in movies

What is the future of moviegoing?

Bryan Bishop, writing for The Verge, on the vibe at CinemaCon this year:

Hollywood has been facing stagnating ticket sales, intense competition from streaming services, and an IP-focused studio tentpole monoculture for years. None paint a particularly rosy picture for the future, so perhaps it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that one sentiment stood out above all others at this past week’s CinemaCon: denial.

The movie industry (at least as it pertains to theatrical moviegoing) is entering a period of stagnation and decline. If theater owners don’t figure out a way to make good use of their spaces in ways that will engage younger people and grow their audience, then AMC may soon be heading the way of GameStop.

There is a ton of potential in the tech that Bishop talks about in this article:

Earlier this year IMAX launched the first of its “VR Experience Centre” pilot locations in Los Angeles, but at the time the company’s chief business development officer Rob Lister explained that the larger opportunity wasn’t in standalone locations like arcades, but in building on the relationships IMAX already had with exhibitors — essentially bringing VR stations to a movie theater’s lobby, or taking over an actual theater itself. It’s easy to connect the dots: if studios shorten the release window, movies will likely run for a shorter time, and so theaters will have to find new ways to monetize the locations and screens they already have. Location-based VR is an option, and a company called Nomadic VR was demoing one of the most intriguing options yet on CinemaCon’s show floor.

Larger, standalone installations like The Void have already paired untethered VR with interactive, physical locations, but Nomadic’s solution is to take that similar idea and turn it into a modular, scalable system that can be easily installed — and regularly updated — in locations like movie theaters.

I’d love to be able to try VR experiences at my local theater. But innovating starts with acknowledging that the current path is not working. And that’s something that few in the industry seem willing to admit right now.