In the wake of an ever changing pandemic with lethal repercussions, poor ventilation in most indoor cinemas in Ghana, has forced the hand of the President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo – Addo, to place an indefinite Ban on cinemas and theatres in Ghana. But, in this dark moment, the option of ‘outdoor cinemas’ has appeared but is yet to be explored.
The outdoor cinema experience can never be underestimated; even in these times. Outdoor cinemas have always created a different feeling as the ‘no roof’ feeling brings the hall to life as the split second variations in the weather fuses with the moods in the film to often create a connection with the story and the audience; so much that you may for a moment feel as if you were in the film.
Nowadays, modern theatres have substituted that experience for state of the art sound. You are drowned in loud but appreciable sound in air-conditioned rooms and nothing but the same old taste of roasted corn and maybe a chilled bottle of Sprite. The dramatic experience and connection with the environment, even as one watches a movie, has disappeared. Now, one must rely on personal enthusiasm or interest in a film in order to enjoy it. Those days during the outdoor cinemas, one could go to the cinema to watch a movie you never heard about, because it was about the experience and not solely the film.
As a reporter who has attended some of the biggest movie premieres in Ghana since 2017, I can boldly tell you that, after randomly interviewing some of the guests at the premiere, many would only watch a movie once. Why? Because the cinemas these days offer nothing apart from the film. The experience is totally gone! Why do you think most people choose the Silverbird Cinemas in Ghana for their movie premieres or to attend movie showings? It’s because the cinema is located in an ultra-modern mall which offers many options for relaxation and fun. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they choose other premieres at larger venues which lacked those facilities?
In conclusion, the presence of the deadly Coronavirus might be a blessing in disguise to filmmakers in Ghana. But, they must first be bold enough to explore in the midst of this challenge, than refuse the change that has come. There are many facilities for outdoor cinemas in Ghana. For example, even at the Coconut Groove Regency Hotel in Accra, their huge parking space next to Standard Chartered Bank, has been converted to a Drive – In Cinema. So, all we need to do is to bring the glam and comfort to these centres to attract the public and we are back in business. Outdoor cinemas will not encourage the spread of any airborne disease and will accommodate many. Outdoor cinemas will bring back the full experience of watching a film in a cinema and simultaneously contribute economically to the economic growth of the economy. Simply put outdoor cinemas is the future of the present.
By Jerry Wonder