Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Future of Movie Theaters - Part Two

The Future of Movie Theaters

By Ken Parker

Part Two

Reasons Not to Go Out To the Movie Theater

For every reason to go out to a movie theater, one can come up with a reason not to and this is generally related to cost and crowds.

Looks good.... and expensive.
Like everything, the cost of seeing a movie has increased.  I would argue that if you play your cards right (use coupons and go to matinee and bargain showings, your cost can be significantly less).  Still, you take a family of four and break down and buy everyone sodas and candy and you could be looking at close to $100 for a 3-D movie.  That is a lot and that does not include a trip to a restaurant after the movie!  You take the same family to a matinee and refrain from buying theater food and you could be spending around $40 for the same movie.

In this economy, cost has to be the biggest driving force for most people.  It ads up and unless you have allocated enough money, it is hard to budget to see as many movies as you may have been able to see ten years ago.

We have all been with crowds like this one.
While some people love the social experience of seeing a movie, most hate it when there are crowds, especially rowdy crowds or even one of two obnoxious movie goers.  Whether these people are talking, texting or eating loud, it can all detract from the movie experience.  One of the most annoying things is when people show up late.  No one wants to sit through 20 minutes of commercials and so this is another argument not to show up early to a movie.  Often the majority of the people shuffle into the theater just as the trailers are winding down and the lights are dimming for the main feature.  It takes them time to locate a seat and get settled.  When you are at home you can pause the player and wait until everyone is settled.

Technology has had a hand in how most people see movies.  People are used to seeing movies at home and know they can rewind to a scene they missed while they were talking.  The ‘watching in my living room’ mentality is prominent in theaters and over the years extended from live loud conversations with friends to loud phone conversations “Hey, I am in a theater watching Lord of the Rings!!” to quiet but arguably just as annoying texting.  Yes – you read that right, texting is just as annoying as talking on the phone.

The light from a phone can be very annoying.
At least while talking with someone, everyone knows it is wrong and you will probably hear about it from people around you.  You know it is wrong and yet if you still have the need to do it then you shouldn’t be surprised if you have popcorn thrown at you, get kicked out of the theater, or perhaps even shot.  Texting is relatively new and no one seems to have figured out how to deal with it.  There is no sound involved so the argument of it being annoying is less founded.  Still, a bright light emitting from across the theaters can affect more people than a phone conversation and can distract just as easily.  The people doing it feel they are doing nothing wrong and will act surprised when confronted or shot.
You never know who you might be sitting near.

I believe at some point society will begin to realize that the impersonal way of communicating through texting is rude to people around you and we should see a decrease in its use….. well, one can only hope. 

So do all these bad things spell the end of movie theaters?  No.  What it means is the theaters will continue to address these technology issues. Right now a verbal warning is given to movie goers to shut their phones off before entering the theater.  This falls on deaf ears obviously but at least the theaters are trying.  Blocking cel phone and wireless internet in a theater may be another option but since the society has become relied on instant communication, that might not be a popular idea.  Remember the days when someone had to wait to talk with us….?

One theater chain is handling bad behavior well.  This message shows before their movies begin.

I think society needs pointers in etiquette when using the cel phone.  They may have the right to use it.  They may think they are important to use it or feel that they need to stay in contact with their BFF’s 24 hours a day but at the expense of rudeness towards the people you are currently hanging out with, it shouldn’t be worth it.

And recently there was this incident in the news -

How one perceives these annoyances in the theater can determine if it is worth even going or staying.  Because theaters have to make loads of money, they won’t reduce their costs on a regular basis but instead try to keep people interested in going.  It is important they run a clean and operating establishment otherwise people will go elsewhere or stay home.  Beyond this, theaters will be looking to the future in hopes of staying on top of the home theater technological advancement and keep the reasons on going more benefit than the reasons to stay away.

Next time we will look at some potential changes that may happen with movie theaters.

1 comment:

  1. I propose cell blocking tech in theaters. The more expensive units can block a few hundred feet radius. If someone NEEDS to make a call they can go to the lobby. Aside from that I am not opposed to letting movie patrons carry and use stun guns and tasers on annoying people.