Attendance at movie theaters is down, by a lot, and there is little evidence that it will ever come back to pre-pandemic levels, much less the huge numbers the cinema enjoyed in the ’90s, ’00s, and even the early ’10s.
Sure, the pandemic crushed movie houses in 2020, but personally, I had already soured on the offerings and experience of “going to the movies.”
Chris Toto, of HollywoodinToto.com ran his own unscientific, personal survey to understand why people weren’t going to the movies anymore and his article hits on some major reasons that my family and I saw only one movie at the cinema this year: “Top Gun: Maverick.”
Toto’s look into theater-goers minds surfaced several reasons not to bother anymore: streaming, liberal Hollywood, bad movies, the Biden economy, and home theaters.
Everything except Biden’s disastrous economy existed before the massive drop in attendance, but there is nuance.
Sure, Hollywood has been liberal for a loooong time, but over the past 10 years, celebrities have made it their raison d’etre to scorn those with whom they disagree. They have used every interview, awards show, and appearance to shame people (aka moviegoers) for differing views. This can turn a fan into a “well, I’ll watch it if the movie’s really good, but not just because she’s in it.” Celebrity disdain for dissent is about to kill off awards shows while they’re at it.
Hollywood just isn’t making the kinds of movies we want to see anymore mostly because Hollywood is liberal (see: last paragraph.) Having to sit through a movie that virtue signals at every turn and wedges controversial issues into places they don’t really fit into are a turn-off. And, I don’t pay to be turned-off.
Disney is screwing the Marvel Universe into the ground and ruining the Toy Story franchise with its social justice BS. Other production companies are afraid to make the real movies we want to see because of backlash from the extreme left if they don’t put social justice crap in them.
It took Tom Cruise, putting his own money on the line to produce something as good as the second Top Gun movie. That and the Mission Impossible series are movies people pay to go see. Even if you turn away from the action genre, where is the next “When Harry Met Sally” or “Out of Africa”? Oh, yeah, they’re on streaming services.
Streaming and Home Theaters
Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Paramount+, Disney+, you name it – there’s a streaming service for it. First-run content has hit before theatrical releases, at the same time as the cinema, and is now almost always available within weeks of hitting the theaters.
Also, some of the Netflix, Hulu, Prime original content is much better than anything coming to a theater any time soon.
You can sit in front of your 55″+ flat screen that cost just $300 on Black Friday, with that super-sounding soundbar 5.1 surround setup, and you can start the movie exactly at the time you want and pause it when you need to take care of business.
I am much more willing to take a chance on a movie that might be just ok when I’m paying $20 or less for the whole family to watch it in the comfort of our own home.
Going to the movies is a hassle. Drive, park, stand in line for rip-off-priced tickets, stand in longer lines for ridiculously priced popcorn and drinks, and hope to get decent seats for the whole family to sit together.
Theaters have tried larger screens, better screens, 3-D projectors, improving audio technologies, more comfortable seats, and more – but it doesn’t solve the major issue. The overall movie-going experience is too much of a hassle and way too expensive to bother with unless you are sure the movie is going to be amazing.
Taking our crew to the theater and getting the whole experience – popcorn, drink, etc – is well over a hundred bucks. If we wait just a few weeks, we can do the same thing for somewhere around $20 bucks, or maybe free, without the lines or hassle.
So Why Did We Quit Going to the Movies
In a nutshell, the theater experience isn’t worth the costs and the alternative is. The monetary cost and the opportunity cost of blowing 3+ hours overall on a movie that might not be as good as we thought make movie night at home a much more welcome prospect.
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