There is a lot of discussion lately as to whether or not movie theatres are going to become extinct. With all the talk about how technology is changing everything in media and entertainment, it is natural to wonder what is going to happen to the movie theatre. It currently can cost upwards of $200 to get a decent seat at a concert, so how much will a theatre ticket cost in 10 years?
Recent reports have claimed that box office sales at theatres are down by nearly twenty percent. Of course, hollywood producers and executives are upbeat and optimistic about the future of movie theaters, despite sophisticated home theater systems and the quicker availability of film releases on DVD and the Internet.
Filmmakers, such as Todd Phillips (The Hangover) and said that movie theatres will never go away, and that they’d prefer their movies to be seen on the big screen. Filmmakers have also said that they expect all American movie theaters to have converted from film reels to digital projectors by 2013, but it is unclear as to how this will affect theatres.
The quick answer as to whether some movies theatres will be closing is yes, because many smaller independent chains may not be able to compete with bigger theatres. The question remains how many theatres will remain, what they will look like, and what the cost will be.
How will changing landscape affect cinema therapy and the therapeutic value of a film? For one thing, the increased costs associated with going to the theatre will greatly reduce access for some lower income populations. There is a therapeutic experience that occurs in the theatre that cannot be replicated in a home environment, even with the most expensive entertainment system.
Obviously, those who cannot afford to attend a movie theatre will most likely not have a home entertainment system. Additionally, part of the movie experience is driving to the theatre with anticipation, standing in line waiting to purchase your ticket, and picking out your seat. It’s interesting to watch when people file into a movies theatre to see where they sit. Some people like to sit in front, which I call the chiropractic seats (because you’re going to need one afterwards). Others pick seats that are higher so they can get what they feel is just the right viewing angle.
With the advent of streaming and easy access to movies, more and more people are watching movies at home. Whether you are a professional movie reviewer, such as myself, or someone doing cinema therapy, it will always be a challenge to recapture the theatre experience in a home setting. But this is what we must do when that is the only environment available. If you think about it, there is only a tiny percent of films available for viewing in the theatre at any given time compared to the vast library of films that exist today.