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Streaming Killed the Silver Screen Star: With Quiet Award Ceremonies and a Declining Box Office Goers, What’s to Happen to the Future of Cinema?

The Golden Globes were semi ‘cancelled’ this year leaving many of us puzzled. The reason behind the awards’ omission from TV sits among questions about the organisation’s membership and its integrity. 

Even so, the winners – Will Smith for Best Actor and Nicole Kidman for Best Actress – may even make us doubt whether the Globes are motivated by art or popularity. There seems to be minor acknowledgement for arts and foreign films and the motto often seems to be the bigger the star the bigger the award. This is not to say that Kidman nor Smith did not deliver stellar performances – they did – but in a world where one singular mainstream channel just isn’t possible, the awards’ inability to acknowledge various cinematic niches feels dated. 

Streaming platforms, rather than the box office, seem to understand and cater to this niche is a much more advanced and modern fashion. 

Since the re-opening up of society post lockdown, studios have been forced to be more dynamic than ever before, pushing theatrical films on to digital platforms with unusual speed, either demanding a $20-plus rental cost, selling them to Netflix or Amazon or using the circumstances to redirect consumers to an in-house streaming platform like Disney+ or HBO Max. It meant unprecedented day-one living room access to major films like Dune, Black Widow, Halloween Kills and The Matrix Resurrections, a new normal that would have seemed impossible back in 2019.

Most of the biggest films of the awards season, such as The Power of the Dog, Don’t Look Up, Being the Ricardos, The Lost Daughter, Coda, Tick, Tick … Boom! and The Tragedy of Macbeth were all released virtually straight to streaming (with token two-week theatrical showings for some).

Spider-Man: No Way Home is however a record-breaker regardless of release date exception, already up to over $1.3bn globally in less than a month and likely to be one of the most successful films of all time. However, its total is over $300m more than the year’s second-place film. 

Box-office dollars, the most obvious metric for weighing a movie’s popularity, no longer tell the whole story.

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