What is Cinema?
A quick thought.
Cinema is an aesthetic medium experienced via motion pictures & synchronized sound.
The movie industry sells 3 cinematic products, primarily:
1) Celebrity Identification
Where we pay money to spend 2 hours with a celebrity (or a few celebrities) that we identify with — either we envy them, enjoy their company, or covet their image. This is the primary driver of the Hollywood industry.
2) State-of-the-art Technology
Where we pay money to experience the height of technological spectacle: Whether that’s 3D, IMAX, new animation methods, new methods of special effects, film vs. digital, or whatever the technology jump is. People first rushed to experience a train pulling up to a station. One of cinema’s dominant appeals is its relationship with technology.
3) Taboo / Forbidden Spectacle
Where we pay money to witness taboo or forbidden images. Movies are a safe place to contain & experience phenomena which society deems generally inappropriate. The human mind is titillated by the idea of forbidden things, and so naturally many people will seek out this variety of curiosity. Mainstream movies may have elements of taboo and/or forbidden spectacle (nudity / gore / sex / controversial subjects / etc).
Until recently I believed it was only the first & third thing (celebrity + taboo spectacle), but it’s with the release of the new Lion King movie where I’m reminded of an obvious truth — Walt Disney got rich selling state-of-the-art technology spectacles, complemented with celebrity identification. The celebrities, in many ways, were the cartoon characters themselves. But it was the new technology, & the expert execution, that got people initially curious.
Anyway, the point is: The 3 can mix & blend, but every decent movie offers at least one.