Considering the various uses that cinema has made of opera, this paper focusses on the new exhibitive and distributive mediums of musical theatre on the big screen today. This ranges from live broadcasts to the use of the screen in contemporary opera stagings. The paper raises several challenges, but particularly analyses the common market shared between opera and the audio-visual industry, from the perspective of the opera business in theatres. After defining the technological and commercial features that transform these broadcasts into sustainable film products, the focus is on ascertaining the audio-visual properties that establish opera simulcasts as a new media event in sociological terms. Once the technological perspective has been explored, the paper goes on to an aesthetic analysis of the audio-visual formats offered by combining opera and cinema. This analysis also offers an explanation of some of the sociological behaviours adopted by people attending films in theatres. Determining the characteristic narrative quality of opera enjoyed by audiences can facilitate a new exploration in the film industry of the future relations between these traditional art forms.