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Joe Russo Talks The Post Movie Theater Future, And Has A Tom Cruise Bot In Mind

We’ve seen the world of movies transform in a major way in just the last few years. Even before the global pandemic forced the closure of movie theaters we saw streaming content growing at a significant rate, and while theaters are clearly not dead, look at the box office of Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick if you doubt that, the future could be something very different than what came before. It’s anybody’s guess what the future really looks like, but Joe Russo think it will still involve Tom Cruise, in bot form.
In a recent profile in Variety it’s mentioned that the Russo Brothers production company, AGBO, has a major shareholder in the form of South Korean gaming company Nexon. The partnership is expected to lead to some interesting combinations of film and games, but Joe Russo suggests the future could be something even more interactive, like a Tom Cruise bot that viewers can actually talk with. Russo envisions it this way…
Filmmaking is going to transform into some other medium. I don’t know what that media is going to be. My guess is that when you can sit in your house, turn to one of the actors that is standing in front of you and say, ‘Hey, Tom Cruise, hold on a second. Tell me about how you filmed this scene,’ and the AI-fueled Tom Cruise can turn to you and start explaining, it’s over at that point, right? That’s when technology will dominate whatever new form of storytelling is coming.
There has certainly been an interest in seeing media become more interactive in the last few years, We’ve seen Netflix use its platform for projects that both games and movies. This sort of idea, while it seems a long way off, certainly feels like something that we could see.
All the individual pieces of the tech required to do this essentially exist. They simply need to be put together, and suitably advanced, to be able to allow you to talk to Tom Cruise about the movie he made while also watching the movie. Imagine hearing the man himself talk about the training the team did in Top Gun: Maverick while watching those scenes.
The theatrical film environment has always remained popular because regardless of what technological innovations come along, the theatrical experience is something that most people can’t experience elsewhere. The fact is that this level of interaction would not be possible in a theatrical environment and would need to be done at home or in some other place. Perhaps if something like this really does come along we could actually see the movie theater industry collapse.
We’d already seen studios shifting production to making fewer, but bigger projects that focus on the theatrical experience, and while we’re certainly seeing now that theaters are not dead, audiences’ relationship with them has certainly changed. A post movie theater future seemed like a near impossibility only a couple years ago. Today that’s not really the case. Many people have found that they like watching movies at home rather than n the theater, and if technology changes only make that experience more appealing, perhaps we really could see theaters fade away.



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