According to statistics from Cinematography Department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, around twenty domestic digital films have been licensed for popularisation in the first half of 2021, including those attracting the public's attention before the fourth outbreak of COVID-19 epidemic such as “Khuc mua” (The rain) by Bui Tuan Dung, “Bo gia” (Dad! I'm Sorry) by Tran Thanh and Vu Ngoc Dang, and “Gai gia lam chieu V – Nhung cuoc doi vuong gia” (Camellia Sisters 5: Living Like Royalty) by Bao Nhan and Nam Cito.
It can be said that the appearance of digital movies in the context of the prolonged COVID-19 epidemic is a suitable development direction that has helped cinematic works reach the public, as many cinemas have had to close, while showing the common trend of integration and development in the film industry.
On digital platforms, most digital movies have attracted large audiences in both of fee and free-of-charge forms. However, this development also exposes many risks, including the control of the scope of dissemination and the protection of copyright.
Based on the statistics of the digital movie catalogue issued monthly by the Cinematographic Department, there were two noticeable issues: Vietnamese films classified as unpopular with audiences under the age of 16 and 18 accounting for a high rate; and the number of foreign digital movies being about three times higher than domestic films.
Specifically, there were sometimes no licensed domestic digital films, but only foreign ones. For example, 11 foreign digital movies from the US, France, Japan and Norway were popularised in May 2021.
In terms of content, domestic digital films aimed to intrigue audiences in genres of entertainment, action and horror. There are a few rare films that were released in cinemas, achieving high sales and being highly assessed for their good contents, with film “Khuc mua” on post-war topic by People’s Army Cinema. Meanwhile, other movies were of average quality and many others abused many details of violence, hot scenes and shocking situations. This was also the reason why the domestic digital films were noted as “not popular with audiences under the age of 16 and 18”.
On the other hand, most licensed foreign digital movies can be popular for all audiences, many of which are classified as unpopular with audiences under the age of 13. Thus, it can be seen that the increase in quantity is a good signal of change. However, the quality of each cinematographic work and the balance in terms of themes and genres are still challenges for the development of domestic digital movies. In addition, experts also warned that the process of distributing movies on digital platforms can lead to many risks in terms of controlling the scope, contents for popularisation, and copyright protection.
Currently, there are no strict mechanisms to control movies that are classified according to different age groups. While revenue from digital platforms is not high, digital movies have been facing a great challenge from piracy.
Many filmmaking units signed contracts of popularisation with specific partners, attached with many terms. However, within only a few hours following their broadcast, many films faced copyright infringement and were freely exploited. The digital movies are expected to continue to increase rapidly in number. Therefore, it is crucial to implement specific mechanisms and solutions to help them develop stronger and have higher quality.