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Netflix's Bright The success of streaming movies is not enough to kill cinema culture

In the future, more people will want to watch movies from the comfort of their homes but going to the cinemans will always be a different experience.

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Bright, an urban fantasy movie about a world where orcs, humans, elves and other creatures live together is the latest of Netflix's releases stirring up a storm.

With its straight-to-tv content, Netflix is changing the way the world watches movies and giving cinemas a run for their money.

Its newest big project, Bright stars Will Smith as a Los Angeles Police Department police officer who teams up with a rookie police officer who is an Orc, fighting crime and social ills in a world of both human and mythical creatures.

The film was released worldwide on Netflix on December 22, 2017. Since it became available for streaming, the movie has received mostly negative reviews.

Critics have bashed the writing, cinematography and what they perceive as heavy-handed social commentary that forms a major subplot.

ALSO READ: The 25 worst movies of 2017, according to critics

Guess who doesn’t seem to care about all of this. The only person who matters; The average Netflix viewer.

Netflix is winning, baby

Nielsen disclosed that during Bright’s debut weekend from Dec. 22–24, some 11 million people in the US were watching the film AT ANY GIVEN MINUTE.

About 3.9 million of those viewers were ages 18–34, and 7 million were 18–49. About half, or 56%, of the crowd during the three days were male.

Ratings of the movie by the audience on platforms like Rotten Tomatoes now hover around 90%. One fan wrote in his personal review, "Will Smith is the experienced old hand and the charm. Joel Edgerton (totally hidden in makeup and therefore working twice as hard) is the sympathetic rookie willing to risk it all to prove himself worthy."

".... And Noomi Rapace (this woman is a force of nature!) plays a force of nature. And ... it works. It comes outta nowhere and it works. It's a lot to take in, sure, but zowie. Time will only improve this wine."

Bright was supposed to be Netflix’s first blockbuster movie, as the cast and subject matter may have already suggested.

ALSO READ: The Godfather trilogy is coming to Netflix in January

But the scale of its success has many asking questions about why critics have been so harsh on something that the audience clearly enjoys.

Movies do not enjoy as much success as they used to.

play Critics have given Bright negative reviews. The audience differs. (Rotten Tomatoes)


With the rare exception of successful franchise releases and big-bang blockbusters, now for competition, they have on-demand services like Netflix that provide original content at the viewer's fingertips whenever they wish.

Whichever way you look at it, the idea of Netflix making its own blockbusters threatens anyone who is interested in the cinema business.

The reviews do not match the numbers

This is why there is some credence in the conspiracy theory that certain powers that be are influencing the reviews to ensure that Bright fails.

Some believe that vested interests in the cinema space are influencing Bright’s reviews to discourage the audience from watching it and make sure it fails.

In the larger sense, the idea is that if the audience believes that Netflix’s original movies are a waste, then they will stay in the one place where that is built for exhilarating blockbusters— the cinemas.

ALSO READ: The 10 best TV series of 2017

If this turns out to be true, it really comes across as a hare-brained scheme from an episode of Looney Tunes than something that a corporate enterprise would adopt.


Ironically, while original movie and blockbusters on streaming platforms will threaten the domination of cinemas, the success of movies like Bright is not enough to destroy cinema culture.

Can the cinemas withstand the strength of streaming?

Cinema culture refers to the way of life or practices that exist around the act of going to the cinemas to consume content.

Since the first silent films were made, cinemas have become more than just a place to see movies.

Young and old, going to the cinemas is a restful experience that implies much more than seeing a movie.

There’s food in the mix, social interaction and a sense of leisure that sustains entire industries from tourism to the performing arts.

It is why according to a recent survey, 13 percent of Americans go to the movies about once a month, the US film industry is the leading film market in the world.

That sense of leisure was worth over 10.31 billion dollars in box office revenue in 2016.

play The cinema and movie industry in the United States is the largest in the world. (NollyGists)


That’s big money, enough that Companies like Ticketmaster, Uber and fast food outlets like KFC reap heavy profits from models that they have designed to take advantage of the millions who watch movies across the US every year.

52% of Americans already prefer watching movies at home and streaming platforms like Hulu and Netflix are providing a much-needed alternative.

ALSO READ: Game of Thrones is the most pirated TV show of 2017

However, America’s cinemas are enough of a cultural and economic phenomenon to stay profitable for the next few decades, even if that means a lot of changes will be made.

What is the Nigerian perspective?

In Nigeria, Jason Njoku’s iRoko is the leading movie streaming service.

To be fair, he and other new entrants like may not be able to provide the same competition that Netflix offers, thanks to broadband penetration and the fact that cinema culture is still growing in its earliest stages.

Netflix has also created a presence in Nigeria, but pricing and penetration have precluded it from having a major market presence.

play Cinema culture is still growing in Nigeria and streaming services are struggling to permeate the value chain. (NaijaGists)


Also, projects like Netflix’s Bright require heavy investment and the best chance of recouping all that money in Nigeria is still the cinemas.

So, yea, FilmOne and the rest of them can rest easy.

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