Despite record high box office earnings coming with each summer flick, movie theaters are losing their audience and it’s all your fault.
You with your home theater system and comfortable couch and refreshments that taste good and Raisinettes you only paid $1 for at the grocery store. The increasing number of people creating a theater like experience in their home means that cinemas are being forced to step up their game.
To start with, they’re upping the exclusivity of the entertainment they provide. They’re well aware that some people don’t mind waiting for DVD, Blu-ray or – let’s face it – a pirated version of the movie they’ve been looking forward to. To combat this, theaters across the country are offering live entertainment, such as concerts, theatrical performances, and even sporting events.
Charles Aclund, professor of communications at Concordia University says that big cinemas are aiming to make theater going an event again. “In a nutshell, what you're going to see is cinema-going aimed at people who go less frequently.”
Seating is an issue being addressed as well, with theaters adding luxury seating, or simply adding new comfortable seating arrangements. Some are even going as far as to recreate the home experience by adding couches and beanbag chairs.
Television changed theater going dramatically, as did the advent of the VCR. Movies raised the stakes then by expanding aspect ratios past the 2.35:1 we know today all the way up to 2.76:1 in the case of films like Ben-Hur. Now that widescreen televisions have taken the market, theaters are pushing for technologies such as 3D to bring people back to the seats.
It’s hard to say when or if the theater experience will be a thing of the past, but there’s no doubt the audience is shifting.