— A24 (@A24) May 8, 2019
For an independent horror movie about a Swedish cult, it is fair to say that Midsommar is doing well at the moment. Reports have suggested it enjoyed the biggest indie opening of the year and while that is positive news, it does throw a spotlight on the challenges being faced by smaller movies at present. Head to any multiplex these days and you will quickly notice how the space for indies appears to be disappearing, with the likes of Midsommar being surrounded by summer blockbusters. However, rather than simply suggesting that big studios are to blame for this issue, could emerging threats from other parts of the entertainment industry also be playing a role?
New Gaming Trends
Taking gaming, for example. The movie world has always had a close relationship with the industry, whether that is due to major franchises being turned into games or studios bringing famous console characters to life on the big screen. Then there is the online casino world, where movie hits ranging from Ted to Mars Attacks! have been adapted into slots online. Such titles tend to feature a range of imagery and music from the movies in question, while video clips of famous moments also tend to be worked into the gameplay.
However, one significant trend which has developed in gaming in recent years is the rise of streaming and games-related content. Services like Twitch have made it very easy for people to not only catch the latest eSports tournaments, but also watch their favorite gamers in action. While the idea of watching other people play games may not sound attractive to some, for those in this world it is a chance to get advice, tips and also simply to see how the best handle an array of challenges. Incredibly, research in the past couple of years has suggested that more people now watch games-related content online than the likes Netflix or HBO. With such videos and streaming seemingly taking up more and more of people’s time, could this be impacting on the time that people have to get to the cinema and watch the latest movies?
Ticket Sales Slump
In a recent article discussing the wider issues affecting the movie business as a whole, Variety recently mentioned how ticket sales for indies were down by around a third so far this year. Interestingly, in the same piece, Kyle Davies of Paramount suggested that one of the primary problems faced by the film industry at present is that there is a huge amount of content now available for people to choose from.
However, while such comments inevitably lead many pundits to consider the impact that movie and TV streaming services like Netflix or Amazon have had on the entertainment world, one issue which does not seem to be mentioned very often is gaming and the seemingly unstoppable rise of streaming content in that space. Considering the incredible viewing figures that the content generates, it may well be time for it to be treated as a major rival.
The Battle for the Public’s Attention
While Midsommar has enjoyed a strong level of commercial and critical success, it is hard to deny that the independent film industry is facing challenges at present. However, while the rise of Netflix and similar services may be regularly viewed as a factor, it is clear that games streaming is now firmly involved in the battle for the public’s attention too. With eSports in particular on the rise, it will be fascinating to see how this develops in the years ahead.