Table of Contents
Photo: Streaming Services
The Death of Movie Theaters
Movie theaters around the country are closing their doors at an alarming rate. Theaters that have been around for decades are being forced to shut down and the culprit is something that is found in nearly every home in America. Streaming services are more popular now than they ever have been. Many people around the world subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services for the content that they provide. However, these people do not think about the consequences of their actions when they make the critical choice to watch a film at home on Netflix rather than at their local movie theater. These choices lead to these theaters closing down for good. However, there are a number of things that must be understood in order to understand the dire situation that movie theaters are in.
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The first thing that must be understood is a very important window of time for movie theaters. This window of time refers to the time that a movie stays as a theater exclusive, as in something that can only be seen at a movie theater and nowhere else. This time is crucial for movie theaters as a result because if people want to watch a certain piece of content then they are forced to go to the movie theater and spend their money there.
However, this window of time has slowly become shorter and shorter as more time has gone on. Some titles nowadays even release in theaters and on streaming platforms on the same day. This, quite simply, is literally killing movie theaters all over the world. For whatever reason, be it the prices or the inconvenience, people are now more than ever more likely to choose to watch a film a home instead of at a movie theater. This new setup where movies, like the recent hit ‘Dune’ for example, are released simultaneously at movie theaters and on streaming services is giving people the choice I described earlier and watch at home instead of in a movie theater. This as a whole is causing many theaters dire problems and forcing some to even close completely.
How to save movie theaters from this serious problem
But all is not lost as there are many things that can be done to save movie theaters altogether. The first is for streaming services to stop releasing new movies on the same day as those movies are released in theaters. This would force people to go and spend their money at movie theaters in order to obtain the full movie theater experience. This solution would be a quick and easy fix to theaters’ problems. The only issue with this solution is that it is most definitely a long shot. Streaming services want to release movies on their respective platform the same day as that specific movie is released in theaters in order to get the most viewership on their platform possible. So, as a result, these streaming services are highly unlikely to give theaters more of a window of time where only they show the movies.
Another possible solution to this streaming service problem is for theaters to decrease the price of admission to see a specific movie. There is no doubt that the main reason why most people would choose to see a movie at home instead of at a movie theater is the price. Movies today are undoubtedly more expensive than they have ever been. Some tickets to premium theater experiences including things like shows in IMAX even sit in the price range of around 25 dollars. This is absurd, and again, the main reason why people would choose their couch over the seats at their local movie theater. Theaters can fix this problem. By lowering the price of admission, even just a little bit, more people will be drawn to see movies on the big screen. On top of this more people would buy snacks to eat while they watch their movie which would generate even more revenue from theaters and push them further away from dying altogether.
At the end of the day you have to look at the situation around movie theaters directly, and it is a bad one. Theaters all over America and the world are closing at increasing rates. This includes chain theaters like Landmark theaters and it also includes independent theaters as well. All in all, theaters are not in a good spot. This is something that anyone can see from the outside looking in, and something which can be explained by one main thing.
Theaters everywhere are all falling victim to the same exact thing. Streaming services are single-handedly killing off many movie theaters one by one. By releasing their movies either close to when they release in theaters or even releasing them the same day as they release in theaters, theaters everywhere are forced to compete with a free-watching experience. This is a battle that theaters cannot win. They can’t win this battle for a number of reasons. But one of the main reasons why people choose streaming services over the movie theaters is the prices at the movie theaters.
As I am sure you are aware prices at movie theaters are higher than they ever have been. Anyone who has gone to a theater recently can attest to this and it is this that is driving people away from theaters and back into their homes to watch content. But this can be fixed, and theaters can be saved altogether. This can be done in a number of ways. Firstly, theaters can be given more time to show a certain movie exclusively. This would force people to go to theaters and spend their money there. Another thing that can be done is that theaters can lower the price of admission. This would pull many more people into theaters as the price is one of the main reasons why people choose to stay home instead of going to the movies. If one of these can be done then theaters can be saved. But one must be done, or an alternative plan must be found, or theaters will continue to struggle for years to come.
By Nathaniel Lee
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