|MOVIE THEATERGEMINI MANGEMINI MA|
Movie theaters across the United States are shut down as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the country. Once we’re done battling this virus, some movie theaters may not be there to meet us on the other side. With an unclear window for when movie theaters will reopen, some of them simply can’t afford to be without a revenue stream for a few months. But the good news is, for those theaters who are able to survive, they’ll be met with open arms by moviegoers again.
A new poll conducted by analytics company EDO asked 6,800 participants whether or not they were likely to return to movie theaters whenever they’re back open for business. The good news is that 70% of those polled said they were likely to head back to movie theaters, and out of that group, 45% of them said they were “highly likely” to get back in front of the big screen. But for others, it won’t be such a quick turnaround.
Deadline called our attention to the latest poll conducted by EDO, which comes from a report titled “Social Distancing Moviegoing and TV Habits.” Among the 45% who were highly likely to come back to movie theaters, 20% said they would hit up movie theaters again as soon as they were open. Meanwhile, the other 25% said they would wait a few days.
It’s not all good news though. Some of the more cautious polled, 45% of the group, said they would wait a few weeks before getting a ticket to the local multiplex. Another 11% said they would wait several months. Considering the fact that China reopened their movie theaters too soon after seemingly quelling the spread of coronavirus, only to close them again after a week of operation, holding off on a return to movie theaters might not be such a bad idea.
Honestly, even if movie theaters are able to reopen in June or July, they might not have much to entice moviegoers back into theaters. Major blockbusters like Wonder Woman 1984, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and Minions: The Rise of Gru have already evacuated their previous summer release dates, so it might be slim pickings if theaters open sooner than later.
For now, moviegoers are taking full advantage of streaming services and VOD content while self-quarantining at home. Among those polled, Disney+ and Hulu were the most popular streaming services being signed up for following the outbreak. Meanwhile, consumption of Netflix and HBO Now went up 80%. As for movies on VOD, nearly half confirmed they had bought movies from Amazon, YouTube and iTunes.
With at least another month of self-containment in the United States being pushed by the CDC maybe longer if coronavirus cases keep increasing at their current rate, the use of home entertainment services is only going to go up, and the struggle for certain movie theaters to stay alive is going to get harder. Even chains...
Gemini Man, in which Will Smith comes face to face with a de-aged clone of himself, was made from a ’90s script originally meant for Tony Scott. At some point, it was saddled with mid-2000s military politics and anxieties — a la the Bourne films — until eventually, Ang Lee got his hands on it, turning it into a futuristic visual experiment. Like Lee’s previous film, the contained war drama Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk 2016, Gemini Man was shot at 120 frames per second, and was projected as such on the handful of screens that could accommodate it.
Unfortunately, not a single screen could show the film exactly as Lee had intended — at 120fps, in 3D, and at a 4K resolution — which is a shame, given that Lee is one of the most visually interesting filmmakers working in Hollywood. But does his use of “HFR” High Frame Rate actually work? Well, not exactly. I’m not sure a narrative film shot at 120fps can work, barring very specific circumstances. However, the conversation about Lee’s use of technology, and the kinds of stories he applies them to, is worth having.
First, a brief primer: What does 120fps mean?
Movies are generally shot and projected at 24 fps at least on film; it’s 23.976 on most digital cameras, which means ~24 still images are projected in quick succession, within the span of a second, to create the illusion of one continuous moving picture. At five times the frame rate, you lose the motion blur between frames, which helps approximate the vision of the human eye. Without it, things begin to look a little too smooth, almost like they’ve been sped up. You may have seen this effect on televisions in shop windows, which are usually calibrated to show off their sharpness. You can probably experiment with a similar effect at home by turning the “motion smooth” option on your TV on and off things not shot at higher frame rates will have the gaps filled by “guess frames”.
Most people’s first exposure to any HFR footage was The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 2012. Even its mere 48fps was enough to occasionally expose the seams of the makeup, sets and costumes; generally, HFR has the effect of exposing the artifice of cinema. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many side-by-side comparisons of 120fps video on the internet; if you’re reading this on a phone or laptop, your screen probably can’t handle more than 60fps, and neither can YouTube. Most HFR showings of Gemini Man were in 60fps to begin with only fourteen screens across the U.S. played it at the full 120fps; for a comparison of different viewing experiences, do read Bilge Ebiri.
So, to illustrate just some the effect created by HFR, here’s the trailer for Gemini Man in 24fps, followed by the same trailer at 60fps:
Can you spot the difference? The 120fps version of the...