Paul MacGregor is director of strategy and marketing at Val Morgan Group.
There is a lot of noise right now. The future of many industries and businesses has been called into question. But this is nothing new for cinema. We’re used to the noise. We have proven to be resilient through wars, recessions, and disruptive technology.
But how has cinema remained a cultural constant? Put simply, we love it. And not just the content.
We love the ritual of it. Before we even sit down in front of the big screen, there’s opening the doors and walking into the smell of buttered popcorn. Then the trailers. Soaking up blockbusters to come and whispering to your mate “that looks good.” The lights dim and your focus is completely fixed.
We love the nostalgia of it all. Remembering first dates, kisses, arm reaches, taking your children, taking your grandchildren. Every trip to the cinema presents the opportunity to revisit memories. What was that movie called? You may not be able to answer, but who you held onto during the horrors and who you laughed with during the comedies remains.
We love the escape. The all-encompassing experience. There is just something about the atmosphere of sitting down in a darkened cinema with friends, family, and strangers alike to share in a collective journey into different worlds. Then spending the rest of the day talking, debating, googling about what you just experienced together.
Though the cinema-going experience has evolved in many ways, the excitement, escapism, indulgence, and immersion remains stronger than ever. It’s the pure joy of the cinematic experience.
Exhibitors know the cinema goes beyond the blockbuster. The audience want more and they’re keen to deliver. Over the years, they’ve been investing in the overall cinematic experience to create something that cannot be replicated elsewhere.
The battle for eyeballs has meant upgrades to technology, seating and the popularity of premium cinema such as HOYTS LUX, Event Cinemas Gold Class and Palace Platinum where guests are greeted with luxurious reclining seats, posh décor, call buttons and in-cinema service.
As we head toward holidays and close out 2020, people are yearning to escape the confines of work and home to find a ‘third space’ where they can hang out with friends and enjoy shared social experiences. Alternate entertainment options such as SVOD and FTA TV have played their role during lockdown but now there’s a sense of content fatigue and the lack of a truly immersive, engaging and memorable environment. How many times in the last few months have you sat on the lounge with your partner or family and flicked through channels, scrolled through pages of movies and not even made an active, excited decision on what to watch? Quite simply, we’re bored of it and we’re craving collective social experiences.
After a winter spent largely indoors, Aussies are already on the lookout for summer experiences that aren’t necessarily confined to four walls. The likes of Moonlight cinema, now in its 25th year have amplified the cinema experience, taking place in sprawling parklands making for an unforgettable experience where families and friends can kick back in the outdoors and relish in the summer vibes.
There’s always something new to make the cinema more memorable. This summer will see an Australian first, completely unique cinema experience come to Sydney’s Darling Harbour when the spectacular Mov’in Boat floating cinema arrives with a massive full 4k screen set amongst million-dollar cruisers, row boats, summer lounge beds and two floating bar experiences. Audiences will be making memorable moments like never before.
It remains clear that the need for enjoyable entertainment experiences isn’t going anywhere. Cinemas, whether indoor or outdoor, are seeing upward momentum as people gear up for shared summer experiences. Aussies love movies and are ready to return to that great place of immersion, escape and indulgence – that third space. No matter the circumstances, cinema will continue to adapt and change and create powerful shared cultural experiences.
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