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Showing results for tags 'cinema'.

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  1. As the new year settles in, people are still acclimating to life in lockdown. With not much to do but wait until the pandemic sorts itself out, many have begun to heavily indulge in one of America's favorite pastimes – watching movies and TV. While some have been to a theater recently, many remain hesitant to go to them. In the wake of isolation, countless people have transitioned to online streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. These companies, along with other competitors, have reaped the rewards of the pandemic – they've seen tremendous growth as theaters became relatively obsolete, for the time being. With their success, streaming platforms are motivated now more than ever to push out content for the general viewing public. As people have been generally satisfied with their streaming experiences – what does the future hold for movie theaters when it's all said and done? Read on to find out more about the current (and potential future) TV and movie watching climate. The Streaming Takeover Regardless of the pandemic, respondent preference between watching movies at home versus going to the theater was a pretty even split – 48% preferred to be on their couch, while 52% wanted the big screen. Still, 69% of them had shelled out money to watch a new release at home, independent of their streaming subscriptions. Fifty-six percent also admitted to purchasing and downloading a movie from a streaming platform. Although 39% of respondents have canceled at least one streaming service since the pandemic started, 82% have added at least one (limited to platforms with at least 100 current subscribers). Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video had the highest jump in usage, with 30% and 29% adding these services, respectively. The most used streaming services were as follows: Amazon Prime Video: 76% Netflix: 71% Disney+: 47% Hulu: 38% HBO Max: 25% The streaming services with the most cancellations since the beginning of the pandemic were as follows: Disney+: 7.2% CBS All Access: 7.0% HBO Max: 5.9% ESPN+: 5.7% Hulu: 5.5% The top streaming services by percentage of new subscribers since the beginning of the pandemic were as follows: Disney+: 30% Amazon Prime Video: 29% Netflix: 17% HBO Max: 15% Hulu: 12% Generally, the most used streaming service has been Amazon Prime Video, covering 76% of respondents. Prime Video has become the people's choice as it offers a ton of benefits. Their streaming service puts out Amazon Original Series, allows for cheap movie renting, and gives consumers the option to subscribe to over 100 channels such as HBO and Showtime. Also, a household can share Prime benefits at no additional cost. Aside from their streaming platform, a subscription offers customers many other perks including online shopping and music streaming. Weighing the Options When asked how eager respondents are to go back to movie theaters, their reactions covered all the bases. Between 19% and 24% were either not at all interested or were very eager, whereas 11% would go right now if they could. Fifty-six percent of them said they were presently able to go to the theater, and 39% had been to one in the last three months. The best part about watching movies at home was the comfort aspect, according to 69% of respondents. In fact, an additional 2 of the top 5 answers revolved around comfort – being able to lie down (47%) and wearing pajamas (46%). On the other hand, half of respondents said that the worst part of the home theater experience was the lack of a "movie magic" feeling. This tied directly into what people missed most about going to the movies – 69% were longing for the "experience." The other top four answers described some aspects of this experience, eating popcorn and candy, having a date night, watching trailers, and enjoying the comfy chairs – these are what make the theater a special place to visit. What respondents were happiest to live without, though, were the overpriced concessions and tickets, according to 69% and 68% of respondents, respectively. It was determined that the typical markup on movie theater popcorn was 788%, soda stood at 558% and candy at 313%. In 2018, Cinemark, an American movie theater chain collected $1.1 billion in concession sales at a cost of $181 million, resulting in an 84% profit margin. Clearly, customers have the right to be a little distraught about the cost of their popcorn and soda. Who's Watching What? The top movies that have been streamed during the pandemic included Hamilton (31%) and Mulan (28%) on Disney+ and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (25%) on Amazon Prime Video. These movies were streamed most by baby boomers, millennials, and Gen Xers, respectively. Some felt the viewing experience would've been better at a movie theater – 65% of Mulan watchers agreed, as well as 66% of those who watched An American Pickle on HBO Max. Only 30% of respondents would prefer to watch drama movies at the theater, but 62% love seeing action/adventure movies on the big screen. From 1995 to 2021, adventure and action movies have brought in the most box office revenue, at $63.57 billion and $47.72 billion, respectively. Generation with the highest percentage of streams per movie Baby boomers were the most likely to have streamed Hamilton. Millennials were the most likely to have streamed Mulan. Gen Xers were the most likely to have streamed Borat Subsequent Moviefilm Millennials were the most likely to have streamed The Old Guard. Generation X was the most likely to have streamed Enola Holmes. Top movies streamed by each generation, by percentage difference from the mean Compared to other generations, millennials were more likely to have streamed the following: Mulan The Devil All the Time The Old Guard Compared to other generations, Gen Xers were more likely to have streamed the following: Holidate Enola Holmes Bad Hair Compared to other generations, baby boomers were more likely to have streamed the following: The Trial of the Chicago 7 Black Is King An American Pickle Some generations streamed movies more than others, and there were some noticeable genre differences in their choices. Two out of the top three millennial choices were action/fantasy movies (Mulan and The Old Guard). Baby boomers enjoyed drama/dramedies the most (The Trial of the Chicago 7 and An American Pickle), and there was no theme among Gen Xers, who had a romantic comedy (Holidate), crime/adventure (Enola Holmes), and comedy/horror/thriller (Bad Hair) in their top three. Theaters Fight Back Once it's all said and done, 44% of respondents believed movie theaters would be somewhat likely to recover from the pandemic, whereas nearly a quarter believed the industry might not be so lucky. Gen Xers were more skeptical than baby boomers and millennials. Social distancing, wearing masks and post-movie disinfection were the top three measures that movie theaters would need to instill in order to make respondents feel comfortable going to one. Only 10% of them were confident in movie theaters' abilities to enforce thorough COVID-related safety procedures. CinemaSafe, a program launched to reintroduce movie theaters with proper health guidelines, have had companies all over the country pledge to meet or even exceed their guidelines. On top of the three previously mentioned measures, additional protocols include employee health training, air filtration, and modified concessions (e.g., contactless payment and eliminating communal food serving equipment). Overall, 68% of people said they'd go back to the movie theater post-pandemic, whereas 32% will opt to continue watching from home. Millennials and Gen Xers were more eager to go out, while baby boomers leaned more heavily toward staying in. We Like What We See (Besides Advertisements) Back to streaming services, most respondents have been satisfied with their subscriptions. Peacock subscribers had the lowest satisfaction rate at 66%, and 17% of CBS All Access users were dissatisfied for one reason or another. The most important quality of streaming services, by far, was deemed to be the quality of content. On top of the usual selection of movies and TV shows, all streaming platforms that ranked above 80% satisfactory level also produced their own original programming. Popular TV show examples include the likes of Stranger Things (Netflix), The Mandalorian (Disney+), and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime Video). The most common additional benefit that people splurged on was the removal of advertisements from their streaming platforms (33%). Ad blocking, in general, has become a more common practice among internet users – from 2014 to 2021, there was more than an 11 percentage point uptick in ad blocker usage (from 15.7% to 27%). Otherwise, 26% of respondents said they don't pay for any other premium benefits. The rest were primarily interested in live TV, exclusive/original content, and having multiple profiles on one platform. Big Spenders The average spending on streaming services among respondents was $46 a month, and an additional $44 had been spent on renting or buying movies online. Baby boomers spent the least on both, averaging $33 and $36, respectively. Also, in the pandemic-free world, people went to the theater twice a month, on average. On a current monthly basis, respondents reported streaming an average of 7.6 movies from home. As soon as COVID hit our borders, streaming companies knew they had a big year ahead of them. In 2021, they are projected to spend $122 billion on content – an increase of 11% since last year and 31% from 2019. Netflix announced they would be releasing a new film every week this year, and other major streaming platforms like Hulu are investing fortunes into exclusive FX programming. The onslaught of content has surely kept most subscribers happy thus far, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The Next Episode Clearly, the pandemic has forced us to change our movie watching tendencies, although the shift toward online streaming has been a welcoming experience for most. Many are confident theaters will make a comeback once it's all said and done, but that doesn't necessarily mean everyone is dying to go to one. There is that certain "movie magic" feeling that only exists in theaters, but the comfort of home has become equally as important. As streaming services continue to release more content and features to their platforms, happy subscribers may never need a reason to leave their house ever again! Netflix surpassed 200 million subscribers thanks in part to the global pandemic, and other platforms have prospered as well as they continue to crank up their efforts heading into 2021 – the year for watching movies and television, apparently. Methodology and Limitations We surveyed 1,062 people about their movie watching habits. Fifty three percent of respondents were men, 46.7% were women, and less than 1% identified as nonbinary. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 75 with an average of 38. An attention-check question was used to ensure respondents read questions and answers in their entirety. The data we're presenting rely on self-report. There are many issues with self-reported data which include, but are not limited to, the following: attribution, exaggeration, telescoping, and selective memory. Fair Use Statement Before heading off to watch a movie, feel free to share this article with friends and family. We only ask that you do so for noncommercial use and to please provide a link back to the original article page so our contributors can earn credit for their work.
  2. The tension involved in gambling makes it a terrific vehicle for storytelling either in word or film. The opportunity for quick cut shots, closeups, and long shots make it a veritable "old-time shootout" at a green felt table, poker or pool. Hollywood has made some truly memorable movies about gambling. Some are tragic, and some are whimsical. Some are even both. Check out these few, in no particular order. The Sting (Image credit: theguardian.com) The Sting This offering, which is driven along nicely by Marvin Hamlisch's performance and arrangement of Scott Joplin's famous rags, including "Pineapple Rag," "The Entertainer," and "The Ragtime Dance," follows some 1930s grifters and con men as they set up a big score taking down Doyle Lonegan, played brilliantly by the late Robert Shaw. In The Sting Redford and Newman, a veritable "Butch and Sundance" of the Great Depression, reel him slowly in with the oldest con on the books: the wire. And, they do it at the poker table too. Lonegan cheats, and Newman's Henry Gondorff cheats better than he does! Lonegan expressing displeasure at not being able to call Gondorff out for cheating better than he does is almost worth the price of admission alone. The Hustler (Image credit: imdb.com) The Hustler The story of Edward "Fast Eddie" Felson is the quintessential tale of the antihero. He's "the hustler" of the film's title, a small-time pool shark who has more skill than either brains or character. His need to dominate at the pool table drives him to use people. The target of his obsession is Minnesota Fats, and the character was so indelible that Rudolf Wanderone, a legendary pool champion and trickster who ruled pool halls in the 1950s, took on the nickname. Fats was the rough-and-tumble "Mr. Hyde" to Willie Mosconi's "Dr. Jekyll" during that time. Jackie Gleason portrayed Fats, and he made all of his own shots. Paul Newman, as Fast Eddie, made most of his, too, but Mosconi did all of the super-tough shots, including the famous Masse. Gleason was a well-known pool expert, but Newman had to learn after scoring the role. The gambling in The Hustler is merely a symptom of Felson's need to win at all costs even when he loses. Perhaps the best exchange in the whole show is when Felson says, "So, I got talent. What beat me?" And George C. Scott, as Bert Gordon, says, "Character." The "moral of the story" is that Felson only wins big after a personal tragedy, meaning he had to sacrifice everything for it. A Game of Pool (Image credit: imdb.com) A Game of Pool A Game of Pool is so good that it's not even a movie. It's a TV episode from "The Twilight Zone." Jack Klugman is Jesse Cardiff, a wannabe from Chicago who is always complaining that he would be considered the greatest pool player in history if not for "Fats Brown," played by Jonathan Winters. One day, Fats decides from the afterlife that he's tired of Jesse's bellyaching, and he walks out of the shadows into Jesse's pool hall and lays it out for him. Basically, he says, "OK, pal, you've got your chance. There's just one catch. If I win, it means you lose your life." This is the ultimate gamble, a Mephistophelean bargain with a pool hustler 15 years dead who comes back to life to give a pool room Faust his chance. The two match each other shot for shot, talking all the time to each other. Fats warns Jesse about the match, but Jesse thinks he's just trying to distract him. Finally, they're tied, and there is a single ball left on the table. Fats misses his shot and leaves Jesse an absurdly easy tap-in. Jesse makes the shot and gets his fondest wish. Fats, however, says, "Thank you." Jesse is upset and calls Fats a sore loser, but he finally realizes the awful truth. He is the greatest ever, but the price is much more than he thought. You see, even years and years after his own death, he is still summoned from the afterlife to pool halls around the country to face an unending parade of challengers and other wannabes. At the same time, relieved of his duty as the "best ever," Fats just goes fishing. Grinders (Image credit: imdb.com) Grinders Not every film has to hit the local cinema or appear on Netflix to be either moving, applicable, or both. "Grinders" is a documentary about the the underground scene in Toronto. The title refers to the masters of these illegal games, from the daring hotshots who are addicted to the action to the hardened criminals who control that action. Some of these "grinders" play 150-200 separate games a day. Into this world steps Matt Gallagher, an out-of-work filmmaker who decides to try playing Texas Hold 'Em for a living and record what happens. Along the way, he meets several people and chronicles not only how the game affects their lives but also what they think of their collective lot in life. Matt also explains that he dreams of moving to Las Vegas, and two of his acquaintances in "Grinders" have similar aspirations. This is not a block buster and won't go viral on Netflix. It is, however, a deeply introspective and accurate portrayal of the subject matter. Critics who have seen it praise Matt's approach. Like the producer of any good documentary, Gallagher lets the material do the talking except for a curt, "Please gamble responsibly," warning. Not every TV show or cinema offering involving betting on cards, pool, or other things has to be considered great. "Maverick," for example, was a fun bit of fluff. "Rounders" is a solid take on Texas Hold 'Em, but its plot is decidedly like "The Hustler," which is an all-time classic. Critics may never like a Las Vegas block buster about an improbably good-looking protagonist who always wins when dealt 7-2 off-suit, but it's probably just a matter of time before some studio makes one.
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