‘Zorro’ star Antonio Banderas was in Dubai last week for the launch of OSN’s 2016 schedules and programming, and he suggested that quality TV could be eclipsing the movie world. He’s starred in 95 movies, but Banderas says the time for cinema could be cooling off.
Given the emergence of television providers such as Netflix, and Starz Play in the Middle East – not to mention OSN announcing record levels of growth – he could just be right.
Banderas said: “I think television is taking over – it’s becoming the future. Over cinema even.”
With television shows like ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Breaking Bad’ developing massive worldwide followings, the ‘Cat in Boots’ star could be on to something. Another 50 shows have been added to the OSN television line-up, with streaming services launching in the region, and many new television partnerships being struck between OSN and providers in the United States.
Banderas says the movie industry professionals – actors, producers, and executives – are worried about the changes, in regards to the market shift, and the use of technology as well as the viewership shift to television from film. But the 55-year-old thinks the industry should embrace the changes, rather than avoid them, as they have tried to in the past.
“Normally we are afraid of things that can change the current status but it happens – and it always happens, in the history of the movie industry,” he said.
“It happened when silent movies changed to sound, and actors were required to talk in front of the camera; ‘Singing in the Rain’ tells that story – about the response of actors and the industry during the changes. Then it was color films, and then when television came, everyone was scared, but it changed once again. And now it’s on our phones and tablets. It’s just the progression of the industry.”
Regardless of audiences changing the format in which they consume entertainment, it’s still equally as powerful for the entertainment industry – if not more, according to the ‘Desperado’ actor. Banderas said the audiences are still there, just in different places, and urged Hollywood executives to fine-tune the way in which they present their content.
“People are scared, about losing the audience, and sure, we are losing audiences in the cinema – but we are not losing audiences completely. They’re just in different places now – and we need to present the format in different ways.
“I see my kids watching movies on a phone – or on a tablet now – technology is changing the way we consume. So we have to adapt. Rather than be threatened, it’s about the possibilities. The audience isn’t shrinking – it’s changing. There are more fans out there.”
Banderas certainly doesn’t discount the value of movies. He credits cinema for his career. “All the seven films I worked on with Robert Rodriguez I love, and of course ‘Zorro’ is one of those movies that actually made me known all around the world – and he’s a happy character and a heroic one – even though he doesn’t have superpowers,” joked the Spaniard.
It may not all be over yet, as cinemas adapt to provide more experiential services – including the use of 3D and 4D and taking viewers on a journey.
Banderas says: “I believe the art of cinema serves many purposes from entertainment, from making people laugh (through) to movies examining the human soul, it’s complexity – in all its depth.”