Directors and producers have been using the game of bingo to line their pockets for years, most noticeably in the likes of films such as King of the Bingo Game and the 2005 series of Curb Your Enthusiasm. However, the strategy tailed off dramatically, and bingo scenes disappeared from the silver screen for a while.
Like a yo-yo, they have swung back into popularity, with a host of examples that have aired in the past five or six years, including global hit Better Call Saul and iconic series The Simpsons (2014). This begs the question, what are the reasons behind the return of bingo to our TV screens?
A Full House
Bingo’s story is incredibly detailed, rising to fame in the cultural revolution of the 60s before declining in the 90s and early 2000s. However, you can’t write off a British institution, and sure enough, the game regained its position within UK popular culture with a bang due to the introduction of remote games and offerings.
As people no longer had to leave the house to play in halls or wait days before their next game, the health of the industry is estimated to be worth around £550 billion worldwide, with £1 billion generated for the United Kingdom alone. This highlights how bingo online was a significant player in the game’s trajectory and still is today with the likes of Helter Skelter offering jackpots of over £50,000.
Considering the growth of the global game, it’s no surprise that the entertainment sector wants to leverage the game to appeal to more audiences and improve its revenues.
That’s a Bingo!
A direct knock-on effect of the increased demand for bingo is the inevitable impact it is having on popular culture. A prime example is how scenes don’t even have to include a game to reference the pastime, such as Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 movie, Inglourious Basterds. In it, Hans Landa, one of the main protagonists, exclaims “that’s a bingo,” which led to various memes and gifs that were shared globally.
Bingo itself has also decided to use films and TV series to its advantage. A glance at any bingo website will not only highlight the number of available offerings, but how many of them relate to the silver screen. From Grease to Deal Or No Deal, there are several pop culture-based games that lure in players.
Because the two are inextricably linked, it’s almost certain that movies featuring bingo scenes and references will grow in the years ahead, as will bingo games that connect with TV shows and films.
(Not) Unlucky for Some
Unlucky for some is an infamous bingo term, yet it doesn’t apply to the film industry. After all, directors and producers have plenty of examples to look to if they want to understand the power of bingo within film.
Yes, some productions haven’t been well-received, but tonnes have, including Big Momma’s House 2 in 2006. The sequel to a major hit, BMH 2 was expected to do well, yet it exceeding everyone’s expectations. To this day, it has grossed £103 million worldwide against a budget of £29 million.
Although the bingo scene wasn’t the main reason for its success, it’s a pivotal scene that sets a precedent for other filmmakers to follow. Viewers are seeing more bingo scenes due to the health of the industry in popular culture and the standard it is setting for the film and TV sectors.