From Café to Digital Platform

Cinemas Fight To Survive

By Ehab El-Turki
Translated by Humphrey Davies

The corona crisis has magnified the ever-growing competition that movie houses face from digital platforms. While movie-makers lament the decline in the number and size of cinemas and the shrinkage in the numbers of people up for an outing to see a film, the industry itself deals with the facts on the ground, seemingly viewing the movie house as no more than a distribution platform for the basic dramatic product: if it has outlived its usefulness, then that’s the way of the world, and our destiny is to move on to more modern platforms. Journalist and critic Ehab El-Turki reviews these challenges and their impact on the Egyptian and Arab cinema market.

At the end of the day, films will end up being shown on digital platforms but cinemas will continue to exist, like the theater, which is still here and has been since Shakespeare’s day. From a more practical perspective, I believe that the digital audience is many many times that of the cinema, not to mention that a film stays on a platform for a long time, making it immortal by comparison with its few weeks in a cinema. I hope that in future movie producers will think about investing the budgets currently devoted to Hollywood-clone action movies to make limited-budget dramas for digital platforms.

Ibrahim Eissa

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