas, but appeal to a wider market on dvd. In the case of Richard Kelly’s sci-fi drama Donnie Darko, which initially bombed at cinemas, the success of its dvd revenue led to several rereleases in cinemas.
Therefore it seems clear that this current 3D trend is pushing the majority of low-key films out of cinemas but at the same time resulting in a probably more enjoyable watching experience for film fans. Many have in recent years proclaimed that 3D is ‘the future of cinema’, but a lack of substance along with overpricing and little choice means cinema may no longer have a future.