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Should people go to movie theaters?

Illustration: Carter Klassen · The Sentry

There’s no place like home

Opinion by Taelar Pollmann

With the rise in popularity of streaming services, the days of quality movies being released “only in theaters” are in the rearview mirror. This exclusivity is the last advantage the theater still holds over home entertainment, and it is a temporary advantage. Every other aspect of the movie theater experience is an overpriced rollercoaster that ends in disappointment.

A standard Netflix subscription is $8.99 per month with the first month free of charge. This gives the subscriber access to Netflix’s vast catalog of both full-length feature films and multipart episodic shows that are not limited by view count, thus giving the subscribers the ability to watch any show or movie many times over.

One adult ticket at AMC is $13.69 for a single viewing of a single film, and that price only gets a single patron inside the theater. The concession’s standard fare includes popcorn, soda, and boxed candy that range between $5 and $9. In an effort to make money, most theaters do not allow outside food to be brought inside, which forces their patrons to buy from the overpriced concessions provided by the theater if he or she wants a snack. After spending around $25 per person, there isn’t even a guarantee there won’t be a jerk in the theater who talks or texts through the entire movie. At home that risk is nonexistent. There are no restrictions on what can be consumed on the couch while watching the same movie many others overpaid to see a few months before it was released in multiple forms for home entertainment.

If the price comparison is not enough, watching movies at home lets people enjoy a personal setting. People can be dressed however they please, assume different lounging positions, and pause the movie for a bathroom break or to discuss the plot with friends. This low-key atmosphere is not something that can be replicated at a theater. The minimal pros that theaters still hold are not enough to justify the bloated price and poor quality when broken down in comparison to watching the same movie at home.

Theaters preserve the art of film

Opinion by Alexander Elmore

With a cost of nearly $13 per ticket at most Denver theaters, it makes sense that the general public is going to the movies less and less. But what’s the real cost? The movies have never been about just seeing a film; they’re about the experience of going to see a movie.

While the argument that film is a form of art is an age-old one, it still applies to the topic of discussion. Since films are art, for the viewer to fully experience said art in the way the artist(s) intended, it likely means the film should be watched in theaters. Even so, on a surface level, most theaters have better sound and image quality than almost any home theater ever could.

Maybe claiming that every film should be seen on a gigantic screen is going too far. Afterall, network and cable television exist. But using streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, as a crutch to support not going to theaters is not a completely reliable solution. While streaming services often show big titles, in tandem with creating their own content, they don’t have everything all the time. What’s carried on Netflix, Hulu, and the like, changes on a monthly basis and the amount of wait time between a film being in theaters and on streaming is often quite lengthy. Netflix didn’t have the rights to stream Avengers: Infinity War until a full nine months after the film came out.

Plus, watching films on streaming services, unless they were made for those services specifically, does not support the filmmakers behind the camera. Just like music streaming services, like Spotify and Apple Music, Netflix and Hulu do not pay the artists they stream very much for their work. Yes, there are contracts between the service and the studio to obtain the rights but not usually between the services and the filmmakers themselves. Money made at the box office is very different compared to the number of household streams. One provides reimbursement and creates a way for artists to continue working on more projects; the other simply gives profit to a company that didn’t really need it anyway.

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