The skeptics and cynics have it all wrong; the movie business will be just fine.
Christopher Nolan, one of the most successful directors in modern moviedom, penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about the future of movies in which he rejects widespread pessimism about the future of film.
Movie studios, producers and theater owners will have to work for it, demonstrably improving the experience of going to a movie theater. Bigger theaters, expensive projection and new directors will usher in a new era of film.
“The public will lay down their money to those studios, theaters and filmmakers who value the theatrical experience and create a new distinction from home entertainment that will enthrall — just as movies fought back with widescreen and multitrack sound when television first nipped at its heels,” Nolan wrote.
Too many people are devaluing film, Nolan said, viewing it as just another kind of content, “jargon that pretends to elevate the creative, but actually trivializes differences of form.”
People who are not creative often use content to describe the work of creative people. YouTube, Netflix and Hulu host content. Filmmakers produce movies and TV shows.
While people can watch content on any device, in any location, the future of movies rests in delineating the theatrical experience from your home theater and your mobile phone.
Bigger, grander movie theaters and with more expensive projection systems will bring exclusivity back to the theater. Nolan rejected recent efforts as “cost-cutting exercises disguised as digital ‘upgrades’ or gimmickry aimed at justifying variable ticket pricing.” Substantive changes to the moviegoing experience require real innovation.
Nolan is also banking on fresh filmmaking voices that will help propel the industry forward. He referenced filmmakers such as Lars von Trier and Quentin Tarantino, who injected new life into the cinema during the early 1990s.
“It’s unthinkable that extraordinary new work won’t emerge from such an open structure,” Nolan wrote. “That’s the part I can’t wait for.”