A Challenge to Developers and Disruptors: We’re Losing Movie Theaters. We Need Holodecks. Stat!

Image for post
Image for post

Movie theaters may be going the way of the drive-in movie. Will they one day be looked upon as kitsch? As in, silly relics from the past? After awhile, you know, kitsch always returns … but in-between come the advances.

The news has been dire.

Recently, in the midst of our pandemic, better angels appeared to be developing a system that would give comfort to those missing the movie theater experience.

However, on October 5, 2020, it was reported that Cineworld, the nation’s second-largest cinema operator and parent company of Regal Cinemas, was in severe trouble.

AMC Theaters and Cinemark are vowing to stay open, as other major chains are themselves attempting slow reopens.

But the audiences to date, at least domestically in the U.S., have been scarce. “Tenet,” the acclaimed Christopher Nolan film that in any other year would have likely been a domestic attraction, has grossed barely $50 million in the U.S. and Canada. The worldwide total, though, is a highly respectable $334,000,000 and counting.

As our global pandemic continues to impact America more than most, we’ll refer to the advances earlier referenced as U.S.-based, and focus this article on the domestic side of things.

Streaming has overtaken the theatrical experience, at least for the time being, based on necessity. When television became a mainstream entertainment experience in the 1940s, word was the radio business would be decimated. That did not happen, but radio plays such as The Shadow, Inner Sanctum, and Lights Out have become largely extinct.

Music remained radio’s prime content. Talk is as popular as ever, though podcasts are quickly assuming a large part of that market.

But also, when television hit its prime, theatrical exhibitors rued the day. The belief was widespread that audiences would prefer their visual entertainment at home.

That didn’t happen either … until recently.

Oculus Rift and other gaming devices both virtual and augmented have taken us close to where we now need to be.

Close, but we’re not there yet.

Now is the time for “Star Trek” holodecks and transporter rooms.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

Now is the period for the full-on development of flying cars.

Today’s reality is primed for such development, so we can be ready for tomorrow’s post-Covid existence.

I want Princess Leia to speak to me in a hologram.

This is the time for “The Jetsons.”

You get the picture.

Our world is changing. I cannot wait to see what our developers are planning to bring us into our future.

Any spoilers?

Thank you for reading.

Joel Eisenberg is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. The Oscar in the profile pic isn’t his but he’s scheming. WGA and Pen America member.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store