Say Goodbye to Cinemas: Rise of Streaming Leads to Fall of Theaters

Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney + and dozens more streaming services litter your computer tabs. ‘Who wants to go to the movies to see that new Marvel movie?’ The answer is no one, because with the multitude of streaming subscriptions you hold, that new release is bound to be on one of them. 

With all of the ease that comes with cuddling up in your own home, eating your own food and talking during whatever movie you are watching, why would anyone choose to drive to the theaters?

This phenomenon traces back to the beginning of Covid-19. How does Hollywood survive without the showing of the movies at the theaters? They move the viewing to the comfort of everyone’s own home, leaving them with the profits, and the theaters with empty lines. 

As film production and releases are finally returning to normal after the pandemic, this year will show the drastic changes that have occurred, and how well equipped theaters are set to handle them. 

“I feel like now that everything has changed and we can watch the same movies at home, we don’t need to go out of our way to pay for popcorn and movies and physically go, when we can just stay at home and watch them through our phones and TVs,” said freshman Zoe Estevez.

For years, “going to the movies” was associated with crappy seats that squeaked when you shifted, as well as slightly soggy and cold popcorn. But you sat through it in order to see that brand new movie you and your friends had been talking about for months. It was a way for you to get out of the house or to hang out with friends. This all happened when the types of movies being put out were still up to “blockbuster” quality. 

Over the course of the pandemic, there had been a decrease in the amount and quality of these action-packed movies. No longer were they comparable to Men in Black or the very first Avengers movie. They lacked the spark that had kept people coming back to the theaters. More recently these movies have returned, with the releases of Top Gun: Maverick, or Avatar 2, pulling people into the theaters once more. 

This seemed to have pulled Estevez into the theaters: “With the movie Avatar 2, it looked really beautiful, so I wanted a higher quality experience of the movie.” 

The formula for getting people to the theaters looks something like this:

(Right movie + good snacks + comfy seating = higher attendance at new movie releases)

Senior Joseph Eisenman, a Cinemark Theater Team Member, thinks that there are definitely attendees at the theater: “I still see hundreds, if not a thousand people coming to the theater everyday. According to one of my managers, we sold over 4000 tickets on April 8.” But the amount of people going to theaters depends on the movies that are being shown.

If there is not the right movie, then there will not be a high attendance, and unfortunately, it seems that not all these movies being released are the “right” movies. Many studios have found that they stopped making these kinds of movies, because the audiences just stopped showing up.

Before the pandemic, the interest in going to theaters for certain genres had already disappeared. First it was dramas, then comedy, and more recently it was animations. The movies that the studios choose to put into theaters over the ones they reduce to streaming are just not grossing enough. There are maybe a couple of good movies with good reviews that just end up failing in the wide releases along with everything else. 

Now when people can find good dramas or comedies online, they do not see the point in going to the theaters anymore. 

So with the constant streaming at home, there is only one way for these theaters to beat your comfy beds: to expand and improve. With curved screens, reclining cushiony seats, full meals and immersion effects, the theaters are adding so many bells and whistles in the hopes of you leaving your house to see the movies. 

However, in reality, all that needs to be done for audiences to return to the great world of AMC is for better movies to be made. Because we can blame Netflix, we can blame ourselves, but no one is going to the theaters for The Fablemens when it will be streaming within the next week. 

Everyone loves movies. Everyone wants to see movies and theaters survive. But those who make movies need to remember that everyone is perfectly fine watching them at home.

Fans ready to see the new Super Mario Bros. movie! Photo by: Joseph Eisenman

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