To Stream or Not To Stream: The Movie Theater Dilemma


Image Credits: Right - Pixabay; Left - Trusted Reviews

Despite streaming services being a cheaper, easier way to watch movies, movie theaters aren’t dead yet. People may not go often, but popular opinion agrees on what makes movie theaters great: atmosphere and experience.

Whether it be snacks, seats, screens, or sound, going to the movies alone, or in a group, the experience just can’t be met at home watching Netflix. The motivation to attend the movies goes beyond experience, but nostalgia as well. According to Health Science Teacher Ms. Li Martin, she prefers to frequent a local cinema called the Criterion because she and her husband have been going there for years, and hopes to help it stay open, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic. She is “very fond of movie theaters and the movie theater experience.” Since having her daughter, she has made it a point to share that experience with her as well, both through going to the movies or streaming to a screen in their backyard. Similarly to EHHS Sophomore, Evan Martinez, the snacks are a major draw. Both Evan and Ms. Martin agree on the superiority of movie theater popcorn and sodas in comparison to the ones you have at home.

But what stops people from going to the movie theater? For most, it's the cost. Using the pricing at Cinemark North Haven for both tickets and snacks, a single person could spend anywhere from $9.45 to $14.50, for tickets. Adding on the price of snacks, a single person could spend upwards of $32.00 if they were to buy the large popcorn, drink, and snack options. It is the pricing which often discourages people, considering the majority of streaming services are under $11.00 per month, making it the easily cheaper option. Mrs. Martin did the math between the cost of streaming services and the movie theater, and while the streaming services came out at a total of around $645.00 and her yearly $1,000.00 total for the movies, she’ll never stop going to the movies. “It would be more cost-effective to stream but we won’t stop going to movie theaters.”

When it came to public opinion, many spoke of going to the movies to spend time with friends or family, whether it be a few times per year or per week. It seems that it is the experience that makes movie theaters what they are and why people continue to go despite the availability and efficiency of streaming services. And with numbers starting to pick up again following the pandemic, it seems movie theaters are not quite a thing of the past just yet.