It is expected that in 2017 over 900 films will be released in the UK. The top 100 or so will no doubt make over 90 per cent of the total box office takings. Cinema admissions for 2016 are expected to fall slightly short of 2015’s 171 million and still not a patch on 1946’s industry high point of 1.6 billion.
What we face as an industry and as audience members is the abundance of choice, both in terms of the films themselves and also in terms of viewing platform.
Of course, the major change to cinema-going habits occurred with the introduction of television and then home video, and audience numbers declined steadily from the early 1950s, as people could be entertained in their own homes.
Audiences have returned slightly from 1984’s lowest point of only 54 million tickets sold, but the choice of mediums for viewing and the variety of films available has grown and grown.
In this world of possibilities sometimes the best approach is to refine the options. Cinemas will always have a more cultivated selection than the internet can offer. They select from the films on release and, in the case of independent cinemas like The Showroom, the programme aims to present the most diverse and high quality films to audiences.
Choosing a programme from up to 15 new films released each week is often complicated. The programmer must to a certain extent predict what audiences will like, from films that have been marketed months in advance, to films without even a poster. By the end of 2016 The Showroom will have played approximately 500 different films.
With only four screens, scheduling can often feel like something of a jigsaw, but it’s all worth it to create opportunities for our audience to discover films they otherwise may have overlooked or missed out on.
Looking forward to 2017’s plethora of choice, I am hopeful that audiences are enthusiastic for the huge variety of ‘other’ films which are out there waiting to be discovered.
With seasons on the cards covering Indian film, Japanese film, the work of renowned directors Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Kelly Reichardt and many more, there is a world of cinema waiting to be discovered.
Sheffield has a rich and varied film culture, so for 2017 make a new year’s resolution - don’t get lost in a menu screen, visit your local cinema and lose yourself in the big screen.