Cinema Is Dying: How Movie Theaters Can Ensure Their Survival

Joel Lee 16-04-2015

Movie theater attendance plunged in 2014, hitting numbers that haven’t been this low since 1995. To add insult to injury, the sharpest decline occurred amongst the 14-24 age group. Cinema is dying. What can the industry do to swing back up?


It’s a tough question. Personally, I’ve been to my local movie theater twice over the past five years and the experience was so poor that I have no intention of going back without a big change in how theaters operate.

In their current state, they provide no value to me. I find much more value in streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video because they’re cheap, easy, and convenient. For those happy to dabble in morally gray areas, torrents are always an option, too.

Ultimately, movie theaters need to stop competing on “convenience” and start focusing on “experience.” They need to offer more than just a way of watching the latest movies. Here are some ideas that might work to add value to the whole experience.

“Higher Experience” Theater Designs

There are a lot of opportunities worth exploring when it comes to an elevated viewing experience in movie theaters. Some of these possibilities have already been implemented by forward-thinking establishments, and several of them are prospering because of it.



One obvious example is IMAX. Nobody’s home theater is large enough or advanced enough to replicate the IMAX experience, and this is true whether we’re talking about IMAX screens or IMAX domes. The massive size provides a uniquely immersive experience — especially when you combine it with a top-notch sound system.

There’s a world of difference between watching a film like Avatar or Interstellar on a 48-inch TV and a movie theater screen, but the difference is even greater on IMAX, and that difference is well worth the hike in ticket prices.

But IMAX is just the beginning. What about smell-o-vision? Many people don’t know that smell preceded sound in the world of film production, probably because no contemporary theater actually uses smell-o-vision of any kind.



The issue is that odors and fragrances are expensive to replicate. Unlike a screen, which can project an infinite combination of colors and images, each particular scent needs its own chemical. The resource cost is simply too high for a home theater, but if unique experiences are the way forward, this is one way that movie theaters could step up their game.

Kinetic seats are another area worth exploring. Some amusement parks, such as the Six Flags franchise, have custom-built theaters with kinetic seats that tilt, spin, and rumble according to what’s happening on the screen. Usually the film is something short, like a dinosaur chase.

Now imagine an action film that employed this kind of feedback in scenes ranging from intense (e.g. car chases, helicopter fights) to mundane (e.g. slamming doors, train rides). The idea reminds me of the old Nintendo 64 Rumble Pak, which was a surprisingly awesome development in the history of video games.

Would movie theaters benefit from something similar? Possibly. If it turned out to be a successful move, they could certainly charge a large markup for the experience.


Thematic theater designs could be a worthwhile gimmick. Inspired by a photo collection of the 15 Most Beautiful Cinemas Around the World, what if movie theater seating was taken to the next level? For example, would you visit a movie theater where the “seats” were individual hot tubs?

Imagine a movie theater that didn’t have any seats at all. Instead, sand covers the ground from corner to corner and the temperature is kept at a comfortable 78°F all year long. Would you visit that “beach theater”? I sure would, especially during the winter months.


Lastly in this section, movie theaters should be more than movie theaters. Some locations are evolving the original concept by including dinner with the film, essentially turning the movie theater into a glorified restaurant.


In fact, one of these theater-and-restaurant hybrids is currently under construction near me and I will certainly be checking it out when it’s finished. Its name? The Movie Tavern.

The “meal with the movie” concept doesn’t have to be dinner as long as it’s more than popcorn and candy. What about a wide selection of craft beers New to Craft Beer? Start with the Best Beer Websites & Communities Beer is an acquired taste. Once acquired, beer offers a certain world of taste that no other beverage can. Experience the wonders of craft beer, with these websites and communities. Read More ? Or even something as humdrum as coffee and ice cream? A small change like this could shift the traditional theater atmosphere in a new, more appealing direction.

Private Screening Rooms

Private rooms are an offshoot of the “higher experience” that we explored above. On the surface this idea seems like it could be a logistical nightmare for contemporary theaters, but that’s because their business models rely on huge attendance numbers. What if we proved that assumption to be wrong?

This idea would be to stop appealing to the lowest common denominator and start offering individualized movie screening experiences. No more big open spaces with hundreds of attendees watching the same film. Instead, a person — or a group of people — could rent out a private room at a per-person-per-movie rate.

Think of it as karaoke but with films instead of songs.

In this model, the experience would be on a par with a top-tier home theater: smaller than a traditional movie theater, but certainly better than a 48-inch television set. If it’s worse than a traditional theater, what’s the point?

Of course, the main value comes from the private space.

Tired of strangers talking through the movie? You don’t need to worry about them anymore. Sick of stiff, uncomfortable seats? Now you can spread out, lounge around, and crunch on your chips as loudly as you want without disturbing others.


Contemporary movie theaters only play the latest releases because those are the films that draw in the biggest crowds. However, in a private screening model, show times would cease to exist. Instead of switching out films to keep up with the latest releases, they could keep a massive library of on-demand titles that include the old and the new.

You could order food and drinks during your movie. You could pause the movie when you need to visit the restroom. You could even bring friends and talk to them during the movie if you wanted to do so. Best of all, you could reserve rooms to ensure there’s no longer the need to get there early and find good seats.

If we take it one step further, private rooms could come in different sizes for different rates.

Strict Enforcement of Rules

Admittedly, a lot of these ideas require a complete overhaul of the movie theater model. Is there something that currently existing theaters can do to ensure their survival? Not much, in my opinion, but there is one thing that couldn’t hurt: growing some balls.

If you randomly asked people why they no longer visit movie theaters, I could almost guarantee that reason #1 wouldn’t be Netflix or Amazon. It wouldn’t be price. It wouldn’t be the massive markup on concessions. It would be disruptions.


There’s nothing worse than sitting down to watch that movie you’ve been looking forward to seeing, the one that’s been hyped up by all of your friends, only to have it ruined by an obnoxious movie-goer with no sense of common courtesy.

Well, there is one thing worse than that: movie theaters which are so frightened by their dwindling attendance rates that they refuse to kick out those who are being disruptive. That means people who talk, people who kick seats, people who refuse to turn off their smartphones, people who bring crying babies, etc.

The irony is that movie theaters are likely losing attendance numbers because of these disruptive jerks. For every nuisance that they refuse to kick out, they lose at least one innocent movie-goer who becomes fed up with said nuisances and vows never to return.


Case in point: Alamo Drafthouse. This theater has earned a reputation for being strict. If you’re under 6 years old, you can’t go. If you’re under 18, you must be accompanied by an adult. If you talk or text, you’re ejected. And they only serve patrons who are well behaved.

Is it surprising, then, that Alamo Drafthouse is generating more revenue than AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas, and Cinemark? Not to me. It’s all about the experience, after all. Make it enjoyable for your customers and they’ll come back. That’s all it takes.

Free to Watch, Pay for Perks

Micro-transactions are one of the biggest gaming industry trends of the past five years. Why? Because they’re profitable. Free-to-play No Hidden Cost: 7 Free-To-Play Games That Are Actually Free Mobile gaming has a problem. You download a game, you start playing, but you hit a paywall. These games don't have that problem at all. Read More is important because its the easiest way to generate the numbers for word-of-mouth while micro-transactions allow people to pay for what they want.

As it turns out, the micro-transaction model tends to encourage splurging behavior. While a majority of the users never pay a cent, the passionate minority end up spending thousands of dollars, essentially subsidizing the users who never pay anything.

Could movie theaters survive on a similar “free-to-watch” model? If implemented correctly, I don’t see why not. The difficulty is in determining what would be the correct model to use.


It comes down to this: the “free” aspect is all about bringing in huge crowds. If this model is to be successful, it has to capitalize on that fact. Getting people through the doors is easy; getting them to buy something once they’re inside is the real challenge.

Merchandise is a big possibility. Maybe you went to watch Interstellar for free, but afterwards you realize that you absolutely LOVED the movie’s soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. So, you snag it on the way out. If not the soundtrack, then posters, DVDs, swag, etc.

One other idea worth mentioning is paying for better seats. Maybe the best 50 seats in a given studio are reserved for those who want to pay $25 per seat. Or maybe there could be multiple seat designs: the cheap seats are free, while reclining seats are $10, love-seats are $20, and kinetic seats are $30, etc.

Subscription Memberships

Subscriptions are the counterpart to a “free-to-watch” model. With subscriptions, people would pay something like $50 per month for unlimited viewings. Simple but effective, isn’t it?

Most people would bring up MoviePass as an example of this, but I’m thinking of something different. MoviePass is a subscription service that basically buys free movie tickets on your behalf. It isn’t tied to a particular theater chain, which means it has a lot of restrictions.

Honestly, MoviePass is not worth it. There are better alternatives to MoviePass. I’m talking about something more along the lines of Cineworld’s model.


Cineworld is a UK-based chain that offers an “Unlimited Card” subscription that grants unlimited access to its basic theaters for around $24 per month. The upgraded subscription also includes its West End theaters, which amounts to $29 per month.

Because Cineworld is its own chain offering its own subscription service, it doesn’t have to impose a bunch of restrictions like MoviePass does.

The benefits of this model are two-fold. First, theaters pay the same overheads whether a screen is empty or full, so the potential for abuse of unlimited viewings is largely negligible. Second, theaters continue to generate revenue even when there aren’t any good movies playing and nobody watches anything.

It’s like a gym membership, or any other digital subscription Top 5 Online Subscriptions You Can Give As Gifts With the ever increasing digitization of society, online subscriptions have become a valid form of gift-giving and they're often more fulfilling than a physical gift of same worth. Read More for that matter. As long as the users keep paying, it doesn’t really matter if they use the facility or not.

What Would You Do?

Are you happy with the state of movie theaters today? If not, what kind of changes would convince you to give them another shot and skip watching movies on your smartphone Why You Should Never Watch Movies on Your Smartphone There are countless reasons why you should never watch movies on your smartphone. Read More ? Do you think it’s too late for movie theaters to make a comeback? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Image Credits: Old theater front Via Shutterstock, Alan / Falcon via Flickr, Aroma-scope via Wikimedia, Phil Campbell via Flickr, Empty Theater via Shutterstock, Moviegoer on Phone via Shutterstock, Clare McBride via Flickr, Film and Popcorn via Shutterstock

Related topics: Cinema, Home Theater, Television.

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  1. BERN
    May 18, 2018 at 4:48 pm


  2. Alan D Bauder
    April 22, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    I got a kick out of this article. I posted it on Facebook. I seriously doubt most of these things will ever be done. I guess just like everything else it will come down to the all mighty dollar. The AMC movie theater I usually go to is on it's third company name in about 15 years. I guess that proves the movie theaters are dying. I watch most my movies and TV series on Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon. I go to the movies only to see the latest blockbusters. The sad thing is most on those three streaming services are better than most of the movies coming out. Maybe if the people in Hollywood would get their head out their ass attendance could increase. What is needed are new ideas for movies. I am tired of a remake of remake of an original movie. Most times the original was much better. What don't they any creative left.

  3. John Felix Koziol
    December 17, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Too many of the gimmicks -- and that's what they are -- that you mentioned are too pricey and would only force movie theaters to drive up ticket prices that the consumer is already saying is too high. The day of the movie theater is all but over. With Netflix and Amazon now creating their own movies, shows, and other forms of entertainment that is added to what is being produced by the other motion picture and television companies when they are able to, people are willing to wait until what is playing at the teater to come to these online entertainment websites. Plus, there are so many other entertainment websites where you can see stuff for no charge whatsoever (They get their revenue from online advertising which is the way they are able to keep their websites free.). All of this plus home sound systems being better than ever, make going out and paying outrageous money for movie tickets and concession stand snacks, plus the gas used to drive to the movie theaters when a monthly subscription to Netflix is cheaper than the price of one movie ticket makes it where the movie theater companies cannot compete. The video rental stores like Blockbuster and Hollywood were the first to disappear (The gimmick of no longer charging a late fee couldn't save them) and now the movie theater companies will be next. With the online services being more profitable than movie theaters now, it's just a matter of time until movie theaters, like the video store companies, will be nothing more than an afterthought.

  4. Meh
    November 9, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    How they can improve? Mail us the reel!

  5. Ashique
    October 13, 2017 at 4:26 am

    Great! Really innovative ideas. Atleast some of them should work. Time for the Movie theaters to try something "Out of the box".

  6. Heimrikr
    October 7, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    Actually most people have agreed the number one reason most people are reluctant to go to the movie theaters was the fact Hollywood is generally primarily responsible for theater attendance decline due to the fact Hollywood just keeps shelling out movie garbage and People have just really lost faith in the industry and honestly have lost any interest to restore that faith....

  7. John
    September 30, 2017 at 12:49 am

    people don't go to the theater anymore for one somple reason...we can now watch movies on our ipads, phones, etc...AND most of them are free...

  8. Jon
    March 28, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Free to watch? Movie studios keep a % of ticket sales to pay for the movie they just made. If movies are free to watch, who is going to make them?

  9. Sally
    December 3, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    For me, there are several reasons I haven't been to a theater in over 10 years.
    1. TOO LOUD! Explosions and crashes and gunfire that is.
    2. TOO QUIET! Conversations are often unintelligible. Dialog is important to me, especially if it's GOOD dialog and important to the story or character development.
    3. People using their cell phones. The lights, beeps and ring tones just interfere too much with my suspension of disbelief to enjoy the movie.
    4. Juveniles (of any age) who feel it is both their right and their duty to make noise, make rude comments, or otherwise disturb my quiet enjoyment of the film.
    5. Expense. The tickets are too expensive to be jammed into a huge room with a bunch of other people to watch a screen (that seems to be getting smaller and smaller).
    6. The snacks are ridiculously expensive as well.
    7. Everything coming out now just seems to be a remake/rehash of old movies. I think all the really creative people have died or given up.

    I really cannot see any reason to go to a theater any more. When it used to be the full screened, overwhelmingly awesome special effects and totally suckyouinto it plot lines, it was worth it. Now? I'd rather watch at home on my big screen tv where I can pause it so I don't miss anything when I to go pee or get a snack. Only a few movies might ...MIGHT be worth going to the theater for, if the effects are that amazing, but with all the negatives I listed above, there hasn't been one yet.

  10. Dawn Brown
    October 26, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    SORRY...YOU ARE TOTALLY MISSING ON ALL POINTS IN THIS DISCUSSION. I have very, very, very strong ideas on what the theater industry needs to do and what I have is definitely not what you are saying. You want to know, let me know.

    • Laura
      November 5, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      I would love to know your ideas, I also found to article to be mediocre. What are you thinking?

    • Deanna Ayres
      June 15, 2018 at 5:38 am

      I found this article and interesting read but not logical at all. A couple maybe. I own a small town private theater. I would love to hear your ideas. I'm always
      reading ,searching, and trying anything that might help. I think outside the box and an open to all ideas or suggestions. I listen to the customers in the lobby, ticket lines, concessions etc. To hear what they say. I have found this to be very insightful. Of course I would no longer be open if I did even half of what they wanted;)
      I would really like to hear from you and your thoughts.
      Thank you for your time,

      • Dawn Brown
        June 16, 2018 at 9:25 pm

        Deanna. If I own a movie theater and had 7 screens. Here's what each would have. 1 - Gamers only. Rearrange seating to accommodate. Charge per hour. 2 - Indie films. Once a week, open for anyone to show their films, shorts or features. Charge for the showing. 3. Marvel, DC only. 4. Date night type films for Friday and Saturday. Special prices. Show comedy, romance, and horror. 5. Story films. Cater to those 50 and older. Also, art films, like LOVING VINCENT. 6. Social media type films. Allow cellphones, laptops at the top 2 rows. Could also have some TV episodes for binge watching. 7. Most hyped film for the week. Post budget.
        Give rewards for responses and reviews on the theater's website. THEN, CHANGE THE LOBBY. No more just popcorn and soda. Free WiFi. Encourage viewers to stay after the movie.

        • Dawn Brown
          June 17, 2018 at 1:07 pm

          Something else. I'm tired of theaters, China/Hollywood, distributors, producers, writers, directors, and actors treating us, the viewing public, as if we are prisoners and we will eat whatever is fed to us. We want stories that we will remember, affect our lives and thinking, have great acting, and use of all new techniques available, etc. Give us a choice for what we want to pay for.

  11. Lord Mwa Ha Ha
    September 9, 2016 at 7:38 am

    The free-to-play model wouldn't work for cinemas, speaking as a gamer. The reason is simple; increasingly, the free-to-play model in video games relies on the game being UNPLAYABLE without micro transactions. The best armour and weapons are paid, meaning you're at a severe disadvantage unless you pay. Mandatory wait times are instilled; happy to pay ten bucks for progression? No? Then you'll have to wait three IRL DAYS.
    The idea that micro transactions are a gentle, kind, "you don't have to pay anything if you don't want to - but here are some extras if you want THEM" is nice, but untrue. The system works because its MAIN premise is to make the experience as uncomfortable as possible UNLESS you pay. Game developers who use this technique strip as much from the game as they possibly can, to sell back to you later. That's the main reason micro transactions have developed a seriously negative reputation. So trying to implement the same approach in other areas would make people LESS likely to go to a cinema, not more. To most people a safe, flat rate of payment is much better than the unknowns of "if I want a good seat, how much does that cost? If I want to bring water in with me, how much does THAT add" which is the reality of how that situation is likely to turn out, since most businesses don't seem to know when to stop.

    • Theater owner
      September 18, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      And then there is the film rental which must be paid to the film distribution companies (Sony, Warner, Disney, Paramount, etc). The minimum the movie theater MUST pay for each person watching the movie at their location is generally in the $5 range (though it varies by geographic area; major metropolitan areas being far more expensive) - theaters pay a percentage of box office sales and if it is under that minimum they pay the difference. So if the theaters let you in free...they still must pay the distribution companies and each customer would have to spend far more than that minimum amount to make it worthwhile, or even feasible.

  12. alice
    August 5, 2016 at 6:29 am

    There was a time when going to the movies was an event. When you walked into the theater, the lobbies were beautiful and grand. Some theaters even had chandeliers in the lobby. You got escorted to your seat. If you wanted, you could pay extra and get private box seats. You got treated like you were somebody. But theaters today treat people like cattle and expect them to be willing to come back and pay the exhorbitant prices.

  13. Grayson Peddie
    August 3, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    I would build a house with a dedicated movie theater room so I don't have to worry about crowds. I care for the experience when it comes to room acoustics and decent sound, not the young girl who would stomp down the stairs, dash to the front row, and stomp back up the stairs. I heard people stomping up and down the stairs a lot while trying to CONCENTRATE!!! I found myself edging so close to the screen--almost off my seat. It's when Finding Dory came out recently.

    And yes, private movie rooms are an excellent idea, even if it wastes ground space. What about a 10-story building with private movie rooms of different sizes and rates?

  14. jeannette
    April 14, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    I recently decided that I will no longer go the "the movies." Why? Well, you arrive 15-20 minutes early to get a good seat and are completely inundated with commercial after commercial. Every thing from car insurance to local dentists. And the sound is pumped up. Then come the screaming previews of coming attractions. A movie that was suppose to start at 1.40, actually started at 2.05. No thanks. I will just wait until it is released on DVD. I no longer need to see something as soon as it is released.

    • Joel Lee
      April 18, 2016 at 10:07 pm

      All good points, jeannette! The experience just isn't that great, especially if the other customers are loud and obnoxious. It's just not worth paying that much for such a horrible time...

  15. Karl
    April 9, 2016 at 5:28 am

    This generatikn needs to learm how to disconnect and live in the real world

    • José Luis Parreño
      July 1, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      I agree with you Karl.

  16. Trebor
    March 24, 2016 at 12:12 am

    The day the movies are filmed using a cellphone camera is the day watching movies on a handheld device make sense. For very old movies, fine. They have average video quality, monophonic sounds, and great story, so on a handheld device it is good enough. But today's blockbusters? They usually have mediocre story but great video resolution and superb sound. Watching them on a small screen is like eating at a fine restaurant and rinsing every dish with water before eating.

  17. Dean
    December 25, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    Jesus christ... This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of

  18. tom
    November 26, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    I find this article ridiculous. The problem is, social media. People don't hang out anymore. My friends and i went to the movies every weekend. Now kids sit around and keep glued to face book. they use their phones in school. the cant keep their attention for longer then 10 minutes. they are used to getting what ever they want when they want it, and without paying. the music industry is dead for the same thing. I am someone that enjoys the experience of a theater. the sound, the screen. I have issues going because of all the kids and adults talking and texting non their phones the entire time. it is sad.

  19. Anonymous
    October 31, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    this kind of is thinking of ways to make the theatre more expensive the theatres are absolutely fine we also have private rooms you can book them for partys and stuff in our local cinema but our cinema cant show 3D its not the theatres fault its the movies i think there getting worse every year!

  20. Jill
    May 3, 2015 at 11:28 am

    I have not been to the movies in 2 years! I watch them on Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, Itunes, and buy them on Blu-Ray!

  21. Shawn
    April 17, 2015 at 2:49 am

    Just watched the 2nd Star Wars trailer; I'll go to see that. But that's about it; wait 2 months for anything else and pay $2.00 at Redbox (Blu-ray).
    When theaters monopolized the medium they could get away with $10 tickets.

    What I would do:
    - $5.00 Movies all week
    - $2.00 Classics (Great Older Movies)
    - Concerts
    - YouTube compilations (with a theme)
    - Sporting Events Local & Pro - e.g. Away games & Championships

    • Dave Parrack
      April 17, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Don't you miss watching movies on a huge screen though? TV sets, laptops, tablets, and smartphones just don't cut it.

      • Anonymous
        July 15, 2015 at 5:34 pm

        Dave: I agree with you completely. I don't think movie theaters were made for people who feel Netflix (even on an HDTV) or tablets/laptops viewing are good enough.

        WHY on earth would you want to watch the new Star Trek via Netflix on a 12" screen...I fail to see the point of that. Movies are supposed to be an experience...something you immerse yourself in. I feel the netflix crew of people want to be able to check their cell phone and facebook...while also watching the movie. Which is fine by the way...that's just not a movie experience to me.

        Personally I can't even stand redbox (bluray) discs now as I've recently noticed/learned that their specs are trimmed down or out. There are no HD audio codecs and the bitrate for video is significantly reduced.

        Movie theatres (good ones at least) are still the best, most immersive way to see a film/movie these days. It's a show, like a concert or play. Or at least it supposed to be in my opinion.

        • Anonymous
          July 15, 2015 at 5:37 pm

          edit: Let me just say my opinion also are meant for good movies. What Hollywood passes for movies today is just a joke. NO WAY do I want or need to go to the theaters to see that garbage. There might be 2-3 films a year worth seeing (in my opinion). But (hopefully) the next Star Wars, films like The Matrix, Batman, LOTR trilogy...NEED(ed) TO BE SEEN IN A THEATER.

        • José Luis Parreño
          July 1, 2018 at 7:56 pm

          Yes, I agree with that. I can't understand why people watch great films (new and old) in tablets!!!! Cinema is, by far, the best way to do it.
          It is just a fashion created by the Computer Industry and Internet. They educate young people to believe that watching a film in a cell phone is the coolest thing you can do in your life.
          I cannot believe it.
          It is a real nightmare!!!

    • dragonmouth
      April 17, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      "TV sets, laptops, tablets, and smartphones just don’t cut it."
      Maybe for you, Dave. Or you just might be playing the devil's advocate here?

      The trend seems to be to stream content, which includes movies, to any and every WiFi enabled device. This leads to an interesting dichotomy, people buy larger and larger TVs for their living rooms and dens but more and more people are watching movies on their laptops, tablets and smartphones. When the Internet of Things craze gets going, kitchen appliance commercials will scream "Be the first one on your block to watch your favorite movie on your favorite (kitchen appliance name here)!"

      Large screen and surround sound are not a big enticement for me. I'd rather watch a movie in the comfort of my recliner with my favorite snack and beverage in hand that have to travel miles to a theater where I get to spend a week's paycheck on tickets and snacks, then be herded like cattle along with other patrons into sticky, smelly, cramped little room where I get to have my senses assaulted by too loud sound.

      While the technology used to make today's movies is light years ahead of that even 10 years ago, the acting is light years behind. Today's actors are for the most part one-dimensional, even when acting in a 3D movie. As the production budgets have gone up, the quality of the stories and the acting has gone down. I'd rather watch Turner Movie Classics on my 48" TV than the latest "wallet-buster" on an IMAX screen.

  22. Leah
    April 16, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Cost. If movie tickets cost less I'd go more. Also, in my opinion, there are not a lot of good movies out there. They aren't making a lot of movies I really want to see. The combination of high prices and not dying to see a movie go together. My sister and I used to go to movies all the time together, back when movie tickets were $5 but now they're $10+. If I went every weekend a month that would be $40-50 on movie tickets for one person and since we don't usually go alone that would be $80-$100.
    I'm not going to spend $10 for a one time viewing of a movie that I only kind of sort of want to see.

    • Joel Lee
      April 26, 2015 at 12:25 am

      Very true. Price is a huge factor. I just wonder what theaters can do to cut those prices down without sacrificing quality, and I can't think of much.

    • Anonymous
      July 15, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      100% right

    • Litesp33d
      January 25, 2018 at 9:15 am

      I can only echo the comments here. I used to be a regular Cinema goer. Maybe as much as 50 times or more per year. In a big city area there always used to be somewhere you could see a film for £2 or 3. At that price even if the film turned out to be a lemon you could take a risk. Even putting up with all the unpleasant parts of cinema experience that other commentators have raised. Now prices range from £7 - 10 to even over £20. That is too much to risk. To try to keep costs down I even participated in various 2 for 1 offers. However I now find the convenience of home viewing such that I no longer want the inconveniences and the costs that come with 'going to the movies'. That saddens me because the collective experience used to be so rewarding but I have to go back a long time to recall when that last was. Maybe I might venture out to see something that needs the big screen but when I do I usually end up thinking I could have watched that at home.

  23. rwd
    April 16, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Well, to start off with, I'd like the place to be clean, no sticky floors, no stained/matted seats, no smell in the air; then I would like for the volume to be turned down some, it doesn't need to break my eardrums; then there is the cost, $10 for popcorn and a Coke?: last but not least is the interruptions.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 17, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      With less people going I guess the chains are resisting the urge to upgrade. Which is, in my opinion, a mistake.

    • Joel Lee
      April 26, 2015 at 12:23 am

      It's a downward spiral situation. With fewer people going to the theaters, prices need to be jacked up to compensate, so even fewer people go, so prices are jacked up even more... The same is true for the equipment and staff. Fewer people, less effort, fewer people, less effort, etc.

      SOMEONE has to break the cycle, and consumers are not going to be that person. The onus rests on the movie theaters, which is why places like Alamo Drafthouse are booming while other chains are hitting lows. I wish they'd do something about it.

      • Anonymous
        July 15, 2015 at 5:46 pm

        Independent theaters seem to do quite well...the big guys stuck in the hollywood cycle are in a tough spot. I can guarantee this...if a year comes around when 10-15 great movies come out...movie theaters will BOOM again. But I doubt that'll ever happen again.

        Look at the movies that came out in calendar years in the 1980s. It's just not the same anymore. For example

        1984: Indianan Jones Temple OF Doom, Amadeus, Gremlins, The Terminator, Ghostbusters, Police Academy, The Karate Kid, Footloose, Beverly Hills Cop, A Nightmare On Elmstreet, Star Trek III, The Never Ending Story...

        That's just the first 12 movies on the list...any three of which today would sell out...back then that was standard to have that many good movies. Today, all we get is, well remakes of those great original ideas!!!

        • alex Jones
          January 31, 2018 at 10:28 am

          and yet less people went to the cinema in 1984 than any other year on record!

        • Ben
          January 31, 2018 at 6:44 pm

          According to this is was the 2nd best year of the decade!!!

        • Ben
          January 31, 2018 at 6:55 pm

          Sorry Alex but that simply is not true, according to box office mojo statistics 1984 was the second best year of that decade and if the current trend sticks it will be as good or better than 2018.

        • Ben
          January 31, 2018 at 7:01 pm

          box office mojo yearly box office

          For some reason I can't post URLs on here

  24. dark passenger
    April 16, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    I'm actually thinking of buying some bankrupt movie theater and selling tickets for people to sit around in the dark texting on their phones while I just play free youtube LOLcat or epic fail videos on the big screen for them to ignore. Surely I'll have the most profitable movie theater in America!

    Personally, I want to actually watch the MOVIE that I bought a ticket for, so obviously I wait the extra few weeks until the home release finally arrives. These days, the so called "movie" theater is just a place to eat junk food and stare at your cell phone for 2 hours. Those places don't make profit from the ticket sales anyway, so what do they care if people watch the movie or just sit around talking? Their only revenue comes from selling popcorn and soda.

    Whatever they come up with, it just has to hold them over until the next innovation comes out (maybe holograms for example). That technology will be shown in a different building than the typical movie theater with a flat screen at the front, so the whole experience will completely change at that point.

    • John
      April 16, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      I would go to your Lolcat theater. I know it wasn't the point of your comment, but it might work, especially in a college town?

    • Anonymous
      July 15, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      There are good/great theaters out there...you just have to find them.

  25. Doc
    April 16, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    The one biggest problem is that movie studios milk theaters for every single penny they can - movie theaters usually don't make a cent off ticket sales, making money (very poorly) on concessions alone, which is why you're forbidden from bringing in your own snacks and drinks.
    When theater chains start folding in massive numbers, studios will have to loosen the reins or lose their entire "first-run" market.

    • Adrian
      April 16, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      My understanding is that distributors take 50% of the gate receipts. Regardless, it's ridiculous the prices they charge for some of items at the concession stand.

      I honestly don't go to the theatre on a regular basis anymore...perhaps three times per year. It's much more economical to wait for the film to come out on digital media and then watch it at home.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 17, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      So, let the movie theaters make some money on the films themselves so that they can lower the prices of food and drink?

    • Doc
      April 18, 2015 at 1:09 am

      @Dave: Let the movie theaters make some money on the films so they can **stay in business.** I personally don't care about the food and drink - I'm there for the movie.

  26. Scutterman
    April 16, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Most of what you say here are all things that I've been thinking about for a long time, and a few of the ideas could work well. There's just two things that I'd like to bring up.

    1) Micro-transactions aren't profitable overall. They're profitable for a small percentage of apps that gain a very large following. Since it costs far less to develop a single app then it does to build a theater, and theaters have ongoing maintenance costs, I don't think it would work that well for them.

    2) I don't go the cinema to watch a movie, I go because it's just something fun to do with friends. Most of the time, the £10 that I pay for the movie isn't worth it, because the movie doesn't offer me much value on top of the enjoyment I could have just watching a movie with friends at home. The suggestions you have here are good, but still I don't think any of them would add enough value for me to part with my money more regularly.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 17, 2015 at 12:56 pm

      Is there no lure for you about watching on a huge screen? I don't care how big your TV is, it cannot compete with a cinema screen. I would miss that experience if it went away.

      • Anonymous
        July 15, 2015 at 5:52 pm

        I don't know how big it is, I hope it's big but it might be small but there definitely is a population of people who appreciate quality in the Audio/Video Department. Apparently, a lot of people just don't care though. Anyone going to a "movie" to hang out with friends in my mind is just silly. Why spend the money and ruin the movie for other people, that's just rude. Go to a bar, where talking is expected.

        There will always be people who want the "great" experience...like you I hope that doesn't end up meaning spending $10,000 for a home theater.

    • Scutterman
      April 17, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      Not really. I might be biased though. I'm short-sighted, and my glasses don't work perfectly to restore my vision to 20-20, so I might be loosing some of the effect of the big screen due to the distance it is away. It all depends on resolution, too. I have no idea what resolution movie theaters play at, but I'm guessing at some point the bigger screen just means bigger pixels.

    • Joel Lee
      April 26, 2015 at 12:21 am

      I agree, I don't go to the cinema just to watch a movie. Usually I'll only go if it's 1) with friends and 2) a movie experience that I can't replicate at home. So, a movie with a great story, I'll just wait until I can watch at home. A movie that benefits from IMAX or 3D or sound immersion, I'll consider the theaters.