Should Streaming Overtake Cinemas?

by Aaron Bilal

COVID-19 has taken the world by storm. Its presence has suddenly and abruptly disturbed many facets of everyday life. One of the aspects affected is the movie business, with many films delayed from release. For example, the latest Fast & Furious film was scheduled for release this May, but due to the virus, it’s been pushed nearly a year to April of 2021. The films that were unfortunately released during the onset of this outbreak have changed their strategy.

Due to many cinemas closing their doors for the next few weeks, studios have decided to rush out their films on streaming services to make up for the box office loss. Many films that have just been released in cinemas will also be available on a streaming service within the next week or two. Another Vin Diesel film, Bloodshot was released on March 13th, and will already be available for home consumption on March 25th. Disney has also announced that they will be releasing a number of their latest projects to streaming, such as Frozen 2 and the newest Pixar film, Onward. This is an unprecedented time for the movie business; their reaction to this virus has been to dump their films on as many online services as possible. While digital services have, overall, taken over many physical medias, should streaming take over the cinema experience?

There were rumors circulating that Wonder Woman 1984 would be going directly to streaming and skip theaters entirely. This was later debunked by the studio, but it shows a shift in the mindset of movie-goers. There are many negative aspects to going to the theater. Paying for your tickets, having to deal with other people, and being subjected to so many trailers before the film are just a few. If film makes the transition to go straight to streaming, it would be a huge loss for audiences.

Despite the negatives, there’s still no better way to experience a film than to watch it in a theater, seeing an artist’s work on the biggest screen imaginable with the surround sound of Dolby Atmos filling up the room. When a creator makes a film, they want their audience to experience something, to be moved, and feel a sensation that the film provides. This is the power of movies; they provide an escape from the mundaneness of everyday life. They transport us into worlds we could only dream of. To experience those worlds on a smart phone is a disservice to the film and to yourself.

Streaming has undoubtedly changed media forever. The times of going to the music shop and picking up a new CD are over. Streaming should never change how we view movies, though. Venturing out into a dark auditorium and seeing the spectacle of a film cascading over an enormous screen is still the best way to watch movies.