What Happened to Movie Theaters?

I love movies, everything about them. I have my own opinions about different kinds of movies, but it is no secret that I love them. However, there is one thing that stops me from reaching the peak of my movie appreciation when a new film is released: movie theaters.

This might sound slightly hypocritical, but let me explain. Movie theaters used to be a place where you could go get some fresh popcorn, watch the latest and/or greatest film, and relax and spend time with people you love. While you can still definitely do that, a lot of things have changed seeing as it is not 1978 anymore.

For starters, not only can you get “fresh” popcorn at the movies, but you can also buy a soda, some Junior Mints, and a pretzel, but only if you have $150 lying around in your wallet. But you don’t really need snacks to enjoy a movie, so let’s just move on to the actual theater. Want to sit at the top, too bad, there’s assigned seating. If you didn’t know that, or even if you did in some cases, prepare to get moved around by people until you find a place no one reserved, which is usually near the uncomfortable front rows.

On top of this, movie theaters are now a place where you can barely even enjoy the movie because some parent was too lazy to hire a sitter and brings their crying child, or someone had a bit too much to drink at the movie theater bar.

In the words of legendary director Quentin Tarantino, “As time has gone on, it just seems like you get a little bit less, and a little bit less as the last 20 years have gone by. I even think for the last 30 years! There used to be a thing where you would go to the movies and it was kind of a big thing.” This is coming from the man that has been nominated for five Oscars for “Best Original Screenplay” and “Best Director”.

On top of all this, if you do not want to watch a movie in the theater because of these reasons, you have to wait up to three months to get the DVD, Blu-Ray, or digital release. This is especially strange, seeing as how most movies only stay in theaters for about a month, even after most are incredibly successful financially. Movies like Star Wars: A New Hope and Back to the Future broke box office records when they were released and stayed in the theaters for up to months on end, with Star Wars finally closing at the 44-week mark.

So, what happened to movie theaters? It’s fairly simple, we turned them into a quick, joyless cash grab instead of an enjoyable experience for every film critic and college student. But old-style theaters still exist in small downtown corners everywhere and Netflix gives us all a good excuse to curl up on the couch with a bowl of microwave popcorn when we don’t want to go out, so we still haven’t lost the feel-goodness of watching movies.