2019 was an 11,4 Billion Year with huge successes as AVENGERS – ENDGAME and STAR WARS, SKYWALKER. It had also the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all-time: JOKER.

Despite many commentators that screamed that the theatrical business is dead due to the rise of streaming platforms, theatrical is pretty much alive. According to Comscore Box Office was 4% down from 2018 figures but proved the stability of the business.

There were also highly impressing independent “Originals” in 2019 like PARASITE. A lot of good talent is now working for streaming platforms nevertheless there is strong artistic value in theatrical films.

2019 proved again that genre films can generate reliable box office successes like CRAWL, MA, SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK or IT(2).

Nevertheless, changes are important to guarantee the future of the theatrical business.

More Originals

If we look at the list of feature films in 2019 we see franchises and the exploitation of trademarks that were generated in the 80ties. Furthermore, many movies are based on books, comics, games or they are remakes. Decisionmakers are afraid to trust filmmakers and writers when it comes to original ideas and original content. However, if the theatrical business needs one thing it is daring fresh ideas not something we have seen before.

This applies also to the art itself: Feature film for the theatrical business was once an innovative form of creativity. This is what we see today on streaming platforms. Feature films again should be innovative and sometimes provocative. Particularly if it comes to the theatrical business in Germany, a fundamental change of system seems necessary.

Memorable films

What we also see – again particularly in the local film market in Germany – is a lot of product but very few movies which are remembered after a few years. We miss the quality of milestone films like Werner Herzog’s productions or Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s films. The rerun of the excellent German horror classic LAURIN by Robert Sigl 30 years after the original release showed us what a memorable film is. This is what feature films should be: They should be not mere visualizations of some book or game but they should be “films”: this means encouraging the art of cinematography, montage, directing. They should be unforgettable visual experiences.

Long Term Development

Memorable films are films with long term value. This needs a commitment to long term development. If there is one thing endangering the business it is the short-windedness: Decisionmakers want fast developments and don’t think in longer timespans which were once the strength of Hollywood. There are cases where a script was written in five days and became a success. However, the most important filmmakers like Stanley Kubrick or David Lynch develop their ideas and themes often for a long time before the film is made. Original ideas need time to evolve. Endurance Entertainment Gmbh is dedicated to providing quality with long-term developments.

Change of system

The films of the last years proved that the talent is there. There are also high-skilled specialists in any field of the film production from VFX to editors. They come from any background, they are young or old, they come from any country. The limitations of success artistically and commercially is a problem of the ruling elite. The feature film industry – again Germany is the most prominent example – has becomes too much a “friends and family business”.

A Film is about artistic and commercial success

In the last years, there had been many demands about quotes or so-called “green productions”. Of course, the business should be fair and everyone should be treated equally. Same chances for everyone. It is also fine if film productions are aware of ecological issues. However, we shouldn’t forget what the aim of production is: It is the artistic and commercial success of the movie. This should be the ruling principle. A mass of new obligations doesn’t create a better world and producers or filmmakers need the necessary freedom to make the right artistic choices.

Peter Engelmann