I am a wheelchair user, which makes it difficult for me to go to the movies spontaneously. My local movie house only has one wheelchair space, all the way to the right of the back row. So if another wheelchair user makes a reservation, my movie plans will collapse. In large cinema chains, wheelchair spaces are often very close to the screen. When I go to Wonderful woman I had to awkwardly put my head back into my neck all the time to see something – not really what you think about when you want to go to the movies.
Many people do not like the fact that cinemas are now closed due to pandemic – This is very understandable. But for people with disabilities, switching to online broadcasting can also be comforting.
When movie theaters were forced to close their doors for the first time last year, the movie industry was forced to Thinking About distributing new films. Several films are now appearing on streaming services, at the time they were supposed to be showing their debut in theaters. Then Universal Studios during its first shutdown Trolls World Tour For rent on Apple TV, it turned out to be an unexpected hit. The film was delivered to the studio within the first three weeks of its digital release More on from the beginning TrollsThe movie is in theaters in five months. This calls for some the question On whether the traditional model – in which studios show their films first in the cinema – still has a future.
Other major movies premiered on streaming services last year as well. In July Pay Netflix is valued at approximately $ 56 Million (About $ 47 Million) Chicago trial 7 After the film could not be shown in the cinema due to the Corona virus. In the same month How to build a girl Released on Amazon Prime. Disney used the new streaming service Disney + to make a remake of it Mulan the first show.
The price for watching movies like this usually corresponds to how much you would pay at the cinema, or even much less. Disney transferred 21.99 euros Mulan When viewing the film plus a monthly subscription fee of 6.99 euros. That’s a whopping sum, but not when compared to movie tickets for the whole family. Other streaming services charge less for one time or charge for new movies at the subscription price.
For people with disabilities, these lower costs are not the biggest advantage. There are special cinema shows for people with disabilities, but they are often staged somewhere in the mid-week afternoon, and usually only in large cinemas. People with disabilities can now watch the latest movies at home, however and wherever they want.
“Live broadcasts are more available to me for many reasons,” said Charlie Clement, disabled rights activist. “For example, I need subtitles because of my neurological and auditory processing problems. I often have to take a break during the movie. This is not only because of my sensory problems, but also because of my chronic pain and fatigue. If I do it at home, I won’t miss a movie.”
Just like me, Clement doesn’t miss the uncomfortable seating areas in its cinema. “Cinema seats are actually very difficult for someone with chronic pain, so I generally try to avoid them,” she says. “Cinema is actually not a space available to me at all.”
Liam O’Dell, a deaf journalist and activist, is also enjoying the opportunity to watch new movies at home. He used to wait months for a new movie to arrive on streaming service, so he was always behind.
“Before the outbreak of the pandemic, there were translated shows in my region here and there, but not often and only on certain days,” he says. “People who hear can see a new movie any day.” But now that O’Dell can stream movies at home, he is enjoying “more flexibility, freedom and comfort”.
field, A UK charity dedicated to equal opportunities for people with disabilities, it would also welcome the entire film industry to provide more cinemas. “By reaching out to visitors with disabilities, movie operators can facilitate equipment, training and procedures to build a loyal customer base,” said Alison Kerry, SCOPE’s chief communications officer. In the UK alone, she adds, the purchasing power of people with disabilities is around £ 249 billion – equivalent to £ 290 billion. “If you make sure that going to the movies is more fun and accessible to people with disabilities, it can also make a lot of money.”
Cinemas have suffered greatly from forced closures. Researchers from accounting and tax consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) estimate the global losses in movie theater revenue in 2020. 66 percent. Moreover, they have not seen such a steep decline in the entire entertainment sector in 21 years. “For 2020, we expect a 5.6 percent decrease, about $ 120 billion, from the record year 2019,” said Casper Schaeffer, entertainment and media expert at PwC. “Even during the banking and credit crisis, the deflation was less severe at 3 percent.” Facilitating access to cinemas may be one way to offset some of these losses – by attracting entirely new audiences.
It is not the case that lowering this threshold has never been considered. In 2019, for example, the Dutch Association of Cinemas and Cinemas (NVBF) proposed a Action Plan With concrete measures to increase awareness among operators and workers on the issue, projects and technical innovations to increase accessibility. The plan also stipulated that increased accessibility could have financial benefits for movie theaters. 2 million Dutch They have some form of disability and the elderly population is growing rapidly in the Netherlands. Not only can visitors with disabilities benefit from more accessibility, but also people with a walker – and visitors who use a stroller, not to mention it.
However, the film industry faces challenges. “I know the film industry has been concerned about broadcast services and how they affect movie theaters and release new films, but I really hope more new films will be made available in this way,” said Odell. “Live broadcasting is simply more accessible to people with disabilities.”
Clement agrees: “The epidemic has definitely made cinema easier, and I hope new films can still be broadcast.”
Airing a new movie at home might never replace the real cinema experience – staring at a big screen with a tub of popcorn in your hands. But perhaps this pandemic is just a small nudge needed to make such a cinematic experience accessible to all.
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.