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Netflix vs New Films: The Pros and Cons of Movie Theaters Being Closed

Pre-Covid times, going to the movies was one of my favorite things to do. There was no better way to start a weekend than by heading out with your friends or family to see the latest release. A movie-going experience was ideal no matter if you’re on a date seeing a low budget horror film or with your friends seeing the movie you’ve been waiting to see for months. 

Theaters being closed due to the pandemic has abruptly changed how we view movies. And while I definitely miss being in a theater, I have to admit that there are a lot of perks to watching movies at home. So, let’s get to the bottom of this once and for all and figure out if movie theaters being closed is actually not such a bad thing. 

Pro: More Accessibility

In 2020, Netflix feels almost like an essential. I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t have a Netflix account (or have access to someone’s Netflix password). With streaming services being the primary place we are finding movies these days, movies are a lot more accessible to a greater number of people for less money. Pre-Covid, to see a new movie, you would pay $10-15 for the one showing. With new movies going directly to streaming or rental services, the cost of watching a movie is a lot lower. Plus, you can do it from anywhere. If you have an internet connection, you can watch a new movie from your living room, car, or even on a camping trip. The days of having to be in a theater to see a movie are gone. 

Con: Fewer New Movies

The number of movies that have been released is at a record low for this year compared to the past few decades. Big releases like Black Widow or Wonder Woman 1984 were pushed back to later release dates, with Black Widow slated to hit theaters in May 2021 and Wonder Woman supposedly coming out this Christmas. These two movies have the benefit of being backed by Disney and Warner Bros., but for smaller studio films, releases and shooting had been pushed back indefinitely. So, even though we may be watching more movies than ever in our quarantine boredom, movie theaters being closed has resulted in fewer new movies to choose from. 

Pro: No One Cares If You Talk Through Movies At Home

Much to my fellow movie goers’ annoyance, I have been known to talk through movies. I feel like they are more fun when you can provide commentary and speculate about the direction of the movie. I think this is so frowned upon in a theater because it feels disrespectful to the others trying to be absorbed in the movie, but when you’re at home, no one can kick you out for talking! Watching movies at home just feels like a much more social environment. 

Con: It’s About the Experience

Part of the reason we like to go to the movies is the experience. You want to get out of your house for a few hours, escape from the outside world, turn your phone off, and get sucked into a film. There’s also such a big appeal to getting a big bucket of popcorn and leaning back in a comfy theater chair. Watching movies at home usually results in only paying attention half the time and thinking about other things. With theaters being closed, you just don’t get the same feeling that the movie is an event. 

Pro: Drive-Ins Are Making a Comeback

The fact that Drive-Ins ever went out of style makes me sad. Pulling up in your car and putting the old speaker on your window just has such a nostalgic feeling that makes it endlessly fun. Plus, it combines the best of both worlds: you have the privacy of your living room with the feeling of going out to do something. This summer, my county went from having one Drive-In pre-Covid to having three. These do seem to be very weather dependent and someone would need to figure out a way for a winter drive in to be fun and cozy, but they are a great alternative to the traditional theater experience.

Con: We Might See Lower Quality Movies

With movies being so much less profitable in times of Covid, I think we can expect to see the quality of movies drop over the next few years. Production companies don’t have the money from recent box office successes to start working on new big projects. It would make sense that they would only have the funds to make smaller, low budget movies. So, whether we see it in cheap CGI or acting that seems rushed because they didn’t have the time or money to reshoot, I think we will definitely see a dip in movie quality. 

 

So, yes. There’s definitely two sides to every coin. And I have loved seeing the ways people are getting creative trying to make a fun movie-watching experience with their friends and family. Like everything else in life right now, we have adapted, but I don’t think we have gone so far that movie theaters will never make a recovery. I know for me, when theaters are safe to go to again, I will be right there wearing my 3D glasses, chomping on some popcorn, and enjoying a movie like nothing has changed. 

 

 

 

Caitlin Boyd

Conn Coll '24

Caitlin Boyd is a sophomore at Connecticut College studying neuroscience. She loves writing everything from book recs, to music reviews, to campus life experiences! If you see Caitlin around Conn, she is probably looking fascinated by the campus squirrels.
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