Are Cinemas Dying?

That the pandemic has dealt a major blow to movie theatres is clear, but just how bad is the damage done?

There’s nothing like the movie-going experience. Nothing compares to being able to watch a new movie release at the place where it belongs — the cinema. Especially when you’re around people who are typically just as invested in the story as you are, popcorn at hand, and a sensory experience that can only qualify as magical. Movie theatres are indeed unique. Although sure, they can also be far from perfect because you may get unlucky and the audience might just be blabbering throughout the movie. Any number of things could go wrong, but ultimately for real movie lovers, nothing compares to the cinemas, and, thankfully, more often than not, nothing goes wrong. 

With all that being said, why is it that within the past few years, even before the pandemic, movie theatres have struggled so bad? 


A Horrid Pandemic and Streaming 

Since the year 2002 movie ticket sales have gone down each year. There are many factors that play into that such as the price for a single movie being a little too much for a lot of people, but one thing that sticks out the most is streaming. With the huge rise in streaming services everywhere you look, people are choosing more and more to stay home and binge a show or watch a movie in the comfort of their bed rather than going out to the cinema. 

There are so many streaming services now, that it’s become impossible to keep track of all of them. Every network seems to add a ‘+’ to their name and ship out a new service for $9.99. However, along with all the old shows that are included in these services, there’s a new phenomenon that has come forth. Brand new movies now are going directly to streaming and that definitely causes concern for movie theatres. 

Things didn’t always use to look like this, but there was this ‘little’ pandemic that hit in the early 2020 and put on hold life itself basically. Obviously, cinemas closed as well due to that development and they are, to this day, struggling to recover. Certainly, now it’s getting better and better but ticket sales have still not recovered. 

During 2020 and most of 2021, a lot of big blockbuster movies were pushed to a later date in the hopes of playing in the cinemas. Despite that though, there were still many, many film companies that decided to release their films on Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and so on. This has created a pattern upon which nowadays moviegoing audiences have come to expect. They no longer feel like going to the cinemas is a necessity to see a big movie when it came so easily straight to their TVs at home. This kind of mindset perpetuated by these unfortunate circumstances has done irreversible damage to many theatres. 


Back to Normal? 

What audiences needed for the longest time was a big movie to release in cinemas, and thankfully, we’ve got a few that reminded people of the magical theatre experience. Most recently, Top Gun: Maverick is the shiniest example of an incredible film that deserves to be witnessed on the biggest screens. It’s clear that the artists who made the film made it so that people would watch it in cinemas first, and not in their living rooms. The domestic box office loss of over $5 billion dollars due to the pandemic is incomprehensible but thankfully we are now making real progress. 

People who have worked hard on their movies deserve to have their voices heard. Pixar releasing three movies one-after-another on Disney+ is nothing short of disrespectful to the directors, writers, animators, and voice actors who spent so many hours on these films. They felt slighted and had every right to feel so. Nevertheless, let’s hope that more blockbusters will break through and have huge box office success so that the wonderful world of cinemas comes back to its former glory. 


The pandemic has forced cinemas to adapt to certain changes but at the end of the day, there’s nothing like watching movies on the big screen. Everyone remembers their first time watching their favorite film in the cinema, and that is something that’s so inherently human that it would be a shame for it to ever get lost. 


Photo: BAZA Production/Shutterstock

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