Being a fan of going to the movies, and enjoying the theater experience, I’ve marveled as the advances in technology combined with the massive talent pool of artists available have ushered in what I consider a mini-golden age of film making. But, will the rises in technology ultimately hurt this form of media as more and more people wind up getting their movie fix at home on their television or on their computer? I think it’s definitely something to consider.
In my 30 years of being an avid moviegoer I’ve clamored for two things: better technology and better acting. In the last 15 years I feel my wishes have been fulfilled. Just as the printing press ushered in a new world of media in its era, the computer is ushering a new age of media in ours, particularly in the movie business. Gone are the days of stop motion animation and superimposed blue screens in which we had to consciously practice our suspension of disbelief. Now we have a seamless reality between a director’s creativity and his ability to express exactly what he wants on the screen. But how long will this last?
Putting all this technology and talent to work costs money, and I mean big money. For example Peter Jackson’s next movie The Hobbit will be released in two parts, with a total budget of over half a billion dollars. As more and more of us have access to better home equipment and greater access to movies on our terms, we are going out less. How will this drop in revenue be handled in Hollywood? Will the movies of the future mirror the cheaper programming model that currently invades our living rooms, as talented directors, actors, and writers are sidelined by unscripted and largely untalented reality based entertainment? Or worse, will our actors just be models whose likenesses are morphed into a digital reality, thereby negating the need for any actual human element. Let’s hope neither scenario happens.
Ultimately, I think that the answer to this dilemma is in the hands of the studio executives, which is kind of scary. But history has taught us is that no matter what the media or excuse, whether it’s VHS, DVD, Piracy, or just plain apathy, when Hollywood produced a superior product we all lined up and turned over our money. Hopefully, the increased competition due to emerging technologies will cause Hollywood to get better at what it does, thereby benefiting us the movie going consumer.