Firstly, there were multiplexes. They changed the structure of the movie distribution and establishing big movie theatre chains had a big impact on some of the countries’ national film industries. I recently read an article in a Mexican magazin „Cine Toma” about the struggle of a mexican film industry to stay competitive. This struggle occurs as, although multiplexes have a lot of screens, there is a limited number of movies which are shown on these screens. More multiplexes doesn’t mean more diversity and very often a blockbuster movie is shown the whole day on more than one screen. Thanks to that, US movies could and are dominating in majorty of the countries and if there are national successful productions, they’re usually look like as if made in the USA. This is what ensures that a movie theater stays profitable.
However, the solution to this problem came: video on demand, with Netflix being the most successful VOD provider. Thanks to Netflix I could watch both art and commercial Mexican movies while living in Germany for a monthly price of one cinema ticket! That’s called great answer also to the illegal online streaming: for a monthly charge of about 9,99€ one have an unlimited access to a lot of movies. But the fairytale couldn’t last forever.
Netflix showed two movies in this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Thier movie brought a lot of controversy which caused a protest of the biggest European movie theatre group. It demanded the theatrical release of all the movies showed in Cannes. And they succeeded. Next year, all movies submitted to the Cannes Film Festival need to have also a planned theatrical release in France.
Netflix isn’t only a company, it’s a new model of how the film industry might work in the future. Again, it comes from the USA but are we realy surprise about it? What’s new is that the European market tries to fight with this new distribution model. In this case, does it make sense? In fact, the art movies might profit from that as movie theaters might become somehow like theater or opera house: a safisticated entertainment. Maybe, movies like „Baywatch” won’t need a theatrical realease, it will be restricted to movies full of special effects or Arthouse productions. The movie theaters will survive. They need to find a way to attract customers but they have a cutting edge over Netflix: going to the movies is a perfect time to spend a fun night with family or friends. It’s a way of socializing. After all, how many movie nights at home one can do without getting bored of it after some time?