For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved going to the movies. The entirety of the experience makes for something that you just can’t replicate watching at home. But recently that experience has changed for the worse and I’m not sure how I feel about that.
For starters, the quality of movies coming to the theatres has gone down immensely. There’s an over-abundance of sequels, cinematic universes (I’m looking at you Marvel), remakes, reboots, the list goes on. The only thing not on my list, however, is good original movies.
Some of my favourite movies I have seen in theatres were La La Land, Baby Driver and The Nice Guys. Were they perfect films? Absolutely not, but were they fresh stories, with some true talent displayed in front of and behind the camera? Yes.
This isn’t to say that I’m a movie snob, nor do I go out to see each and every movie, but getting the opportunity to see a smaller movie, one that hasn’t been spoiled online or wasn’t adapted from a book is refreshing. It’s one of the key elements of the movie-going experience that makes me want to go back again and again, something that I think is now severely lacking.
I know that this isn’t exactly new, but the ridiculous cost of movie tickets and concessions makes it a really tough sell, especially for cash-strapped young people like myself. Compare the $10.00+ for a ticket to see a single movie to a $10.00 basic Netflix subscription, which gives you access to their entire catalogue of movies and TV shows for a month.
On top of that you have to add in the concessions. A drink and popcorn can cost upwards of $15.00, which means that altogether you will have to fork out at least $25.00 per person for the full movie experience, which is not exactly something you can do with any regularity on a shoestring student budget.
There are an abundance of coupons and offers that make it more affordable, but having to plan going to the movies around when it’s the cheapest is not exactly convenient. Additionally, you don’t necessarily have to buy concessions every time you go to the movies but if you aren’t going to enjoy the theatre popcorn or get a box of candy that you only ever see when you go to the movies, then why not just wait for the movie to come out on Netflix or for rental online?
Which brings me to my final point, the convenience of streaming at home, regardless of the cost savings, is becoming so enticing it’s really hard to pass up. The amount of times I see people checking their phones out in the open on full brightness at the movies these days is infuriating, almost as bad as the passive aggressive people who shout at them from across the row to turn off their phones or the people who audibly shush those around them. It’s like an arms race of who can be more annoying and so far, both sides are winning.
The only thing worse to me than a theatre filled with obnoxious people is a theatre that’s empty. Being the only people at a movie is a bit creepy, not to mention it does a terrible job of creating a shared space where you can enjoy something with people you don’t even know, one of the key elements that makes going to the movies so unique and memorable.
Getting to experience a movie with others as invested in it as you are is unlike anything else. It really amplifies the emotional beats of any film in my opinion, whether it’s really that great or not. When it’s funny, you laugh harder, when you’re scared, you scream louder, you really tend to feed off the other people in the room and it makes any movie, whether it’s great or not, more enjoyable to watch.
With all of that said, I don’t think movie theatres are entirely dead in the water, but I think that it really is becoming harder and harder to justify actually going out to theatres. A good movie going experience really is unparalleled, which is likely part of the reason it’s disappearing; we can never have nice things for too long because people always end up ruining it.