It was reported this week that movie attendance for 2011 dipped to a 16 year low. Many speculate re that people grew tired of sequels. This may be true as Part 2 and 3 of blockbusters seem to be made immediately after their success. It used to be that sequels would come out a few years later, but that isn’t the case anymore. There are many other factors that have affected the sale of tickets. The main one is fact that we can now access films without the cost of sitting in the theatre.
The cost of a movie ticket has risen steadily over the years. 3 D movies command an even higher price. You can try saving a few dollars by going to a matinee, but that means you probably will have to catch the film at 10:30 in the morning. Throw in a trip to the concession, and a family of four can easily spend an average of 50 plus dollars for a couple of hours of entertainment. So, people stay home, make popcorn, and for a minimal price, watch a movie when it becomes available on DVD or streaming.
I remember when you had to catch a film at the cinema or you missed any chance of seeing it. Matinees were around 2:00 in the afternoon. Most towns had a theatre showing one movie at a time. The screen was large, the floor was sticky, the previews were limited, and the audience enjoyed the experience. Even the cost at night was manageable. It was a way most people could afford a little entertainment.
Now you have to drive to a multiplex, showing 15 different movies all on screens much smaller than years past. On top of paying more, we have to endure about 15 minutes of commercials and previews. Televisions have gotten larger. The quality of HD and Blu-Ray has made watching at home better. Some people have even installed home theatres. Even if you miss a film while it is out, you know you can see it eventually. There are some old theatres and town halls that show movies after their major run for a fraction of the cost. This also provides a fun and affordable way to see a movie.
I enjoy going to the movies every now and then. I appreciate a good drama, an indie film, a documentary and yes, even a comedy. I sit through films that I probably wouldn’t see if it weren’t for my kids. It still is an enjoyable way to spend some free time. The darkness, the sound, the crunching of salty popcorn, the laughter, the tears, and the occasional applause, all add to the experience. Movies will live on forever, however we choose to view them. The choice is what still makes it possible.