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Covid and the small screen revolution

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Film and TV lecturer Jacqueline Griffin from the University of Bradford

Expert looks at the future of cinema and film industries

OPINION

Jacqueline Griffin is Lecturer in Film and Television in the Department of Media, Design & Tehnology (Faculty of Engineering & Informatics) at the University of Bradford. Here, she gives her opinion on the future of the film industry and asks whether we’ll want to return to cinemas…

Both the film and cinema industries are really up in the air at the moment. Lockdown has been disastrous for cinemas, some of which simply won’t open again. However, production companies are still making a lot of TV, because there’s a huge market for that right now, again, thanks to lockdown.

The other dynamic is that some films have been forced to release on streaming and pay-per-view platforms. Viewers have already shown they’re willing to pay for it, so the question is: where does that leave cinemas once lockdown ends?

A year without cinemas

One of two things will happen. Either we will all be so thrilled they have returned, that people will flock back to them, as they did to places after the war or Great Depression or they just won’t be bothered, because they’ve become used to the comfort of their own home.

We’ve already gone a year now without cinemas and there’s a question of whether people will want to return to that environment. The other point worth mentioning is about price. Going to the cinema is expensive. Asking a family of four to pay something like £30 even before they get to snacks isn’t realistic, especially considering more people will have less disposable cash and they can pretty much get the same experience at home either a lot cheaper or in some cases for free.

Social adjustment

Movies are still being made but costs have gone up, because now all the cast and crew quarantine together for two weeks but that also means they still have to be paid. When you’re talking about some crew members earning £200-plus a day and there’s sometimes 400 people, the cost can run into the millions.

Some films have chosen to delay their release date, such as the latest James Bond film (No Time To Die). I can totally understand that. Certain films are made for cinema. Dunkirk is a great example, so I sympathise with the Bond producers in wanting to wait.

In terms of our habits as consumers, there will be hesitancy from many about going back out there, so there’s going to be a social adjustment in that sense.

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