The end of movie theaters?

Has COVID put an end to movie theaters altogether? Read about it in this article.

Graphic by Eliza Liebo ’25

Movie theaters have been around for over a hundred years. Ever since their creation, going to the movies has become somewhat of a cultural staple. With 3D films, reclining seats, fresh popcorn, and classic candies, movie theaters offer a unique experience. However, with the increasing popularity of Netflix, Hulu, HBO max, and Amazon Prime, do people still have a reason for going to the theater?

During the pandemic, social distancing restrictions and quarantining guidelines forced movie theaters to close. Even after restrictions eased, nearly 630 theaters in the United States never reopened. Similar to restaurants and small businesses, when left without a constant stream of customers, theaters were forced to close. 

However, the pandemic did more than just close movie theaters. Many movies decided to forgo a movie theater release and head straight to streaming services. With this newfound availability, people forgot why they ever needed to go to movie theaters in the first place. Why pay fifteen dollars for a movie ticket that you can watch from the comfort of your living room? 

On the other hand, people go to the movie theaters for the experience, which you  simply cannot get by staying home. Mia Hail ’23 explains, “I love staying home and watching movies, but there is something about the feeling of going out and getting popcorn that just can’t be replicated.”Granted, going to the movies costs more money than just renting a movie at home, but the movie theater offers an activity outside of everyday routine. 

Recently, more theaters are struggling to stay open. After being closed for a year, people have adapted to living without cinemas, and many haven’t gone back to old movie theater habits. Without customers, movie theaters have no choice but too close. Inbal David ’23 says, “when movies used to come out, I would rush to the theaters to see them as soon as possible. Now, as soon as movies come out I can just watch them on my TV. It is easy, and something I can do on my own time.” She is not the only one who feels this way. Although many would be saddened by the loss of movie theaters, as of right now we are just delaying the inevitable. With the decline in attendance occurring gradually, it is difficult for people to even realize this is happening, but the growing closures show the truth. 

Movie theaters are struggling to make  money, while companies like Netflix continue to make more. 

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