2020 was a banner year for OTT platforms and streaming apps. The demand for content continues to spike as people find more time on their hands owing to limited social interactions and saved commute time. The film industry has seen a remarkable shift in the way people make and consume media and this will bear a significant impact on the future film trends.
Here are some noticeable shifts and predictions from our side as to what audiences love and what direction will the films of the future take:
People will turn to action and adventure genres for escapism. If you are looking for a script, here’s your cue. Typically, action and adventure are the most popular genres but also light-hearted comedy and romance that helps audiences take their minds off the grim realities and current affairs.
On the other hand, there may be a rise in the apocalyptic genre of films taking a cue from the events of 2020.
More women-centric films
2019 saw a wave of female-centric films in India and abroad. From Shakuntala Devi that is written and directed by Anu Menon to the biographical film Thalaivi based on the life of Jayalalithaa starring Kangana Ranaut, to Thappad and Haseen Dilruba, female-centric stories, biopics and drama seem to have a universal appeal.
In Hollywood, 2020 opened with the much-acclaimed Birds of Prey directed by Cathy Yan and promises many big projects led by female directors are under way. This is certainly a trend that’s here to stay.
While escapist cinema will see many takers, there is also a need for catharsis. Some find their relief in gritty realism. The reason why people went to extreme lengths to see Contagion – a film that they couldn’t stream easily.
Cinemagoers seek thrills and entertainment, but nothing can beat an important story with great characterization. Dramas like Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You and Dardenne’s’ Young Ahmed are proof of that.
Luckily, hyper-realistic plots can be narrated on a limited budget. This means all those stories waiting to be told can be shared on a shoestring budget but with great conviction.
Use of data in film making
Industries across sectors are using big data and analytics to drive their decisions and get predictable outcomes. Film-making is not far behind and Netflix is leading this game with their decisions to greenlight projects stemming entirely on the data they have about consumer behaviour.
Hollywood is already trying to capture a better hold on audience imagination by using technology to understand audience behaviour, likes and dislikes. Studios can leverage real-time opinion analysis to fine-tune their films even after the move has been made. The day is not far when studios will customize trailers to appeal to a certain demographic, target certain audience groups in marketing campaigns and even find algorithms that can analyze scripts to rate their marketability.
Sequels and remakes
People find a strange sense of comfort in the familiar universe of well-loved stories and their remakes and sequels. Even trade pundits agree that sequels are money magnets and fans return for stories they are familiar with, if only in a new avatar. We expect to see a lot many remakes and sequels in India and in Hollywood as things go back to normal.
This has been a strange year for cinema buffs and filmmakers, it is time to focus our energies on doing what cinema does best. Share stories that audiences love and keep coming back to.