Local cinemas thrive despite streaming service pressures

Post-pandemic there were concerns that cinemas would be struggling after a big shift towards streaming. After so many big releases this year, is that still the case? 

In recent weeks, I have been to the cinema more than I have in years. I’m not even sure these are the most hyped films of the year, or even if there are that many massive films coming out right now. But through going to see these films, I have noticed that cinemas are pretty busy right now. 

Of course, this cinema boom was abudently clear during Barbenhimer earlier this year, however I am somewhat surprised to see that there is still that same level of popularity. 

Critics worried that this summer’s box office boom would swiftly come to an end, with actors and writers strikes causing major studios to postpone movie releases, this is also likely to impact many films scheduled for next year. Now the strikes have ended this will hopefully mean the blow to the cinema industry is not too significant. 

Both times this week that I have been to the cinema, we have really struggled to find spaces in the cinemas, both big and small, to see the films we want to. The theatres are extremely busy right now and it got me thinking, have people gone off streaming? Have people missed the cinematic experience and the enjoyment of seeing a film for the first time on the big screen with their friends?  

This year has not only seen big films like Barbenheimer, but also more recent hits like Saltburn and latest instalment of The Hunger Games. Not only those, but also concert films such as Taylor Swift Era’s tour and Beyonce’s up and coming Renaissance film are seeing fans flock to the cinemas to sing along and re-live concert experiences with their friends on the big screen. 

CNBC notes that despite obstacles presented by a post-pandemic world, the industry is seeing improvements in ticket sales through providing better ‘theatrical experiences’, as well as alternative programming. They note that the industry remains optimistic about the future of cinema, as theatres are forced to innovate to build back customer loyalty.

This is something that made me wonder about the smaller, independent cinemas who may still be struggling and do not have bigger budgets that give such flexibility to innovate.

“The atmosphere in that little Lenton cinema, to me, beats any other”

The Savoy is an independent cinema in the heart of Lenton, it attracts a considerable number of students when there is a big release and I completely understand why. It is good for families and the general public too, when I went to watch Saltburn there were masses of students and an older couple who had cracked open a bottle of fizz from the bar for the experience! The food is well priced, as are the drinks, even the tickets aren’t that expensive in comparison to the bigger cinemas. 

In my opinion, the experience of watching a film at a small independent cinema, like The Savoy, is just as good an experience as those bigger chain theatres. Sure, the chairs don’t recline (though they do have sofa seats, which I think is a lovely touch), but I know personally I go for the atmosphere… and the atmosphere in that little Lenton cinema, to me, beats any other.  

So, whilst these smaller independent businesses may struggle to draw crowds in with their innovative technology, or lack thereof, they have many other compelling selling points that draw audiences back in time and time again.  

Ultimately, all of these reasons for the recent cinema boom play a considerable part in the sustainability of the cinema industry, both for bigger chains and smaller independent cinemas.

The experience of watching a film for the first time on that big screen, with your friends who are also being shocked and going to later bond over that experience by discussing your thoughts on the film is what cinema is all about, not only providing entertainment for viewers but also a talking point and outing to bring all types of people together.

Going to the cinema can be a big event, some quality time alone or it can be a nice way to spend the evening watching something in a place other than your living room, with friends and family and I believe this is the beauty of the industry and why we are seeing the return of cinema.

Featured image courtesy of Ben Mellor. Image has been edited. Permission to be used granted.

In article image courtesy of Samuel Regan-Asante. Image has been cropped vertically. License to use can be found here.

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