Are movie theaters about to become ghost towns? If you’re like me, a youngster, then you’re fully tuned in to modern entertainment. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of media entertainment? An evening at the movie theater? Maybe in the past. But these days? No. It’s Netflix, obviously.
It’s true, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, digital media rentals & downloads, and online media entertainment have taken over. Makes sense, why leave home if you don’t need to? Why spend extra time and money to go to a movie theater, buy a movie ticket, make it to the theater on time, spend your life savings on a popcorn and soda, and sit among strangers, if you don’t have to?
We can think of a few reasons. Some movies you just haavveeee to see on the big screen to get the full experience, right? Why stop there? We have buddies recommending we see the new superhero movie in IMAX or 3D because “it’s like you’re really there!” Do IMAX and 3D really make that big of a difference?
Maybe you go to the theater because there’s a movie you can’t wait to see. That’s fine, we’re all die hard fans of some movie. Like when the new Star Wars movies come out, I don’t only see them opening weekend, I pre-order my tickets and mark my calendar. Some movies I can wait until they are digitally released, others I’m not so patient for.
The reality is that fewer movies are generating that same excitement as the top franchises. What’s the result? The same overused, recycled plot, but with better effects and more explosions. Which has led to this, the reboot, recycle, and live action cartoon remake era of Hollywood. What happened to originality? What happened to plot? The most important components to cinema have become second to explosions, CGI, A-list stars, and big budgets.
Imagine plot driven, well written, beautifully constructed, and award winning movies like Birdman, Her, and LaLa Land. Now, take away the big name stars. Take away the special effects. Take away the budget. What do you have left? Still a beautiful story, but one that will never make it out of the underground Indie movie culture.
Take a superhero movie as another example. Without the special effects, CGI, famous stars, and big budget, you’re left with the same, overused blueprint that has become the mainstream movie industry. It’s bullshit, we know. But it makes money. People like it and it sells. Why? Because we don’t want to think. We don’t want to put clues together and solve a mystery, discover the bad guy, learn a life lesson, or understand complex matters happening within the story. We just wanna look at hot girls, sexy guys, nice cars, and pretty colors.
We’re always searching for reviews and peer recommendations when it comes to movies because going to the theater is a time and money commitment that we don’t want to waste. It seems as though the whole theater industry is being supported by the few box office hits like young adult franchises, remakes of classics, and sequels. So what happens? We have franchises squeezing out every possible drop of plot, when they should’ve stopped a long time ago. How many Fast & Furious movies do we need? How many Mission Impossibles will it take for the mission to not seem so impossible? And what’s with the “Part 1” of a story? Harry Potter & The… Part 1? Twilight Saga… Part 1? Hunger Games… Part 1? Don’t waste my time Hollywood.
With online digital entertainment taking over, Hollywood and the theater industry are scrambling to catch back up. Here’s how. Studios are getting ready to decrease the number of days between a movie releasing in theaters and in digital format by half. 45 days between theater release and digital release. It’s official. Movie theaters are an endangered industry. Can they be saved?
45 days is a month and a half. Ok, so right now I want to see the movies that please my nostalgia, Power Rangers and Beauty And The Beast. I could go to the theater, pay extra, and go out of my way now. OR, I can just wait a month and a half and watch the movie at home? Easy choice. With the vast abundance of movies available at the touch of a virtual button, I can wait to satisfy my desire to watch teenagers deal with monsters for another 45 days.
Movie theaters alone aren’t to blame. They’re a fun, easy escape from the day. Plus they’re becoming more of an upscale experience with drink and dining services and reclining seats. But why did they make this change? After all, shouldn’t they want kids in the seats more than adults? Kids want candy and popcorn. Kids bring friends. Kids are profitable. Why not suit the desires of kids? Because theaters realize kids are at home watching Netflix. And adults, including young adults my age, will participate in practically anything involving alcohol. Still, pretty soon adults are going to catch on to the modern times and get their movie fix on their couch instead of the theater.
Hollywood can save the theater industry. How? Make better movies dammit. That doesn’t mean take away the explosions and stuff, just have a damn plot. Have a story. Teach a lesson. Be relatable. Make me laugh because of well written comedy, not pity. Intertwine a well told story WITH well made content. Graphics, music, CGI, fast pace, drama, suspense, explosions, humor, they can all exist harmoniously in a well made movie. Save the theater industry with movies like Passengers, Gravity, Whiplash, Interstellar, hell, even Sausage Party had more plot than most blockbusters these days! These are the movies we need!
Here’s a wild thought, one that I’ve been thinking for a long time. You know the Family Guy episode called “Three Kings,” where they spoofed three Stephen King movies in a single episode? Take that concept into the movie industry. Make 3, hour long movies and play them consecutively. Three stories in one movie experience. Maybe make movies interactive, where the audience votes on which of a few pre-set outcomes will occur next. Every theater audience gets a new experience. And how about more sports events and concert experience in movies? Even theater rentals, where you rent a theater, invite some friends, and watch whatever you want. Cool, right?
Movie theaters still give us the awesome entertainment experience they always have, but times are changing. Movie theaters are endangered. They need to adapt to a rapidly changing media entertainment industry to be saved and not extinct!
We all love movies. We all have fond memories of amazing cinematic experiences, what are your thoughts and feelings? How can we preserve such a meaningful part of entertainment?