Tonight Melissa and I went to see the movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still”. This post isn’t about the movie but the theater experience itself. Her and I don’t go to the movie theater very often. Once every few months it seems. There was a time in my life about eight or nine years ago when I used to go every weekend, sometimes twice. But in those years between now and then the experience has changed. It’s like everyone seemed to forget how to act in a theater. People talking, kicking seats, playing on their cell phones and that’s just the audience. Then there are the outrageous ticket prices and the even worse concession stand prices. Three dollars for a bottle of Aquafina, are you kidding me? Then of course there are the commercial advertisements they decide to show both before the movie trailers AND after.
It’s no wonder the theater was mostly dead tonight, a Saturday night, the second night after the opening of a movie that obviously Hollywood believed would have a big turn out. Well it didn’t and I can see why now.
Some years back I heard about an idea the movie studios were kicking around. The idea was to release movies on DVD the same time they released them in the theaters. I’m not sure why it didn’t happen, but I have only to guess that the theater chains probably complained about the idea. Who can blame them, it would have killed their business. After all why would anyone spend the money on two tickets at $18-20 to see a movie in a theater with loud annoying people, when for the same price they could own the movie on DVD and watch it in the comfort of their own home? The studios make more money these days off the DVD sales then the theater sales anyway.
Maybe it is time for movie theaters to end. To go out of business. Maybe that business model just doesn’t work anymore. Especially for a society that seems to have turned into an ADHD ridden, text message addicted group of self righteous individuals who can’t seem to remember how to properly behave in a movie theater.
That said, I am a guy who makes films myself and have referred to the movie theater in the past as my “church”. A holy place of great experiences. But even I must confess that the time for pop culture movie theaters should perhaps come to an end.