Can cinema survive in an online streaming world?

Can cinema survive in an online streaming world? [Person holding remote to television, showing Netflix]
Streaming world: Can cinema survive in a world dominated by streaming services? Source: afra32 (via Pixabay)
As studios choose to delay their films for cinema release and more of us use streaming services, will cinema be able to survive in a post-COVID-19 world?

By Tirion Davies | Editor-in-Chief

It was announced this past week that the next James Bond film, No Time To Die, will have yet another delayed release date due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Having been pushed back twice, the film’s official website is now stating the film will debut globally on October 8, though its original release date was set for April 2020. The 25th Bond installment was completed in 2019 and may likely see a further delay if regulations do not ease.

The news comes following the announcement of further push backs of other films as cinemas remain closed for the foreseeable future.

Filmmakers have noted they are postponing film releases in order to ‘protect’ UK cinemas, who have undoubtedly been hit hard by the pandemic, much like other businesses. Although regrettable, cinema giant Vue told the BBC that these delays were “understandable”, and that continuing to push for a full cinema release “is further testament to our shared belief in a bright future for the big screen”.

Despite this, there is speculation that makers of the Bond flick are hoping to delay the release date in order to maximise the profit they will make. The last Bond film to be released, 2015’s Spectre, took almost £690m at worldwide box offices – surely it would be a hit for cinema-goers, even in a COVID-19 world?

Many major blockbusters have taken to releasing their 2020 and 2021 titles to streaming platforms like Disney+ and HBO Max. Disney+ were the first, releasing their live-action remake of Mulan to the streaming platform in September, though at the time at a fee of £50. The film was later released to subscribers for free in December.

Warner Brothers Studios released Wonder Woman 1984 onto HBO Max in late 2020, with a limited number of theatres worldwide showing the film. Disney released its next feature directly to the Disney+ platform on Christmas Day, with 651,000 households in the UK streaming Soul over the Christmas period, according to Samba TV.

But the question remains – it is a cash-grab to delay films and demand they are released into cinemas, or is relying on streaming services the biggest killer of the entertainment industry?

Undoubtedly, hundreds of us have ensured we have subscriptions to all the key players of streaming platforms by now. Over the past year of this pandemic, it’s unlikely many have been to see more than two films in the cinema. With streaming services like Netflix investing in high-budget films with a star-studded cast, it will be interesting to see whether cinemas are as popular as they once were when they are able to re-open.

Over the summer, when restrictions began to ease, Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was released in cinemas after countless delays. Yet, although the film grossed £266m worldwide, it was not enough to convince film giants that cinema releases during a COVID-19 age are feasible. With ways of grossing money and pay-outs from streaming platforms, companies are beginning to turn to online alternatives more and more.

As a business that has been hit hard by the pandemic, cinemas across the country are facing closure. But unfortunately, as we battle through this pandemic, cinemas are simply not feasible. The jam-packed theatres we’ve come to experience on premiere nights of films like Avengers: Endgame could not work in a world where COVID-19 is looming around every corner.

The experience of going to the cinema is one at-home viewing could never beat. Yet, as the world continues to adapt to the new norms, it’ll be interesting to see if cinemas can survive in a cautious, post-COVID-19 world.

Yr wythnos diwethaf, daeth y cyhoeddiad bod ffilm newydd y gyfres James Bond, No Time To Die, yn mynd i gael ei ohirio cyn cael ei symud i’r sinema o ganlyniad i’r pandemig COVID-19.

Wedi i’r ffilm cael ei ohirio dwywaith yn olynol, mae gwefan y ffilm nawr yn sôn ei bydd yn cael ei rhyddhau’n rhyngwladol ar Hydref 8, er yr oedd y ffilm yn wreiddiol fod ei rhyddhau ym mis Ebrill 2020. Gwnaeth y ffilm ei orffen yn 2019, ac mae’n debygol y bydd rhagor o oediadau os nad yw rheolau’n dechrau hwyluso.

Mae’r newyddion yn dod wedi i nifer o ffilmiau eraill nodi eu bod nhw hefyd am ohirio rhyddhad ei ffilmiau tan fod sinemâu yn ail-agor.

Er bod nifer o lunwyr ffilm wedi nodi ei bod yn gohirio’r ffilmiau er mwyn achub y busnes sinema, mae nifer wedi nodi mae’n bosib bod y ffilm James Bond wedi’i ohirio er mwyn uchafu’r arian y byddent yn disgwyl ennill yn y sinemâu. Pan ryddhawyd y ffilm ddiweddaraf Bond, yn 2015, llwyddodd y ffilm i ennill bron £690m o bunnoedd yn rhyngwladol – mae’n siŵr pan bod y ffilm yma’n cael ei rhyddhau y bydd hi’r un mor llwyddiannus?

Mae nifer o ffilmiau mawr 2020 a 2021 wedi’i rhyddhau’n syth i wasanaethau ar-lein megis Netflix a Disney+. Disney+ oedd y cyntaf i wneud hyn dros y cyfnod clo, yn rhyddhau ei ffilm Mulan ym mis Medi, ond ar y cyfnod yn gofyn am £50 yn ychwanegol. Erbyn mis Rhagfyr, daeth y ffilm am ddim i bob un gyda thanysgrifiad i Disney+.

Ar ddiwedd 2020, rhyddhawyd Warner Brothers’ Studios y ffilm Wonder Woman 1984 ar HBO Max, gyda nifer bach o sinemâu ar draws y byd hefyd yn dangos y ffilm. Rhyddhawyd Disney ei ffilm ddiweddaraf, Soul, yn syth i Disney+ ar Ddiwrnod Nadolig, gyda 651,000 o deuluoedd ar draws y Deyrnas Unedig yn ei wylio dros gyfnod y Nadolig, yn ôl Samba TV.

A yw rhyddhau ffilmiau i wefannau llifeirio yn lladd y busnes adloniant, neu a yw gohirio ffilmiau tan ei bod ar gael yn y sinema yn cael ei wneud fel ffordd o wneud fwy o arian?

Wrth i’r cyfnod clo dod yn hirach ac yn hirach, mae nifer eang ohonom erbyn hyn gyda thanysgrifiad i ryw fath o wefan llifeirio. Gyda gwefannau fel Netflix yn buddsoddi miloedd o bunnoedd i greu ffilmiau i’w wefan, y bydd hi’n ddiddorol gweld os bydd y sinema dal i fod yn boblogaidd erbyn diwedd y pandemig.

Dros yr haf, pan oedd rheolau wedi’i dechrau hwyluso, fe wnaeth ffilm Christopher Nolan, Tenet, cael ei rhyddhau i’r sinema, wedi iddo gael ei ohirio tro ar ôl tro. Er i’r ffilm llwyddo i ennill £266m o bunnoedd yn rhyngwladol, nad oedd hyn digon i fusnesau mawr ffilm eisiau rhyddhau rhagor o ffilmiau yn oed COVID-19.

Fel busnes sydd wedi’i heffeithio’n wael gan y pandemig, mae nifer o sinemâu ledled y wlad ar fyn cael eu cau. Yn anffodus, yn ystod cyfnod COVID-19, does dim modd cadw sinema ar agor. Ni all theatrau bach, gorlawn, gweithio ar nosweithiau agoriad ffilmiau pan bod y pandemig dal i barhau ac i waethygu’n wythnosol.

Mae’r profiad o wylio ffilmiau adref yn hollol wahanol i’r hen brofiad o’i wylio yn y sinema. Ond, wrth fod y byd yn parhau i newid, y bydd hi’n ddiddorol gweld os gall sinema parhau yn fyd petrusgar wedi’r pandemig.

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