There was a time when cinema was declared well and truly dead.
The VCR was a mainstay in households across the UK and USA by the nineties and people had grown accustomed to having video on demand in their homes. Rental shops were doing a fine trade, sales of cassettes and machines were rolling along nicely and box office figures started to feel the pinch.
20 years later and despite the technological advancements of the internet, cinema has relented and even found favour with major brands and advertisers once more. But how has this happened? How has a an entertainment media, now well over 100 years old, survived this long?
Competition from home media
Where would the world be if it weren’t for a little friendly competition? During its tenure as the world’s most popular entertainment, the cinema has come under threat from all sorts of new inventions. The television, the VCR, the DVD, pirating, torrenting, streaming – all of these innovations have taken a slice of the pie, but somehow it has managed to persevere with innovations of its own. IMAX screens, 3D immersion and moving seats are a part of the ever morphing cinema experience which remains at the core of million’s of lives.
Crowd Pleasing Cinema
Movies have always been a million dollar business, but it’s only recently that they have regularly become a billion dollar one. James Cameron’s Titanic became the first movie to gross over a billion dollars in the worldwide box office, a feat rightly deemed incredible at the time. However, flash forward to today and that feat is regularly repeated by single studios (namely, Disney) on a yearly basis. Whilst a cynic could point to the degeneration of movies as an art form, an optimist would argue that film-makers are finding a way of reaching more people all around the world with crow pleasing stories that are spawning universally adored characters.
Whilst a family trip to the cinema, including the customary drinks and snacks, might seem like an expensive prospect, the average price of a cinema ticket in the UK has not risen significantly since 2015. Competing with home media has led many chains to keep their prices down, or run promotional offers to keep budget conscious customers coming back for more. Many chains have managed to survive by making budget-friendliness their modus operandi, offering tickets as cheap as £5 as standard.
Tough political times
It’s been well documented that times of political strife correlate with a boost to ticket sales, and whilst we’re hardly living through another financial crisis, the weight of recent current affairs have led to a strong uptick in box office sales. Cinema attendance in 2018 was the highest that its been since 1970, with over 170 million tickets being sold in a year that was blighted by Brexit delays and terrorism.
Finally, consistent investment around the country has led to many of the shabby cinemas in the UK receive a much-needed face lift. Take, for example, Showcase Cinemas’ recent push for a ‘deluxe as standard’ experience, offering reclining seats, dine-in eating and full bars at many of their locations across the US, UK and Brazil.
Despite turbulent years and an ever changing technological landscape, cinemas have retained their status as an entertainment mainstay for decades and it seems unlikely to falter any time soon.…