Theater experience remains unparalleled

This story was originally published in the fifth edition of The Lion’s Tale (March 26, 2021) This is Part 1 of 2.

Watching a movie for the first time on the big screen is a feeling like no other. From cliche first dates to family outings, the movie theater has always been a classic entertainment choice. The amazing buttered popcorn and the large Coca-Cola make it an experience that can’t be replicated at home.

Watching movies on streaming services can be lonely and boring, while entering the theater and viewing a blockbuster is a surreal and even thrilling experience. Feeling the excitement of the crowd and collectively experiencing the twists and shocking reveals of the story in their full intensity is an indescribable rush.

One advantage of the cinema is the ability to watch 3D films. The simulated interaction with the audience and the life like appearance of the characters makes for an all the more memorable time. Your living room TV truly can’t measure up.

Theaters also provide the IMAX format, which enhances the viewing experience through its use of high-resolution video and large screens. The distinctive dome- like shape of IMAX theaters and the steep seating further contribute to the unique nature of this medium.

At home, distractions are bound to happen. The dog barking in the middle of an important scene is not an ideal scenario. No one wants to be interrupted while watching a movie, especially when you’ve really become invested in the fates of the characters. In the theaters, there is a clear rule that interruptions will not be tolerated, cell phones should be silenced and no one should be loudly conversing with the people around them.

Times are changing, and a lot of ideas and practices that once seemed ageless are slowly beginning to fade away and lose their foothold in society. One of these, sadly, is the desire to attend the theaters to watch a new movie. Although streaming has its benefits, it does not come close to the enjoyment and emotions that you get from seeing a star-studded movie for the first time in the cinema.

Before public venues closed due to COVID-19, a classic Friday night outing was to go see a movie, whether it was with a group of friends or a date. While it is still difficult to do this in many places because of the continued presence of the coronavirus, moviegoers will rush back to the theaters as more people are vaccinated and cases fall. This will be one of the clearest examples of pent-up demand as the pandemic comes to an end. A recent study found that 75% people would return to the movies if there were strict health measures. 40% would return even without them. AMC plans to have nearly all of its locations open by the end of the month, and Regal Cinema will reopen their theaters at 25-50% capacity in April.

Not only is the viewing experience that comes with the big screen impossible to replicate, you also can’t make the snacks and drinks that the concession offers at home. There really is nothing like sitting down in the theater with a bag of candy and a large buttered popcorn, reclining back and relaxing for a couple of hours. The vast majority of sports fans would prefer to attend a game live rather than watching from home, and the same principle holds true for the cinema. When you go and watch a movie in theaters, you are making memories that can’t be replaced by a monthly subscription.