Ron Howard Thinks The Movie Theater Experience Will Be More Like Broadway After The Pandemic

What will the film industry look like in 10 years? Hell, what will it look like next year? No one really has any idea what to expect after everything settles down and the pandemic is in our rearview mirror. However, according to Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, one thing is for sure, there will be lasting effects, particularly with how feature films are released.

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Grazer and Howard recently spoke at the Wall Street Journal‘s Tech Live conference (via Deadline). And in their discussion, they talked about the future of the theatrical release business and how it is likely going to change in a big way after this pandemic has run its course.

Ultimately, Grazer doesn’t feel that the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic won’t be something we see in the storylines in future films. He said, “You’re not going to see an action movie with Tom Cruise and he’s wearing a mask.” But there will be massive changes to the business side of the equation.

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“On the other hand, movies and cinemas should be restored,” Grazer said. “When that happens, I don’t know, but it’s singularly one of the greatest art forms of the 20th century. For audiences, for people to go into a theater without a political agenda and experience something this emotional and have that emotion be ignited with a group is a magnifier. And there’s no other replacement for it.”

“I don’t think it’s going to evaporate,” Howard added. “The multiplexes are going to become a little bit like Broadway in a way. That’s where the expensive projects go. It’s to get as many people in there to create memorable events.”

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The filmmaker also said that the lines between what constitutes a film and what is a TV series are “blurring,” and that’s where films and theaters can come in.

“But I think that theaters and distributors and platforms are going to be looking to offering audiences those kinds of shared experiences, which build fan bases,” Howard said.

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We’ve seen other filmmakers talk about how the cinemas are going to be altered moving forward. As the big multiplex chains continue to stumble (AMC is on the verge of bankruptcy, it would appear), we could be looking at a future where film fans only venture out to the movie theaters for special events, a la Broadway. This is a scary thought for those of us that love sitting in a theater, eating popcorn, and enjoying films on the big screen. But as this pandemic rages on, it’s beginning to look more and more like a possibility.