Guest post: Bud Caddell on how will we be watching movies in 5 years

The filmlinc blog asked digital strategist Bud Caddell to look into his crystal ball and predict how we will be consuming movies in five years. What follows is his prediction for the future of cinema.


Photo via Flickr, by Riverland

“It’s easy to forget that 2014 is only five years away. By no stretch of my imagination will we be traveling to movie theaters aloft in the clouds by means of a rocket powered car which conveniently folds up into a briefcase. With that in mind, I’ll leave Jetson-like predictions to bolder men.

But what I can tell you is that for most movie-goers, life will be relatively unchanged. Large commercial theaters in populated areas will still take in enough revenue to do well, though there will be pressure: moviegoers will continue to feel stung by rising ticket prices, concessions will struggle with our hopefully changing diets, and studios will still fixate on opening weekends and summer blockbusters. Thereʼs a fair chance that theaters will see diminishing returns. Which is good news for everyone at the edges of the industry.

By far, my favorite movie theater in America is the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas. At the Alamo, you sit in spacious rows complete with tables in front of you to hold your dinner, or your snacks or your beer as you enjoy your film. The last movie I saw there was Dr. Strangelove. Sometime before that I caught the premier of Johnny Deppʼs remake of Willy Wonka, where I devoured items from a chocolate themed menu. On another night, members of the audience brought in their own embarrassing home movies to play for each other. Austin has plenty of other theaters that are always packed; but the Alamo holds a special place in the heart of the community.

Over the next five years, our screens (television and computer) will continue to get bigger and cheaper. And by 2014, more digital content than ever will shimmer through them (including some of those summer blockbusters). But places like the Alamo and Walter Reade Theater will thrive. Their choices of programming, their places within the community, and the transportive experience of sitting with a live audience splashed in the reflection of that cinematic light just canʼt be surpassed.

By 2014 I think weʼll be watching more movies on IMAX film. I have a sneaking suspicion that commercial films will be shorter in length. And I know for a certainty that weʼll be interacting with film in entirely new ways online by then. In fact, Iʼm making it my business.”

Bud Caddell is a Strategist at the New York based digital think-tank, Undercurrent.

What’s your take on the future of cinema? Weigh in in the comments.

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3 Comments on “Guest post: Bud Caddell on how will we be watching movies in 5 years”

  1. Rick Boyer Says:

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  2. JXL39 Says:

    I knew a couple kids who were retrieved nightly by whistles. ,

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