Never before have we had so many options for things to do in our spare time.
Netflix and Amazon Prime, for example, have ushered in a new era of home entertainment. Although Utah's movie theaters still have a budget and screen size advantage, storytelling works better when given more time than the 2-3 hours audiences can tolerate in a cinema, and shows like Game of Thrones (at least the first five seasons) and The Expanse have demonstrated that CGI is no longer the exclusive domain of high-budget studio films.
While the studios are keen to lure you out of your homes and back into their theaters, they recognize that in the post-Covid world, they will have to do something absolutely exceptional to succeed. They've lost the battle, and many people no longer see the value in spending that much money on two hours of entertainment. Utah movie-goers are no exception.
Studios have long recognized that it is easier to pull an audience with established characters and tales (thus the abundance of book adaptations, sequels, prequels, and spinoffs) than it is with unique storylines.
They even realized that breaking a book adaptation into two films would generate far more cash than cramming the entire book into one (no, it's not for the fans), but it was Denis Villeneuve who persuaded the studios to split a one-off novel into two parts: They made Dune. It was a positive move, but Dune would have been better served as a 10-episode Netflix series - there is simply too much that needs to be chopped out to fit into cinema time frames.
From the humble origins of Pac-Man and Space Invaders, videogames have come a long way. While there are still many examples of intelligent platform games with eccentric characters, the trend for huge blockbusters is to cast you as the protagonist in a tale of your choosing, with as much leeway as you want to diverge from the main objective - do you want to set fire to the grass? Go ahead!
The line between a game and a movie is blurring, and the trend is clear: create compelling tales, hire professional voice actors, produce stunning visuals, and give players as much freedom as possible.
Videogames are evolving into action films in which you play the protagonist. This is a trend that will accelerate if all of the issues connected with VR are resolved (lag, sickness, headset cost and weight, etc.). Once those issues are resolved, we will be spending far more time in virtual reality than is healthy.
Surprisingly, there has been one type of home entertainment that has been mostly unaffected by technological advancements: books. Yes, we can now read them on our Kindles and listen to them on our iPhones, but the medium has shown to be remarkably resistant to change. Utah book readers have their favorite authors, including local talent, Stephanie Meyer the author of the Twilight series.
Despite this, books are more popular than ever before. Print book sales in the United States increased over 9% in 2021, to more than 800 million copies, led by fiction - and this does not include the sale of ebooks and audiobooks, which have seen a spectacular spike in popularity in recent years. Deseret Book, a local book market leader, is still serving a broad range of media and lifestyle products. They apparently are in good shape for the future.
Kinetic novels have served as a type of link between books and videogames, but they haven't gained much momentum outside of Japan. Instead, little effort has been made to bridge the gap between literature and movies. The Arrival of the Gods is one such endeavor that has a chance of succeeding.
This audiobook, which is self-described as a video novel, features a music score that is original and some animation that is not that different from a lo-fi music video. If we can all agree that books will continue to fill our shelves for the foreseeable future, then this may be a common tendency.
There's little reason to leave the house to go to the movies, regardless of your tastes: with a few exceptions (Dune 2 being one of them), we're spoiled for choice within our own four walls.