Is the Future of Movie Going In Its Past?

Bruce Campbell, Twitter:

While filming Congo, I sat on top of a Volcano talking to Tim Curry about that movie. He said one of the coolest things was that it saved a number of small indie theaters from going under, because they knew that two nights a week The Rocky Horror Picture Show was going to do big business.

Just a thought experiment here…

I read a lot of the Hollywood trades, since its usually a lot of the least click-bait-y movie content possible. Sites like Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, etc. and a key point has become very clear about the current state of movie going in America…

  • Moviegoers will come out in droves if there’s a movie they want to see. See the release of Top Gun: Maverick this Summer.
  • Moviegoers don’t have many movies to see right now. See the incredibly quiet period of theatrical releases since August 5th’s Bullet Train, which continues until….let me check the release calendar…October 14th’s Halloween Ends?1

This, understandably, leaves the theaters themselves in some dire straits, which has tanked the stocks for AMC, and made Regal consider filing for bankruptcy.

But that quote from Bruce Campbell, along with — Holy Shit — the massive box office for last weekend’s re-release of Avatar made me wonder, is the future of making movie theaters “work” continuous screenings of beloved classics?

We’ve certainly seen some tests of this during the COVID era, along with the event screenings done by Fathom Events, and AMC also did some cheap screenings of Disney films to celebrate the corporate holiday “Disney+” day, but if there’s a model I can point to for the rest of the world, I’ve got two suggestions:

  • The Charles, an awesome indie theater here in Baltimore, does a load of amazing one-night-only revivals
  • The Alamo Drafthouse, shock of shocks, celebrates movies quite well with their Movie Parties

There’s no reason why this shouldn’t be the rule, instead of the exception. Let’s give people a reason to see beloved classics big and loud. And hey, maybe it’ll make a nice bit of change for the studios, too. Connect with tastemakers to do cool intros or Q&As, tack on making of footage, do sing-alongs for classic musicals…anything and everything to celebrate what people love about movies and make the theater experience an event….even if the movie isn’t an event itself.

  1. Yes, I know, cool movies like Confess, Fletch, Barbarian, and The Woman King have hit theaters, along with the possible Oscar bait release on October 7th of Amsterdam. I’m speaking of the “big blockbuster” which draws in audiences.