Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are the pioneers in home entertainment today. They have almost instantly created a new culture of binge watching movies and TV. It is clear that they have revolutionized how the masses consume media. Today, we are on the front line of a major change in our culture. Now, word has it that HBO is joining the race and that Netflix is fighting to redefine home theater.
Netflix is the hipster of the bunch, being that it first popularized the new format of movie and TV watching. Back in the day, HBO set the bar by asking for an additional charge to add its network to your cable package. Just when everyone thought HBO was a thing of the past, they started to up the ante with television shows filmed like movies. Now they have announced that they will offer their service a la carte, or separately from cable packages.
This means that despite cable providers struggling to stay relevant, HBO has decided to join Netflix in the fight to be independent. This has been a major issue lately. Cable companies do not want streaming services to succeed. Cable providers rely on cable packages to sell networks that no one would pay to see if given the chance. The other big issue is that this gives people the opportunity to see new movies at home relatively early.
Netflix is one step ahead of HBO in the fight to claim movies. While Netflix does not always have the newest movies like HBO, they are starting to break ground in a different way. Netflix has managed to secure a few exclusive movie deals. Firstly, it has announced that the sequel to the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will premiere on its site in streaming format. The movie will be on Netflix the same day it hits IMAX theaters. The other major deal it made was to secure four movies with Adam Sandler. These movies will be exclusive to Netflix and will not be shown in theaters.
Movie theaters and filmmakers have already started to protest this growing trend. It is easy to see why many people are upset by this new possibility. Movie theaters have begun to see a decrease in ticket sales in the past few years. The rising price of movie tickets has scared away many people. Going to the movies is no longer a cheap night out on the town.
To add insult to injury, streaming services are dominating the entertainment field. They are now threatening to bring movies straight to the consumer’s home. This is likely the last straw that will end the movie theater.
Filmmakers are also very frustrated because skipping the movie theater changes how an audience receives the art of film. The greatest directors make their film with the intention of it being seen on the big screen. The way the shot is framed, the sound quality, the hues, and the details are all made to be seen in the movie theater and not in the home. If streaming takes over completely one day, filmmakers will have to redefine how a film is made.
4K TVs and surround sound systems become more affordable every day. It is becoming a hassle and inconvenience to go to the movie theater. Everyone is making an effort to ride the wave of streaming services. It is now common to be able to rent a movie that is still in theaters in a hotel room. It is a safe bet to assume that streaming services will be the new norm in entertainment. The movie theater will not go away any time soon but attendance is already in decline. For now, all we can do is pick and choose which service we want to provide our movies and shows. With almost all of them being under ten dollars, it is hard not to cancel your cable subscription and just have it your way. As Dom once said, “it don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.”
— Miguel Gonzalez, Film Blogger