Lament at the Movie Theater

Hollywood is complaining more, and more about theater attendance dwindling. Research is showing year over year the trend is going lower. Movie viewership dropped from an average of 5 movies seen per year, to 4.2 movies now. That’s near a 20% drop.

But is it for the reasons they claim? Going to the movies used to be a family event. For some it was the requisite date night for both single, and married couples. But the last time I went, I just about wanted to either scream or walk out. The reason? Telephones, and NO manners.

I’ve talked about this with others, and the first response is usually “I know , the kids are just unruly these days.” But I take issue with that response.  It’s not just the kids. Granted, the teenagers (and an increasingly larger number of adults!) of today seem to have far fewer skills on how to act in public. But kids have always been to some extent distracting in the theater, that’s why you would go at different times when you could assume the chances of a packed movie house of teenagers was low. So what about now? Enter the wonderful world of “Dim the Lights…and Light Up those Phones!”

Since when did this uncontrollable urge to text, talk, tweet, and so forth every time the world goes silent for more than 4 seconds come from? And why do people not think that it’s just down right rude. It sure doesn’t enhance my movie experience when the people on both sides of me start glowing from the light coming off their phones. I feel like I’m experiencing what it must be like in the world of Tron. Or better yet, how about when the movie gets to an important scene where you’re on pins, and needles. Just then you hear the vibrating phone from the person next to you go off, and they start to chuckle as they read the mysterious glow emanating from their lap. Better yet is the person a few rows away that gets the call with a ring tone blaring “I Gotta Be Me!” that has the same decibel level of a Boeing 747. The real kicker is when this charming person can’t find where they put this shrieking loudspeaker, and now make more noise than the device stating “Where is it? I can’t find it! Oh this is embarrassing!”   Yeah..I bet.

With the advent of today’s home theater components you just don’t need the theater for the “experience” that it once gave. In most cases the biggest experience at the movies is no longer the attractions, but the distractions. What the theaters nor Hollywood are getting in my opinion, is they are not losing attendees because of the lack of interest in movies. They’re losing patrons who are interested, and actually want to go see a movie. Once this is truly realized maybe things will change, but I’m not holding my breath.

This is the same crowd that decided popcorn, and candy should cost a years salary after all.


© 2011 Mark St.Cyr  All Rights Reserved