I was too consumed by the Telluride Film Festival to pay attention to this 9.2 Boston Globe piece by Ty Burr, which is probably prescient. It basically reiterates that as the mass audience has become more and more ADD, ignorant and sloth-like, the culture of cool, intelligent, educated-viewer cinema, while generating steady if modest returns, is becoming a smaller and smaller aspect of the movie business — a kind of cafe-society culture.
This observation was echoed in a 9.5 Indiewire piece by Eric Kohn.
“This is where the cinema is headed as its more commercial iteration — we still call them blockbusters, although few blocks are busted nowadays — founders on creative bankruptcy and an audience that will inevitably move on to other forms of entertainment,” Burr wrote. “I called it the jazz-club metaphor in a column last week and the parallel holds: As the two-hour theatrical film falls slowly out of mainstream orbit, it becomes increasingly the province of a smaller but self-selected audience of movie-literate cognoscenti, old, young, and in between.
“The Oscar season caters to the broader end of that audience but no further: The last five best picture winners have averaged a comparatively paltry $65 million at the box office (the number falls to $47 million once you factor out Argo).
“Even those diehards are watching movies as part of a larger audio-visual diet that is in serious technological and cultural flux. I could easily say that Lemonade was the best movie I saw this spring and Stranger Things was the best movie I saw this summer, and if you reply that they’re not movies because they didn’t play in theaters or conform to a two-hour run time, I’d say you’re living in the past. The Hollywood studios still feel comfortable in that paradigm but they’re starting to look like the only ones. Maybe they’re the suicide squad.”