J.J. Abrams talks cinema experience and the changing economics of film consumption

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One of the biggest and most influential directors of the 21st century thus far, J.J. Abrams has seemingly done it all – Star Wars, Mission: Impossible, Lost, Star Trek, Westworld and many other projects that have had his name on it.

Indeed he is one of many filmmakers in Hollywood, along with Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan to name a few that is a big advocate of shooting film on film, rather than digital. But even Abrams knows that the current landscape in film consumption and the costs of cinema visits mean that the long-mooted “premium home viewing”, which could see people buy the latest movies mere weeks after their cinema release for between $50-$100. While he and many other directors make their films to be seen in the cinema, it’s almost inevitable that changes will occur soon.

Speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference earlier this week, (via The Playlist), Abrams shared his own recent cinema-going experience and that it wasn’t the best he’s had, saying:

“There is a theater chain that I’m convinced hates movies. You go there. They’re angry with you. It’s cold. There’s no music. The lights go out when the movie starts — there’s no ceremony. It’s the most uncomfortable seats…You’re convinced there’s something in front of the projector. Meanwhile, most people in that audience have better TVs at home than the image you’re seeing.”

Then the question of the new-releases-at-home was addressed and while Abrams still favours the cinema visit, he understands that the landscape is changing, saying:

“I understand the economic realities of it, and it’s tough. At the same time, if they don’t make it worth people’s time, you better not call people to the theater and give them that kind of experience. People do want to see movies, and can’t always get to the theater. It seems like an inevitable thing that movies become available at a premium.”

We shall see in the next few years whether such a service is put into place, but it seems only a matter of time before it is released.

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