Wonder Woman 1984 Director Patty Jenkins Warns Movie-Going Could Go Extinct. That’s A Rather Sad Possibility
I miss going to the movies so much, it hurts. The smell of caramel popcorn wafting through the air, the excitement of unexpected trailers and exclusive footage! The big screen. The collective euphoria of experiencing something like the Portals scene from Avengers: Endgame with a room full of strangers united by their emotions! Ah! How I miss it! It’s one of the many joys that have been snatched away from us by the coronavirus pandemic and consequent lockdown. I mean, sure, movies are releasing virtually, and it’s not like there’s a dearth of good content. Cinema halls are all set to open as well, even as many of us are still scared to go to one. And amidst all this, Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins has warned us that this is a rather testing time for the whole movie-going experience. It’s in danger of going extinct.
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In an interview with the media, the Wonder Woman director spoke about how shutting down cinema halls and keeping the audience away from going to the movies “will not be a reversible process. We could lose movie theater-going forever.”
If you think her words paint a rather ominous picture for our future, you’re not off. With more cinemas running in losses, and many being shut down due to lockdown restrictions around the world, there are chances that movies might choose to go straight to digital streaming. And while digital does ensure that your movie reaches more people these days, there’s a chance of the buzz dying after the release weekend and of the film not making as much money as when the film would’ve released in the theatres. In fact, Patty Jenkins predicts the cinema-going business to suffer the way the music industry did. Today music is a completely virtual industry, with no revenue coming in from sales of CDs and cassettes. What’s more, with technological advancement, there’s a higher chance of the music getting pirated and the artist and record label being cheated out of their dues.
“It could be the kind of thing that happened to the music industry, where you could crumble the entire industry by making it something that can’t be profitable.”
While most cinema halls across the world have resumed, those in important cities like New York or back home in Mumbai are yet to open, and see if they can draw the audience to venture out. Once again, the risk is high, but for the theatre-deprived, the reward is high too. While Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was able to bring a sizeable chunk of the audience, including Tom Cruise, to the theatres, trade pundits are still insisting that this is not a good time to be releasing big budget films in big screens. At least, not until going out becomes safe. Which is why a lot of 2020’s big releases, such as the entire Marvel and Warner Bros slate including Wonder Woman 1984, and franchise films like No Time To Die, have been pushed by a whole year, to second half of 2021.
Even Patty Jenkins’ own film, the Wonder Woman sequel that was slated for a 2020 release, has been repeatedly pushed. Jenkins has assured that her film is a spectacle that deserves a big screen watch and therefore won’t release digitally. And her words, about how listless movie-watching could become if cinema-going collapsed, ring true and ominous in your ears!
“I don’t think any of us want to live in a world where the only option is to take your kids to watch a movie in your own living room, and not have a place to go for a date. I really hope that we are able to be one of the very first ones to come back and bring that into everyone’s life.”
Here’s hoping we can find our way back to the theatres near us!