【Film and television review】

Recently, a video of the audience eating hot pot while watching a movie in a movie theater has become popular on the Internet. Some netizens applauded the operator's innovative approach to attracting consumers, and many people expressed that they could not accept this strange way of watching movies, and even ridiculed: "Look at the screen twice, the hairy belly will be boiled old, eat two more hot pots, and you won't know what the movie is about." The conclusion is that the movie is not good, and the hot pot is not eaten well." Coincidentally, some time ago, the topic of "can the massage chair leave the cinema" also rushed to the hot search on social platforms. Many people have reported that some movie theaters have replaced the best viewing area or even all the seats in the cinema hall with a strong sense of wrapping and restrained paid shared massage seats, and it is very uncomfortable to sit on the back, massage is also uncomfortable, and the viewing process is very sinful. These topics related to cinemas frequently arouse heated public opinion, making practitioners fall into thinking. How to operate cinemas in order to attract more customers, maintain the artistic experience of watching movies, obtain both economic and social benefits, and then promote the high-quality development of China's film industry, this problem needs to be solved urgently.

In the past few years, China's film infrastructure has developed rapidly. When the cinema reaches a certain scale, how to carry out intensive, professional and differentiated operation, increase box office revenue and other operating income, has become a test question in front of cinema operators. So, everyone crossed the sea with eight immortals, each showing their own powers. Some operators make a fuss about the content of the screening, join the National Art Film Screening Alliance, screen Chinese and foreign films with unique artistic value, or meet the individual needs of film lovers for on-demand movies in the form of private theaters. Some operators are turning their attention to high-end cinema technologies such as giant screen projection, 4D special effects, and Dolby Atmos, starting from sight, hearing, touch and even smell, and strive to give audiences an immersive viewing experience. Some operators try to create a more comfortable viewing environment, replacing the seats in the auditorium with sofas or even double beds. Some operators have broadened their business scope, in addition to box office revenue, they have made full use of the space of cinemas to explore diversified formats, introducing business contents such as cafes, script killing, doll catching machines, snacks, beverages, and retail of movie peripheral products. Some operators hold premieres, road shows, viewing groups, and advanced screening activities to create a sense of experience and interactive viewing scenes for the audience. In a sense, cinema operators use advanced technological means and diversified business models to let people have an emotional connection with friends and family, other fans, film creators or industry experts, and society, and obtain a comprehensive cultural experience integrating socialization, shopping, entertainment and leisure, so that "entering the cinema" transcends the meaning of simply "watching movies".

In response to the changes of the times, cinemas continue to innovate service concepts, upgrade hardware equipment, broaden business scope, and attract people to watch and consume with more extreme viewing experience and more diversified consumption scenarios. However, innovative measures such as allowing audiences to watch movies while shabu shabu or massage have been criticized by the public for not being organically integrated with the core function of cinema film art communication, destroying the unique experience of watching movies in theaters.

Different from other forms of entertainment, cinema viewing can create an atmosphere rich in ritual, solemnity and immersion: in the relatively closed space of the screening hall, realistic images and high-fidelity surround sound on the big screen in a dark environment make people enter a state of high perception and low movement, which is easier to integrate into the situation created by the film; Audiences with different occupations, identities, genders, ages, and interests, or familiar or strange, sit on fixed seats, face the stories and characters on the screen together, immerse themselves in the same image world, and construct a dynamic field of social relations. The viewing experience created by this atmosphere has a unique charm. Even in the current era of "Internet + personal terminal", people can choose the viewing time, content, and scene according to their personalized needs through mobile phones, tablets, and home projections, but many people will still be attracted by the viewing experience of the movie screening hall, and from time to time they will spend a few hours to buy tickets to enter the cinema.

No matter how it is transformed and iterated, the core business and main competitiveness of cinemas is to play movies. Other business contents must not be overwhelmed and affect the normal viewing process and viewing rules. Operators should not only think about how to pull more audiences from mobile phones and computers into the cinema, but also explore in practice how to let people rebuild the ritual sense of cinema viewing and stimulate their awe for film art. Only by finding a balance between the artistic, social and entertainment attributes of cinemas, guiding people to understand history, observe reality, and think about human emotions and life values through watching movies, can we shape a more healthy, rational and diversified film culture, and the road of high-quality development of China's film industry can go more and more smoothly.

(Author: Li Lei)

Guang Ming Daily (October 2023, 10, version 25)