If I only watched Spaghetti Westerns in theatres, I’d never have seen a single one. But I’ve wound up buying plenty which I initially saw purely thanks to sites like Cinemageddon, Kick-Ass Torrents or The Pirate Bay.
I’ll be gong to see The Hateful Eight at my local Empire too but, along with the new Star Wars picture, they’ll likely be the only times I go to the cinema in the next six months; they’re certainly the only times I will have been in the preceding six. In fact the last time I went to the cinema was an outdoor screening of Django Unchained, about 14 months ago. I wish I could afford to buy six trips to the cinema to see one movie but I can’t. And I’ll always ultimately buy the films I want. Can I justify £15 on a newly released blu-ray? Yes, if I like it enough, although it’s nicer to get that same disc for £10, or £8. Because for that money I get a movie I’ll be able to watch forevermore, over and over (as cineasts are fond of doing). But can I justify spending £16 on two tickets (I’m not going to the cinema on my own) - or £22 if it’s a family movie and I’m taking my son too - plus petrol, plus the £10 or so on the obligatory coke-and-popcorn combo, just to see a movie once? No, I simply can’t. I guess if being poor means I can’t be a true cineast then I’m not a true cineast, but personally I don’t think that that should say all that much about whether or not I “truly” love movies; a sixteen-hundred+ DVD/Blu-ray collection suggests I possibly do, and it demonstrates that the movie industry gets my meagre disposable income eventually anyway.
People utilize torrents for many reasons, not just to buck the system or rob the industry. I won’t be robbing Quentin Tarantino when I watch The Hateful Eight later because I’ll be going to the cinema to see it too. And I won’t be robbing Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu when I watch The Revenant tomorrow because I was never going to be able to go to the cinema to see that as well, so he was never going to get my ticket money. But if I like the picture (which in fairness, given the director, is almost a certainty) I’ll definitely be buying the blu-ray.
Giants of cinema from Roger Ebert to Martin Scorsese have tales of sneaking into cinemas just to try to see a movie back when they couldn’t afford to. Now I don’t know, but I reckon that’s because a true cineast will see a movie any way he or she can, one way or another.