Ridley Scott: new technology is killing cinema

“The Hollywood director, Ridley Scott, warned yesterday that new technology is killing off the big-screen experience. The Oscar-winning County Durham-born movie mogul said mobile phones and computers threatened movie-making on an epic scale,” Raymond Hainey reports for The Scotsman.

“He insisted that the best way to experience great film was still in a cinema with a big screen and state-of-the art acoustics,” Hainey reports.

“Scott launched the attack at the prestigious Venice Film Festival, where he unveiled a newly remastered version of his 1980s sci-fi classic Blade Runner,” Hainey reports. “He said: ‘People sit there watching a movie on a tiny screen. You can’t beat it, you’ve got to join it and deal with it and also get competitive with it. But we try to do films which are in support of cinema, in a large room with good sound and a big picture.'”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “doc” for the heads up.]

This would all be well and good if not for these facts:
• Our 60-inch screen viewed from 10 feet away is perceptually larger than any movie theater screen this side of IMAX.
• Our 60-inch screen viewed from 10 feet away looks better than the one at the movie theater.
• Our 60-inch screen is available immediately, without a drive, parking, waiting in line, etc.
• Our surround sound system sounds infinitely better, especially since we don’t have to listen to people continually jabbering about nothing in the rows surrounding us. Movie theaters too often supply the wrong kind of surround sound.
• Our seat is more comfortable and nobody’s freakish height, goofy hair, or ugly hat is blocking our view.
• Our popcorn didn’t cost US$8 (and wasn’t stale) and our $5 large vat of Diet Coke isn’t watered down by half and we didn’t have to wait on a woefully under-staffed line for half an hour, missing the previews and the first five minutes of the movie, when – at those prices – we should’ve been served immediately upon entrance by a fleet of servants kneeling before us dispensing rose petals.

The movie business is broken. That’s why 25-cents worth of popcorn costs $8 and 15-cents of soda costs $5 and why we stay home to watch more often than we go out to the movies.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple’s famous 60-second “1984” television commercial, in which – ironically – an individual rebel destroys a large movie theater-like screen, was directed by Ridley Scott.

[UPDATE: 12:27pm EDT: Revised comments to remove theoretical names of people who may be jabbering at the movies so as to not distract some from the topic at hand.]


  1. Paid 22 bucks for my wife and I to see a movie on Saturday, over 15 minutes of trailers and commercials. I kept trying to hit the menu button so I could start the movie.

    Oh and the print had a big line down the right hand side and the color was off on reels 2 and 3.

    Sorry the cinema experience has been kicked in the ass by my plasma and surround sound at home.

    P.S. – I don’t think 3D glasses are the answer.

  2. You mean the big screen experience of screaming kids and smelly parents?
    You mean the big screen experience of jackasses who wont turn their phones off?
    You mean the big screen experience of tiny seats made for 3rd grade pygmies?
    You mean the big screen experience of 12 dollar popcorn and cups of ice with a splash of pop?
    You mean the big screen experience of 35 minutes of adds before the previews even start?

    I’m wondering where the hell you’ve been, Ridley, because my cinematic experience was ruined a long, long time ago.


    MW: ‘history’ (will teach us nothing)

  3. It is all about money. The reason theaters have a poor experience and over charged concessions is because the movie makers screw them.

    Most theaters make their money from the concessions not the movies. So they have enough to operate, but not to keep up or upgrade.

    I love movies but just like the music industry, they are working on broken model, and they need to find a new model, not whining about losing their current model.

  4. Unfortunately I do have to agree with Mr. Scott here. Cinemas are the best way to enjoy movies, even if you get strange and roudy people there as well.

    And Home Cinemas with 60″ screens are great too. If you can afford it.

    But I think Ridley Scott’s problem is with ‘TINY’ mobile phones and computer screens. That I can understand.

    I mean Films (even if they are rubbish) like Transformers do impress more on a big screen with great sound, be it cinema or Home Cinema, rather than a mobile phone with tinny speakers, or even watching it on an iPod.

    Now tell me, that’s not true!

  5. I would HAPPILY pay $8-$10 (or, say, $20 or so for a ‘site license’ to invite peeps over) to watch first run movies AT HOME on my fantastic 1080p LCD. My couch is infinitely more comfortable than any friggin’ seat in a movie theater!! And, I don’t have to constantly “shush” people (or tell them to STFU if shushing doesn’t work). On demand first run films, movie studios, that’s where it’s at!!

  6. Obviously, he’s been going to the wrong theaters. I recently found an AMC Premium theater near where I live (a few in the country). They only seat maybe 200 or so, but it’s only for 21 and over and has humungous seats…even has benches if you want to snuggle.

    I’ve seen two kiddie crossover (Transformers, Pirates of the C) movies there and it was a fantastic experience, visually and audibly.

  7. Well it all depends on where you live. I live in Effingham Illinois and you have to drive 23 miles to watch a movie on a decent screen with decent sound. Bad movie theaters are also responsible for killing the cinema experience

  8. Exactly.

    I’m sitting next to a big, fat, mouth breathing, scene commenting, white guy who took all the arm rest with his fatness. He kept checking his cell phone and talking and mouth breathing through the movie. He also wore his keys on a neck chain. so every time he moved his keys jiggled.

    I would gladly never go to a movie again. I would pay 50 bucks to buy a HDVD or Blue Ray if they would simultaneously release movies on disc for home viewing.

    Oh and I’m a white guy. So let’s keep race out of this. And if the guy was skinny, he would have still been unable to keep his mouth or his cell phone shut.

    People suck. So the movie going experience sucks.

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