HOW THE INTERNET HAS CHANGED MOVIES AND THE MOVIE BUSINESS
It is fascinating and complex to examine how the internet has changed movies and the movie business. With the ready availability of many films online (through means legal or otherwise), often on the same day as the film’s release, studios are trying more intensely than ever to avoid internet piracy, while at the same time doing all that they can to adapt to this new reality. It is not uncommon now for a studio to purposefully release a film both online and in theaters on the same day, in order to work around the hackers who might distribute the film without regard for the financial impact it might have on studios. More and more films also now involve spectacle, even though it is costlier to film wide, sweeping, epic sequences. This is because such films simply look much better on a big, wide movie screen than they do even on the best plasma computer screens. A further way of contemplating how the internet has changed movies and the movie business is the migration toward synergy between the online world and the world of cinema. The day will come, and likely sooner than many expect, when computer, television and film are all experienced through one device, a large in-house screen that most families can afford, where the instant availability of almost any conceivable film may make movie theaters largely a think of the past. There are those who argue that part of the movie going experience is the sense of community, however tenuous, that comes from watching films together with a large group of others, rather than at home with family and friends, or even by oneself. Cinephiles may bemoan the possible shift in which movie theaters will become “destination” locations, reserved only for the release of the most spectacular films with the latest cutting edge special effects, with everything else in the filmic world distributed to individual homes. This is already being seen through home movie distribution services like On Demand, which charge only a fraction of a movie ticket price for films that are either still playing in theaters, or have just gone out of theaters but are not yet available as DVDs, downloads, or on cable television. In the end, the debate over how the internet has changed movies and the movie business will probably not resolve itself definitively for at least a few more years, until we see the full extent of what the online world can bring to the world of film, and vice versa.