Streaming is changing the way people are entertained and interestingly, making an impact on the Summer blockbuster.
Big Movies on Big Screens
Actually, the idea of the summer blockbuster came of age in the 1970s.
Movies like Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and of course Star Wars were as big as today’s movies that center around an epic costumed hero.
In those days the blockbuster was even more of a windfall for the theaters than it is now, as fans who wanted to see the movie again and again had no choice but to go back to the theater.
Scale models, robotic cameras, and many other innovative techniques brought these movies to the big screen.
Therefore, lavish character-based movies in realistic settings like Tootsie or When Harry Met Sally continued to be a staple because they were less taxing to make and there was still a perceived difference in production values and viewer quality experience between the theater and standard definition TV.
Today, extensive CGI special effects are common and virtually required if a movie will become a box office hit.
Character-centric movies like A Star is Born, with executive producer Heather Parry and others, seem to be the exceptions, when actors with star power like Lady Gaga can draw people to the theaters.
Big (and Small) Screens at Home
The traditional theater faces two formidable challenges today.
First, modern TVs with 4K video provide an experience that some actually prefer to the theater, even for the blockbusters.
Second, the viewing habits of younger viewers are increasingly fragmented. Many are content to watch on screens as small as their phone.
Because of these facts, character-driven comedy or light drama are increasingly going straight to video.
Given that a lot of viewers browse their phone and look at social media even when they’re watching, there is a lot of pressure for the non-action movie to stand out because subtle plot nuances are lost in the noise of distractions.
It’s difficult to say what all this holds for the future of movies that aren’t about heroes with tights and capes.
If another movie like “Remains of the Day” is made in the future, it’s much more likely to be direct to television.