The Future of Cinema Today

I backed the Veronica Mars movie project as soon as I heard that it was on Kickstarter. However, this post won’t be about the movie itself. That will come later. This is about the experience I had with the digital download that I “earned” when I backed the film at the $50 level. If you want a short review of the film right now, then I’ll say this: It is a really good filler episode that makes me look forward to seeing what can be done now that we’re past the “Where are they now?” portion.

I’ve never been keen on Ultraviolet or any sort of digital storage locker. It reeks of Digital Rights Management in the worst way – it doesn’t actually let me own anything. The content will always be locked in the vault, and I will never be able to take it anywhere else. I can’t lend the content to a friend, and I can’t bring it over to another person’s house. (Well, if they download the Flixster app and let me log in with my credentials, that will work…) It’s always been off-putting. When I learned that I had to acquire the movie from this service, I wasn’t happy.

Signing up for Ultraviolet also meant signing up for Flixster, which honestly made the process appear more annoying than it actually was. Fortunately, Flixster can be signed into through Google. Ultraviolet still requires its own login and password. This process took only a few minutes. Installing the Flixster app on my computer, however, took around 20 minutes. Every time the installation neared 100%, it would download more information and the progress bar would shrink. But I shouldn’t complain. I was seeing a movie at some point!

While doing that, I looked up ways to get this movie to stream to my PS3, since that’s the HD device in my household. Apparently installing the Vudu app on there will let users sync their Ultraviolet accounts. After the Flixster installation on my PC, I provided my Ultraviolet credentials and then opened Vudu on my PS3. I had Veronica Mars streaming in HD on my television screen.

My wife and I enjoyed being able to watch the movie from the comfort of our couch. We don’t have any aversion to movie theatres, mind you. We have always been more than willing to go out to movies. We just haven’t been able to. Like many people in their late 20’s and early 30’s, we have a young child. Over the course of the year since she was born, we have seen exactly two films in the theatre together. Babysitters are hard to find, and sometimes it’s hard to justify the price of a sitter on top of the expenses for a night out in the city. Streaming a brand new film was more than welcome.

The concept of same-day streaming or digital download is not at all new, but it is one that should happen more often. Movie studios have so much more to gain from making content more widely available in ways that are accessible for their customers. I would pay big city movie ticket prices to stream new releases more often. That makes a Friday night. That makes an awesome in-home date night.

Movie theatres, though, seem to believe that there is so much to lose by making films available at home. It’s really disappointing that theatre owners no longer believe in the allure of the cinema experience. Nothing replaces seeing a movie projected on a big screen and sharing the experience with dozens of strangers. Not to mention movie theatre popcorn. There’s something there. Not to mention the fact that young kids will always appreciate the giant screen, teenagers will always appreciate being able to escape their parents, and adults will always appreciate being able to escape their kids (especially when they feel they’re on baby lockdown). There’s literally something for everyone.

But there’s something to the same day home release, too. Anyone who volunteers a (valid/invalid) excuse for not going out to see the latest movie in the theatre no longer has a reason to miss out. This literally means that more revenue can be generated for a film. People who miss out on films due to children or being sick will be able to spend money like the movie studios want them to. It’s not that hard of a concept to understand.

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