Why I Want Movie Theatres to Permanently Close


With the tragic lighting and empty seats, this image perfectly represents the downfall and recent decline in theatres. Photo credit: Shutterstock.


This is not the most popular opinion on the matter, but it is important to look at both sides of an argument. Here is mine: most large scale movie theatre chains should close their doors once and for all. The industry has repeatedly proven itself outdated and inefficient at providing a high quality viewing experience for the price it offers. By becoming overpriced, being an inconvenience and limiting the potential of films, I do not understand how theatres are still in business.


Quite possibly, the strongest argument against the continued domination of movie theatres is price. One cannot simply argue that paying to see a movie in a theatre is more economically sensible for the average viewer than paying for a streaming service at home. Why pay $10 for a single movie ticket when someone could pay the same price for a month of content? Many streaming services are now offering new releases on their platform at no extra cost. WB has recently slated their entire 2021 blockbuster lineup to come to their streaming service, and HBO Max will drop those movies the same day they are going to hit theatres. While not every platform will offer new movies for free, most are not that more expensive than a local theatre- especially with the current pandemic. 


Though it may seem unfair at first glance, the high prices of movie theatres is a necessary evil (the business model is absolutely terrible as well). They receive only a small percentage of payments from the tickets they sell, as most of the benefits go to the film’s producers. A theatre’s typical revenue stream is almost completely reliant on overpriced concessions. In order to survive, they need to charge extra for their services. This is a perfect example of why theatres are out of date. They are dependent on demanding an unusually high amount of money for simple items. 


In certain situations, it would make sense to pay extra, so you could obtain a quality experience. This is what is being evaluated. Do the ends justify the means? A strong case could be made that many of a theatre’s best qualities could be recreated in an individual’s home. In fact, it is possible to argue that a personal space could be made better than a theatre. You can have your own little theatre on a personal television. You can control the volume, you can move as you please, you can eat whatever you have and you can pause as many times as you want. Having friends over is also a huge benefit. There’s no need to pay for multiple tickets, and people can freely and easily socially distance. A projector can even be set up in a backyard to recreate any feeling that would be obtained in a theatre. 


Besides all of these pressing issues, a theatre also limits the potential of a movie itself. How many times have movies had to trim themselves down to meet a reasonable timestamp for the “big screen?” Films like “Avengers: Endgame,” “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” have all recently pushed the boundaries of what would be considered the normal movie length. All have faced backlash and complaints by tired viewers. Having the option of pausing a movie in our own home is revolutionary. Many new films will be free of any typical restraints from local theatres if they resort to streaming.


Ultimately, theatres are just a middle man, and it is time to cut them out. They’re nice as a vintage experience, but they are largely outdated considering the convenience of today’s technology. I do not want every theatre to receive the same treatment as Blockbuster. Like drive-in theatres, I believe they should still exist for special occasions and experiences. Perhaps, it is better that small and local owned theatres do not go completely extinct, but the practice of viewing a film in a physical theatre should become a much less conventional way to experience modern entertainment.