In demand: Future bright for British cinema
With the boom in on demand home entertainment, UK cinema is fighting back and finding more and more innovative ways to attract audiences.
While many might expect traditional cinema to be buckling under the pressure from the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV, it is in fact thriving and doing better than ever.
Empire magazine’s editor in chief Terri White is confident about the future of cinema and feels there’s a place for every kind of film.
“There was this fear that the likes of Netflix and Amazon would pose a threat to cinema but we are not seeing that,” she said.
“Instead people still want to see movies but experience them in different ways and then go home and continue to enjoy them.”
Last year was a record breaking one at the UK box office, with more than £1.2bn taken in ticket sales and around 170 million cinema-goers.
But the subscriber and on demand streaming services are also flourishing. Netflix’s revenue last year was £4.4bn, dwarfing Cineworld’s £466m and Odeon’s sales of £403m.
The Odeon’s Lounge cinema tucked inside a shopping centre in central London prides itself on offering its customers the upmarket cinematic experience.
A £25 ticket will get you a seat in a large plush reclining chair and a choice of alcoholic beverages, but also a full fine dining menu and on-call waiter service.
Chief of the UK’s Cinema Association, Phil Clapp, believes its all about catering for every audience.
“I am confident about the future of cinema but not complacent,” he said.
“Cinema is not in competition with on demand services because it’s a social experience, you enjoy the film in a room full of people. But it still needs to be innovative and continue to meet the demands of its audience.
“An independent cinema in one part of the country might offer a different selection of films to another elsewhere, for example.”
The latest trend is what’s described as immersive pop-up cinema, allowing audiences to watch classic films in the open air at a variety of settings.
One such producer, Luna cinema, gives people the chance to see Jaws from an inflatable boat at a south London lido or Romeo and Juliet at the grounds of Rochester Castle.
Some directors argue that these films and epics like Lord Of The Rings and Star Wars are made for the big screen and not designed to be watched on a smart phone or laptop.
But others believe the future is about tailoring films to the viewer and continuing to diversify.
There’s no denying online streaming services are growing in popularity with many people shunning cinema to watch movies alone with their ear plugs firmly pushed in – but for now at least film experts don’t seem concerned and believe the future is bright for film.