Why Go To The Movies?

june 20, 2005

There is an interesting article in today's San Jose Mercury News front page about the decline in people going to the movie theatres this summer -- a drastic 17% decline since last summer. The article goes to blame the decline on these factors: Quicker DVD releases (3 months from theatre to DVD instead of 6 months), long lines, noisy people in the theatres and movies that do not start on time. The one thing that they did not hit one was price. The cost of going to a movie has skyrocketted and it is no longer reasonable for most people to go see a movie in the theatre. I used to see three or four movies in the theatre (matinee) years ago when I was writing movie reviews. The cost at that time was $4.50-5.50 a ticket compared to the $7.50 matinee ticket price that my wife and I paid to see Mr. and Mrs. Smith last week. The regular prices are even more fantastic: $9.75 a ticket at the local Century Oakridge 20. If you end up taking a family of four to see Herbie on a weekend night, it will end up costing you $39, and that is even before you get popcorn and sodas! Compared that with a Netflix subscription of $20 a month for unlimited DVD rentals and you can see why people are staying home instead of going to the theatres. Most of the benefits of the theatre (air conditioning, digital surround sound, comfortable seating, popcorn, soda) can be replicated at home now. Sure, a 40" or 60" TV screen doesn't match the size of that giant screen at the theatre, but it sure is nice that I don't have to sit next to someone who has to explain every plot point to his girlfriend -- or sit next to some kid who can't sit still. So, what is it that keeps you away from the theatres?