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By Natalie Tipping on 18.2.2024

The Death of Hollywood: Piracy or Pricing?

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With the number of cinema goers being in decline over recent years, the potential ‘death of Hollywood’ is a popular discussion topic for film buffs. Many are quick to blame piracy for the decline, but is that the only reason for Hollywood’s apparent demise?

Although piracy is rife in today’s culture, many people are put off from watching pirated films due to the terrible sound and picture quality. It’s fair for people to object to piracy by saying that it’s unfair to film-makers who have spent millions making the film, only for it to gross less than expected due to people watching it for free online at home. Of course, the internet is a seamless part of modern life. For many people, watching TV shows and films online is an everyday activity and new file-sharing sites are popping up every day, so is it even possible to stop piracy? Downloading music online could equally be accused of ruining the music industry, but instead of complaining about it, download charts have been created to allow musicians to recognise the true effect of their music. Should download charts be made for films to show their true popularity?

A less obvious but just as prominent reason for the drop in cinema figures is the prices charged at cinemas. Not only do tickets now cost on average £6 a person, the prices of popcorn and drinks are absolutely ludicrous. Can people really be expected to spend £10 just to watch a film in a room full of strangers rustling sweet wrappers, or is it acceptable to watch it in the comfort of your own home for free? After all, if you realise a film is terrible halfway through watching it online, you can switch it off, but if you’ve paid £10 to watch it, are you really going to walk out? It’s only human nature to go for the cheaper option and if the cinema experience is expensive and not amazing, why pay loads for it? A cheaper option for cinema fans is of course Orange Wednesdays, which allows people to purchase two tickets for the price of one. This sounds like a fabulous offer, and would work well, if you could actually ever get decent seats for a film you wanted to see without having to book days in advance.

So is it piracy or pricing that is ruining Hollywood? A more pertinent question might be whether Hollywood is actually being ruined. Last year, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 grossed $1.3billion in the worldwide box office, despite the film appearing online within days of its release. Another 2011 high grosser was the latest Transformers movie, which made $1.1billion. It’s difficult to feel for the plight of film-makers when looking at these figures. It would appear that they should stop whining, as seen as two of the top 5 highest grossing films of all time came out in the last year, Hollywood isn’t dying at all.

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