It’s a tough time to run a print magazine. It’s an even tougher time to run a print magazine about the film industry. And after more than 40 years of definitive coverage of the special effects industry, Cinefex has shut down.
The news came in a blog post from Cinefex’s publisher, Gregg Shay, on Tuesday. The note explains that the coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible to continue producing the magazine for a number of reasons. “The pandemic deprived us of subject matter, retail outlets, and, most critically, advertisers, many of whom, like us, struggled to remain afloat in a climate of intense turmoil and uncertainty,” Shay wrote. “We did our best to weather the storm, but ultimately the storm prevailed.”
The February issue of Cinefex featuring articles on The Mandalorian, Star Trek: Discovery, and Raised by Wolves will be its 172nd and final edition.
I recently visited two bookstores feeling in the mood to read a magazine about the movies. That’s a fairly unusual urge for me to have, but I guess the lack of theatre experiences and the monocultural grind of new streaming offerings ignited a craving. It was sad to find the only offerings on the magazine racks were old issues from last spring. Other stalwart film publications like Film Comment have been forced to pause production as new film titles have dwindled, festivals have gone virtual, and set visits are out of the question.
But Cinefex was different than the criticism- and entertainment-focused approach of most publications. It was a gee-whiz nerd magazine that chronicled the evolution of the effects industry and its related technology from the practical-puppetry of Ridley Scott’s Alien to the birth of CGI dinos in Jurassic Park to the bizarre de-aging deep-fakery in Gemini Man. For kids of a certain generation, it was a gateway drug into understanding that movie magic is actually more interesting when you know how it’s done.
“For 40 years Cinefex served as an incredible inspiration and resource to so many in the industry,” the team at Industrial Light and Magic tweeted. “We are heartbroken.”