What If Movies Went Away?
from the times-change dept
The real question is how will movies make money -- and that's easy enough to answer. As plenty of folks have been pointing out for years, the movie business isn't selling movies, but selling seats to an experience. Put on a good moviegoing experience and the money will still come in. Theater owners will have every incentive in the world to make sure good movies get made, otherwise they won't be able to stay in business.
However, in the ongoing online debate being held by the Cato institute, Rasmus Fleischer makes another point that's at least worth considering: what if movies really aren't that important as a content medium. Now, personally, as a movie fan, this made me cringe, but the overall point he's making is worth thinking about, noting that movies are a recent phenomenon, and other forms of "high art" have come and gone in the past without the world ending. He quotes Paul Oskar Kristeller:
There were important periods in cultural history when the novel, instrumental music, or canvas painting did not exist or have any importance. On the other hand, the sonnet and the epic poem, stained glass and mosaic, fresco painting and book illumination, vase painting and tapestry, bas relief and pottery have all been “major” arts at various times and in a way they no longer are now. Gardening has lost its standing as a fine art since the eighteenth century. On the other hand, the moving picture is a good example of how new techniques may lead to modes of artistic expression for which the aestheticians of the eighteenth and nineteenth century had no place in their systems. The branches of the arts all have their rise and decline, and even their birth and death.The point is quite clear. "High art" forms come and go -- and when something new comes along to replace the old form, people don't feel that it's such a huge loss, usually because something the market prefers more comes along instead. If there's really a demand for movies, a business model will be created to finance them and make sure they make money. However, getting rid of copyright may teach us that there are other art forms out there that are even better.