This week, I went to see the Sherlock season 4 finale, ‘The Final Problem’, in my local cinema.
Apart from looking forward to it because of the cliff-hanger from the previous episode, I was also happy to go out and see it in the cinema.
I love going to the cinema. I love the smell of popcorn and the wave of nostalgia that you get when you walk into the lobby. I love sitting there with snacks and watching a huge screen. I love that it’s an event, and not just sitting in front of your TV.
While the episode itself was a little uneven, I really enjoyed myself. It was fun being surrounded by people who were reacting as well, and I got a slushy and popcorn.
My question is, why don’t TV shows do this more?
Sherlock, of course, is not the first TV show to have a cinema screening. In 2013, Doctor Who showed its 50th anniversary special in cinemas and has been doing the same every year ever since.
Sherlock itself also showed its Christmas special, ‘The Abominable Bride’, in around 100 cinemas in the UK last year.
And it makes perfect sense.
Many shows nowadays have much larger budgets and are much more stylised than their predecessors. Sherlock has been experimenting with graphics, special effects and film shots in order to try and represent the thought process of its protagonist, with some incredibly beautiful results.
Many shows could benefit enormously from being able to show their product on the big screen.
Think of what it would be like to see something like Planet Earth 2 in high definition, on an enormous screen, with surround sound. The dream.
With the rise of streaming services from Netflix and Amazon, a lot of shows are already making feature-length specials to take advantage of the fact that they don’t have to work within the constraints of ad programming.
There are so many ways in which both the show, producers and consumers could benefit from screening these in local cinemas.
Season finales now generate as much, if not more, hype than traditional movie releases so why not provide a better atmosphere and, in the process, make a little bit of extra money?
It’s not like cinemas don’t need the help, as there has been a steady decline in the number of people going to the movies each year.
In 2014, there were 14.3m admissions to cinemas in Ireland, compared
with 18.3m back in 2007. Revenues during this period fell by over €20m (according to IHS, a market analyst) and the downturn saw The Screen
cinema on Hawkins Street closing for good in 2015.
TV shows also have to deal with the issue of illegal downloading and as a result, falling TV viewership figures and DVD sales.
In my view, it’s an absolute no-brainer. Screening a well-known TV show in cinemas is more likely to attract
a reliable audience than the over-hyped Hollywood disappointments we are often
Let me put it this way: the show this week was fully booked.
People don’t want to just pay to watch something anymore; they want the experience as well.
Screen it, and they will come.