Nightmare Alley (2021), and Movie Theaters in a Pandemic

By: Dylan Evans

In 2021, revered director and producer Guillermo del Toro released a horror-thriller movie called Nightmare Alley, which was released this past December. The movie was liked by critics but did not receive much attention in theaters and the box office. This movie is a remake of another movie of the same title from 1947.

The film was nominated for awards due to its cinematography, special effects, and acting. The movie was met with praise, del Toro painting his own dark vision while also paying homage to the original film.

The movie stars Bradley Cooper, as well as other big names such as Cate Blanchett and Willem Dafoe. IMDb states a rough overview of the plot; “An extraordinary description of a freak-show geek alcoholic and abject and the object of the voyeuristic crowd’s gleeful disgust and derision going about his work at a county fair. Young Stan Carlisle is working as a carny, and he wonders how a man could fall so low. There’s no way in hell, he vows, that anything like that will ever happen to him.”

So, with high praise from critics, popular actors in lead and supporting roles, as well as a popular director and producer, why was Nightmare Alley (2021) swept under the rug? Many people did not even hear of this movie’s release, and many did not see it in theaters.

This was simply due to advertisements from the studio and production companies. In the midst of a pandemic, many movies have only been receiving limited showings at theaters, minimizing their profits and causing them to become unknown among audiences. The fear of spending too much on advertising through commercials on television and online makes production companies reluctant to show many trailers and commercials for upcoming films.

This causes many independent films to suffer, as well as films that are not part of a large fad or newly coined cinematic universe. So, what does this mean for cinema and the future of theaters?

Simply put, many films have been being watched through streaming services since many people are reluctant to attend a showing in a public theater because of Covid-19. Though, this still causes many filmmakers to suffer a loss of profit.

In brief, I suggest that if one would have the chance, to either stream or watch a showing of Nightmare Alley (2021) for its fine filmmaking and benevolent strides in cinema. Either way, supporting our entertainers is crucial amid a pandemic, and even if one is uncomfortable with attending a showing in a theater, streaming a film will still support it by giving it publicity and revenue from the streaming companies.

Image Credit: IDMb

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