25th Sep2017

Culture Dump #10: What Does it Take to Get You Into a Cinema?

by Simon Bland


Netflix, Amazon Prime, countless streaming platforms showcasing the very best telly… remind us again why we ever need to leave our sofa in search of quality content? Today’s well futuristic technology has made the idea of getting up off our bums and going to the cinema seem a little like a lot of hard work. Especially considering how easy it is to find some just-released movies on shady streaming sites, if you were so inclined. However if the novelty-clown-shoe-sized-success of Andy Muschietti’s IT is anything to go by, it’s clear that audiences can still be convinced to make the trek to cinemas. The question is: what exactly does a film or a cinema have to do to lure back its once-loyal punters?

Could it be IMAX? The mega-screen cinema experience literally fills your peepers with movie-goodness and certainly appeals to some cinephiles – but it’s not perfect. At best it improves movies specifically designed for the format while at worst it makes even the most simple scenes dizzying. What about Gallery screenings? With better seats, free drinks and refillable food, this VIP option adds a much needed layer of comfort to the cinema experience. Although all those added extras in the lobby result in a lot of mid-film movement and if there’s one thing every film fan can agree on, it’s their hatred of noisy members of the general public.

While the answer to this quandary may be unclear, one thing that audiences definitely don’t want are gimmicks. Moving chairs? Bubbles? Aromas blown in their face? No thanks. 4DX screenings couldn’t be more of a last grab attempt at getting folks back to the flicks. Even digital 3D is starting to seem less appealing and more headache inducing. Post-screening talent Q&As definitely do the trick but with only a handful of regional cinemas programming such events, they’re far from a permanent fix.

To find the answer maybe we have to trace things back to the reason fans watch films in the first place – the content. Whether you loved IT or hated IT, you can’t deny the fact it was a strong story propelled by a devilishly compelling hook and set in a rich world of supporting characters. Perhaps that’s the key to keeping audiences coming back. It can sort of be summed up by paraphrasing Jim Morrison’s advice to Wayne in Wayne’s World 2 – Build a weighty, captivating world and the audience will come… even if it means leaving their treasured sofa butt-grooves.

What does it take to get you into a cinema? Let me know in the comments below!


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