Bold statements made today during a panel at the University of Southern California organised by Microsoft’s president of interactive entertainment Don Mattrick. The topic was the future of the entertainment medium, however the discussion quickly geared towards the state of the film distribution on a global scale. The vision of Lucas might seem grim because he started talking about: “What you’re going to end up with is fewer theaters,” he continued with, “Bigger theaters, with a lot of nice things. Going to the movies is going to cost you 50 bucks, maybe 100. Maybe 150.”
George thinks we are going to have to see it as a special outing. Like sporting events. It will be nothing like we’ve seen before. No more quick movie visits but a profound experience in high-end cinemas where movies continue to be shown for as long as a year. Steven Spielberg has experience with movies staying in theatres for more than a year. Steven said: “If it was a hit, it was a year long. Raiders [of the Lost Ark] was in theaters for a year. E.T. was in a theater for a year and four months… That was an amazing situation, back then.“
George Lucas made it clear that there would be a lot of new opportunities for both the consumers, and filmmakers. Viewers don’t have to consume anything just because there isn’t another option. Mister Lucas said: “usually more interesting than what you’re going to see in the movie theater. And you can get it whenever you want, and it’s going to be niche-marketed, which means you can really take chances and do things if you can figure out there’s a small group of people that will kind of react to it.” HBO is already banking on this new concept, in the literal meaning. They don’t need so many people to view their product in order to be successful. He summarised: “All you need is a million people. Which in the aggregate of the world is not very many people. And you can actually make a living at this. Where before you couldn’t.“Steven Spielberg and George Lucas therefore say going to the movies is going to cost you 50 bucks or more because the experience will be worth that. For every other form of entertainment you stay home and enjoy it for a few bucks.
However everything the power couple said should be viewed in a positive way. They both kept saying that “Now is the best time we can possibly have.” We shouldn’t be looking back, and talking about the 2008 economic crash, or even how the industry used to be. It’s no use to be stuck in the past, it’s necessary to look towards the future, and see all the great opportunities that are waiting for us to take advantage of. (This could be said about the movie industry, but it equally concerns every other industry, and even you, and me.) George Lucas did want to add: “It’s a mess. It’s total chaos, but out of that chaos will come some really amazing things. And right now there are amazing opportunities for young people coming into the industry to say, ‘Hey, I think I’m going to do this and there’s nobody to stop me.” According to George Lucas, and probably, Steven Spielberg as well, the gatekeepers have been killed, and we can all enter the playing field. So what are you waiting for. Grab your camera, script or any other dream you have, and take advantage of this thrilling new dawn. It might also be amazing to see what the new, improved, and high-end cinemas will have in store for us when we are going to the movies, and that might going to cost us more than 50 bucks. Bring on the amazing experience, we’re ready!
By Georgina Pijttersen