Changing the way we view movies
Evolving technologies like the Internet have created opportunities for people to watch movies on-the-go, or in the comfort of their home. However, this shift is significantly changing the landscape of movie-going and home-viewing.
Going to a theater nearby and paying for admission is more expensive now than ever before. An average ticket price is $8.05, even when adjusted for inflation, according to Box Office Mojo's website.
However, the movie industry is making more money now than in the past, primarily because of the various options available to watch films.
Movies like “The Avengers” and “Iron Man 3” were released within the past year, and have made some of the highest worldwide grosses of more than $1 billion, according to Box Office Mojo.
With a little more than a year since their theatrical run, these movies found a new home on Netflix, a service that offers unlimited streaming of movies and television for a monthly payment equal to the average ticket price.
But prior to its release on Netflix in June of this year, "The Avengers” was the highest-pirated film of 2012, according to a study conducted by the TorrentFreak website, which brings the latest news on copyrights and privacy.
With the advent of the Internet also come some of the movie industry’s biggest problems, such as patrons capturing movie footage in theaters and imported bootleg copies of movies.
Simultaneously, streaming mediums like Netflix not only give the artists their fair share over pirates, but also provide a middle ground for viewers who wish to see their films outside of the theater.
Professor Salvador Carrasco, the head of the film production program at Santa Monica College, says that many of his students tend to watch movies on laptops, tablets and smartphones. While acknowledging it as an evolutionary fact, Carrasco also has reservations.
“I believe a movie doesn't quite go in the same way when you watch it on a screen the size of your palm as when you see it on a big screen," he says in an email to the Corsair.
However, since his own film “The Other Conquest” also resides on Netflix, he says that in preparing for his new project, he is "making conceptual adjustments already, considering that people will also be watching it on home-movie and computer screens."
"Although my natural tendency is still to compose for the big screen,” he adds.
Like Netflix, another subscription-based program called MoviePass aims to bring people to theaters with unlimited screenings for a monthly price that ranges from $25 to $40.
However, MoviePass is still very young, with the popularity of subscription-based streaming services still being the dominant subscription model. This has come at the cost of physical media. Just recently, Blockbuster announced in a press release that they are ending all retail and mail DVD distribution in addition to closing the remainder of their stores by early January 2014.
Also Patty Polinger and Cathy Tauber, co-owners of the Santa Monica-based DVD rental store Vidiots, are directly affected by the various options provided by new technologies that enable people to watch movies.
“There are so many options now that it has been really hard for us," Taubler says. "It has greatly decreased our business because people have less time."
Polinger says that even her own teenage children like watching movies on smartphones or tablets.
“They don’t care as much about watching something on the big screen or going to a film like older generations,” she says.
However, for some, watching movies comes down to price.
"[Going to the theater] is expensive, and I'm a college student, and we're all broke," says SMC student Blake Guzman. "It's a lot easier to watch on my computer."
Another new way of movie-watching was recently introduced by the Disney-owned theater, El-Capitan, with screenings called "Second Screen Experiences," where young children and their parents are encouraged to use tablets and smartphones to interact with the movie.
This functionality has been immigrating to some physical re-releases of Disney films like “Bambi” or "The Nightmare Before Christmas," where this interaction is an option.
Regardless of the many ways to watch movies, they will always be accessible, whether it is done illegally or legally, at home or the movie theater. At the end, the quintessential way for watching movies depends on an individual's preference.