But it’s going to take a lot of work on both creative and business sides of the aisle, suggests Nolan, who’s reportedly heading into Spielberg territory with this fall’s "Interstellar."
The theaters of the future will be bigger and more beautiful than ever before. They will employ expensive presentation formats that cannot be accessed or reproduced in the home (such as, ironically, film prints). And they will still enjoy exclusivity, as studios relearn the tremendous economic value of the staggered release of their products.
The projects that most obviously lend themselves to such distinctions are spectacles. But if history is any guide, all genres, all budgets will follow. Because the cinema of the future will depend not just on grander presentation, but on the emergence of filmmakers inventive enough to command the focused attention of a crowd for hours.
These new voices will emerge just as we despair that there is nothing left to be discovered. As in the early ’90s, when years of bad multiplexing had soured the public on movies, and a young director named Quentin Tarantino ripped through theaters with a profound sense of cinema’s past and an instinct for reclaiming cinema’s rightful place at the head of popular culture.
Never before has a system so willingly embraced the radical teardown of its own formal standards. But no standards means no rules. Whether photochemical or video-based, a film can now look or sound like anything.
It’s unthinkable that extraordinary new work won’t emerge from such an open structure. That’s the part I can’t wait for…
These developments will require innovation, experimentation and expense, not cost-cutting exercises disguised as digital "upgrades" or gimmickry aimed at justifying variable ticket pricing. The theatrical window is to the movie business what live concerts are to the music business—and no one goes to a concert to be played an MP3 on a bare stage.
He says salvation will come from improved technical systems, larger spaces for exhibition (let’s not forget his love of IMAX), and fresh artistic voices to get people talking about the cinema all over again.
But who’s the person to step up and actually make them?