And now! the moment we were waiting for!

The Cinema-Goers at Natlab Eindhoven.

And now! the moment we were waiting for: let’s unravel the discussion by adding some statistics. According to the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), the body representing European Cinema trade associations and operators, “over 1.25 billion cinema-goers across Europe generated a profit of 8 billion euros in 2018 [1]”.

As a result, regardless of whatever we choose to believe in, there is profit behind the film industry as expected. Moreover, in order to generate profit, the consumer(s) must be engaged. How do you think that the film industry hooks the goers? What is your opinion?

Over 1.25 billion cinema-goers in Europe for fourth consecutive year (UNIC) [1].

Now, let’s proceed with the discussion. In the digital world of commercial products, the films are conceived as non-material goods, directed at a mass public of consumers, for whom they serve an aesthetic, rather than a clearly utilitarian purpose [2]. It is non-material, in the sense that it embodies a live, one-of-a-kind performance and contains a unique set of ideas. In other words, profit by producing cultural products by means of handcrafted items (e.g. films), replicas of what seems to be real, a mere performance constrained by budget.

Films are fads. Due to the rapid turnover of films, the cinematography industry is seeking constantly new material or the same material under a different name (e.g. remakes). For which purpose? What is the situation here? Is it an ignorance of relations between cause and effect? At this point, let’s borrow an expression from the English vocabulary: “Formula Ingredients”. Question: How many film production companies exist and what is the total worth as well? Answer: There are more than 57, 000 companies worldwide and in total the global film industry is worth $136 billion as of 2018 [3].

Now, imagine the competition and the people behind this industry: economists, designers, artists, producers,  chauffeurs, cleaning staff, catering staff, security staff, marketing, engineers, singers, writers, politicians, press coordinators, talent scouts, editors, policymakers, etc., who combine their talents, ingenuity and creativity to apply carefully the “Formula Ingredients” in order to produce a film that it will – by influencing… – target and captivate strategically the public. Agents (e.g. gatekeepers, surrogate consumers, etc.) that actively monitor our input-output human behavior boundaries to influence and manipulate…us.

Maximize revenue, revenue, revenue!…a voice…that resonates in the background. Up to this point, there are a lot of assumptions, speculations but also one side of the truth: the co-opting¹ mechanism applied by humans to humans.

Another side of the truth is: as humans – in general – we enjoy films. Therefore, if it is gratis! then why not visit Natlab “de buitenfilm to enjoy in the company of your loved ones, friends, guests, strangers or just have a wonderful evening yourself. At that moment, as soon as all the audience is focused on the screen: become an observer, turn around silently and derive your conclusions. Afterwards, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show…and remember: “Knowledge has no ultimate goals; its progress is merely a greater differentiation in the questions raised [Hermann Hesse]”. Perhaps, that could be a reason why the world sometimes seems…2 dimensional.

¹According to https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/co-opt, as a verb, co-opt means: to cause or force someone…to use or take control of [something/someone] for your own purposes.

[1]https://www.europa-cinemas.org/en/news/cinema-culture/over-1-25-billion-cinema-goers-in-europe-for-fourth-consecutive-year. Retrieved 16 August 2019.

[2] Paul M. Hirsch. Processing Fads and Fashions: An Organization-Set Analysis of Cultural Industry Systems. American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 77, No. 4, 1972, pp. 639-659.

[3] Global Movie Production & Distribution Industry: Industry Market Research Report”IBISWorld. August 2018. Retrieved 16 August 2019.

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