A few days ago David Cronenberg, guest of the Neuchâtel International Fantasy Film Festival 2018 as a member of the international jury, made some statements regarding the future of traditional cinema.
as always, a good starting point for reflection and arise from what is an accurate analysis, daughter of a character that the cinema has lived and built with his hand
Despite this, however, it is good to analyze the other side of the coin, being the current film landscape and, more generally, that of video entertainment, much more complex than it seems.
The numbers of the cinema
Data in hand, as regards the calendar year 2017 (not yet concluded 2018) Italian cinema signals a decline. Attendance decreased compared to 2016 and consequently also collections.
The percentage change was over 10%, a considerable amount. At the same time, however, 2016 had represented a year of considerable growth for Italian cinemas. In short, the market is in clear change and, until it reaches the most consistent results, it is difficult to understand to what extent the negative data is due to the phenomenon of paid streaming (Netflix on all) or from contingent factors such as the tastes of the average user, the service of the halls or the cost of the ticket.
At the same time both the European and American cinema are showing a strong growth between 2016 and 2017, which, considering also the fact that accessibility of online services is undoubtedly superior in many other countries compared to the Bel Paese, contrasts with the general meaning of the "death of the hall."
Summing up we can not but agree with the speech made by the same Cronenberg which was not so much the box office as the "hall" as a center of socio-cultural aggregation, even better as a nerve center of video entertainment.
that the film product par excellence, the film, in its concentrated and homogeneous structure, remains anchored to a "classical" fruition. In this sense it can not be concealed that most of the attempts to move investments and productions on alternative channels have resulted in sensational failures
The Netflix case
Taking as a unique example Netflix, the colossus of subscription streaming has more attempted (and continues to try) to offer film products for use and consumption of private screens. The almost unanimous response of the critics and the public has always been negative – because of mediocre products, with rare exceptions.
There is generally talk of works with cast level, budget not very high but sufficient to bring home the result and well-seasoned insiders. Despite this almost nobody has managed to take flight.
Bright, the fantasy sci-fi movie with Will Smith directed by David Ayer has disappointed many subscribers, thanks to a story that it does not take off and that it can never concentrate on the most interesting ideas. An almost impossible flop, seen both the cast and the director, certainly criticized by some for Suicide Squad but undoubtedly able to churn out big box office hits. The same goes for The Titan title that sees protagonist Sam Worthington and that clamorously patch in the trivial development of interesting ideas.
Even the King of the comic box office Adam Sandler failed to dispel the myth of bad films signed by Netflix, offering, in particular with The Ridiculous 6 and The Do Over an experience that is clearly tired and out of shape , devoid not only of originality but also of the fast-paced and frenetic rhythm of a prime-time entertainment show. The list is long and the result is constant: the film is not a product for everyone.
Obviously, names and budgets are not enough to be able to propose, with the timing and the public of streaming services, the works that need production, marketing and narration completely divorced from the system. The need to convey a deep story, a coherent and sensible development of characters in highly condensed times, against the almost monthly production needs of the Netflix on duty, are probably a still insurmountable rock.
Certainly, it is certain that the film market is changing. The film, however, as an entertainment medium, still continues to follow certain rules and to comply with precise criteria: to maintain these standards, we can not ignore film production and distribution. But how much longer?