Entertainment titans George Lucas and Steven Spielberg gathered to talk about the future of cinema, and according to them, we're witnessing the first stages of a multiplex apocalypse, where theatrical blockbusters will become a niche market and VOD will reign supreme as the king choice of consumers. They even go as far as to predict programmable dreams.

The pair spoke out at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where George Lucas predicted that soon, the major studios will begin to crumble.

"They're going for the gold. But that isn't going to work forever. And as a result they're getting narrower and narrower in their focus. People are going to get tired of it. They're not going to know how to do anything else.

You're going to end up with fewer theaters, bigger theaters with a lot of nice things. Going to the movies will cost 50 bucks or 100 or 150 bucks, like what Broadway costs today, or a football game. It'll be an expensive thing. (The movies) will sit in the theaters for a year, like a Broadway show does. That will be called the 'movie' business.

There'll be big movies on a big screen, and it'll cost them a lot of money. Everything else will be on a small screen. It's almost that way now. Lincoln and Red Tails barely got into theaters. You're talking about Steven Spielberg and George Lucas can't get their movies into theaters."

Steven Spielberg continued the thought, saying this.

"There's eventually going to be a big meltdown. There's going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen of these mega-budgeted movies go crashing into the ground and that's going to change the paradigm again.

What used to be the movie business, in which I include television and movies ... will be Internet television. The question will be: Do you want people to see it, or do you want people to see it on a big screen?"

George Lucas made the craziest claim of the conference, saying that implants are the way of the future, and that within the next few decades, we will be able to program our dreams when we sleep at night.

"The next step is to be able to control your dreams. You'll just tap into a different part of your brain. You're just going to put a hat on or plug into the computer and create your own world. ... We'll be able to do the dream thing 10, 15 years from now. It's not some pie-in-the-sky thing."

What do you think of the future of cinema? Will the local multiplex crash and burn while huge auditoriums sell single tickets at $100 a piece. Is VOD going to take over the movie industry? Only time will tell.

B. Alan Orange at Movieweb
B. Alan Orange