There’s ample reason to be fearful. It’s been 128 years since Thomas Edison first helped usher in theatrical exhibition with the creation of the Kinetoscope, an early motion picture viewing device. In the ensuing century, cinema has given audiences Garbo and Rin Tin Tin, introduced “May the force be with you” into the cultural lexicon, and dazzled crowds with man-eating sharks and dinosaurs so massive and menacing they could barely be contained on even the most cavernous of screens. Despite that history, there is mounting anxiety among theater owners, studio executives, filmmakers, and cinephiles that the lights may be starting to flicker.
As consumer tastes and demands change, Hollywood is scrambling to adapt. Instead of surrendering to existential dread, studio chiefs and exhibitors are showing a greater willingness to experiment,