1920s: The Rise of Cinema
“The auto industry, personified by Henry Ford and mass production, and the film industry, personified by the stars, not the producers, used the same production process — and for the same reasons,” explains historian Chip Rhodes.
Cars, clothes, and going to the movies were considered elements of luxury and leisure. By displaying the opulent and lavish lifestyle the average citizens could presumably achieve one day, silent movies paved the way for the first nationally famous movie stars, before being replaced by sound ones in early 1927. By the time the decade ended, the cinemas managed to sell around 95 million movie tickets, with an estimated three-quarter of the U.S.’s population going to the movies on a weekly basis.
2020s: The Decline of Cinema
Today, with Netflix revolutionizing the way people watch movies, it seems Hollywood is changing in a very dramatic and fast way. People are no longer willing to leave their house and spend money on cinema tickets unless it’s for a very good reason.
As Tom Rothman, Chairman at Sony Pictures says, “What movie is going to get people to go out to a theater to see it? There now has to be something about it that gives it that theatrical urgency, and it’s true whether it’s a small-budget horror film, a gigantic event film or a mid-budget original drama”.
“Movies still have an extremely large community, but there are lots and lots of people who don’t belong to that community and don’t follow what’s happening in Hollywood the way they did, even into the ’80s and ’90s,” says Bolter. Film won’t go away in the 2020s, but it will keep transforming, likely into something less centralized and harder to categorize.