Well theaters have been struggling to get people in as ticket sales have been steadily declining over the last 15-20 years. Theaters have been trying to get creative to get people in. Some have added bars to them. Some have tried a movie pass system. Some have added reclining chairs. Some have even turned into a dinning experience serving you a dinner before the show. They have even shown more non-movie events like concerts and plays. Besides trying to make you more comfortable theaters have also gone through their 3d and 4d and Imax phases all trying to make the experience more real and epic.
Yet despite these moves more and more people just wait for movies to find their way either onto blu-ray or one of the many streaming services. Or if your a wiz online you can find a way to see them for free. I know I’ve been doing all three. If the movie is really good I will buy it. If not I will watch it on Netflix or find it by other means online.
These days I might catch one or two movies in the theaters. Long gone are the days I’d catch maybe 8-10 movies a year in my peek theater days when i was just out of high school. Seeing movies with my buddies was a thing. I’d catch the majority of those movies during the summer when all the big movies came out. I’d see probably at least 4-5 movies during the summer alone.
We are at a crossroads now though. I think we all knew theaters were going to die a slow death when movie streaming became more prevalent. Had the Corona virus not exploded theaters probably could have struggled on for another 10 years slowly dying. But that death has now been rapidly sped up.
As many theater chains face bankruptcy they are looking to streaming services in desperation to help them survive a little longer. AMC has made a deal with Universal to enabling the studio to release new movies on premium video on-demand within three weeks of their debut. This will help AMC survive a little longer but its end is only going to be delayed maybe a few years at most–if we are lucky. Not unless someone like Amazon comes in and buys it. AMC was rumored to be in talks with Amazon not long ago. If streaming services buy theater chains (or some large corporation with money to burn) they will keep them going for a while. If nobody comes to their rescue then the theater era of the last 100 years will finally come to a sad abrupt premature end.
While it would be sad to see major theaters close down I guess I wouldn’t be that upset seeing I see few movies in theaters anymore. Times are changing. And movies are just another thing to be going through growing pains of time itself. Just about every major business changes as society advances on. Many things go out of fad as new fads emerge. As you get older you see more and more things disappear or change. Such changes remind you of your place in time. I’ve seen drive in theaters disappear. Records be replaced with CD’s which then got replaced by mp3’s and then records strangely make a come back again. I’ve seen video games start out as simple dots and watch them grow into detailed 3d worlds. I’ve seen arcades vanish and roller rinks vanish. I’ve seen many stores like Block Buster videos disappear entirely.
I’ve seen a lot vanish or evolve but seeing movie theaters disappear would rank up there as one of the major things I will have seen disappear in my life. Sure art house theaters will stick around. Not everything completely vanishes. There are still a few arcades out there. Still one last Blockbuster and a few mom and pop DVD rentals but industries that once dominated move on in time. And seeing movie theaters join the other industries that have vanished and moved on in their dominance will sting a little. They have been around for so long and enjoyed by so many for so many decades and generations.
What is your thoughts about the potential end of theaters? Do yo think they will survive the Corona virus era? Do you think they can be saved and their death postponed a little while longer?