George Lucas and Steven Spielberg think the film industry is heading towards a cliff. The pair behind some of the most successful franchises in movie history think that conservative programming choices and rapidly evolving distribution schemes have set the stage for a massive upheaval — and internet-based services may become the dominant medium when moviegoing as we know it crashes and burns.
Barreling from opinion to opinion throughout the discussion, Lucas presented a clear vision of this post-crash entertainment landscape: a world where going to the movies is no longer a casual outing, but a high-end experience more in line with Broadway. “What you’re going to end up with is fewer theaters,” he said. “Bigger theaters, with a lot of nice things. Going to the movies is going to cost you 50 bucks, maybe 100. Maybe 150.” It will be more in line with sporting events, with films playing in these high-end cinemas for as long as a year. “And that’s going to be what we call ‘the movie business.’ But everything else is going to look more like cable television on TiVo.”
At a time when more people are going to theaters than ever and when films like The Avengers made an unimaginable amount of money I’m just not sure this thinking is right. And as much as I love digital media and digital distribution, I would be sad if cinema became a less common occurrence for me.