‘REBORN TOGETHER’: How movie theaters provide the perfect escape


  With big blockbuster movies such as Top Gun: Maverick, The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Minions: The Rise of Gru all released in 2022, it seemed as if everyone was eager to traverse to their nearest movie theater. The anticipation continues as people gear up for the Academy Awards on March 12th. The very first movie I saw in 2022 was The Batman and this was also my very first time out to the movie theater in two years. Before seeing The Batman, I was indifferent to going to the movie theater. However, after seeing The Batman, I had a newfound appreciation for the movie theater. I realized that the experience of going to the movie theater provides way more excitement than just streaming a movie from home. 

    In 2020, as a result of the pandemic, the releases of the latest movies were delayed. In order to combat this, streaming services started premiering blockbuster movies via streaming networks. Since then, many movies have skipped their large-scale release to the big screen and have gone straight to the small screens at home instead. 

     By releasing movies straight to streaming services, people are missing out on the whole experience of going to the movie theater. Since the pandemic, more people are streaming movies at home as opposed to going to the movie theater. According to a study from film research company Quorum, a survey released in November found that 49% of pre-pandemic movie goers are not buying tickets anymore. 

  This new switch to streaming services has taken a toll on local movie theater attendance. Regal Cinema of Lincolnshire showed its final movie on the night of January 26th in an unannounced closure. Regal’s parent company Cineworld announced its closure of 39 locations starting February 15th, amid the company’s bankruptcy.  

   Unfortunately, these pre-pandemic movie goers are missing out on the cinematic experience the theaters provide. For me, movie theaters offer a community-like atmosphere that is incomparable to the atmosphere at your own home.  I understand that there are people who would rather watch a movie from the comfort of their own home, sitting on their own couch, and enjoying the company of their friends and family. But, we already spend so much time at home. 

   The movie theaters are the perfect time to escape the extreme unchanging dullness of our own homes. Sure, when you watch a movie in a theater you might be sitting in a room of complete strangers, but you and those strangers get to escape and go on a journey together, witnessing every scene, and feeling every emotion together. There is something underrated about being a first-hand witness to a complete stranger’s reaction.

   The last time I went to the movie theater was to see the movie Bones and All with my friend and my sister. We were the only people in the theater except for one woman. Granted, the movie was about cannibalism, but it was an allegory for drug addiction. I guess very few people are interested in watching a movie about that.

   Although she was the only person in the room who I didn’t know, I felt like me and this woman were going on an adventure together.

   The whole entire movie my friends and I were cringing, covering our eyes, turning our heads into our shoulders, but in the very middle of the movie she blurted out the most plain spoken “Ew” I had ever heard in my whole entire life. It was at that moment that I knew we were in this thing together. We were watching this highly graphic, highly disturbing movie with a beautiful underlying metaphor, together. I felt connected to her as her forthright “Ew” seemed as if had encapsulated all of the emotions I was feeling at that moment.


   Some may argue that movie theaters are way too expensive and not worth the price when you can do the same thing at home. However, when you stream a movie at home you don’t get the pleasure of viewing all of the trailers for new upcoming movies. I find the viewing of the trailers equally as entertaining as the viewing of the movie itself. My favorite thing to do when going to movie theater with my friends is to rate the trailers and decipher whether we would go see it or not. 

   Something strange yet fulfilling that I look forward to every single time I go to the movie theater is the advertisement for the theater that they display at the beginning. As a kid I would find so much enjoyment from the Regal Cinema’s roller coaster ride advertisement where the screen takes you on a ride and there is giant kernels of popcorn popping in your face.  It truly felt just as gratifying as going on a real life roller coaster at Six Flags. 

   Nowadays, as I have matured slightly, and go to the AMC more often, I look forward to Nicole Kidman’s “AMC Theatres. We Make Movies Better” advertisement everytime. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen it, every single time she says “Heartbreak feels good in a place like this,” I feel it in my soul because she is so right about that.

   Another thing that you cannot possibly recreate at home is the amenities that the theater has to offer. Most theaters these days have upgraded their seats to cozy reclining seats that are adjustable. Movie theater popcorn is such a delicacy and the only place you can get real authentic movie theater popcorn is the place that bears the title. I don’t care if you have a popcorn machine in your house, it’s not the same. ICEEs are just as much a delicacy as movie theater popcorn.

   Of course, food at the movie theater is highly overpriced, and I don’t get it every single time I go to the movie theater, but once in a while when I decide to splurge, it makes the whole movie theater experience all the more superior.

   In a survey of  106 VHHS students, 53.8% of students said they prefer going to the movie theater over streaming a movie at home, while 46.2% of students said they prefer watching a movie at home. This suggests that students are pretty split on whether they prefer the movie theater over streaming services.

   When I saw Bones and All, if you had to guess by looking at the theater, without knowing what movie we were seeing, you would probably guess that the reason why it was so dead in the theater was because of the dying industry that is movie theaters. However, in the survey 82.2% of students said they don’t believe that movie theaters are outdated. Nevertheless it is important to note that 63.2% of students said they do think the pandemic has changed how they watch movies. This suggests that although the pandemic has changed how students view movies, students don’t think that movies are an outdated concept.

   Caley Moeling (12) considers herself a frequent movie-goer and claims she has been to the movie theater too many times to count in the past year. Moeling says that she has recently seen an increase in people going to the movie theater. 

   “I think for a long time after quarantine lifted there was very low attendance, but recently, as a cinephile and someone who loiters the movies a lot, in the past five months the movie theaters have gotten packed again, in the best way,” said Moeling.

   Although times have changed from the pandemic and although there is a draw to staying at home, I find going to the movies fully immerses me in the action and makes me feel a part of the relationships of a movie impacting me in such a way and providing a feeling that lasts long after I leave the theater. That feeling is best expressed by Nicole Kidman’s quote featured before the showing of every movie at AMC, “That indescribable feeling we get when the lights begin to dim and we go somewhere we’ve never been before. Not just entertained, but somehow reborn together.”