Is Cinema Dead? It might be for me.

Is cinema dead?

Recently, I read snail’s blog posts, fillums and filmfest, about missing film festivals. My wife and I used to attend a lot of them, back in the day, especially the italian or French festivals in Cinema Paradiso in Northbridge. In fact, we used to watch a lot of movies. Some at festivals, some at the regular cinemas, and some at the outdoor cinemas that used to open during the summer months in Kings Park and at Burswood. But those days are long past.

The Scourge of Cinema

Of course, the primary reason why we stopped attending festivals or going to the cinema, or having any life whatsoever, was because we did the totally irrational thing and had kids. Yep, that was a total bonehead manoeuvre. Kids are a real scourge (j/k). If I remember correctly, we saw Munich, and then the next movie we saw together was Cameron’s first Avatar film (I may have snuck the 2009 version of Star Trek in there somewhere – I honestly can’t remember). By the time we saw Avatar* (in 3D, the future of cinema – we were assured) we were already living in Singapore.

3D, the future of cinema – we were assured

A lot changed during the years we were absent. The price sky-rocketed for one. Not just at the regular ones, but the outdoor ones also got prohibitively expensive, and that’s before you paid for F&B. Also, soon after I returned to Perth (mentioned previously), they shut down all the cinemas in the city.

The Lost Legacy of Cinema

There used to be a bunch of them: Cinema City (which I attended the opening); Cinecentre, on Murray street; Hoyts at St Martin’s Arcade (where I won family tickets for their opening and saw a stupid Lassie movie); the ones at City Arcade; the Piccadilly; the Town; plus a couple of movie theatres showing erotic movies. They were all within a kilometre (or so) of one another. I’m sure there were others but I can’t remember their names. Ultimately, they all shut down one by one, with most cineplexes now being only in the suburban shopping malls (it’s mostly the same in Singapore).

It’s sad, but to be expected. Running a cinema is a good way to make a large fortune into a small one. The way the studios word the distribution contracts, the cinemas only get a pittance until the movies have been running for six or seven weeks. How many times does that happen now? Even before we had kids, most movies barely ran more than two weeks. That’s why the F&B is so expensive. They don’t make much from showing the movies.

Running a cinema is a good way to make a large fortune into a small one

However, it wasn’t any of these reasons that I stopped going to the movie theatre, but the change in the experience. It’s awful now. Sitting through half-an-hour of product commercials, plus another fifteen minutes of movie commercials (trailers); then having someone arrive late and insist on sitting next to you or pushing past to the opposite side; people that talk all the way through, or play on their phones, or watch videos. It’s extremely unpleasant, especially at a premium price.

Of course, the pandemic made it so much worse. Masking up, while socially distancing. They don’t force that here now, but they probably should. The pandemic isn’t over.

The Alternative to Cinema

Personally, I got used to not going to the cinema. I think the last movie I saw there was Godzilla: King of Monsters. We got used to streaming. It makes so much more sense, and it’s much cheaper.

You can get a month of entertainment for less than the price of one cinema ticket. Even subscribing to all the streaming channels available (Netflix, HBO, Paramount, Disney), is still cheaper than one night out to the movies with the family. And you can create your own festival, whether it is Italian movies or French, or science-fiction, or whatever you like.

You can get a month of entertainment for less than the price of one cinema ticket

There seems very little reason to actually attend a film festival or watch any movie in any other way now. I think I may have seen my last movie at the cinema.

* I think I have watched Avatar seven or eight times. Not because I like it, but because I flew twice over the Pacific with JAL. They had two English language movies: Avatar, and Percy Jackson: the Lightning Thief. Clearly, I was pay penance for something.


I’m skribe. I’m a writer, a film-maker and an actor. While I’m originally from Perth, Australia, I currently reside on a tropical island, the Lion City of Singapore. Fingerprint: 79A1 DC6C D367 8A31 135A 7AFA 940E 4231 D7B9 B15C If you like what you see buy me a coffee.

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