When we were kids, for some of us still now as adults, the concept of a movie theater is nothing more than a place to escape, and sink to a different form of entertainment, leaving behind our trials and problems, if not just for two hours. We see everything as overpriced, the quality as subpar and for the better part, the customer service lacking. With the average ticket price at an all-time high of $8.57, and the boom of digital media, and higher quality home entertainment systems, one could safely assume that the whole idea of movie theaters themselves, was a flawed and dying premise. We saw these results in 2017, which featured the worst box office summer in at least a decade, brandishing only $3.8 Billion, a 14.7% decrease from the previous summers earnings. Any expert could say this is the end of the movie theater, and we are bound to see a crash in the market unlike any we’d seen before for this industry. However, I am going to show you why they’re wrong.
My History with Cinema
I’ve been a part of the movie-going industry for six years now, working at a small three-plex. Throughout my first four years, I’d gotten a taste of plenty of angles, from cleaning, to projection maintenance, and even interacting with studio executives, and seeing how they run things behind doors. I was very fortunate to be working in a theater with staff that cares about customer experience, and of the quality of the workplace. Because of this, when I would defend the industry against anyone who had poor experiences, I would cite the theater that I worked at, assuming other theaters had the same understanding of what going to the movies should be like. In early 2016 I was proven dead wrong. I began working at a six-plex, one that suffered from a litany of issues. It was a theater more akin to what your average theater looks like and what your average theater costs. This opened my eyes to reality, where seeing movies in the theater was gross, costly, and not worth the trip. Why see something like Solo: A Star Wars Story in the theater, when you can effectively spend less money watching it at home in only a few months. In my experiences at both theaters, I began to learn just how toxic this industry was.
The Undying Power of Crowd Entertainment.
It’s difficult to compare modern moviegoing to early AD gladiatorial combat, but at it’s basest form, they aren’t that different. You get a drink with the boys, have a night to kill, so you goto the box office, pick up some tickets, buy some food and drink from somebody who you start to think is too young to work there, and then sit down and watch some high-quality entertainment. For as long as humans have existed, and for as long as they do, they will always travel in crowds. We have a unique suffrage of loneliness, that compels us to go out and see something together. Some people do this because they like seeing unique reactions from other moviegoers, others because they just don’t want to be alone. While of course, gladiatorial combat phased out, it became something new in modern sports. You see hundreds of people in the audience of every football, baseball and basketball game. It’s hard to find a popular Broadway show that isn’t sold out, and whenever you go to the movies, there’s always somebody else there. And everything else I’ve listed has had a moment where the populous thought it was over. Tennis and golf used to lead as prevalent sports, and as their popularity fell, it was assumed they were done for, but, while the crowds have fallen, they’re both still very sought after sports to watch. And in the late 2000s, people thought Broadway was over for, but now, with the rise of musicals like Book of Mormon and Hamilton, Broadway is as popular as ever. The same will be valid for movie theaters. There will always be a franchise that brings in customers. Regardless of income or economy, if people want to see a movie, then they will come. I imagine in ten years time, there may be as few as 75% of movie theaters open, as there are now, but the moviegoing experience is not something that will be going away for a long time.