This might sound a little weird from a guy who bought a projector TV so his home experience would match his cinema experience as closely as possible, but I still think there is a huge difference between a movie to see in the theater and a movie to wait to see at home.
Well, Christopher Pendegraft at Scriptshadow has the same take:
[G]ood movies aren’t only about stories. Movies are about imagery and ideas and action and adventure and sound. There was a time long ago when people went to the movies because they could take them places they’d never be able to visit otherwise.
It’s a lot easier to see the world these days with the internet and a thousand outbound flights to Europe every day. But the spirit of this statement is still true. A movie has to give people something they can’t have in real life, something outside of the norm.
Look at the Star Wars trailer, which, no, I have not watched 117 and a third times since Friday. Who gave you that information? There’s a sense of “action” in each of the shots presented. The characters need to get somewhere. We’re on other planets seeing things we’ve never seen before. We can’t get this kind of action or these kinds of worlds anywhere else but in the movie theater.
On the flip side, you have films like Garden State and The Skeleton Twins. These aren’t movies. They’re glorified 90 minute TV shows – talking heads going through issues. With the line between TV and film blurring more every day, it’s become even harder to justify these “movies.” They’re not giving us anything we can’t see on our television sets.
I disagree with Christopher’s insistence that movies for television aren’t “movies.” (I’m also not sure why those “thousand outbound flights” had to be “to Europe.”)
A movie, to me, is a self-contained story lasting longer than an hour. I just think the cinema should be reserved for movies that make the best of the big screen. Even if my screen at home is gigantic. A good example of a “minimal pair” illustrating the difference between movies for cinema and movies for the small screen would be Gravity and Apollo 13. Similar themes, very different presentation. You can’t really get the impact of Gravity on a small(er) television screen. In fact, I predict that the shift we’re seeing toward IMAX and 3D will eventually come to define cinematic movies in contrast to movies that really should be released on Netflix, Amazon, or premium cable.
Anyway, check out the rest of Christopher’s analysis here, including his take which movies should or shouldn’t have been released in the cinema.