Netflix originals have always been popular. From ‘The Crown’ to Noah Baumbach’s  'Marriage Story’, Netflix have managed to cast their golden spell over a plethora of now critically acclaimed shows and films, making the streaming service increasingly worshipped and sought-after. With the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, along with companies like ‘Zoom’, the cloud-based video conferencing service used throughout lockdown by pretty much everyone, Netflix has started to take over not just our lives, hooking us onto the likes of ‘Stranger Things’ and films like ‘The Two Popes’, but also the cinemas. 

A trip to the cinema can be expensive, taking into account the travelling fees, the ticket costs and the ridiculously overpriced food and drink which is incredibly hard to reject. However, now, unfortunately, a trip to your favourite Odeon could be potentially dangerous due to Coronavirus. Despite the many measures put in place, like face masks and mandatory social distancing, people are still reluctant to go out- why would you when a fantastic Netflix original is just the click of a button away? The excitement and ambience that seeing a film at the cinema can create is slowly being forgotten and the memories of childhood trips with friends and family are slowly decaying, being devoured by Netflix’s popularity. 

Sadly the cinemas have had to face intermittent closures and reopenings due to the governmental restrictions that we have all had to live under since March, which allowed Netflix to establish itself as a way of life. With school cancelled, parents working from home and the shops closed, we all turned to Netflix as if it was our only friend, the only thing left in this abyss of chaos and confusion. Whilst this streaming service became more popular thanks to lockdown, getting 16 million more sign ups at the beginning of the isolation period, it has always been a brilliant way to enjoy the latest films and binge worthy box sets. One of its most notable achievements being the 2018 Mexican film ‘Roma’ which won an academy award for Best Picture in 2019. ‘Roma’ is a Netflix original which was only available in cinemas in Mexico for an extremely short period of time, it was then moved straight to Netflix for viewers to stream whenever. Like ‘Roma’, Netflix were also incredibly successful in funding ‘The Irishman’, the long-awaited Scorsese epic, starring some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Robert De Nero and Al Pucino. 

The ‘Roma’ situation is not so dissimilar to the way in which Netflix are releasing their newest originals. ‘Rebecca’, a retelling of Daphne Du Maurier’s 20th century gothic novel, was recently released as a Netflix Original, telling the story of a young woman who marries an affluent widower in haste, only to find out he is haunted by the memory of ‘Rebecca’, his late wife. The film came out in independent, higher end cinemas like ‘The Olympic’, ‘The Curzon’ and ‘The Everyman’, on the 16th of October, only to be moved to Netflix on the 21st, making it readily available for anyone with a Netflix subscription. Furthermore the Netflix release of ‘The Prom’, a psychedelic, LGBTQ+ musical, starring the likes of Meryl Streep, James Corden and Nicole Kindmann, coincided with its opening in the cinemas. It seems that Netflix is not only taking over our homes but also the cinemas, sadly, it is reducing the number of people going to see certain films due to their quick releases onto the streaming service. Others like ‘The Trial of the Chicago Seven’, starring Sacha Baron Cohen and Eddie Redmayne, faced the same fate. 

Of course, for the cinemas, it is inevitable that these films are less popular- why would you take a costly and potentially perilous journey all the way to the cinema, to spend 2 and a half hours suffocated by a clinging cotton mask, only to be able to stream the film on Netflix in the comfort of your own home the next day? No thank you! The pandemic and lack of new films apart from Netflix productions has ultimately left us with two options: stay at home and watch Netflix or take a trip to the more homely and luxurious independent cinemas, without the distractions of your washing machine and knocks at the door. 

From its birth at the world’s first movie screening on the 28th of December 1895, by the Lumière brothers, at the Grand Café in Paris, going to the cinema has always been an event, inviting the creation of film festivals and award shows. Yet, as shown by ‘Roma’ the sad but true question remains- does the world really need cinema anymore? Award shows can still go ahead, people can watch the nominees on streaming platforms, maybe ‘Rebecca’ will be nominated for an academy award, films can still be celebrated but from our homes, perhaps that’s what a world plagued by Covid19 beckons.

But the prospect of a world bereft of cinema is a tragic one. Where would awkward teens go on their first dates? Where would the elderly, unable to work out how to turn on the television with the 5 remote controls that modern day technology often requires, go to enjoy the latest releases? Where would that distinctly cinematic smell of buttery popcorn fill our nostrils and warm the pits of our stomachs? We must, of course, congratulate the achievements of ‘Netflix’ and thank it for the wonderful series and films that it has given us. However, nothing beats tradition, and the cinema is one of the last pieces of tradition that the world has left.