The release of the much talked about the new James Bond movie, No Time To Die, has been delayed until April 2021. That delay might have been the last straw for Cineworld, the owner of Regal Cinemas (500 locations in the U.S.), is for now shuttering its operations in the U.S. and U.K. The Pandemic has only accelerated the eventual reality of movie theaters: extinction. Just as broadband connectivity and devices’ proliferation has led to accelerated cord-cutting, the same will be valid for the movies.
We go to movie theaters and sit alone together. Technology is going to enable us to do this at home. I wrote about this eventuality early last year. I pointed out that “both, the big (TV) and biggest (movie theater) screens are going to go the way of the DVD. We could replace those with a singular, more personal screen — that will sit on our face.” I believe that the killer app of virtual reality devices is television and movies. You can read my full argument here.
Our firm, True Ventures, are investors in BigScreen VR that have built a platform to enable the world to watch videos together. They have allowed quite a few television channels and movies to be experienced on the VR headsets as a communal experience.
The fact remains that we are living in increasingly isolated lives. We live with our headphones as barriers to the sounds. Our homes are going to act as a filter from the harshness of the climate. So virtual communal viewing is perhaps the only way to experience entertainment together. The hardware of today is still a work in progress. The headsets are getting better, but need to be lighter and more comfortable to wear for sustained viewing.
In time, the software and hardware are going to come together in perfect symphony. In particular, Apple has an opportunity here — they have all the building blocks — video and audio technologies, semiconductor skills, and ability to create desirable consumer experiences. Viewing screens on our face seem dystopian, but I choose to think of it as a better way of viewing. Who knows, it might be thermodynamically more efficient than going to a cinema.
As for Mr. Bond, it might be better if he figured out a way to stay alive and relevant via broadband and screens on our face!
October 5, 2020. San Francisco