Commercial cinema is perhaps no longer as sexy as to be able compete with digital, streaming entertainment. Imagine a year without blockbusters. No Hollywood, box office blockbusters. Who felt touched by the duel between Batman and Superman, who was thrilled with the return of Jason Bourne or an athletic, crossfit addicted version of Ben-Hur?
Is it true that going to the movie theater today is just something to do when the Internet is down, and probably this year will go down in history as the year when the sacred hills of Hollywood became factories of artificial dreams and those who fight to conquer our fantasies are no longer called Warner, Paramount or Fox, but HBO, Netflix or YouTube? In a magazine that explores the impact of technology in everyday life, cultural critic Brian Raftery says that cinema is in a state of induced coma and this raises an obvious question: Could this be the year that people stop caring about movies?
With the thermometer in his hand, Raftery chose the weekend between the 22nd and 24th of April as conclusive evidence for the diagnosis; that is the very beginning of the high season in the Northern Hemisphere. That Friday premiered “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”, a prequel to the timeless tale of Snow White, with Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth and a billion dollar marketing campaign.
By next day, the film was already dead. The general public spent the weekend listening to Beyoncé, launching her surprise album Lemonade, or crying with Bruce Springsteen while paying his tribute to Prince, or wondering whether Jon Snow would survive the start of the sixth season of Game of Thrones.
Raftery said that “like many films of high pedigree released this year, “The Huntsman” was quickly reduced to another strident, very expensive and desperate, little flitting thing, loud and anxious in the background of your digital life, hoping to distract you from Twitter, Snapchat or Spotify for a while”.